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Student Learning Experience

Students push for exercise prescriptions

Active Easter Egg Hunt hosted by Exercise is Medicine Canada at Queen's

April 16, 11 am - 1 pm

School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (28 Division St.)

Email eim@queensu.ca for info or to register

By Dominique Delmas, Communications Intern

A group of students is working to encourage doctors to prescribe physical activity for the treatment and prevention of disease and illness.

“We want people to recognize how potent of an effect exercise can have on physical and mental health. Research has shown that if exercise is prescribed from your doctor, the likelihood that you’ll try and start a program is much higher,” says Andrea Brennan, co-president of Exercise is Medicine Canada at Queen’s (EIMC @ Queen’s).

Last year, three exercise physiology graduate students came together to establish the club, making Queen’s the first Canadian university to officially join the EIMC task force. Exercise is Medicine is an international campaign to develop resources for primary care physicians and other health care providers to assess and prescribe exercise for patients.

The Queen’s team worked on a pilot project last fall with the introduction of exercise prescription referral resources and forms for Queen’s Health Services. EIMC @ Queen’s is revising the forms and hopes to reinstate them in the near future. EIMC @ Queen’s recently integrated its physician resource guides and exercise prescription referral forms into the Loyalist Family Health Team clinic located in Amherstview.

“We tailor our programs to the specific setting they’re going to be implemented in. For example, we focused on conditions like lower back pain, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes with the Loyalist Family Health Team project, whereas we focus more on mental health with the student population,” says Sara Giovannetti, co-president of EIMC @ Queen’s.

We want people to recognize how potent of an effect exercise can have on physical and mental health.

– Andrea Brennen, Co-President, EIMC @ Queen’s

The club organized a free public lecture last fall by Dr. Steven N. Blair with over 100 community members in attendance. EIMC @ Queen’s collaborates with Dr. Robert Ross, Kinesiology and Health Studies faculty advisor, Dr. Stephen Archer, head of the Queen’s Department of Medicine, and student interest groups such as Student Wellness, Exercise and Athletic Training (SWEAT).

EIMC @ Queen’s will host an active Easter egg hunt on April 16 around campus to encourage students to be active during exam season. Participants from the Kingston community are welcome to register. Please contact eim@queensu.ca to register as an individual or team.

Visit the EIMC @ Queen’s website for more information. 

Members of the Exercise is Medicine Canada at Queen's club. 


Nobody better than Best in 3MT competition

By Hollie Knapp-Fisher, Communications Intern

Mike Best, a PhD student in clinical psychology, will represent Queen’s at the Ontario 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Ten Queen’s graduate students advanced to the final of the competition that required them to clearly explain their research to a panel of non-expert judges in three minutes and using only one slide. Mr. Best emerged victorious for his succinct yet entertaining presentation of his research on the biases toward schizophrenia.

“I wasn’t expecting such a large audience,” says Mr. Best, “but it’s these types of platforms that allow students like me to share their research. It is needed in the post-graduate community.”

Mr. Best said the competition taught him to tell a story with his data and forced him to engage and interact with his audience in order to get the message across. He is looking forward to not only representing Queen’s at the provincial 3MT but also learning about the research happening at other universities.

With topics ranging from the mating habits of female frogs to the state of the performing arts in Ontario public schools, the competition was stiff. All of the competitors completed their presentation in the allotted time and represented their research effectively, which made the final decision very difficult for the judges.

“What a great opportunity to be able to see the diversity of research taking place at Queen’s,” says 3MT judge Peter Milliken (Arts’68), former member of Parliament and Speaker of the House. “All of the presenters succeeded today – they did an excellent job.”

The judges named Mary Chaktsiris, a PhD candidate in the Department of History, the runner-up for her presentation of her First World War research. Sima Zakani, a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, earned the People’s Choice Award as voted by the audience members for her presentation on engineered hips.

The Ontario 3MT competition will take place at McMaster University on April 24.

If you missed listening to our finalists, their videos will be posted on the Queen’s 3MT website after the Ontario 3MT competition is completed.


New grad studies office helps post-docs thrive

By Wanda Praamsma, Communications Officer

Originally from Germany, Rebecca Hügler knows what it’s like to arrive at a new university in a new city and a new country. She first came to Queen’s in 2007 as an exchange student from Universität Karlsruhe and later returned to do her PhD in German studies with Jill Scott.

“I found the environment very supportive but the academic culture in Germany is more formal than in Canada, and I had to figure out how best to communicate with academics here,” says Dr. Hügler. “On top of that, you are also navigating the personal side of things, finding supportive peer groups and social opportunities.”

Rebecca Hügler, Co-ordinator, Office of Post-Doctoral Training

Finishing her doctorate last year, Dr. Hügler is now settled in Kingston and is using her adaptation skills and international background to help other academics transition into life at Queen’s. As the inaugural co-ordinator of the new Office of Post-Doctoral Training in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), Dr. Hügler is responsible for supporting post-doctoral researchers who are currently at Queen’s or are considering Queen’s as a research destination.

“Queen’s has about 200 post-docs on campus and approximately half have international backgrounds. Many of them are also older, with partners and families,” she says. “With this new office and my position, we want to build a support network for them and give them the resources they need to have a successful experience at Queen’s.”

Post-doctoral researchers are academics who have recently completed their PhDs and are looking to gain research experience in a new environment, often in a different country. Fellowships are generally considered a natural stepping stone into the academic career.

“These researchers are only here for a few years and we want them to get the most out of their time on campus,” says Dr. Hügler, who began her new position in February. “I am developing a comprehensive orientation package for them and will be offering many resources for professional development, including facilitating workshops on topics such as grant writing and searching for jobs, both academic and in industry.”

In her new role, Dr. Hügler will consult with post-docs to identify what supports and services are most needed and how best to meet those needs. She stresses that her office welcomes input into her new role. Over the next few months, she will be conducting focus groups to gain as much insight into what post-docs need to thrive at Queen’s.

“Post-doctoral fellows have indicated that they want professional and skills development opportunities to complement their research training,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “Locating responsibility in the School of Graduate Studies allows us to take advantage of their collective knowledge and expand our offerings to meet the needs of this unique group.”

Dr. Hügler welcomes feedback from current Queen’s post-docs and researchers who may be interested in working at Queen’s. She can be reached at sgspostdoc@queensu.ca

A website for the Office of Post-Doctoral Training will be available in the summer. Communications will provide the link when it becomes available.

Queen's announces realignment of School of Policy Studies

Queen’s announced today a realignment of the School of Policy Studies (SPS), effective July 1, and the establishment of a new Policy Council to champion the enrichment of the school’s programs.

The changes will see the SPS director report to David Saunders, Dean of the Queen’s School of Business (QSB), while the Master of Industrial Relations (MIR) program will become part of the Faculty of Arts and Science. The SPS will remain a separate academic unit, and a separate budget unit within the Queen’s budget model.

“The SPS has a long history of preparing students for challenging careers in public service; this realignment is the first step in ensuring its programs keep pace with the evolving needs of the public sector,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “With more than a dozen other universities offering public administration programs, we must ensure that the SPS is able to maintain a leading position, consistent with Queen’s century-old reputation as a training ground for the nation’s policy makers.”

The realignment comes after an external review of the school identified ways in which its existing strengths could be enhanced by aligning SPS with a professional faculty like QSB.

In addition, a new Policy Council will be established to make recommendations around the enrichment of the school’s programs and broadening its collaborations with other faculties. The council will be chaired by the provost and will include deans from faculties where there is a policy interest and expertise, the director of the SPS, as well as external experts.

“The continued success of the SPS depends on both the excellence of its programs and its financial sustainability,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “This change in reporting structure and the creation of the Policy Council are first steps in the process of working together to ensure the future success of the school.”

Kim Nossal, Director of the School of Policy Studies and Stauffer-Dunning Chair of Policy Studies, says the change will help the school work more closely with other units.

“The SPS has always been a leading centre for advanced education, research, debate and interaction with the public service,” says Dr. Nossal. “I look forward to working with the new Policy Council, Dean Saunders and others from across the university so that we can continue that tradition. The new structure will allow us to enrich the student learning experience by tapping policy expertise across faculties, and to secure the future financial sustainability of the school.”

While the Industrial Relations Centre will move with the MIR program to the Faculty of Arts and Science, the other research units – including the Centre for International and Defence Policy, the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, and the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy – will remain within the school.

More about the School of Policy Studies

Improving science education one researcher at a time

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

A team of Queen’s and Harvard researchers has identified important gaps between education research and teaching practices that are impeding the adoption of novel teaching strategies in post-secondary science education. Research-based instructional strategies have been validated in many classrooms, including large enrollment first-year courses, but these highly interactive approaches have been slow to spread.

James Fraser (Physics) and the Queen’s University-Harvard University team are proposing ways that education research can better serve front-line teachers, as well as approaches faculty members can take that will provide better learning opportunities for their science students.

“About 60 per cent of students who enter college intending to major in a science-related field do not graduate with a science degree,” says Dr. Fraser. “The continued prevalence of the traditional lecture approach is surprising given the dramatic gains achieved by highly interactive approaches in improved conceptual understanding, and increased retention in enrollment.”

Working with Harvard University researcher Eric Mazur, Dr. Fraser explored particularly successful practices and ways to improve their dissemination. The researchers synthesized results from studies of instructional techniques from a wide range of North American schools.

The review identified three major barriers to improving education in the science fields: the challenges of validating teaching approaches in real classrooms (with many uncontrolled variables), a professor’s lack of specific and timely feedback about the learning environment of their students, and the time limitations of faculty who cannot put their teaching and research roles on hold to become education research experts.

“There are real barriers for a professor to adopt an interactive teaching approach.  Education research has tested methods of overcoming some of these obstacles so we need to better disseminate the successful results,” says Dr. Fraser. “But other obstacles remain and education research needs to do a better job at addressing these issues.”

The research looked at a number of schools including Harvard, Ohio State, Indiana University and Arizona State. Queen’s was not included in the study.

The paper was published in the journal Reports on Progress in Physics. In addition, Dr. Mazur has been named one of the plenary facilitators at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Annual Conference that will be held this year at Queen’s from June 17 to 20.

Students honoured for leadership on and off campus

By Communications Staff

The university is recognizing four students for their contributions to Queen’s and the local community through their peer leadership activities and community service initiatives.

“We have established a new awards program to celebrate the strong tradition of peer-to-peer support and community involvement among our students,” says Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney. “While the recipients’ volunteer activities cover a wide range of areas, they share a common desire to make a difference in the lives of individuals at Queen’s and in the broader community.”

Peer Leadership Award

Sean Doherty and Roopa Suppiah accept the inaugural Peer Leadership Awards.

Sean Doherty (Sc’15) and Roopa Suppiah (Sc’14) have received inaugural Peer Leadership Awards for their dedication to peer-to-peer assistance, education and outreach.

Mr. Doherty is a peer health educator with Health, Counselling and Disability Services. His creativity and initiative on social media and in organizing and publicizing weekly health promotion workshops and club events has led to increased student awareness and participation.

Ms. Suppiah has volunteered with Learning Strategies in Student Academic Success Services (SASS) since 2010. She is now a team leader and delivers one-on-one coaching to students, designs and leads academic success workshops and mentors junior peer learning assistants. Her input and ideas are valued by staff and her peers.

Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award

Tian Lu recently received the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award. Co-winner Amanda Tracey could not attend the ceremony.

Tian Lu (MSc’14) and Amanda Tracey (PhD candidate, Biology) are the first recipients of the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award, named in honour of the former Queen’s Chaplain.

Ms. Lu serves as the International Student Affairs Commissioner with the Society of Graduate and Professional Students. She strives to better connect international graduate students and their families with the Kingston community. She has established new workshops, a networking tour and long-term partnerships that will benefit students now and for years to come.

Ms. Tracey is working towards a PhD in Biology and contributes extensively to the Kingston community, as a “Big Sister” and as a volunteer with the Kingston Humane Society and at Hotel Dieu Hospital. She has also shared her expertise with local residents, making presentations on topics such as Kingston’s biodiversity, volunteering at the Queen’s University Biological Station’s open house, judging the Frontenac Science Fair and developing a “computer basics” course for a group of seniors.

More information about the awards is available on the Division of Student Affairs website.

No props, one slide, three minutes

The 3 Minute Thesis competition heats will take place Thursday, March 28 at 2 pm in Walter Light Hall Auditorium and on Friday, March 28 starting at 9 am.
The final will take place on Wednesday, April 9 at 5 pm in Kinesiology 101.

By Hollie Knapp-Fisher, Communications Intern

Queen’s will host its annual 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on March 27 and March 28 featuring over 20 graduate student participants.

3MT gives master’s and PhD students a chance to present their research to a panel of non-expert judges in three minutes using only one slide and no props. The competition takes place in two heats with the top students competing in a final panel on April 9.

“The real challenge is to effectively communicate with the audience without using too much technical jargon,” says first-time participant John Forster, a master’s student studying mining engineering. “Understanding the research culture is important and although it will be difficult to do in three minutes, I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Developed by the University of Queensland in 2008 to promote effective communication of research, Queen’s was the first Ontario university to host a 3MT Competition in 2012 and the first to host a provincial-wide event the following year. This event provides students, staff and faculty with a unique opportunity to learn about the significant research being undertaken by graduate students at Queen’s. 

PhD candidate Frank Secretain was a 3MT finalist in 2013.

“With students participating from different fields, this sort of competition should help to build up a better inter-disciplinary atmosphere amongst the graduate students at Queen’s,” says Kurosh Amoui-Kalareh, a master’s student in Religious Studies and a first-time 3MT participant.  “I would highly recommend taking advantage of an opportunity like this to impact even a small group of people.” 

While the event is a competition, 3MT also gives participants a platform to share what they have been working on during their time at Queen’s and expand their knowledge of the range of research happening on campus. 

“I really believe that research should not be separated into individual silos,” says Jasmin Ma, a master’s candidate in Kinesiology and Health Studies, who is competing in 3MT for the second time. “Our research is important to us and being able to share it with the public means a lot. It’s an opportunity to share our passion.”

Concurrent music program formally launches

By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer 

A concurrent music program between Queen's University and St. Lawrence College was formally launched this afternoon at a reception that included performances by student musicians. The five-year Bachelor of Music/Music and Digital Media program will allow students to jointly earn qualifications from Queen's and St. Lawrence College. The interdisciplinary program introduces a new partnership between the two institutions. 

Read more about the program on the Queen's News Centre. 



Students aim to form bond with Aboriginal youth

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Twelve Queen’s students will travel to Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation in April to create a partnership with youth in the northern Ontario community.

[Annie Hollis with KI students]Annie Hollis (Artsci'15) meets with youth from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation during her visit to the community last summer. (Photo credit: Lenny Carpenter, Wawatay News)

“We don’t have an appreciation for the challenges the KI youth face in their everyday lives. We want to make ourselves more aware of that,” says Alex Gasser (Artsci’15), a member of Queen’s Rotaract, the campus club that is organizing the project. “We hope to create a lasting relationship with the youth, something we can expand on and get support from other organizations.”

During the 12-day visit to KI, which is located roughly 580 km north of Thunder Bay, the students will facilitate leadership development among youth, assist with minor restoration projects and engage in a cultural exchange. Mr. Gasser said the Queen’s students will enter into a dialogue with the youth to determine how they can best support their ideas.

The genesis for the project came in 2012 when KI community leaders and youth visited Queen’s and Kingston for the 3rd World Canada film tour. The documentary film follows three siblings as they struggle to survive in substandard living conditions and cope with the suicide of their parents.

Annie Hollis (Artsci’15) attended the screening and was shocked to see those living conditions in Canada. Several months later, she accepted the opportunity to visit the community after KI resident Faith McKay and other youth from the community invited 30 non-Aboriginal Canadians to live on the remote reserve for a week.

“Faith said her main goal was to let people know that her community existed in Canada’s ‘forgotten north’ and they wanted to make friends and connections like anyone else,” says Ms. Hollis. “That really stuck with me and we are working off that sentiment for our project in KI.”

The students are nearing their fundraising goal for the project thanks to the generous support of Rotary Clubs and many individual donors. Porter Airlines has generously offset a significant portion of the travel costs for the students.

More information about the outreach project can be found on the Queen’s Rotaract website.

Music students take on Broadway

By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer

 The Queen's Symphony Orchestra will perform as part of Broadway - Take Two! 

When Elisabeth Santos (BMus ’14) steps out onto the stage at Grant Hall and begins to sing as part of the School of Music’s fundraising concert, Broadway – Take Two, it will be a performance more than a year in the making. All ready to sing in last year’s show, Broadway – Live in Concert, Ms. Santos never got to take to the stage when the February event was cancelled due to bad weather. Organizers were not able to reschedule to the concert due to Grant Hall being solidly booked.

“I am looking forward to getting to finally sing through this show for the audience I know had been looking forward to it last year,” she says, “even though Mother Nature had other plans!”

The two-hour show, which features performances by music and drama students, as well as faculty members, will showcase Broadway melodies from Oklahoma!, Les Misérables, and Annie Get Your Gun, among others. The singers will be accompanied by the Queen’s Symphony Orchestra.

Produced by Bruce Kelly, an opera singer and adjunct lecturer in voice, says cast members audition to participate and are not required to be majoring in drama or music. Those doing solos, however, usually work with their teachers to perfect their performances.

Students ready for the spotlight 

Broadway - Take Two!
Friday, March 21, 2014
7 :30pm at Grant Hall 

• Directed by Gordon Craig • Produced by Bruce Kelly
• $20 general admission
• Tickets available in advance at the Performing Arts Office in the John Deutsch University Centre 
• For ticket information call 613-533-2558

Third year student Jacqui Sirois (Artsci ’15), a drama major and music minor, was also slated to be in last year’s show. She says she is thrilled to be performing in this year’s fundraiser.

“There are some really wonderful singers and musicians taking part in this show,” says Ms. Sirois, who will be performing a song from South Pacific and a duet from The King and I. “They not only bring out the beauty of the music, but they also showcase the incredible musical talent that Queen’s has to offer.”

Ms. Santos, who will be singing a solo from Jesus Christ, Superstar!, a duet from The Phantom of the Opera, and as part of the chorus, says taking part in this year’s performance has given her the opportunity to connect with her musical theatre side.

“I was involved in a lot of musical productions in high school, but since arriving at Queen’s, my repertoire has become mainly classical as I focus on more operatic singing,” she explains.

“This experience has been a nice way to get into another character and have fun singing a lot of upbeat pieces with a strong cast of talented performers.” 

-Elisabeth Santos (BMus '14)

While Ms. Sirois admits she’s a little nervous about Friday’s performance, she says she is looking forward to the moment when the orchestra and singers first come together in Grant Hall.

“That moment always gives me chills,” she says. “It’s such a treat to listen to the orchestra play this music, especially in Grant Hall, because the music just fills the air… I never manage to wipe the grin off my face when I'm listening to the performances.”

For more information, visit the School of Music's website. 




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