General Education: The Foundations Program

General Education has "deep roots" at York University and, indeed, was central to the founding vision of the university and consciously connected to what would make York distinct from other post-secondary institutions. York's founding president, Murray Ross, clearly articulated a model of both general and liberal education that would train and produce graduates not only for professional careers, but also for local and global engaged citizenship. General education was envisioned as fundamental to this latter goal, with the aim of general education to provide a breadth of study that would give students knowledge of the major disciplines.

In 1996, Faculty of Arts General Education requirements were re-organized with the introduction of 9.0 credit Foundations courses. Arts students were reguired to take two of these Foundations courses, one in Humanities and one in Social Science. A Natural Science course also remained part of the general education requirements. In part, this re-organization was instituted to ensure that students were exposed early in their academic careers to the breadth of the liberal arts. In part, Foundations courses-which feature a two hour lecure and two hour tutorial- were designed to assist in the acculturation process of transitioning form high school to university.

The Foundations program promotes these four objectives of Arts General Education:

  • breadth of knowledge
  • interdisciplinarity
  • critical skills
  • acculturation to the university project

The Department of Social Science provides 1000 and 2000- level Foundations courses through which students may fulfill their general-education requirements.

TAs who are teaching their first Foundations course will offered the opportunity to take a total of 7 hours in designated Foundations sessions for professional development. The rate of compensation is based on the CUPE overtime rate.

Please remember to have your participation at workshops and seminars recorded by signing the Foundations workshop participation sheet.

Teaching Assistants

TAs who are returning to the Foundations Program are welcome to attend all sessions, but will be paid only for the 2 hour meeting with their course directors.

Graduate Assistance

Teaching Assistants for 2014-15

Matthew McManus is a doctoral candidate in Socio-Legal Studies. In addition to working for the Foundation's program and TAing, his research focuses on the links between liberal legal theory, human rights, and democracy.

Rehanna Siew-Sarju is a Sociology doctoral candidate. Rehanna coordinates support services and workshops for Teaching Assistants in the Foundations Program, and is committed to critical pedagogy and inclusive classrooms.

Support Services


Contact Us

Ask a Question

If you have a question for one the Foundations Program Coordinator's Teaching Assistants please e-mail Tobin or Matt. Direct any technical queries about the website or file access to Matt. General questions may be directed to Olena Kozbar or Karishma Karim.

  • Dr. Olena Kobzar, General Education Coordinator at
  • Rehanna Sarju, Foundations Program, Coordinator's Teaching Assistant at
  • Matt McManus, Foundations Program, Coordinator's Teaching Assistant at