Transcript for Things to Know About York Before Classes Start Video

This is a video of Professor Jon Sufrin, talking about tips specifically for new faculty at York University before classes start.

Hello, and welcome to York University! My name is Jon Sufrin. I’m a faculty member in the department of Writing, in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies here at York.

The Teaching Commons has asked me to offer some additional helpful tips for course directors new to York, suggestions not directly addressed in the many resources and checklists within the Teaching Commons’ online Course Director handbook.

So, check the other resources on this page!

This video, one of three, provides new faculty with some tips for orienting yourself on campus before your course starts.

My first piece of advice is that it is a good idea to go and physically check that course materials are available in the bookstore (as applicable).

The bookstore is good, but this is a busy time of year and delays have been known to happen. If material is not available for the start of the course, be prepared for student questions on the topic.

Next, meet your Program Assistant. This is a staff person in your department that offers administrative support for your courses—they may be able to arrange desk copies, photocopies, Moodle assistance, past syllabi and/or other resources. In small departments, there is often only one program assistant, in larger departments there may be several.

Also meet your department’s Administrative Assistant. The Administrative Assistant is primarily responsible for finance and assists the Chair in the day-to-day business of your Unit.

I highly recommend you arrange Concur training and/or Sm@rtBuy Training as soon as you are able, and review the available online training materials. Sign in using YULink for more information.

Further, meet with your fellow course directors, and find out their own best practices: sharing knowledge among colleagues is a highly effective practice for getting good advice quickly. Your fellows in the department will have discipline-specific advice and helpful background knowledge of your program’s majors.

The Teaching Commons also sponsors Teaching Wheels, where you can visit the lectures/seminars of your colleagues and see what they do.

Now, another good piece of advice is to visit your lecture hall or seminar room well in advance, and make sure it has all of the technology you need to deliver your material and you are familiar with how to operate it.

For technology issues, contact Computing at York, by visiting their website at

You can fill out service requests at

If you view your room and it is not suitable for technological or other reasons, contact your department administration and make a request for a room change.

However, Keele campus is particularly busy Tuesday through Thursday during the term. If you request room changes on these days there may be no suitable space available.

Something else to consider is if your course has a mid-term test (versus an end of term exam) you may need to book additional rooms to space out students writing tests.

Additional Exam invigilators may also be required.

Contact your department administration for assistance with additional room bookings and invigilators.

Finally, if you take transit to Keele Campus, expect to be confronted by long lineups for buses, particularly with the 196A/B Express to Downsview & Sheppard subway stations.

Most people board at the centre of campus, at the Harry W. Arthurs Common, outside the Student Centre and York Lanes, which is located at the top of the map. If you board here between 4 and 7pm Monday through Thursday, several buses may come and go before you reach the front of the line.

But on the bottom of this map, you can see two arrows pointing to TTC stops where you can wait for the bus at the two stops on campus before the Student Centre lineups.

After 12pm, the 196 bus from Downsview subway station arrives on campus from the south, via Sentinel Road, before turning right, that’s east, onto “The Pond Road.” It stops twice, as the arrows indicate, before turning left onto Ian Macdonald Blvd and heading into the Harry Arthur Commons.

At these two stops, you can board the bus before the crush at the Common, noted above.

Thanks for listening and welcome to York! Hope this was of some help to you. For more information, consider reaching out to the Teaching Commons and asking to meet with one of their Educational Developers.