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 »

Richardson rendering pic

A stadium for the future

This weekend the Queen’s Board of Trustees made the important decision to approve the plan to revitalize Richardson Stadium. If everything goes as planned, construction will begin after the Gaels’ 2015 football season, and be completed in time to kick off the 2016 season in a facility better suited to the needs of 21st century athletes.

That said, football won’t be the only sport to benefit from the new facility: Richardson Stadium will be used by several sports, including soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, as well as clubs and community groups. When it is completed, it will be among the top facilities of its kind in Ontario, boasting artificial turf, a state-of-the-art scoreboard and bowl-style seating. It is truly an exciting time for sports at Queen’s, and for the Fields & Stadium Campaign, which has supported the construction of Tindall, Nixon and Miklas-McCarney fields.

What’s also exciting about this project is the fact that most of the $20.27 million cost will be funded through philanthropy. Continue Reading »

ribbon 64

A sad 25th anniversary, and a time to reflect

Last week my wife and I attended a performance of the School of Music wind ensemble at the Isabel. It was a great performance of several recent and contemporary compositions. The one that stuck with me was ‘Polytechnique’, a moving piece by young Quebec composer Jonathan Dagenais that concluded with 14 chimes in memory of the women killed by a crazed and hateful gunman on 6 December 1989 at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. (Click here to watch a performance of ‘Polytechnique’ by another ensemble).

This Saturday will mark the 25th anniversary of that scar on our national psyche, and it has particular resonance given recent discussions on campus and in the media concerning sexual assault.  Among those who attend the memorials (here at Queen’s it is scheduled for Friday Dec 5) on campus, a great many will not even have been born in 1989. Continue Reading »