First and foremost, York University is a place of learning, but it is also so much more! At York, students become better prepared for future careers, goals, and opportunities through a variety of programs and services. With more than 11 unique Faculties including the Faculty of Health, Education, and the Environmental and Urban Change, York has a diverse range of programs and degrees that students can choose from to explore their academic and professional interests.
Aside from the numerous options available, each Faculty possesses its own affiliated college, support services, and development programs to allow its students to fully grow into their position and contribute to positive change in the world. While there are distinct features associated with each faculty, all of them have one thing in common: they assist students in becoming better versions of themselves, and by doing so, they help create a better future.
Here are 4 ways that York’s faculties are helping build a better future:
1. Experiential Learning
As useful as it can be to take notes on a topic and reiterate them on an exam, there are some components of certain jobs and careers that simply cannot be taught without hands-on learning. In acknowledgment of this fact, many of York’s Faculties provide their own twist on Experiential Education (EE), a program that requires students to apply their theoretical knowledge to actual experiences within the community, classrooms, or a professional setting.
Depending on their goals, students can take on one of three routes to experiential education. For community-focused EE, students get paired with a community partner and get a chance to engage with course content by using it to solve a problem or complete a particular project for the respective organization. Course-focused EE, however, is a bit different as it can occur either within the classroom, outside of it, or in any other space where students can make sense of their experience in the course by relating it to the content. Finally, perhaps the most hands-on experience is offered through work-focused EE, as it allows students to assume actual positions within an authentic work environment; depending on the faculty, work-focused experiential learning can be offered through placements, internships, or co-op programs.
Since all of these routes have their own associated benefits and eligibility requirements, students must explore their options and analyze their own passions to understand which of the three will allow them to have the most meaningful experience. Each of these courses are taught by highly qualified faculty and designed specifically to facilitate the professional and personal development of students who take them. Therefore, regardless of what they choose, EE enables students to become more prepared for any endeavours in the future. Through this program, York is able to produce a more qualified, well-prepared, and knowledgable set of graduates, thus allowing them to seek better opportunities and succeed in the ones that they are granted.
2. Research Opportunities
While York does prepare students for what’s ahead, it also focuses on making the best out of the present — through the provision of research programs and opportunities, York allows students to take part in the creation of knowledge, all while advancing their professional and academic experience.
The Department of Psychology within the Faculty of Health, for instance, requires students in its PSYC1010 class to participate in research studies through enrollment in the Undergraduate Research Participant Pool. Furthermore, the department offers multiple ways for students to get involved in research with their professors in order to build rapport, expand their professional network, and both enhance and offer their knowledge through application of theory.
The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies also encourages students to receive hands-on experience and personalized mentorship through the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence (DARE) program. Through DARE, eligible students receive funding in addition to the opportunity to work alongside York’s world-class professors to complete a specific research project. This program offers an extraordinary experience for students to immerse themselves in an important and impactful project while developing critical, analytical, and leadership skills that cannot be obtained through classroom methods alone.
Other Faculties at York have their own version of research opportunities that encourage students to take part in the knowledge acquisition process. Through these programs, students are able to take on new responsibilities and develop their own skills all while contributing to the academic world. As such, they’re a great way for students to receive support from professors while learning to think critically and take initiative in creating innovative responses to certain issues that they feel passionate about. There is no moving forward without new knowledge, and the research opportunities at York allow students to contribute to progress and build a better future for themselves and others.
3. Digital Learning
The world is becoming increasingly more digital, and York is definitely quick in adapting its teaching methods and services to the virtual environment.
While technology has served as an important part of learning for the better part of the last decade, its use has been generally restricted to notetaking and homework completion. However, in recognition of the advantages of online teaching and evaluation, all faculties at York have implemented some form of digital resources that facilitate the learning process while enhancing students’ technological skills.
Even prior to the global pandemic, York offered many courses that were exclusively taught through online platforms. On York’s Courses website, students can click on eLearn courses to view the various classes that they can take through their computers. All of these courses still offer the same level of quality education, just through a different platform.
Seeing as all students may not feel comfortable in their ability to navigate an online course or its forms of evaluation, York has several resources such as the Student Guide to Remote Learning, a laptop borrowing program, and Zoom meeting instructions to name a few. On top of that, York has ensured that the digital learning experience is as enjoyable, accessible, and interactive as possible by offering opportunities such as Virtual Internships through the Schulich School of Business, Virtual Orientations and Frosh Week through the colleges, and even online plays brought to you by none other than York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design!
Overall, York’s faculties are committed to ensuring that their curriculum and forms of teaching are innovative, adaptive, and responsive to student needs at all times. Seeing as technology has become so pervasive in today’s society, it is expected that students need to work on their digital literacy in ways that do not just include TikTok, Instagram, or any other social media networks.
Therefore, the persistent efforts of York’s professors and administrators to effectively integrate technology into classroom instruction and design will prove immensely beneficial for students both in the present and future, as they learn to use digital devices to achieve their academic and professional goals.
4. Support Services
If there’s one thing York has got a ton of, it’s support services for students. After all, university can feel challenging at times, but York always lends a helping hand to make sure that students overcome the challenge.
York’s faculties and affiliated colleges work hard to provide services ranging from free tutoring, facilitated study sessions, mentoring, writing workshops, and career counseling. All of these services have one thing in common — aside from being complementary for all York students, (okay, so two things in common), they are all designed to empower students to become proactive in improving themselves academically, professionally and personally.
While the tutoring programs, such as those offered shape students into better thinkers and successful academics, the mentoring programs direct students to the resources and spaces where they can release their stress, seek help, or just feel a sense of community. Both tutoring and mentoring services fall under student success resources, most of which are offered by student-run clubs that are affiliated with their respective colleges. The Undergraduate Psychology Student Association, Nursing Students Association of York, and Bethune College are just a few of the resources you can check out for your tutoring and mentoring needs. The career counselling resources offered by the Career Centre direct students towards narrowing down their desired paths and help them get there through resume reviews, skills workshops, and more. While these are only a few of the countless resources available at York, they provide a comprehensive picture of how much time and effort goes into ensuring that students feel like they can accomplish their goals and objectives. The tutoring program alone, for example, requires assistance from the colleges, coordinators, club executives, and many volunteers to operate.
The provision of these services demonstrates the commitment of York’s faculty and staff to creating a space where students not only gain knowledge but also a supportive environment that cares for their wellbeing and success. Through these services, faculties can shape their students into well-rounded individuals who are equipped with the resources to do well in the future.
Students are the future, and at York, faculties are continuously improving their services, opportunities, and resources to help their students feel empowered and capable of instituting meaningful change and making a difference. Through experiential learning courses, research programs, digital learning initiatives, and support services, York’s faculties are enabling the university to fulfill its true purpose — to create positive change for our students, our communities, and the world around us.
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.