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PPS reaches out

Physical Plant Services (PPS) are inviting feedback from all members of the Queen’s community through a new client satisfaction survey. The survey, which is open until March 20, will help PPS better serve their client base and the campus community.

Along with the survey, PPS has launched a number of new online platforms to disseminate information and interact with campus stakeholders. Their new website is easier to navigate than its previous version, includes fillable online work request forms and has more in-depth information about PPS projects and operations. The website also incorporates new accessibility features, design best practices and is optimized for screen-readers and mobile devices.

PPS has also started a Twitter account to provide up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening on Queen’s campus.

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Client Satisfaction Survey

“The launch of our new website and Twitter presence is a great opportunity for us to use technology to increase awareness of Physical Plant Services within the campus community and to improve communication with our clients,” says John Witjes, Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities).  “The Client Satisfaction Survey will help us better understand the needs of our customers and allow us to implement a more professional client service delivery model going forward.”

Chair boosts mental health awareness

Student leaders from the Caring Campus Project meet with the team’s principal investigators — Heather Stuart (middle row, centre) Shu-Ping Chen (middle row, left) and Terry Krupa (middle row, right). (Supplied photo)

When Queen’s University researcher Heather Stuart was appointed the inaugural Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Chair in February 2012, she had no idea how many people would reach out to her with their personal experiences around mental health issues.

“The sheer onslaught of response took me by surprise,” recalls Dr. Stuart, a professor of Public Health Sciences, with cross-appointments in Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Therapy. “The stories I heard – from students, parents, celebrities and people from all walks of life, including family members of those who had died by suicide – were heartwrenching. They all wanted to tell me how important it was that someone was finally looking into mental illness-related stigma.”

The five-year, $1-million appointment – the first such research chair in the world – is funded by Bell Canada to build better practices in anti-stigma programming and to create rich student training opportunities. Dr. Stuart contributes regularly to the scientific literature on mental health and anti-stigma research; supervises and mentors research trainees; and aids knowledge translation through publications, reports, conferences, webinars and outreach, assisting community partners to create better anti-stigma programming practices.

An important component of her outreach is to organize and present the interactive Annual Bell Lecture, to be held this year in Halifax.

Now entering her third year as chair, Dr. Stuart and colleagues, Shu-Ping Chen (Mental Health Commission of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow) and Terry Krupa (School of Rehabilitation Therapy) are partnering with Movember Canada to conduct the Caring Campus Project. This three-year initiative is aimed at first-year male students at Queen’s, Dalhousie and University of Calgary – a population where 65 per cent report risky or hazardous drinking patterns. The project focuses on reducing substance misuse (drugs and alcohol) and the stigma associated with it, and fostering student leaders to create a more supportive and caring environment on campus.

“Conducting this project under the auspices of the Bell chair is raising awareness in the minds of students and others that substance use and mental health are integrally tied,” says Dr. Stuart. “Having my time freed up by the chair has enabled our team to leverage Movember funding to make this project possible.”

The Caring Campus Project, which currently employs 24 student leaders, organizes educational outreach activities, responsible social events, an online chat room to discuss issues, and social media initiatives reclaiming the term “Queen’s For the Boys” to associate it with supporting each other in a positive, healthy way.

Student comments posted on these websites underscore both the interest and the need being tapped by this project:

"Keep up the mental health advertising. Talking about it during Orientation helped me find the courage to get help."

"A lot of people I know are scared to seek help because they are afraid they will be ridiculed."

"I experienced two incidents this year where my friend attempted suicide as a result of mental health issues as well as substance abuse, and Queen’s helped me deal with the situation in a timely and comforting manner.”

For Dr. Stuart, this type of “implementation research” – partnering with others to deliver an intervention and then evaluating it – is at the heart of her anti-stigma work, and she is delighted to see it bearing fruit. In her remaining two years as Bell chair, she looks forward to expanding on this project and the many other initiatives made possible by her appointment.

Donor-funded faculty positions  – chairs, professorships and post-doctoral fellowships – enable Queen’s to recognize and attract top researchers and scholars, both from within the university and from around the world. The terms of reference for these positions, which require Senate approval, outline how the funding will be used. This may include salary, equipment costs and other resources needed by the holder. Queen’s first chair was named for Sir John A MacDonald in 1899 and was held by Adam Shortt, the university’s first full-time professor of politics and economics. Since the beginning of the Initiative Campaign in 2006, attracting donations to support these positions has been a priority.


Award winners make Queen's 'inclusive for all'

Queen’s recently celebrated individuals and groups on campus that support the advancement of equity, human rights, accessibility and inclusion within the university community.

Principal Daniel Woolf handed out the Employment Equity Award, the Human Rights Initiative Award, and the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award during a ceremony at Richardson Hall earlier this week.

  • [Queen’s Human Rights Initiative Award winners]
    Carissa Gordon, ConEd'16, and Stefanny Sanchez, Com'15, accept the Queen's Human Rights Initiative Award from Principal Woolf on behalf of the African and Caribbean Students Association.
  • [Employment Equity Award winner]
    John Witjes, Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities), receives the Employment Equity Award from Principal Woolf.
  • [Steve Cutway Accessibility Award winners]
    Principal Woolf presents the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award to Access Champions representatives Ellen Flanagan, OT'14, Nicole Krasko, OT'15, and Sam Wade, OT'15.

“The contributions by these deserving recipients help ensure that individuals have the opportunity to achieve their full potential at Queen’s,” Principal Woolf says. “The recipients went above and beyond what was expected of them to build and nurture a university community that’s inclusive for all.”   

John Witjes, Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities), accepted the Employment Equity Award for his commitment to creating a working environment that is supportive and welcoming of diversity and inclusion. Mr. Witjes played a leadership role in piloting the Equitable Hiring of Custodians initiative. The lessons learned from the initiative will help inform the equitable hiring of all staff across the university.

The African and Caribbean Students Association (ACSA) received the Queen’s Human Rights Initiative Award for its annual Culture Show. As Kingston’s largest celebration of culture, identity, and self-expression, the Culture Show is an outstanding example of respect for diversity and community building. In producing the Culture Show, ACSA has formed lasting partnerships with groups such as the Queen’s Indian Students Association, Queen’s South American and Latin Students Association and the Great Panda Society to name but a few.

Access Champions accepted the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award for its efforts to provide accessibility assistance to anyone or any event on campus. Founded by Ellen Flanagan (OT’14), Access Champions started as a one-off meant to ensure access and inclusivity for alumni and other visitors during Homecoming 2013. Under Ms. Flanagan’s tutelage, the program expanded to include Orientation Week 2014. Since then Sam Wade (OT’15) and Nicole Krasko (OT’15) have taken up the Access Champions baton with more than 16 OT students willing and able to provide accessibility assistance.

Gathering the threads of Indigenous culture

The path that led Armand Ruffo to his position as Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Languages and Literatures didn’t follow the traditional academic route.

Armand Ruffo is Queen's National Scholar, and teaches in the Department of English Language and Literature and Department of Drama. He was recently featured in (e)Affect. (Photo by Bernard Clark) 

A lifelong passion for creativity has seen Mr. Ruffo produce poetry, plays, biographies and a feature length film, even as he’s written literary criticism.

“It’s always a juggle to work in so many modes,” he says. “I have to wrestle to find the time to do it all.”

It was just that type of wrestling that led him to produce his most recent work, Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird, a biography of the innovative and controversial Ojibway painter. He researched and conducted the interviews for the book over the course of years, finding what time he could from his teaching position at Carleton University and the production of his film, A Windigo Tale.

Driving Mr. Ruffo’s creativity and productivity is a desire to share the stories and histories of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

“I’m very interested in the idea of Indigenous history being silenced for so long,” he says. “Indigenous culture — the Indigenous thread — is part of the greater Canadian fabric. Telling those stories is a way of gathering the threads together.”

Support to tell those stories is something Mr. Ruffo says he’s seen great improvements in, especially as the study of Indigenous literature took off at Canadian universities in the 1990s.

“I’ve seen the steps that we’ve had to go through to get to where we are now. I have a long enough view back to see that people have been working on this for a long time,” he says. “There are a lot of positive things happening and the fact that I can be here at Queen’s, teaching these Aboriginal literature courses is amazing.”

Since starting at Queen’s in 2014, Mr. Ruffo has continued the multi-disciplinary juggling act that he does so well. He’s teaching classes in the Department of English Language and Literature and Department of Drama, and has become active with Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. At Four Directions he’s led writing workshops and serves on their Aboriginal Council. He’s also completed a book of poems inspired by the work of Norval Morrisseau that will come out later this year.

Though Mr. Ruffo wrestles to find the time to do so many different things, he balances the mental challenge of being creative and being a scholar with a simple trick: he doesn’t think about it.

“It’s a different hat that I put on when I’m working in the creative realm. If I did think about it, I’d probably stop writing creatively. I do try to bring my creative side to teaching though, along with my interests in Indigenous aesthetics and epistemology. Those things help me,” he says, adding with a laugh, “but, I try not to teach my own work.” 

LIVES LIVED: Intellectually challenging and a force of nature

Ron Weisman obtained his PhD from Michigan State University in 1964 and was hired as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Queen’s University in that same year. Ron was promoted to Associate Professor in 1970, Professor in 1977, cross appointed to the Department of Biology in 1993, and finally promoted to Professor Emeritus in 2000.

In sum, Ron was a professor at Queen’s for over 50 years.

Ron Weisman

He is well known for his numerous significant contributions to our understanding of animal learning, cognition, and behaviour. Maybe more important, but not so easily tallied with facts and numbers, are the more qualitative and impactful contributions that Ron made to the research areas in which he was so totally and passionately invested during his long and productive career but that escape the accountant’s ledger.

Of these less quantifiable, but absolutely important contributions, one cannot hope to produce a comprehensive report here. And Ron himself would not want such a thing. “Too many words that no one is likely to read or care about” would probably be his quip in response to such an idea.

No, the manner in which Ron operated and conducted himself is best described using the words of those who have commented about his influence in the days since his passing. Strong themes like “force of nature,” “intellectually challenging,” “passionate,” “inspiring,” are a constant in Ron’s colleagues’ narratives shared in conversations, social media, and emails.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Ron reinvented his research career from the ground up when he realized an opportunity to pursue new more challenging but meaningful problems. This categorical change came when Ron was at a point in his career in which most people would be happy to simply maintain the currently successful status quo until retirement.

Not Ron. Instead, and in spite of, or perhaps, because of, the fear of the unknown, Ron forged a second, even more well-known career for himself, combining research in learning, cognition, ethology, and neuroscience in a manner not often done, certainly not with the same effect. While on this new path, Ron continued to make significant contributions to the scientific literature and to the field through the founding of the Comparative Cognition Society, and their flagship online and open access journal, Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews.

Perhaps Ron’s most enduring legacy will be of the contributions that he made to the mentorship and encouragement of young scientists. Many successful scientists owe their “academic legs” to Ron’s strong and generous support and wisdom. Ron posed challenging questions and championed points of view that were sometimes controversial and always aimed at pushing back the darkness to, as Ron put it, “explain nature.”

Ron always managed to be engaging, encouraging, and able to coax the absolute best out of everyone who was willing to meet his enthusiasm and level of commitment to science. Ron’s enthusiasm, wit, candor, compassion, and his huge smile will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. What a guy.

Christopher B. Sturdy and Marcia L. Spetch are professors with the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta, co-editors of Comparative Cognition & Behaviour Reviews and colleagues of Dr. Weisman’s.

SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gaels advance to OUA Final 4 in women's basketball

[Gaels celebrate overtime win]
The Queen's Gales celebrate after defetaing the Laurier Golden Hawks 85-78 on Saturday in Waterloo. (Photo by Kha Vo)

Never count out the Queen’s Gaels women’s basketball team during the playoffs.

Trailing by as much as 14 points early in the game, the Gaels fought back to upset the No. 6 Laurier Golden Hawks in double overtime 85-78 in OUA playoff action at the Athletic Complex Gym in Waterloo on Saturday.

With the win the Gaels advance to the OUA Final Four in Windsor where they will face the Ryerson Rams in the semifinals. The Windsor Lancers will square off with the Lakehead Thunderwolves in the other match.

Saturday’s game was a see-saw battle with both teams using all the weapons in their arsenal.

“It was a bit of a game of runs for a stretch and then it just became a back-and-forth affair,” said Gaels coach Dave Wilson after the victory. “There were things that we were trying to do to keep them off-balance and changed things up and played four different defences at one point or another in the game. After that we had a lot of options offensively and it was just trying to find the right combination of offence to run to combat their defence.”

Queen’s saw a strong performance from a large contingent of Gaels in the marathon match. Jenny Wright led the Gaels offence with 24 points while adding six rebounds and Robyn Pearson finished with a double-double scoring 12 and matching that with 12 rebounds. Three other Gaels were able to reach 10 or more points while Emily Hazlett scored nine but nabbed five rebounds, four assists and four steals while going 7-for-10 from the charity stripe.

With the game knotted at 67-67 in the dying seconds of regulation Laurier had a chance to win on the final shot but missed sending the game to overtime.

However, that’s where the Gaels have thrived in recent years.

“Our team loves overtime,” said coach Wilson. “Our kids have never lost in overtime, so they were very confident heading in and almost even more heading into the second overtime, it was a very calm feeling on our bench.”

After the first overtime period ended with the teams still tied Laurier seemed to run out of gas and the Gaels were able to hang on for the 85-78 win.

Principal Woolf serves up a favourite meal

  • Principal Woolf Serves
    Principal Daniel Woolf helped serve up one of his favourite recipes – macaroni and cheese with jalapenos – on Friday at Ban Righ Hall.
  • Principal Woolf Serves
    Principal Daniel Woolf prepares to serve up one of his favourite recipes – macaroni and cheese with jalapenos – on Friday at Ban Righ Hall.
  • Principal Woolf Serves
    Principal Daniel Woolf helped serve up macaroni and cheese with jalapenos, a personal favourite recipe, on Friday at Ban Righ Hall.
  • Principal Woolf Serves
    Macaroni and cheese with jalapenos, a favourite receipe of Principal Daniel Woolf, was served for lunch Friday at Ban Righ Hall.

With a favourite recipe on the menu Friday at Ban Righ Hall, Principal Daniel Woolf just couldn't resist helping dish out some macaroni and cheese with jalapenos.

Dressed in a chef's uniform, Principal Woolf manned the serving area and filled plates for staff and students at the dining facility.

The recipe is one that the principal revealed is his "culinary guilty pleasure" during a recent Q&A with the Whig-Standard.

After seeing the article, Queen's Hospitality Services created their own recipe with a blend of cheeses, jalapeno and habanero peppers and a tortilla chip crust.

FIT TIPS: Get active and stay healthy

With the aim of helping faculty and staff ‘Get your 150’ (minutes of recommended exercise a week) to improve health and wellness, the Gazette and Athletics and Recreation will be offering a Fit Tip in each edition.

It’s no secret that inactivity is bad for your health, but it may be worse than previously thought.

Researchers at Cambridge University concluded that exercise that burns around 100 calories a day, such as a brisk, 20-minute daily walk, can reduce the risk of premature illness by 16% - 30%!


• Small amounts of physical activity each day can have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive

• 20 minutes would make a difference, but you should be looking to do more – 150mins/week

• Physical activity has many health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life

• Start by standing up every 30 minutes from your desk!

• Go for a 20-minute walk on your lunch hour

• Take the stairs

Be creative, be active, be healthy….something to think about for you!

Show us how you Get Your 150, post your pictures on social media with #getyour150.

Richardson Stadium meeting held

On Feb. 26, the university hosted a meeting for West Campus neighbours to discuss the Richardson Stadium revitalization project.

Attendees were shown photos of the current stadium, conceptual images of design plans, and an architect’s video showing what the new stadium might look like.

Richardson Stadium has been a fixture at Queen’s for nearly 100 years. The original Richardson Stadium was built in 1921 and located on what is now Tindall Field, and in 1971 was rebuilt on its current site at West Campus. More than four decades later, the stadium is showing its age. In May 2013 an engineering report recommended the removal of sections of bleachers and later that summer temporary seating was installed at the field.

The project is a priority within Queen’s $500-million Initiative Campaign. It is the next step in the university’s efforts to enhance its athletics and recreation facilities to promote the health and wellness of all students. Other recent projects include the Athletics and Recreation Centre and the redevelopment of Tindall, Nixon, and Miklas-McCarney fields.

The university plans to host an open public meeting on the revitalization project in March.

For more information about the revitalization project, visit the website. To receive the university's Community Update, a monthly newsletter containing stories of relevance to members of the Kingston community, email gir@queensu.ca

Majors Night a major success

  • Arts and Science Majors Night
    Hundreds of first-year students filled Grant Hall on Thursday evening for the first Arts and Science Majors Night.
  • Arts and Science Majors Night
    Students looking to declare a major were able to ask questions and learn about each program in the Faculty of Arts and Science.
  • Arts and Science Majors Night
    Hundreds of first-year students filled Grant Hall on Thursday evening for the first Arts and Science Majors Night.
  • Arts and Science Majors Night
    Each Departmental Student Council was represented by students who have already gone through the process of selecting a major.
  • Arts and Science Majors Night
    Students who have already gone through the process of selecting a major were available to talk about their experiences.

Hundreds of first-year students who have yet to declare a major crowded into Grant Hall on Thursday evening for the first Arts and Science Majors Night.

Students were able to meet and ask questions of students who have already gone through the process, with booths being set up by each Departmental Student Council (DSC).

Attendees were able to compare the different programs they are considering and explore if they line up with their interests and future goals.

Queen’s also recently created “major maps” for all 44 of its undergraduate programs. The maps provide advice on academics, extracurricular activities, networking, international opportunities and career development, providing support before, during and after students earn their degree.

Students can access print versions of the maps through their faculty or department advisers. Career Services has also posted the maps online in web and accessible formats.

The Faculty of Arts and Science also has information that can be found online and posted a new video to help student in the process of choosing a major.

Majors Night is a partnership between Career Services in the Division of Student Affairs, the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS), and the Arts and Science Departmental Student Councils.


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