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William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.


U.S. college admissions scandal means more skepticism of genuine invisible disabilities

Admissions consultant William Singer is alleged to have helped his clients game the admissions system, including advising parents to get medical documentation stating their child had a learning disability. (Photo by Unsplash / good-free-photos.com)

Many have been shocked or disgusted to see a parade of privileged U.S. parents face charges after an alleged $20 million in bribes was paid between 2011 and 2018 by people seeking to cheat the normal college admissions process.

Admissions consultant William Singer is alleged to have helped his clients game the admissions system, including advising parents to get medical documentation stating their child had a learning disability, which can give students more time on tests or allow test-taking without regular supervision.

Abuses of disability diagnoses like these cheat students with genuine disabilities who may now be more likely to face skepticism about their diagnoses or be forced to revisit struggles they faced regarding accommodations. They also spotlight larger questions of fairness regarding accommodations for invisible disabilities in post-secondary education.

Since at least the mid-1990s, after groundbreaking anti-discrimination laws were introduced in the U.S., both journalistic investigation and academic research has examined signs that some people exploit accommodations designed for invisible disability diagnoses (such as learning disabilities or ADHD) to gain advantage.

Studies warned how easily students could feign learning disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD).

As a researcher, I’ve studied clinician bias and issues that interfere with accurate diagnosis of ADHD and learning disabilities.

I also work as a clinician at an assessment centre that helps students with learning disabilities transition to and succeed in post-secondary education.

Financial privilege and diagnoses

In 2000, the California state auditor reported that rates of learning-disability-related accommodations provided on college entrance exams were heavily skewed towards rich, white students throughout the state: by contrast, the number of learning disability accommodations provided to students in inner-city Los Angeles schools was zero.

This pattern is repeated throughout the U.S.: high parental income correlates with high rates of learning disability diagnosis and associated academic accommodations. These discrepancies don’t prove fraudulent diagnoses, but they do raise questions regarding why higher rates of learning disability diagnoses are associated with financial privilege whereas rates of physical disabilities show no such association.

According to a The New York Times report, Singer allegedly told one client that for $4,000 or $5,000 he could get a psychologist to write a report stating the client’s daughter “had disabilities and required special accommodations.”

This suggests psychologists were available who could either produce diagnoses on demand or who could be duped.

Honest psychologists can be fooled. Clinicians are generally inclined to regard their clients as honest. Some research suggests that someone who reads slowly or with difficulty, or seems to have problems processing information will often capture a disability diagnosis and get awarded the extra test-taking time that goes with it.

When is a fair accommodation fair?

Accommodations at the post-secondary level are supposed to ensure that those with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate; they ensure access, not success.

In the case of physical disabilities, the principle of equal opportunity is easier to grasp. For example, having an exam provided in braille means a student who is blind can read the questions. Such an accommodation would confer no advantage to those who can see: if a person pretended to be blind and accessed a braille exam, there’s no benefit.

Advocates of learning disability accommodations have asserted that accommodations don’t provide an unfair advantage.

But, in fact, research has suggested giving more than 25 per cent extra time provides a competitive advantage to reading disabled students relative to their university peers, and extra time in general helps all students including those with ADHD.

Singer allegedly told a client “wealthy families…figured out that if I get my kid tested and they get extended time, they can do better on the test. So most of these kids don’t even have issues, but they’re getting time.” For those feigning a disability, any amount of extra time gives a leg up on peers.

Feigning in Canada

To my knowledge, no comprehensive research exists about the prevalence of gaming disability accommodations in Canadian universities.

But suggesting there is less opportunity to game the Canadian system misses something: the possibility of students with no learning issues using disabilities accommodations to gain extra test time in courses before applying to highly competitive undergraduate or graduate programs, or before writing standardized tests like the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

In one study of 144 cases of post-secondary students undergoing testing for learning disabilities or ADHD, my colleagues and I found definitive evidence that 15 per cent were feigning or exaggerating. That percentage is a bit higher than the estimated range suggested in a survey of disability services personnel at 122 Canadian post-secondary institutions: the majority (90 per cent) reported they suspected fewer than 10 per cent of students to be feigning disabilities; however, a sizeable minority (10 per cent) of respondents suspected that between 10 – 25 per cent of students receiving accommodations were not genuine.

Respondents felt learning disabilities and ADHD were the most vulnerable to feigning, followed by psychiatric disorders. A sizeable number also believed parents were diagnosis shopping to get the diagnosis they wanted for their child.

Certainly, it’s understandable that in the face of unexpected learning struggles students (or their parents) would search for answers. But why might students or parents intentionally exploit a diagnosis? The rewards at the post-secondary level include not only more time on tests, but also memory aids for exams, a government bursary to purchase a new laptop or financial supports and government-funded disability bursaries.

Even when students are being honest, many studies show that clinicians have a diagnostic bias: for example, a survey of 119 clinicians who authored learning disability or ADHD-specific documentation submitted by students seeking academic accommodations at Canadian universities found 55 per cent of clinicians already believe that the purpose of an evaluation is to help secure accommodations for their clients. This same study found that 14 per cent of psychologists admitted that they would lie (or at least bend the rules) in order to obtain accommodations for their clients.

What should change?

We need to find a way to ensure equal access for students with genuine disabilities while de-incentivizing false disability diagnoses among post-secondary students. This means rethinking how we evaluate students.

Let’s start by getting rid of time as a test-taking variable. Let’s also give all students use of word processors when writing essay-type tests.

The U.S. College admissions scandal has shown that accommodations for invisible disabilities are set up in a way that could allow non-disabled people to exploit such diagnoses for a perceived benefit. This is not what disability accommodation was supposed to do.The Conversation


Allyson G. Harrison, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Queen's University and Clinical Director, Regional Assessment & Resource Centre.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Championing career development with tailored support

The 2nd annual Queen’s Psychology Careers Conference held on March 22, with approximately 100 students attending. From left: Andrea Labelle, Undergraduate Assistant in Psychology; Stephanie Manuel,  Department Student Council Co-President; Meghan Norris, Undergraduate Chair; and Megan Herrewynen,  Department Student Council Co-President. (Supplied Photo)

Meghan Norris, Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology, is creating tailored career supports and teaching students how to apply academic knowledge to future careers.

“The discipline of psychology is both broad and deep; students learn rigorous research methodologies and data analytic techniques in tandem with learning about the subtleties of complex behavior,” says Dr. Norris. “As a result, our students are uniquely suited to lead initiatives aiming to solve many global challenges, yet it can be hard for them to identify how to translate their training into their next career steps.”

Dr. Norris has implemented a number of new initiatives including a career conference, a new course and a new open-source textbook.

The 2nd annual Queen’s Psychology Careers Conference held on March 22, had approximately 100 students register, with faculty and alumni in attendance. They spent the morning engaging in professional development training with Career Services, had a keynote luncheon with guest and alumni Michael Seto, and they spent the afternoon discussing traditional and non-traditional career options in the field of psychology through small group mentoring with industry professionals. The day ended with a larger networking session with industry professionals.

The new course, PSYC 204: Applications and Careers in the Psychological Sciences, teaches students to take action and think about a variety of career options. To support this course, Dr. Norris assembled a new psychology textbook focused on how psychological sciences are applied in practice. The Canadian Handbook for Careers in Psychological Science was written by experts across Canada, and is open-sourced, which means it is free to access, and will be available online at eCampusOntario this summer.

“Students receive training in the skills most desired by employers but, despite this, students sometimes have a hard time seeing the relevance of this training ,” says Dr. Norris. “By integrating lecture, active-learning, and guest speakers, this course strengthens student awareness of the link between the content they are learning and the many ways that this knowledge can be translated into a broad range of applications and careers.”

Through the development process of these initiatives, Dr. Norris took advantage of the consultation services of Career Services, who can help with creating tailored career support, including forming learning outcomes and designing activities to help students explore career options and articulate the value of their university experience. Miguel Hahn, Head Career Counsellor, then contributed to the conference and the course with customized career workshops, and also to the textbook with a chapter on career development.

“Dr. Norris’ initiatives are all great examples of how faculty can champion career education on campus,” Hahn says. “Bringing career education into the classroom is a crucial component in developing student career readiness before graduation. By meeting student’s needs early on, they are supported in exploring career options, reflecting on who they are, and making plans towards meaningful career goals.”

To explore opportunities and resources for creating tailored career supports, contact Career Services.

Funding new scientific frontiers

New Frontiers in Research Fund fuels Queen’s research in topics ranging from Lyme disease to climate change.

Early-career researchers are the backbone of Canada’s research infrastructure. Recognizing this area of research strength and its potential, the Government of Canada has launched the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) to support early-career researchers as they pursue the next great discovery in their fields.

[Minister Kirsty Duncan]
Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Seven Queen’s University projects earned a $1.72 million portion of the $38 million in NFRF funding announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, earlier this week. The successful Queen’s researchers are: Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) and Mark Ormiston (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Robert Colautti (Biology), Samuel Dahan (Law), Lindsay Morcom (Education), Jessica Selinger (Kinesiology and Health Science), Kevin Stamplecoskie (Chemistry), and Laura Thomson (Geography and Planning).

“I am pleased today to celebrate the very first researchers to benefit from the New Frontiers in Research Fund. Our government’s vision is for our researchers to take risks and be innovative,” says Minister Duncan. “We want our scientists and students to have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, and we want the halls of academia to better reflect the diversity of Canada itself. This new fund will help us achieve that vision.”

Drs. Capicciotti and Ormiston are studying how cancer cells change the sugars that they express on their surface to avoid detection by the immune system. The researchers will work to develop technology to screen hundreds of sugar structures, with the ultimate goal of creating new cancer therapies that function by boosting an individual’s immune response.

As a member of the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (CLyDRN) based at Queen’s, Dr. Colautti is leading a diverse and multidisciplinary group of researchers to disrupt the way that tick-borne diseases are identified and managed in Canada. Their approach includes the use of handheld DNA sequencers and cloud computing for rapid detection of known or potential tick-borne pathogens, summarizing this information into a risk assessment framework for medical practitioners, public health officials, and the general populace.

Professor Dahan, in collaboration with Xiaodan Zhu (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and a team of 25 data scientists, Artificial Intelligence researchers, and law students, is working on an open source AI-tribunal for small claims in Ontario. This digital dispute-resolution platform will provide predictive legal services and negotiation support for self-represented plaintiffs. The NFRF funding will help develop the first stage of the product, focusing on severance pay and termination negotiation.

Using the skills of an interdisciplinary team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and visual and digital media artists, Dr. Morcom and her team will work to create a network of virtual reality spaces across the country. The newly-created spaces will be used to stage cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and cross-generational encounters.

Dr. Selinger has formed an interdisciplinary team that combines expertise in fundamental human biomechanics, clinical rehabilitative medicine, and applied robotic control. The research has the potential to revolutionize the next generation of rehabilitation strategies by focusing on how people re-learn to walk after a stroke.

Focusing on a new area of research, Dr. Stamplecoskie and partner Guojun Liu (Chemistry), are researching new electrochemical devices, capable of capturing the tremendous amount of energy available in rainfall, waves, and evaporating water. The research is working to create new devices capable to meeting global energy demands.

Dr. Thomson has amassed an interdisciplinary team that will integrate modern glacier research practices and inter-generational perspectives on climate, to improve environmental monitoring in Canada’s high-Arctic. This initiative will provide open-access, real-time climate data for the first time in this part of the Arctic, and provide public access to rare historic data.

All of the Queen’s projects are funded under the Exploration stream of the NFRF program. The second stream is the Transformation stream that provides large-scale support for Canada to build strength and leadership in interdisciplinary and transformative research. The third stream, International, will come online later, according to Minister Duncan.

“Through the NFRF program, early-career researchers at Queen’s are bringing new ideas and methodologies to critical issues from Lyme disease to climate change,” say Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Importantly, they are increasing the potential impact and application of their work by collaborating across disciplinary boundaries.”

For more information, visit the NFRF website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities listserv.

Queen’s researcher in precision medicine receives international honour

[Parvin Mousavi]
Parvin Mousavi (School of Computing) was presented with the C.C. Gotlieb Computer Award during the IEEE Canada Awards Gala on May 6. (University Communications)

Precision medicine is an emerging approach, which takes into account various factors impacting a person’s overall health status, including genetics, while recognizing that a one-size-fits-all model in diagnoses and treatment no longer applies to the provision of optimal care. Parvin Mousavi’s (School of Computing) research on machine learning focuses on creating better solutions for diagnosing disease, treating patients, and clinical interventions that are patient-specific. The availability of large amounts of data at many resolutions and from many sources, as well as the huge boost in machine learning and deep learning algorithms in the past five years further drive Dr. Mousavi’s goal of making precision medicine a greater reality.

Recently, Dr. Mousavi’s work in this area was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology. Dr. Mousavi is the recipient of the IEEE’s 2019 Canada C.C. Gotlieb Computer Award, a prize awarded to outstanding Canadian engineers recognized for their important contributions to the field of computer engineering and science.

“I’m very happy and humbled that the IEEE and my colleagues have acknowledged the contributions I’ve made in this field,” says Dr. Mousavi. “I think my research is making computers more accessible and more relevant in disease diagnosis, clinical interventions and surgeries. I am also thrilled that the IEEE has recognized the increasing impact and potential of computing and engineering innovations in bettering our health and the outcomes from medical interventions.”

Dr. Mousavi’s work has added greater depth to detection of disease, and determining appropriate treatments by combining machine learning with multifaceted data from medical images, bio-signals, and genomic markers. The applications of these methodologies help inform earlier and more accurate diagnosis of cancer, early interventions in critical care, and appropriate treatments while enabling patient-specific decision-making. 

Over the years, the field of computing has evolved and become ever more pervasive and complementary to various industries; the medical field is no exception.

“Computing is changing clinical decision making, especially with machine learning,” says Dr. Mousavi. “In today’s world, computer scientists have the opportunity to impact many aspects of our daily lives, augmenting critical, highly complex problem solving requirements such as those in the field of medicine. This is quite different to the role computing has played previously, or portrayed.” 

 Dr. Mousavi’s work has not only changed the nature of diagnosis and treatment of disease, she has also gained recognition as an inspirational woman in technology, as seen in her recent feature in Computer Vision News.

“I would like to see more women in computing win these awards,” says Dr. Mousavi “I hope as we see more women engaged in computing in our younger generations and students, we will also see more recognition for their contributions.”

As the Queen’s School of Computing celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Dr. Mousavi is greatly supported by her colleagues and students at Queen’s University.

“No one can work in my field in isolation,” says Dr. Mousavi. “It is a field that requires support from a group including undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, other faculty members, colleagues and collaborators. I feel that I could not have achieved any of this without being part of the School and Queen’s, and so well supported.”

Dr. Mousavi was presented with the award during the IEEE Canada Awards Gala on May 6. For more information on the IEEE, visit the website.

Connecting Canada’s brightest researchers

Funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is helping Queen’s researchers create partnerships to tackle global problems.

New funding for research partnerships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is helping Queen’s University researchers preserve the Arctic landscape, make our online communications safer, and improve human health.

Announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sports, the funding from the Strategic Partnerships Grant program is earmarked for 75 projects across the country that will connect Canada’s brightest researchers with industry, government, and other partners to transform fundamental science into tangible benefits for Canadians. Areas of focus include the environment, agriculture, communications technologies, natural resources, and energy.

By partnering with Canadian companies, researchers will also receive the training and experience they need to be labour market-ready.

“Partnerships with government, communities, and industry help to fuel the translation of research and knowledge into applied practice and products with benefits to Canadian and global citizens,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).

Three Queen’s researchers have received a total of almost $2 million in funding from the Strategic Partnerships Grant program:

Hossam Hassanein

Hossam Hassanein ($593,000) (Computing) is working on resource management in 5G networks, the next generation mobile network that is anticipated to provide ultra-reliable, high-speed communications infrastructure to connect more than 30 billion devices. Partnering with Ericsson, the carrier of 40 per cent of the world’s mobile traffic, Dr. Hassanein’s interdisciplinary research team will feature three PhD students, four MSc students and two postdoctoral fellows. They will receive training in machine intelligence and analytics for network management, which will prepare them for today’s job market.


Kerry Rowe

Kerry Rowe, Richard Brachman and Fady Abdelaal, ($587,351) (Civil Engineering) are studying the use of geosynthetic liners in the harsh environment of the Arctic. The extraction of mineral resources in the Arctic contributed $56 billion to Canada’s economy in 2015 but little research has been done in regards to protecting surface and groundwater supplies and the Arctic ecosystem from contaminated water emanating from mining operations. Drs. Rowe, Brachman and Abdelaal have formed a partnership between university researchers, engineering consultants, and geosynthetic manufacturers to design geosynthetic liners better suited for the Arctic environment.


Richard Oleschuk

Richard Oleschuk’s ($734,600) (Chemistry) laboratory features new cutting-edge technology that will help researchers better analyze a large array of samples including saliva, urine, and blood. Partnering with SCIEX, who provided the mass spectrometer to the university, Dr. Oleschuk says the new technology allows one to feed samples into the machine by simply touching the probe to the sample. Thousands of droplets will be analyzed within seconds and researchers can determine what’s on the paper. Dr. Oleschuk says the technology could be used to analyze suspicious packages passing through the mail or during surgery to analyze tissue samples.

For more information, visit the NSERC website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities listserv.

Queen’s names first Distinguished University Professors

Recipients recognized for international research and teaching excellence.

2018-19 Distinguished University Professors
2018-19 Distinguished University Professors: (Left to right) Top row: Donald H. Akenson, Stephen Archer, Nicholas Bala. Middle row: Susan P. C. Cole, Cathleen Crudden, John McGarry. Bottom row: Ram Murty, R. Kerry Rowe, Suning Wang.

Queen’s University recently awarded its highest research-related honour to nine faculty members internationally recognized for contributions to their respective fields of study. Each recipient was named a Distinguished University Professor for exhibiting an outstanding and sustained research record, teaching excellence, and significant and lasting contributions to Queen’s, Canada, and the world.

“The work being done here at Queen’s in many different academic disciplines is contributing to our understanding of the world and the overall global body of knowledge in many fields,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “To celebrate this level of world-class excellence in research and teaching, it is my pleasure to designate nine of our most accomplished faculty members as Distinguished University Professors.”

The group of individuals chosen are the first to receive designations under the Distinguished University Professor Program, which was made official by the university’s Senate in 2017-18. Each year, the program’s advisory committee will invite nominations from the campus community, review the submissions, and make recommendations to the principal, who then determines successful nominees.

“Choosing this year’s recipients, from what was an impeccable pool of nominees, was no easy task,” says Principal Woolf. “That said, it served as a wonderful opportunity for me to learn even more about the breadth of work taking place here at Queen’s, and the incredible faculty driving it forward.”

Each recipient will soon add an honorific name to their title, to be selected from a list of Senate approved names. For the first set of designates, this process will take place shortly.

The inaugural group of Distinguished University Professors includes:

  • Donald H. Akenson, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History
  • Stephen Archer, Distinguished University Professor, School of Medicine
  • Nicholas Bala, Distinguished University Professor, Faculty of Law
  • Susan P. C. Cole, Distinguished University Professor, Queen’s Cancer Research Institute
  • Cathleen Crudden, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Chemistry
  • John McGarry, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Political Studies
  • Ram Murty, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • R. Kerry Rowe, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
  • Suning Wang, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Chemistry

Visit the Principal’s website to learn more about the Distinguished University Professors Program, its advisory committee, and selection of honorific names.

Careers start here

Employment program aimed at attracting Queen’s Arts and Science graduates to accelerate their careers in Kingston grows into second year.

Queen's graduates who participated in the first QCA:K cohort.
Queen's Career Apprenticeship: Kingston pilot participants (from left to right): Maryam Remtulla, Justin Karch, Carmen Song, Kerstin Juby, Peter O'Donnell, and Jacey Carnegie.

A number of local businesses welcomed new graduates into their ranks recently, under the auspices of Queen’s Career Apprenticeship: Kingston (QCA:K) – a unique employment-funded apprenticeship program designed to provide arts and humanities graduates with career acceleration and strengthen the city’s workforce. On the heels of its successful pilot in 2018, the program placed 19 Queen’s Arts and Science graduates with Kingston-based organizations this month, more than doubling the number of students hired last year.

Our businesses had such a positive experience during the program’s pilot that even more local companies have approached us to participate in the second cohort,” says Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, noting that 29 companies signed on hoping to secure a successful 2019 graduate, up from 15 last year. “It is clear that the demand for arts and humanities students is growing, and initiatives like this help to connect the talent coming out of Queen’s University with local businesses.

Participating organizations span a diverse range of sectors, including the property management, retail and sales, consultancy, technology and software development, and more. Notable organizations who hired this year include Limestone Analytics, Providence Care, Kingstonist, The Power Collective, Benefits by Design, and Makeship. Together, the combined salaries of 2019 QCA:K hires amounts to over $720,000 – averaging $38,000 per graduate for the year.

Increased employer interest in the program is not the only upward trend either. The number of student applicants this year increased 96 per cent over last.

“The amount of interest we’ve received from students signals a real appetite for experiential learning opportunities that will lend to a graduate’s long-term career success,” says Barbara Crow, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. “It also shows us that Queen’s students are open to settling right here in Kingston, should they be presented with competitive and enriching job opportunities.

Graduates placed through QCA:K come from a variety of disciplines, like Political Studies, English Language and Literature, Drama, Global Development Studies, Philosophy, Economics, and more within the arts and humanities.

QCA:K emerged as a joint project between the university’s Faculty of Arts and Science and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation after discussions with Queen’s benefactor Alan Rottenberg, who wanted to fund efforts that would accelerate the careers for talented students with bachelor of arts degrees. With this support, local employers who committed to hiring new graduates for a minimum of a one year, on a full-time basis would be reimbursed for four months of a student’s salary, up to $4,000 per month.  The apprentices, during their first year of their career, benefited from seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders through the mentorship component of the program. This year, those apprentices that have just completed their apprenticeships will step into the mentorship role and provide guidance to those in the 2019 cohort.

An event was held for the QCA:K participants on Thursday, May 9, that celebrated the 2018 apprentices and employers as well as recognized the incoming apprentice cohort. Representatives from Queen’s, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, and the local business community were present.

Visit the website to learn more about the QCA:K program.

Queen’s economist wins second Donner Prize

Award for book on Indigenous rights makes Thomas J. Courchene the first two-time recipient of top Canadian public policy writing honour.

Left to right: David Dodge, Donner Prize, Jury Chair; Thomas J. Courchene; Deborah Donner, Governor, Donner Canadian Foundation (Photo by: Will Putz)
Left to right: David Dodge, Donner Prize, Jury Chair; Thomas J. Courchene; Deborah Donner, Governor, Donner Canadian Foundation (Photo by: Will Putz)

Two decades after winning the first-ever Donner Prize for best Canadian public policy book, economist and Queen’s Professor Emeritus Thomas J. Courchene has done it again. On May 1, 2019, his latest book Indigenous Nationals, Canadian Citizens: From First Contact to Canada 150 and Beyond was recognized by award jurors as a “masterful work on one of the most important themes of our country’s public policy history” – securing Courchene the top prize and $50,000.

“The Donner Prize serves as a beacon for aspiring writers, so when I won it the first time it was truly an inspiration,” says Dr. Courchene. “In being recognized a second time, I sincerely hope the publicity will allow my book to contribute to a greater, broader understanding of the challenges and policies that affect the lives of Indigenous peoples of Canada.”

The book, published by the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations in the Queen’s School of Policy Studies, examines the historical, legal, and socio-economic evolution of Canadian policy initiatives relating to Indigenous peoples. In doing so, Dr. Courchene puts forth a new policy prescription that seeks to reconcile the goal of recognizing Indigenous rights with that of promoting Canadian economic and resource development. Jurors lauded the book’s compelling case for significant change and its vision for a brighter future.

“My work has long been a blend of economic analysis, political reality, and constitutional perspectives, so I always felt that my public policy research had to, at some point, address issues facing First Peoples,” says Dr. Courchene, who is also a founding member of the School of Policy Studies. “In the final chapter of my book I propose we depart from existing models in which Indigenous Canadians are effectively under the control and stewardship of another political authority, and move to one that would give them provincial powers on their own lands.”

The Donner Prize, awarded annually by the Donner Canadian Foundation, encourages and celebrates excellence in public policy writing by Canadians, and acknowledges the role good public policy plays in the country’s success.

“To win the Donner Prize a second time, two decades after being recognized with their inaugural award, speaks to the rich and enduring quality of Dr. Courchene’s academic work,” says David M.C. Walker, Executive Director of the Queen’s School of Policy Studies. “On behalf of the School of Policy Studies, I want to commend him for crafting a truly impactful book; one that not only embodies the spirit of our school’s mission, but that can also inform and inspire public policy that advances the well-being of Canadians.”

The award results were announced during a gala at The Carlu event space in Toronto. Dr. Courchene was selected over four other finalists, chosen from more than 70 submissions. Chairing the Donner Prize jury was David Dodge, who served as Queen’s University Chancellor from 2008 to 2014.

The interdisciplinary green team

Four leading researchers from Queen’s University have been awarded the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for their work in building a sustainable future.

NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering
The winners of the 2019 Brockhouse Canada Prize, from left: Michael Cunningham, Pascale Champagne, Philip Jessop, and Warren Mabee.  

Engineering a sustainable future requires input from multiple approaches and perspectives. Four leading Canadian researchers from Queen’s University have been awarded the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering for their work in enhancing the value and sustainability of our natural renewable resources though collaboration.  

Given annually to only one research team across Canada, the award supports the late Nobel Laureate Bertram N. Brockhouse’s vision of interdisciplinary teamwork and collaboration as a way to propel scientific discovery in Canadian research. Dr. Brockhouse won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1994. 

“The NSERC Brockhouse is one of the most prestigious and competitive research honours available to Canadian researchers,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “We are proud of our Queen’s recipients, and proud that the university is a space that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration as a means to address critical challenges.” 

Pascale Champagne
Pascale Champagne is the Canada Research Chair in Bioresources Engineering.

The cross-faculty research team consists of Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering), Michael Cunningham (Chemical Engineering, Chemistry), Philip Jessop (Chemistry) and Warren Mabee (Geography and Planning, School of Policy Studies), each affiliated with the Beaty Water Research Centre and an accomplished scientist in their respective field.  With the funding provided by the NSERC Brockhouse ($250,000), the team will work in unison bringing their unique but complementary expertise to designing solutions to address myriad problems caused by climate change.  

The four team members share a passion for sustainable use of natural resources and the development of green industrial processes. Dr. Champagne is an expert in biofuels and utilization of water resources; Dr. Cunningham is a specialist in green engineering; Dr. Jessop works in the area of green chemistry while Dr. Mabee brings his experience with policy issues and assessing the sustainability of renewable energy and material systems.  

All four researchers are affiliated with the Beaty Water Research Centre. Drs. Champagne, Jessop and Mabee are Canada Research Chairs. Dr. Cunningham was the Ontario Research Chair in Green Chemistry from 2010-2015.

“We pursue research on issues of critical importance to Canadians, including the development of alternate wastewater management strategies and environmentally sustainable approaches, green chemistry and engineering, and renewable energy policy,” says Dr. Champagne, the project’s principal investigator. “We are grateful to NSERC and the Government of Canada, for their ongoing support and understanding that Canadian leadership in complex research areas such as environmental sustainability, and true advances are only possible through collaborations that incorporate knowledge from different disciplines to create innovative and timely solutions.” 

The team has been involved in projects that explore the feasibility of using algal systems for wastewater treatment and biofuel recovery. These integrated systems hinge on devising strategies that facilitate nutrient removal, disinfection and carbon dioxide fixation, enhancing algal growth and oil production, and reducing the environmental (carbon, energy, GHG, water) footprint; and evolving biomass conversion approaches to generate biofuels and bioproducts in an integrated carbon and energy recovery scheme.  

They have also worked extensively on the use of carbon dioxide as an innovative and green “trigger” for stimuli-responsive materials. In addition to being abundant, inexpensive, nontoxic and environmentally benign, it does not accumulate in a system upon repeated cycles. They have explored and invented innovative methods to use carbon dioxide-switchable technology to address practical problems, including recent work on developing carbon dioxide-switchable materials for water treatment technologies. 

For these and other projects, the successful integration and implementation of their research within existing Canadian infrastructure and industry remains a key challenges and can only be achieved through interdisciplinary research.  

“Our research thrives because all four of us realize that we are not as capable individually as we are as a team. For our society to move towards a sustainable future, we need to abandon traditional academic silos and tackle these problems together,” says Dr. Champagne. 

For more information on the award, visit the NSERC website



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