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When world-class education meets world-class arts

  • Film editing room
    Students from the Department of Film and Media work in the state-of-the-art sound studio at the Isabel.
  • Students learn about film theory and criticism in one of our three new classrooms at the Isabel
    Among the learning spaces offered at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts are three bright, modern classrooms.
  • Student Lounge
    Queen's students, staff, and faculty can relax in the Henry Preston Courtney and Lillian Courtney Lounge overlooking Lake Ontario. (Photo by Suzy Lamont)
  • Film class in session in our 90-seat Gordon Vogt Film Screening Room at the Isabel Bader Centre
    A film class is held in the 90-seat Gordon Vogt Film Screening Room at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, one of the many modern learning spaces.
  • Theatre performance
    The Power Corporation of Canada Studio Theatre is a 100-seat black box studio theatre designed to provide the theatrical equivalent of a blank slate.
  • Performance Hall
    With a 566-seat capacity and world-class acoustics, the Performance Hall of the Isabel offers Queen's students and artists from around the world a performance experience like no other.

From the moment planning began on the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, it was envisioned the facility would play a leading role in transforming Queen’s University.

A world-class performing arts centre and learning facility, built thanks to a donation from Alfred and Isabel Bader, the overall focus on excellence was aimed at drawing acclaimed artists from around the world, provide Queen’s students with a transformational learning experience, while at the same time fostering innovation and acting as an incubator for new work and thought. 

“Dr. Alfred Bader was a visionary man who transformed the tragic adversity of his young life into a tremendous vitality for life and a celebration for the highest potential of humankind,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel. He set his vision and standards high.”

Opened in September 2014, the Isabel was designed by award-winning architecture firms Snøhetta and N45 Architecture Inc., in collaboration with acoustic and audiovisual consultants ARUP and theatre design consultants Theatre Projects Consultants. The result is a performing arts centre with no peer at a Canadian university. The Isabel is home to the Department of Film and Media and the Dan School of Drama and Music.

Now in its fifth season, Baldwin says the centre is meeting, and even exceeding, this original vision. Queen’s is a better educational institution now, she says, providing students with unique learning opportunities, whether in the concert hall, the theatre, or the classroom. 

In addition to attracting internationally-acclaimed and top emerging artists, the Isabel has branched into socially-engaged art in a powerful fusion of the arts and social justice with its Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival and the Ka’tarohkwi Festival of the Arts. 

“We imagine a university where socially-engaged art is an experiential approach to human rights, which helps future citizens transform political realities. We see artists as the cultural agents of change who bring issues of the minority into the field of vision of the majority – in a way that resonates,” Baldwin says. “The role of the arts is especially important right now in interpreting the contemporary ‘politics of identity’ that are fueling both the right and left sides of the political spectrum worldwide.

“What is the new dimension that has come in to the university experience as a result of having a world-class performing arts centre as part of the lifeblood of this institution?” she asks. “It actually expanded the architecture in our own minds and because it’s multi-disciplinary, it has started to create some really interesting collaborations that would have been different if we had just a film centre, a music centre, and a drama centre.”

And that, she believes, is the genius behind emphasizing excellence in the centre itself, as well as combining disciplines. The result has been creativity and innovation.

From the start, it was clear that The Isabel is a fantastic performing arts centre, with the concert hall in particular acting as a beacon for world-class acts as word of the stellar acoustics and performance experience spread.

As a result, the Queen’s and Kingston communities have been able to take advantage of these concerts, competitions, and festivals to see performers that otherwise may not have come to Kingston. The true beneficiaries, Baldwin points out, have been students of the performing arts who have been able to meet a wide range of artists and experience the same world-class facilities on a daily basis. 

“A great hall, like a great instrument, enables you to be the best that you can be,” she says, pointing to the excellence of the Isabel, from the architecture to the programming to the artist and audience experience. “That is very influential in life. In order for Canada to thrive we actually have to have a group of graduates who are shooting for the stars and not saying ‘good enough.’”

At the same time there has been a particular focus on bringing in emerging artists, both from across Canada and around the world. One example is Jeremy Dutcher, performer, composer, and member of the Tobique First Nation, who was awarded the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. Previously Dutcher, who sang in Professor Dylan Robinson’s Songs of Sovereignty program at the 2017 Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, grabbed the attention of those at The Isabel including Baldwin. Taken by the acoustic quality of performing arts centre, Dutcher returned to record his Polaris Prize winning album at The Isabel

Dutcher returns to The Isabel to perform in the inaugural Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts curated by Dylan Robinson and being held throughout March, an event that builds on the social engagement first sparked through the human rights festival.

The influence on students, and others in the Queen’s and Kingston communities, is already clear.

“There is nothing like when, as a student, you witness a world-class artist. We’ve really focused on attracting emerging artists, these young artists that are coming through are so fantastic, who have just gone for it and worked really hard,” Baldwin says. “That actually influences how you see the world because you are exposed to someone of your own generation, who has that laser-beam focus and has gone for it. I think that is a really great influence and also to have that international view rather than a parochial view to say these are the best artists in the world of different genres and different cultures.”

Away from the stage, The Isabel is also a world-class education facility. A hub of interdisciplinary exchange, The Isabel offers students and faculty members state-of-the-art facilities including an art and media lab, rehearsal hall, studio theatre, a 92-seat screening room, and film editing suites along with modern classrooms, a film and media resource library, and a student lounge overlooking Lake Ontario. 

Where to from here? 

“The next mountain to climb for the Isabel is to get immersed in the virtual reality and augmented reality world as it is integrated with live performance,” Baldwin says. “This will be an important door of entry into the arts for the next generations of artists and audiences to imaginatively engage in the arts.” 

Since its opening, The Isabel has grown and evolved along with the students and artists who walk it halls. These accomplishments could not have happened without the generosity of Alfred and Isabel Bader.

While Dr. Bader passed away on Dec. 23, at the age of 94, his legacy will live on through the continuing artistic and education excellence at The Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre.

“Alfred Bader has enabled the university to be ambitious in the best sense of the word for itself,” Baldwin says. “He would not have supported something that did not transform the university. He wanted students to get a world-class experience and that is the bigger gift that is the Queen’s experience.” 

Learn more about The Isabel online, including upcoming performances and festivals.

Partnership provides interns real-world experience

[Beaty Water Research Centre interns]
The Beaty Water Research Centre collaborated with community research partners Loyalist Township and Quinte Conservation to secure funding to support three internships, which were co-funded by the MITACS Career Connect initiative and these community partners. The interns were, from left, Michael Pope, Lauren Halliwell, and Olivia Hughes. (Supplied Photo)

The Beaty Water Research Centre (BWRC) encourages collaborative interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach, spanning traditional water-related disciplines, as well as non-traditional and emerging disciplines. 

[Beaty Water Research Centre]
Beaty Water Research Centre

“One of the goals of the BWRC is to support students so they have the opportunity to succeed not only in the pursuit of their research and education while they are students at Queen’s, but also to prepare them to lead successful careers in their chosen STEM field,” says Pascale Champagne, Director of BWRC.

As part of this strategic goal, this year the centre collaborated with community research partners Loyalist Township and Quinte Conservation to secure funding to support three internships, which were co-funded by the MITACS Career Connect initiative and these community partners.

The internships provide a unique opportunity for recent Queen’s STEM graduates to gain valuable research and development experience, allowing them to apply their education to tackle real world issues related to water management and treatment optimization of interest to BWRC community partners. 

This year’s interns included Olivia Hughes, a chemical engineering graduate, Michael Pope, a graduate of the Masters of Science program in geography and planning, and Lauren Halliwell, a graduate in environmental science.

Hughes is currently working with Loyalist Township on a project related to the review of water treatment processes and optimization.  

“I’m fortunate to work on a project that positively impacts so many people, and to be supported by both BWRC and utilities staff at Loyalist,” she says. “It’s exciting to work with operators that have years of accumulated experience and to find ways to help them do an even better job at providing an essential resource for our everyday lives.”

Pope is working with Quinte Conservation on a hydrologic computer model to predict flood and drought conditions in the Salmon River, which is allowing him to expand his knowledge of natural waterways and engage community partners.

“This internship has allowed me to apply theoretical concepts to provide practical solutions to issues that are important local residence,” he says.

Halliwell is working on water quality analysis and the development of a master watershed plan for Quinte Conservation.

“This experience has awakened my interest and appreciation for watershed quality. I am very grateful to learn invaluable communication skills collaborating with the Quinte Conservation staff, my supervisors at the BWRC and the local community,” she says. “This internship has exercised my creativity throughout the responsibilities of managing a project that really makes a difference in the local community and the environment.”

Jyoti Kotecha, BWRC Associate Director, Research & Business Development, says that, “throughout the internship the BWRC provides guidance that supports the interns to develop not only their research and development skill, but to also develop workplace skills such as project management and business communication skills.”   

Each intern works directly with the community organization, and receives technical support from Geof Hall, Associate Director, BWRC Education & Outreach.

The Conversation: A U.S.-China trade deal does not slow China’s rise

America may have missed a window of opportunity to curb China’s rise when it pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


[Shaghai waterfront]
 The Donald Trump administration is focused on greater access to subsidized Chinese industries and addressing intellectual property theft linked to alleged forced technology transfers to China. (Photo by Ralf Leineweber/Unsplash) 

The original March 1 deadline has passed as the United States and China hash out a trade deal amid deadlocked negotiations.

Any U.S.-China trade deal likely falls short compared to what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could have been.

Within current talks, Donald Trump’s administration is focused on greater access to subsidized Chinese industries and addressing intellectual property theft linked to alleged forced technology transfers to China. All of this has an impact on America’s economic competitiveness in the short term.

But is the U.S. adequately managing long-term Chinese efforts to don the mantle of global leader?

On the third day of his administration in 2017, Trump honoured a campaign promise by withdrawing from the contentious TPP. The historic 12-nation agreement was on track to cover roughly 40 per cent of the global economy.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress, advocacy groups and some members of the American public flatly opposed the agreement. Concerns about the oversized influence of multinational corporations and the controversial investor-state dispute process was a feature of the public discourse.

Lost opportunity to rein in China?

But America may have missed a window of opportunity to curb China’s rise when it pulled out of the TPP.

Scholars Graham Allison and Kori Schake have grappled over if and how China can replace America as the world’s ranking power. Allison’s recent work, Destined for War, discusses the “windows of opportunity” the U.S. can exploit to slow the pace of the rising power.

If history is any credible guide, the transition from Pax Britannica to Pax Americana may help U.S. policy-makers and the public alike to understand the imperatives that surround China’s rise.

At the turn of the 20th century, America had unprecedented growth, thanks to Alfred Thayer Mahan’s vision of American sea power. And in the early years between the two World Wars, the United States, Great Britain and Japan headlined a global naval arms race.

In 1921, President Warren Harding held the Washington Naval Conference to disarm tensions among the competing navies in the Pacific. The naval powers agreed to discontinue their shipbuilding programs and capped their naval fleets in the region. America also protected holdings in East Asia from the threat of a rising Japan.

The agreement was a triumph for America. But for Britain, their naval power was now at “eye level” with the United States.

The U.K. could not challenge the U.S.

An overstretched Britain had neither the political will nor the financial ability to oppose America’s demands, aware that an arms race with the U.S. would likely bankrupt the British economy.

Pax Britannica, a symbol of Britain’s naval dominance, was forced to deliberately accommodate America’s rise. Britain’s reduced Pacific fleet and degraded Anglo-Japanese relations marked a turning point in America’s ascendancy.

It was not the first time Britain missed an opportunity to slow America’s rise. The American Civil War offered the chance, but Britain decided against joining on behalf of the Confederacy due to the issue of slavery. Schake also notes the Venezuela crisis of 1895 marked an early turning point in the leadership transition. This could have also been a window of opportunity.

How does this apply to current U.S.-China relations? The “battleground” remains the same as in 1921; instead, China plans to supplant America to become the global leader.

Barack Obama’s administration crafted the TPP as a geopolitical instrument to halt China’s plans. It presented east and southeast Asian nations with an alternative to China’s coercive diplomacy in the region, such as in the case of Sri Lanka.

Reducing trade barriers had the potential to provide America with greater investment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. It could have weakened China’s diplomatic clout while also creating economic incentives for American investment in the area. It exploited a window of opportunity that targeted the source of China’s rise — its economy.

Pulling out of the TPP was not solely a product of the current administration —a Hillary Clinton administration may have withdrawn too. America’s anti-free trade mood reflects the priority of the public and lawmakers, which is to preserve U.S. jobs and sovereignty.

Shifts in global power are afoot

But shifts in global power may be under way with implications beyond what happens on the home front. A tech Cold War is brewing, China’s plans for expansion under the Belt and Road initiative continue and South China Sea claims are an extension of China’s sovereignty.

The rebooted TPP, the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, is likely to reduce barriers to trade and increase investment opportunities across Asia and Latin America for its member countries, including Canada.

But the agreement, without U.S. representation, hardly lives up to America’s once-desired aim to create a trade zone in a large swath of East Asia that would isolate China while addressing the global power shifts under way. A renegotiated CPTPP, with American backing, may have even strengthened the Trump administration’s position in its current trade negotiations with the Chinese.

The U.K. was unable to prevent the last global leadership transition due to missed windows of opportunity and deliberate accommodation. An America that views China’s rise through a short-term bilateral lens runs the risk of accidentally accommodating Chinese efforts to replace America.

Taking advantage of a window of opportunity may be key to curbing the next global leadership transition —and the CPTPP may be the window that America needs before we are forced to accommodate to China’s interests. The U.S. should reconsider joining the pact if it wants any shot at slowing China’s rise.The Conversation


James L. Anderson is a Visiting Fulbright Fellow at Queen's University's Centre for International and Defence Policy.

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 Women’s Network promoting workplace equity and career growth

Staff event one of a number of campus activities celebrating International Women’s Day.

Members of the Queen's Women's Network accepting an equity award
Members of the Queen's Women's Network displaying an award they were presented by the university for their work to advance equity on campus.

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and to encourage action on gender equity in our own communities and around the world. On Friday, March 8, the Queen’s Women’s Network (QWN) will mark the occasion by bringing women faculty and staff together to foster deeper connections, and promote women’s professional advancement on campus.

“Building a strong professional network is an important factor of career progression and job satisfaction,” says Carlyn McQueen, QWN event co-organizer, and Information and Project Coordinator in the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “There are many bright and inspiring women at Queen's, and this event offers an informal opportunity to connect with other women on campus.”

The QWN event will include a brief introduction to the group – which strives to promote career development, challenge stereotypes, advance inclusivity and equity, and amplify women’s voices across campus. It will also include opportunities to connect with experts in career advancement, as well as information on resources and training opportunities available at the university. Women and self-identifying women faculty and staff interested in joining the QWN event can register online.

“Our focus this year has been to support women in their career growth at Queen’s through a series of events designed to encourage connections, build leadership skills, and promote on-going learning,” says Colleen Brown, QWN event co-organizer, and Coordinator (PCI Compliance and Operations). “Our efforts lend to the broader theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – #BalanceForBetter – which is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.”

Groups across Queen’s are also marking International Women’s Day with campus events. Among them are:

Feminist Legal Studies Queen’s (FLSQ) in the Faculty of Law is hosting its annual International Women’s Day conference on March 8 and 9, which will feature discussions on gender, racial, Indigenous, and economic equality, as well as food security, and sustainability around the world. Distinguished Professor of Law, Angela P. Harris, of the University of California (Davis) Law School, will deliver the keynote lecture. Members of the student, university, and Kingston communities are all welcome to learn more and register to attend.

Queen’s Women in Computing (QWIC), a student group within the School of Computing, is hosting a Women in Tech: International Women's Day Celebration panel discussion on March 8 featuring women alumni working in the field of computing across a number industry sectors. Interested students may visit the QWIC Facebook page or the specific Facebook event page for more information and to RSVP.

On Saturday, March 16, the Queen’s Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) International Students Affairs and Equity and Diversity Commission will jointly host the Queen’s International Women’s Conference to celebrate women’s leadership in international graduate research. The event is free for Queen's students, staff, and faculty, and will include student and alumni panel discussions about scholarly accomplishments and career futures, as well as professional development workshops and keynote lecture by Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Interim Associate Vice-Principal (International) at Queen's University. Learn more about the event and about how you can attend.

To discover or submit more International Women’s Day celebrations, visit the Queen’s University Events Calendar.

Queen’s professor receives award from Women in Mining Canada

Queen's professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering named the 2019 winner of the Rick Hutson Mentorship Award.
Heather Jamieson, a professor and researcher in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, is the 2019 winner of Women in Mining Canada's Rick Hutson Mentorship Award. (Supplied Photo)

Heather Jamieson, a professor and researcher in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, has been named the 2019 Rick Hutson Mentorship Award winner from Women in Mining Canada (WIMC).

This award is being presented to Dr. Jamieson in recognition of the role she has played in mentoring, supporting and guiding young women in their studies and in taking their first steps, and then beyond that, in helping them to manoeuvre in the early days of their mining careers. 

An outpouring of letters of support from Dr. Jamieson’s students, both past and present, solidified her candidacy for this award and speaks to the impact that she has had on these women and countless others in their careers. 

A critical part of Dr. Jamieson’s career has been sharing her enthusiasm for environmental geochemistry with students, introducing them to fieldwork at mine sites, and exposing them to the complex issues affecting communities in the Canadian North.

“During the first summer that I worked as a geological field assistant (at age 17), I met two female geologists who were truly inspirational pioneers. I was also taught at Queen’s by Dr. Mabel Corlett, one of the first tenured women professors of geology in Canada,” Dr. Jamieson says. “It was pretty unusual for women to be in the field of geology and mining in the 1970s, and there was some resistance to sending women to remote mines or field camps. Over the years things have improved but there are still challenges. I have supervised more than 50 graduate students, about half of them women, and I have been delighted to watch them progress in their careers since leaving Queen’s.”

Women in Mining Canada identifies the three pillars of its organization as: “Educate, Empower and Elevate.” Dr. Jamieson has certainly been a model for these pillars. She believes that teaching and supervising includes respect for a good work-life balance, and translates this to all of her students. 

Of the more than 50 graduate students that Dr. Jamieson has supervised, all have found professional employment shortly after graduation with mining companies, environmental consultants, or as government regulators. 

It is also worth noting that the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering consists of 50 per cent female faculty members, one of the highest of any geological program in Canada. This ratio is similar for undergraduate and graduate students in the department, as well. Dr. Jamieson has played a significant role in achieving this ratio, and has been a strong mentor and influence on young women entering the mining industry for decades. 

This award was presented to Dr. Jamieson during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention. Women in Mining Canada hosted an event at the convention on Tuesday, March 5 to celebrate all of their Trailblazer Award Winners, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 

Further information about the Rick Hutson Mentorship Award and the WIMC awards presentation can be found on the Women in Mining Canada website.

National recognition for computing trailblazer

In the field of computing, efficiency and effectiveness are key. Researchers are continuously searching for solutions to the computational challenges that come with processing massive amounts of data in a timely fashion.  Selim Akl, professor in the School of Computing and a pioneer of parallel computation, has garnered worldwide recognition for his success in finding efficient and improved solutions to this issue. Recently, Dr. Akl was recognized by CS-Can/Info-Can, the national computer science academic organization, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding and sustained contributions to the field.

[Selim Akl]
The School of Computing's Selim Akl has been recognized by CS-Can/Info-Can, the national computer science academic organization, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding and sustained contributions to the field.

“It’s a huge honour and I owe a lot to my colleagues in the School of Computing and to my students. They really are inspiring,” Dr. Akl says. “Queen’s is a special place because it gives you unfettered freedom to follow your research interests.”

Dr. Akl felt this sense of autonomy in pursing his research program when he began his career at Queen’s in 1978. Parallel computation involves the use of several computers to solve a problem simultaneously, a concept which was introduced through Dr. Akl’s book Parallel Sorting Algorithms in 1985.The work was the first of its kind in this area of specialization, allowing Dr. Akl to become a pioneer in the field.  

“There are real-life situations that necessitate the use of a specific number of computers and if you have one less, you cannot solve the problem,” he says. “The big weather centres use massive parallel processors to give us up-to-the-minute updates on the weather but sometimes they are not even enough because if a storm decides to hit and you hadn’t predicted it in enough time to warn people, it would be too late.”  

 Dr. Akl has used parallel computation as the core foundation of his research program while branching out into other areas of computing, including computational geometry and cryptography, in which his work on security in hierarchical organizations remains state-of-the-art. He also explored biomedical computing, developing algorithmic techniques to analyze electrocardiograms for better diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. In recent years, he has been studying computational processes in nature and more generally, unconventional computation. In 2009, he originated the idea of quantum chess.

“Dr. Akl’s research contributions span many facets of computing that influence virtually every aspect of daily life,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  “The lifetime achievement award is a fitting recognition of his leadership and continued impact on the field internationally.”

As the Queen’s School of Computing celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Dr. Akl’s colleagues and collaborators are thrilled to celebrate this significant milestone in his career.

“I would like to dedicate this award to the School of Computing as it’s been a wonderful home for me,” Dr. Akl says. “If you have a good working environment, then you have no complaints.”

Dr. Akl will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual CS-Can/Info Can meeting at McGill University on June 3.  

Decolonizing Canada’s national game

Indigenous Hockey Research Network looks at hockey as a vehicle for reconciliation.

IHRN members at a pick-up game of hockey during the visioning gathering at Queen's University.
Indigenous Hockey Research Network members pause during their "visioning gathering" at Queen's for a pick-up game at the Leon's Centre in Kingston.

One of the first things that comes to mind when people think about Canada is ice hockey. For many Canadians, the sport is deeply linked to perceptions of national identity, and hockey stories help explain who they are and where they belong. But where do Indigenous peoples fit in these narratives about what it means to be truly Canadian? Queen’s University researcher, Sam McKegney, helped create the Indigenous Hockey Research Network (IHRN) with hopes of illuminating, complicating, and developing how we view our national pastime.

“Given its popularity, we see hockey as a potential meeting place for community building and Indigenous empowerment,” says Dr. McKegney, who received a $305,000 Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in 2018 to conduct the IHRN’s work. “Understanding our shared and contrary experiences within the context of the sport could also shed light on a potential vehicle for the ongoing pursuit of reconciliation in our country.”

Through archival research, personal interviews, data analysis, and Indigenous community-led approaches, Dr. McKegney’s team looks to uncover and engage with the sport’s Indigenous past, present, and future to understand its role in relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.

Hockey occupies a complicated space between Indigenous self-determination and ongoing settler colonialism in Canada, as in the past it served both oppressive and liberating roles for Indigenous people. According to Dr. McKegney, the sport was employed in residential schools and elsewhere as a tool of “colonial social engineering” designed to encourage Indigenous youth to shed connections with their traditional cultural values and enforce new, prescriptive identity formations. Conversely, many survivors of residential schools claim playing the game helped them endure the trauma of those years.

"This duality in hockey’s history could present a means through which to support Indigenous sovereignty, community well-being, and gender equality,” he says, “as well as to promote settler understanding of colonial history and potential pathways toward righting injustice. ”

From Friday, March 1 to Saturday, March 2, Dr. McKegney hosted 15 IHRN scholars and graduate students at the Queen’s Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts for a “visioning gathering”. These experts in sport history, sociology, gender theory, narrative studies, and filmmaking, together with Indigenous and non-Indigenous community advisors, worked to hone the research objectives and methodologies of the multi-year project.

“There was so much knowledge and experience present at the gathering in Kingston. To have that focus and attention on our work makes our projects that much stronger,” says Janice Forsyth, IHRN member and director of the First Nations Studies program at Western University. “The network is and will be an important site for us to share information, and to test and refine our ideas and analysis, as well as a critical source of support for the graduate student members, who now have a well-defined research community to rely on for assistance and feedback.”

Vision gathering participants also took time to develop skills and expertise necessary to best share their future findings, during a daylong series of workshops facilitated by Abenaki filmmaker Kim O’bomsawin. The IHRN team aims to produce a documentary film on the project as work progresses over the next five years.

In keeping with the project’s aim to promote community building, the vision gathering participants bonded further over a pick-up hockey game at the Leon’s Centre on the evening of March 1.

“Research on Indigenous hockey is really important because if we’re able to figure out the keys to positive experiences and skills and passions that last a lifetime, then that’s great,” says Mike Auksi, Ojibway/Estonian international and University of Toronto/Ryerson varsity hockey player. “On the other end of that, if we can figure out what’s leading to negative experiences or leading people to stop playing the game, then we may have a small part to play in improving that as well.”

Learn more about Dr. McKegney’s research project: “Decolonizing Sport: Indigeneity, Hockey, and Canadian Nationalism”.

Planning an international experience

The International Planning Project course provides SURP students with an experiential learning opportunity in India.

  • Group discussion with Village Elders from Edayanchavadi regarding tourism impacts and their community
    School of Urban and Regional Planning students hold a group discussion with village elders from Edayanchavadi regarding tourism impacts and their community. (Supplied Photo)
  • Students work an information kiosk
    International Planning Course team members work at an information kiosk located at the Visitors Centre in Auroville, India. (Supplied Photo)
  • Team picture at the Matrimandir
    The School of Urban and Regional Planning team members for the International Planning Course gather at the Matrimandir in the Indian city of Auroville. (Supplied Photo)

Adaptability and flexibility, preparation and communication, stress management and staying in the moment.

A group of students from the School of Urban and Regional Planning who recently took part in the International Planning Project course (SURP 827) gained a world of experience and learned valuable lessons as they traveled to India for two weeks to create a project report of professional quality for the community of Auroville.

The course is a collaborative challenge that tests the students’ resilience and abilities, but, at the same time, provides an opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge as they look to their future careers as planners.

“Project wise, in general, it’s nice to actually get the experience working for a client. You have a strict deadline that you have to meet and then you are also challenging yourself because you have traveled to get there and you’re maybe a bit jetlagged,” says Carling Fraser, one of the eight members of the Queen’s team. “It’s a totally different environment that you are not used to. It was a real experience and there’s another layer to it when you are in a different cultural environment and you are still expected to keep to your deadlines and adapt pretty quickly.”

Preparations are key for the planning course.

Starting in September, the student team, which this year happened to be entirely female, had 12 weeks to conduct advance research, collect information, and make initial contacts before heading to India in early December.

The team then had two weeks to gather information and develop a tourism management plan to be presented both in Auroville and back at Queen’s.

Arriving after a 30-hour flight and a three-hour drive, the team quickly got to work on the first day. The first week is primarily filled with gathering information on the ground, analyzing, and making adjustments before preparing the report and making the final presentation.

It’s a whirlwind of activity and no one can do it alone. Some of the major tools that come out of the experience, says project manager Natalie Armstrong, are teamwork, adaptability, and communication skills.

“We are there with each other as a group 24/7 for two weeks. You learn to communicate within your team and the different communication styles of the team members and how to balance those, as well as the strengths and the weaknesses of the team dynamics,” she says. “The project itself is so interdisciplinary. You are talking to so many different individuals that I think learning to communicate with multiple types of people. Not just language barriers but understanding residents with different priorities and competing priorities. So learning how to effectively talk to others and understand their interest behind their position and then working off that.”

With a tight deadline, time management is crucial. Despite the pressure, the team set schedules, learned to alter course when needed, and came through with a final product on time that was well received.

“We were looking at tourism impacts for Auroville as it currently doesn’t have a tourism management plan in place. We quickly found out that the community is conflicted as to what they would like tourism to look like as well as what tourism looks like currently,” Armstrong says. “I think our report did a good job in creating a foundation and a plan as to how the community can go forward. We looked at impacts such as environmental, social, community, and economic and provided some recommendations and implementations for how they can manage these impacts going forward.”

Now in its seventh year, the International Planning Project course, led by SURP Professor Ajay Agarwal, provides a real-world and international experience.

This opportunity to step outside of North America is a key element for the school and continues to attract students to Queen’s.

“Personally, when I was looking to come to grad school I was looking for an international experience,” says Armstrong. “I didn’t participate in one in my undergrad so it was something that I was seeking. It definitely was something of interest from when I was applying to schools because I wanted to have that unique experience that sets you apart when you are done school. I feel like at the end of the day you all graduate from the program but something like this kind of sets you apart.”

For more information about the course or to obtain a copy of the full project report, contact Dr. Agarwal.

Helping first-year students find their major

Majors Night is an opportunity for first-year students at the Faculty of Arts and Science to learn about the programs that Queen’s offers to help them make an informed decision about their prospective major.

This year’s event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 28 from 4-7 pm in Kingston Hall.

[Students find information on Majors Night]
During the annual Majors Night, peers from each of the Departmental Student Councils (DSC) in the Faculty of Arts and Science are available to answer questions about their experiences within their specific programs. (University Communications)

“Majors night is a wonderful opportunity for first-year students to get advice from peers and professional staff about their academic options and where they could lead,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Career Services. “Choosing a program is a big decision for students and it’s important that they are given all of the opportunities and tools to make an informed choice.”

Peers from each of the faculty’s Departmental Student Councils (DSC) will be available at individual booths to answer questions about their experiences within their specific programs. Students will also be able to compare the different programs they’re considering and explore which options fit best with their interests and academic goals.

Staff from Career Services, and the faculty’s Academic Advising, as well as members of the faculty’s Peer Academic Support Service (PASS), will also be present to answer specific questions about choosing a program and where to find career resources at Queen’s.

“Majors Night was one of the main highlights for me at Queen’s,” says Mariam Atnasious, a second-year psychology student. “Second semester was extremely stressful with finding a house and picking a major. The peer-to-peer interaction at Majors Night provided me with detailed information for each individual major/minor/specialization that Queen’s has to offer. I personally loved the event as it was the reason I went into psychology.”

Information sessions regarding internships, exchange opportunities, degree certificates and more will be held during the event in the Reflection Room in Kingston Hall. Students can sign up for these sessions through MyCareer.

Majors Night is a partnership between Career Services, the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS), the Arts and Science Departmental Student Councils, and the Faculty of Arts and Science.

For more information about the event, visit the Career Services website.

Keeping her Olympic dreams alive

Through the RBC Training Ground program, Queen's student and volleyball player Jacklynn Boyle now finds herself pursuing her dreams on the cycling track.

A year ago, Jacklynn Boyle was a third-year life sciences student at Queen’s and an outside hitter on the Gaels women’s volleyball team.

Then she took part in the RBC Training Ground program.

[Jacklynn Boyle tests in the power jump during RBC Training Ground]
Jacklynn Boyle tests in the power jump at the RBC Training Ground event in Toronto. (Photo by Kevin Light)

Today she is a member of the Canadian national cycling team and was also recruited by the national women’s bobsled team.

It has been a whirlwind 12 months, and, perhaps most importantly, she’s still on track to graduate in April.

RBC Training Ground is a series of cross-Canada athletic search events designed to bring undiscovered talent into the Canadian Olympic pipeline, while at the same time helping athletes take the next step. In the first stage of the program, athletes between the ages of 14 and 25 are tested for speed, power, strength, and endurance at free events. Identified athletes are then recruited for a sport that suits their abilities and, if successful, can receive funding support from RBC.

Boyle's results were so strong, particularly in the explosive power tests, that she was recruited by officials from both Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton and Cycling Canada.

“It’s kind of crazy that a year ago I was still playing volleyball and was planning to go to medical school – which I still hopefully will do in the future,” she says. “The RBC program is absolutely amazing for finding people who have athletic ability and seeing if they can transfer it into another sport. It’s amazing. I have always wanted to go to the Olympics for something. The coaches are so talented for picking out a person. In bobsled and cycling they only saw me do 10 tests and met with me once before asking me to try out. It’s crazy that they were able to decipher which athletes have ability and which ones they think can transfer.”

Following the first tryout at Queen’s last March Boyle advanced to the provincial event in Toronto. She then traveled to Calgary for two separate bobsleigh training sessions at the Ice House.  She also visited Milton, west of Toronto, and trained on the velodrome track for Cycling Canada. At both events, she once again impressed.

But she couldn’t pursue both sports. She had to make a choice.

In the end it was the opportunity to complete her studies and graduate that helped her decide to hop on the bike instead of in the bobsleigh.

It has been hectic mixing studies and training but she is feeling positive about her prospects on both fronts.

“Basically all summer and into September I was studying for my MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) but I was also going to Calgary or to Milton for the tryouts,” she says. “It was a lot and it was very busy but it also felt so surreal that they put me in a bobsled and they put me onto the velodrome track without a lot of preparation. They kind of just wanted to see how I could adapt.”

Not only did she adapt, she excelled. RBC recently announced that Boyle is one of 30 athletes from the original 3,182 tested, who will receive funding to pursue her Olympic dream.

Once her studies are complete this April, Boyle will relocate to Milton where she will join Cycling Canada's elite development program.

“They’ve already put me on a workout program and I have a bike and rollers and everything so I am getting the gist of cycling but starting in April I will be training full time,” she says. “My goal, I know there are a lot of steps before the Olympics, but I really hope to compete at the World Cup level this year.”

She is thankful for her support from her family – it was her mom who signed her up for RBC Training Ground – as well as from Queen’s University. Along with being allowed to take the time for the tryouts by volleyball head coach Ryan Ratushniak, she is now working with Athletics and Recreation’s strength and conditioning team to keep her in top shape and be ready for when she starts her ride to the Olympics.

Visit the RBC Training Ground website for more information, including local event information and the complete 2019 calendar.


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