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Research support units seek input on communications

University Research Services (URS) and Industry Partnerships want to hear from the people they support on a daily basis.

The units are looking to improve their communication with members of the research community at Queen’s. They have kicked off the process by distributing a survey to researchers, research administrators, other service-oriented administrators, as well as graduate students.

“Effective communication is essential in our efforts to help people achieve excellence in research and scholarship at Queen’s,” says Karina McInnis, Executive Director, URS. “We hope members of the research community take a few moments out of their busy day to tell us what they like and don’t like, and offer suggestions on preferred communication mechanisms.”

Quick Link
Research Administration Communications Survey
May 26 is the deadline for completing the survey

The survey asks members of the research communication to identify:

  • The content they are looking for on the website.
  • The content that is currently missing and should be added to the website.
  • The information that’s hard to find on the current website.
  • The content that should be featured on the home page/quick links of the redesigned website.
  • New tools/sections they would like added to the redesigned website.

The deadline for completing the online survey is May 26. Contact URS by email if you have any questions or concerns about the survey.

URS offers advice and administrative support services for Queen’s University research teams. Industry Partnerships provides contract negotiation and research legal services, and is a responsive institutional “front door” for industry partners seeking to collaborate with researchers.

Spring Convocation a time for celebration

  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    A new graduate is 'hooded' during the first ceremony of Spring Convocation 2015 at Queen's University's Grant Hall on Thursday.
  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    A graduate points to her family as she poses for a photo with Chancellor Jim Leech after receiving her degree at Grant hall.
  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    Dean of the School of Graduate Studies Brenda Brouwer sits alongside Chancellor Jim Leech and Rector Mike Young.
  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    Graduands enter Grant Hall to receive their degrees at the first ceremony of Spring Convocation 2015.
  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier speaks after receiving an honorary degree from Queen's University on Thursday afternoon.
  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    Family and friends gather to take photos of graduates of the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, at Queen's University.
  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    A member of the crowd at Grant Hall points out her husband to her daughter as he prepares to receive a Queen's MBA on Friday.
  • [Spring Convocation 2015]
    Graduands of the Queen's MBA program wait to receive their degrees during Friday morning's convocation ceremony at Grant Hall

History and tradition are key parts of life at Queen’s University and they are never more prevalent than during the convocation ceremonies.

This year’s Spring Convocation ceremonies start on Thursday, May 21, and will continue through to Thursday, June 11, with a total of 21 ceremonies being held – all but one at Grant Hall.

In honour of convocation here’s a quick look at some of the history and tradition that will be seen over the coming weeks:

  • The first convocation ceremony at Queen’s took place on June 2, 1847, when the Senate awarded degrees to the university’s first three graduates and was likely held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Subsequent venues have included the Old Medical Building (1858), Convocation Hall in Theological Hall (1878) and Grant Hall (1905).
  • As Queen’s continued to grow, convocation moved to the Jock Harty Arena in the early 1970s while fall ceremonies continued to be held at Grant Hall. With the dismantling of Jock Harty Arena in 2007, Grant Hall once again became the primary host location for spring ceremonies, along with the Queen’s Centre.
  • The main features of each convocation ceremony are a speech to the graduands by the principal, or a senior administrator, a speech by the honorary graduate or guest speaker – a tradition that dates from the granting of the first honorary degree in 1858 – and the granting of degrees by the chancellor. Traditional music includes “Flourish for the Chancellor,” an organ composition written specially for convocation by Queen’s music professor Fred Clarke.
  • Convocations are organized by the Office of the University Registrar. The Office is responsible for the main logistical arrangements and coordinates the work of other departments involved in the ceremony. The Registrar’s Office also compiles the list of graduands and award winners. The Senate Academic Procedures Committee has authority for approving the list of graduands. The Senate Honorary Degrees Committee makes recommendations to the Senate for the award of honorary degrees.
  • At convocation, graduands don the traditional outfit of a gown and hood. At Queen’s, the design and colour scheme of the hood differs depending on the degree earned, e.g. Red-Gold-Blue for Doctor of Philosophy; Queen's Blue-White for Bachelor of Laws; Black-Red for Bachelor of Arts.

Queen’s recognizes exemplary careers with honorary degrees

[Honorary Degrees 1]
Among those receiving honorary degrees from Queen's University at spring convocation are, clockwise from top left, Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier; Lyse Doucet; Jim Cuddy; David John Mullan; John MacGregor; and Alexander McComber. 

Queen’s University revealed today 10 new honorary degree recipients who will be honoured at the spring 2015 convocation ceremonies. Recipients include James Cuddy, Eric Windeler and Alan Broadbent.

For 157 years Queen’s has been conferring honorary degrees to people who have made remarkable contributions to the lives of people throughout the world in academia, business, politics, science and the arts.

The following is a brief description of the first six honorary degree recipients at this spring convocation.

Jean-Robert Bernier

Originally from Sarnia, Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier graduated from the Royal Military College in 1982 and studied medicine at McMaster University. He was appointed Surgeon General, Head of the Royal Canadian Medical Service, Commander of CF Health Services Group, and Honorary Physician to Her Majesty the Queen in 2012. He is the first person from outside continental Europe elected as Chair of the committee of Surgeons General of NATO and partner nations (COMEDS) beginning in November 2015.

Brigadier-General Bernier will receive his honorary degree (DSc) Thursday, May 21 at 2:30 pm.

Lyse Doucet

Lyse Doucet OBE is a Canadian journalist and the BBC's Chief International Correspondent and an occasional contributing editor to the BBC. She presents on BBC World Service radio and BBC World News television, and reports for BBC Radio 4 and BBC News in the UK, including presenting and reporting for Newsnight.

Ms. Doucet will receive her honorary degree (LL.D) Wednesday, June 3 at 10 am.

James Cuddy

With sales of more than four million records and eleven JUNO Awards, Blue Rodeo has established itself as one of Canada’s leading contemporary rock bands. Founded in 1984 by lead singers, guitarists and songwriters Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, the band’s success and longevity are widely attributed to their love of touring, their active connection with their fans, and their unwavering commitment to pushing their creative limits.

Mr. Cuddy will receive his honorary degree (LL.D) Wednesday, June 3 at 2:30 pm.

Alexander McComber

Mr. McComber is a Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) member of the bear clan living in Kahnawake Territory. For the past 35 years, he has worked to enhance the wellbeing of Aboriginal people and communities across Canada. After starting as a teacher, Mr. McComber worked his way up to becoming a principal and during that time, met many families living with Type 2 diabetes, a common disease in First Nation communities. Since then, he has worked with a number of national diabetes organizations including Health Canada’s Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative.

Mr. McComber will receive his honorary degree (DSc) Wednesday, June 3 at 6:30 pm.

John MacGregor

Dr. MacGregor has made major contributions to the development and practice of advanced control techniques in industry including the Canadian technology sector. He hold the title of Distinguished University Professor, the highest honour awarded to faculty at McMaster University.

Dr. MacGregor will receive his honorary degree (DSc) Thursday, June 4 at 10 am.

David John Mullan

David Mullan is a long-serving law professor at Queen’s University, a prolific writer and an often-called upon consultant. Brought up and educated in New Zealand, Professor Mullan has taught and lectured at universities across Canada and in Australia and New Zealand. His major areas of interest are Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Contract, and Remedies.

Mr. Mullan will receive his honorary degree (LL.D) Friday, June 5 at 2:30 pm.

The remaining four bios will be posted at a later date.

Steam Shutdown - Botterell Hall

A steam shutdown is scheduled for the Cancer Research Institute on Thursday, May 21st between 3 -5 pm.

A steam shutdown is scheduled for the Cancer Research Institute on Thursday, May 21st between 3 pm and 5 pm while a Physical Plant Services steamfitter repairs a steam leak. During the shutdown period, there will be no steam available to the autoclave on the B2 level of Botterell and there will be no heat in the MRI unit (fans will be shutdown).

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

Heading back to class boosts managers' skillset

The most recent cohort of Queen’s Foundational Leadership Program officially ended last week, but the relationships the participants forged over the past 16 months will continue well into the future.

[HR foundational leadership presentation]
Team members Nicole Fowler, Carole Morrison, Tom Herra, Sandra Brooks and David Crabb present their project to the panel including Steven Liss, Caroline Davis, Ann Tierney and Mary Elms during the graduation ceremony on May 15.

“I found it really beneficial getting to know managers across different units,” says Sandra Brooks, Manager, User Support Specialists, ITServices, and one of 28 program participants. “By working with other people, I saw the similarities in our managerial experiences, as well as some of the challenges others face.”

The comprehensive program helps managers develop their leadership and management skills through 14 full-day classroom sessions. Applying the skills they develop in class, the participants form teams and develop a project that supports an aspect of the university’s strategic framework. They presented their work to a panel of senior university administrators during their graduation event on May 15.

Mary Elms, Manager, Organizational Development and Learning, Human Resources, is continually impressed by the hard work and effort the participants dedicate to the program. The three cohorts of the program have produced managers who are more confident in their capabilities, according to Ms. Elms.

“We are really focused on leadership development as one aspect of our strategic approach to managing talent at the university,” she says. “Queen’s Foundational Leadership Program is one of our most successful programs, bringing about transformational change in many of our managers.”

After earning his certificate, Matt Simpson looked back fondly on the mad scramble he often performed before the leadership classes.

“The funny part about this pre-class anxiety ritual, personally, was that not a day went by that I didn’t end up feeling great about myself, the skills I was introduced to, or the personal connections I made with my peers,” says Mr. Simpson, Manager, Education Technology Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences. “We all have busy lives, both professionally and personally. We have been fortunate enough to have an opportunity to take some time for personal development and invest in ourselves.”

Visit the Human Resources website to learn more about the Queen’s Foundational Leadership Program.

Flags lowered for Stanley Corbett

Flags on campus are currently lowered for Adjunct Assistant Professor Stanley Corbett (BA’66, MA’72, PhD’82, Law’95), Associate Dean, (Academic), for the Faculty of Law. He passed away on Monday, May 18.

Stanley Corbett

With links to Queen’s University stretching over five decades, Dr. Corbett began his studies in mathematics before moving to philosophy for his post-graduate degrees. After several years at Acadia University, he returned to Queen’s to earn a law degree and worked as an adjunct professor in philosophy and law before becoming a full-time member of the Faculty of Law in 1997.

Dr. Corbett was the faculty’s longest serving associate dean, initially taking up the position in 2008. He was also the academic director of the faculty’s Global Law Programs at the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in England, where he taught a course in Public International Law.

He was a member of the affiliated faculty with the Queen's Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, a sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and taught courses in the School of Policy Studies.

Dr. Corbett was a three-time winner of the Law Students’ Society teaching award.

A celebration of life will be held in the summer.

Getting a writing boost at Dissertation Boot Camp

[Kathrin Tyryshkin]
Kathrin Tyryshkin got the support she needed to finish writing her dissertation at the Queen’s School of Graduate Studies’ Dissertation Boot Camp. The next Boot Camp is scheduled for June 8-12. (University Communications)

Before even defending her PhD in Computer Science, Kathrin Tyryshkin had two job offers – one in industry, and one at a Queen’s department (the one she ultimately took).

Dr. Tyryshkin surely chose a timely field and stayed the course with diligence in publishing, conferencing and teaching, but she credits at least part of her success to Queen’s School of Graduate Studies’ Dissertation Boot Camp.

The primary aim of the five-day Dissertation Boot Camp is for participants to write and make substantial headway on their thesis. The majority of the time is spent writing, with breaks for snacks, lunch, and structured group discussions about topics relevant to thesis writers.

As a computer scientist working in the field of biomedical computing, Dr. Tyryshkin loves analyzing data, but has never been particularly fond of writing.

“I struggled to find motivation to write,” she says of that component of the PhD work. But “from the first moment of Boot Camp, there’s something in the air, and you understand that you’re going to start right now. You don’t want to check your email or phone. You no longer feel obligated to think of planning what’s for supper. You have permission to just be in the zone.”

Beyond having the pressure of endless everyday decisions lifted and absorbing the motivationally charged atmosphere, it was a consultation with Student Academic Success Services’ Liz Parsons that made a big difference to Dr. Tyryshkin’s writing approach.

“Liz had me plan out the tasks I had in store and write down beside each one the time it would take,” she says. “I added it up and said: this won’t work.”

Dr. Tyryshkin reorganized though, and then work she most certainly did.

After her fourth and final Boot Camp, Dr. Tyryshkin went to the library every day for a month until she was finished writing. When it came time to share the results with the people who cared the most – her thesis examiners, including co-supervisors Janice Glasgow (School of Computing) and Stephen Scott (Neuroscience; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – the quality of Dr. Tyryshkin’s writing made the difference between a stressful event and one that the newly-minted PhD genuinely enjoyed.

“My defence was a great experience. The committee complimented my written work, saying it was enjoyable to read,” she says. “I’m grateful to Dissertation Boot Camp for that.”

Recognizing the importance of being nice to your reader, she says simply: “A good thesis equals a good defence.”

Now, Dr. Tyryshkin is working for Queen’s Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine performing various genetic data analyses for pathologists and clinicians, as well as mentoring some graduate students. She is also teaching a second year Computer Science course for which she had been the TA for a number of years. By looking at things such as gene expression and protein expression, researchers can discover differences in things such as treatment prognosis and differences between subgroups of cancer – perhaps enabling the administration of targeted therapies.

The next Dissertation Boot Camp is scheduled for June 8-12. Registration will open in mid-May.

Registration forms can be found at queensu.ca/sgs/dissertation-bootcamp. Once complete the form can be returned to Colette Steer, School of Graduate Studies, Gordon Hall, room 425 or by email.

 

Lives Lived: A social view of the world and education

Howard A. Smith, B. Sc. (University of New Brunswick, 1964), Educational Diploma, Class I (McGill, 1965), M. A. (University of Toronto, 1969), Ph.D. (University of Toronto, 1972), began his long career in education as a secondary school teacher at Baron Byng High School in what was then the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (1965-1967). From 1967 to 1971, he engaged his academic career in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

[Howard Smith]
Howard Smith

His career at Queen’s University, Faculty of Education, began in 1971 where he became a Full Professor in 2002, and Professor Emeritus in 2008. He served a term as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the 1990s. His contributions to the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University helped shape the faculty’s vision and program for 37 years.

Howard noted his research interests as: Educational psychology as a science of signs, applied semiotics in learning and education, and multiple “intelligences” or ways of learning Charles S. Peirce. He was the recipient of numerous grants, of which four were from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), as either principal investigator or co-investigator. Howard wrote two significant books Psychosemiotics  (2001): Peter Lang, and Teaching adolescents: Educational Psychology as a science of signs (2007): University of Toronto Press. His work was also widely disseminated through peer reviewed journals and national and international conferences.

Howard was an avid outdoor person who enjoyed hiking and other outdoor activities. His interest in photography was paired with his interest in nature. He was a founding director and president of New Leaf Link (NeLL), “a non-profit charitable organization that supports the continuing education and meaningful occupation of youth and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum conditions, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injury, and other neurological conditions” (newleaflink.ca).

Howard’s social view of the world and education made a difference in the lives of many individuals.

- Ann Marie Hill is a Professor at the Faculty of Education. She was a colleague, research partner, and friend of Howard A. Smith.

People of Queen's: Keeping Queen's sustainable

[Aaron Ball]
Aaron Ball is Queen’s Sustainability Manager and says that one of the great things about his job is working with students who are eager to make a difference. (University Communications)

Aaron Ball’s face lights up when he talks about the work he does with students.

“One of the greatest things about this job is that there’s a ton of interaction with students,” says Mr. Ball, who has been Queen’s Sustainability Manager since 2008. “They’re full of energy, they’re bright, intellectual and super engaged. I get to feed off that energy.”

As Sustainability Manager, Mr. Ball works regularly with Queen’s student governments to put into action the campaigns and initiatives they plan and with classes as they imagine and design solutions to major sustainability challenges. It’s just one part of a job that has him working to reduce the energy consumption, waste output and improve the overall environmental impact of campus.  

While technological changes and efficiency improvements can have a large impact on campus’ carbon footprint, Mr. Ball’s office typically focuses on changes that can happen at an individual level.

“We often focus on everyday behavioural changes, because these are easy for people to change,” he says. “To make our programs and initiatives successful, we need the buy-in and cooperation of other units on campus. We’re rarely in a position where we develop and launch something on our own.”

An alumnus of Queen’s, Mr. Ball (Artsci’01) returned to campus three years after graduating to begin working in Physical Plant Services. As one of campus’ assistant area managers, he oversaw the custodial work and maintenance of buildings like Stauffer Library and Gordon Hall. Interested in sustainability, he put into practice a green cleaning program for those buildings, and jumped at the chance to work as sustainability manager when the position was created.

Since the office’s creation, he’s worked to keep the university’s environmental impact in check, even as campus has grown to include new buildings like the Queen’s Centre and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

The key to making a more sustainable campus, he says, is by letting the people who work and study at Queen’s have their say.

“It’s important to an overall sustainability strategy for the entire community to get involved, think about it and change their behaviour in small ways. Ultimately, it’s a group effort.”

That’s the key to the sustainability office’s most recent undertaking to improve waste diversion from landfills. Their posters and materials remind people to take special care when sorting garbage and recycling because “one mistake makes the entire bin garbage.” 

It’s not the last campaign of its kind that Mr. Ball hopes to run, and he knows his work won’t be over anytime soon. 

“There’s no silver bullet for sustainability,” he says. “There’s always more to be done, better solutions and an endless variety of challenges.”

A tale of tested traditions

In the early 20th century, female Queen’s students participated in an initiation ceremony every October in Grant Hall. The upper-year students lit the younger students’ candles that were adorned with tricolour ribbons. After blowing out the candles, the first-year students examined where the wax fell on the ribbon to determine who they would marry: gold for an engineer, blue for a medical student, and red for an arts student.

[Duncan McDowall]
University Historian Duncan McDowall sits in his writing space in the Queen's Archives surrounded by the thousands of documents he used to research the third volume of Queen's official history. Queen's University, Volume III, 1961-2004: Testing Tradition will be published in 2016.

The antiquated tradition eventually changed with the emergence of second wave feminism in the 1960s. As female students increasingly regarded Queen’s as a place to get a top-notch education rather than meet their future husband, the ceremony evolved into a celebration of women.

This challenge to tradition is just one of many that occurred at Queen’s between 1961 and 2004, the period University Historian Duncan McDowall covers in the third volume of Queen’s official history, which will be published in early 2016.

“In the book, which I have titled Testing Traditions, I document a lot of these tensions,” says Dr. McDowall, who started the project in 2010. “People were asking: ‘Why do we keep these traditions? Do these traditions sustain us or do they obstruct our future? Should we jettison them or simply modify them to the times?’”

In a sense, Dr. McDowall even “tested the tradition” of official Queen’s histories. From the outset, Dr. McDowall knew that he wanted to take a broader, livelier approach to writing the university’s history than his mentor and former Queen’s professor Frederick Gibson, who wrote Queen's University, Volume II, 1917-1961: To Serve And Yet Be Free, and Hilda Neatby, author of Queen's University, Volume I, 1841-1917: And Not to Yield.

“I am not faulting Fred. History, like any other discipline at the university, has changed over the past 30 years,” Dr. McDowall says. “What’s missing from the two previous volumes is any sense of the cultural and social ethos of the university and what it was like to be a student, a professor or even an electrician at Queen’s. I hope I have brought some of that perspective into this volume.”

The volume is still an institutional history, though, and Dr. McDowall doesn’t ignore the significant contributions the administration, Board of Trustees and Senate made to the direction of Queen’s. In addition to chapters focused on the various principal tenures, Dr. McDowall intersperses the books with sections on student and faculty life, town-gown relations, and Queen’s opening up to the growing diversity of Canadian society in the 1980s and 1990s.

“People were asking: ‘Why do we keep these traditions? Do they sustain us or do they obstruct our future? Should we jettison them or simply modify them to the times?’”
University Historian Duncan McDowall

Dr. McDowall spent two years plowing through thousands of documents in the rich collections of the Queen’s Archives and interviewing hundreds of people. When it came time to write the book, he hunkered down in an office on the top floor of Queen’s Archives, which gave him easy access to material when he needed to check a fact or detail.

“The project was a delight because the Queen’s Archives is just the best in Canada,” he says. “I was surrounded by limestone in my little writing room in the Archives, which was very atmospheric. I liked writing here because I could come to work every day and watch the daily rhythm of Queen’s life unfold in the Medical Quad below my window.”

McGill-Queen’s University Press will publish Testing Traditions in early 2016 to coincide with the university’s 175th anniversary. Even though he is breathing a bit easier these days with the book off at the publisher, Dr. McDowall certainly isn’t taking it easy. Throughout the summer, he will write short entries for 175 seminal moments in Queen’s history. The major project will serve to engage alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members leading up to the university’s anniversary next year

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