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Advancing employee wellness, expanding services, and kicking off well-being programming

Photo by Gerhard Pratt, first place winner of the annual Thrive Photo Contest.
Photo by Gerhard Pratt, first place winner of the annual Thrive Photo Contest.

At Queen’s, the need for employee-focused wellness services has heightened significantly during the pandemic. To respond to this growing need and demand for such services, and to better support employee well-being, Human Resources is launching a new Employee Wellness Services unit with dedicated resources to advance this work. This new unit is made possible through the ongoing investment and commitment from the Office of the Principal.

“I am pleased to be able to support this expansion of employee-focused wellness services,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Without a healthy workforce, we cannot advance our mission or achieve our vision and strategic goals as a university.”

In the coming months, the new unit will focus on the development of employee wellness resources and services that compliment current offerings. The unit will also be expanding with additional wellness positions to better support this work.

“For the first time, we are able to approach employee wellness in a coordinated and strategic way,” says Sydney Downey, Director, Employee Wellness Services, Human Resources. “This is a really exciting and positive step for the university and an opportunity for us to do critical work that will have a lasting impact.”

The unit’s first task will focus on building momentum from recent wellness events while developing a year-round approach to employee wellness.  

Marking the first of many wellness-focused events

Earlier this fall, several virtual wellness events and learning opportunities were held as part of Thrive programming and were available for the university community. In total, 30 events were offered Nov. 1-5, with nearly 500 registered participants in attendance including staff, faculty, and students.

Some of the popular events included keynote speaker Janice Brant from the Ratinenhayén:thos Kenhte:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre, as well as a virtual tour of the Bader International Study Centre (BISC).

A number of contests were also held during the kickoff with several awards going to deserving participants:

  • Motolani Lawson, winner of the scavenger hunt
  • Victoria Klassen, winner of the walk and roll challenge
  • Gerhard Pratt, Curt McMahon, and Jessica Johnston placing first, second, and third respectively in the annual Thrive photo contest

If you participated in any of the Thrive events, the organizers want to hear from you. All participants are invited to submit their feedback by completing a brief online survey. The results from the survey will be reviewed by the Employee Wellness Services unit and will help shape future wellness events and opportunities. The survey closes Jan. 31, 2022.

Other support resources for the Queen’s community and their family members can be found through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).

Information about the Queen’s benefits program can be found on the Human Resources website

Phishing, social engineering attacks ramp up over holiday season

As campus is now in one of its busiest times of the year, hackers and cyber criminals are increasing their efforts to gain unauthorized access to your accounts. Scams may arrive as email, text, phone, and social media messages. They are continually adapted to target university communities through phishing, gift card scams, phony holiday invitations and messages, and fraudulent offers for seasonal employment.

Email scams can originate from on-campus email accounts that have been compromised, or off-campus accounts that pose as legitimate Queen's (or other business) correspondence. Other scams, such as text messages, social media, and telephone scams, can come from names and numbers that you recognize (called “spoofing”). For example, someone might pose as Information Technology Services alerting you that your account will be closed if you don't immediately act.

How do I know if it’s phishing?

Remember, it is likely a phishing attempt if:

  • You are unsure of the source of a message
  • You do not recognize the sender
  • You are not expecting a message from that sender
  • You do not know what the message is referring to, or;
  • You do not recognize a link or attachment

What should I do?

If you are suspicious of a message, please do not click on any links or attachments included within the message. You should always navigate directly to a website's login page from your internet browser and not via email links.

If you feel an email might be suspicious, it is better to be cautious and report the email to Queen’s email team for further investigation. There is no harm in reporting an email even if it turns out to be legitimate.

Preparations for upcoming winter closing

During Queen’s University’s winter closure there will be no custodial coverage available Dec. 24 -Jan. 2 (inclusive) unless pre-arranged and confirmed with Custodial Support Services (CSS) in advance of Dec. 20. (Note: This Campus Update refers only to custodial services. Contact your supervisor for departmental return-to-work schedules.)

For those currently working on campus, please keep energy management and sustainability in mind by turning off and unplugging equipment in offices and workspaces to avoid wasteful energy consumption and its damaging carbon impacts.

Here is a quick list of things to check and turn off in your office before leaving for the closure:

  • Computers
  • Computer monitors or televisions
  • Lights
  • Portable space heaters
  • Power bar
  • Other electronics

Also check to ensure other items in the general office areas or kitchens are turned off. These include:

  • Copiers/printers
  • Coffee maker
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Common area lights
  • Shredder
  • Ceiling fans
  • Washroom lights
  • Close windows (open windows can freeze up pipes and cause significant water damage)

Turn down thermostats (minimum 18C or 65F)

Garbage/Recycling/Organics: The last collection date for garbage and recycling is Thursday, Dec. 23. Please ensure that desk side bins are emptied into the central waste stations located in the common areas of your buildings before noon on this date. This provides Custodial Support Services (CSS) with one last opportunity to check and empty these stations.

Tip: If your department has a small green organics bin in an office or kitchen space, be sure to wash and rinse it out before the closure.

Fridge/Freezer Operation: Check appliances for proper operation/temperature control to avoid spoiling of any contents over the holidays. For those appliances with valuable contents, ensure surge protectors in place. If the fridge/freezer is being cleared of contents and unplugged, please plan accordingly and account for water production from the thaw of this equipment.

Report any ongoing water issues (leaks, broken toilets or leaky faucets) as well as lack of heating or exterior door/window issues to Fixit at ext. 77301 prior to Dec. 23.

Between Thursday, Dec. 23 at 4 pm and Monday, Jan. 3 at 8 am, report urgent issues to the Emergency Report Centre at 613-533-6080 (ext. 36080 internal).

These include:

  • Lack of heating or process cooling
  • Flooding
  • Broken windows
  • Exterior door issues                                                                                        
  • Slippery/icy sidewalks or parking lots

Report any emergencies or suspicious persons/activities to 613-533-6111 (ext. 36111 internal)

Celebrating staff achievements

As part of Staff and Faculty Appreciation Day on Wednesday, Dec. 15, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane recognized a number of staff for their accomplishments and contributions with the announcement of the 2021 Special Recognition for Staff Awards in an online event.

“These awards recognize our colleagues who have gone above and beyond their day-to-day activities and contribute to a positive work environment,” says Principal Deane. “Once again this has been a year that has challenged us and I want to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication in helping Queen’s and our students.”

Team and individual recipients, with write-ups from nominations:

Team Award: Times Higher Education Impact Rankings – Working Group
Kim Akerblom,
Data and Operations Coordinator, Institutional Research and Planning
Kelly Blair-Matuk, Associate Director, Office of Vice-Principal (Research)
Jill Christie, Manager, Data and Administration, Human Rights and Equity
Tom Collier, Coordinator, International Agreements & Partnerships, Office of AVP International
Rebecca Coupland, Director and Associate University Secretary, University Secretariat & Legal Counsel
Kayla Dettinger, Special Projects Officer, University Relations
Ishana Gopaul, Manager, Special Projects, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration)
Peter Jeffrey, Director, Communications, University Relations
Heather Kincaide, Strategic Internationalization Lead, Office of the Vice-Provost (International)
Melinda Knox, Director, Thought Leadership and Strategic Initiatives, University Relations
Jodi Magee, Executive Director, Institutional Research and Planning
Bob Minor, Senior Data Analyst, Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Chineze Onuoha, Administrative and Financial Assistant, Integrated Communications, University Relations
Gillian Ready, Special Projects, Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal Academic
Jennifer Ross, Manager, Special Projects, Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs
Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion)
Lori Stewart, Executive Director, Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)
Heather Woermke, Associate Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration)

First in Canada, and fifth in the world. Meet the people behind Queen’s stellar showing in the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. Established in 2019, the Impact Rankings measure how universities advance the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how institutions promote social and economic well-being within and beyond their local communities. Queen’s also earned the highest first-entry position of any institution by ranking first for the goal of No Poverty, first for the goal of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and by ranking in the top 10 for the goals of Zero Hunger, Sustainable Cities, and Life on Land. It was a process of institutional self-discovery and self-analysis, making use of the SDGs to see where Queen’s was already making an impact in the world, and where it might do so in the future.

To produce such a solid submission, the team gathered and organized more then 600 pieces of evidence, focusing on Queen’s research, outreach, teaching and stewardship. The effort took place last fall, during an exceptionally challenging year, and on a truncated timeline; the deadline having shifted two months sooner than originally advertised. Queen’s submission was one of 1,240 from institutions in 98 countries – up 50 per cent from the year before.

The team then designed and implemented a successful communications plan, including a paid media strategy that delivered more than 18 million impressions. The submission also forms an important global starting point for the university’s new strategic framework.

Team Award: Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), Division of Student Affairs
Arthur Chen
, International Student Advisor
Amanda Gray, International Student Advisor

Arthur Chen and Amanda Gray have not let a pandemic get in the way of their commitment to help others. During the early stages of lockdown, as other campus services were reduced, QUIC stayed open. Amanda and Arthur smoothly shifted from in-person meetings to one-on-one online delivery, advising students in many different countries, time zones and circumstances. They provided encouragement to those who couldn’t travel, those whose travel was interrupted, and those who were undecided, unsure, and afraid. They shared these students’ challenges and issues with staff in other service areas so that campus supports could be improved or created. 

Amanda and Arthur’s support of these international students, who were arguably the most the adversely affected by COVID restrictions, was an example to colleagues in other units. They worked with Student Awards to secure quarantine funding for 153 students. When the university shut down for the holidays, Arthur and Amanda assisted arriving students, called 857 students who were considering travelling to Canada to talk about their options, and regularly updated the website about international travel during a pandemic. 

Arthur and Amanda launched Quarantining Together, a program which enabled students to connect and support one another virtually and share resources, tips, and experiences. They also led a multi-unit collaboration of staff volunteers who made more than 2,000 check-in phone calls to 450 international students from all over the world while they were quarantining.

Amanda and Arthur continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all students feel safe and secure. They also provide the same care to visiting researchers and staff, some of whom bring dependents with them to Canada.

Chris Cornish, Communications and Events Coordinator, School of Policy Studies, Faculty of Arts and Science

In the School of Policy Studies, Chris Cornish is known for his planning, organizational, and technical skills. He is responsible for coordinating the Policy Talks and distinguished lecture series, managing the website and social media reporting, as well as dealing with administrative and technical matters for School conferences.

When the pandemic hit, however, one could easily add “crisis manager” to his responsibilities. Chris trained, facilitated, and took his technical talent to the next level to ensure that everyone had what they needed to do their jobs remotely. Without Chris, the School would not have been able to offer its students such a seamless transition to the world of online learning. It was hoped that this level of support would be short-lived, but COVID-19 has had other plans. Chris continues to provide technical support and encouragement along with his regular duties.

Chris is known for his “get-it-done” manner. When a faculty member experienced problems related to the delivery of a course, Chris patiently solved all of them. Later, outside regular hours, the faculty member called Chris’s cell with one more question, Chris picked up. He was walking his dog on the beach, and, without skipping a beat, provided the solution right away.

Karen Depew, Undergraduate Assistant and Assistant to the Director, School of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Arts and Science

Karen Depew puts a positive spin on even the most challenging situation. Despite what her job title says, Karen supports all students, not just undergraduates. Her 32 years at Queen’s has given her unmatched experience and knowledge to handle whatever issues are thrown her way. Professional and personable, Karen works tirelessly to ensure that students are protected, supported, and rightfully heard. Karen has made exceptional contributions to the department by establishing and upholding an inclusive and welcoming environment for learning and research.

When the pandemic hit and work transitioned from office to home, Karen was always available for help, counselling, and consultation. It is a testament to her abilities that, as far as School operations went, nothing really changed during that period of high uncertainty. In the switch to online learning, Karen took on additional responsibilities administering upper-year project courses. She coordinated communications, posted web updates, organized faculty-student meetings, and end-of-term symposiums.

One student describes Karen as the best administrator that they have ever encountered. In a job that is assuredly stressful and overwhelming at times, Karen makes it seem remarkably manageable and enjoyable. Another student laments, “It’s crazy that Karen is retiring – the department won’t be the same without her!”

Kevin McKegney, Manager, Facilities Infrastructure and Projects, Faculty of Health Sciences

Kevin McKegney has spent his 38-year career ensuring the safe operation of the Faculty of Health Sciences’ clinical, research and educational activities. Widely known as a walking encyclopedia, Kevin possesses a vast knowledge of the buildings he oversees, their history, and the people who work within them. His role, however, has never been more crucial than during the pandemic. Nearly every day since March 2020, Kevin has worked on site to ensure that services continue uninterrupted. The fact that Health Sciences has made it this far without a single outbreak is due in large measure to Kevin’s unparalleled technical expertise and commitment. He continues to boost morale and quell the fear and anxiety that many have experienced during this unsettling time.

Kevin is often among the first people to greet new staff and faculty members. Personal tours of the facilities are enhanced by his vast knowledge of the faculty’s history and his dry sense of humour. In part, his passion for Queen’s history resulted in the preservation of a nearly complete collection of photographs of medical classes dating back to 1860. His love for the university, and the faculty, clearly runs deep.

Knowing the people and the buildings so well, Kevin can anticipate trouble before it happens. Floods, more floods, radioactive leaks, student crises, faculty crises, problems with roofs, bats, bees, mice – you name it. Kevin has been there, seen it all – and made it right.

Nancy Sammon, Relationship Manager, Career Advancement Centre, Smith School of Business

Nancy Sammon excels at bringing people together. In addition to regularly exceeding her targets in new business development and job postings, Nancy goes above and beyond to attract new partnerships and to connect student diversity groups with companies and associations through her work at the School’s Career Advancement Centre.

Nancy is a true champion of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII) initiatives. She attracted ICON Talent Partners and co-created a partnership agreement with the School to advance education, training, and mentorship of students to high impact sectors where there is often underrepresentation. She also connected this group with the newly formed Smith Black Business Association, and with the ONYX Initiative, which aims to bridge the gap in the recruitment and selection of Black college and university students.

Nancy works hard to connect student diversity groups with companies and associations. She serves on several EDII committees at Queen's, helping to advance knowledge and awareness in this area. To support gender inclusivity, Nancy recommended the practice of including pronouns in staff email signatures to Smith’s Human Resources team and was part of an awareness campaign to implement the practice university-wide.

Throughout the recruitment process, students praise her kind words, warmth, and support. Nancy constantly challenges her team to bring to light EDII considerations in everything they do, from conducting events to copy on the website.

Justin Siu, Information Technology Assistant, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Science

If it plugs in, call Justin! That’s how Justin Siu describes his role as Information Technology Assistant. It also demonstrates his commitment to excellence in customer service, evident in every colour-coded email that he sends to those seeking solutions to their technology problems. Justin is dedicated to helping everyone in Psychology with their computing and technical needs. That’s 13 staff, 33 faculty, and more than 85 graduate students using 300-plus computers. A problem-solver extraordinaire, it seems he has multiple back-up solutions in case the first idea does not work. He meticulously tracks and follows up on every request until he is confident that the issue is settled. If it is missing, Justin will find it. If it is broken, Justin will fix it. If you are stuck and can’t figure out an IT issue, he will solve it before it causes you any stress or concern.

Throughout the pandemic, and especially during lockdowns, Justin went well beyond what is usually expected. He remained on-site, keeping servers active. He worked with faculty, students, and staff remotely to ensure their off-campus set-ups supported their work and helped to migrate research efforts online. Justin also saved the department from not one but two recent floods in Craine and Humphrey halls. In the case of Craine Hall, he discovered a heat-pump failure on a Friday walkthrough and acted quickly to rescue equipment as water rained down from the ceilings.

Gabrielle (Gabe) Whan, Department Manager, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Gabrielle Whan is always willing to jump in and get the job done, whatever that job may be. She is not afraid of the unknown. In fact, that’s when Gabe shines the brightest. Give her a challenge and she will meet it head on.

In normal times, Gabe’s leadership and her encouraging can-do attitude make the department a welcoming place for students, faculty, and staff. Since the start of the pandemic, however, Gabe has demonstrated exceptional resourcefulness and effort above and beyond her regular duties as the manager of a large and busy engineering department.

On her own initiative, Gabe developed an innovative QR code system to pre-screen and log access to the five buildings used by Mechanical and Materials Engineering. She customized questions for each building and incorporated provincial guidelines for self-assessment. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science quickly recognized the brilliance and effectiveness of her system and implemented it for all its engineering buildings. Gabe then trained other department managers on the system. When Queen’s developed the campus-wide SeQure app that replaced the faculty system, it benefited from Gabe’s input and advice. 

In the 2021 winter term, Gabe’s second project positively impacted the mental health of 150 second-year students by giving them the option to return to the lab and safely complete vital hands-on learning. The project required multiple changes and reapprovals to meet the ever-changing provincial restrictions for in-person instruction, including last-minute construction of walls in the lab space to satisfy revised occupancy limits.


During the Staff and Faculty Appreciation Day Celebration online event, Principal Deane also announced the winners of a special prize draw.

Prize Draw Winners

2021 Pewter ornament sets from Downtown Kingston
Julie Brown, University Communications
Julie Heagle, Faculty of Medicine
Daniel Pauley, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

Gift baskets from Cooke's Fine Foods
Jessica Murray, Faculty of Education
Chad Herman, Department of Family Medicine

Downtown Kingston BIA ‘Downtown Dollars’
Martina McAllister, School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Matt Reesor, Smith School of Business
Jessica Serson, Dept. of Medicine - Palliative Care
Vanessa DeVries, Athletics and Recreation
Margaret Gibson, Smith School of Business
Meredith Dault, Smith School of Business
Brooke Ethridge, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Education
Harshit Mahandra, Mining Engineering
Andrea Labelle, Faculty of Law
Mark McNair, Library - Information Services

Lloyd Balme, Queen's School of English, Faculty of Education
Catherine Eckenswiller, Office of Partnerships and Innovation
Alexandra Cooper, Queen’s Library
Kristin Sabourin, Faculty of Medicine
Jeanette Hepburn, Smith School of Business
Katherine Rudder, Life Sciences & Biochemistry Program

Tracy Lott, Continuing Teacher Education
Angela Lyon, Office of Partnerships & Innovation
Catherine Landon, Housing & Ancillary Services
Cindy Lee, Career Services / Queen's Library
Batul Vohra, Department of Pediatrics

The availability of a free hot beverage for Staff and Faculty Recognition Day has been extended through Friday in an effort to ensure all staff are able to receive a gift of appreciation.

2021: The Year in Research

A review of the major initiatives, the funding and awards garnered, and the research that made headlines over the last twelve months.

Each year, we take a moment in December to reflect on the accomplishments of our community in advancing research that helps us tackle some of the world’s most pressing questions and societal challenges.

[Photo of three researchers working in a lab]

While 2021 offered glimmers of hope in moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it also tested and challenged our research community in myriad other ways. In balance, this year also saw Queen’s rank 1st in Canada and 5th in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which provided a testament to the impact of the university’s research and scholarship in advancing social impact and sustainability within and beyond our local community.

Through all of this, research prominence remained a key driver for Queen’s and our researchers continued to make national and international headlines for their discoveries and award-winning scholarship.

Join us as we review some of the highlights of 2021.

Recognizing research leadership

In 2021, Queen’s welcomed Nancy Ross as the new Vice-Principal (Research). Dr. Ross, an accomplished research administrator and renowned expert in population health, joined the university in August and succeeded Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse, who had been interim in the role since 2018.

[Photo of Dr. Nancy Ross]
Dr. Nancy Ross began her five-year term as Vice-Principal (Research) on August 1, 2021.

This year saw Queen’s researchers win some of Canada’s top awards and honours for research excellence and the university ranked third in Canada for awards per faculty member (2022 Maclean’s University Rankings).

Our international expertise in cancer research and cancer clinical trials was cemented with Elizabeth Eisenhauer’s receipt of the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science, and Joe Pater receiving the inaugural Canadian Cancer Society Lifetime Contribution Prize.

Praveen Jain was honoured with the prestigious IEEE Medal in Power Engineering, the highest international award in the field of electrical power, and world-renowned philosopher Will Kymlicka’s contributions to the humanities were recognized with the RSC Pierre Chauveau medal.

Queen’s also had a successful year earning fellowships within Canada’s national academies. Sari van Anders, Heather Castleden, and Karen Lawford were named members of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists  and professor emeritus John Berry was named a Fellow. Health administrators and research leaders Jane Philpott, Kieran Moore, Doug Munoz, and John Muscedere were inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and Kim McAuley, Mark Diederichs, Mark F. Green, and Ugo Piomelli were elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Research that made headlines around the world

An exoskeleton designed by Queen's engineering researchers Michael Shepertycky, Qingguo Li, and Yan-Fei Liu that improves walking efficiency was featured in the leading academic journal Science and international media outlets, including the New York Times.

Health expert Christopher Mueller developed mDETECT, a cancer detection test that provides a real-time response to chemotherapy and early detection of relapse, while researchers Amber Simpson and Farhana Zulkernine applied AI and natural language processing techniques to CT scans, to predict cancer spread.

The much-anticipated UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) dominated headlines around the world and Queen’s environmental experts Kyla Tienhaara and John Smol shared their hopes for conference outcomes. On the ground at COP26, Ryan Riordan of the Institute for Sustainable Finance provided key takeaways and next steps for global governments. In the Canadian arctic, Queen’s researchers, the Government of Nunavut, and Indigenous community partners worked together to develop an innovative approach to studying the impact of climate change by monitoring the health and movements of polar bears.

[Photo of polar bears in the Artic]
BEARWATCH, a project led by Queen's researchers in partnership with local communities, governments, and other university collaborators, received funding from Genome Canada's Large-Scale Applied Research Project competition and the Ontario Genomics Institute to develop a non-invasive method for tracking polar bear health in the Canadian Artic.

New research by Chris Spencer showed that the mid-Proterozoic period, about 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago, dubbed as the “boring billon” was actually a time of great mountain-building events. Researchers at the Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research joined the cast from The Curse of Oak Island to hunt for gold and silver treasure sediments in the water collected from boreholes on a Nova Scotia isle.

[Photo of highly deformed rocks from the Sperrgebiet region of Southern Namibia by Christopher Spencer]
A geologist exploring 1-billion-year-old and highly deformed rocks from the Sperrgebiet region of southern Namibia. These rocks experienced significant deformation and extreme metamorphism during a continental collision over a billion years ago. (Photo by Christopher Spencer)

Funding future research

In 2021, Queen’s continued to attract competitive funding and awards, through a number of national and international programs. Hundreds of grants for new projects and research infrastructure were secured through CHIR, SSHRC, NSERC, and CFI, Canada’s national funding agencies, and other partners.

Here are a few examples:

  • More than $10 million was secured by Queen’s researchers through CFI’s Innovation Fund for infrastructure that will help to combat climate change, treat cancer, and understand the fabric of the universe
  • Over $6 million was awarded to Queen’s researchers through NSERC’s Alliance Grants to collaborate with industry partners in areas such as computing, wireless communications, and nuclear power
  • Eight doctoral students earned prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships for exceptional scholarly achievement and leadership skills
  • Over 125 Queen’s researchers across disciplines received support from SSHRC, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and NSERC as part of a bundled funding announcement under the banner of “Supporting BIG Ideas”
  • Queen’s researchers received over $11.5M funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for projects addressing human health issues from cancer and pain to healthy aging
  • With $1.6 million in funding, NSERC’s CREATE program supported the implementation of an experiential graduate training and research program in medical informatics, led by Parvin Mousavi at Queen’s
  • A multidisciplinary team of Queen’s researchers received $7.9 million from Genome Canada for a new project exploring a microbial platform for breaking down and valorizing waste plastic, which can then be repurposed to produce recycled products
  • Cathy Crudden received the largest NSERC Discovery Grant in Canada (valued at $605k over five years) for her breakthrough work in novel organic coatings

[Photo of a researcher reviewing a sample on a desktop]

Mobilizing our knowledge

This year, we were again challenged to find creative ways to engage with our audiences and mobilize expertise. Research and alumni experts joined forces to provide insight into our post-pandemic future, through the Road to Recovery virtual event series. These events, moderated by multimedia journalist and Queen’s alumnus Elamin Abdelmahmoud, reached over 1000 attendees.  

Science Rendezvous Kingston celebrated its milestone 10th anniversary and marked it with a series of virtual events and the development of an interactive, virtual Exploratorium with no geographical limitations to participation. Audiences also had the opportunity to experience, in-person and virtually, artistic interpretations of the elusive dark matter. The exhibition and residency project, Drift: Art and Dark Matter, generated by Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the McDonald Institute, and SNOLAB, brought together artists and scientists in the quest to understand the invisible substance that comprises about 80 per cent of the universe.

[osèfa Ntjam, Organic Nebula (detail), 2019, carpet, photomontage. Collection of the artist.]
Josèfa Ntjam, Organic Nebula (detail), 2019, carpet, photomontage. Collection of the artist.

The WE-Can (Women Entrepreneurs Canada) program led by Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI) celebrated supporting over 800 women from underrepresented groups and sectors regionally in achieving their entrepreneurial goals and pivoting their programs to an online format. This year’s virtual Indigenous Research Collaboration Day incorporated the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals in highlighting the importance of collaboration in research with Indigenous communities.

Hundreds of Queen’s researchers provided expert commentary to the media in 2021, and our community continued to mobilize their research and expertise through fact-based analysis on The Conversation Canada’s news platform. In 2021, 77 Queen’s graduate students and faculty published 74 articles that garnered over 1.5 million reads.

Congratulations to the Queen’s research community for their resilience and successes this year. We look forward to seeing what new research and opportunities 2022 will bring. For more information about research at the university, visit the Research@Queen’s website.

Major renovation announced for Duncan McArthur Hall

  • The newly-unveiled design for the expansion of Duncan McArthur Hall includes a seven-story addition at the southeast corner of the existing building. (Supplied image)
    The newly-unveiled design for the expansion of Duncan McArthur Hall includes a seven-story addition at the southeast corner of the existing building. (Supplied image)
  • The current view of Duncan McArthur Hall on West Campus, located at Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and Union Street,
    The current view of Duncan McArthur Hall on West Campus, located at Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and Union Street,

Queen’s is undertaking a significant redevelopment of Duncan McArthur Hall, located on its West Campus.

The redevelopment and expansion of Duncan McArthur Hall’s ‘A’ wing, will see a substantial addition to the building, and provide increased classroom, research, study, administration, and social spaces for both the Faculty of Education and elements of the Faculty of Heath Sciences.

The project will target Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, and incorporate sustainable technologies to minimize greenhouse gases in support of the sustainability goals set out in the Queen’s Climate Action Plan. This will include a geothermal energy system to provide heat and cooling to the new building.

“This project will enable Queen’s to address the expansion needs of the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, while improving the student experience at Duncan McArthur Hall and continuing to make progress on our sustainability targets,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “I’m also excited about the opportunity for collaboration as we bring elements of Queen’s Health Sciences to West Campus.”

The project will expand the ground floor of the “A” wing of Duncan McArthur Hall, creating four 50-person classrooms, plus two additional 100-person classrooms. This utilizes the undeveloped area under the current building overhang. Additional classroom renovations (A243 and 343) and the existing main entrance – known as student street – will also take place.

The proposed seven story addition at the southeast corner of the existing building will accommodate classrooms, break-out and study facilities on the first and second floors. The upper floors will provide administrative offices for both faculties.

“This redevelopment project will create space to accommodate our growing faculty, optimize offices to reflect new practices in workflow processes, support students with collaborative learning spaces, and develop 21st century teaching spaces that reflect the design of contemporary schools,” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education. “Providing new modern spaces, study space for graduate students, and sufficient research spaces for the faculty’s research groups will enrich the university’s reputation and appeal to students and the community.”

“Queen’s Health Sciences is thrilled to be a partner on this project,” says Jane Philpott, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. “As we drive forward with our new strategic vision for radical collaboration, this redevelopment will create much needed space for the activities that are critical to our operations.”

The construction of the proposed seven story building is the first phase of the project, and is targeted to start in the summer of 2022 with the tower targeted for occupancy late in 2023. Renovations and expansion of the existing ‘A’ wing would then occur through to 2024.

The Faculty of Education began work on the project in 2019 with the completion of a feasibility study conducted to determine the best way to incorporate new office, study, and teaching space in Duncan McArthur Hall.  Queen’s Health Sciences joined the project in 2020 to accommodate their growing need for administrative space.

Duncan McArthur Hall is located on the West Campus of Queen’s University. The campus was purchased by Queen's in 1969.

Duncan McArthur Hall was built between 1969 and 1971 with funding from the Ontario government. It houses the Queen’s Faculty of Education, the Queen’s School of English, Continuing Teacher Education, and the Education Library.

For more information on the Duncan McArthur Hall project, visit the project website.

Updates for Staff and Faculty Appreciation Day

Correction: The previous story did not acknowledge the number of staff that have remained on campus throughout the pandemic. The Principal apologizes for this oversight and wants to acknowledge the hard work of all staff. Because of last-minute changes to cookie distribution, a limited number were made available to staff. The hot beverage availability is extended through Friday in an effort to ensure all staff receive a gift of appreciation.

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Due to the quickly evolving COVID situation in Kingston, the planned campus-wide distribution of complimentary hot beverages and oversized cookies from Card’s Bakery via campus retail locations to celebrate Staff and Faculty Appreciation Day on Wednesday, Dec. 15 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date in 2022. Thanks to the help of Lionhearts Inc., Queen’s will redistribute the majority of the perishable holiday treats to non-profit agencies across Kingston who are assisting some of the most in need in our community.

Staff and Faculty Appreciation Day Celebration
Dec 15, 2021
3:30-4 p.m. (30 minutes)
Microsoft Teams Meeting

Many thanks to Shawn Seargeant (one of the speakers at the Principal’s United Way speaker series earlier this year) who responded quickly to assist on behalf of Lionhearts, and Monika Cook, who helped arrange for the cookies to be added to Lionhearts’ daily deliveries this Wednesday. To learn more about the incredible work that Lionhearts does year-round and the agencies it supports, visit lionhearts.ca

The planned prize draws on Dec. 15 will proceed. At 3:30 pm Principal Patrick Deane will broadcast live with a special message for staff via MS Teams Events and conduct the prize draw from his office with many prizes available for staff and faculty who registered via our website between Nov. 30–Dec. 13. One entry per staff or faculty member has been electronically generated and will be chosen randomly. Prizes to be won include:

  • $1,000 Downtown Kingston BIA “Downtown Dollars” (10 x $20, 6 x $50, and 5 x $100)
  • 2 gift baskets from Cooke's Fine Foods
  • 3 complete sets of 2021 pewter ornaments from Downtown Kingston

COVID-19 testing options for students

Due to the prevalence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the Kingston region, KFL&A Public Health strongly encourages all students to get tested for COVID-19 before leaving the KFL&A region for the winter break. This follows the university’s email to students yesterday regarding in-person exams.

  • Queen’s is making rapid antigen tests available to students who are asymptomatic, and have not been told they are a high-risk contact of a person with COVID-19. 
    • These tests can be picked up at Grant Hall, Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. 
    • Students can pick up one rapid test each. 
    • Please refer carefully to the guidance below. If the test is positive, students must isolate in-place for 10 days, and they must get a PCR test.
  • If students are symptomatic, or have been told they are a high-risk contact, they must get a PCR test, rather than a rapid antigen test, and self-isolate while awaiting test results.
    • Students can pick up self-swab PCR tests Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm at the southeast entrance of Mitchell Hall (across from Kinesiology building off Division St) from Student Wellness Services. They can also speak to a nurse.
      • Students will be asked to self-swab at home and return within two hours so their sample can be sent to a lab for testing. 
      • Results will be available within 48 hours.
    • Students can also make an appointment for a PCR test at Student Wellness Services to have a health care professional administer the test.
    • PCR testing can also be booked online through KFL&A Public Health.
  • If the result is positive, students must isolate in-place for 10 days. 
  • If they are a high-risk contact, they must isolate for the full 10 days, regardless of vaccination status, even if their test is negative. 

Students intending to leave Kingston for the winter break, who have received a negative rapid antigen or PCR test, and who are not high-risk contacts, are encouraged to depart as soon as possible.

If students have already returned home, they are strongly encouraged to seek a single PCR test and isolate while waiting for results.

Support services remain available for students who cannot return home. Queen’s residences remain open for students who cannot travel and students in residence have received a follow-up communication with further details.

Additional information on changes to campus operations will continue to be communicated to the Queen’s community. Please refer to the Safe Return website for up-to-date information.

Queen’s discontinues in-person exams effective immediately

Testing for students strongly encouraged before leaving KFL&A region.

Due to concerns with the rising cases of COVID-19 within our student population, and in consultation with Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health, Queen’s university is discontinuing in-person exams in Kingston effective immediately.

All remaining in-person exams scheduled for the remainder of the examination period to Dec. 22, will be changed to an alternative delivery format wherever possible. Should an alternative delivery not be possible, then exams will be rescheduled in the new year. Students will be contacted by their faculty or school with further details. This announcement does not affect online exams previously scheduled, which will proceed as planned.

In order to provide faculty with time to move to alternative delivery formats, exams scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13 and Tuesday, Dec. 14 specifically will be rescheduled for a later date.

Starting on Monday, both the Library and the Athletics & Recreation Centre (ARC) will implement reduced capacity limits.

Due to the prevalence of the Omicron variant in the Kingston region, KFL&A Public Health strongly encourages all students to get tested for COVID-19 before leaving the KFL&A region for the winter break.  

If students are asymptomatic, and have not been told they are a high-risk contact of a person with COVID-19, they should complete a rapid antigen test.  If their test is positive, they must isolate in-place for 10 days. They must also confirm any rapid antigen positive tests with a PCR test.  Queen’s is working on a plan to provide free rapid antigen test kits on-campus as early as possible on Monday.

If students are symptomatic, or have been told they are a high-risk contact, they must get a PCR test and self-isolate while awaiting test results. If they are positive, they must isolate in-place for 10 days. If they are a high-risk contact, they must isolate for the full 10 days, regardless of vaccination status, even if their test is negative.  PCR testing can be booked online through KFL&A Public Health. Students can also make an appointment at Student Wellness Services.

Once those students intending to leave Kingston for the winter break have received a negative rapid antigen or PCR test, and who are not high-risk contacts, are encouraged to depart as soon as possible. If students have already returned home, they are strongly encouraged to seek a single PCR test and isolate while waiting for results.

Support services remain available for students who cannot return home. Queen’s residences remain open for students who cannot travel and students in residence will receive a follow-up communication with further details.

Additional information on changes to campus operations will be communicated to the Queen’s community as soon as possible on Monday. Please refer to the Safe Return website for up-to-date information.

Queen’s campaign raises more than $450,000 for United Way

Donations in support of the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington are still being accepted.

Queen's United Way committee members hold up $450,268
Queen's United Way committee members hold up $450,268, the total amount of funds raised as of Dec. 8.

The Queen’s community has set a new standard in giving, donating more than $450,000 to the university’s annual campaign in support of the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

The fundraising total continues to grow as donations are being accepted through to the end of the year.

Faced with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic Queen’s staff, faculty, retirees, and students have thrown their support behind the KFL&A community.

A key component to this growth has been the introduction of ‘Department Champions’ across the university who communicate with colleagues and peers to help promote the campaign’s initiatives and goals and share what it means to support the United Way.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic and hybrid work environment on a traditional campaign, the hard work by our department champions and our committee shows in this year's amazing total,” says James Ligthart, chair of the Queen’s United Way Fundraising Campaign Committee. “The dedicated group of staff, faculty and retiree volunteers from across the campus make this campaign possible. The total reflects their hard work.”

A year after topping $400,000 for the first time, the Queen’s campaign, the largest workplace campaign for the United Way of KFL&A, continued to grow.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, a member of United Way KFL&A’s campaign cabinet, hosted a virtual speaker series for Queen’s taking a closer look at how the United Way of KFL&A and local agencies are addressing the needs of people facing serious issues in our community and how our donations are helping to make a difference.

“I am proud that so many at Queen’s gave to this year’s campaign. The United Way is essential to the health and wellbeing of our community,” Principal Deane says. “I am grateful to our supporters at Queen’s for their generosity particularly in a time when the pandemic is putting a further strain on the services that United Way agencies provide. I would like to personally thank all of our Queen’s staff, faculty, students, and retirees for contributing to the campaign and to all those who volunteer their time to assist with the work of the many United Way agencies.”

Last year, the United Way assisted nearly 80,000 members of the community through 70 agencies and 220 programs.


As the single largest workplace campaign between Toronto and Ottawa, the Queen’s community makes a significant difference and helps meet and overcome many challenges faced by the KFL&A community.

Donations to the 2021 Queen’s United Way Campaign can still be made at queensu.ca/unitedway.

On Nov. 25, the United Way KFL&A announced that it had exceeded its fundraising goal of $3.8 million. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the United Way KFL&A has seen increased demand across the communities it serves, and service providers facing new and greater challenges.

Donations can also be made to the United Way’s Gift of Hope campaign.


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