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Learning Indigenous languages

Practice your “Boozhoo” (how the Anishinaabe say “greetings”) and “Miigwetch” (“thank you”) and learn about Indigenous cultures in a new Queen’s program.

Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) leads an Anishinaabemowin class. (University Communications)
Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) leads an Anishinaabemowin class. (University Communications)

A new certificate program will provide students with an introduction to three Indigenous languages, while also deepening their knowledge of Indigenous cultures.

Launching this fall, a new Certificate of Indigenous Languages and Culture will provide an introduction to Mohawk, Inuktitut, and the Anishinaabe language – known as Anishinaabemowin, meaning ‘language of the people’.

The certificate brings together existing Indigenous language courses at Queen’s plus new Anishinaabemowin training into a program which can be completed through full-time studies in one year, or part-time over two years. The existing language training tends to attract both Indigenous students seeking to learn more about their history, and non-Indigenous students hoping to better understand Indigenous culture.

“Offering this type of program helps us respond to both the needs of our community and the broader responsibilities we have as an institution,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “This certificate will assist in revitalizing Indigenous languages and fostering greater understanding of Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing.”

Professors in this program include Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman), an Elder-in-Residence and Cultural Counsellor at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, who teaches Anishinaabemowin; Thanyehténhas (Nathan Brinklow), Lecturer and part-time Chaplain at Queen’s, who teaches the Mohawk language; and Noel McDermott (PhD'15), an Assistant Professor who teaches Inuktitut.

In addition to helping students recognize the three languages and grasp them at a beginner level, the certificate will also include exposure to Indigenous ceremonies, traditions, and contemporary issues. For instance, weather permitting, each Anishinaabemowin class begins with a smudging ceremony held outside Kingston Hall. 

Students introduce themselves in Anishinaabemowin to start each class. (University Communications)
Students introduce themselves in Anishinaabemowin to start each class. (University Communications)

The creation of this certificate program supports the recommendations of both the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report and Queen’s own TRC task force report, both of which call for the creation of “credentialed Indigenous language programs” at post-secondary institutions.

In the future, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is working with Tsi Tyonnheht Onkwawenna Language and Culture Centre (TTO) to launch a Mohawk language certificate within the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. The two-year program would intensively focus on language instruction and would aim to help revitalize the language among the Indigenous community as well as their understanding of the rich Mohawk culture.

“I am very excited by the recent unanimous Senate approval of this new certificate program, and by the prospect of the collaborative certificate in Mohawk Language and Culture,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill). “I am very happy to see the university taking up the Call to Action and the recommendation in our very own Extending the Rafters report through the further development of Indigenous language offerings. Further, ensuring these programs are credentialed by the university ensures student eligibility for financial assistance and makes these important programs more accessible.”

Applications for this certificate program will open in May. It is expected to attract approximately 10 to 15 students annually. 

Cheering on Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians

A flag recognizing the partnership between Smith School of Business and the Canadian Olympic Committee will fly in front of Goodes Hall for the duration of the Games.

  • Smith School of Business-Canadian Olympic Committee flag raised
    A flag recognizing the partnership between Smith School of Business and the Canadian Olympic Committee is raised in front of Goodes Hall on Thursday. From left: Paralympian Anne Fergusson; Olympian Greg Douglas; Olympian Christine Robinson; and Dean David Saunders.
  • Christine Robinson and Greg Douglas
    Christine Robinson, who competed in the Olympics in water polo, and Greg Douglas, an Olympian in sailing, spoke about their experiences as top-level athletes.
  • Dean David Saunders, Dean of Smith School of Business, speaks about the strategic partnership between Smith and the Canadian Olympic Committee during a special flag-raising event at Goodes Hall.
  • Smith School of Business Olympic event group shot
    Queen's community members gather for a photo during a special event at Smith School of Business ahead of the start of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
  • David Saunders, Dean of Smith School of Business, with Olympians and Paralympian
    David Saunders, Dean of Smith School of Business, third from left, poses for a photo alongside, from left, Olympian Christine Robinson, Paralympian Anne Fergusson, and Olympian Greg Douglas.
  • Good wishes signing
    Members of the Queen's community sign a large scroll in support of Canada's Olympians and Paralympians ahead of a special flag-raising event at Goodes Hall.

With the Winter Olympics opening in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday, Feb. 9, a special event was held Thursday to raise a flag recognizing the partnership between Smith School of Business and the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Hosted by Dean David Saunders, the event was attended by Olympians and Queen’s students Christine Robinson (water polo) and Greg Douglas (sailing), as well as Paralympian and Queen’s alumna Anne Fergusson (sitting volleyball).

In November 2016, Smith School of Business and the Canadian Olympic Committee formed a strategic partnership, with Smith becoming the exclusive business education partner of the COC and a founding partner of Game Plan, Canada’s athlete career transition initiative. Over eight years, some 1,200 athletes will be eligible to enroll in various Smith programs.

The flag, located in front of Goodes Hall, will continue to fly until Sunday, March 18, the final day of the Paralympic Games.

More information about the official partnership is available on the Smith School of Business website.


Don’t let the ‘winter blues’ get you down

Queen's University offers a wide range of supports for community members, including the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provided by Homewood Health.

For some people winter is a time to get outdoors, enjoy the snow-filled landscape, and get active. But for others the constant cold and short daylight hours can be a grind.

Winter Weather
Queen's University can be a beautiful place in the winter, but the short daylight hours can have a negative effect on some people. (University Communications)

For Queen’s employees and family members who struggle with winter – including, for some people, serious conditions such as depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – there is a wide range of supports on offer, including the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provided by Homewood Health.

Free, confidential and easy to access the EFAP provides services for Queen’s employees and their dependents, including counselling, coaching, information, and support for all types of issues relating to mental health, health management, and achieving greater personal and workplace well-being, explains Sydney Downey, Manager of Return to Work Services at Queen’s.

“We have set up important supports for Queen’s employees that are easily accessible and preventative, that allow them to engage fully in whatever they do here at the university,” she says. “It is important to us that they are present, engaged and healthy and therefore we have gone to lengths to establish different support structures, one of them being our EFAP provider. This service is available, accessible and free and we strongly encourage employees to be more preventative in their health care.”

Homewood Health has been providing confidential EFAP services to Canadian employees and their family members for over 33 years. Services provided include healthy eating plans, employment coaching, counselling, and much, much more. This support network is available 24/7.

Overseeing the program at Queen’s is the EFAP committee, which includes representatives from all the unions at the university as well as for non-unionized workers.

“The members of the EFAP committee represent a wide range of departments and groups here at Queen’s and are a valuable resource as they can assist Queen’s employees in accessing the services and answer any questions regarding the program,” Ms. Downey says.

For more information on the Queen’s EFAP, visit the Human Resources website.

For 24-hour EFAP services call 1-800-663-1142 (English) or 1-866-398-9505 (French).  

Principal’s commission recommends ambitious approach to public policy at Queen’s

Principal Daniel Woolf has received the final report from the Principal’s Commission on the Future of Public Policy at Queen’s University.

The commission was created in September, 2016, to determine how Queen’s can modernize its approach to public policy to reflect changes in public policy-making and public service as well as new requirements for policy leaders.

The report, entitled An Ambitious Vision for Public Policy at Queen’s, outlines the need for a ‘next generation’ of university-based public policy research and education, with a focus on education, inter-disciplinary collaboration, and incorporating public policy as a pan-university priority.

The report recommends changes in how public policy is taught and researched at Queen’s.

"Elevating public policy as a strategic priority for the university as a whole will no doubt be challenging, but it has the potential to yield great dividends,” said Michael Horgan, senior advisor with the law firm Bennett Jones LLP and chair of the commission. “It will enrich the student learning experience, advance the university's research and innovation goals, increase Queen's policy influence, and enhance its national and international reputation."

The commission followed an extensive consultation process, which included speaking with people inside and outside of government, staff, students, faculty, and alumni. The report contains a number of key recommendations to position Queen’s for maximum impact on public policy.

“Queen’s is focused on having a greater impact on the practice and execution of public policy across Canada and globally,” says Principal Woolf. “I am grateful to the members of the commission, led by Michael Horgan and Margaret Biggs, and for the input received from current School of Policy Studies’ faculty, fellows, and students, School of Policy Studies alumni, Queen’s alumni more broadly, and people involved with public affairs, both within the public and private sectors.”

The Principal will review the report in full over the coming weeks, and establish a transition and implementation working group led by the Provost to review the recommendations put forward by the commission and propose a long-term plan.

Government to launch student-focused survey on sexual violence

The Government of Ontario will soon be inviting students to participate in a survey on sexual violence.

Student Voices on Sexual ViolenceThe Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) will soon be reaching out to all full-time students attending Ontario universities, colleges and private career colleges to ask them to participate in a survey entitled “Student Voices on Sexual Violence”, from Feb. 26 to March 26, 2018.

It is an opportunity for students to provide feedback on the topic of sexual violence on and around their campuses, which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation. Visit the FAQ page at www.sv-vs.ca for more information. #SexualViolence #ONPSE 

Fellowships profile new generation of Indigenous scholars

The Faculty of Arts and Science has launched a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship program to recognize outstanding scholarship among Indigenous PhD candidates.

The Faculty of Arts and Science has launched a new Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Indigenous Students. Those wishing to learn more should attend an upcoming Feb 15 webinar. (Supplied Photo)
The Faculty of Arts and Science has launched a new Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Indigenous Students. Those wishing to learn more should attend an upcoming Feb 15 webinar. (Supplied Photo)

A new program aims to bring some of Canada’s most promising Indigenous doctoral candidates to Queen’s for a year to further their learning, and allow Queen’s to learn from them.

A prestigious Pre-Doctoral Fellowship program, one of the first of its kind in Canada, has been created as a way of recognizing up and coming Indigenous scholars and enhancing their academic profile. The Faculty of Arts and Science is offering four spaces in this Fellowship program, which provides the recipients with a $34,000 annual stipend, teaching wages, and funds for research and conferences.

“We are proud of our continuing dedication to life-long learning and reconciliation efforts, and of the many academic and personal successes of our Indigenous students, faculty, staff and alumni,” says Lynda Jessup, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies and Research) with the Faculty of Arts and Science. “After working with Erin Sutherland (PhD’16), an Indigenous student who had received a pre-doctoral fellowship at another university, I was inspired to develop this program as a way of supporting culturally relevant learning opportunities both for Queen’s and for Indigenous students.”

To be eligible, students must have Indigenous heritage, must be enrolled in a doctorate program at another Canadian university, and must relocate to Kingston for the year. During the year, the PhD candidate would teach a course within the Faculty of Arts and Science, which would help Indigenize some of Queen’s curriculum, and they would engage with local Indigenous peoples and communities.

The candidates would also have the chance to broaden their scholarly network by working with Queen’s faculty members and researchers, thereby improving their career opportunities. Most importantly, the Fellowship would support the successful completion of their doctoral studies.

“The pre-doctoral fellowship I received gave me time, space, and support to finish my dissertation, and it gave me a new community to share my ideas with, to learn from, to be with,” says Dr. Sutherland. “The community helped me to develop ideas which ended up being central to my dissertation. Specifically, my time spent with community – both at the University and outside of it – supported my learning and discussion of Indigenous methodologies. Most importantly, it better prepared me to deal with change and how to work in and adapt to a new academic and community environment.”

Applications are being accepted to this pilot program until Sunday, Apr. 1. A webinar is planned for Thursday, Feb. 15 to share more information about the program with potential applicants. For more information on this new program, visit the Faculty of Arts and Science’s website.

Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) page launched, reports available

Meet Teri Shearer, and find out about her work to foster diversity and inclusivity within the Queen's community.

Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), has launched a webpage as part of the Provost’s website.

Through this webpage, visitors can learn more about Dr. Shearer, access reports and resources regarding diversity and inclusion at Queen’s, stay up to date on the latest news regarding her portfolio, and find contact information for the Deputy Provost. Visit the Provost’s website to find Dr. Shearer’s page.

Additionally, the Deputy Provost’s reports to Senate have now been posted to the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report webpage. Going forward, these reports will continue to be posted to this page once they are available.

UCARE announces first co-chairs

Stephanie Simpson (Artsci’95, Ed’97, MEd’11) and Mona Rahman (Sc’93, PhD’01) will co-chair the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity.

The inaugural members of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity. The group met for the first time in late January to organize for the year ahead. (University Communications)
The inaugural members of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity. The group met for the first time in late January to organize for the year ahead. (University Communications)

At a special planning meeting, the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) named its first-ever co-chairs.

Stephanie Simpson (Artsci’95, Ed’97, MEd’11), Executive Director (Human Rights and Equity Offices) and University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights; and Mona Rahman (Sc’93, PhD’01), Coordinator, Research Activities and Communications, Office of the VP (Research), were appointed to the leadership roles on this new council.

“With the co-chairs installed, we have the right resources in place to shape our next steps on the path to becoming a more inclusive community,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “We are focused on creating a safe and inclusive living and learning environment, and we are committed to two-way dialogue with all members of the community on this issue. The work that UCARE will be doing represents a critical part of these commitments.”

Both Ms. Simpson and Dr. Rahman have deep roots in the Queen’s community, and they have worked together on equity causes in the past. While they were Queen’s students, Ms. Simpson was president of African Caribbean Students’ Association and Dr. Rahman was president of the Queen’s Muslim Students’ Association. The pair frequently discussed matters of equity and diversity at Queen’s.

“I’m delighted after all of these years to once again be working with Mona to advance equity issues on campus,” says Ms. Simpson. “When Mona and I were students, the university’s human rights and equity mandate was in its infancy. With the establishment of UCARE we are seeing two important developments – increased direct involvement in anti-racism and equity from our administration, and stronger connections between senior leaders and justice-seeking community members. I’m looking forward to seeing the work of the group unfold.”

For her part, Dr. Rahman says she was interested in joining UCARE and taking on co-chair responsibilities because she wants to see the recommendations made through the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusivity (PICRDI) final report put into action.

“I grew up at Queen’s, and have seen both progress and setbacks over that time,” says Dr. Rahman. “We have many great programs to support diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s – what is needed now is something sustainable, continuous, and proactive. Rather than allowing the conversation to be shaped by whomever is present at the time, we need stable and ongoing infrastructure to address inclusivity matters.”

Ms. Simpson and Dr. Rahman’s terms as co-chair will last until September, providing the committee with the opportunity to determine how new co-chairs will be elected going forward.

The next UCARE meeting will be held on Monday, Mar. 5 from 5 – 6:30 pm. in Robert Sutherland Room 202. All members of the Queen’s community are welcome to attend. For more information on UCARE, please visit the Provost’s website.

Mapping out life after law school

Queen’s Law students get help with customized career planning through the Career Development Office.

Applying for jobs and finding a career can be a daunting process. To help students manage this stress, the Queen’s Law Career Development Office (CDO) offers a Career Management Plan (CMP) program. Through this program, students receive individually-tailored advice such as steps they should take to stay on track and long-term skills for career planning once they leave Queen’s. The results are impressive: over 95 per cent of Law’17 students who were actively seeking articling opportunities had secured one as of last September. 

An unlimited number of individual career counselling sessions to help students build on their skills and refine their customized career plan is one standout feature.

“We pride ourselves on how accessible we are to our students,” says Julie Banting, Director of Career Development. “In 2016-17, we held over 1,200 counselling appointments. The average student feedback rating was 4.8 out of 5, and 98 per cent of students indicated that they would recommend this service to peers.”

The CDO holds workshops for students introducing career development and job search fundamentals. It also has a comprehensive software platform, Career Services Manager, where students can view job postings, sign up for counselling sessions and events, and access a document library full of helpful tip sheets.

“The dedication of the office’s coordinator, Jenny DeBruyn, has been integral to building and maintaining strong relationships with employers, which has contributed to an overall increase in the number and variety of job postings accessible to students,” Ms. Banting says.  
Furthermore, through the CDO, students can access networking opportunities and events.

“We are proud of the strong relationship we have with our corporate partners and alumni and hold many events throughout the year that enable students to build their network,” Ms. Banting explains.

Students may have the opportunity to shadow a practitioner for a day, or contact alumni who have made themselves available for informational interviews on the CDO’s ProNet listing. 

This year, the CDO is excited about developing a formal program for a more structured mentoring experience.

“The CMP allowed me to explore many different career options, from small firms in rural communities to large Bay Street firms,” explains Maggie Carmichael (Law’18). “Through the CDO I had the opportunity to attend information sessions and networking events, as well as one-on-one meetings with career counsellor Michael Molas to discuss my options and prepare a job application package that would allow me to achieve my goals.”  
Richard Glennie (Law’19) says that he met with the CDO weekly after his first year.

“I was unsure of what I wanted to do, and working with the CDO on a self-assessment before the Toronto recruit helped me find the areas that I wanted to work in,” he says. “From there, I had weekly appointments to tailor my job search, fine-tune my resume, develop a cover letter, and polish my interview skills. Julie provided support from start to finish, including being available throughout in-firm interviews to answer questions and give advice, helping me secure a position that I’m thrilled with.”

This article was first published on the Faculty of Law website.

Gaels stun No. 6 Marauders in women's volleyball

Gaels Women's Volleyball
Players of the Queen's Gaels women's volleyball team celebrate a point during Sunday's game against the McMaster Marauders. The Gaels knocked off the No. 6 ranked team in the country in straight sets. (Photo by Robin Kasem)

A quick roundup of Queen’s Gaels teams in action over the weekend:


The Queen’s Gaels (11-4) swept the No. 6 McMaster Marauders (13-2) in straight sets 25-18, 25-20 and 25-23 on Sunday, handing the powerhouse Marauders their first loss since October.

The Gaels got up early on the Marauders and never let up, with a potent attack and stingy defence throughout.

Shannon Neville had an outstanding match with five aces, 10 kills and 12 digs. Julia Wiercigroch had 12 kills and eight digs.

On Saturday, the Gaels took a four-set battle against the Brock Badgers (4-9) 25-19, 25-16, 17-25 and 25-16.

Queen’s got off to another quick start, with a light stumble in the third set.

Neville finished with 15 kills and four aces. Makayla Keith added five aces.


The Queen’s Gaels (6-8) lost to the No. 6 McMaster Marauders (12-1) in four sets on Sunday afternoon 25-19, 22-25, 15-15 and 13-25.

The hosts took the first set but the Marauders roared back to take control of the match over the final three set.

Mitchell Neuert had 14 kills while Markus Trence had 12.

On Saturday, the Gaels lost a tough five-set match against the Brock Badgers (4-9) 25-18, 26-28, 25-22, 19-25 and 17-19.

Trence had an outstanding game, leading the Gaels with 17 kills, two aces, four blocks and 12 digs.


The No. 9 Queen’s Gaels (18-5-3) continued their wild week with a crazy come-from-behind 4-3 overtime victory over the Carleton Ravens (16-6-4) on Saturday night.

Just two days after winning a barn-burner against RMC in the Carr-Harris Cup, the Gaels were able to tie the game late against the Ravens and pull out the victory in the extra frame. Slater Doggett played the role of hero by not only tying the game with one second left but also scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to send the Gaels home with their sixth straight victory.

Luke Edwards and Darcy Greenaway put the Gaels up early but the Ravens would move ahead 3-2 in the third period. In the dying seconds, Doggett was able to beat a defender to the net and get a shot off to beat Ravens goalie Francois Brassard with one second remaining on the clock.Just over a minute into overtime Doggett scored his 17th goal of the season. The win puts the Gaels in the driver's seat for the second seed in the OUA East standings, sitting three points ahead of Carleton. Kevin Bailie picked up the win in net for the Gaels, making 31 saves.


The No. 7 Queen’s Gaels (13-3-3-3) saw their three-game shutout win streak snapped in a 4-1 loss to the Waterloo Warriors (8-3-9-0) on Saturday.

It was senior night for the Gaels as the graduating class – Claire Warren, Amber Sealey, Emily Gervais, Micaela Smith, Clare McKellar and Jessica Wakefield – was honoured prior to puck drop.

Emily Gervais scored the lone goal for the Gaels.

On Friday, the scored a 3-0 win over the Laurier Golden Hawks (2-1-13-3)

Michele Knecht opened the scoring early and Abby Lafreniere doubled the lead in the second period. Knecht added an empty-netter for her second of the game. Mackenzy Aresenault made 22 saves for the shutout win.


The No. 8 Queen’s Gaels (16-3) stretched their win streak to five with a big 73-53 victory over the York Lions (10-9) on the road Friday night.

The Gaels got off to a slow start and were trailing 20-9 after the first quarter. But the team would find their groove in the second and went into the break leading 53-43.

The Lions couldn’t muster much of a counter in the second half and the Gaels cruied the rest of the way for the 20-point win.

Abby Dixon and Veronika Lavergne finished with 16 points each while Sophie de Goede recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.


The Queen’s Gaels (11-8) defeated the York Lions (2-17) 93-68 on the road with veteran Jesse Graham scoring a career-best 26 points.

The Gaels got off to a strong start and were ahead 25-9 after the first quarter on the strength of 10 points from Graham. 

The Gaels kept up the pressure on both ends of the court heading into the second half and played it safe in the final quarter, maintaining a healthy lead.

Tanner Graham had 13 points to go along with nine rebounds.


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