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David Kemp: 1936-2017

Professor David Kemp, passed away on Wednesday, April 26. The former head of the Department of Drama at Queen’s, and cross-appointed to the Faculty of Education, in which he served as associate dean, as well as the co-founder of the Artist-in-Community Education program, Professor Kemp was a highly regarded and loved member of the Queen’s community and will be greatly missed by his colleagues and friends. His funeral service will take place on Friday, May 5, at 2 pm, at the James Reid Funeral Home in Kingston. Flags on campus will be lowered on the day of the funeral.

A notification, with directions to the funeral, is available on the Dan School of Music and Drama website.

Early entrepreneurial learning

[Startup @ Sydenham]
Sydenham Public School students, Martin, Clara and Henry built a model for the outdoor solar USB charging table during a recent visit to SparQ Studios, a makerspace and design studio at Queen’s. (University Communications)

A new program bringing together a number of community partners is helping students at Sydenham Public School learn about entrepreneurship and fostering creative problem solving skills.

Through Startup @ Sydenham, students in grades 5 to 8 have been introduced to various aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship, such as how to research an idea, overcome challenges, create a business plan and present a marketing campaign by guest speakers from Queen’s University and Innovate Kingston.

The students are also being engaged to create an outdoor solar USB charging table for the school and recently visited SparQ Studios, a makerspace and design studio at Queen’s. The students worked with Jordan Morelli, a professor in engineering and applied physics at Queen’s, as well as students from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s APSC 100 course, who helped them develop ideas for their prototypes. The planned table will combine solar cell and pedal-power technologies with the aim of keeping kids active and allowing them to socialize while charging their electronic devices at the same time.

The prototype displayed by the team of Clara, Henry and Martin featured a round table top with the solar panel in the centre. After receiving feedback from the engineering students the solar panel was covered by Plexiglas for protection.

Holding up their model, the team explains they opted for a round table to allow more people to be seated and they wanted it to be “easy and cheap” to build.

The trio was excited by the hands-on learning opportunity.

“It’s interesting how we are learning about energy,” says Clara. “Also a lot of people in our class are really interested in engineering. They’re really, really creative and it’s cool seeing everybody’s ideas come to life.”

Startup @ Sydenham was created after the school and its parent council started looking at redesigning the school playground, explains Dorianne Sager, a parent council member and coordinator for the program.

“There is very little for senior kids to do on an elementary school playground once they are no longer interested in playing on monkey bars, so the challenge was to think of a way to keep the older kids engaged on a playground they are quickly growing out of,” she says. “After some discussions, including with Dr. Morelli, we designed a program that teaches kids how to think like entrepreneurs while at the same time gaining experience in design and working as part of a team.”

The program received a $7,100 grant from the Limestone Learning Foundation.

The outdoor charging table is currently being constructed under the direction of Jarrad Fairborn of St. Lawrence College. In May, students will test the table in the playground and will make their pitch as “entrepreneurs” to Innovate Kingston in June. An end-of-year celebration will be held at the Tett Centre on June 15 where the students can show off their prototypes.

Making Queen's a positive space

[Positive Space Awards]
Kayley Pugh (ConEd’17) and Joshua Colangelo (ConEd’18) are this year’s recipients of the Positive Space Award, which recognizes students who provide exceptional service to the Queen’s community in the area of sexual and gender diversity. (University Communications)

A pair of students have been recognized for their efforts in making Queen’s a more welcoming and inclusive space.

Kayley Pugh (ConEd’17) and Joshua Colangelo (ConEd’18) are this year’s recipients of the Positive Space Award, which recognize students who provide exceptional service to the Queen’s community in the area of sexual and gender diversity.

Ms. Pugh was recognized for her work in building a sense of belonging and safety for the LGBTQ+ community. During her time at Queen’s she has organized parties in her own house, providing a judgement-free, positive space where “anyone who is welcoming is welcome.” Funds raised at the events are donated to the Kingston Youth Shelter.

Mr. Colangelo is described as the “most understanding and approachable person.” As an orientation leader he was always open to discussions on sexuality, the spectrum of sexuality and “how we can all work together to make the Queen’s community a more accepting environment.”

“The Positive Space Award is such an important initiative from our perspective so that the folks who work tirelessly across campus to make strides in the area of sexual/gender diversity finally get the recognition they are due and rarely receive,” says committee member Mike Young, Educational Programming Assistant, Human Rights Office. “Kayley and Joshua are two shining examples of the dedication, energy, and character we hope this award exemplifies and will encourage in those as we move forward.”

Since 1999, the Positive Space Program has facilitated the celebration of sexual and gender diversity at Queen's, with the aim of ensuring that all members of the community are affirmed and supported. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to post Positive Space stickers in their work, living, or study areas. Participants seek to overcome both overt and subtle forms of discrimination and harassment, to avoid making assumptions about anyone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and to signal that all are welcome. 

The Positive Space Program is co-sponsored by three groups: AMS committee Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP); Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG); and Queen's Human Rights Office.

For more information visit the Positive Space webpage.

Enterprise software licences available for free

Several software packages have recently been renewed with enhanced licensing that will provide free and unlimited access for all faculty, staff, students and departmental labs.  

After a review by the Software Licensing Working Group and in support of the Queen’s Strategic Plan, the decision was made to make these packages available as enterprise software offerings. Enterprise software is the term used to describe software that is selected, procured, managed and funded at a university-wide level. 

Before renewing your software licence, check out the current offerings of enterprise software:

  • Maple
  • MatLab 
  • SAS 
  • SPSS

“Enterprise software licence management enables Queen’s to obtain the best possible price for software widely used for research, teaching and administration while reducing the administrative burden of negotiating, purchasing and distributing site licenses at the unit level,” says Keith McWhirter, Associate Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer. “In addition, the university can ensure higher compliance levels related to usage, and promote the use of preferred or supported software on campus.”

New licence keys are currently being posted in the Software Centre found at MyQueen'sU, with all packages being renewed and available in early May. New software versions (if applicable) will also be available for download via the Software Centre.

For more information about enterprise software, and the Software Licensing Working Group, visit the Enterprise Software Licensing page.  

Creating diverse, modern learning spaces

Renovations to develop diverse and modern learning spaces will soon begin in Mackintosh-Corry Hall.

The revitalization of the southern wing of the building – home to the Department of Geography and Planning – marks the second year of Queen’s multi-year commitment to improving teaching and learning environments on campus. The university is investing $1 million per year for three years to upgrade centrally-booked classrooms and other learning spaces.

[Mackintosh-Corry Hall - south wing]
The south wing of Mackintosh-Corry Hall will undergo renovations, including the development of two active learning classrooms and a renewed student street. (University Communications)

A focus of the Mackintosh-Corry Hall project is to provide a more diverse range of learning opportunities by creating two new active learning classrooms, renewing other classrooms, as well as enlarging the hallways and creating informal learning spaces, says Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning).

“We’re basically renovating part of the wing with a recognition that there really aren’t many informal learning spaces in this building, which is a major classroom complex where these types of spaces really are needed,” he says. “We also need more flexible and active learning classrooms and we are doing this by consolidating classrooms that were less used and configured in traditional ways and reworking them to provide more active learning.”

The two new 49-seat active learning classrooms will be constructed in Rooms D201 and D205. A temporary partition between the rooms can be removed to create a 98-seat classroom as well, Mr. Wolf explains. Other classrooms will undergo more minor renovations while the hallways will be widened and informal study areas will be created.

The focus of the multi-year commitment, Mr. Wolf says, is on renewing large classrooms and increasing the proportion of active learning and flexible classrooms.

“The commitment has really given us a tremendous start for what we need to do for our classrooms, to make sure that the classrooms enable the diversity of pedagogies that are being used and are in demand across all disciplines,” he says “We will continue to need lecture spaces and we also need other kinds of spaces. The goal of this project is to renew the classroom database while at the same time making sure that the classroom spaces and technologies provide the diverse contexts that our students need to learn the diverse things they are learning.”

Another important aspect of the overall project is to make learning spaces across campus more accessible.

“A key part of a good learning environment is a fully accessible learning environment,” Mr. Wolf points out. “That includes the technology, layout, stairs and ramps and lighting and good air.”

In the initiative’s first year, major renovations were conducted at Duncan McArthur Hall, including the main auditorium where new lighting, seating and presentation technologies were introduced.

Other classroom projects have taken place in Walter Light Hall, Theological Hall, Kingston Hall and Ellis Hall, where the first three active learning classrooms were introduced in 2014.

More information about active learning classrooms at Queen’s is available online

A dialogue on Indigenous law, song and opera

Queen’s professor leads conversation on the mis-use of Indigenous songs in contemporary classical music.

If the production of contemporary Canadian opera is a rare occurrence, it is even rarer that such work leads to dialogue about the relationship between Indigenous law and song.

Dylan Robinson (Languages, Literatures and Cultures, cross appointed in six departments/programs including Music & Drama and Cultural Studies) played a leading role in a dialogue on the misuse of Indigenous songs in contemporary performances. The dialogue was spurred by the remounting of the opera Louis Riel, which features a Nisga'a mouring song performed in a manner that conflicts with its significance to Nisga'a culture and law.

For Queen’s professor Dylan Robinson (Languages, Literatures and Cultures), the Canadian Opera Company’s remounting of the opera Louis Riel, based on the life of the Métis political leader, was an opportunity not only to address issues of song appropriation, but also the ways in which music organizations across the country might play a role in redressing the history of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

“This dialogue is part of a longer conversation that has been going on for quite a number of years between myself and a number of Indigenous colleagues regarding the many uses of our songs within musical compositions,” says Dr. Robinson, a scholar of Stó:lō descent who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts. “I felt it was important that Indigenous musicians, performers, and knowledge-keepers come together to share our views with music organizations on the functions that Indigenous song serves as law, history and medicine. Our songs are much more than simply songs.”

The day before the Louis Riel’s opening, Dr. Robinson led a dialogue to discuss First Nations song protocol and the mis-use of Indigenous songs in Canadian compositions. Represented in the dialogue were Nisga’a and Métis performers and artists, representatives of the Canadian Opera Company, National Arts Centre, Canadian Music Centre, and the executors and advisors to the estates of the composer and librettist, and members of Louis Riel’s cast and stage director.

Spurring the dialogue was the opera’s use of a Nisga’a mourning song, the “Song of Skateen,” in an aria sung in Cree by the character Marguerite Riel. Under Nisga’a tradition and law, the song is only to be sung when a community member or chief passes away, or with the appropriate permission of the family who holds the hereditary rights to sing it. Dr. Robinson explains that, in the context of the performance, the song is being utilized in a way that conflicts with its significance for Nisga’a peoples.

“I believe our ancestors shared these songs for safe keeping for our future generations,” explains Dr. Robinson. “Instead, once the songs were recorded, they were then simply ‘filed away’ in museum collections, in the words of the ethnographer Marius Barbeau who recorded “Song of Skateen”. This is where thousands of Indigenous songs remain, often disconnected from Indigenous communities to whom they belong. In some cases, particular songs were also transcribed into western music notation. This made it very easy for contemporary Canadian composers to use them without the knowledge of the families and individuals who still hold the hereditary rights to their use.”

The community consultation, led by Dr. Robinson on April 19, was one of a number of initiatives the Canadian Opera Company committed to in order to address the issue. Another was to host two presentations by the Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Traditional Dancers led by Wal'aks Keane Tait and the Git Hayetsk Dancers led by G̱oothl Ts'imilx Mike Dangeli and Sm Łoodm ’Nüüsm- Mique'l Dangeli  who explained the true history of the song to the opera’s audience.

Dr. Robinson says a second dialogue is planned in conjunction with the opera’s Ottawa performance, scheduled for June 15 and 17. He says that, while this is the first step in a much larger conversation on how music organizations might address the various issues, the response by the Canadian Opera Company’s director Alexander Neef and Heather Moore of the National Arts Centre’s upcoming Canada Scene gives him reason to be optimistic.

“I feel hopeful, and that’s kind of a new thing for me to say,” he explains. “I have had similar conversations over the years with non-Indigenous composers and music organizations that have fallen on deaf ears. This time, however, the Canadian Opera Company and National Arts Centre moved with agility to address the issue as the serious infraction of Nisga’a law that it is. That has not happened before, and so even though we’re at the beginning, I think that there is some institutional will to bring about meaningful action.”

Tackling youth concussions

Queen's outreach initiative provides on and off-field training for youth football players.

  • A youth football player learns how to approach a tackle safely to minimize injury risk, during on-field CESAP training. Allen Champagne (MSc'17) (in the white hoodie) offers technique coaching as the player prepares to go through the drill.
    A youth football player learns how to approach a tackle safely to minimize injury risk, during on-field CESAP training. Allen Champagne (MSc'17) (in the white hoodie) offers technique coaching as the player prepares to go through the drill.
  • Trevor Morley (Meds'17), right, explains to parents and coaches the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
    Trevor Morley (Meds'17), right, explains to parents and coaches the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
  • Chris Griffiths (Meds'18) explains the mechanism of injury behind concussion to a group of Thousand Islands Minor Football League coaches and parents.
    Chris Griffiths (Meds'18) explains the mechanism of injury behind concussion to a group of Thousand Islands Minor Football League coaches and parents.

On Saturday, April 22, representatives of the Concussion Education Safety and Awareness Program (CESAP) took part in the Thousand Islands Minor Football League community day at Kingston's Caraco Field. The organization, led by Queen's neuroscience and medical students, held off-field seminars for parents and coaches, providing information on concussions in sport. The presentation covered topics including how concussions occur, signs and symptoms and return-to-play protocols – all designed to ensure that players who suffer concussions receive appropriate treatment for their injuries.

While the parents took in the presentation, current and former Queen's Gaels football players took the participants through a series of drills aimed at improving their technique and minimizing injury risk. The players ran routes, practiced safe tackling and received on-the-spot guidance to improve their skills and play the game they love as safely as possible.

Started by Queen's neuroscience student Allen Champagne (MSc'17), CESAP aims to empower athletes and their parents to improve player safety through education and behaviour modification.

Promoting peer support

[Peer Helpers]
Cassandra de Bartok, Mentor Program Coordinator, makes a presentation during foundational training by the Division of Student Affairs to help them prepare for their on-campus roles. (University Communications)

More than 100 students who will be working with their peers in the Division of Student Affairs next year, came together for a day of foundational training to help them prepare for their on-campus roles. 

Student staff and student leaders help peers in various ways, including providing transition programming for first-year students and for second-year students returning from the BISC, academic skills workshops, English-language conversation groups, peer mentorship, and specialized support for self-identified Indigenous students and varsity student-athletes.

“The Division of Student Affairs is committed to creating an environment that encourages and facilitates the personal and professional development of its student staff and volunteers,” says Cassandra de Bartok, Mentor Program Coordinator. “We were excited to bring so many of our students together to network and to learn more about student development theory, communications skills, helping relationships, diversity and inclusion, and the resources available across campus so they can make effective referrals when working with their peers.”

The sessions were designed to help students better understand the requirements and importance of their peer helper roles, develop core skills to promote their success, connect with other peer helpers, and get excited about the contributions they will be making to the student learning experience. 

“Core Peer Training was fun, informative and interactive,” says Alexandra Bosco (Ed’19), Peer Learning Assistant in Student Academic Success Services. “The information that I learned will be beneficial, not only in my role as a peer learning assistant, but also in other helping roles, in addition to everyday interactions. Having the opportunity to learn and practice communications skills, for example, among peers in a safe and supportive environment was really beneficial and helped build self-confidence, knowing that you can use these skills in the future."

For more information about the Division of Student Affairs’ peer helper programs, visit the Department of Students Affairs website.


Taking records management to next level

[Records Management and Privacy Office]
Members of the Records Management and Privacy Office and campus partners recently visited Iron Mountain’s newly-opened records storage facility in the north end of Kingston, where Queen’s University’s records will be stored. (University Communications)

Records management at Queen’s University is a monumental task. 

Universities are information-intensive environments and a continual flow of records are created, shared, stored and retrieved every day. There are countless transactions and decisions, student records, employment records and health and safety information and as a public institution the university must ensure that it is meeting its legal requirements in a transparent and accountable fashion. 

Working to ensure the entire process is organized, efficient, secure and accessible is the Records Management and Privacy Office, which is responsible for the records management system.

It's a vitally important process for Queen’s, affecting all offices across the university, says Carolyn Heald, Director, University Records Management and Chief Privacy Officer. 

“Part of the importance of records management is to be organized and efficient, to be able to put your hands on the information you need when you need it,” she says. “You certainly need to have things documented for transactional purposes or our own legal rights and entitlement. What we would do if we couldn’t lay our hands on a lease for example, or some sort of contract or be able to prove that this student graduated at this particular time?”

Guiding the process is the Queen’s University Records Management Policy, which defines the purposes and scope of the program and includes 11 principles that provide clear standards and practices.

The Records Management and Privacy Office is also responsible for the administration of Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) at Queen’s. FIPPA and records management go hand-in-hand: you can’t provide access to information and protect the personal information without good record keeping practices. 

Over the years records management has changed, Ms. Heald points out. Increasingly, records are being maintained digitally, mirroring the rise in digital platforms in the workplace. She also sees a greater awareness of the importance of effective record keeping.

“I find that, even though they might not call it records management, people are very interested and aware of it, more so than in the past because they deal with it in their private lives too,” she says. “We all spend lots of time on our computers at home now. Everyone has lots of electronic records and digital photographs and thousands of emails in their inbox. They deal with it at work, they deal with it at home, and I think they do have a sense that there is value in being organized.”

While record keeping is increasingly becoming digital there still is a massive amount of paperwork being produced. These files need to be stored safely and securely and in 2014 Queen’s signed a 10-year agreement with Iron Mountain for this purpose. The university has already stored more than 9,000 boxes of records. Iron Mountain recently opened a facility in Kingston and, starting in June, Queen’s records currently stored in Ottawa will be moved to the new facility.

Having the records nearby will have a number of positive effects, Ms. Heald explains, including quicker and easier access to records when needed. 

More than 30 units at Queen’s are currently involved in the Iron Mountain program and can access their records through an online portal called Iron Mountain Connect. The Records Management and Privacy Office has also set up a records management contacts network for staff to make connections and talk about best practices and will be launching a training program to address a range of needs through online videos or in-person meetings.

“As much as possible we are trying to empower units to manage and handle their own records,” says Jordan Phoenix, Records Manager. “They are able to send records for storage themselves and recall them and manage them at Iron Mountain. There are certain things they can’t do without central approval, so the final removal and destruction of records will always pass through the Records Management and Privacy Office to confirm that, yes, these records have timed out and are allowed to go.”

The vast majority of records – up to 95 per cent – will be destroyed but exactly when depends on the type of records they are. For example, financial records must be kept for seven years, while some workplace health and safety records must be kept for 40. Records that have historical value are transferred to Queen’s Archives for permanent preservation. Queen’s Archives also plays a key role in the records management process, writing the records retention schedules with the cooperation of the various units across the university.

Iron Mountain is also a corporate sponsor of the Queen’s Gaels. Through a separate contract, the company also provides shredding services for Queen’s.

For more information, visit the Records Management and Privacy Office website.

Sumner in running for top university athletics honour

[Claire Sumner]
Queen’s Gaels cross country runner Claire Sumner is one of four finalists for Canada’s highest university athletics honour. (University Communications) 

Following a banner season, Queen’s Gaels cross country runner Claire Sumner is now a nominee for Canada’s highest university athletic honour.

The fourth-year life sciences student has already been named the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) female athlete of the year and is in the running for the Jim Thompson Trophy, awarded annually to the U Sports female athlete of the year.

“I was so excited to hear about the nomination. It is an incredible honour, considering the number of talented athletes in U Sports, and I am so proud to be able to represent Queen’s at this event," says Sumner.

Sumner was recently awarded the Queen’s Outstanding Performance of the Year after a remarkable season that included a win at the 8-km Queen's Invitational, a win at the OUA championship where she was also named an all-star and MVP, and a gold medal at the U Sports championship where she was also named an All-Canadian and the U Sports MVP.

“Claire had a season for the ages in 2016-17, and enjoyed a major personal performance breakthrough in the process,” says Gaels cross country coach Steve Boyd. “Always a steady performer, Claire simply went to another level this year, and her results clearly showed it.”

The winner will be announced Monday, May 1 at the U Sports annual awards banquet in Sumner’s hometown Calgary. The ceremony will air nationally later in May on Rogers Sportsnet.

“The event being held in Calgary is a huge bonus for me. It makes it extra special because it allows for my whole family to be there to support me,” says Sumner.

This is Queen’s second nomination since the awards were established in 1993. Each of the winners receives a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship to attend a Canadian graduate university and a trophy.

The Jim Thompson trophy is one of two awards handed out annually by Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) LLP in partnership with U Sports to honour the top university athletes in the country and promote post-graduate studies at Canadian universities. One male and one female nominee are chosen to represent Atlantic Canada, Canada West, Ontario and Quebec. These eight nominees are then considered for the U Sports Male and Female Athletes on the Year based on their athletic accomplishment, outstanding sportsmanship and demonstrated leadership.

Winners are selected by the Canadian Athletic Foundation, a non-profit board established to administer the awards and protect the integrity of the selection process. For more information about the awards, visit the U Sports website.



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