York University Academic Plan 2020-2025

21st Century Learning

Spinning Wheel

Diversifying Whom, What, and How We Teach

Every York University graduate, regardless of background or field of study, must be equipped with the knowledge, transferable skills, and values to navigate a 21st century world in which change is the only constant. 


This Priority speaks to the unparalleled diversity of our student body as a source of pride and a comparative advantage that differentiates York University as an institution. York has become a global magnet for talented people drawn by our academic excellence, cosmopolitan character, and commitment to making a positive difference. The next five years will see:

  • continued efforts to make York a more attractive destination for all potential students, including Indigenous students and equity seeking groups; and 
  • additional growth and diversification of our international student body, reaching our goal of 20-25% of our students being international.

York has become a global magnet for talented people drawn by our academic excellence, cosmopolitan character, and commitment to making a positive difference.

This Priority also highlights the value we place on diversity of thought. To prepare our students to live, work, and act meaningfully in the world, we will: 

  • continually reinvent our programs to address emerging issues and labour market needs that call for new pedagogical approaches and cross-disciplinary thinking
  • pursue inclusive excellence by decolonizing curriculum and ensuring our graduates are known for their global mindset, ethical judgment, and superior ability to integrate diverse ideas and worldviews
  • build essential 21st century skills into our programs, including digital fluencies, information literacies, critical thinking, and the ability to ask good questions, marshall evidence, and communicate effectively across varied media
Two students work on a laptop computer.

Finally, this Priority speaks to diversifying how we teach in an era of perpetual, universal learning. Rather than acquiring static knowledge, the hallmark of education for the future is now intellectual agility, adaptability, and knowing how to learn in any context. To meet this challenge we will:

  • offer a wider range of credentials and flexible delivery options, from in-person to virtual, to expand access to learning for diverse individuals at multiple stages of their lives and careers
  • attain our goal of providing every student with an experiental learning opportunity, regardless of program 
  • create more physical and virtual capacity for active and collaborative learning, so that students gain skills in working with others along with the joy of belonging to a learning community, wherever they are located 
  • encourage students to become lifelong learners with the curiosity, research and creative skills, and habits of mind to continually question and update their own knowledge
  • enhance and update teaching and professional development supports for all instructors, including tenure-stream and contract faculty as well as teaching assistants. 

Next Priority

Knowledge for the Future

Red Arrow