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    Getting a first look at Queen's

    Garfield Dunlop, Critic for Training, Colleges and Universities for the Progressive Conservatives and MPP for the riding of Simcoe North, visited Queen’s on Tuesday, April 14, and received a tour of the university. During his visit he spoke with administration and students to gain a better understanding of the university, including recent developments to improve the learning experience such as the active learning classrooms and the increasing focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. Gazette editor Andrew Carroll spoke to Mr. Dunlop about his visit.

    [Garfield Dunlop]
    Garfield Dunlop, MPP for the riding of Simcoe North and Critic for Training, Colleges and Universities for the Progressive Conservatives, visited Queen’s University on Tuesday. (University Communications)

    Andrew Carroll: In your role as Critic for Training, Colleges and Universities, what do you see as the biggest challenges for Ontario’s universities today and moving forward?

    Garfield Dunlop: I think the rapidly changing world. We have to make sure that our universities are properly funded and that’s a challenge for the government and the private sector and for the universities themselves to meet the demands that will be put on them in the changing world ahead, such as, in particular, the electronic world. We’ve seen examples of that today where Queen’s has moved in a very forward-thinking way with their classrooms, their innovative new ideas. So making sure that they don’t get caught in a rut where there’s no money and there’s no resources for them to move ahead. It’s kind of a partnership that everybody has to share in but universities are the future of our country.

    AC: What do you see as the strengths of Ontario’s universities, in particular Queen’s?

    GD: I come from central Ontario and even there the general feeling is that if you have gone to Queen’s you’ve got a really good opportunity for finding a good job down the road. It’s a university that is really appreciated by almost all Ontarians. They’ve done it right for almost 175 years, they don’t need anybody to come in and to do a rapid change to what is happening here. Just make sure this is properly funded for the future and it will continue it churn out good citizens and good taxpayers for Ontario and, for a lot of cases, for the rest of the world.

    AC: While it has only been a brief visit, what are you taking away from your time at Queen’s?

    GD: I think first of all there is a real sense of community here. I see the students are friendly, nice, wanting to share their experiences in some of the discussions we had. The administration took a lot of time to be with me and explained to me the challenges they face – government challenges, red tape, and things that they don’t really need. So I think that overall I learned an awful lot. As a critic I have to get out and learn what each university is about and what they specialize in and, after today, I think I can say a lot of positive things about Queen’s University.

    AC: Do you have any advice for current graduates and for those of the future?

    GD: I think graduates of this university have a great opportunity for good job placements, whether it’s in Kingston, in Ontario, in Canada or whether it’s international. There certainly is a number of international-national connections made here at Queen’s. So the advice from me would be to share the story about Queen’s. For example, I told my own granddaughter, who wants to be a doctor, about Queen’s medical school. We have a Queen’s graduate living in Orillia who is a pediatrician and is a great example of what can be accomplished. I pointed out to her that the doctor is a graduate of Queen’s and through the university she has had the opportunity to travel around the world and work and she now has come back with new skills and perspectives to contribute to the community. 

    This interview has been edited and condensed. 


    Laying the leadership foundation

    Michael Kawaja (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) has gradually assumed more and more administrative duties during his career. While years of education prepared him to research and teach in the neuroscience field, he never received any formal training for chairing a committee or leading a program.

    That’s why Dr. Kawaja jumped at the opportunity to enroll in the Health Sciences Leadership Series when he saw it advertised last fall.

    “I honed some of those leadership skills ‘on the job’ as chair of the medical admissions committee and co-ordinator of the neuroscience graduate program, but I am always looking for training opportunities,” he says. “The Health Sciences Leadership Series really covers the breadth of what I am responsible for in my current administrative duties and has helped me identify areas where I can improve.”

    Dr. Kawaja plays an important liaison role as the associate dean of life sciences and biochemistry in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Most students in life sciences and biochemistry programs are enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, while the majority of professors and curriculum developers are associated with the Faculty of Health Sciences. Dr. Kawaja says he is already applying the lessons he has learned about interpersonal communication and conflict resolution to his interactions with representatives from the two faculties.

    [Dr. Moran]
    Dr. Onofre Moran-Mendoza (right) believes the Health Sciences Leadership Series has improved his interactions with respirology colleagues.

    Onofre Moran-Mendoza (Medicine) doesn’t have the same level of administrative duties as his colleague Dr. Kawaja, but he has found the series just as beneficial.

    “Many of us in the Faculty of Health Sciences have some degree of leadership responsibility: for instance, in our relationship with residents,” says Dr. Moran-Mendoza, an associate professor in the Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. “If I eventually get a higher leadership role, this course has provided me with the knowledge and tools to interact more positively with people across the organization and to better understand and deal with conflict.”

    The series is presented by the Human Resources Department in collaboration with Faculty Development, Faculty of Health Sciences. Shannon Hill, HR Learning and Development Specialist, is pleased with the positive feedback from the participants.

    “The faculty members enjoy having a safe yet challenging environment where they can discuss their strengths and weaknesses and learn from their colleagues,” she says. “We are hopeful the success of this first custom leadership series could pave the way for the development of similar programs for other faculties at Queen’s.”

    Visit the Faculty of Health Sciences website for more information about the series. If you have questions or would like more information, contact Ms. Hill by email or phone 613-533-6000 ext. 74175.

    People of Queen's: Helping students find their strength

    People of Queen's is a regular feature of the Gazette, profiling a Queen's staff member whose dedication and passion has enriched the various offices they have worked in and the community.

    [Hagar Prah]
    From her office in the JDUC, Outreach Counsellor and Student Life Advisor Hagar Akua Prah offers one-on-one counselling and advising sessions to Queen’s students. (University Communications)

    Partway through talking about her work as Outreach Counsellor and Student Life Advisor, Hagar Akua Prah pauses to pick up a framed picture. Inside the frame is a word cloud, an image made up of words and phrases clustered together that she received as a gift last year from the volunteers of the Alma Mater Society’s Peer Support Centre. In large script, scattered around the image are phrases like “intelligent,” “soothing”, “talented” and “the Peer Support Centre’s best resource.”

    “As an educator, it’s really nice to get a response like this,” says Ms. Prah with a grin.

    Before taking on her current role in the Division of Student Affairs in 2009, Ms. Prah was long active with members of the university community. A trained social worker, she previously held a position at the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, a role that had her managing a group of volunteers largely made up of Queen’s students.

    “I love working with students, they have energy, openness and want to take risks. I was always impressed with the level of commitment Queen’s students demonstrated in the area of violence prevention,” Ms. Prah says. “They brought not only their perspectives and knowledge, but also their passion and skill to the movement.”  

    After collaborating for years with students from disciplines as diverse as medicine, law and gender studies, she says it was a natural fit to move to Queen’s and work more directly with the student body.

    Along with the training she does for groups like the Peer Support Centre and residence dons, Ms. Prah devotes much of her time to one-on-one counselling and advising sessions for students.

    “I’m here so that people feel they have someone they can talk with when dealing with something challenging, whether it’s impacting their mental health or their sense of wellbeing,” she says. “People want to feel validated about their thoughts and decisions.”

    In her role at Queen’s, Ms. Prah specializes in sexual assault counselling and advocacy and is committed to providing a safe space where students can share how they think and feel.

    “One of the greatest things someone can do is walk through my door,” she says. “It’s a brave thing to step forward and decide to try to work something out and get help doing it.”

    Beyond a passion for helping people through a difficult time, it’s seeing people help themselves that inspires Ms. Prah’s work.

    “I have the privilege of witnessing the process of someone going from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ and ‘I did,’” she says. “I get to see them at the beginning of their journey — at their most vulnerable — and then I get to see them find their strength. One of the best parts of my job is seeing people surprise themselves.”

    A cookie and a smile

    • Principal's Cookie Day
      Principal Daniel Woolf hands a cookie to a Queen's University student at Stauffer Library on Sunday, April 12.
    • Principal's Cookie Day
      A student smiles as Principal Daniel Woolf offers her a cookie during the annual Principal's Cookie Day on Sunday.
    • Principal's Cookie Day
      Julie Gordon-Woolf offers a cookie to a student on Sunday, one of 1,200 that she and Principal Daniel Woolf handed out.
    • Principal's Cookie Day
      For the past five years, Principal Daniel Woolf and Julie Gordon-Woolf have handed out cookies to students as they study for exams.
    • Principal's Cookie Day
      A student takes a selfie with Principal Daniel Woolf after receiving a cookie during the Principal's Cookie Day.

    Cookies can brighten up anyone's day.

    That was clearly apparent as Principal Daniel Woolf and his wife Julie Gordon-Woolf handed out cookies to students at Queen's University on Sunday, in what has become an annual event - the Principal's Cookie Day.

    While studying for exams students received a bit of a break and a cookie from the principal. Together Principal Woolf and his wife handed out 1,200 cookies, their most ever, at the university's libraries, including the Education Library and Teacher Resource Centre, Bracken Health Sciences Library, Lederman Law Library, Douglas Library and Stauffer Library.

    This marked the fifth year for the cookie drop.

    The cookies were sponsored by the Queen's University Alumni Association while the Queen's Student Alumni Association helped bag the treats.

    FIT TIPS: Skip the sheep and get some sleep

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

    A good sleep is essential to your health and wellbeing. If you have trouble getting a good night sleep try these tips before heading to bed for the night:

    • Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.

    • Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on the weekends.

    • Avoid eating large meals for 2-3 hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.

    • In your bedroom try dark curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, or a “white noise” machine. No TV’s or computers in the bedroom!

    • When you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

    With these tips you can kick the sheep to the curb and get a good night’s sleep.

    Winning the battle against tax season drudgery

    David Foster Wallace and Art Cockfield
    Queen's law professor Art Cockfield, right, recently published an academic paper taking a closer look at the work of author David Foster Wallace, left.

    For most people, the idea of doing their income taxes invokes fears of hours of drudgery and outright boredom.

    However, there is beauty to be found in the details says Art Cockfield, a Queen’s professor specializing in tax law, in a new academic paper that takes a closer look at the life and work of award-winning author David Foster Wallace.

    In his final book, The Pale King, published posthumously after his suicide, Mr. Wallace took an in-depth look at taxes in the United States and the way the majority of society approaches them. Mr. Wallace was fascinated by how people deal with tedium in their everyday lives. No surprise then that he was drawn to taxes.

    In The Pale King, Dr. Cockfield explains, Mr. Wallace looked at how earlier generations considered filling out their tax returns as a sort of “moral obligation,” that they were doing their part for the greater community.

    The book takes place in the 1980s when taxes were still done by hand, rather than online. However, it addresses contemporary issues.

    “The book focuses on tax bureaucrats, people who work at the IRS, but the larger purpose I think is to discuss how most of us struggle with work boredom,” says Dr. Cockfield. “No matter who we are, a big chunk of our lives are taken up by work and this notion that we are confronting tedium throughout the day is very real and one of the great challenges most of us struggle with.”

    A huge fan of Mr. Wallace’s writing, in particular his award-winning second novel Infinite Jest, Dr. Cockfield was named Fulbright Visiting Chair in Policy Studies in 2013 to the University of Texas in Austin, where, it so happened, the collected works of David Foster Wallace are housed.

    Dr. Cockfield says that he simultaneously read The Pale King while delving into the author’s notes and writings. He learned that Mr. Wallace felt there is beauty and great insight to be found in everyday things that we take for granted, particularly at work, he explains in the academic paper.

    “So I sifted through his accounting notes and tried to see and understand how he compiled the information for his novel and this great exploration about work boredom and how it affects our interior lives,” says Dr. Cockfield. “His themes were don’t get distracted, focus on what you are up to, try to develop a passion for it.”

    So, whether it is filling out a tax form or sitting at a desk performing some “drone-like tasks,” if we focus and aren’t distracted we derive something from these experiences.

    And while most of us think our taxes reveal nothing more than what we earned and what we owe, Dr. Cockfield says they actually provide incredible insight about each taxpayer. “A tax return is a kind of x-ray of an individual, their hopes and dreams, not just their income; their various deductions and charitable contributions and so on,” he says. “It’s fascinating from one perspective.”


    Senate in brief

    Highlights from the March 31 meeting of Senate

    Consent Agenda

    Senate received:

    • A report from the Senate Committee on Academic Development (SCAD)
    • Reports for February and March from the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP)
    • A report from the Senate Advisory Research Committee
    • A report from the Senate Cyclical Program Review Committee
    • Reports for February and March from the Senate Educational Equity Committee
    • A report from the Senate Governance and Nominating Committee (SGNC)
    • A report from the Senate Library Committee
    • A report from Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline
    • A report from the Queen's University Planning Committee
    • The Senate research report
    • The Advancement fundraising report
    • A University of Ottawa report on e-learning, which was referred to the Senate Committee on Academic Development for its review

    Principal’s Report

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

    • Queen’s innovation and entrepreneurship programs, including the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative, are increasingly being recognized across Canada and in the United States.
    • The principal was recently in Toronto and had the opportunity to discuss Queen’s innovation and experiential learning opportunities with senior government officials at Queen’s Park.
    • Innovation was the topic of a roundtable during the recent visit of Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
    • Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, visited Queen’s to present and consult on the NSERC 2020 strategic plan.

    Provost’s Report

    Provost Alan Harrison provided a written report to Senate.

    Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Professor Brian Frank, Director of Program Development in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, presented on the work of the Queen’s-specific Learning Outcomes Working Group.

    Board of Trustees Report

    Trustee Andrew Aulthouse provided a report on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

    COU Academic Colleague Report

    Senate received the COU Academic Colleague Report.

    Committee Motions and Reports

    Senate approved:

    Senate defeated:

    Reports of Faculties and Schools

    Senate received reports from the School of Graduate Studies and the School of Business.

    Question Period

    • Provost Harrison and Dean Mumm provided a written response to a question regarding online courses
    • Provost Harrison provided a written response to a question concerning the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization


    Senate received:

    A healthy start to exams

    [Beth Blackett]
    For Beth Blackett, Health Promotion Coordinator at Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS), the key to staying in top shape for exams is getting the proper amount of sleep.

    It’s exam time once again and one of the keys to success is staying healthy.

    To stay in top exam shape, says Beth Blackett, Health Promotion Coordinator at Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS), the first step is getting a proper amount of sleep. It’s best to forget the all-nighters.

    “Sleep is my number one thing that I say is crucial. It affects every other area, like how well you eat and how active you are and how effective you are at studying,” she says. “So if you can keep to a similar bed time, wake-up time that’s what our body prefers. And making sure that an hour before bed avoid things that can contribute to you being more stressed out, such as finishing up your study notes, but instead giving your body and brain time to relax.”

    Proper nutrition and staying active are also key and both do not take much effort. Be sure to have at least one nutritious meal at either dinner or lunch. Being active doesn’t necessarily mean getting in a good workout, although that is a good thing. Sometimes you just have to get away from the desk, go outside and get some fresh air. It can be that simple.

    While all exams can be stressful, the final exams of the academic year can take it up a notch.

    The reason for this, Ms. Blackett explains, is that the end of the academic year is also a time of transition for students who might be trying to arrange a summer job, preparing to move, apply for grad school or start their career hunt.

    These added pressures can prove to be a serious distraction at exam time.

    “It’s hard if you don’t get the result you were hoping for,” says Ms. Blackett. “It’s building up that resiliency, that’s a key word we hear a lot about these days. Being resilient in dealing with things that come at you that you didn’t expect, being able to switch gears is a great life skill.”

    At Queen’s there is a strong support system available from Learning Strategies through Student Academic Success Services (SASS), to an array of counsellors through Health Promotions’ Counselling Services as well as counsellors embedded within a number of the faculties. There are also two counsellors embedded in residence, to specifically support first-year students.

    It’s also important to know that it is okay to reach out to a helping hand, Ms. Blackett says.

    “We don’t like to ask for help. We like to think that we can do everything and manage on our own,” she says. “But if you kind of reframe the way you look at it, being that I am doing okay but if I go to see someone to get a few tips or some help I can be exponentially better and more effective and not have it interfere with things that I need to get done. Same thing with going into exams, you know there is going to be stress associated with it but reframing being that this is a time to show everything that I’ve learned as a student over the last few years, which turns it into a positive.”

    Students who wish to make an appointment with Counselling Services can do so by calling 613-533-6000, ext. 78264. Embedded counsellors are located in various faculty and university buildings across campus: Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science (613-533-3447), Faculty of Education (613-533-2334), School of Graduate Studies (613-533-2136), School of Business (via Commerce Portal), Residence Counsellors (613-533-6000, ext. 78330 or 78034), the School of Medicine (613-533-6000, ext. 78264), and the Outreach Counsellor/Student Advisor in the JDUC (613-533-6000, ext. 78441).

    Appointments with Learning Strategies can be set up by calling 613-533-6315.


    5 things you can do to manage final exam stress

    1. Schedule in healthy things – making a study schedule is great at helping you make sure you’re well prepared for your upcoming exams. It’s also important to carve out time during your schedule to prepare and eat a healthy meal, be physically active and sleep.  Aim to prepare at least one nutritious meal a day, be physically active for at least 20 minutes a day, and sleep seven to nine hours a night.

    2. Take meaningful breaks – to be an effective studier Learning Strategies suggests you study for 50 minutes then take a 10-minute break. While it can be easy to surf Facebook, Reddit or Instagram for your break, try instead to call a friend or family member or get up and stretch or grab a healthy snack.

    3. Eat power snacks – ideally you want to keep your blood sugar levels constant and avoid the highs and lows. To do this, it’s best to have snacks that include a fruit or vegetable, a complex carbohydrate, and protein. For example, celery sticks with peanut butter and craisins.

    4. Get outside – getting some fresh air can help you clear your head and re-focus your studying efforts. It’s also a great way to get some physical activity and vitamin D that we have been lacking so much during the cold, dark winter months!

    5. Relax before bed – because it’s during your sleep cycle that new memories are consolidated and stored, getting a good amount of sleep is directly linked to better academic outcomes. Since it can be hard to go from studying to sleep, give yourself one hour before bedtime to relax whether that be hanging out with your floormates/housemates, reading a non-academic novel, or watching your favourite TV show.


    Celebrating Queen’s alumni and volunteers

    [QUAA Awards]
    The Queen's University Alumni Association (QUAA) recently celebrated the efforts and achievements of exceptional alumni and volunteers in the Queen’s community. (University Communications)

    On the last weekend in March the Queen’s University Alumni Association celebrated the efforts and achievements of exceptional alumni and volunteers in the Queen’s community.

    The weekend-long series of events included the Alumni Volunteer Summit, a talk from NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel (PhD’95), the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Awards with the induction of seven new members into the Tricolour Society and culminated with the gala evening for the QUAA Alumni Awards.

    “It is an honour to sit amongst some of the most notable members of the Queen’s family and to recognize their achievements,” said QUAA President and host of the Alumni Awards, George M. Jackson (Artsci’85). “Without a doubt, our university is what is it is today because of those who have given as students, and continue to do so as alumni.”

    Chancellor Jim Leech (MBA’73) shared with Mr. Jackson the honour of hosting and presenting the awards to 11 recipients. The two presenters traded anecdotes about their social media habits during the presentation. 

    Among the recipients this year were Catherine Donnelly, (Rehab’95, PhD’13), who was presented with the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Dr. Feustel, who received the Alumni Achievement Award. All recipients spoke highly of their experiences as students at Queen’s but none captured the audience’s attention like Alumni Mentorship Award recipient Troy McAllister (Artsci/PHE’03).

    During Mr. McAllister’s acceptance speech, the grand atrium of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts became an intimate setting as he explained his work with the students at Wendell Phillips Academy, on Chicago’s troubled South Side. The epitome of Queen’s leadership, the former Gaels player and coach has helped transform Wendell Phillips, a school that was destined for closure, by being a positive role model for his students, who struggle with poverty and violence every day. His leadership has also transformed the school’s football program, leading his team of young men to compete in the state football championship ­– a first in the school’s 109-year history.

    As Mr. McAllister made his way down from the podium, the Isabel erupted with an outpouring of applause. The standing ovation was an expression of pride and appreciation from the Queen’s community and friends, for the hard work and dedication that alumni like Mr. McAllister bring to everything they do.

    The complete list of QUAA Alumni Award recipients.

    See this year’s recipients of the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award.

    Make a nomination for the QUAA Alumni Awards, visit the Queen’s Alumni website or email nikki.remillard@queensu.ca.

    Current edition of the Gazette now available

    The April 7 edition of the Gazette is now available around Queen’s campus, as well as a number of off-campus locations.

    Gazette 2015-04-07
    View the Gazette online.

    The newspaper is filled with interesting Queen's-focused items including:

    • A close-up look at how a Queen’s professor helped launch a life-saving app.
    • An overview of the recent visit to Queen’s by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor.
    • The announcement of this year’s honorary degree recipients for convocation.
    • Updates on the latest research, awards and achievements of faculty, staff and students.

    The Gazette is published bi-weekly; the next edition will hit the newsstands on April 21.

    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.


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