Celebrating staff achievements

Celebrating staff achievements

March 22, 2023


Two teams and six individual staff members are being celebrated for their excellent work and accomplishments at Queen’s.

The 2022 Special Recognition for Staff Awards recognize staff, nominated by colleagues, who have gone above and beyond their day-to-day activities to have a lasting positive impact.

Award recipients and their guests are invited to a private reception in late April.

“These awards recognize our outstanding colleagues who have exceeded expectations by doing remarkable things,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Deane. “I want to sincerely thank everyone for your significant contributions and commitment to your work at Queen’s.”

The recipients of the 2022 Special Recognition for Staff Awards are:

Classroom Working Group (Team Award)

  • Steve Alexander, Manager of Digital Classrooms/AV Technology, Information Technology Services
  • Joanne Brett, Manager, Timetabling, Office of the University Registrar, Student Affairs
  • Cheyenne Deschamplain, Assistant Project Manager/Designer, Facilities
  • Tony Gkotsis, Director, Campus Planning and Real Estate, Facilities
  • Erik Harmsen, Project Manager, Facilities
  • Nadia Jagar, Associate Director, Finance and Operations, Office of the Provost and VP (Academic)
  • Kaitlin McDonald, Department Assistant, Centre for Teaching and Learning
  • Karalyn McRae, Educational Developer, Centre for Teaching and Learning
  • Kathy Newstead, Operations Manager, Event Services, Housing and Ancillary Services, Student Affairs

Formed nearly a decade ago, the Classroom Working Group develops strategies for creating active learning classrooms to serve new as well as traditional teaching practices. To date, the group has designed and developed 22 active-learning spaces and several modern lecture halls, one of the largest inventories of its kind in the country. During the early stages of the pandemic, their expertise was especially in demand and the group expanded its mandate, creating safe teaching spaces for several programs including Medicine, Nursing and Rehabilitation Therapy, where in-person learning was the only option. Members also provided guidance and planning for clinical teaching space for Queen’s Health Sciences and student study space in Mackintosh-Corry Hall. To prepare for the university’s safe return to on-campus learning, the group contributed to guidelines, determined appropriate classrooms, seating plans and capacities, and set up markers, plexiglass, signage, and cleaning supplies. The group also consults with other universities to share innovations and to promote best practices.

Queen’s Career Gateway Program (Team Award)

  • Samuel Whyte, Director, Facilities Operations and Maintenance, Facilities
  • Lisa Crosbie-Larmon, Director, Human Resources, Facilities
  • Karen Burkett, Director, Queen’s School of English, Faculty of Education
  • Jessica Della-Latta, Executive Director, Continuing Teacher Education, Professional Studies, and Queen’s School of English, Faculty of Education
  • Sherri Ferris, Custodian and CUPE Local 229 President, Facilities
  • Oonagh Maley, Manager, Special Projects, Office of the VP (Finance and Administration)
  • Supriya Venigalla, Special Projects Officer, Office of the VP (Finance and Administration)
  • Catherine Gaudreau, Special Projects Officer, Office of the VP (Finance and Administration)
  • Justine Macdonald, Instructor, Queen’s School of English, Faculty of Education
  • Heidi Penning, Equity Advisor, Human Rights and Equity Office
  • Katherine Smith, Recruitment Support Representative, Human Resources

Launched in 2021 and sponsored by the Office of the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration), the Queen’s Career Gateway Program is designed for equity-deserving individuals, including newcomers to Kingston and refugees, to secure employment at Queen’s while receiving English-language training. Through community partners including ReStart Employment Services and Immigrant Services Kingston, team members learned about potential barriers and explored novel ways for Queen’s to recruit and support diverse talent. For example, meeting in the same classroom for each session helped participants to develop a sense of belonging and increased their engagement with each other, the instructor, and the subject matter. Team members attended regularly and offered their experiences as guest speakers. The seven participants who completed the program obtained positions on the Queen’s Custodial Support Services team, positioning them as viable candidates for future opportunities. This year’s program includes inventive recruitment strategies to embed the program more deeply in the Kingston newcomer community. Participants of the first cohort were eager to serve as mentors, which will only help this worthy initiative to grow.

  • Erik Bigras, Course Production and Delivery Lead, Faculty of Arts and Science Online

As Course Production and Delivery Lead, Erik manages the Learning Management Systems specialists team and coordinates online course development. As a leader in technology innovation, his skill and judgement are respected faculty wide, and he mentors others as he learns the most effective ways to adopt and implement technologies. He has a gift of taking complex problems and technologies, understanding the limitations and opportunities, and operationalizing them with very reasoned, well-communicated and thoughtful strategies to ensure success. In the early days of the pandemic, when Arts and Science Online was asked to pivot to support all faculty exams, he was a calm voice as things rapidly shifted online and to new technology. He designed systems to ensure that students were in the right virtual place to write their exams, and at the right time, given so many time zones were involved. Erik’s plans centre on students, are considerate of staff, supportive of faculty, efficient, cost effective and sustainable.

  • Sarah Bunting, Academic Advisor and Academic Consideration Coordinator, Student Services, Faculty of Arts and Science

Since arriving at Queen’s six years ago, Sarah has been a tireless advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion and this passionate advocacy and strong leadership skills are key to ensuring that social events happen, funding is secured, newsletters go out, and that senior leadership is made aware of and supported in meeting the needs of equity-deserving groups. As a staff senator on the Senate Educational Equity Committee, Sarah was involved in language and policy updates and reviewed the 2018 USW 2010 Collective Agreement to recommend language changes to reflect its diverse membership and supports for mental wellbeing and work-life balance. Sarah is an organizing member of the Queen’s Women’s Network (QWN) and Queen’s University Association of Queer Employees, two of the university’s oldest Employee Resource Groups (ERGS). In addition to writing communications, Sarah oversees training and support for QWN’s mentorship program and is working to revive EquiTEA, a group of members from all the ERGs, to enable them to coordinate and collectively build solidarity and community across the university.

  • Margaret Goslin, Manager, Operations, Human Resources

Margaret Goslin is known for her commitment, hard work, and positive attitude. Her Human Resources coworkers rely on her institutional knowledge about systems and processes, gained through her 20-plus years of experience in working in Administration, Client Services and Employee Relations. Her work affects all Queen’s staff members as she ensures that they are paid on time and correctly, that they have a seamless transition to a leave of absence, or that they have the information they need to decide about benefits. Margaret mentors HR professionals starting their careers and under her leadership, these employees have expanded their knowledge and have been rewarded with new opportunities. She brings fun into the workplace for great causes, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation Big Bike Ride. Over the years, her efforts have brought in thousands of dollars to the community through friendly competition. She is living proof that there are people who make work a little more fun, a little more fulfilling and who inspire us to be better employees and colleagues. Margaret is that person you will always remember – years after she has left an impression on you.

  • Keith Harper, General Technician, Department of Biology

As general technician in the Department of Biology, Keith Harper is a skilled problem solver, community leader, and jack-of-all-trades. His creativity and dedication advance Biology's research impact, sustainability, and student learning experience. Keith is always willing to lend a helping hand, no matter the job and he provides innovative and sustainable solutions. He learns new ways to re-purpose, fix, and retrofit existing equipment. For example, he has saved furniture from landfills by sourcing new upholstery and replacing worn-out casters on chairs. He has updated cabinets with new hardware and fresh paint, and restored sinks to look like new. Keith knows local suppliers and recommends purchases and stays current with health and safety guidelines to appropriately dispose of hazardous waste. His ongoing efforts have decreased costs as well as Queen's environmental footprint. When an emergency arises at any time of day – or night – Keith is there. He has saved projects, samples, equipment, and irreplaceable specimens. When a large walk-in freezer malfunctioned on a Sunday, Keith spent the day and well into the evening dispersing contents into freezers around the building. Keith fosters a sense of community in the department by organizing annual barbecues and pancake breakfasts, encouraging other maple-syrup makers to join in a friendly competition to crown the best maple syrup of the year!

  • Kelly Sedore, Chemical Technologist, Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Kelly Sedore is a big reason why Chemical Engineering has the highest safety standards in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and are among the highest university wide. She oversees the safety training of all who use the department laboratories and supports undergraduate labs, maintaining twenty-three experiment projects. In the early days of the pandemic, Kelly ran a hand-sanitizer production operation that supplied medical-grade hand disinfectant to Kingston Health Sciences Centre and ensured adequate supplies for building operations. This was featured in Behind the Mask, a collection of stories from Kingston front-line workers. Also in 2020, she ran labs remotely by filming videos of experiment demonstrations and the use of equipment. Additionally, Kelly is a department safety officer, co-chair of the faculty’s Joint Health and Safety committee, and the Return to Work and Accommodation representative for CUPE Local 254. Outside the lab, Kelly attends open houses, homecoming weekends, first-year orientation, and many other events. She keeps in touch with graduates and never passes up an opportunity to reunite with alumni.

  • Anna van der Meulen, Department Manager and Undergraduate Chair, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (SKHS)

As department manager and undergraduate chair in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (SKHS), Anna van der Meulen is a first point of contact for faculty, staff, and students. She oversees curriculum, hires teaching assistants, and manages staff. Her mission is to ensure that the school is an effective, efficient, and happy place to work. To this end, she is committed to the Indigenization, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Anti-Racism and Accessibility principles (I-EDI-AA) and works tirelessly to ensure that they are embedded in the school. Anna strives to meet the needs of students individually and collectively and facilitates regular, quality interactions between students and faculty through small seminars, research internships, and independent study opportunities. Constant curriculum innovation is on Anna’s radar as she focuses on gaps and opportunities and strategizes about how to address them years in advance. Recently, Anna was involved in all phases of creating an undergraduate kinesiology laboratory that has transformed students’ hands-on experience. This included securing the funding, renovating the space, and purchasing the equipment to meet the needs of faculty across a range of disciplines.

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