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Celebrating 20 years of Positive Space

The Human Rights and Equity Office is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Positive Space at Queen’s University with a special event at Mitchell Hall on Monday, Oct. 28, 3-4:30 pm.

At the event the Human Rights and Equity Office will be showcasing the evolution of a welcoming environment for sexual and gender diversity at Queen’s.

Seating for this event will be limited. Registration is available online.

Please help Human Rights and Equity Office to plan an accessible and inclusive event by identifying any personal requirements, dietary or otherwise, that you may have. Please contact the organizers in advance at equity@queensu.ca and they will help meet your accommodation and inclusion needs.

Positive Space

Positive Space information sessions were introduced at the university in 1999. Positive Space stickers in work, living, or study areas signal that all are welcome. To be welcoming includes not making assumptions about anyone’s gender or sexual orientation, being aware of intersectionalities with other forms of oppression, and working to overcome both overt and subtle forms of discrimination and harassment.

Positive Space information session continue to be offered at Queen’s.

Click here to register for one of our upcoming Positive Space Information sessions. 

Queen's faculty and staff can also arrange to have a session presented especially for their own group. To arrange a group session, please fill out and submit the Request for Training form at Queen's Equity Training.

We see the world as we are

[Bubble Map on paper]
Through using an Identity Bubble Map, one identifies the cultural affinity groups – such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, hobbies and interests – to which they belong.

In this piece for the Together We Are blog Kevin Collins, Student Development Coordinator at the Queen’s Student Experience Office, writes about the importance of understanding our own identities in order to learn how to navigate differences respectfully.

This year’s theme for the Together We Are blog is unlearning and relearning. My career has given me the opportunity to try my hand at these things. It’s a process that I feel fortunate to have regular opportunities to engage in.

My background is in international and comparative education. Through living and teaching overseas, I’ve been able to see how different educational systems work based on cultural context. As a teacher in South Korea and Sweden, I felt that I was learning about how different educational systems work. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was viewing things through my own lens based on my culture and identity. When I saw students in Korea attending school on Saturdays, or students in Sweden calling teachers by their first names, I disagreed with these practices because I was used to the schooling model that I grew up with. I didn’t seek to fully understand educational practices from the perspective of the people who were a part of the systems in which I was a visitor. I’ve since been able to reframe my experiences with the knowledge that who I am and my prior lived experiences shape the way that I see the world.

There’s an activity that I often do with students to help frame and personalize this idea: The Bubble Map. I first used the activity when I worked on the Intercultural Learning Program at University of Toronto. In front of the group, I write my name in the centre of a piece of chart paper and then draw circles around it and write in some of the cultural affinity groups that I belong to. Cultural affinity groups include age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, places you’ve lived, hobbies and interests. I introduce myself to the group and talk about how the cultural affinity groups that I belong to have values, attitudes, norms and practices associated with them. As a gay man who enjoys the outdoors and loves dogs, I really like to go on hikes with my dog and my boyfriend. Someone who is a cat lover, or who prefers city life, might not feel the same way.

I also talk with the group about how the affinity groups that we belong to, or the pieces of our identities, intersect. We can’t say that experiences are the same for everyone in a certain group, because not everyone belongs to the same set of groups. Additionally, some groups we choose to be a part of, and others we are born into. Some parts of who we are are visible, and other parts we can choose to share or not share. There’s a great deal more that could be discussed here related to power and privilege, but the Bubble Map is a nice intro into culture and identity.

After I introduce myself, I ask the students to create their own maps. I let them know that they can include as much or as little as they are comfortable with. They then introduce themselves to each other. The conversations that I hear are amazing:

  • Someone with one parent and another with four parents talking about what family life was like growing up
  • A Kingstonian sharing how Toronto feels too busy with a person from Shanghai who thinks that Toronto is fairly quiet and small compared to what they are used to
  • A piano player and a sailor comparing and contrasting the values, beliefs, norms and practices associated with their hobbies

How does all of this relate to unlearning and relearning? I think that we often make assumptions about things based on who we are and our lived experiences. By examining how culture and identity impact our perceptions it allows us to think reflexively. Additionally, by opening ourselves up to hear from others who are different from us, we can better understand them and the way that they see the world. Doing so can change our thinking, making us more empathetic. Learning how to navigate differences respectfully is key in fostering a more inclusive campus.

Contributing to the community

This year’s Queen’s United Way Campaign is aiming to raise $370,178 in support of the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

Throughout our community the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington is helping a wide range of services and organizations that offer much-needed support.

As the largest single workplace fundraising campaign in the region, the Queen’s United Way Campaign plays a key role in enabling these service providers as they work towards forming the building blocks of early education and ending youth homelessness to promoting physical and mental wellbeing and improving access to shelter and affordable housing.

This year the United Way KFL&A has set the fundraising campaign goal at $3,551,000. The Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee has set its fundraising goal at $370,178.

It’s another example of how Queen’s – its staff, students, and faculty members, both active and retired – continues to contribute to its surrounding communities.

“The United Way provides hope, a sense of belonging and dignity. From alleviating hunger and poverty, to providing support to women and children fleeing violence and abuse, the United Way’s programs directly, and indirectly, benefit everyone in our community,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) and Executive Sponsor of the committee. “I strongly encourage members of the Queen’s community to donate. Every little bit helps. It is amazing what the United Way can do to change lives locally.”

Last year, more than 53,000 people benefited from United Way KFL&A-funded programs.

Throughout the campaign, a number of events are held at Queen’s to promote the campaign and raise funds. Committee members are also attending faculty and departmental meetings to promote the campaign and explain how each donation – no matter the size – makes a difference.

“Queen’s University continues to lead the way in our community through its support of the United Way of KFL&A,” says James Ligthart (Athletics and Recreation), chair of the Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee. “Last year the Queen’s community contributed more than $368,000 to help United Way agencies build and strengthen our community. The donations by Queen’s staff, faculty and students along with the dedicated work of our volunteer committee make the Queen’s United Way campaign truly special.”

The benefits for the community are clear.

For example a donation of $2 per week provides winter boots for 11 children this winter, a $5 donation per week provides 203 meals at two local soup kitchens, while a donation of $20 per week provides 20 women with work attire and support to gain employment.

Donating is easy.

Queen’s community members can back the United Way through payroll deduction, a one-time gift, credit card, cheque or cash. 

To make a donation online through the United Way’s ePledge system, simply go to queensu.ca/unitedway and fill out the forms. On Oct. 7 all Queen’s faculty and staff received an email with the subject “Queen’s United Way needs your support,” containing a direct link to their custom e-pledge page. Please note that if you donated last year and selected the auto-renewal action, no further action is required unless you would like to change your donation. 

As of Tuesday, Oct. 22 the Queen’s campaign had raised $185,753, or just over 50 per cent of its goal.

Follow the Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit the United Way KFL&A website for more information.

Take Our Kids to Work Day Nov. 6

Take Our Kids to Work Day is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Take Our Kids to Work Day is a national program organized by “The Learning Partnership” where Grade 9 students have the opportunity to job shadow their parent/guardian or sponsor for the day. This program highlights the importance of education, skills development, and training while giving Grade 9 students the opportunity to experience the world of work and the variety of career opportunities available to them.

Queen’s University is once again offering children of Queen’s faculty and staff a special day filled with activities. This year’s schedule of events runs 9:30 am to noon, with career education and resume building workshops, as well as a guided tour of the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute. Students and their parent/guardian can also opt to have lunch at Leonard Dining Hall for $5. The campus-led itinerary is optional and provided free of charge, with the exception of the $5 (non-compulsory) lunch. 

Registration is now open. Please provide your completed registration form via email to safety@queensu.ca or in-person at 96 Albert St. The deadline to register is Oct. 30.

Permission from your department head is required on the Take Our Kids to Work Application (HR-FRM-058) in order to participate in the job shadowing portion.

To view the itinerary, to download the application form and to register visit the Take Our Kids to Work Day webpage.

If you have questions regarding the safety of an activity contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

General enquiries related to Take Our Kids to Work Day, registration, or the campus-led itinerary can be sent to hrodl@queensu.ca.

Resources for researchers

[Courtney Matthews]
Courtney Matthews, Head, Open Scholarship Services Queen’s Library, presents during the 2018/2019 R4R@Q series. 

From applying for grants, managing research data, traversing the world of partnership agreements and tech transfer, to understanding how to promote and mobilize your work, the research landscape at Queen’s can be difficult to navigate for scholars at any stage of their careers.

Click image to enlarge.

The Resources for Research at Queen’s (R4R@Q) series is a monthly, brown bag lunchtime series meant to connect Queen’s researchers with the resources and people that can help chart a course for research success.

Now in its second season, the series is led by University Research Services in collaboration with the Library, Office of Partnerships and Innovation, ITS, Office of the Vice-Principal (Research), the Centre for Advanced Computing, and University Relations. The partnership demonstrates the variety of units and departments across campus that have a critical role to play in the research trajectory – from idea inception to commercialization.

“This series connects the research community with the people and resources they can leverage for success in their research careers,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Subjects include tools for research, but also topical issues such as cybersecurity and advanced computing.”

Beginning Wednesday (Oct. 23), R4R@Q sessions will run monthly until April from 12:30-1:30 pm. Topics for this academic year include data management, building an effective research plan, and media relations. 

Did you know that the university recently launched a new central website for Queen’s research? The new site highlights Queen’s research strengths, research outcomes and impact, leveraging a variety of different storytelling techniques. Visit: queensu.ca/research

The 2019/2020 series:

The series is open to researchers and the Queen’s research community. For more information on individual sessions or to register, visit the website.

Welcoming back alumni

More than 3,200 alumni returned to Queen's for Homecoming 2019.

  • Tricolour parade
    Queen's Bands marches in the Tricolour Parade. (Photo by Suzy Lamont)
  • alumni attend football game
    Alumni attend the Gaels football game at Richardson Stadium. (Photo by Suzy Lamont)
  • members of the Tricolour Guard take the field at halftime during the Gaels football game.
    Members of the Tricolour Guard take the field at halftime during the Gaels football game. (Photo by Suzy Lamont)
  • Queen's students show tricolour pride at Spirit Corner.
    Queen's students show tricolour pride at Spirit Corner. (Photo by Suzy Lamont)
  • Alumnus gets his face painted at Spirit Corner before heading to Richardson Stadium.
    An alumnus gets his face painted at Spirit Corner before heading to Richardson Stadium. (Photo by Suzy Lamont)

Homecoming is a time of celebration with thousands of alumni returning to Queen’s.

This year’s event – hosted Friday, Oct. 18 to Sunday, Oct. 20 – featured dozens of events including class reunions, faculty open houses, the Homecoming football game, a fundraising pumpkin smash, and celebrations for the Tricolour Guard – alumni marking their 50th anniversary or more.

All of these events are supported by the hundreds of volunteers who help out each year.

Photographers from the Office of Advancement were busy all weekend capturing some of the colour of Homecoming and the people who make up the Queen’s community.

More photos are available on the Queen's Alumni Facebook page

Gaels capture OUA women’s rugby banner

[Queen's women's rugby team celebrates OUA title]
The Queen's Gaels women's rugby team celebrates after winning the OUA title on Nixon Field, Friday, Oct. 18. The team now advances to the U-Sports national championship in Ottawa, starting Wednesday, Oct. 30. (Photo by Robin Kasem)

The No. 3 nationally-ranked Queen's Gaels halted the No. 4 Guelph Gryphons from extending their OUA banner streak with a decisive 46-17 win in the OUA championship from Nixon Field on homecoming weekend at Queen’s University.

The three-time defending champion Guelph Gryphons dropped their first match to the Queen’s Gaels after having won their previous nine contests against their rivals dating back to 2013. That match was a win for Queen’s that gave them their first OUA title in school history. Guelph has won three-straight banners and two consecutive finals over the Gaels heading into Friday night.

The Gaels jumped out to a 12-0 lead with tries by Celia Martensson and Rachel Hickson. After the Gryphons answered with a try of their own Carmen Izyk and Hickson found the endzone for a 24-5 lead at the half

After the break, the Gaels kept the points coming. First, it was McKinley Hunt who dove over the try line for five points in the opening minutes of the second. That was followed up by Sophie de Goede getting her first try of the match and Hunt adding another. Gillian Reason added another try that was bookended by a pair of tries by Guelph.

Both teams now advance to the U-Sports final in Ottawa starting Wednesday, Oct. 30.

To learn more about Queen’s Gaels teams, visit the Queen’s Athletics website at gogaelsgo.com.

Helping the Queen’s community Thrive

Françoise Mathieu
Françoise Mathieu, a registered psychotherapist and co-executive director of TEND, is the keynote speaker for this year's Thrive Week at Queen's University. (Supplied Photo) 

Thrive Week returns Nov. 4-8 with Queen’s Human Resources offering a full schedule of events focused on the importance of mental health and well-being, while also highlighting the resources available to the Queen’s community.

Thrive Week“Thrive Week is about connecting with the Queen’s community and getting people to think more about the skills and resources they require to thrive throughout the year,” says Steve Millan, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources). “This is a great opportunity to participate in some interesting activities while also learning more about well-being and the importance of mental health.”

New this year is a special keynote speaker event featuring Françoise Mathieu, a registered psychotherapist and co-executive director of TEND, an organization that provides resources and training to address the complex needs of high stress, trauma-exposed workplaces.

Mathieu, an expert on compassion fatigue and secondary trauma, has more than 20 years of experience as a mental health professional. A sought-after speaker, she has delivered hundreds of seminars across North America.

In recent years Mathieu has seen a growing awareness of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma, which is a positive.

“When we first started offering educational sessions 17 years ago it was challenging to convince people that the issue of compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress were occurring,” she says. “I think that we have made good progress to combat the stigma surrounding provider impairment and also convincing leadership that investing in staff mental health and addressing secondary trauma exposure can help everyone work better and stay well.” 

Her talk, “The Edge of Compassion – Staying well while working in high-stress environments” is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, 9-10 am at Dupuis Hall.

Other events with a lighter-side include a Haunted Walk and the always-popular Take a Paws, that brings a group of friendly dogs to campus. Also planned are several workshops and sessions, including ‘Creating a personalized self-care plan’ and ‘Beyond Stigma: Increasing our understanding of mental health in the workplace,’ and much more.

Visit the Thrive website to view and register for events. 

Chancellor Leech to receive honorary degree from RMC

[Chancellor Jim Leech]
Chancellor Jim Leech will receive an honorary degree from the Royal Military College during its 116th convocation ceremony. (University Communications)

Jim Leech, the 14th Chancellor of Queen’s University, is being recognized with an honorary degree from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC). 

Chancellor Leech graduated from RMC with a Bachelor of Science in Honours Mathematics and Physics in 1968 and during that time received acclaim both as an athlete and student leader. He spent most of his active service with the Royal 22nd Regiment as part of NATO forces in Germany. After serving with the Canadian Forces, he attended Queen’s University and completed a Master’s of Business Administration in 1973.

“Being recognized by one’s alma mater with its greatest honour is quite humbling,” Chancellor Leech says. “I am fortunate to have graduated from the two best universities – RMC and Queen’s. Both have had a major impact on my life. I have been fortunate in my career and life to be supported by many talented colleagues which has allowed me to accomplish much more than was possible on my own.”

After graduating from Queen’s at the top of his class, Chancellor Leech entered the financial services and real estate industry, holding increasingly senior executive positions across Canada. In 2001, Chancellor Leech was recruited to establish the private investment arm of the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. He was later promoted to chief executive officer, overseeing its growth to become Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan, responsible for investing $150 billion for 310,000 teachers by the time he retired in 2014.

Later that year he was appointed Chancellor of Queen’s University. He was reappointed to a second three-year term in 2017 and the university recently extended his current term for another year to 2021.

“The Royal Military College and Queen’s University have both benefitted greatly from Chancellor Leech’s energy, expertise, and enduring commitment,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “He is a source of strength and inspiration for both institutions and this latest honour from RMC is well  deserved. Congratulations Chancellor Leech.”

Outside of business, Chancellor Leech has taken on leading roles with the True Patriot Love Foundation – for which he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 – the Mastercard Foundation, the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and 32 Signal Regiment. He co-authored The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures, which received the 2014 National Business Book Award. In 2014, he took part in an expedition to the magnetic north pole to raise awareness and funds for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 2014. He also served as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada to establish the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

In 2017 Chancellor Leech was inducted to RMC’s Wall of Honour, in recognition of his achievements in academia, business and volunteerism. He is one of only 32 outstanding alumni of Canada’s military academies to receive the honour – joining Colonel Chris Hadfield, Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, and Air Marshal William Avery “Billy” Bishop, among others.

At Queen’s, Chancellor Leech has also served as a member of the Queen’s Board of Trustees (1984-96) and University Council (1980-84) as well as the Initiative Campaign cabinet. He also kept close ties with the Smith School of Business serving as chair of the advisory board on three separate occasions and as a member of its global council.

Chancellor Leech will receive his honorary degree at RMC’s 116th Convocation on Friday, Nov. 15.


Created in 1874, the position of Chancellor at Queen’s includes a group of highly-esteemed individuals including Sir Sanford Fleming, Canada’s foremost railway engineer and the father of standard time, and Sir Robert Borden, the eighth prime minister of Canada who made important steps toward a fully-independent Canadian government.

More about the role of the Chancellor and the history of position at Queen’s can be found online.

Follow Chancellor Leech on Twitter at @QUchancellor.

March in solidarity

Queen's community shows support for those affected by racist and homophobic incident.

  • Students, faculty, and staff gather in solidarity with Queen's Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities.
    Students, faculty, and staff gather in solidarity with Queen's Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities. (University Communications)
  • Kassie Hill and Emma Sparks, Co-Presidents of the Queen's Native Student Association, speak at the rally.
    Kassie Hill and Emma Sparks, co-presidents of the Queen's Native Student Association, speak at the rally. (University Communications)
  • Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs expresses the university's support and commitment to those affected.
    Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, expresses the university's support and commitment to those affected. (University Communications)
  • Queen's students, faculty, and staff gathered in front of the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre to hear speakers in advance of the march.
    Queen's students, faculty, and staff gathered in front of the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre to hear speakers in advance of the march. (University Communications)
  • Jane Mao, Chown Hall Residence Don and part of the Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP), speaks to supporters before the march.
    Jane Mao, Chown Hall Residence don and part of the Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP), speaks to supporters before the march. (University Communications)
  • The Pride and Métis flags flying at the centre of campus.
    The Pride and Métis flags flying at the centre of campus. (University Communications)
  • Marchers moving down Union Street to the heart of campus.
    Marchers moving down Union Street to the heart of campus. (University Communications)
  • The Haudenosaunee flag flying from Principal Patrick Deane's office at Richardson Hall.
    The Haudenosaunee flag flying from Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane's office at Richardson Hall. (University Communications)
  • Queen's Student Wellness Services staff wave to marchers and display signs of support.
    Queen's Student Wellness Services staff wave to marchers and display signs of support. (University Communications)
  • The Anishinaabe flag flying from Provost Tom Harris' office at Richardson Hall.
    The Anishinaabe flag flying from Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris' office at Richardson Hall. (University Communications)

Queen’s community members turned out in the hundreds to stand up for those threatened by a racist and homophobic poster, recently discovered in a student residence building. Students, faculty, and staff marched in solidarity through the heart of campus from the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre to Chown Hall and back, condemning the act of discrimination.

The march began with speeches from student representatives, Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre staff, and senior Queen’s administrators.

“Today, I stand here proud to be who I am,” says Kassie Hill, Co-President of the Queen’s Native Student Association. “I’m proud to be a representative of Indigenous students on campus, and I can say that whoever did this failed to diminish my flame because I am more passionate and more ignited to make change than ever.”

Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), Kandice Baptiste, Director of Four Directions, and Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, were among those who also spoke to the crowd.

"It was uplifting to see so many members of the Queen’s community attend the students’ march, and stand up to the vile, hateful, racist, violent and homophobic sentiments expressed in the poster placed in Queen’s residence," says Hill. "As terrible as this incident was, it has provided us with an opportunity to make a bold statement and commitment and to act to create real change not only on this campus, but in this country and beyond. It is time to question systems and barriers, and it is time to acknowledge and validate our ways of knowing and being in the world. I look forward to working with our students, my fellow Indigenous colleagues, and all members of the Queen’s community to take action towards lasting change."


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