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    Physics professor honoured for outstanding teaching

    Professor James Fraser

    James Fraser takes great pride in finding new and engaging ways to lead his first year physics students to new discoveries. In fact, he describes the “a-ha!” moments his students have as being among the most rewarding things he gets to experience.

    Dr. Fraser, an associate professor in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy, is the 2015 recipient of the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award, which recognizes undergraduate, graduate or professional teaching that has had an outstanding influence on the quality of student learning at Queen's. 

    “Dr. Fraser brings an inspiring, creative energy to the profession of teaching and a remarkable spirit of innovation,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “This has produced an exceptional learning environment in his classes and I am thrilled to see such a deserving recipient honoured with this award.”

    One example of Dr. Fraser’s positive influence on learning is a restructuring of a first-year physics course that will see students mentored by the same learning facilitator, or teaching assistant, throughout the entire year and across lecture, tutorial, and lab components. Dr. Fraser is making the change to allow facilitators to better become mentors for their students to improve learning outcomes.

    Professor Fraser encouraging collaborative learning.

    Dr. Fraser is also a proponent of the flipped-classroom model, where students are responsible for collecting content, so that during class they can work together to assimilate it and teach one another in engaging ways. He has also used peer instruction in undergraduate classes to great success.

    He describes the award as an affirmation of what he and his team of teaching assistants are trying to accomplish.

    “When our students are able to take different pieces of information from different places and put them together, they end up returning it back to me as an exploration,” he says. “Our students can often struggle when they are deeply engaged by a topic, but they consistently work hard to make sense of the information. Seeing the light bulbs go on gives me tremendous satisfaction.”

    Though a tremendous personal accomplishment, Dr. Fraser is quick to point out that he views the award as belonging to his team of educators and his students. Describing his students and teaching team as “superb”, Dr. Fraser cites their willingness to try new things and buy in to different strategies and projects, which often depart from traditional classroom models, as being a key ingredient.

    “When I look at past recipients, I’m looking at real innovators who’ve had a real impact on teaching,” he says. “It provides me with an appreciation of what we’re able to do as teachers and also what more we can accomplish moving forward.”

    Dr. Fraser is excited to take all he’s learned this past year and keep on improving his craft. Though he’s found great success, Dr. Fraser is excited to continue to push the boundaries and try new things by engaging his Teaching Assistants in the planning process and striving for great course cohesion.

    The Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award is presented annually at Fall Convocation. It is awarded annually for activities that lead to improved learning, including curriculum development, educational leadership, design and delivery of out-of-classroom educational experiences, or classroom teaching and supervision. All full-time and part-time faculty members are eligible for this award. You can read more about the Baillie Teaching Award and its eligibility requirements here.

    Class of 2019 settles in at Queen's

    • Move-In 2015
      Principal Daniel Woolf speaks with volunteers helping out during Move-In Day on Sunday. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
    • Move-In 2015
      Students move their belongings into their residence at Queen's University on Sunday, Sept. 6. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
    • Move-In 2015
      Volunteers were on hand to help out with directions during Move-In Day on Sunday. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
    • Move-In 2015
      Volunteers welcome students to Brant House, one of two new residences at Queen's. (University Communications)
    • Move-In 2015
      Queen's campus was a busy place on Sunday as students arrived at their residences. (University Communications)
    • Move-In 2015
      Principal Daniel Woolf welcomes newly-arrived students to Queen's University on Sunday. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

    Queen's University was abuzz with activity on Sunday, Sept. 6 as first-year students arrived to move in to their rooms at the various residences, inclduing the two newest additions, Brant House and David C. Smith House.

    Students and their families were helped out by scores of volunteers and the day wrapped up with the Queen's Welcome U event at the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC).

    This year, in an effort to ensure that the move-in process was as seamless and efficient as possible, the university worked closely with the City of Kingston and Kingston Police to help with traffic flow throughout the day. 

    Water shutdown to affect Richardson Stadium

    A planned water shutdown will affect Richardson Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 9 from 5:30-8:30 am while Utilities Kingston disconnects the water main in the easement to Yonge Street.

    Please note:

    • During the shutdown period, there will be no water available in Richardson Stadium for hand washing, flushing toilets and showers, etc.
    • There are no fire safety implications for Richardson Stadium resulting from this planned work.
    • No other buildings at West Campus will be affected by this shutdown.

    Any questions regarding this shutdown should be directed to Fixit by phone at extension 77301 or by e-mail.

    Principal Woolf announces Queen’s National Scholars

    [Queen’s National Scholars]
    Keren Zaiontz has been appointed Queen’s National Scholar in Creative Industries in the Global City while Qingling Duan has been appointed Queen’s National Scholar in Bioinformatics).

    Principal Daniel Woolf is pleased to announce that Qingling Duan and Keren Zaiontz are the newest Queen’s National Scholars (QNS).

    “Both Dr. Duan and Dr. Zaiontz are promising scholars who have demonstrated a dedication to teaching and a capacity to undertake exceptional interdisciplinary research,” says Principal Woolf. “I am very pleased to welcome them to the university as our newest Queen’s National Scholars and am confident they will make a significant impact within their departments.”

    Dr. Duan has been appointed Queen’s National Scholar in Bioinformatics and is jointly appointed to the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and the School of Computing. Her research focuses on improving responses to drug treatments through the insights gained from biomedical and genomic data. She was previously an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s. She earned her doctorate in human genetics from McGill University.

    Dr. Zaiontz joins the Department of Film and Media where she has been appointed Queen’s National Scholar in Creative Industries in the Global City. Her research investigates how artists are not only driving economic growth in cities but reconfiguring urban space through performance actions that articulate pressing social justice issues. Prior to joining Queen’s, Dr. Zaiontz was a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of London and a Banting fellow at Simon Fraser University. She holds a PhD in drama, theatre, and performance studies from the University of Toronto.

    The QNS program was first established in 1985, with the objective to “enrich teaching and research in newly developing fields of knowledge as well as traditional disciplines.” Since then, over 100 QNS appointments have been made in a wide variety of disciplines, and the appellation of Queen’s National Scholar has become synonymous with academic excellence.

    The program provides $100,000 annually for five years for each appointment, and funding for the program allows for a maximum of two QNS appointments in each annual competition. The 2015-16 round of the Queen’s National Scholar program is currently open, and academic units have been invited to submit expressions of interest (EOI) to their respective dean’s office by Sept. 8.

    Students, staff prepare for orientation week

    Over the next few days, Queen's is welcoming approximately 4,500 new first-year undergraduate students to campus and introducing them to university life. Orientation week includes dozens of activities that allow students to get to know Queen’s and each other. 

    In advance of orientation week, student leaders undergo intensive training to ensure they are equipped to prepare students for their new living and learning environment, and to introduce them to the spirit that makes Queen's unique.

    [Students gather for orientation week activities]
    Students gather for orientation week activities.

    “Orientation week provides us with a great opportunity to welcome new students and introduce them to life on campus in a way that is fun, educational, and safe,” says Arig al Shaibah, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. “All of our student organizers and leaders receive training so that they are equipped to handle a variety of situations in areas such as accessibility, mental health, inclusivity, and safety.”

    Orientation week begins with university-wide orientation days, which start on Sunday, Sept. 6, after students living on-campus have a chance to get settled in their residence rooms. Both on-campus residents and first-year students not in residences (FYNIRS) will have opportunities to get to know each other and learn about important resources and support services on campus. Faculty orientation days begin on Wednesday, Sept. 9, with activities for all first-year students, including incoming exchange, transfer and Bader International Study Centre students. 

    Orientation week highlights include the principal’s welcome event, keynote speakers, a carnival, a social action theatre performance, the Shinerama charity drive, several dances, a sidewalk sale, and a mystery concert. 

    In addition, the Queen’s University International Centre is hosting the ATLAS program for new international students throughout the month of September. ATLAS – or Acculturation and Transition to Life and Academic Success – includes a reception and games night, and is designed to support students adjust to life and studies at Queen’s.

    The School of Graduate Studies is holding orientation activities starting with a welcome and resource fair for new graduate and professional students on Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

    Orientation events conclude on Sunday, Sept. 13, and classes begin the following day. 

    For more information on orientation week at Queen's, visit www.queensu.ca/studentexperience/fall-orientation for university orientation activities and www.queensu.ca/orientation/ for faculty orientation activities.

    Main entrance to Louise D. Acton Building to remain closed

    The main entrance to Louise D. Acton Building (31 George St.) will remain closed until Sept. 10 or 11 (weather permitting) while crews continue work associated with the step replacement at this entrance. When this entrance re-opens, temporary wooden handrails will be in place until the permanent handrails become available for installation.

    Signs will be posted inside the building to direct building occupants and visitors to alternate fire egress routes while this work is completed.  Other entrances to Louise D. Acton Building will remain open. For more information see the Campus Accessibility Guide.

    Any questions about this ongoing work should be directed to Fixit by phone at extension 77301 or by e-mail.

    Traffic plans for Move-In Day

    Queen’s University Move-In Day – The following streets will change to one-way beginning at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6:

    - Collingwood Street from King to Union, one-way southbound. Overnight parking restrictions will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5 to restrict parking on key traffic routes. Courtesy towing has been arranged for any cars remaining on the designated street.

    -  Albert Street from Union to King, one-way southbound. Overnight parking restrictions will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5 to restrict parking on key traffic routes. Courtesy towing has been arranged for any cars remaining on the designated street.

    - Stuart Street from University to Lower Albert, one-way westbound. Overnight parking restrictions will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5 to restrict parking on key traffic routes. Courtesy towing has been arranged for any cars remaining on the designated street.

    - St. Lawrence Avenue from Stuart to King, one-way southbound.

    -  Queen’s Crescent from Beverly to Collingwood, one-way westbound.

    - Okill Street from George to Barrie, one-way eastbound.

    Queen’s University Move-In Day – The following streets will be closed:

    - Bader Lane will be closed for one-way traffic westbound beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5.

    - Arch Street will be closed at Union Street beginning at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6.

    - George Street closed at Stuart Street beginning at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6.

    Looking ahead with anticipation

    It’s just a few days until the majority of students descend on campus, and Daniel Woolf is already looking forward to a tradition that dates back to his first term as principal of Queen’s.

    “One of the rituals my wife and I have had since we arrived at Queen’s is to walk the floors of residences during move-in day,” he notes. “We’ll do that again this year, and this time we’ll have a few more floors with two new residences now open.”

    Before what he characterizes as the “big bang explosion of activity,” Principal Woolf took a few moments to share his reflections of the past year with the Queen’s Gazette and discuss his goals and priorities for 2015-16.

    QG: What are some of the key accomplishments from the 2014-15 academic year that will continue to play out this year?

    DW: Internationalization is one area where we started to get some traction last year. We had made some progress over the past few years, but in my personal view, it is the one area where we didn’t proceed as quickly as we might have liked or expected. With the Comprehensive International Plan now finalized, I will be doing more very focused international travel to deepen relationships and to develop new research partnerships around the world, as well as, where possible, stoking the Tricolour spirit among our alumni around the world. But above all, Queen’s will work towards increasing the proportion of first year international fee-paying undergraduate students to 10 per cent of the total incoming undergraduate population by 2019. To reach that goal, we will need to add 50-75 visa students in each year, starting in 2015-16.

    [Principal Daniel Woolf]
    Principal Daniel Woolf has mapped out his goals and priorities for the 2015-16 academic year.

    We have also tried for some time to expand our program offerings, and we have realized some tangible gains in this area. The new budget model has incented an entrepreneurial spirit in faculties and departments. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, we had seven new credentials and programs approved by Senate. I expect faculties and departments will continue to explore new opportunities to enhance learning opportunities at Queen’s this coming year.

    QG: Enhancing the student learning experience is one of the key goals of the university’s strategic framework. What is your current assessment of that area and what are some of the priorities for this area in 2015-16?

    DW: We have some clear evidence that the Teaching and Learning Action Plan, which was developed in 2014, is having a positive impact. Even though we admit some of the smartest students in the country, they are actually smarter still when they leave us. There is an actual “value added” from a Queen’s education – quite apart from the undeniable importance of the out-of-classroom experience of a Queen’s degree.

    We are now administering the National Survey of Student Engagement annually instead of every four years. We generally do well on that survey, but if you drill down in the data, you will find there is some variation within the university. We would like to do better and work on areas in which are less strong without letting slip some of the things we do well.

    We’re looking forward to continued great initiatives from educational innovators, under the leadership of Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning. And I recently announced six new teaching awards that will really celebrate the innovative things that faculty, TAs and educational support staff are doing to make a difference in the lives of our students.

    QG: What are some of the goals and priorities for improving the university’s research prominence?

    DW: As with many different areas of the university, we are always engaged in refining the measures we use to evaluate progress on our strategic priorities. This year, we will examine our research metrics and determine which ones are appropriate for us over the next couple of years given the challenging funding environment. While we continue to do reasonably well on several fronts, we face the challenge of being a mid-sized university that is also devoted to the student learning experience at both the undergraduate and graduate level. I intend to continue to lead externally on the advocacy front with regard to major projects, particularly when non-traditional sources of government funding are sought.

    [Principal Daniel Woolf]
    Principal Daniel Woolf participated in the launch of the Initiative Campaign in 2012. He intends to assist Advancement staff both centrally and in the faculties as they strive to reach the $500 million fundraising goal by May 1, 2016.

    QG: The Initiative Campaign will conclude May 1, 2016. What are you doing to help the university reach its ambitious fundraising goal of $500-million?

    DW: The Initiative Campaign has been extremely successful so far. We are not quite at our goal, but I think we are going to get there relatively soon. Judging by the momentum of the last three years where each fiscal year has exceeded the previous fiscal year, we really are on a roll. It’s great work by the Advancement staff both centrally and in the faculties, with great leadership from VP (Advancement) Tom Harris and the deans. To help with that effort, I will continue to pursue additional gift opportunities, and to steward those individuals who have already made transformative gifts to Queen’s.

    QG: What other areas need to be addressed in 2015-16 to ensure the continued long-term financial sustainability of Queen’s?

    DW: I am very optimistic that we can make progress on resolving our pension challenges now that all parties have reaffirmed their commitment to the university pension project and agreed on a process for engaging in that project moving forward.

    QG: What challenges lie ahead for Queen’s in 2015-16?

    DW: Faculty renewal remains a real challenge. I look at the hiring patterns, and I think we have been under-hiring relative to many of our U15 peers in recent years (especially those outside Ontario), budgetary challenges being what they have been. My priority in this area includes working with the provost and deans to develop an institutional-level faculty renewal strategy.

    I also continue to fret about the state of some of our buildings. There are significant deferred maintenance issues, a reality faced by universities across the country. We have some buildings, sometimes not the ones you might think, that are in need of some serious TLC. There are others that are solid enough but require some classroom or facility modernization, along the lines of what we did successfully in Ellis Hall. We will be working on a strategy to address this deficit.

    [Principal Woolf with students]
    Principal Daniel Woolf is excited to continue his classroom interactions with students during the 2015-16 academic year. He will also participate in the supervision of a PhD student.

    QG: Are there other things you are looking forward to in the year ahead?

    DW: I am looking forward to celebrating the university’s 175th anniversary in 2016. Plans are starting to come together for that historic occasion, under the leadership of Dr. David Walker, and, in fact, the new welcome sign on Union Street bears the 175th anniversary logo. I also look forward to another safe and successful Homecoming and ReUnion Street Festival this fall.

    I can’t wait to see what the second season at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts has to offer. The opening season was a highlight of 2014-15. We had a great launch with lots of talented artists from around the world share their talents with our community. I expect the Isabel’s terrific new director, Tricia Baldwin, has more great offerings in store.

    With the Isabel now open, we are closing in on another big project: the revitalization of Richardson Stadium. We approved its construction last December and started the prep work this past summer. The main goal for this year is that once the Gaels are through the playoffs with their 2015 Vanier Cup in hand (I’m told it pays to be hopeful!), we will be starting the major construction with the goal of having the stadium ready for play in 2016. And we are aggressively pursuing plans for the renovation of the former PEC, 67 Union St., into a facility that will include the Queen’s Innovation Commons and greatly improved student health and counselling facilities.

    I also plan to continue making visiting appearances in first-year history classes. I always like engaging with students in that particular course. I will also participate in the supervision of a PhD student, in addition to my involvement on the executive committee of the Royal Society of Canada and my membership on the board of Historica Canada.

    Queen’s surveillance expert makes an impact

    Sociology professor David Lyon one of three finalists for national award. 

    Queen’s University Sociology professor David Lyon, an international leader in Surveillance Studies, has been named one of three finalists for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Award. These awards are amongst the highest achievements given annually by SSHRC. 

    The Insight Award, one of five awards under the Impact Awards portfolio, recognises an individual or team whose research has made significant contribution to knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world. Additionally, their research must have a demonstrable impact both within the academic community and in the broader public.

    David Lyon
    Queen's Sociology professor, Dr. David Lyon, has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 SSHRC Impact Award, Insight category.

    “It’s certainly very gratifying to be selected as a finalist for an Impact Award and especially encouraging for the team with which I work and the Surveillance Studies Centre that I direct,” says Dr. Lyon.

    “Our research addresses key social science issues — the place of the human in the digital world, particularly questions of control and privacy — and also urgent public issues concerning surveillance that are in the daily headlines.”

    Dr. Lyon, who serves as director of the Surveillance Studies Centre and is the Queen's Research Chair in Surveillance Studies, was nominated for his work as one of the world’s leading thinkers on surveillance and the implications of having personal data collected and analyzed by organizations. He has been credited with spearheading the development and growth of surveillance studies as a worldwide, interdisciplinary field and bringing attention to the need for balance in the analysis of surveillance measures.

    “Dr. Lyon’s research has demonstrated tremendous value and influence both within the academic community as well as in the broader public sphere,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “In an ever-more connected world, Dr. Lyon’s research is timely and relevant to the ongoing need to balance security with concern for civil liberties.”

    As well as his extensive writings for academic journals, Dr. Lyon also makes his research accessible to a broader popular audience. He is regularly asked to comment on security issues by national and international media outlets and is recognized by governments and NGOs as a leading expert on surveillance issues. The winners of the SSHRC Impact Awards will be publicly announced at a ceremony in Ottawa on November 16. For more information, visit the SSHRC website

    University, USW ratify collective agreement

    The tentative collective agreement between Queen’s University and the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2010 is now in effect following a successful ratification vote by USW members earlier today.

    The human resources committee of Queen’s Board of Trustees recently voted to ratify the agreement.

    “I want to thank the negotiating teams for both the university and USW for their hard work over the past few months,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “USW members and all Queen’s staff play a vital role in the university’s continued success and this agreement will help to further the university’s academic mission within the limits of our current financial reality.”

    The new, four-year agreement will expire on December 31, 2018. Highlights include:

    • A one-time lump-sum payment of $750 (less applicable deductions) within 90 days of ratification
    • A scale increase of 1 per cent across the board effective July 1, 2016, with eligible employees being moved to the next step within their salary grade
    • A scale increase of 1.25 per cent across the board effective July 1, 2017, with eligible employees being moved to the next step within their salary grade
    • A scale increase of 1.25 per cent across the board effective July 1, 2018, with eligible employees being moved to the next step within their salary grade
    • A memorandum of agreement that reaffirms the parties’ shared commitment to the university pension project and sets out the process for engaging in that project.

    Negotiations between USW and the university began in February of this year. Bargaining took place over 18 dates, three of which were conducted with the assistance of a provincially appointed conciliator. USW represents approximately 1,150 university general support staff.

    In accordance with the university’s commitment to equity for all staff in the grades 2-9 employee group, the salary program for non-unionized confidential, managerial excludes and research, grant and contract staff will be aligned with the new USW agreement.


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