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    Fit Tip: Emergency snack stash

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

    It’s 2 pm and your stomach is grumbling. Instead of running to the nearest convenience store for a quick fix (and let’s be honest, it’s always a chocolate bar) get yourself an emergency snack stash.

    Here are a few healthy, easy snacks you can stash in your desk to prevent the mid afternoon snack attack from going too far: trailmix, raisins, apples or oranges, whole wheat crackers with natural peanut butter, package of oatmeal, tea, almonds, granola, rice cakes or cashews.

    For more healthy tips and ways to Get Your 150 visit gogaelsgo.com/150


    January edition of Vitality! available

    Read Vitality! online.

    As the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider for Queen’s University, Homewood Health publishes a regular newsletter called Vitality!

    The newsletter is intended to support key personnel with a wealth of information on the topic presented, which for this edition is “Health and Wellness at Work.”

    For more information on the Queen’s EFAP, visit queensu.ca/humanresources/employees/efap.html.

    For 24-hour EFAP services call 1-800-663-1142 (English) or 1-866-398-9505 (French).

    Tragedy and triumph

    Students from the Department of Drama at Queen's learn how to fight with broadswords and quarterstaffs for the upoming production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. (Supplied Photo)

    When the Department of Drama stages its winter production of Macbeth, the classic Shakespearean play will have a distinctly female feel to it.

    Out of the 20 actors involved, 17 are women. The three men, in an interesting twist, will be taking up the roles of the witches.

    However, this is not a retelling of the classic tragedy.

    As director Kim Renders (Drama) points out, the makeup of the production is simply a reflection of the demographics within the Queen’s Department of Drama itself. The vast majority of drama students are women.

    The characters themselves will remain true to their origin. Macbeth is he, Lady Macbeth is she.

    “My concern is to help the actors tell the story as it was written by William Shakespeare. That’s what I am trying to do,” she says. “The story is the primary focus.”

    Of course, that didn’t mean it would be easy.

    Early on, as she sat went through the process of selecting the play, Renders quickly came to the realization that there aren’t many plays that have a predominantly female cast. Then she asked why she had to find a play that is mostly female. Instead she would pick a play and just cast more women in it.

    The first play that came to mind was Macbeth and the more she considered it the more she thought ‘Why not?’ She placed herself in the position of a student once again and saw an opportunity.

    “Wouldn’t it be so exciting as a young woman to be able play some of these really great Shakespearean characters and villains,” she says.

    For the most part, however, Renders is holding closely to the script.

    As with so many of Shakespeare’s plays, at the heart of Macbeth is the struggle with the human condition, good versus evil, ambition, deceit, murder. All are universal.

    “They don’t have gender,” Renders adds.

    Where the production does stray from the original is that there will be an opening battle scene. Robert Lindsay, a professional fight choreographer, has been brought in to teach the students how to use quarterstaffs and broadswords.

    It’s another great opportunity for the young actors.

    “I think everybody is loving it, especially the cast who have the opportunity to engage in the fight scene rehearsals,” Renders says. “I think the women in the cast are happy to be learning these skills. They look fabulous and are clearly having a good time.” 

    Macbeth will be staged at the Studio Theatre of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Feb. 3-7 and Feb. 9-11 at 8 pm, along with a 2 pm matinee on Feb. 6. Tickets are $15 for students and seniors or $22 for general admission and can be purchased at theisabel.ca, the Isabel Bader Centre Box Office (12:30 pm-4:30 pm); or at the door prior to each performance.

    For more visit the Department of Drama’s website.

    Young entrepreneurs test their skills

    [Queen's Startup Summit]
    Teams of students learn the ins and outs of entrpreneurship and compete for the top prize at the 2015 Queen's Startup Summit. (University Communications)

    When it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation there’s nothing like gaining first-hand experience and that is exactly what is on offer at the Queen’s Startup Summit (QSS).

    Held Jan. 29-31, the summit brings together teams of student-delegates who are given two days to build a startup company from scratch and pitch their idea to a panel of judges.

    In its fourth year, the Queen’s Startup Summit attracts delegates from Queen’s and other universities who are looking to put their skills to the test in an intense environment that also offers space for creativity and collaboration. Cash prizes are handed out to help the winning teams turn their ideas into reality.

    Michaele Francesco Corbisiero (Artsci’17), Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, has been involved with organizing QSS for three years and attended the inaugural event as a delegate. He says a key focus of the event is networking and recommends it to anyone interested in entrepreneurship or startups.

    “After being a part of the summit as a delegate, I wanted to get involved ‘behind the scenes,’” he says. “I've watched the summit evolve into an event where all students of Queen’s can come and learn more about entrepreneurship through first-hand experience. First-hand experience is scarce and hard to come across, but QSS makes that possible.” 

    After coming up with a product, the teams are tasked with creating a business model, marketing plan and a prototype. Working out of Goodes Hall, the teams have access to a group of mentors, including a number of Queen’s alumni, who have volunteered their time to offer guidance and advice. At the final stage, teams have 15 minutes to pitch their company to the judges and respond to critiques and questions.

    While it’s an intense challenge, the draw of the Queen’s Startup Summit is simple, says Mr. Corbisiero.

    “Students see an easy opportunity to take a simple, innovative idea, work on it, and mold it into something that they can make a living off of while also positively changing the lives of those around them,” he explains. 

    The Queen’s Startup Summit was founded in 2013 by a group of students and the Queen’s Innovator Connector (QIC) and is aimed at introducing students to the life of an entrepreneur as the economy continues to shift toward jobs, companies and industries of shorter duration than in the past.

    “QSS in particular fills a nice role in the entire Queen’s offering in that gives an opportunity for the people to taste all aspects of entrepreneurship – pitching, forming a team, bootstrapping, moving decisively and efficiently. It exposes students to the full experience in a short amount of time,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Queen’s Innovator Connector.  “It’s an important part of the entrepreneurial funnel in our ecosystem.”

    More information and the eventual results of the event can be found on Queen’s Startup Summit website.

    To learn more about Queen’s Innovation Connector visit the QIC website.

    Weigh-in on future of Arts and Science, next dean

    The Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) announced today that a committee will be struck to advise Principal Daniel Woolf on the present state and future prospects of the Faculty of Arts and Science and on the selection of the next dean.

    “We encourage all members of the Queen’s community to offer their input on the faculty and suggest individuals who might serve on the advisory committee,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic).

    Dr. Susan Mumm has resigned from her position as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, and from her academic appointment at Queen’s, effective June 30, 2016. An advisory committee chaired by the provost will be established in accordance with the procedures established by Senate. The committee will work in consultation with incoming provost, Benoit-Antoine Bacon.

    Community members are asked to send their commentary and suggestions for membership of the advisory committee to the provost via email (lacey.monk@queensu.ca) by Feb. 12. Respondents should indicate whether they wish to have their letters shown, in confidence, to the members of the advisory committee.

    Weigh in on the Queen’s Learning Outcomes Framework

    The Queen’s Learning Outcomes Working Group is calling on the Queen’s community to take part in its final survey and is welcoming feedback from students, staff, faculty and alumni on its draft learning outcomes framework.

    Integrating learning outcomes into curricula is among the key drivers of successful student learning, and the working group is endeavoring to create a framework of both the academic and co-curricular skills and knowledge that make an education at Queen’s distinctive. They consulted broadly across the university through focus groups, surveys, and meetings with groups like faculty boards and the Alma Mater Society (AMS), and have used that input to create a six item framework.

    The survey will be open until Monday, Feb. 1, after which the working group plans to revise the learning outcomes. They hope to bring the learning outcomes framework forward for approval to the Senate Committee on Academic Development and the Senate in early spring. 

    Quiet writing time for faculty, post-docs

    The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) is teaming up with Queen’s University Library to offer communal space for quiet writing on a monthly basis to Queen's faculty and post-docs.

    [Fireplace Room]
    Quiet space is being made available to Queen's faculty and post-docs once a month on Friday mornings in the Fireplace Reading Room in Stauffer Library. (University Communications)

    This space will be offered once a month on Friday mornings in the Fireplace Reading Room in Stauffer Library for the rest of the academic year. The first quiet writing time will be held this Friday, Jan. 29, from 8 am – noon.

    “In December we hosted a writing retreat to encourage faculty members to set time aside to stimulate their creativity and to prioritize their writing," says Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research). "The event was a great success, and several faculty members suggested that we provide time and space on campus for faculty to gather to write on a regular basis.”

    Several individuals specifically mentioned holding this event in the library.

    "The library was delighted to make this space available to faculty," says Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian. "In our planning we are always looking at ways we can continue to support research prominence through our services, collections and spaces.”

    In addition to this Friday, quiet writing times are scheduled from 8 am-noon on the following dates:

    • Friday, Feb. 26
    • Friday, March 18
    • Friday, April 29
    • Friday, May 27
    • Friday, June 24

    Space is limited, and registration is recommended to ensure a spot. To register for Jan. 29 writing session click here.

    Questions and suggestions may be directed to Yolande Chan at ychan@queensu.ca.

    Mental Health: An Evergreen Priority at Queen’s

    The following item was first published on the Principal's Blog.

    As our campus evolves and strategic targets are reached, new priorities take the place of the old. In my six years as principal, I’ve seen ambitious goals come and go as they are met, but there is one priority that remains high on the list year after year: mental health.

    [Principal Daniel Woolf]
    Daniel Woolf is principal and vice-chancellor of Queen's University.

    Some might consider this a failure, but I believe the opposite is true. We have made far too many strides in improving awareness of the mental health-related challenges that are inherent in university life, and the resources that exist on our campus to help our students manage these challenges, for us to write it off as such. However, we know that we still have a long way to go in building the most responsive and supportive community that we can. On paper, we can set deadlines and targets, but in reality, this issue is complex, pervasive and constantly evolving. At Queen’s, mental health has become our evergreen priority.

    We are working to support mental health research at Queen’s, and yet each time we address a challenge, new concerns present themselves. For instance, Dr. Michael Condra, our former director of Student Wellness Services, and Dr. Heather Stuart, our Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, are two researchers who have been studying ways to reduce the shame and stigma associated with mental illness on campus. We are now witnessing the positive outcomes of their important work. As the stigma has slowly dissipated, and the number of requests for accommodations has risen, we have responded by increasing the number of advisors available to Queen’s students and we recently piloted a first-year transition program for students with disabilities.

    Of course, we have also been working hard to improve our counselling and wellness services across campus, and we know that we must continue to increase access to them. We are now actively exploring ways to co-locate services that promote physical and mental wellness with other academic and student services offices as a way of integrating health with the entire student experience. The proposed new wellness and innovation centre will be complemented by our embedded counselling services within faculties and campus buildings, which serve to reduce stigma and offer easier access to care and programming that is customized to the needs, culture and environment of each faculty.

    We also know that we need to focus on the health and wellness of the entire Queen’s community, and not just our students. For example, approximately 24 per cent of reported sick leave absences among employees relate to mental illness. In addition, these absences tend to be the longest in duration and most difficult to overcome when returning to the workplace. In an effort to combat this, Queen’s hosted its first Thrive Week this past November, which comprised a series of events focused on building positive mental health for students, faculty and staff. More than 70 events were held on campus over five days, structured around Thrive’s mental health themes: sleep, stress, stigma, physical activity and nutrition. It was wildly successful for its first year, and the implementation team is now working to maintain many of the activities throughout the year, and explore ways to improve faculty turnout next year.

    I think it is also fair to say that the issues our community members face evolve over time and our response needs to reflect the increasing diversity of our student population. Last week, our university chaplain Kate Johnson talked about how she has increased student access to faith-based support through the hiring of part-time chaplains of multiple faith, a new multi-faith space on west campus, and a values-based financial literacy program, which has seen the number of enrolled students double in the past year.

    Today at Queen’s we celebrate Bell Let’s Talk Day, which serves as both an important reminder of the issues we face together and a unique fundraising campaign that has helped to funnel more than $100 million towards mental health initiatives in Canada since 2010. Today, we also celebrate the work of our researchers who are making it easier to ask for help. We celebrate the dedication of our students, faculty and staff to making Queen’s a safer and more inclusive place. We celebrate our accomplishments, while acknowledging that we still have a great deal of distance to go.


    For more information on Bell Let’s Talk Day, see a recent blog post from our Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, Dr. Heather Stuart.

    Work remains in battle against mental illness stigma

    Queen’s researcher Heather Stuart continues to make a difference for people with mental illness

    Entering her fifth year as the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, Heather Stuart is encouraged by the progress she and her team have made in the emerging field of research. However, she knows her work is far from over.

    Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair Heather Stuart continues her fight against stigma.

    “This chair highlights a need for expertise in an area that was completely neglected before. The chair has allowed us to build bridges between the academic world, media, programs, practitioners, people with mental illnesses, and their family members,” Dr. Stuart says. “However, this chair is the only one of its kind in the world, so there’s room for additional expertise in this area, which was completely neglected just a few short years ago.”

    The campaign to end stigma around mental illness will take centre stage on Wednesday, Jan. 27 during Bell Let’s Talk Day. Dr. Stuart believes public outreach events like this one and the Bell Lecture on Mental Health and Anti-Stigma are critical for advancing the cause.

     “We have made a huge impact and people are definitely talking about this,” says Dr. Stuart, who has been a featured speaker at the Bell lecture in previous years. “The people who participate in these events are grateful we are recognizing the stigma around mental health after it has been ignored for so many years. At the end of the talks, so many people lineup to meet me and the other presenters and talk about their lives. We are validating their experiences in a way.”

    In her own research, Dr. Stuart is concentrating on intervention. Her goal is to create a tool kit that’s accessible to everyone across Canada. To achieve this goal, she is focusing on finding community partners and working with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop best practices.

    “Everyone wants to make a difference, but they need the resources to do a great job. It’s a long term process, but I am looking forward to the day when everyone can work from the same document,” says Dr. Stuart.

    Read Dr. Stuart's Dean on Campus guest blog on the School of Medicine website. For more information on Bell Let’s Talk Day visit the website.

    Payroll Services update for January

    The following is an update from Payroll Services regarding changes that will apply to the January payroll for employees of Queen’s University:

    Please note that 2016 CPP & EI deductions have restarted this month

    Federal and Ontario basic tax exemptions have increased in 2016

    For information on 2016 Federal and Provincial taxes:  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html

    2015 T4 & T4A tax slips will be available by the end of February 2016. For further information regarding Electronic T4/T4A Tax Slips: http://www.queensu.ca/humanresources/peoplesoft/myhr/t4t4a-tax-slips


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