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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor from Review readers

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Mising Something?
Re “Online learning comes of age”
ISSUE #2-2013. P. 21

While working full-time as a teacher and principal, I earned four degrees (BA from Queen’s, and my BEd, MEd, and EdD from the U of T), all by night school and summer school, except for a one-year internship for my doctorate. Although I was thankful for the chance to obtain my qualifications, I definitely have this nagging feeling that I missed out on a once-in-lifetime ­experience.

Unlike my four children, all of whom attended university full-time – two of them are Queen’s graduates: my daughter Valerie McDonald, Artsci’81, and son Greg McDonald, Artsci’86; my granddaughter, Anna Stratton, Artsci’15 (who is the daughter of Valerie and Bruce Stratton, Artsci’81), and my brother Arnold McDonald, MDiv’70, I slugged away at my courses in my spare time, ­often meeting deadlines at the last moment. It was stressful and not very satisfying. Looking back, I, too, would have been thrilled to have had the opportunity to experience campus life as a fulltime university student.

Online learning, especially when you are holding down a fulltime job, will never replace fulltime learning. As with night school, summer school, ­correspondence courses, it will always be second-rate.


The point James raises is an interesting one that’s part of a much larger, all-encompassing debate about the future of the bricks-and-mortar university. Just as print – books, magazines, and newspapers – is evolving in the “digital age”, so, too, are universities. If you have any thoughts to share on the cultural changes taking place, please share them in a Letter to the Editor. – Ed.

A Special Kind of Person
Re “In Memoriam”
Issue #2-2013, P. 12

If we’re decent grads, we never forget the people who help us with employment. Alan Travers, BA’70, MEd’77, was one of those people at Queen’s who was a friend to students in the Faculty of Education. We enjoyed dropping by his office to chat and laugh. Truly, those of us in the secondary panel wished that the BEd could be a two-year course many times over, and we appreciated the special respite from research and studying that the Faculty of Ed offered to us. We anticipated that our next year as actual teachers would be challenge enough, and we were right.

Having graduated from Queen’s and living back with my ever-welcoming ­parents for the summer, I decided to give Alan a call for advice on where to apply for my first year in teaching. He suggested that I call the York Region Board of Education, which I did. Within a day, I had an interview and another day brought me an offer of my first and ­wonderful job at Newmarket High.

You’ll likely receive many more letters like this one. Thanks again, Alan Travers, a special person at Queen’s.


In Praise of Alan Travers

It was with shock and sadness that I learned of Alan Travers’ passing. I had spoken with Alan in the last year or so about possibly working on a mutually beneficial project with retired teachers. Currently, I am the Director of Administrative and Member Services with The ­Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO/ERO).

I first met Alan in 1978 when I was an Education student and served as president of the Student Faculty in 1978-79. With the support of then-Dean Tom Williams, Alan and I worked on a program to encourage Education graduates to seek alternative careers to teaching, ­either within the educational field or at least using the skills learned during the year preparing to become a teacher.

It was Alan who encouraged me to pursue a job opportunity in Guelph in 1979, as Executive Assistant to the Director, which later included the role of ­Communications Officer with the then Wellington County Board of Education, now Upper Grand DSB. I held that position for 20 years until 1999 when I left to accept the role of Program Manager, ­Public Relations at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, which I left in 2001 to begin my current role with RTO/ERO.

If it wasn’t for Alan’s foresight in recognizing the many skills Education graduates have to offer and how those skill can be applied outside of the traditional classroom, I, and many of my colleagues would not have had the successful careers we’ve enjoyed. As I draw nearer to retirement, I reflect on the impact I have had in my career, and the successes I have ­enjoyed, and credit Alan for pushing me in this direction.

Alan Travers will be missed by thousands of Education students whose lives he impacted in so many ways.


A Story Worth Telling
Re “Wallace – The principled Principal”
Issue #2-2013, P. 46

The name of Alfred Bader, Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86, was featured in two separate articles in Issue #2-2013. In the excellent article by Sara Beck, Artsci’92, on Principal Robert C. Wallace, it was noted that Wallace and his Registrar, Jean Royce, BA’30, LLD’68, defended Bader’s right to be enrolled at Queen’s. Bader, a Jewish refugee from Austria, came to Canada an “enemy alien” and was interned along with 2,300 adult males from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia.

The second article commemorates the magnificent gift of an English castle bestowed upon Queen’s by Alfred Bader and his wife Isabel Bader, LLD’07, to be used as an international study centre. I entered Queen’s two decades after Bader’s student days. I faced no discrimination and was not aware of any Jewish quotas, if they existed at all at Queen’s. It took the defeat of fascism in Europe and changing attitudes in North America ­towards anti-Semitism to make Canadian universities welcoming to all on merit.

I am an active member of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. During the past year we created an exhibit entitled “Enemy Aliens”, which relates the story of the internment in Canada of mainly Jewish male adults who managed to escape Central Europe to England and who were then deemed to be a security risk as an invasion by Germany seemed probable in 1940. These individuals were slowly released from internment during the war and later contributed to Canadian society in great measure. In taking local high school students through the exhibit, I delight in telling the story of ­Alfred Bader, who was turned away by two Canadian universities because of their Jewish quota system and then ­accepted at Queen’s. The Bader endowments and the gift of a castle came many years later.

My MBA class is celebrating its 50 year reunion on the weekend of October 18-20. I hope to be in attendance.


Is an Arctic Treaty the Answer?
Re “Heated interest in Canada’s Arctic”
Issue #2, 2013, P. 18

I read with interest the article about the role of Prof. Peter Harrison, Chair and Director of the School of Policy Studies, in defining Canada’s sovereignty in the high Arctic.

I think that the best way to proceed is to protect the high Arctic in the same way that the Antarctic has been protected: by a Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. This treaty prevents development and prohibits all activities relating to mineral ­resources.

Although the high Arctic may contain large quantities of fossil fuels, their exploitation may only postpone “peak oil” by a decade or so. Then what?

During that time we could have been making the transition to a sustainable economy based on renewable energy. Meanwhile, the business-as-usual plundering of the high Arctic will allow global climate warming to continue into a runaway and irreversible zone. We will be ­unable to adapt.


What Kind of Student Was She?
Re “On Track to be a new kind of leader”
Issue #2-2013, PP. 30-32

I’m jealous of those who have Kathleen Wynne, Artsci’77, as their member of the Ontario legislature, and I was happy to see an article about her in the Review.

I now know that Wynne was a star ­athlete at Queen’s. I have vivid memories of my attempts to stay afloat in the midst of the more talented and aggressive swimmers in the churning waters of the pool at the athletic complex. So, while I’m respectful, but wary of those with athletic abilities, I was looking forward to reading some comments from Wynne’s professors of English and History.

I’d love to know how Kathleen Wynne performed in classes and whether she was as brilliant a consensus builder in her undergrad seminars as she is in the Office of the Premier.

It strikes me that as Premier she already knows her agenda and isn’t simply trouble-shooting as events present themselves. Please let us know whether this was predictable during her student days in the mid-1970s.


The Review was unable to track down any of Kathleen Wynn’s former professors. Thirty five years later, most of them have moved on, retired, or passed away. If any Review readers were in classes with the future Premier and have memories to share, we invite them to do so. – Ed.

Isaiah Had More to Say
Re “inspiring words in NYC”
Issue #2-2013, P. 5

While I was at Queen’s in the early 60's, I don’t think I even knew what our motto was, and I found the ­letter from Vicki Hand very interesting wherein she found it in English on the Rockefeller Center in NYC (at right).

I subsequently looked up the verse in the Bible and found that whoever had chosen it for Queen’s left off the most ­important part of the verse. In its entirety, Isaiah 33:6 reads: “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.”


[Queen's Alumni Review 2013-3 cover]