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Accepting an award, remembering a friend

John Smol receives the Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership and Science.

John Smol has received an Arctic research lifetime achievement award named in honour of his friend and former colleague Martin Bergmann.

“I knew and had worked with Marty for many years. He was a great guy who always ‘got things done,’ so receiving the Bergmann Medal is very close to me,” Dr. Smol says.

Queen's researcher John Smol has received the Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership and Science. Established by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2012, the award is named in recognition of Mr. Bergmann's career as an Arctic researcher and director of the Polar Continental Shelf Program with Natural Resources Canada.

Mr. Bergmann was an Arctic researcher and director of the Polar Continental Shelf Program with Natural Resources Canada. Mr. Bergmann died when First Air charter flight 6560 crashed in Resolute, Nunavut on Aug. 20, 2011.

Established by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2012, the medal recognizes achievement for “excellence in Arctic leadership and science.”

Dr. Smol received the award for more than 30 years of research in the Arctic. Since making his first trip north in 1983, Dr. Smol has studied climate change effects on the Arctic and water contamination from mining and human activities, as well as a spectrum of other issues.

“During my career, I have had the opportunity to work on a large number of issues all around the region,” says Dr. Smol. “We’ve done a lot of work in the Arctic and we’ve learned a lot about how climate change, contamination and humans impact northern ecosystems. Canada has stewardship over a large part of the Arctic, and the Arctic is a very important part of who we are as a nation.”

While the award recognizes Dr. Smol’s collective work in the Arctic region, he’s quick to point out that he is far from finished. Both the wealth of research opportunities and the landscape itself promises to keep bringing him back.

“A lot of people go up to the High Arctic for two or three years and then family or other obligations prevent them from going back again,” said Dr. Smol. “If you go up one too many times, you’ll keep coming back forever. It’s in your blood. It’s a hauntingly beautiful place and you get hooked.”

Dr. Smol received the award at the annual Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellows’ gala dinner on Nov. 18 in Ottawa. The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, presented Dr. Smol with the award.

 

Sit down, take a moment

[Thrive organizers]
Thrive organizers Angela Reed, Sydney Downey and Emily Johnston (left to right) take a break after a busy week of events. The new yellow benches on main and west campuses will serve to remind the Queen’s community about the importance of positive mental health and well-being.

A few days after hosting more than 70 events over a one-week period, Thrive organizers Sydney Downey, Angela Reed and Emily Johnston can finally relax. They reflect on the inaugural event while sitting on one of two new yellow benches, which they hope will continually remind the Queen’s community about the importance of positive mental health and well-being.

“From the beginning, we saw the first week in November as the first step toward helping people ‘thrive 365,’” says Sydney Downey, Manager, Return to Work and Accommodation Services in Human Resources (HR). “I think we have made progress toward that goal with people expressing interest in certain activities continuing throughout the year.”

The University of British Columbia created Thrive several years ago, and Queen’s HR adopted it with the goal of promoting positive mental health and resiliency among staff, faculty and students. Ms. Downey estimates half of the cases she deals with involve mental health, and those tend to result in longer medical absences from work.

Thrive organizers consulted broadly at Queen’s and the local community to come up with an exciting series of events. Through the activities, participants could relieve stress and learn more about the various services available to them. Departments and units also hosted their own Thrive events, with activities such as “bring you pet to work day” and a video gaming hour.

“We definitely got a lot positive feedback. People told us that Thrive helped them try new things and learn more about what people across campus do to relieve stress,” Ms. Reed says. “I played dodgeball, which I never would have tried otherwise.”

The week drew to a close on Nov. 6 with the installation of two yellow benches on Queen’s main and west campuses. Physical Plant Services refurbished the benches and donated them along with two new red maple trees that are planted nearby.

Thrive organizers borrowed the bench idea from the Friendship Bench project that students at Carleton University started to honour their friend Lucas Fiorella, who suffered from depression and committed suicide in 2014. The bright yellow benches are intended to raise awareness of mental health-related issues and help remove the stigma that surrounds the topic.

“The Thrive benches, which really brighten up campus, invite people to take a moment and have a conversation with a friend or co-worker,” Ms. Johnston says.

HR is currently evaluating the activities, which will inform planning for next year’s Thrive week. People who signed up for events will receive an email within the next couple of weeks asking for their feedback. If you didn’t attend an event but would like to offer your feedback, please send an email to Emily Johnston, HR Customer Service Representative.

New edition of the Gazette

The Nov. 17 edition of the Gazette is now available and can be picked up around Queen’s campus, as well as a number of off-campus locations.

[Gazette Nov. 17, 2015]
Read the Gazette online.

As always the newspaper is filled with interesting Queen's-focused items including:

  • A closer look at the members of the Queen’s community who received the Distinguished Service Awards.
  • A recap of the official opening of Smith House, one of two recently-built residences.
  • A roundup of the winners of the “Art of Research” photo contest.
  • Updates on the latest research, awards and achievements of faculty, staff and students.

The Gazette is published biweekly during the academic year; the next edition will hit the newsstands on Dec. 1.

Anyone looking to get a story, photo or information in the Gazette can contact the paper's editor Andrew Carroll or Senior Communications Officer Mark Kerr.

Also visit the Gazette Online for more stories and photos and follow us on Twitter at @queensuGazette

Nominations sought for Senate seat

Nominations are requested for the following position: 1 staff member to Senate (three-year term commencing Sept. 1, 2016).

Nomination forms and information about eligibility and the nomination process are available online or by contacting the University Secretariat at 613-533-6095.

Nominations must be received at the University Secretariat, Suite F300 Mackintosh-Corry Hall by 4 pm on Friday, Dec. 11.

Looking into the childhood experience with religion

Students’ research into themes related to religion and childhood is currently on display at Stauffer Library.

[Religion and Childhood Posters]
For their Religion and Childhood course, Jessica Schissler, Chanel Irwin, Kayla Mullin and Rhian Catton looked into introducing an integrative education system across Canada that includes Indigenous values, world views, traditions and spirituality. (University Communications)

Students from the 200-level course “Religion and Childhood” have created more than 30 posters that are part of a display addressing a diverse range of topics including: the residential schools; children and nature; rites of passage from various religious traditions; Harry Potter; religion, childhood and popular culture; child spirituality and Indigenous Traditional Values.

The display started on Monday and will continue through to Friday, Nov. 20, which is National Child Day, celebrated in Canada in recognition of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The day was also declared Universal Children’s Day by the UN in 1954.

The role of many of the world’s great religions in child protection and advocacy has been a major theme in the class, says instructor Valerie Michaelson, a post-doctoral fellow cross-appointed to the School of Religion and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Sometimes religions get it badly wrong (as evidenced by some of the posters), but for millennia, before there were any human rights conventions related to children, members of many religious traditions advocated for children around the world, Dr. Michaelson says. That makes this display a good complement to the values reflected in National Child Day.

“One of the things we’ve tried to do in this course is to look at how religions have advocated and not advocated for children and what the potential is,” she says. “Along with all the bad stories, it has been very hopeful to see sometimes where really wonderful things happen.”

Dr. Michaelson adds that a key element to the course has been trying to: “get at the child’s voice and what the child’s experience is of religion. So we’ve looked at a lot of qualitative studies that look at children’s experience.”

The students are looking for the child’s perspective, from wearing a hijab, to taking part in communion or the experience of a Hassidic Jew growing up in New York, she says.

One group – Jessica Schissler, Chanel Irwin, Kayla Mullin and Rhian Catton – looked into introducing an integrative education system across Canada that includes Indigenous values, world views, traditions and spirituality.

One of the common factors that emerged from the studies they looked at was that teachers felt they could not effectively teach this topic to their students based on the fact that they themselves didn’t receive any extensive Indigenous education.  

“That kind of solidified our research because we thought that the only way that the problem was going to be solved, the only way that the effects of basically ignorance are going to be mitigated, is if we start this type of education at an early age,” says Ms. Schissler. “For me that was the most striking thing that I took from it, that we have to start the trend somewhere or else it’s never going to happen.”

Creating memories at Convocation

  • Principal Daniel Woolf prepares to hood his wife Julie Gordon-Woolf at Tuesday's first ceremony of Fall Convocation at Grant Hall.
    Principal Daniel Woolf prepares to hood his wife Julie Gordon-Woolf at Tuesday's first ceremony of Fall Convocation at Grant Hall.
  • Principal Daniel Woolf kisses his wife Julie Gordon-Woolf who graduated with a Master of Science in Healthcare Quality.
    Principal Daniel Woolf kisses his wife Julie Gordon-Woolf who graduated with a Master of Science in Healthcare Quality.
  • Honorary degree recipient Nellie Cournoyea speaks during the second ceremony of Fall Convocation on Tuesday.
    Honorary degree recipient Nellie Cournoyea speaks during the second ceremony of Fall Convocation on Tuesday.
  • Chancellor Jim Leech poses for a photo with a graduate during Tuesday's first ceremony of Fall Convocation at Grant Hall.
    Chancellor Jim Leech poses for a photo with a graduate during Tuesday's first ceremony of Fall Convocation at Grant Hall.
  • A graduate is hooded during Tuesday's first ceremony of Queen's University's Fall Convocation at Grant Hall.
    A graduate is hooded during Tuesday's first ceremony of Queen's University's Fall Convocation at Grant Hall.
  • Presiding over Fall Convocation are, from left, Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech and Rector Mike Young.
    Presiding over Fall Convocation are, from left, Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech and Rector Mike Young.

Fall Convocation got underway at Queen’s University with the first of five ceremonies that will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at Grant Hall.

The first convocation ceremony was marked by a special event as Principal Daniel Woolf hooded his wife Julie Gordon-Woolf as she received a Master of Science in Healthcare Quality.

For a full schedule of the ceremonies, visit the website of the Office of the University Registrar.

Learn with lynda.com

An online training service available free to all faculty, staff and students will be highlighted this week at information booths across campus.

“lynda.com is a phenomenal resource to help people learn new skills and brush up on changing technology and software applications,” says Keith McWhirter, Associate Director, ITS. “If you’ve been wondering what lynda.com is all about, I encourage you to drop by one of the booths this week to take it for a test drive and see what it has to offer.”

With thousands of instructional videos available on the latest software and technology as well as business and creativity skills, lynda.com offers a world of valuable training opportunities. Queen’s staff will be on hand at the information booths to help to sign up and to answer any questions.

Look for lynda.com booths in the following locations between 11 am and 2 pm and pick up some free lynda.com swag:

Tuesday, Nov. 17 Stauffer Library, Room 121
Wednesday, Nov. 18 Goodes Hall
Thursday,  Nov. 19  Beamish Munro Hall (Atrium)
Friday, Nov. 20 McArthur Hall, West Campus (Student Street)

Faculty, staff and students can sign up for the lynda.com with their Queen’s NetID at lynda.queensu.ca and begin browsing the wide range of training videos available. Topics include software programs, presentation skills, social media and photography. Topics are broken down into short lessons so you can either watch a full hour-long tutorial on Excel, for example, or simply select the three-minute lesson that can help you create the perfect pie chart.

The availability of lynda.com at Queen’s is made possible by a pilot project sponsored by ITS, Human Resources, Queen’s Library, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and Smith School of Business. Log in to Lynda.com now.

Flags lowered for Kevin Parker

[Kevin Parker]
Kevin Parker

Flags on campus are lowered in memory of Kevin Parker, a staff and faculty member as well as a clinical supervisor. Dr. Parker died on Nov. 13.

Dr. Parker was a respected psychologist in the Kingston community. He joined Queen’s in 1986 and most recently was director of the Queen’s Psychology Clinic.

Family and friends will be received at the James Reid Funeral Home (1900 John Counter Boulevard) on Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 5-8 pm. A memorial service will be held at Sydenham Street United Chruch (82 Sydenham St.) on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 10 am.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, Sydenham Street United Church, or a charity of your choice.

Senate in Brief

Highlights from the November 3 meeting of Senate

Consent Agenda

Senate received:

Principal’s report

In addition to his written report and schedule highlights, Principal Daniel Woolf provided the following updates:

  • Queen’s hosted a successful homecoming in October, including another successful ReUnion Street Festival organized by the AMS
  • The call for proposals for the Principal’s Dream Courses program is now out and the deadline is February 15, 2016
  • The review of the non-academic misconduct system is currently underway. The advisory committee began its consultations recently at the AMS Assembly. The committee will meet with many other stakeholder groups over the coming weeks
  • The Principal’s Advisory Committee on Divestment: Fossil Fuels had delivered its recommendations to the Principal, after receiving more than 220 submissions during its consultation with the Queen’s community. The Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees will make the final decision.
  • Queen’s held its position as fourth overall in the Maclean’s rankings medical-doctoral category, while leading in terms of student satisfaction.
  • Queen’s is opening Smith House, one of its two new residences in November

Provost’s report

In addition to his written report, Provost Alan Harrison provided the following updates:

  • Following the release of an action plan on sexual violence and harassment this past spring, the province has now tabled the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act.
  • The proposed legislation includes requirements such as having a stand-alone sexual violence policy and reporting incidents of sexual violence. Queen’s already has an initial draft of a Sexual Misconduct Policy and is working to ensure that it meets the requirements of the proposed legislation.
  • Martha Whitehead’s term as Vice-Provost and University Librarian ends on June 30, 2016, and she has indicated that she would consider a further term. In accordance with the procedures established by Senate, an advisory committee will be established to advise the on the present state and future prospects of the Library and on the selection of the Vice-Provost and University Librarian.

Board of Trustees Report

Senate received a report from the Board of Trustees.

Committee Motions and Reports

Senate approved:

Senate received and held a consultation session regarding:

Reports of Faculties and Schools

Senate received:

Question Period

The Provost provided written response to questions on BISC enrolment targets, and the 2014/15 financial statements. Principal Woolf provided a written response to a question regarding hiring processes and anti-racism training.

Communications

Senate received an announcement of the launch of the eCampus Ontario portal.

Songs for Syria

The university is supporting a sold-out fundraising concert to assist Syrian families impacted by the humanitarian crisis. 

[Lori Rand]
Lori Rand looks at photos of one of the Syrian families that has settled in the Kingston area. The Save a Family from Syria group has organized a fundraising concert featuring Sarah Harmer at the Isabel on Nov. 20.

Juno-award winning musician Sarah Harmer, a member of Artsci’93, will play a benefit show on Nov. 20. Queen’s has donated the use of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts to the event organizers, Save a Family from Syria.

“We are thrilled the university has generously provided, free of charge, such a wonderful venue for this concert,” says Lori Rand, Curriculum Coordinator for Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and a volunteer with the local branch of Save a Family from Syria.

All proceeds from the concert and the accompanying silent auction will help bring Syrian families to Kingston. The organization has successfully settled two families in the local area, and is in the process of submitting applications for two more families.

“This event demonstrates the power of positive town-gown relationships. It would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of incredible Kingston community members,” Ms. Rand says. “In addition to raising funds, we are hoping it encourages Queen’s community members to become involved in the cause.”

Save a Family from Syria is also hosting a silent auction, which has already started online. The silent auction will continue in the lobby of The Isabel during the show. View all of the items and bid online.

The benefit concert will take place Nov. 20 at The Isabel beginning at 7:30 pm. 

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