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Law student encourages deeper understanding of treaty histories

On March 21, the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force presented its final report with recommendations to the university community. The historical milestone was marked with an event that day at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. The Gazette is featuring profiles of Indigenous members of the TRC Task Force. Today, the focus is on Jason Mercredi (Law’18), a member of Queen’s Senate and the Aboriginal representative on the Queen’s Law Students’ Society.

Prospective students will often ask what a university or college will offer them. Jason Mercredi flipped that question when he was considering his post-secondary options a few years ago.

“I understood that Queen’s wasn’t well known for its Aboriginal content, but that the law school wanted to improve its Aboriginal profile,” says Mr. Mercredi (Law’18). “With my experience working with Aboriginal communities to develop programs, I felt I could offer something to Queen’s in the same way the university is offering me a degree.”

[Jason Mercredi]
Jason Mercredi (Law'18) says he found it rewarding serving on Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Task Force. He is hopeful the recommendations put forth by the task force will help Indigenous Peoples feel more comfortable attending Queen's. (University Communications) 

Mr. Mercredi, a Mushkegowuk Cree, was born in Winnipeg. Before applying to Queen’s, he worked with several organizations dedicated to advancing Aboriginal rights, including Treaty 1-11. As part of his involvement with that organization, Mr. Mercredi developed a deep understanding of the treaty histories, which influenced his decision to study law.

“Understanding the history of the treaties is really missing from the education system, and even in law school, we don’t really learn about the treaties,” he says. “People don’t have a full understanding of the nation-to-nation relationship. My goal is to reinvigorate those treaties, and being at a law school, I know what changes I want to make to have those rights recognized.”

Soon after arriving at the university, Mr. Mercredi began working to make Queen’s law students more aware of Aboriginal treaty and inherent rights. He established the Aboriginal Law Students’ Alliance, a group designed to help all Queen’s law students appreciate and participate in Aboriginal legal matters with greater understanding.

In 2016, he and fellow law students changed the Law Students’ Society’s constitution to include a longstanding Indigenous student representative position. Due to the small body of Indigenous students at Queen’s Law, he was subsequently elected to serve as the Indigenous student representative. That same year, Mr. Mercredi was elected as the law students’ representative on Queen’s Senate.

Offering wide knowledge to TRC Task Force

When the Queen’s TRC Task Force was announced in early 2016, Mr. Mercredi felt compelled to serve given his knowledge of treaties and his work experience. As an Aboriginal student liaison with Mothercraft College in Toronto, he worked to ensure the success of Indigenous students enrolled in the early childhood education program, and he also gave guest presentations on Indigenous history. While with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, he assessed the social needs of the urban Indigenous population and helped create programs to address those needs.

“For a period of time, it was quite depressing, because I had to look at what was wrong, and there is so much wrong,” he says. “But that’s what elevated me to come here. That background, understanding, and knowledge is what I wanted to bring to the TRC Task Force.”

Mr. Mercredi says he enjoyed serving on the task force. He found the experience rewarding, with respectful dialogue around the table. “There was a lot of genuine interest in creating equity, which is a healthier approach than creating equality, because with equality you are just absorbed into everything else. You don’t have your real identity.”

As Queen’s now moves to implement the task force’s recommendations, Mr. Mercredi is looking forward to Indigenous identities growing and flourishing across the university in the coming years. 

“I would hope that Indigenous Peoples – First Nations, Métis, and Inuit – can just come to Queen’s and be themselves. I would hope they are able to come to Queen’s and have their own identity without having to promote it or explain it constantly. I would like to see it as a wholesome part of the entire school culture.”

Raising a 'Red Flag'

A campaign bringing together two campus partners at Queen’s is aiming to raise awareness on dating violence.

[Red Flag Campaign]
The Red Flag Campaign at Queen's brings together Athletics and Recreation and Health Promotion in Student Wellness Services to raise awareness on dating violence. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)

The sixth annual Red Flag Campaign is a partnership in the Division of Student Affairs between Athletics and Recreation and Health Promotion in Student Wellness Services.

“Visitors to the ARC were encouraged to view the large display on our second floor,” says James Ligthart, Athletics and Recreation. “Our hope is that this campaign will help individuals identify ‘red flags’ for dating violence in their own and their friends’ relationships, and encourage them to speak up.”

“By promoting the Red Flag Campaign in busy campus buildings, like the JDUC and the ARC, we are working to reach as many students as possible and add another layer on to what being healthy means to them,” says Kate Humphrys, Health Promotion Coordinator, Student Wellness Services. “Understanding what a healthy relationship looks like, as well as warning signs for an unhealthy relationship, can empower students to say something about red flags for dating violence.”

Peer health educators participate in the campaign by advocating for students to ‘say something.’

“This campaign really focusses on the bystander component – identifying healthy and unhealthy relationships in both your own and in other people’s relationships,” says Kiira Kaarid (ArtSci’17), Sexual Health and Topics Team Leader, Health Promotion. “All students have the ability to look out for each other's safety on our campus. Whether it's increasing awareness, eliminating stigma, walking a friend home, or speaking up.”

The social media component of the campaign continues to grow. AMS clubs, student groups, and faculty groups posted the Red Flag cover photo on Facebook, to help reach as many students as possible.

Learn more at Red Flag Campaign. For support and help regarding a relationship, students can contact Student Wellness Services or call 613-533-6000, ext. 78264. If you have experienced sexual violence, contact Barb Lotan, the Queen’s University Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator.

The positive and negative of Big Data

Panel discussion explores the public’s relationship with Big Data.

The Queen’s University Big Data 175 events will conclude with a panel discussion on Big Data Futures. Today’s panel features two world-leading Big Data experts – Evelyn Ruppert and Frank Pasquale. They will discuss the public’s relationships with digital devices and data.

“Big Data practices are used, among others, by the giant internet and phone companies and increasingly by security agencies and police so how these data – frequently including those gathered from social media and games – are analyzed and used are of great interest to everyone,” says David Lyon (Surveillance Studies Centre).

The Big Data events are part of the Queen’s 175th anniversary celebrations – a year-long exploration into the pros and cons of Big Data in fields such as health care, marketing, and national security.

Big Data is large amounts of data that can be used to spot business trends, prevent diseases and combat crime, among other uses. These data sets are so large that traditional data-processing applications are inadequate to deal with them.

Dr. Ruppert is a professor of sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She studies the sociology of data specifically in relation to how different kinds of data are mobilized to enact and govern populations. Dr. Pasquale is an expert on the law of Big Data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and algorithms.

“We hope to debate not just the meanings of Big Data but its challenges to traditional modes of data analysis and to conceptions of privacy, civil liberties and even of how we think of ourselves as human. This is a key social, political and cultural issue of our day that demands a multidisciplinary and ethical approach for which a university campus is ideally suited,” says Dr. Lyon.

The panel discussion takes place Thursday, March 23 in Room 1102 in the Biosciences building. There is a reception starting at 5:45 pm with the discussion starting at 6:30 pm.

For more information visit the website. Watch a live stream of the event here.

Addressing challenges and creating community

PhD-Community Initiative a win-win for Kingston and Queen’s.

  • The PhD Community Initiative gave Queen's graduate students the opportunity to partner with community groups to solve real-world problems and apply their skills in new settings.
    The PhD Community Initiative gave Queen's graduate students the opportunity to partner with community groups to solve real-world problems and apply their skills in new settings.
  • Team Systema Kingston discuss their experience working to improve volunteer recruitment.
    Team Systema Kingston discuss their experience working to improve volunteer recruitment.
  • The PREVNet team present their report, which focused on anti-bullying knowledge mobilization in local schools.
    The PREVNet team present their report, which focused on anti-bullying knowledge mobilization in local schools.
  • Improving public outreach and use of the Queen's University Biological Station, the team focused efforts on new Canadians - offering a taste of Canadiana.
    Improving public outreach and use of the Queen's University Biological Station, the team focused efforts on new Canadians - offering a taste of Canadiana.
  • The Sustainable Engineering in Remote Areas (SERA) team focused their efforts on recruiting students in non-engineering disciplines - who shared a focus on Indigenous/remote community issues - to expand the reach of the NSERC-supported project.
    The Sustainable Engineering in Remote Areas (SERA) team focused their efforts on recruiting students in non-engineering disciplines - who shared a focus on Indigenous/remote community issues - to expand the reach of the NSERC-supported project.

Teams of graduate students participating in the Queen’s PhD-Community Initiative delivered reports on the outcomes of their projects with local community groups during a special event on March 22. The reports mark the culmination of nearly five months of teamwork which gave the students an opportunity to apply the skills acquired in their graduate training to address real-world problems.

“The initiative offered our graduate students hands-on experience in applying the skills acquired in their academic programs as well as the opportunity to expand their network of colleagues and community contacts,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “It’s incredibly gratifying to see how they’ve leveraged their complementary strengths and worked so effectively as teams. Each team has accomplished a lot in a short time and their efforts have had meaningful impacts on the partner organizations.  It is truly a win-win situation.”

For the past five months, interdisciplinary teams of Queen’s PhD students have partnered with local community organizations to address specific issues or challenges. By applying their knowledge and skills and offering a fresh, analytical approach, the students have gained valuable experience in solving problems as a team and the partner benefits from their creative solutions and insights helping them to move forward. As an added benefit, the partnerships offered a way to strengthen ties between Queen’s and the community.

“Working with a non-profit organization encouraged me to reach outside my comfort zone,” explains Mavis Kusi, a second-year doctoral candidate in neuroscience.

Seventeen graduate students formed interdisciplinary teams of three to four students and were matched with five organizations that had identified a particular challenge or issue that could benefit from a fresh, outside perspective. The organizations included Sustainable Energy in Remote Areas (SERA), Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) Community Outreach Expansion, Sistema Kingston after-school program, Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet), and Kingston Economic Development Corporation’s (KEDCO) night economy project.

Since mid-fall, the teams worked closely with their partners under the guidance of an alumnus or retiree mentor to identify the scope of the project, develop and implement a plan of action, and present deliverables.

 “I learned a lot about project management and communications from working with our community partners and stakeholders,” says Hasan Kettaneh, a first-year doctoral candidate in education. “It was challenging in the beginning, but we established communications processes and trust and that was key to the success of our project.”

For more information about the initiative, visit the School of Graduate Studies website.

TRC report brings communities together to change course

  • Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

At a special reception Tuesday night to mark the unveiling of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Task Force final report and recommendations, Principal Daniel Woolf told the crowd of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local Indigenous community members that, “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 special event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the TRC report represent a significant milestone for Queen’s and the local Indigenous communities, signalling a broad and sustained effort to build and improve relations, and to effect meaningful institutional change. The recommendations in the report span everything from hiring practices and programming, to research, community outreach, and the creation of Indigenous cultural spaces on campus. (More detailed list of recommendations below.)

Principal Woolf reiterated his commitment to fulfilling the recommendations in the task force’s final report, and to illustrate that commitment, he announced that the university will be creating an Office of Indigenous Initiatives in the coming months – an announcement met by a loud round of applause from the audience.

“This is just one of the task force’s many recommendations that I am committed to implementing across campus, and because I believe that we are stronger together, I welcome the rest of the Queen’s community to join me in that commitment,” he said.

Principal Woolf also stated his commitment to the TRC recommendations in a special Senate meeting on March 7, where he acknowledged “Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous People.”

‘We are making history’

Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members, Tuesday’s event was hosted by TRC Task Force co-chairs Mark Green and Jill Scott and showcased the importance of ceremony – with a traditional Mohawk opening presented by lecturer Nathan Brinklow, presentations by Elder Marlene Brant Castellano and student Lauren Winkler, an Anishinaabe Honour Song performed by the Four Directions Women Singers, and to end the evening, a Haudenosaunee Round Dance, led by performers from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, that brought guests together in a huge circle, hands linked.

“Ceremony reminds us that what we do today is important, impacting the relationships and responsibilities that we carry forward, and woven into our memory as a community,” said Dr. Brant Castellano, a member of the task force, Queen’s alumna, and pioneer and champion of Indigenous rights and education.

“We are making history,” Dr. Brant continued. “In creating the task force, Queen’s has stepped up to ask of itself: What can we do to advance reconciliation? … The task force has brought together voices from the Queen’s community saying: We can do this. We have a responsibility to do this. The report is presented to the principal, who speaks on behalf of the university. In this ceremony, all who are present become witnesses to Queen’s acknowledgement of past errors and commitment to walk together with Indigenous Peoples and others of good mind to restore and maintain a relationship of peace, friendship, and respect.”

“I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through"
​~ Lauren Winkler

Lauren Winkler, student and president of the Queen’s Native Student Association, as well as deputy commissioner of Indigenous affairs for the Alma Mater Society and member of the TRC Task Force, spoke about the experiences of Indigenous students and the challenges and racist encounters they face on Queen’s campus.

"Our education system has failed and is failing to educate our students at the cost of Indigenous students. The university recognizes this – it’s one of the truths in our truth and reconciliation process," said Ms. Winkler, who went on to thank Principal Woolf for his acknowledgements of the history of mistreatment of the Indigenous community and Queen’s role in perpetuating the mistreatment.

"I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through," said Ms. Winkler.

The TRC Task Force’s final report, which includes reproductions of artwork included in the Indigenous art collection at the Agnes, outlines recommendations and timelines for implementation – in particular, the formation of an implementation team that will work with faculties, schools, and shared service units to expedite recommendations. The task force asks for five-year plans from the faculties, schools, and other units to be completed by fall 2017.


Technology and the elderly

International expert Samir Sinha explores how the gadgets of today and tomorrow may help us age well.

Dr. Samir Sinha is coming to Queen's Friday, March 31 to speak on technology and the elderly. - Photo courtesy Marl Nowaczynski  

The Queen’s University School of Rehabilitation Therapy is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a speaker series. Elder care expert and Rhodes Scholar Samir Sinha presents his lecture The Potential Promise, Pitfalls and Peril of Mobile Technologies in Enabling Care for Our Ageing Population as the second event in the series.

With an ever growing interest around the potential for driverless cars, mobile technologies and general technology in our lives, Dr. Sinha’s lecture will explore some of the promising aspects that futurists tell us technology will deliver society and whether we can count on technology to hold the answers to finding better ways to care for the aging population.

In 2014, Dr. Sinha gave the Duncan Sinclair Lecture in Health Policy titled Canada's Coming of Age: How Ready Are We to Meet the Needs of Our Aging Population? Watch the video

He also examines what some of the early perils and pitfalls have taught us how much we don’t know and still need to know in supporting our ageing population.

“The answer to our everyday problems is increasingly receiving the response – ‘there’s an app for that!’ although we are quickly learning that the success of mobile technologies needs to start with understanding why and who we are designing them for,” says Dr. Sinha.

 “Dr. Sinha’s lecture will be of great interest to those engaged in a broad range of fields including health care delivery, administration, and policy development,” says Marcia Finlayson, director, School of Rehabilitation Therapy. “Celebration of the School’s 50th Anniversary has been a catalyst to bring voices such as Dr. Sinha’s to campus – this enables our school to contribute to the Queen’s and the broader Kingston communities in a unique and meaningful way.”

Dr. Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  He started his undergraduate studies in life sciences at Queen’s.

He is an international expert in the care of older adults and has consulted and advised governments and health care organizations around the world. Dr. Sinha is also the architect of the Government of Ontario’s Seniors Strategy. In 2014, Maclean’s proclaimed him to be one of Canada’s 50 most influential people and its most compelling voice for the elderly.

The seminar takes place Friday, March 31 at 4 pm in the Donald Gordon Centre, 421 Union Street. For more information visit the website.

Queen’s celebrates release of TRC Task Force final report

  • Members of the Queen's community perform a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community perform a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf speaks about the importance of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations.  (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Principal Daniel Woolf speaks about the importance of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • QNSA President Lauren Winkler and Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, listen to Principal Daniel Woolf during an event marking the release of Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations.  (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    QNSA President Lauren Winkler and Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, listen to Principal Daniel Woolf during an event marking the release of Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force co-chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre.  (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force co-chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • The Four Directions Women Singers sing an Anishinaabe honour song during the event to mark the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations.  (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    The Four Directions Women Singers sing an Anishinaabe honour song during the event to mark the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s Report and Recommendations. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

Queen’s University marked an important milestone on Tuesday evening with the release of the final report of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force.

A special event, hosted by Principal Daniel Woolf at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, brought together Queen’s and Kingston community members, as well as Indigenous partners. Many of those present helped guide the work of the university task force, formed in April 2016 to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report on the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system for Aboriginal children.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Final Report is available on the website for the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic).

More photos and an in-depth article will be published by the Gazette on Wednesday.

March 21 edition of the Gazette

[Gazette March 21, 2017]
Read the March 21 Gazette online.

The March 21 edition of the Gazette is now available and can be picked up around Queen’s campus, as well as a number of off-campus locations.

This latest edition of the Gazette is filled with interesting Queen’s-focused items including:

  • A focus on the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Task Force, including profiles of some of the Queen’s community members involved.
  • The announcement of new funding for a number of research as well as the Canada Frailty Network, based at Queen’s
  • An in-depth look at the innovative tech firm Canarmony and its healthcare scheduling program MESH.
  • ​Updates on the latest research, awards and achievements of faculty, staff and students.

The next edition of the Gazette will hit the newsstands on April 4.

Anyone looking to get a story, photo or information in the Gazette can contact the paper's editor Andrew Carroll or Senior Communications Officer Mark Kerr.

Also visit the Gazette Online for more stories and photos and follow us on Twitter at @queensuGazette.

 

Moving forward on benefits review

Work continues on the comprehensive review of Queen’s employee benefits plan, following successful education and consultation activities last fall.

The Multi-Employee Group Employee Benefits Committee, which is comprised of participants from university employee groups and the university’s benefits consultant, Mercer, co-ordinated the activities.

“We are pleased so many employees took the opportunity to ask questions at the sessions and provide feedback through the survey,” says Dan Bradshaw, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources). “This input will be invaluable to the committee.”

Queen’s Human Resources hosted nine employee education sessions between Oct. 19 and Nov. 2. Approximately 600 employees from various employee groups attended the sessions, where they learned more about the employee benefits plan and had the opportunity to ask questions.

The PowerPoint slides from the education sessions with audio narrative are available on the HR website for employees who wish to view them again and for those who were unable to attend. 

HR followed up the education sessions with an electronic survey, which was sent to all Queen’s employees who are eligible for insured benefits. The response rate was high, with nearly 50 per cent of individuals filling out the survey. Mercer, the university’s benefits consultant, is currently reviewing the responses, which will help inform the committee’s work.

More information about the employee benefits review is available on the HR website. Employees can send questions about the project to benefits.project@queensu.ca.

Contributing to the community

  • Chintan Dave (Meds’17) accepts the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award from former Queen's chaplain Brian Yealland. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)
    Chintan Dave (Meds’17) accepts the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award from former Queen's chaplain Brian Yealland. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)
  • Gabriel Jayakaran (ArtSci’18), recipient of the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award, with representatives from Pathways to Education, including some of the youth that he tutors. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)
    Gabriel Jayakaran (ArtSci’18), recipient of the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award, with representatives from Pathways to Education, including some of the youth that he tutors. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)
  • Joyce Leung (B.Ed.’18) Peer Leadership Award recipient, with Johanne Bénard, Associate Dean (Admission & Recruitment) and Associate Dean (Studies) Faculty of Arts and Science, and Dr. Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)
    Joyce Leung (B.Ed.’18) Peer Leadership Award recipient, with Johanne Bénard, Associate Dean (Admission & Recruitment) and Associate Dean (Studies) Faculty of Arts and Science, and Dr. Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)
  • Anna Geladi (MPL’18), Peer Leadership Award recipient, with Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)
    Anna Geladi (MPL’18), Peer Leadership Award recipient, with Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)

Students, staff, faculty, and community members gathered March 8 to celebrate the important role that Queen’s students play across the campus and in the community. 

The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) established two annual awards to recognize individuals who demonstrate outstanding peer and community leadership. Two recipients of each award are selected every year.

“We are pleased to highlight the important role that so many of our students play in supporting their peers and Kingston residents,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “This commitment to community is part of what makes Queen’s the special place that it is. Certainly in Student Affairs, we could not do the work we do without student involvement, input, and outreach.”

The 2017 Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award was presented to Gabriel Jayakaran (ArtSci’18) and Chintan Dave (Meds’17) for their work with local youth at risk.

Mr. Jayakaran volunteers with Pathways to Education, the Helen Tufts Child Outreach Program, the Metis Nation of Ontario – Wasa-Nabin program and Youth Diversion. Representatives from Pathways, including some of the youth he tutors, attended the event to celebrate Mr. Jayakaran’s achievements. 

Mr. Dave was nominated for his leadership in MedExplore, a student-run group that aims to provide marginalized community youth with opportunities and mentorships that encourage them to pursue post-secondary education.

The 2017 Peer Leadership Award recipients are Anna Geladi (MPL’18) and Joyce Leung (B.Ed.’18) who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to helping their peers through their involvement in Student Affairs and faculty-based programs and services.

Ms. Leung is a Peer Learning Assistant Team Leader in Student Academic Success Services (SASS), where her energy, reliability and judgment is relied upon by staff and peers, and her collaborative approach to learning has made a significant contribution to the programs and services offered to students.

Ms. Geladi was recognized for her involvement in several campus groups, including the School of Urban and Regional Planning’s student council, her role as Orientation Chair of NEWTS Orientation Week for new exchange students arriving at Queen’s, and her presidency of Queen’s World University Service Canada student club, supporting sponsored students from around the world.

Learn more about the Division of Student Affairs award programs and funding opportunities for students. 

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