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Indigenous academics share knowledge at Matariki Conference

Matariki participants were educated on the Noongar history of the Swan River area with Noongar Elder Walter McGuire. (Supplied Photo)

A group from Queen’s University travelled to Australia this summer to learn about a topic close to their hearts. Ana Mejicano Greenberg (Artsci’18), Jenna O'Connor (M.Ed’18), and Katrina Brown Akootchook (M.Ed’18), along with Professor Lindsay Morcom from the Faculty of Education, participated in the Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP) in July. The 10-day program was hosted by the University of Western Australia, a member of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU), and focused on sharing the knowledge, history, and customs of Indigenous Peoples.

L-R: Jenna O'Connor, Prof. Lindsay Morcom, Katrina Brown Akootchook, and Ana Mejicano Greenberg at a Matariki Network event in Australia. (Supplied Photo)

“My time in Australia impacted me both personally and professionally,” says Ms. Mejicano Greenberg. “I have taken many courses on Indigenous Studies at Queen’s, but this provided the opportunity to learn more about indigeneity in other contexts and use that knowledge to delve into my own history. It inspired me to learn more about my Indigenous lineage and the Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala.”

The packed program included opportunities to learn about local wildlife and eat traditional foods, experience Australian history through the eyes of its Indigenous Peoples, and explore the city of Perth, among other activities. The four Queen’s representatives were joined by students and faculty members from other MNU institutions in New Zealand, the U.S., and the U.K. For Ms. Mejicano Greenberg, the chance to meet the other participants and learn about their backgrounds stood out as a highlight.

“It was the relationships which provided some of the greatest value,” she says. “The program offered ten days of intense and amazing intellectual and spiritual stimulation, and the opportunities for introspection and reflection were very important. I enjoyed every session.”

Katrina Brown Akootchook is introduced to local culture hands-on as she meets a koala during the trip to Australia. (Supplied Photo)
Katrina Brown Akootchook is introduced to local culture hands-on as she meets a koala during the trip to Australia. (Supplied Photo)

The program was guided by a number of experts, including academics and museum curators. What made this program special, Dr. Morcom explains, was that these academics were educated in Indigenous Studies; they taught classes about Indigenous knowledge and cultures; and they had Indigenous heritage themselves. 

Jenna O'Connor tours an art gallery in Australia as part of the Matariki Network Indigenous Student Mobility program. (Supplied Photo)
Jenna O'Connor tours an art gallery in Australia as part of the Matariki Network Indigenous Student Mobility program. (Supplied Photo)

“They were knowledge keepers, elders, and professors, and it was interesting to see the way these people engaged western academia but in an Indigenous way, with their knowledge held in the same esteem,” says Dr. Morcom. “It was a privilege to learn from them, and to continue the conversation with my fellow faculty members around the dinner table and hear about their research. The most striking thing for me was the similarity of experience, of culture, and of philosophy across these many different groups, and this has inspired me to engage in broader international Indigenous research in the future.”

Queen’s is a member of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU),an international group of like-minded universities, each of which is amongst the most historic in its own country and recognized as a premier place of advanced learning. The network aims to create opportunities for collaboration in research and education for its seven international members.

The Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP) is hosted annually, and will take place at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire in 2018. Applications for this funded opportunity will open in winter 2018. Queen’s 2017 MISMP applicants were assessed by a selection committee of faculty members engaged in Indigenous Studies; the MISMP faculty advisor; and representatives from the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Science, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and the International Programs Office. Shortlisted candidates were interviewed prior to final selection.

To learn more about international opportunities available at Queen’s visit the international page of the Queen’s website and the MNU website.

Post-graduate certificates for teachers expand to Ontario

As the modern classroom continues to evolve, there is an increasing demand for teachers at the elementary and secondary levels to upgrade and develop new skills.

To meet this need, the Continuing Teacher Education unit at the Faculty of Education has been offering Additional Qualification (AQ) and Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQ) courses to Ontario teachers for over 25 years. Four years ago, they expanded into British Columbia to offer post-graduate certificates online. A wide range of courses have been offered for the past four years to teachers in B.C., and this fall the post-grad certificates will expand with certificates designed specifically for teachers in Ontario.

"Hands on a laptop"
Queen's has expanded its online post-graduate certificates program to teachers in Ontario. (Supplied Photo)

This marks a significant expansion for learning opportunities, explains Jessica Della-Latta, Executive Director of the Faculty of Education’s Professional and Non-Credit Programs, adding that the new certificates will provide advanced standing for the online Professional Masters of Education (PME). The PME is a course-based master’s degree program, which we designed for working professionals in diverse educational fields, and consists of 10 courses. The program offers fields of specialization to help students make the most of their education – fields include Aboriginal Education, Assessment and Evaluation, Classroom Specialist, Literacy, and Teaching Abroad. The completion of one of the new post-grad certificates will allow two courses towards the PME.

Initially, two certificates – Special Education and English Language Learners – were available in B.C., but have since expanded to include Mathematics Education, and Early Childhood Education. In 2018 they will add another post-grad certificate for Teacher-Librarian.

After a small start the online program has gone from 25 enrolments in the first year to offering eight sessions annually, with more than 700 enrolments for the past summer term alone.

“Enrolments in B.C. have increased dramatically and it’s primarily through word of mouth,” Ms. Della-Latta says. “Response has been great. We have candidates calling up just to say how fantastic the courses are and that they are telling everyone they know about them.”

Ms. Della-Latta says she expects to see a similar reaction in Ontario now that AQ/ABQ courses can be taken for a post-grad certificate ultimately leading to advanced standing in the PME. The initial post-grad certificates for Ontario will include Special Education, Teaching English Language Learners, Teacher Leadership and Technology in Teaching. An approval for a fifth post-grad certificate in Reading and Literacy is pending.

“The people who are taking the online post-graduate certificates love it and they love that Queen’s is doing it,” she says. “These courses showcase the Faculty of Education’s commitment to quality teaching and learning and the candidates notice. We are excited to see how the program grows.”

To learn more about the Post-Graduate Certificates, visit the Post-Graduate Certificates webpage.

Information about the online Professional Master of Education is available on the program website. 

Queen's remembers alumna Tammy Chen

A Queen’s community member was killed in the Aug. 13 terror attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Tammy Chen (M.Ed.’10) was killed in the restaurant shooting along with her husband Mehsen Fenaiche.

"Tammy Chen"
Tammy Chen

Tammy pursued her Master’s of Education at the Faculty of Education from 2007 to 2010. A vibrant young woman, she had been working in Burkina Faso to empower people to improve their lives through education. She had started a foundation – Brighter Futures of Burkina Faso – that focused on sustainable, community-based development. At the time of her death, she was combining her work in Burkina Faso with research for her doctorate at Cambridge University. 

Tammy will be remembered as a kind and caring teacher, who took time to get the best out of each of her pupils. She sincerely believed in trying to make the world a better place through helping others, and with the power of education, and did so courageously and joyfully.

A personal remembrance by Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler is available on the Faculty of Education website.

Further information about her research and work is available in a 2010 article written for the School of Graduate Studies website.

Information regarding funeral arrangements will be posted when available.

International students pitch in around Kingston

The Queen's School of English Volunteer Club visits the Salvation Army
The Queen's School of English Volunteer Club visits the Salvation Army Kingston (Supplied photo)

For a group of international students, it has been a busy summer. The twenty students, representing Japan, China, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, and Korea, have been in town to upgrade their English skills through an English for Academic Purposes program. In their spare time, this group has been giving back to the community through the Queen’s School of English Volunteer Club.

“The idea to form this club came from my time teaching Social Welfare and Volunteerism in New Zealand, and speaking with international students while visiting partner universities in Japan,” says Robin Cox, Director, School of English. “Volunteering is one of the best ways for international students to get involved in their local community, and our English for Academic Purposes students here at Queen’s were seeking ways to give back during their studies. Working with our Student Life social activities monitor, Chris Suppa (Ed’17, MEd’19), we planned a program for the summer, and Chris organized a number of activities for them. We were really delighted with the response from both the students and the community.”

The club is a first-of-its-kind initiative for the School of English. After an initial meeting in early June, interested students sought opportunities to volunteer which centered on the importance of being kind to others, having fun while collaborating, and using volunteering as an opportunity to build connections and practice the English language.

The students started in their own backyard by rolling up their sleeves and doing a bit of gardening. They planted peas, summer squash, and radish seeds in the beds at the John Orr Tower Community Garden located on the west campus, and have been maintaining the plants throughout the summer months.

The students also paid a visit to Lord Strathcona elementary school for a cultural exchange in June, and prepared meals for Martha’s Table community program.

For their final act of charity, the students took up a collection for the Salvation Army Food Drive. The students chose the Salvation Army as their charity of choice due to its commitment to service both across Canada and internationally, and the fact they were operating during the summer. The 10-day food drive brought in 204 items.

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with this entire team of committed and motivated students,” says Mr. Suppa. “I am proud of every single one of them in their dedication to their studies and service. The students should be very proud knowing how many lives they touched and made a difference in.”

Due to the strong positive reception, the club will continue to be offered during English for Academic Purposes programs in the fall, winter, and summer sessions. In addition, the students who volunteered at least 20 hours each received a certificate of recognition from the School of English.

“The Volunteer Club’s support through the Summer Food Drive has made a positive impact on our agency’s Community Choice Pantry program, and we are truly grateful for their support,” says Maria Sadowy, Events, Media, & Volunteer Coordinator, The Salvation Army Kingston. “The club’s contribution allows us to continue to bring hope and dignity to those experiencing the cycle of poverty so that, together, we can work towards a stronger community. We hope that this may encourage more members in our community to get involved and help make a positive impact.”

Future volunteer events and other updates from the Queen’s School of English Volunteer Club will be available on queensu.ca/qsoe.

University remembers John Freeman

The Queen’s community is remembering John Freeman, a professor in the Faculty of Education, who died Tuesday, Aug. 1. He was 61.

"John Freeman"
John Freeman was a vital part of the Faculty of Education for more than 20 years. (Supplied Photo)

Dr. Freeman was a vital part of the Faculty of Education for more than 20 years and was a dedicated teacher and mentor to many graduate students, a role he loved. Dr. Freeman was much beloved by the students he worked with, both for his dedication and his guidance, and he was often nominated for teaching and mentorship awards.

He will be greatly missed by colleagues, students, and staff.

As director of the Social Program Evaluation Group for nearly 10 years, he led a number of important national and international research projects and collaborations, the largest being the Health Behaviours of School Age Children (HBSC). After serving for a number of years as a member, Dr. Freeman agreed to become the chair of the General Research Ethics Board (GREB) at Queen’s University, offering his expertise in this significant service role to the university for the past three years. 

Dr. Freeman arrived at Queen’s in 1997 after earning Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education and Master of Education degrees from Queen’s. He also received a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a PhD from the University of Michigan.

Cross-appointed to the School of Health Sciences and Kinesiology, Dr. Freeman’s research primarily focused on how schools can be made to be more welcoming for students, teachers, and parents, regardless of ability level, race, sexuality, or emotional health, among other considerations. He was also the director of the Social Program Evaluation Group.

His memorial service will be held on Friday, Aug. 11 at 1 pm at Grace United Church, 120 Pine St., Gananoque, with a reception to follow. Dr. Freeman was generous with both his time and money, in lieu of flowers, in his memory consider donating to a cause you hold dear or volunteer your own time to an organization in need. Donations can also be made in his memory to the Intensive Care Unit at the Kingston General Hospital.

Professional Studies launches new website

The brand new Professional and Non-Credit Programs website.

When Jessica Della-Latta, Executive Director of the Faculty of Education’s Professional and Non-Credit Programs, looks at the growing market of professional studies, she sees countless opportunities.

Offering online professional development courses for working professionals, Queen’s University Professional Studies recently launched a new website. There currently are two non-credit programs available: the Professional Editing Standards Certificate and the Certificate for International Education Professionals.

Comprising five courses, each program is offered online, allowing a greater number of people to access the Queen’s educational experience. Courses are written and taught by experts in the field and, by offering the courses online, candidates have the opportunity to network with colleagues while working on real-world tasks.

For example, the Professional Editing Standards Certificate program is open to all who are looking to add a new skill. Working with Editors Canada, the program acts as a preparation for the national editing exam as well as for other professionals looking to take their editing abilities to the next level.

Throughout the process collaboration has been key, says Ms. Della-Latta, and will continue to be as more programs are added.

“We can look at any profession, find the gaps, and provide a flexible learning opportunity for working professionals. We hire experts at the top of their fields to both develop and instruct the courses. The instructional design team is incredible. They have developed a well-defined process that can help anyone who doesn’t see themselves as a writer produce an excellent course.”

"The potential for growth is exciting,” she says, adding that the Faculty already has a reputation for excellence in online learning with more than 175 credit and non-credit courses available through Continuing Teacher Education and the Faculty’s online graduate programs.

Early feedback shows that as professionals look to add to their skill set they are interested in Queen’s reputation for expertise and quality. They are able to get that through the professional development courses.

Ms. Della-Latta also credits Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education, for supporting the Professional Studies unit.

“The thing I love about being at the Faculty of Education is that we are encouraged to think creatively and are given the freedom to try new things. By extending the Faculty of Education’s values of quality learning, community building, and support, we can offer to other professions the same high-quality learning experiences that our teachers expect from us.

”I have an amazing team with a broad vision and positive attitude. Coupled with the support from our Dean, there’s no limit to what we can do.”

To learn more visit the Professional Studies at Queen’s website.

Faculty of Education, Chinese institution partner on new dual degree

A delegation from South China Normal University visited Queen's in early May and met with several Queen's representatives, including Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies (fourth from right) and Don Klinger, Associate Dean, Online Grad, Undergraduate Studies, in the Faculty of Education (third from left). (Supplied photo)

Queen’s will welcome this fall the first group of students from South China Normal University (SCNU) participating in a dual-degree program offered by Queen’s Faculty of Education and SCNU’s School of Foreign Studies.

Queen's in the World

The dual degree is a three-year program that gives SCNU and Queen’s Master of Education students the chance to study at both institutions, gaining valuable international experience and diverse teaching and learning opportunities.

“We are excited to be embarking on this partnership with SCNU, one of the most highly ranked teacher education programs in China. The dual-degree program builds on the strengths from each existing graduate program,” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean, Faculty of Education. “Bringing international students to our campus and sending our students abroad supports the goals of our international strategic plan to enhance our international mobility through the development of new international academic programs and diversifying our student mobility programming. This partnership also opens up the possibility for research collaborations.”

Students spend their first year focusing on course work at their home institution, second year doing course work at the partner institution, and third year, which includes thesis and internship completion, at the institution of their choice, either SCNU or Queen’s. The first group of Queen’s M.Ed. students enrolled in the dual degree will begin their second year at SCNU in September 2018.

South China Normal University, located in Guangzhou, China, was founded in 1933 and is now one of the three top teacher education universities in China. A university with comprehensive programming in fields such as economics, business management, law, literature, philosophy, history, science and engineering, SCNU is particularly strong in education, pedagogy, and psychology, making it an excellent partner for the dual-degree program.

The Queen’s-SCNU dual degree program was initiated in 2016. Dr. Luce-Kapler, along with Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies, visited SCNU last fall, and a delegation from SCNU visited Queen’s to discuss the partnership further in both December 2016 and May 2017.

Queen’s Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon will visit SCNU next week during travels to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Qingdao. The provost will also travel to Hong Kong this weekend, along with Principal Daniel Woolf and other senior leaders, for a 175th anniversary celebration and re-convocation ceremony for alumni in the Asia-Pacific region.

Internationalization is one of the four pillars of the Queen’s University Strategic Framework 2014–2019. The Comprehensive International Plan was launched in August 2015 to help the university build on its international strengths and direct future internationalization efforts. The plan’s goals include strengthening Queen’s international research engagement and creating more opportunities for student mobility through academic exchange and study-abroad programs. The plan also aims to attract high-quality international students to Queen’s and to increase international educational opportunities on Queen’s campus. Learn more on the International website.


Having some scientific fun

  • Members of the Queen's Genetically Engineered Machine (QGEM) put on one of the more than 60 displays that were available at Science Rendezvous.
    Members of the Queen's Genetically Engineered Machine (QGEM) put on one of the more than 60 displays that were available at Science Rendezvous.
  • A group of children take part in one of the many experiments that were on display during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.
    A group of children take part in one of the many experiments that were on display during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.
  • Families were able to meet and speak with scientists and students during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous on Saturday, May 13
    Families were able to meet and speak with scientists and students during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous on Saturday, May 13

It was a day of scientific learning and family fun as Science Rendezvous once again filled the Rogers K-Rock Centre on Saturday, May 13.

Thousands of attendees at the 10tjh annual event had the chance to meet and talk to scientists, engage in scientific experiments and learn about the excitement and possibilities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Among the more than 60 family-oriented activities were a Math Midway, building a kaleidoscope, exploring space inside a pop-up planetarium, and Canada's first Green Chemistry Magic Show

Demonstrations and experiments were put on by researchers and students from Queen’s University, as well as from the Royal Military College of Canada, St. Lawrence College and a number of community science groups.


A chance to give back

[ESS Supplies Drive]
Education Students' Society members, from left, Amber O'Reilly, Allie Minuk, Alisha Esteves, Christopher Suppa and Angie Allen, hold some of the supplies collected by their fellow students and members of the Faculty of Education. The supplies have been donated to four elementary schools in Kingston. (University Communications)

Looking to give back to the schools and teachers they worked with during their practicums, the Education Students' Society recently held a school supply drive.

ESS members collected books, art supplies, pencils, pens and more to donate to four local schools, explains Allie Minuk, Concurrent Education Representative on the ESS.

With the support of the Faculty of Education’s practicum office, the ESS selected Kingston community schools that have high needs, including a growing population of Syrian refugees and their families.

“We really see firsthand the lack of resources some schools in our community have while teachers take us into their classrooms, expecting nothing in return,” Ms. Minuk says. “They take their time and they teach us, shape us, molding us as educators and we see them day after day reach into their own pockets and wallets for supplies. That’s a life we are all about to begin.”

The drive was timed with the conclusion of studies for the concurrent education program with the hope that extra supplies might be found as students move out. The drive will pick up once again in June as consecutive education students complete their studies. Faculty members and staff also contributed to the drive.

The drive was geared toward specific requests from the participating schools, Ms. Minuk says. Skipping ropes were donated to one school that does not have a gym, while another requested art supplies. Another asked for books and more than 200 were collected.

Spectacular science

Annual Science Rendezvous lights the sparks of curiosity.

From its humble beginnings on West Campus, Science Rendezvous now boasts hundreds of exhibits and thousands of visitors. What hasn’t changed is its focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Our purpose is to excite learners of all ages by showcasing the many interesting and important places that STEM education may lead,” says Science Rendezvous founder and coordinator Lynda Colgan (Education). “It is a privilege and pleasure to be able to host this gigantic science party.”

Each year Science Rendezvous features something new and different and this year is no exception. Making its debut this year is an inflatable planetarium, a dome that lets visitors watch the constellations and experience the night sky. Adding to the excitement will be a chance to fly a historic Sopwith Camel biplane in one of two flight simulator on loan from the Museum of Aviation and Space.

“We are remembering the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the First World War and honouring the 1,500 Queen’s students that participated in the First World War,” says Dr. Colgan. “It’s a unique opportunity to fly a historic plane.”

Visitors are also invited to meet Brock Fenton, Canada’s “batman” and world-recognized authority on bats to learn about bat evolution, their specialized biology and unique behavior. Dr. Fenton will also talk about protecting bats and their natural habitats.

The Queen’s 175th anniversary is also being marked at this year’s Science Rendezvous. Mathematician and artist George Hart will be on hand to create a unique geometric sculpture. The work is inspired by work at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLab) and celebrates the contributions of Nobel Laurate and Queen’s professor Art McDonald.

“The public can assemble and disassemble the sculpture in the morning but the afternoon commemorative sculpture will be limited to faculty, graduate students, local artists (including curator of the Agnes Etherington) and educators,” says Dr. Colgan. “Then it will rest in a place of honour in Stirling Hall.”

Other events of note include the Green Chemistry Magic Show with Phil Jessop and the Queen’s Chemistry Graduate Student Society, the Queen’s University Baja SAE Design Team, the Kingston Police Force Canine Unit, the Germ Tent from the Museum of Healthcare and chance to build a kaleidoscope.

For information and a Science Rendezvous Kingston 2017 schedule visit the Facebook page.


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