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Travels in Singapore and Japan

When I first arrived at Queen’s as an undergraduate student in 1976, one of my fellow classmates (though I did not know him personally) was Prince Takamado, a member of the Imperial House of Japan.  Prince Takamado studied in the Faculty of Law and graduated from Queen’s in 1981. Tragically, the prince died suddenly in 2002 at age 47, but his fondness for Canada and Queen’s has become an important part of his legacy (great credit is owed to a former Queen’s Vice-Principal and later President of the University of Alberta, Dr. Rod Fraser, who made the relationship with Japan a priority in both of those positions).  In 2004, Prince Takamado’s wife, Princess Hisako Tottori, visited campus to pay homage to his time at Queen’s. In addition to planting a Sakura tree in front of Summerhill, she also dedicated a special collection of Japanese materials to Stauffer library. A student scholarship, Continue Reading »

Eric Windeler speaking at Queen's in the early days of the Jack Project

Improving mental health on campus

The following article appeared in the Kingston Whig-Standard on Saturday, May, 9, 2015:

With this past week having marked the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 64th annual mental health week (this year’s focus has been on the mental health and well-being of men and boys), I’ve been thinking a lot about the students who have struggled on our campus, in particular those who have died by suicide as well as those who continue to struggle on university and college campuses across the country. I especially recall the dreadful year of 2010-11, which witnessed several sad instances of this. The only good thing that came from those student deaths for Queen’s University is that it brought the issue of mental illness out of the shadows — and made pushing it back in unfathomable.

That’s why, in the spring of 2011, I struck the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health and asked its members to look at how Queen’s was doing when it came to dealing with mental health issues. Continue Reading »

Students studying at Stauffer library

Dealing with stress and failure: a message for students

We’re heading into the final stretch of term, followed by exams. Unsurprisingly, stress levels will be rising across campus as students work to meet essay deadlines, complete assignments, and buckle in for the push through final exams.

Some may feel more stress than others, and may be worrying a great deal about a particular course, or about their standing in a program.  Some stress and worry is appropriate—if we didn’t feel it, we wouldn’t strive, or make the extra effort that we need to succeed. Stress helps us pursue goals and get things done.

But stress has to be your servant, not your master. Don’t let it get to you (channel it like the Force, Leia!). With the weather warming up over the next few weeks, it will be the perfect time to get out for a run, throw a Frisbee, or just take a walk by the lake. Continue Reading »

A statement regarding HLTH 102

Earlier today I posted a statement on the Queen’s Gazette website in response to the concerns being voiced on social media regarding HLTH 102. I am re-posting my statement here:

I became aware today of the situation regarding HLTH 102 and have asked the provost and vice-principal (academic) to work with Arts and Science to look into this matter and gather more information. The university is committed to the academic freedom of our faculty members; at the same time, the university expects that faculty members will present intellectually rigorous research and course material and that they will present available scientific evidence objectively and declare their biases. The university also expects that courses meet the needs of our students in terms of promoting critical thinking, independent judgment, and discussion.

Visit the Gazette website to read the statement in its original context. Continue Reading »

Heather Stuart and her group

Let’s talk

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada, a day dedicated to keeping mental health at the front of our collective consciousness. Certainly, it has been an important area of focus for me during my tenure as principal, particularly because we know that statistically, at least 30 per cent of post-secondary students in Canada report mental health problems. That’s why universities, including our own, are doing what they can to put better supports in place for our students.

One thing we don’t talk a lot about, however, is the question of substance use, even though the two issues can often be closely connected and may be elicited by the same factors. Mental health problems can lead to substance use problems, and vice-versa. No matter which comes first, it’s clear the issue is one that we should be paying attention to.

One of our own professors, Continue Reading »