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Supporting Indigenous academics and Indigenous research

New funding and updated policies will support Indigenous graduate students, and students conducting research with Indigenous communities.

[Alex Veinot Queen's Chemistry]
Alex Veinot is a PhD candidate in Chemistry, and a member of Glooscap First Nation located in Nova Scotia. (University Communications)

One in four Canadians holds a bachelor’s degree or higher according to Statistics Canada. Yet for Indigenous people in Canada, the number is just one in ten - making it more of a challenge for Indigenous learners wishing to obtain a graduate education.

To help support Indigenous students seeking their masters or doctorate, the School of Graduate Studies has earmarked additional funding, and introduced a new admissions policy for Indigenous applicants in keeping with the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) task force’s report.

“These actions are a step toward increasing access to graduate studies,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean (Graduate Studies). “They align with increasing inclusivity in our graduate community and promoting opportunities for research and scholarship that actively engages Indigenous communities.”

Among the changes, the value of entrance scholarships for Indigenous students has been increased from $10,000 to $15,000. Ten such awards are adjudicated each year.

Additionally, an Indigenous Student Admission policy was approved this year to encourage applications from Indigenous candidates and support access to graduate studies.

The regulation applies to all graduate programs in the School of Graduate Studies, and it means that the evaluation of applications from Indigenous candidates will consider academic, cultural, personal, and professional background, along with other factors indicative of capacity for graduate study.

To be considered under this regulation, applicants must self-identify as Indigenous upon application for admission defined as First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Peoples.

“Financial supports such as the Robert Sutherland Fellowship, which I received in my first year of doctoral studies, and other awards with allocations designated for Indigenous students are invaluable for promoting the advancement and development of Aboriginal communities throughout Canada,” says Alex Veinot, a PhD candidate in chemistry. “While Queen’s University has made significant improvements in supporting its Indigenous students both culturally and financially, there are still issues that need further attention in order to greatly improve the experience of Indigenous students at Queen’s.

The School of Graduate Studies has also set aside funding resources to support graduate students conducting research that requires travel to Indigenous communities. Masters and doctoral students engaged in Indigenous-related research can apply for Graduate Dean’s Travel Grant for Indigenous Field Research to help offset the costs.

These awards are similar to the Dean’s Travel Awards for Doctoral Field Research, but address a particular need linked with conducting responsible and respectful research with Indigenous communities. These awards are not restricted to PhD students.

It is expected the first applications for these travel awards will be submitted in the coming academic year in response to a call for applications from the SGS.

To further raise awareness about the distinctive requirements of research collaborations with Indigenous communities, the School of Graduate Studies has partnered with the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University (ACQU) to organize a series of workshops.

The first workshop was held in October 2017 alongside the Indigenous Research Symposium and attracted nearly 90 student, faculty, and community participants. A second workshop will be held in November 2018 and will focus on issues of ownership and control in research.

“We are working with the ACQU and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre to enhance our outreach, and to facilitate research with and by Indigenous communities,” says Marta Straznicky, Associate Dean (School of Graduate Studies). “It is important we build these relationships in a manner that respects Indigenous knowledge, research methodologies, and cultural protocols.”

“Respecting different ways of knowing and facilitating uptake and mobilization of the scholarly work requires that consideration be given to how the work is presented,” she adds. “The revised regulations on thesis structure affords flexibility in how the research is presented for alignment with the nature of the research conducted.”

For more information on support for Indigenous graduate students at Queen’s, visit queensu.ca/sgs/aboriginal-students

Queen’s remembers James H. Brown

James Herbert Brown (Sc'50), Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, died on Sunday June 3. He was 88.

Queen’s remembers James H. Brown
James Herbert Brown (Sc'50)

After graduating from Queen's, Dr. Brown earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from MIT and was a faculty member at the Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining. He served as dean of what was then called the Faculty of Applied Science from 1964 to 1970.

Dr. Brown was well known for his love of life, of teaching and learning and of conceptualizing and building.

According to his wishes there will be no formal funeral or celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, donations to the UHKF, in support of the Kingston Health Sciences Centre would be appreciated by the family.

An obituary is available online.

Queen’s remembers student Gage B. Foster

Queen’s University regrets to inform the community of the death of student and athlete Gage B. Foster.

Gage B. Foster
Gage Foster had completed his first year of studies at Queen's University and was a member of the Gaels varsity football team.

Gage died on Friday, June 8, 2018, while home in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. He was 19 years old. Gage was studying geography in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and was a redshirt freshman with the Gaels varsity football program in 2017.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of Gage’s death. In his first year at Queen’s, he made a positive and lasting impact on the lives of people who knew him. On behalf of the university community, we extend our deepest sympathies to Gage’s family and friends,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Gage excelled at many positions including wide receiver and also ran track at Portage Collegiate, where he was named his high school’s male senior athlete of the year last June.

“Gage was full of life and promise and he was determined to make it here. He was very pleasant to be around and we had looked forward to seeing him play for the Gaels,” says Pat Sheahan, Head Coach Football, Queen’s Athletics and Recreation. “I offer my condolences to Aggie and Gary for their loss – they raised a good son.”

Flags on campus will be lowered in Gage's memory on Thursday, June 14.

An obituary is available online.

New members elected to University Council

Ten new representatives selected for four-year terms through online vote by Queen's alumni.

Queen’s alumni have elected 10 new representatives to University Council.

The successful candidates are:

  • John Armitage 
  • Heather Black 
  • Lindsay Board
  • Stephanie Garraway 
  • Katrina Samson 
  • Denise Shortt 
  • Amrita V. Singh 
  • Susan Smith 
  • Sarah Virani 
  • Elaine Wu 

An online vote for the 10 four-year term positions was held May 28-June 11. The term begins Sept. 1, 2018.

Established by statute in 1874, University Council serves as an advisory body to the university. Members provide advice on issues relating to the prosperity and well-being of Queen’s. The council’s responsibilities include the appointment of the chancellor and the election of six members to the Board of Trustees.

For more information visit the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel website.

Questions can be directed to the University Secretariat at 613-533-6095 or email.


Finding equity

A new mobile application launched by the Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Office will help visitors to campus find equity resources.

[Equity App screenshot]
Users of the Equity Locator app can search for specific resources, check buildings they intend to visit, or have the application follow them and show them what is nearby. (Supplied Photo) 

A new Queen’s mobile application seeks to make campus more welcoming to a wider array of visitors.

The Queen’s Equity Locator offers maps of the Queens University main and west campuses, as well as The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. These maps contain equity-related points of interest across the three locations.

These resources range from safety basics like phones, emergency exits, and security lamps, to accessibility essentials like elevators, accessible washrooms, and accessible entrances, to amenities such as gender-neutral washrooms, breastfeeding stations, and resources.

“This new application will be an important resource for students, staff, faculty, and visitors to campus so we can provide a more welcoming and inclusive experience for them,” says Stephanie Simpson, University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights and Executive Director of the Equity and Human Rights Office. “Many equity-seeking members of our community may not be aware of the resources available to them, and this is one more channel through which we can highlight our available supports.”

In addition to being able to scan the campus for the necessary resources, users can also see which supports are close to their current location through optional global positioning system (GPS) tracking. Users can also look up specific buildings to find out what accommodations are available before visiting campus. They can also submit resources they find on campus which are not listed.

“This began as an effort to map gender-neutral washrooms on campus, and we are pleased with the end result which will serve many within our community,” says Jill Christie, Manager, Data and Administration with the Equity and Human Rights Office. “We view this app as an ongoing effort, and we welcome feedback and submissions from the community.”

The application is a free download for iPhone and iPad, and is available through the App Store.

Fresh funds for fresh water

Water purification technology which started in a Queen’s laboratory is one step closer to commercial reality.

Phil Jessop in his lab in Chernoff Hall. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
Phil Jessop in his lab in Chernoff Hall. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

Canadians are the second largest users of water in the world, behind only Americans. Statistics Canada says Canadian households used 3.2 billion cubic metres of water in 2013 (or about 249 litres per person per day), and the majority of that water is simply flushed down the drain.

To help address this problem, Queen’s Professor Philip Jessop has been researching a process called forward osmosis – aiming to return wastewater to a drinkable state. This process could have major implications in both protecting our drinking supply and reducing the cost of purifying or disposing of wastewater.

His intellectual property was licensed from Queen’s by GreenCentre Canada (GCC), a Kingston-based technology and business accelerator focused on green chemistry and materials-science innovations. In addition to being a professor at Queen’s, Dr. Jessop is the Technical Director of GCC.

With GCC’s aid, Dr. Jessop’s technology was shown to be highly effective at remove clean water from waste streams and water containing massive amounts of contaminating salts. This was achieved through a process called forward osmosis.

The forward osmosis technology formed the basis for the GCC spin-off company, Forward Water Technologies (FWT), in October 2012.

[FWT prototype forward osmosis device]
Forward Water Technologies operates an engineering scale pilot forward osmosis device in Mississauga. (Supplied Photo)

GCC has made significant investments in the development of Dr. Jessop’s technology. This includes funding the construction of an engineering scale pilot unit by FWT in Mississauga capable of treating over 1000 litres of wastewater per day.

The success of that pilot resulted in a recently announced joint investment by the not-for-profit Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) and other private investors to help bring the technology to full commercial readiness.

“We are on the brink of a critical phase in the long path to commercialization, and to garner both financial support and commercial expertise from organizations such as BIC is extremely critical,” said C. Howie Honeyman, Chief Executive Officer of FWT.

This proprietary forward osmosis system is a highly energy efficient process that has successfully removed many pollutants and impurities from wastewater streams. At the end of the process, the fresh water is available for re-use or discharge to either sewer or surface water systems. The technology could be of interest to municipalities, factories, the energy sector, and the chemical industry to name a few.

“Queen’s has a long history of supporting the technology transfer of novel technologies arising from research at Queen’s,” says Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation). “Queen’s researchers are providing new insights into, and innovative solutions for, humanity’s impact on our environment, and Dr. Jessop’s research is a perfect example of this. We congratulate GCC and the Forward Water Technologies teams on this financing.”

This investment is significant to FWT for two reasons. First, it unlocks a substantial government funding opportunity which was conditional on private financing.

Second, it positions Forward Water Technologies for its ultimate goal of commercial success. With commercial success could come a healthier future for everyone who drinks water, and a reduced environmental impact and financial cost of water purification.

“Commercializing this kind of research is much more expensive and time-consuming than products like a new pen or phone application, but the potential benefit to humanity and our environment is also much greater,” says Dr. Jessop. “I am delighted that the forward osmosis technology has taken one major step closer to becoming a commercial reality through these investments, and look forward to continuing to make the technology greener and more efficient.”

To learn more about the company, visit forwardwater.com

Budget 2018-19 approved by Board

The new budget allocates new funding for research, accessibility, and faculty hires.

The Queen’s Board of Trustees recently approved the 2018-19 operating budget. This year’s plan will see the university deliver another balanced budget, while also investing in a range of strategic priorities.

“This budget once again affords us the ability to invest in major institutional priorities, such as faculty renewal, research excellence, and diversity and inclusivity,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “While we continue to face some pressures around our pension and facilities maintenance, the hard work of the last several years has provided stability and a promising future for Queen’s.”

After contributions to the pension reserve there is a budgeted deficit of $7.7 million, which is then offset by the drawdown of operating carryforward reserves resulting in a balanced budget.

While the majority of the budget allocations cover ongoing expenses including salaries, utilities, and building maintenance, the university has allocated some discretionary funds towards key institutional priorities.

Growing Our Community

In 2018-19, the university will continue recruiting new faculty as part of the Principal’s faculty renewal initiative. This plan calls for the hiring of 200 tenured or tenure-track faculty members over five years.
“The Principal’s faculty renewal plan represents an extraordinary opportunity to recruit faculty to Queen’s with diverse backgrounds, experiences and research areas,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “We have already been very successful in attracting talented and accomplished faculty members, allowing us to build on our research strengths, and foster diversity, inclusivity, and reconciliation.”

In response to a recent accessibility audit, this year’s budget also includes some funding dedicated to making campus more accessible. In addition to the annual funding dedicated to deferred maintenance, the university is allocating $250,000 to make accessibility improvements across campus.

This accessibility funding will also complement the three years of diversity and inclusivity funding that was announced as part of last year’s budget. The 2017-18 budget pledged $3 million over three years to foster inclusivity at Queen’s.

Research and Innovation

Recognizing the importance of Queen’s research, the 2018-19 budget makes a few specific and deliberate investments in Queen’s research strengths.

“Queen’s has a long history of pioneering discoveries and innovations that have shaped our knowledge and helped address some of the world’s deepest mysteries and most pressing questions,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Importantly, these new funds will help us build on our research strengths and continue to strengthen our research culture.”

Among the new investments is a Research Catalyst fund within the Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio. This $600,000 annual fund will be used to support emerging and strategic research opportunities.

The budget also allocates $7 million to create a new Research Intensity fund. This annual fund is designed to support the indirect costs of conducting research, and addresses a recommendation stemming from the review of the budget model.

Financial Sustainability

There are many ongoing challenges which the university is addressing through targeted investments.

Queen’s continues to contribute to a pension reserve, while it remains in negotiations to create a new jointly sponsored pension plan for the Ontario university sector, along with partners at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph.

Additionally, the institution has earmarked an additional $750,000 for facility repairs and upgrades. Queen’s will spend a total of $11.9 million on deferred maintenance in 2018-19.

Risks to the budget include the dependence on government grants and regulated tuition and market volatility affecting university investments. In addition, future investments will be required to support information technology and infrastructure renewal. These risks are being closely managed and mitigated, and incremental investments in infrastructure are being made to ensure sustainability.

Learn More

To see this year’s budget, visit queensu.ca/financialservices/publications

Preferred Supplier Trade Show set for June 21

Queen’s Strategic Procurement Services is hosting the 2018 Preferred Supplier Trade Show on Thursday, June 21, in the Biosciences Complex Atrium at 116 Barrie St. from 10 am to 2 pm.  
Visitors can browse through the show and welcome the many businesses and individuals who support the university on a daily basis.

View the products and services of the university’s business partners and speak directly with Queen’s preferred suppliers. (Remember to bring along business cards to establish contacts and enter in the many draws donated by our generous suppliers).

Be sure to enter the draw at the show for a chance to win an iPad Mini courtesy of Queen’s Strategic Procurement Services.

Enjoy a buffet lunch provided by Scotiabank, Trico Evolution, Workspace Interiors/Grand & Toy, VWR, Holmes & Brakel, Maritime Travel and Fisher Scientific.

View the Event Poster and see who is attending.

For more information contact Steve Young, Strategic Procurement Services, Ext. 32912.

Choose your own adventure

If you have an idea for a new experiential learning opportunity, you can apply for up to $2,000 in one-time funding to make it a reality.

[Two of the WIIS-Queen's leaders]
Andrea Vovk, Vice President of WIIS-Queen's, (Artsci’18), and Lindsay Coombs, President and Founder of WIIS-Queen's. Ms. Coombs is a PhD candidate in Political Studies. (Photo by Carling Bennet, Artsci’18)

Students, faculty, and staff looking to introduce a new hands-on learning opportunity can apply for funding support through Queen’s Experiential Learning Hub.

Applications are now open to the Experiential Learning Projects Fund – a one-time funding opportunity designed to integrate experiential learning opportunities into courses or co-curricular projects, enabling students to apply workplace-linked skills on-campus, across the country or around the world.

“By bridging theory and practice, experiential learning activities provide students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom, enhancing their understanding and knowledge of themselves and their field of study,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Career Services which oversees the Experiential Learning Hub. “In Winter 2018 this program supported 19 projects resulting in 247 Queen’s students accessing new experiential learning opportunities. We hope to continue to build on these strong results in 2018-19.”

This fund was created through support from Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development’s Career Ready Fund. The Career Ready initiative aims to support universities in increasing the number of students who complete an experiential learning experience before graduation. Queen’s received a total of $1.16 million from the Ministry through this program, with a portion of that being allocated to the Experiential Learning Projects Fund.

Types of projects that are eligible for funding:


Organizing a conference
Organizing a competition (i.e. Hackathon)
Community service project
Artistic performance
Workplace related field experience directly related to students' field of study
Industry-related boot camp
Industry-related innovation project
Public awareness campaign

Grants will be awarded in the range of $1,000 to $2,000 per project, typically creating five to ten new student experiential roles per project. Special consideration will be given to initiatives that support underrepresented student populations and communities, and requests exceeding $2,000 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Lindsay Coombs received funding last year to build a Queen’s-based affiliate to the Women In International Security (WIIS) Canadian and global network, an organization dedicated to promote women’s leadership in international security.

“The Experiential Learning Projects Fund program was central to the success of the initiatives undertaken by WIIS Queen’s in the winter 2018 academic term,” Ms. Coombs says. “I believe that the type of impactful community engagement that this program promotes is important for the development of knowledgeable and compassionate leaders – the type of leaders whose perspectives will be critical in shaping Canada’s future.”

Other projects receiving funding last year include the Queen’s Native Students Association’s annual Indigenous Awareness Week, a food cupboard for families known as the Queen’s Community Cupboard, and a QYourFuture event for graduating international students as they transition to the workforce.

Those looking to apply for funding must include a description of the project; the specific skills or learning outcomes for students; the number of student experiential learning opportunities created and their specific roles; a description of the self-assessment and reflection mechanisms that will be used throughout the project; and a detailed budget.

The application deadline for the Spring 2018 round is Friday June 29, and there will be a final round in Fall 2018. For more information and to apply for funding, visit the Experiential Learning Hub website.

Statement from Principal Woolf on University District Safety Initiative

​Queen’s partners with the City of Kingston on new University District Safety Initiative.

Today, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson and I announced a joint initiative between the City, Kingston Police, and Queen’s to help address ongoing safety concerns in the University District. We have been frustrated and disappointed with the unsanctioned and unsafe street parties that take over parts of the University District on certain weekends throughout the year. In the past, we have seen thousands of people spilling into the streets attending these kinds of parties around Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day, in particular.

I recognize not all of those participating in these events are from our Queen’s community, and the majority of our students do not engage in the types of risky behaviours that are of the greatest concern. Yet even by their sheer size these large parties are a very serious issue that we have worked hard to confront over the years, and they happen on the university’s doorstep. That is why we are now working in close partnership with the City of Kingston and Kingston Police to address this problem.

Cases that do involve Queen’s students who receive tickets under this initiative will be assessed as part of the university’s student conduct system. We will look at each case individually to determine what actions are most appropriate depending on the situation. Circumstances such as the nature of the violation, behaviour, prior history of misconduct, and other relevant factors will be part of the decision-making process of what actions may be appropriate. This will also allow us to intervene if there is evidence that a student is under stress or is experiencing substance abuse issues or mental illness.

Our students belong to two communities: Queen’s and Kingston; and, need to be accountable and responsible citizens to both. Finding ways to encourage good citizenship, address these large parties, and promote student and public safety and community wellbeing is a high priority for me and the rest of my leadership team.

I encourage all of our students to have fun, but to do so safely, and to be aware of the impact of your behaviour on the Queen’s and Kingston communities. I feel confident that if we all work together and make good choices we can help make Kingston and the University District safer for everyone.

Daniel Woolf
Principal & Vice-Chancellor


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