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Research tools project enters final phase

Queen’s University has initiated the final phase of the Tools for Research at Queen’s (TRAQ) project.

The TRAQ project is providing suitable research administration tools to handle an annual average of 5,100 individual projects and provide timely information for more than 4,500 research community users. The university has already introduced new modules for managing awards, biohazard permit applications, human ethics certificates, and financial reporting.

As part of the final phase of the TRAQ project, a new system for managing research and academic CVs and annual reviews will be developed and implemented over the next two years.

“The new research, CV, and reporting system should save a lot of work for both the faculty and administration,” says Kayll Lake (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy), the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) representative on the CV and annual reporting steering committee. “Researchers associated with Tri-Council support should find very useful tools for dealing with the Canadian Common CV.”

The new tool will allow faculty members, librarians and archivists to maintain and update their CV and annual report information in one location. The tool will also eliminate the duplicate entry of research and academic data, such as courses, grants and other activities that are already available on other systems.

"The new research, CV, and reporting system should save a lot of work for both the faculty and administration."
Kayll Lake, Professor, Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy

The tool also has the capability to securely manage the workflow related to annual reviews as well as renewal, tenure and promotion processes.

“The new tool has the potential to make the Queen’s University Quality Assurance Processes (QUQAP) more efficient,” says Laeeque Daneshmend, Deputy Provost. “Because of the single repository, members of the Queen’s community will find it easier to obtain the CV information they need and generate it in the appropriate format for the evaluation of academic programs under QUQAP.”

An evaluation committee – which included faculty members from across the university – selected Data180 to implement the new system after seeing demonstrations from the top three responses to Queen’s University’s request for proposals.

“Data180 understands the university environment given the academic background of the company’s leadership and its wealth of experience developing easy to use reporting and evaluation solutions for colleges and universities,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “We look forward to introducing a new and modern CV and annual reporting tool that will improve the user experience for Queen’s faculty members and administrative staff.”

The final phase of the TRAQ project is currently in the planning stages. The project team is actively seeking participation from faculty members and their delegates for the testing, training and roll-out planning for the new tool.

Contact allent@queensu.ca, complete this questionnaire or call 613-533-6000 ext. 77315 if you are interested.

Training resources will be available for users before the different parts of the tool go live. Updates on the new tool will be posted on the TRAQ website as they become available. 

Grooming the next generation of leaders

For more than 25 years, Queen’s Enrichment Studies Unit (ESU) has given elementary and secondary school students a taste of university life. Thousands of students have attended academically challenging programs in campus labs or classrooms led by Queen’s faculty, graduate students or community professionals.

Now ESU wants to give students the leadership skills they’ll need in the years ahead, in high school and in preparation for post-secondary education.

[Enrichment Studies Unit]
Queen's Enrichment Studies Unit provides a variety of programs that give elementary and secondary school students a taste of university life.

“The new and innovative Queen’s Excellence in Skills Training (QuEST) program aims to guide students as they build the foundation for being an effective leader,” says Tracey Mallen, Manager, ESU. “The activities and classes we have designed for this program are tailored to nurture teambuilding, leadership and communication skills.”

The three-part summer program is open to students who are entering Grades 7 and 8 in the fall. It includes three sessions focused on core, intermediate and advanced leadership skills. The final activity of the program requires the participants to work together and apply their leadership skills to complete a unique task.

“We believe the program will help students prepare for post-secondary education,” Ms. Mallen says. “The experience is something they can add to their portfolio or refer to when preparing the personal statement of experience portion of their university applications.”

More summer fun
[Summer camp]Athletics and Recreation also offers a staff discount on its summer camps. Visit its website for more information about its summer offerings.
Looking for even more summer camp options? The Gazette online has compiled a list of summer camps offered by various departments and groups this summer. Learn more

‘Something for everyone’

In addition to QuEST, ESU offers several other summer programs for students who are curious and love learning – “something for everyone,” according to Ms. Mallen.

The Summer Enrichment Experience at Queen’s (SEEQ) features academic courses, extra-curricular activities, and the opportunity to experience life in a residence. SEEQ has two streams: junior for students entering grades 8 and 9 and senior for students entering grades 10-12. ESU also hosts Academic Allstars – a program that combines athletics and academics in a week-long program.

ESU – a department of Student Affairs – is currently offering a staff discount for both SEEQ and QuEST programs. Visit the ESU website for more information about the summer programs and to register your child.

Flags lowered for Ronald Seegobin

Flags on campus currently lowered for student Madison Crich, Professor Emeritus Howard A. Smith and Professor Emeritus Robert Gilbert will remain lowered in honour of Dr. Ronald Seegobin. 
Dr. Seegobin began his career with Queen’s University in 1989 in the School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology, where he inspired students and residents for the next 26 years. 

Dr. Seegobin’s clinical and academic interests included cardiac anesthesia, 3D computer models of myocardial ischemia from precordial mapping, ECG analysis in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease, and the use of extradural opiates for pain relief. He received a number of grants from the British Heart Foundation, IBM, various pharmaceutical companies, and the Clinical Teachers’ Association of Queen’s University to pursue his research.

Dr. Seegobin passed away peacefully in his sleep. Visitation will be held at James Reid Funeral Home on May 1 from 6 pm-8 pm. Funeral service will be held in the chapel on May 2 at 11. As expressions of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation.

Flags lowered for Professor Emeritus Gilbert

Flags on campus that are currently lowered will also honour Robert (Bob) Gilbert, professor emeritus in the Department of Geography, who died April 27.

Dr. Gilbert was a highly productive, dedicated and creative scientist. He joined the Department of Geography in 1975 from the University of Alberta where he was a postdoctoral fellow. At Queen’s, his research focused on the processes that occur in lakes and the sea, especially on how sediments are delivered to, distributed through, and deposited in water bodies in the Great Lakes region, western Canada, the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Antarctica, Nepal and the southern United States.

Dr. Gilbert led by example through his passion for research and a deep commitment to teaching at all levels. He taught undergraduate courses in Earth system science, physical limnology, and Arctic and periglacial environments. At the graduate level he taught and supervised students in lacustrine and marine systems. Throughout his distinguished career, he was a champion for the discipline and inspired many over the years.

This story will be updated when service details become available.

Queen’s students earn ticket to Global Hackathon Seoul

[Hive Developers]
The team of, from left, Michael Layzell (Cmp'16), Jake Pittis (Cmp'18), Erik Pilkington (Cmp'18) and Max Bittker (Sc'16) are headed to the Global Hackathon Seoul after taking top place at Hack Western with their program Hive. (University  Communications)

Sometimes simplicity is the best strategy.

Queen's in the World

Of course, a good team and a lot of hard work also help and that is what powered four Queen’s University students to first prize at Hack Western last month.

Max Bittker (Sc’16), Michael Layzell (Cmp’16), Erik Pilkington (Cmp’18) and Jake Pittis (Cmp’18) took the top place at Hack Western – a weekend event known as a hackathon, which brings together teams of technology-minded people who try to take an interesting idea from start to finish over the course of the weekend.

The team’s project, Hive, is a programming game where players write code to control the behavior of virtual ants. The game works on two levels – as an artificial intelligence (AI) competition and a fun environment for new coders.

What gave them the winning edge, the team says, was that at the end of the weekend they had a finished, polished product geared toward their audience that was readily available via the internet. Fellow attendees could pull out their mobile devices and play the game while the team was presenting.

“People can play the game themselves, which is cool, because AI is an awesome thing which is usually considered very difficult to get into," says Mr. Layzell. "But with Hive, it's really easy to create a simple five-line AI which still acts in a very ant-like way.”

The game concept not only spoke to the audience, but had the team hooked as well. Once they had the first ants moving in the early stages of development they couldn’t wait to take the ants to the next level.

Another important factor was that the team members are all friends, having met through Hack Nights, an informal group that meets on campus at Queen’s. Knowing their individual strengths and skills they divided up the responsibilities and workload accordingly. And while sleep isn’t a priority the team took turns taking naps throughout the weekend or getting food, while others continued the work.

By pushing their boundaries they learned some valuable lessons. But it also took a toll. Several team members struggled with colds afterwards and catching up on sleep.

“One thing we noticed is that in period of 36 hours, if you are steadily working as a team you can get so much work done. The amount you can get done is comparable to weeks and weeks of work on a more normal schedule,” Mr. Pittis says. “The hope is that the benefits of having this dense cluster of interesting things going on outweigh the costs of having to deal with the aftereffects.”

They also learned more about themselves through the event.

“I definitely learned a lot about how to deal with bigger projects because most of the stuff I was doing was for my own purposes and now, (at the hackathon) I have to collaborate with other people and look at their code and understand  it,” Mr. Pilkington says. “It was more difficult, definitely.”

Looking ahead to Global Hackathon Seoul, set for July 29-Aug. 1, the team is excited about the possibilities the event provides, bringing  together approximately 2,000 hackers from around the world.

“It’s not going to be prize-oriented, it’s all about collaboration and ideas,” Mr. Bittker says. “The Global Hackathon is more focused on collaboration and sharing ideas and bringing in people from all over the world. That’s one of the great things about hackathons – they bring people together from all sorts of universities to the same place with a common goal almost.”

Flags lowered for Professor Emeritus Smith

Flags on campus currently lowered for student Madison Crich will remain lowered in honour of Professor Emeritus Howard A. Smith.

His career in the Queen’s Faculty of Education began in 1971 where he became a full professor in 2002, and professor emeritus in 2008. He served a term as associate dean of undergraduate programs in the 1990s. His contributions to the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University helped shape the faculty's vision and program for 37 years.

Dr. Smith's research interests included educational psychology as a science of signs, applied semiotics in learning and education, and multiple "intelligences" or ways of learning. He was the recipient of numerous grants, of which four were from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), as either principal investigator or co-investigator.

He wrote two significant books: Psychosemiotics (2001) and Teaching adolescents: Educational Psychology as a science of signs (2007). His work was also widely disseminated through peer reviewed journals and national and international conferences. 

There will be a celebration of Dr. Smith's life on Sunday, June 28 at the Donald Gordon Conference Centre from 2-4 pm.

Queen’s remembers Madison Crich

Queen’s regrets to inform the community of the death of student Madison Crich. Madison, who passed away suddenly of natural causes on April 24, recently completed her first year of study in the Faculty of Law and was an accomplished dressage rider. 

[Madison Crcih]
Madison Crich

“On behalf of the Queen's community, I want to extend deep and sincere condolences to Madison's family and friends. Our thoughts are with them at this time,” says Principal Daniel Woolf.

A celebration of life will be held on Friday, May 1. Details can be found at tubmanfuneralhomes.com. Flags on campus will be lowered in Madison’s memory.

Anyone in need of support is encouraged to contact Health, Counselling and Disability Services at 613-533-6000 ext.78264 and/or University Chaplain Kate Johnson at 613-533-2186 or kate.johnson@queensu.ca. After hours, students are encouraged to contact Campus Security at 613-533-6080, or Kate Johnson at kate.johnson@queensu.ca.

FIT TIPS: Preventing, reducing stiffness

With the aim of helping faculty, staff and students "Get Your 150" (minutes of recommended exercise a week) to improve health and wellness, the Gazette and Athletics and Recreation will be offering Fit Tips each week.

Standing or sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on your muscles. To prevent or reduce stiffness and pain, try these simple office stretches throughout your workday.

• Stretch your shoulder by placing one hand under your elbow, lift your elbow and stretch it across your chest.

• Stretch the muscles of your chest by placing your hands behind your head, squeeze your shoulder blades together, bringing your elbows back as far as possible.

• Loosen stiff neck and shoulder muscles by lowering your chin to your chest.

• Stretch the muscles along the side of your neck by tilting your ears towards your shoulder. (Don't bring your shoulder up to your ear.)

• Stretch your lower back by bring one of your knees toward your chest while sitting forward in your chair. Use your hands to gently pull it toward you. (Keep your back straight, being careful not to lean forward.)

A bloom of thanks

  • [Library cafe]
    Library staff surprise the library’s café workers, Kim Crawford and Cindy Delaney, with flowers and cards.
  • [Library cafe]
    Library staff Valerie Ashford (L) and Lori Vos (R) present flowers to café staff Kim Crawford and Cindy Delaney.
  • [Library cafe]
    The library's staff also presented the library’s café workers, Kim and Cindy, with a handmade card to thank them for a busy year.

The women who keep students and staff fuelled with coffee and snacks in Stauffer Library got a sweet-smelling surprise to mark their last day of work for the academic year. The library staff and those who work in Student Academic Success Services (SASS) took up a collection and surprised the pair with bouquets of flowers and cards to thank them for their hard work in 2014-2015. 

“Everybody loves Kim and Cindy because they are unfailingly kind and good-humoured,” says Valerie Ashford, Writing Specialist and Workshop Coordinator with Student Academic Success Services, who helped organize the gift. 

“They really embody the sort of kindness that keeps you going when it’s 9:30pm and you still have to keep studying,” agrees Tracy Bell, a Master’s student in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, who stopped by the kiosk while the flowers were being presented. “They are the kind of people who would go into their own wallets to help out a student who needed it. They want to make sure everyone gets the nutrition they need, without any judgement or hesitation.” 

The library kiosk will be closed for the summer and will reopen in September.

Visit the Hospitality Services website to view the hours of operation for on-campus retail outlets during the spring and summer months.

Conference looks at creativity and mental illness

[Dr. William Kenny]
William Kenny (Psychiatry) is hosting Creativity and the Mind, a conference looking at mental illness and creativity, at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on Friday. (University Communications)

As a professor at Queen’s and counsellor for the past four years at Health, Counselling and Disability Services, William Kenny (Psychiatry) has been immersed in the workings of the mind, including when it comes to mental health and creativity.

On Friday, Dr. Kenny is hosting the academic conference Creativity and the Mind, the first of its kind at the university, which will take a closer look at mental health from a spectrum of approaches.

The conference is inspired by similar events Dr. Kenny has attended in the United States that offered a view of mental health and treatment at odds with the mainstream approach where a patient is assessed and often treated with a pill.

This will be the focus of Creativity and the Mind, Dr. Kenny says.

“The conference is an attempt to bring together mental health people, artists, scientists, people who look at this from a different management (perspective), as well as the general public, and then try to come to grips with ‘What do we mean? How do people think?’ this sense of ‘What are we understanding, what are we labelling?’ and trying to broaden the dialogue, really, about mental illness both from a scientific standpoint and a humanistic standpoint within the general public.”

A conference he attended in Syracuse, NY, brought together mental health professionals and creative people, including a poet and a professor in fashion. It changed not only the way Dr. Kenny viewed mental health treatment but the links with creativity as well.

“Whenever I visit an art museum, especially modern art, which really deconstructs the mind actually, I come away a better therapist, with a better way of approaching people,” he says.

The Queen’s event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AEAC), will follow a similar path and offer a broad range of discussions connected to mental health and creativity.

One example is Anne Koval, a professor of art history at Mount Allison University and a poet herself. Her discussion will be on ekphrastic poetry, a form where the writer focuses on a visual work of art.

During the interactive sessions following her talk, Dr. Koval will lead a group to different paintings within the AEAC and encourage them to write their own poetry.

The key for the day, Dr. Kenny says, will be for participants to be willing to explore a wide range of ideas.

“They should come with an open mind, hopefully, and also a hopeful one,” he says. “Instead of seeing mental illness as a dead end, they’re seeing that it can open a doorway to understanding ourselves better, not just people who have an emotional illness.”

Creativity and mental illness have long been linked. Dr. Kenny explains there is a theory that the link is genetic but that the gene can affect members of the same family very differently.

“Creativity is usually the product of off-the-wall thinking, asynchronous thinking, for creative people.  Whether it is an artist or Steve Jobs, they think out of the box, so they are (considered) a genius,” he says. “Well that same out-of the-box thinking in another member of the family, they are overwhelmed, they can’t deal with it and therefore they develop an  illness as opposed to their brother, sister or cousin who becomes a very creative force.”

The all-day conference starts at 8 am and will conclude around 5:30 pm. Registration is required for the conference. Fees are: $140 - Mental Health Professionals/Family Physicians; $90 - General Public; $70 - Students/Residents


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