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Staff and students prepare for orientation week

Student leaders undergo intensive pre-orientation week training to welcome new students to campus.

Faculty orientation week will have more than 1,000 student leaders on hand to welcome new students to campus.

Next week, Queen'™s will welcome approximately 4,000 new first-year students to campus and introduce them to the place that will become their home away from home.

Once students have moved into residence they begin orientation week activities. At Queen's, incoming first-year students have the option to participate in a two-part orientation week.

More than 1,000 student volunteers undergo intensive training to ensure they are equipped to prepare students for their new living and learning environment and to introduce them to the spirit that makes Queen's unique.

Arig al-Shaibah, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Learning, understands how important this training is for student leaders.

Orientation week by the numbers

More than 1,000 orientation leaders
will be on hand to offer advice and supervision

There are almost 150 SEO student volunteers, residence dons, and Residence Society members involved in university orientation

Queen'™s is welcoming 4,000 new students this fall

Each faculty orientation leader undergoes a minimum of 19 hours of training

There are 8 different faculty orientation weeks at Queen'™s

In 2013, Queen's raised $71,294.70 for Shinerama Canada

"œThe university is excited to welcome a new group of students to campus and give them an educational, inclusive, safe and enjoyable introduction to life on campus and the Kingston community," she says. "To do this, all of our student organizers and leaders receive training to handle a variety of situations in many different areas such as inclusivity, safety, accessibility and mental health."

The first part of the week, university orientation, begins with the Queen's Welcomes U event, the evening of Sunday, Aug. 31, after residence move-in. University orientation days continue on Monday, Sept. 1 and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

University orientation days are co-ordinated by the Student Affairs staff in the Student Experience Office (SEO) who work with Residence Life staff and dons, Residence Society members, and the AMS First Years Not In Residence (FYNIR) student group to ensure students living in residence and off-campus are introduced to their new home and life at Queen'™s and in Kingston.

After university orientation, new students can take part in their faculty-specific orientation days, which run Wednesday, Sept. 3 through Saturday, Sept. 6. Events during faculty orientation days are co-ordinated by the AMS Orientation Roundtable (ORT), comprising student leader representatives from all faculties and schools, as well as incoming exchange, transfer and Bader International Study Centre students.

"œTraining for faculty orientation week leaders is a fundamental part of equipping these students with the knowledge needed to assist in achieving the goals of our orientation week," says Erin Maguire, AMS Orientation Roundtable Co-ordinator. "The AMS looks forward to helping provide incoming students with a solid foundation for a successful academic and social transition to Queen's."

For more information on orientation week at Queen's, visit http://www.queensu.ca/orientation/. More information on the inclusivity and accessibility training provided to all orientation leaders can be found on the Accessibility Hub.

Report advocates improved police training

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

A new report released yesterday by the Mental Health Commission of Canada identifies ways to improve the mental health training and education that police personnel receive.

“People with mental illnesses is a prominent issue for Canada's police community, and today's report builds on the increasingly collaborative relationship between law enforcement and people with mental illnesses,” says Queen’s adjunct professor Dorothy Cotton, a forensic psychologist with an interest in the area of police psychology. “This is a gap-analysis tool that police academy and police services can use to improve their education and training.”

Dorothy Cotton has released a new report on the police and people with mental illness.

TEMPO: Police Interactions – A report towards improving interactions between police and people living with mental health problems includes several key recommendations:

  • That police learning be designed and delivered by a combination of police personnel, adult educators, mental health professionals, mental health advocacy organizations and people living with mental illness.
  • More uniform inclusion of non-physical interventions (verbal communications, interpersonal skills, de-escalation, defusing and calming techniques) in use-of-force training.
  • The incorporation of anti-stigma education to challenge the attitudinal barriers that lead to discriminatory action.
  • That provincial governments establish policing standards that include provision for mandatory basic and periodic police training qualification/requalification for interactions with people with mental illness.
  • Provision of training on the role of police, mental health professionals, family and community supports in encounters with persons with mental illness.
  • That training provides a better understanding of the symptoms of mental illness and the ability to assess the influence a mental illness might be having on a person's behaviour and comprehension.

“The most important part of the report and what comes after is making sure people living with mental illness are involved in the delivery of training,” says Dr. Cotton, who earned a Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizing her work in relation to interactions between police and people with mental illness.

The TEMPO report is the result of a comprehensive survey of Canadian police organizations; a literature review; an international comparative review of police learning programs; and direct interviews with a variety of police and mental health professionals.

The report was launched at the 109th annual conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP). Read the full TEMPO report here

Queen's professor receives prestigious national grant

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer
 
Queen'™s University international security expert Stéfanie von Hlatky (Political Studies) has received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), one of only three professors to ever receive funding from the Partnership Development Grant in the program'™s four-year history.
 
The director of Queen'™s Centre for International and Defence Policy received $199,944 over three years to study corporate social responsibility practices within the mining industry.
 
Stefanie von Hlatky has earned a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant.
"There is a growing recognition from industry stakeholders and community actors for the need to develop holistic security approaches to manage projects in conflict-prone environments," says Dr. von Hlatky, pointing to recent events in Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Tanzania. "Given Canada's involvement in the mining sector, this project will focus on the extractive industries as a test case and will help community-level stakeholders and the private sector to anticipate and manage security problems everywhere they operate."
 
The research project identifies four objectives:
  • Promoting cross-sector knowledge exchanges on core security themes by undertaking field research and organizing practical workshop 
  • Creating a framework to address conflict prevention and conflict management as part of corporate social responsibility activities
  • Training and mentoring emerging security experts by providing hands-on methods training and internship opportunities for professional development
  • Disseminating the team's research findings through proactive engagement with non-academic stakeholders, from governments to local communities.
"œI was thrilled with the news that Dr. von Hlatky had been successful in her application for such competitive funding," says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). "She has been doing tremendous work in the international security field and her research also contributes and enhances Queen's leadership in promoting safe and successful communities, a major theme of the Strategic Research Plan."
 
Six institutional partners will contribute to the research project: the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen's (CIDP), the McGill/Universite de Montreal Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the Center for Security Governance (CSG) and Rio Tinto.
 
See all the successful applicants here.

Queen's grad finalist for British art award

By Communications staff

A Queen'™s University graduate is in the running for one of Britain's most prestigious art awards.

Ciara Phillips (Artsci'00) is one of four artists who made the shortlist for the Turner Prize earlier this year.

Ciara Phillips is the first Canadian-born artist to make the short list for the Turner Prize. Photo Tate Britain

Currently living in Glasgow, Scotland, Ms. Phillips received a Bachelor of Fine Art at Queen'™s before earning a Master of Fine Art in 2004 at the Glasgow School of Art.

Ms. Phillips, the first Canadian-born finalist in the award'™s 30-year history, is nominated for her exhibition Workshop at The Showroom in London, where she turned the gallery into a print workshop, bringing in other artists designers and even local women'™s groups to make prints with her.

Her work often involves a range of media including screenprints, photos, textiles and wall paintings.

The Turner Prize is awarded annually to an artist under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition or presentation of his or her work in the previous year. None of the four artists are "˜big names"™ in the art world, which falls in line with the award'™s aim of promoting "œpublic discussion of new developments in contemporary British art."

A special exhibition featuring the work of the nominees will be held at Tate Britain from Sept. 30 to Jan. 4. The winner of the £25,000 prize will be announced Dec. 1. Each of the other nominees will receive £5,000.

Also making the shortlist are Duncan Campbell; James Richards; and Tris Vonna-Michell.

Emerging researchers earn national support

Three doctoral candidates and a researcher recently received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships while a researcher received a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. From left: Midori Ogasawara; Oluwatobiloba “Tobi” Moody; Tyler Cluff; and Mike Best. Supplied photos

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Four promising Queen’s researchers recently won national awards.

Doctoral candidates Mike Best, Oluwatobiloba “Tobi” Moody and Midori Ogasawara each received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships worth $50,000 per year over the next three years. The federal government established the program in 2008 to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to make Canada world-renowned for excellence in research and higher learning.

The same day the Vanier Scholars were announced, Tyler Cluff learned he was the recipient of a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, a bursary program that provides funding to the top postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country's economic, social and research based growth.

Dr. Cluff will receive $70,000 per year over the next two years, which will allow him to test promising new ideas in movement neuroscience, including how humans use sensory information about their bodies and the world around them to make skilled movements.

“This research will not only help us understand basic aspects of motor control and learning, but may lead to advancements in neurological assessment tools and treatment options for movement impaired individuals,” says Dr. Cluff, who is a member of Dr. Stephen Scott’s Laboratory of Integrative Motor Behaviour (LIMB) in Queen’s Centre for Neuroscience Studies.

As a Vanier Scholar, Mr. Best (Psychology) plans to build on his master’s thesis that found members of the general population have an early neurobiological bias towards the speech of people with schizophrenia that results in reduced attention and processing of what someone with schizophrenia is saying. This bias could be a major factor in understanding why people with schizophrenia are excluded, he says.

“Receiving the Vanier CGS provides me with the freedom and financial support to focus more thoroughly on conducting and disseminating my research,” says Mr. Best, who won this year’s Queen’s 3 Minute Thesis Competition. “Social exclusion can be devastating for people with psychosis. With the support of this award I can continue to expand my work to reduce social exclusion and improve the lives of millions of people living with psychosis.”

Mr. Moody (Law) is analyzing the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, the legal framework that is intended to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

Mr. Moody is examining biopiracy debates as well as ongoing related efforts to protect traditional knowledge in international forums. He argues that a coherent global intellectual property system is critical for the Nagoya Protocol’s effective implementation and, ultimately, for the effective protection of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

“The Vanier Scholarship represents to me a humbling affirmation of the significance and importance of my current research within the context of ongoing international efforts to address the effective protection of the traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources of indigenous peoples and local communities,” says Mr. Moody, a Nigerian by birth who started his PhD in the Faculty of Law in September 2012. “I am elated as the Scholarship will equip me with resources to enable me participate in relevant conferences and will afford me the opportunity to devote maximum time and concentration to the development of quality research in this area.”

Ms. Ogasawara (Sociology) is examining the development of national identification systems in Japan from the colonial times to today. The focus of her PhD will be the origins developed in Manchu-kuo, an area of northeast China occupied by the Japan from the 1920s to 1945, as well as the roles of the national ID systems in relation to the colonization then and neoliberal economy nowadays.

“I am very excited to receive a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship because it enables my research to expand to a geographically wider scope and pursue the historical understanding,” says Ms. Ogasawara. “As an international student who has a domestic responsibility for a young child, there would be no other scholarships that could support me in the same way as the Vanier scholarship does.”


 

 

The ethics of driverless cars

 By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

Jason Millar, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Philosophy, spends a lot of time thinking about driverless cars. Though you aren’t likely to be able to buy them for 10 years, he says there are a number of ethical problems that need to be tackled before they go mainstream.

“This isn’t an issue for the next generation, it’s happening right now. Driverless cars are on the road in certain jurisdictions as they’re being prepared for a mass market,” says Millar, whose dissertation focuses on robot ethics and the implications of increasingly autonomous machinery. “These cars promise safety benefits, but I’m interested in what happens to the cars in a difficult situation, one where lives are on the line.”

Illustration by Craig Berry.

To explore this problem he created a thought experiment, called the Tunnel Problem, which attracted hundreds of thousands of readers and commenters online. The Tunnel Problem reworks ethical philosophy’s Trolley Problem.

The setup is this: You are driving in an autonomous car along a narrow road, headed towards a one-lane tunnel when a child errantly runs on to the road and trips. The car cannot brake fast enough to avoid hitting the child and so it must decide whether to swerve off the road, effectively harming you, or remain driving straight, harming the child.

“This is a problem with only bad outcomes that even a human driver cannot easily solve,” says Mr. Millar. “What’s particularly useful about this situation is that it focuses our attention on a design question, as the car will be programmed to respond a certain way — I want to ask who should make the decision about the car’s response.”

After initially posting his article on Robohub.org, the site ran a poll to gauge readers’ responses and rationales as to who should render the judgement.

“A near majority responded that the passenger in the car should have the right to make the decision about whether to swerve or not, and only about 12 per cent suggested it should be up to the car’s designers,” he says. A full third of respondents said it should be left up to lawmakers and legislators to make the call.

“That so many people were willing to trust a life and death situation to politicians and lawmakers really surprised me,” Mr. Millar says. “Many of them said they wanted a standard behaviour so that people would know what to expect in that situation, while others simply wanted someone else to make the decision and take it off their hands.”

The Tunnel Problem is just one of a series of problems that Millar foresees being an issue with driverless cars. “There’s also the problem of who’s culpable when a car crashes. If we maintain current standards of product liability, then the fault will tend to lie with the manufacturer, but we may also shift to a system where we consider the robot at fault,” he says.

It’s a possibility, but Millar says the future of driverless cars is far from certain. “Holding the robot responsible may be less satisfying for those with a mind for punitive justice.”
 

Students meet with Premier and Kingston MPP

Queen’s students Liz Boag (second from left) and Taylor Jennings (third from left) met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (left) and Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala at Queen’s Park on Aug. 13. The students stopped by to congratulate Premier Wynne (Artsci’77) on her recent election victory, and present her and MPP Kiwala with some Queen’s clothing. Ms. Boag (Artsci’15) is a member of the women’s basketball team, while Ms. Jennings (Artsci’15) is the president of the Queen’s Student Alumni Association. During their visit, the students chatted with Premier Wynne and MPP Kiwala about their experiences at Queen’s and in Kingston. 

 

 

Arts and Science departs for Dunning

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

A new academic year brings with it a new home for many students as well as the university’s largest faculty.

After several decades, the Faculty of Arts and Science office is moving from its current location in Mackintosh-Corry Hall to Dunning Hall.

Update your contacts as of Aug. 25:

Faculty of Arts and Science
Dunning Hall, Main Floor
94 University Avenue
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 3N6

“The move to Dunning Hall is exciting for us for many reasons, but most importantly for the ability to serve students better,” says Susan Mumm, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “With both a better location and increased capacity, the new space will ensure that during peak times students will benefit from faster service and reduced queuing.”

With renovations of the space in Dunning Hall nearly complete, Arts and Science will set up shop between Aug. 18-22. Student Services will move early in the week, followed by Continuing and Distance Studies, and then finally the Dean’s Office near the end of the week.

With both a better location and increased capacity, the new space will ensure that during peak times students will benefit from faster service and reduced queuing.

Susan Mumm, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science

“Combining the three internal units of the faculty office -- the Dean’s Office, Students Services and Continuing and Distance Studies -- into one space will also help us to serve student needs more efficiently,” Dr. Mumm says. “Overall, this is a strategic move that helps us become more student focused.”

Service may be intermittent next week during the move. The faculty expects service to return to normal the week of Aug. 25.

While phone numbers and email address will remain the same, the new office address is:

Faculty of Arts and Science
Dunning Hall, Main Floor
94 University Avenue
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 3N6
 

Students head to the woods for re-indigenization program

Bob Lovelace and Richard Day, professors in the Department of Global Development Studies, run Re-indigenizing People and Environments, an experiential learning course. (University Communications)

By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

For a week this August a group of students will live in the woods north of Kingston.

Re-indigenizing People and Environments, an experiential learning course in the Department of Global Development Studies, has a small group of students engage with Indigenous theory and practice while learning to forage for food, build shelter and understand their environment.

The course, now entering its second year, is taught by Bob Lovelace and Richard Day, professors in the Department of Global Development Studies. While students sleep every night in a structure they’ll build themselves, Mr. Lovelace’s house is nearby in the event of an emergency. Of course, they get some lessons in wilderness safety too.

“Our re-indigenization course encourages students to foster a knowledge of their surroundings, which is something that is often lost in modern society,” says Mr. Lovelace. “With this course we hope to foster greater reliance on oneself, one’s community and the land.”

Besides building shelter, students will learn the basics of hunting, trapping and sustainable approaches to agriculture. The lessons learnt by last year’s student cohort inspired them to bring the course back to Kingston. They created the Sydenham Street United Church Community Garden out of their desire to apply what they’d learnt about eco-friendly farming.

“We’re not preaching to the students that they should adopt a particular lifestyle,” says Mr. Lovelace, “but to explore the basics of an alternative way of living and to examine their personal values.”

Richard Day says the course is especially effective at imparting practical lessons alongside the theoretical.

“Critical thinking is essential to this course, not just in terms of the decisions the students have to make about food and shelter, but in the discussions we encourage about what it means to be a settler,” he says. “We hope it serves as a transformative learning experience and it’s great to see those who participated last year taking what they learnt and turning it into community involvement.”

Re-indigenization has a more traditional academic component as well. Prior to trekking out into the woods students read books and articles, watch documentaries and participate in online discussion with one another about the content through Moodle. With guidance from the instructors, they write a research paper about a course-related topic once they’re back in Kingston.

“There’s a feeling and a way of being that can be accessed in nature that’s been found to make healthier, happier people,” says Dr. Day. “I think more people are going hiking and camping to try to get in touch with this feeling. This course isn’t summer camp or a walk in the woods, but an engagement with the practical challenges and politics of living in a way that would be more in keeping with traditional Indigenous practices.”

Promoting a deeper understanding and broader engagement with Indigenous culture, the course is a welcome addition to university’s offerings.

“Queen’s has a deep commitment to Indigenous learning and this re-indigenization course is a perfect example of the possibilities that come from embracing this corpus of knowledge,” says Gordon Smith, Vice Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “As demonstrated with the Indigenous Studies minor degree plan, the Faculty of Arts and Science is dedicated to building this as an interdisciplinary field of study.”

Bringing world-class acoustics to the Isabel

Joe Solway, an acoustician with international design consulting firm Arup, holds a starter's pistol that is being used to test the acoustics of the performance hall at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (University Communications)

This article, printed in the August edition of the Gazette, is the second of a series featuring some of the people and firms behind the planning, design and construction of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Copies of the newspaper are available around campus.

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette editor

While the soon-to-be completed Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts is a visual splendor, Joe Solway is more interested in how it sounds.

And as impressive as it looks, the Isabel perhaps sounds even better.

That’s due in large part to the team at Arup, international design consulting firm, led by acoustician Joe Solway, whose job it is to ensure that the Isabel has world-class acoustics.

Enveloped and surrounded by sound within the cozy confines of the performance hall, the crown jewel of the Isabel, Mr. Solway is confident that anyone attending a concert or performance will be thoroughly impressed. It will not be like anything else they have experienced in Kingston.

“There’s just a level of acoustical quality that we have achieved, in terms of the audience experience, the level of envelopment, the level of intimacy – when people come in here and listen they will just be blown away ” he says.

It’s a painstaking process. When approaching the acoustics of a building like the Isabel, Mr. Solway has to take in countless minute details. It takes not only a refined ear but a clinical mind as well. There is so much sound that we take for granted – mechanical systems, rehearsals in the next room, vibrations in the structure of the facility, airflow.

An acoustician takes all of this into account. And it isn’t just about the performance hall.

“From the beginning we’re saying ‘Okay, what is this building going to sound like: What can you hear as you enter the lobby, what kind of acoustic is there when you are in the classrooms, when you go into the auditorium, when you go into the studio theatre?’” Mr. Solway explains. “Each of these rooms, thinking about what is the acoustics inside the spaces, what can you hear from the building systems, the mechanical systems, the lighting systems. Can you hear them? If so, what kind of response do they elicit? What can you hear in the surrounding spaces, can you hear the classroom next door, how loud is it, how do we control that? Can we hear the outside?”

The acoustic goals for the building were formulated in consultation with Queen’s administration and faculty, from the first planning meetings back in 2008. Then Mr. Solway and Arup translated these goals into design criteria that the architects and designers, Snøhetta and N45, could build upon.

It has been a collaborative, interpretive process, One that Mr. Solway feels has been very successful.

And while this applies to each room in the building, the collaboration perhaps is best embodied in the creation of the performance hall.

“We worked together from beginning to say ‘This is what we need out of it acoustically in terms of its volume, its shape, its form, its finishes, and Snøhetta and N45 took all that information and then cleverly embedded the very architectural DNA of the room with those requirements,” he says. “So there’s no conflict with the architecture and what we are trying to do acoustically.”

In those early discussions with the university it became clear that the performance hall would come with world-class acoustics. The quality, it is hoped, will attract the world’s finest musicians and draw audiences from across Canada, not just Kingston.

When entering the performance hall the first thing that strikes the visitor is the uniquely-designed walls. The layers of wood with ledges jutting out here and there serve a dual purpose and were borne from the collaborative approach to the project.

“We had an ideal opportunity for marrying together Snøhetta’s desire to reflect the local limestone geology in the architecture with the acoustical work for some surface texture that diffuses sound,” Mr. Solway says. “It was a wonderful interactive process where we sketched out some ideas acoustically how it could work and then came up with a shared interpretive model that we bounced back and forth between ourselves and them. And then came up with something that visually represented what they wanted in terms of the local limestone geology that acoustically also deals with what we need in terms of sound diffusion.”

The result of this harmony of architecture and acoustics, along with testing every single item in the hall that creates noise in Arup’s Sound Lab, will be the sought-after world-class experience.

The hall itself is physically isolated from the rest of the building. Walk around the outside of the hall and there is a little black line in the floor which marks the separation like a border on a map. This ensures that any sound, any vibration, in the rest of the building will not transmit into the performance hall, Mr. Solway says.

With the official opening mere weeks away, the excitement surrounding this gem on the shore of Lake Ontario isn’t lost on Mr. Solway.

“It almost feels like I’m going to my kid’s graduation. They’re going off into the world. I’ve watched this thing over the last six years and now get to see it go off to university. To go off into the world and be used and just have a whole new life outside the design phase,” he says. “It’s quite emotional, releasing this thing out into the world and it’s really exciting.”

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts was made possible by a transformational gift from Alfred Bader (Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and his wife, Isabel (LLD’07) as well as the financial backing of the federal and provincial governments, the City of Kingston and additional philanthropic support.

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