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Arts and Science

Submissions deadline extended - Membership of Principal’s Advisory Committee, Faculty of Arts and Science

Barbara Crow’s term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science will conclude June 30, 2022. Dr. Crow has indicated she would like to stand for a second term.

On behalf of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green announces the membership of the committee that will advise him on the deanship and the present state and prospects of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

  • Mark Green – Chair
  • Lori Stewart – Secretary
  • Fahim Quadir – Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies
  • Alyth Roos – President, Arts and Science Undergraduate Society
  • Anthony Lomax – Society for Graduate and Professional Students
  • Sam McKegney – Faculty, English Language and Literature
  • Ajay Agarwal – Faculty, Geography and Planning
  • Haley Everson – Staff, Associate Director, Student Services -Advising, Appeals, and Academic Consideration
  • Mark Walters – Dean, Faculty of Law
  • Sandra den Otter – Vice-Provost (International)
  • Klodiana Kolomitro – Associate Vice-Principal (Teaching and Learning)
  • Stephanie Simpson – Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion)
  • Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill ­– Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)
  • Shelley Arnott – Faculty, Biology

Principal Deane extends his thanks to the members of this committee for their willingness to serve. As noted in a previous announcement, submissions on the present administration and future development of the faculty can be sent to the principal at principal@queensu.ca  Submissions may also be made to the committee through the committee chair at provost@queensu.ca. The deadline for submissions is Monday, Nov. 8, 2021 at noon.

Guided walking tour of Belle Park will highlight project research

Join Mary Louise Adams (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) and Alexander Braun (Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) for a guided walking tour of the Belle Park Project, a University Research Project funded by the Social Sciences and Research Council (SSHRC), on Sunday, Oct. 17, 3-5 pm, at Belle Park.

Full details can be found on the Belle Park Project website.

The tour will focus on what has been learned from research in Belle Park and on the questions that are emerging in relation to the proposed remediation of the Tannery lands and the Inner Harbour. Drs. Adams and Braun will discuss the social, cultural and environmental situation of Belle Park, a conglomerate of human and natural ecosystems.

The walk will be on the gravel service road along the south end of the park and overlooking the Tannery lands.

This event is free to attend and open to all. No registration required. COVID protocols apply, so please bring a mask and maintain proper distancing.

*Rain date: Tuesday. Oct. 19 4-6 pm.

Queen’s alumnus David Card wins Nobel Prize

Research applies natural experiments to determine the labour market impacts of minimum wages, immigration, and education.

Nobel drawing of David Card
David Card, co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, is a Queen's University alumnus (Artsci’78, LLD’99). ( Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Prize Outreach 2021)

Queen’s University alumnus David Card (Artsci’78, LLD’99) has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

Dr. Card was born into a dairy-farming family near Guelph, and then went to Queen’s University, originally intending to study physics. But he quickly switched to economics because he felt it was more practical.  

No matter the reason, the choice certainly paid off as Dr. Card, who now is at the University of California, Berkley, has been awarded one half of a Nobel Prize. The other half went jointly to Joshua D. Angrist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Guido W. Imbens of Stanford University.

“My contributions are pretty modest,” Dr. Card says in a story on the Berkley website. “It’s about trying to get more scientific tie-in and evidence-based analysis in economics.”

With Princeton economist Alan Krueger, he found a 1992 minimum wage increase in the state of New Jersey did not hurt – and may have actually boosted – job growth at fast-food restaurants. 

His work on immigration found that a massive influx of Cuban refugees into Miami, in 1980, known as the Mariel boat lift, had almost no impact on the local job market.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that work in a statement lauding Dr. Card and his ground-breaking work.

“Dr. Card is being recognized for his pioneering work on minimum wages, immigration, and education, which have considerably improved our understanding of the labour market over the last few decades. His recent work studied the effects of increasing the minimum wage on employment and challenged conventional wisdom,” the prime minister said. “On behalf of all Canadians, I congratulate Dr. Card for this remarkable achievement, and thank him for helping us to better understand the economy, as we work to build a strong economic recovery that benefits everyone for a better future at home and around the world.”

Dr. Card told the Globe and Mail his research was not initially met with much enthusiasm.

“To tell you the honest truth, at the time the work was not so well received by many economists. A few people thought it was interesting. It got published. It was not widely accepted.”

Today the research, along with that of Dr. Angrist and Dr. Imbens, is heralded as pioneering. The Nobel Prize committee says it has “provided us with new insights about the labour market and shown what conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments. Their approach has spread to other fields and revolutionized empirical research.”

His advice for current students? Don’t give up.

“Van Gogh never sold any paintings in his life,” Dr. Card told the Toronto Star. “So, if you want to take that as a possible way, you know, to think about your own work.”

At Berkeley, he is Director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Dr. Card earned his Bachelor of Arts at Queen’s in 1978, followed by a PhD at Princeton in 1983 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s in 1999. Among many awards, he was the recipient of the Prince of Wales Prize at Queen's in 1978. 

In 2013, Dr. Card was named the John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow by the American Academy of Political and Social Science. He has also held various prominent editorial positions as co‐editor American Economic Review (2002‐2005), co‐editor of Econometrica (1993‐97), and associate editor of the Journal of Labor Economics (1988‐92).

For the Record – Oct. 7, 2021

For the Record provides postings of appointment, committee, grant, award, and other notices set out by collective agreements and university policies and processes. It is the university’s primary vehicle for sharing this information with our community.

Submit For the Record information for posting to Gazette editor Andrew Carroll.

Selection Committee – Head, Department of Gender Studies

Dr. Elaine Power’s term as Head of the Department of Gender Studies is scheduled to end on Dec. 30, 2021. The Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) has appointed a Selection Committee
to advise him on the appointment of the next Head.

The Selection Committee has the following membership: 

Elected Members

  • Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, Assistant Professor, Gender Studies
  • Melissa Houghtaling, Assistant Professor, Gender Studies
  • Margaret Little, Professor, Gender Studies
  • Katherine McKittrick, Professor, Gender Studies
  • Trish Salah, Associate Professor, Gender Studies
  • Marcus Taylor, Cognate Faculty, Associate Professor, Global Development Studies
  • Denita Arthurs, Department Manager and Graduate Program Administrator, Gender Studies
  • Sarah Smith, Graduate Student, Gender Studies
  • Charlie Atkinson, Undergraduate Student, Gender Studies
  • Chris DeLuca, Associate Dean (School of Graduate Studies)
  • Barbara Crow (Chair), Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Danielle Gugler (Secretary), Faculty of Arts and Science

Pursuant to Articles 41.3 and 41.3.6 of the Collective Agreement between Queen’s University Faculty Association and Queen’s University at Kingston, I invite your comments on the present state and future prospects of the Department of Gender Studies by 12 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2021. (Please note that this deadline has been extended from the original deadline). Please also submit names of possible candidates for the Headship. Send all comments, in confidence, to the attention of Danielle Gugler. All letters will be reviewed by the Selection Committee and will become part of the record of decision-making.

At the request of either the Department members or the Committee, a meeting can be arranged between the Department and the Committee to ascertain the Department’s views on the qualities of a Head. Once a short list has been established, it will be distributed to members of the Department for further input on the merits of the respective candidate(s).

Experts discuss resiliency during COVID-19

On Oct. 14, Queen’s researchers and alumni will provide insight into our post-pandemic future.

[Road to Recovery: Resilience - Queen's Virtual Event]

With ongoing vaccine distribution, increasing vaccination rates, and case numbers decreasing in Canada, there is an opportunity to have thoughtful and candid conversations about the future beyond COVID-19. The pandemic and its impact continue to evolve and so do our questions about how it affects us all, on a local to a global scale. From examining the implications of the fourth wave and variants of concern to a greater focus on what economic recovery looks like and what changes in social norms mean going forward, there is an opportunity to reflect on how resiliency has shaped our actions during the pandemic and will continue to do so for the future.

Offered as part of the virtual Homecoming lineup this year, University Relations and the Office of Advancement have teamed up to present another installment of the free and open-to-the-public Road to Recovery event series on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. EDT. Queen’s alumnus Elamin Abdelmahmoud (Artsci’11) will reprise his role as moderator for this edition on resilience. Host of CBC’s weekly pop culture podcast Pop Chat, co-host of CBC’s political podcast Party Lines, and culture editor for Buzzfeed News, Abdelmahmoud will provide expert insight into what is top of mind for Canadians and ask the questions we all have about this next stage of the pandemic.

Joining Abdelmahmoud for the discussion will be experts in economic recovery, politics, public opinion, and health care. They are:

  • Christopher Cotton – Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic & Financial Policy at Queen’s University and member of the Royal Society of Canada’s COVID-19 Working Group on Economic Recovery and Global Canada’s COVID Strategic Choices Group
  • Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant – Professor in the Department of Political Studies, Director of the Canadian Opinion Archive at Queen’s University, and author of Gendered News: Media Coverage and Electoral Politics in Canada
  • Rico Garcia Ondarza – President of the Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA) and Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company focused on economic, financial, and sector-based strategy development for government and public sector institutions
  • Gerald Evans – Chair, Division of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University and member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, the Ontario COVID-19 Testing Strategy and Policy Task Force and the Ontario COVID-19 Behavioural Sciences Working Group

 Join the Q&A discussion and register for the Road to Recovery: Resilience.

Queen’s remembers student Jacob Downey

Jacob Downey
Jacob Downey

The Queen’s community is remembering Jacob Downey, who passed suddenly after a medical emergency on Wednesday, Sept. 29. Jacob was 18 years old.

Jacob was in his first year of studies in kinesiology in the Faculty of Arts and Science with a goal of pursuing a career in sports medicine.

An excellent student and athlete, Jacob was one of three recipients of the Peterborough Petes Education Fund Minor Hockey Scholarship program prior to arriving at Queen’s from his hometown of Lindsay, ON. Jacob had many friends from his activities and had already developed a number of friendships with fellow students and residents of Jean Royce Hall.

Jacob will be deeply missed by his parents, Peter and Laurie, his extended family, and friends. 

Students who feel a need to speak to someone should contact Student Wellness ServicesFaith and Spiritual Life, or supportservices@queensu.caGood2Talk (for 24/7 confidential support, call 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868) or EmpowerMe (24/7 confidential counselling by phone and online at 1-844-741-6389) are also available for support and resources.

New internship supports diversity in art conservation

​Queen’s, National Gallery of Canada partner to engage students from Indigenous, Black, and other cultural communities in art conservation and restoration.

A partnership between Queen’s University and the National Gallery of Canada is aimed at engaging Indigenous and Black students, and students from other cultural communities from across Canada in art conservation and restoration.

The National Gallery of Canada’s Diversity Internship, initiated by Stephen Gritt, NGC Director of Conservation and Technical Research, and in partnership with the Queen’s Art Conservation Program, allows four students to prepare for their studies after their acceptance into the graduate program at the university.=

Queen’s offers the only Master’s in Art Conservation program in Canada. Each intern will be provided with a $25,000 bursary and a placement in Ottawa in the summer prior to their first semester. The internships are funded by an anonymous philanthropist.

Diversity in art conservation is a special focus for Patricia Smithen, Director of the Art Conservation Program at Queen’s, so when she was presented with an opportunity to support future Black, Indigenous and people of color conservators at the entry level, she was delighted to play an important role.

“The goals are to give students a unique and welcoming entry into the field of conservation, provide mentorship which would support them throughout their careers and give them the best opportunity for success at graduate school and beyond,” says Dr. Smithen.

Interns will have the opportunity to learn about the complexities of conservation and restoration work, including research, technical examination, and the historic and ethical dimensions of interaction with art and artefacts. From three to five months, they will be paired with various experts from the National Gallery’s Restoration and Conservation Laboratory and will follow them in their daily work as observers.

They will also be introduced to Conservation Science and broader heritage preservation issues at the Canadian Conservation Institute, also in Ottawa. The students will also visit Queen’s for a week of activity – most likely to work on a mini-project.

“Like many professions within the museum field, conservation is a discipline which can greatly benefit from different perspectives from various fields of study, and different voices from diverse backgrounds and cultures,” says Stephen Gritt. “The National Gallery of Canada is happy to partner with Queen’s University in this effort. This is a natural fit.

Advisory committee — Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science

Barbara Crow’s term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science will conclude June 30, 2022. Dr. Crow has indicated she would like to stand for a second term.

In accordance with the Appointment of Deans procedure established by Senate, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane is calling upon the Queen’s University community for submissions of opinion on the direction and leadership of the Faculty of Arts and Science.  Submissions should be directed to the email: principal@queensu.ca

Those submitting their views in writing are to state whether they wish to have their letters shown, in confidence, to members of the Advisory Committee. Committee membership will be announced shortly. Principal Deane has asked Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green to chair the Advisory Committee that will make recommendations to the principal on the appointment of the next dean.

As stipulated by Queen’s Senate policy, Principal Deane will also be writing directly to members of the Faculty of Arts and Science’s Faculty Board and to invite them to submit their views on the question of potential candidates and matters pertaining to present administration and future development.

All community members are encouraged to fully engage in this process. Principal Deane thanks all for their time and consideration.

Google and Microsoft are creating a monopoly on coding in plain language

Natural language coding means that people won’t need to learn specialized coding languages to write programs or design websites. But large corporations will control the means of translation.

A laptop computer with multi-coloured lines of coding on its screen.
Coding is a specialized skill that requires learning one or more computer languages. (Unsplash/Arnold Francisca)

Sometimes major shifts happen virtually unnoticed. On May 5, IBM announced Project CodeNet to very little media or academic attention.

CodeNet is a follow-up to ImageNet, a large-scale dataset of images and their descriptions; the images are free for non-commercial uses. ImageNet is now central to the progress of deep learning computer vision.

CodeNet is an attempt to do for Artifical Intelligence (AI) coding what ImageNet did for computer vision: it is a dataset of over 14 million code samples, covering 50 programming languages, intended to solve 4,000 coding problems. The dataset also contains numerous additional data, such as the amount of memory required for software to run and log outputs of running code.

Accelerating machine learning

IBM’s own stated rationale for CodeNet is that it is designed to swiftly update legacy systems programmed in outdated code, a development long-awaited since the Y2K panic over 20 years ago, when many believed that undocumented legacy systems could fail with disastrous consequences.

However, as security researchers, we believe the most important implication of CodeNet — and similar projects — is the potential for lowering barriers, and the possibility of Natural Language Coding (NLC).

In recent years, companies such as OpenAI and Google have been rapidly improving Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. These are machine learning-driven programs designed to better understand and mimic natural human language and translate between different languages. Training machine learning systems requires access to a large dataset with texts written in the desired human languages. NLC applies all this to coding too.

Coding is a difficult skill to learn let alone master and an experienced coder would be expected to be proficient in multiple programming languages. NLC, in contrast, leverages NLP technologies and a vast database such as CodeNet to enable anyone to use English, or ultimately French or Chinese or any other natural language, to code. It could make tasks like designing a website as simple as typing “make a red background with an image of an airplane on it, my company logo in the middle and a contact me button underneath,” and that exact website would spring into existence, the result of automatic translation of natural language to code.

It is clear that IBM was not alone in its thinking. GPT-3, OpenAI’s industry-leading NLP model, has been used to allow coding a website or app by writing a description of what you want. Soon after IBM’s news, Microsoft announced it had secured exclusive rights to GPT-3.

Microsoft also owns GitHub, — the largest collection of open source code on the internet — acquired in 2018. The company has added to GitHub’s potential with GitHub Copilot, an AI assistant. When the programmer inputs the action they want to code, Copilot generates a coding sample that could achieve what they specified. The programmer can then accept the AI-generated sample, edit it or reject it, drastically simplifying the coding process. Copilot is a huge step towards NLC, but it is not there yet.

Children sit in front of screens in a classroom.
Plain-language coding will make programming and design more accessible and remove the need for specialized training. (Shutterstock)

Consequences of natural language coding

Although NLC is not yet fully feasible, we are moving quickly towards a future where coding is much more accessible to the average person. The implications are huge.

First, there are consequences for research and development. It is argued that the greater the number of potential innovators, the higher the rate of innovation. By removing barriers to coding, the potential for innovation through programming expands.

Further, academic disciplines as varied as computational physics and statistical sociology increasingly rely on custom computer programs to process data. Decreasing the skill required to create these programs would increase the ability of researchers in specialized fields outside computer sciences to deploy such methods and make new discoveries.

However, there are also dangers. Ironically, one is the de-democratization of coding. Currently, numerous coding platforms exist. Some of these platforms offer varied features that different programmers favour, however none offer a competitive advantage. A new programmer could easily use a free, “bare bones” coding terminal and be at little disadvantage.

However, AI at the level required for NLC is not cheap to develop or deploy, and is likely to be monopolized by major platform corporations such as Microsoft, Google or IBM. The service may be offered for a fee or, like most social media services, for free but with unfavourable or exploitative conditions for its use.

There is also reason to believe that such technologies will be dominated by platform corporations due to the way machine learning works. Theoretically, programs such as Copilot improve when introduced to new data: the more they are used, the better they become. This makes it harder for new competitors, even if they have a stronger or more ethical product.

Unless there is a serious counter effort, it seems likely that large capitalist conglomerates will be the gatekeepers of the next coding revolution.The Conversation

_______________________________________________________

David Murakami Wood, Associate Professor in Sociology, Queen's University and David Eliot, Masters Student, Surveillance Studies, Queen's University.

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.

Queen’s to train next generation of Egyptian technology leaders

A signing ceremony of the new agreement between Queen’s and Egypt took place on Sept. 15.

Queen's University and Egypt enter an international partnership
Dr. Amr S. Talaat, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, speaks with Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane who attended the signing ceremony virtually on Sept. 15, 2021.

Queen’s University has entered into an international partnership with the Government of Egypt to train their next generation of experts in the field of artificial intelligence and data science. 

Beginning in January 2022, up to 100 Egyptian students will participate remotely in the Queen’s School of Computing’s Master of Data Science and Machine Learning. Their participation in this 12-month program is part of the Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) led by the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology — which aims to empower the next generation of Egyptian engineering and computer science graduates.

The master’s program addresses the growing demand for graduates with a data science and machine learning background from leading technology firms, healthcare companies, automobile manufacturers, research labs and government agencies. Some of the educational outcomes for graduates of this Queen’s program include developing a rigorous understanding of fundamental concepts in Data Science and Machine Learning, and designing, evaluating, and refining data-driven solutions, processes, and infrastructure for effective problem solving. This partnership with Queen’s will assist Egypt in their efforts towards building nationwide capacity in modern technologies.

We are proud to welcome Queen’s University on board of the ambitious Digital Egypt Builders Initiative. Queen’s University is among the top universities in Canada. I am confident our Egyptian Students will benefit from this exceptional opportunity offered by the Egyptian Government, setting the path for the new generations to become the driving force of technological innovation in Egypt, says Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Ambassador of Egypt to Canada.

The collaboration reinforces Queen’s commitments to equitable global engagement through sustainable development, civic impact and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships across the globe. Queen’s was recently recognized by THE Impact Rankings for the university’s societal impact based on advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This partnership is a continuation of this commitment and the university’s goal to produce and support graduates who will go on to find solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

“Queen’s is pleased to support this new partnership with Egypt, supporting postsecondary education and preparing students to be leaders in their communities,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University. “With the signing of this agreement, Queen’s and the Ministry will be partners in equipping young people with the technological skills needed for success in the 21st century.”

A signing ceremony of the new agreement, with the Ambassador of Canada to Egypt and the Ambassador of Egypt to Canada as guests, took place on Sept. 15 in Egypt. Representatives from Queen’s University attended remotely including Principal Deane, Sandra den Otter (Vice-Provost, International), Mark Green (Provost and Vice-Principal, Academic), Hossam Hassanein (Director of the School of Computing), Fahim Quadir (Vice Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies), Barbara Crow (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science), Sharon Regan (Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science), and Tom Collier (Coordinator, International Agreements and Partnerships).

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