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2017 Issue 4: How we learn

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Quid novi: what's new on campus May 2017

Quid novi: what's new on campus May 2017

[Janie Hill and Nathan Brinklow]
Photo by Garrett Elliott

Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during the March 21 event marking the release of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commmission Task Force’s final report.

Truth and reconciliation at Queen’s

At a special reception to mark the unveiling of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force final report, Principal Daniel Woolf told the crowd of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local indigenous community members, “Today, our communities come together to change course.”

“By taking steps to ensure that indigenous histories are shared, by recognizing that we can all benefit from indigenous knowledge, and by creating culturally validating learning environments, we can begin to reduce barriers to education and create a more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse university,” said Principal Woolf.

The Queen’s task force formed in april 2016 to begin the work of responding to the TRC’s final report on the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system for Aboriginal children. Composed of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, staff, students, senior administrators, and community members, the task force considered how to respond meaningfully to the trc’s calls to action.

[TRC report cover]

In the final report, the task force calls for, among other things:

  • continued efforts to develop and strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities in the Kingston region;

  • the expansion of advancement strategies to increase philanthropic funding for indigenous initiatives, as well as the development of partnerships to proactively advocate and engage with government for system-wide programs and policies that support Indigenous students;

  • the creation of culturally validating spaces by incorporating Indigenous art and languages into public spaces and signage, planting traditional indigenous plants to honour the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Peoples, and the creation of Indigenous spaces for ceremonies and events;

  • the creation of new bridging and pathway programs to increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous youth, as well as expanded recruitment and outreach initiatives into Indigenous communities;

  • more work to increase the number of Indigenous staff and faculty, as well as to explore ways in which to recognize traditional knowledge as a valid means of scholarly achievement in hiring practices.


In memoriam

George Andrew, former head of PHE program (and head coach of Queen’s golf team, 1967-75), died Jan. 8. Read more about Dr. Andrew.

Marion Meyer, retired professor (Sociology), died April 26.

David Kemp, former head, Department of Drama, associate dean, Faculty of Education (and co-founder of the Artist in Community Education program), died April 26.

Allison Sherman, a faculty member in the Department of Art History and director of Queen’s Venice summer school, died April 26.

If you have memories of these individuals you would like to share, please email us at review@queensu.ca.  Our August issue will feature student memories of David Kemp and Marion Meyer.


Racism and diversity report

In April, the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDi) delivered its final report to Principal Woolf. Key recommendations from the report include the creation of a university council on anti-racism and equity and boosting recruitment of black faculty members and faculty from other under-represented groups.

The committee, comprising two faculty members, two staff members, and two students, consulted with members of the Queen’s community, including authors of past reports on anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. In anticipation of the report, and in light of the recent report from the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force, Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon earlier announced that $3 million in funds over the next three years has been earmarked to support existing and launch new initiatives related to equity and diversity on Queen’s campus, including but not limited to those outlined in the PICRDI report.

Principal Woolf also announced that Deputy Provost Teri Shearer will assume responsibility for senior leadership on equity and diversity at Queen’s. The deputy provost portfolio will be redesigned to bring a diversity and inclusion lens to all aspects of university operations. this will include leading the university’s response to the PICRDI and TRC reports, overseeing the newly created Office of Indigenous Initiatives, and making additional changes that support equity-seeking groups more broadly (for example, LGBTQ+ and persons with disabilities).

Making changes to Orientation Week was also addressed, with the principal noting that review of this first week of university will have to be done through extensive consultations with students and other groups and units on campus. “I believe that fundamental change needs to occur during this important first week of university for students,” said Principal Woolf. “We have heard, over the past year, from various stakeholder groups across campus that Orientation Week must be more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible … I am committed to working with students and others through this consultative process and to expanding the content of orientation week to include mechanisms for training and educating students on diversity and inclusion.”


A rare addition to the Queen’s collection

[book image]In 1482, William Caxton published Polycronicon, a “universal history” written by ranulf higden, a Benedictine monk. Originally written in Latin, Polycronicon was translated into English by John of Trevisa (1387) and later printed by William Caxton. Queen’s University acquired a 1482 edition of the Caxton printing, of which only about 50 copies are known to exist worldwide. The addition of the rare book to the Queen’s University library collection was made possible thanks to a donation by philanthropist and entrepreneur Seymour Schulich.

Mr. Schulich and Principal Woolf partnered to give their personal collections of rare books to Queen’s, with an additional gift from Mr. Schulich for the establishment, growth, and preservation of the collection. In recognition of their generosity and vision, the university established the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection, which resides in Douglas Library, and combines more than 400 volumes from the collections of Mr. Schulich and Principal Woolf.


New eyes on the universe

[New Eyes on the Universe graphic]

A new exhibit at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre explores the experiments and discoveries of the SNOLAB underground facility in Sudbury. The interactive exhibit, New Eyes on the Universe, features the Nobel Prize-winning research of Dr. Arthur McDonald and his colleagues, who proved that solar neutrinos change their flavour en route to earth, an important discovery for explaining the nature of matter and the structure of the universe. New Eyes on the Universe also explores the ways in which the current SNOLAB facilities and experiments continue to push the frontiers in particle astrophysics.

The exhibit caps off a year of 175th anniversary celebrations at Queen’s. “Over the past year, we have reflected on Queen’s monumental contributions, while also contemplating what the future holds for the university,” says Principal Woolf. “Similarly, this exhibit allows visitors to celebrate Dr. McDonald and his colleagues’ outstanding accomplishments and learn about the ways in which Queen’s researchers, now and in the future, will play a leading role in unlocking the mysteries of the universe.”

The New Eyes on the Universe exhibit is owned and circulated by SNOLAB. The exhibit debuted on July 1, 2016 at Canada House, Trafalgar Square in London, and it is touring across Canada this year.

New Eyes on the Universe is on display in the atrium of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre from May 27 to July 7. Admission to the exhibit and the Agnes is free for everyone

[cover of Queen's Alumni Review, Issue 2, 2017]