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Smith Business launches equity, diversity, inclusion, and indigeneity task force

The Smith School of Business at Queen’s University has established an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII) Task Force charged with advancing the school’s efforts to address systemic barriers to inclusion, and to continue fostering a culture of dignity and respect for all.

Its mandate is to develop a strategic plan that identifies meaningful actions that support an academic and work environment at Smith that is open, accessible, and inclusive with respect to many aspects of diversity, including ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, ability and socioeconomic status. The Task Force will also definite specific objectives and measures for progress and make recommendations for cross-campus collaboration and policy modifications that will best serve EDII goals.

Learn more about the EDII Task Force, its mandate, membership, and how students and staff of Smith may contribute to this ongoing process on the Smith School of Business website.

Queen’s remembers Professor Emeritus Bruce Buchan

The Queen’s community is remembering Professor Emeritus Bruce Buchan, a committed teacher and mentor at Smith School of Business with a passion for business history and for Gaels football, who died on June 6. He was 87. 

Professor Emeritus Bruce BuchanDr. Buchan first arrived at Queen’s School of Business, as Smith was then known, in July 1969. An outgoing and friendly personality known for his winning smile, he quickly became a favourite with students. In 1988, he received the Commerce Society’s Teaching Excellence award. 

“Bruce Buchan’s courses appealed to a lot of business students,” recalls Professor Emeritus and former associate dean, Brent Gallupe. “He taught them that business is about more than just accounting and marketing — it’s about history and the lessons to be learned from it. The students who took his courses really enjoyed them.” 

Even after his retirement in 1996, Dr. Buchan returned to campus regularly to teach, always connecting with students and continuing to garner high teaching ratings into his late 70s. In 2009, he was honoured for 40 years of teaching. 

He was also a favourite amongst his colleagues. 

“I was blown away by how kind and supportive he was,” says Dr. Gallupe. He remembers Dr. Buchan providing excellent advice about how to better get students to engage with a research project.

“He said all the kind words that a senior professor encouraging research would say,” he recalls. “We established a good, long-term friend and colleague relationship.” 

Dr. Buchan earned his PhD from the University of Michigan and his B.A.Sc. at the University of Toronto. As part of his work in business policy, he developed an interest in the history of management, as well as in topics like strategy at the East India Company and at General Motors.    

In 1999, he and Merv Daub (now professor emeritus at Smith), who had by then already collaborated on a number of papers, published Getting Down to Business, an in-depth history of Queen’s School of Business. 

“It was a good co-writing exercise,” recalls Professor Daub. “He would fact check and make corrections, and would fill in the gaps after I did the rough writing.”

Dr. Buchan, who was known for his lunch-hour runs, also served as executive assistant to Ron Watts, the 15th principal of Queen’s, for seven years. He later played an instrumental role in organizing luncheons for retirees, enabling retired business faculty and their spouses to maintain their relationships to the school and one another. 

An extended version of this article was first published on the Smith School of Business website.

Supporting Rapid Response research

The Vice-Principal (Research) announces the second round of internal funding for projects supporting medical and social coronavirus-related solutions.

A second round of funding for COVID-19-related research has been allocated as part of the Rapid Response competition, announced by the Vice-Principal (Research) in late-March. Thirteen projects that contribute to the development, testing, and implementation of medical or social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 have already been funded through the program. Now, seven more applicants have received funding in a second round of the competition.

The diverse projects cross several fields and disciplines. They range from learning how Indigenous peoples living with chronic health issues are impacted by COVID-19 to studying the psychosocial implications of the pandemic among cancer survivors.  

The successful projects are:

  • Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) – Developing sweet prophylactics: targeting glycans to prevent COVID-19 spread
  • Amrita Roy (Family Medicine) – Indigenous peoples living with chronic health issues during the COVID-19 era – examining experiences in Katarokwi (Kingston, Ontario area)
  • Jacqueline Galica (Nursing) – The psychosocial implications of COVID-19: How are cancer survivors coping?
  • Kristy Timmons (Education) – Using social and behavioural science to help teachers and principals mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 in K-12 contexts
  • Elaine Power (Kinesiology & Health Studies) – Leave no one behind: Income security for the 21st century
  • Elijah Bisung (Kinesiology & Health Studies) – Mobilizing local stakeholders to address COVID-19 misinformation and mistrust in Ghana
  • Stephen Vanner (Medicine) – COVID-19 testing of health professional students: Informing testing and public policy for universities and society

For more information on the Rapid Response competition, visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)  website.  

Showcasing the Art of Research – photo essay

The Queen’s Art of Research photo contest celebrates its fifth year, with the selection of ten winning images.

It was another record-breaking year for the Art of Research photo contest, with more than 100 faculty, staff, students, and alumni submitting engaging and thought-provoking research images. The 2020 competition is the largest in the contest’s five-year history, with images winning 10 category and special prizes.

The Art of Research image take us behind-the-scenes of the everyday research experience. From images capturing remote fieldwork to invisible particles under the microscope, the Art of Research seeks to spark curiosity and visualize the ground-breaking research happening at Queen’s. The contest strives to represent the diversity and creativity of Queen’s research, with winners representing multiple disciplines and submissions highlighting research happening at all career stages. This year’s winners will be featured in a digital photo gallery showcasing the contest’s winners and top submissions from the past five years on the Research@Queen’s website.

Category: Invisible Discoveries

[Photograph is of a water-swollen hydrogel particle]

Porous Plastic Particle

Submitted by: Ross Jansen-van Vuuren, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Chemistry

Location of Photo: Bruce Hall, SEM Lab, Queen’s University

Description of Photo: The photograph is of a water-swollen hydrogel particle created in our chemistry laboratory, taken with an instrument called a Scanning Electron Microscope, which allows us to zone in and see important details on the surface of the hydrogel. A hydrogel is essentially a plastic material that is able to absorb very large volumes of water (up to 800 times its weight!) – much like a baby diaper, swelling as it does so. From the image, the surface of the hydrogel is seen to possess large, distinctive pores, which help us understand how and why hydrogels absorb so much liquid.

Category: Out in the Field

[Aerial view algal blooms in South Frontenac County]

Nature's van Gogh

Submitted by: Hayden Wainwright, Student (MSc), Biology

Location of Photo: South Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada

Description of Photo: Algal blooms appear as smears of green slime from the ground, but are beautiful pieces of abstract art from an aerial view, painted by wind and sunlight. My research takes me to lakes on the Canadian Shield affected by blooms, where I photograph them with a drone while assistants help me collect water samples. By uncovering when, where, and why they appear, we hope to restore some of Canada’s most beautiful lakes to their pristine states.

Category: Best Description

[Aerial photograph of the Adelabu Market in Ibadan, Nigeria]

Under the Umbrella

Submitted by: Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, Faculty, Gender Studies; Geography and Planning

Location of Photo: Ibadan, Nigeria

Description of Photo: On a very hot day, I went to the Adelabu Market in Ibadan, Nigeria, to meet Sarah. Several phone calls later, we found each other. She brought me inside a nearly abandoned plaza. “Less noisy,” she said. We climbed up to the highest floor. During the interview, she told me her livelihood as a market woman funded her children’s education. Rain or shine, she is at the market every day, under her umbrella. When we finished the interview, I looked down. What a view! As I snapped a photo, I wondered: “What are the stories of the other people under the umbrellas?”

Category: Art in Action

[Diffusion Spectrum Imaging (DSI) depicting diffusion of water throughout the brain]

The Wiring of the Brain

Submitted by: Donald Brien, Staff, Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Location of Photo: Centre for Neuroscience Studies, MRI Facility, Queen’s University

Description of Photo: An example of Diffusion Spectrum Imaging (DSI) from Queen’s new Prisma Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Some of the most beautiful images generated by MRI are created by imaging the diffusion (movement) of water throughout the brain. From this diffusion, we can generate maps of the neuron connections that are responsible for carrying messages from one area of the brain to another. Seen here, they are coded by direction, such that blue tracts move from foot to head, red tracts move from left to right in the head, and green tracts move from the front to the back of the head.  There are 30,000 tracts displayed in this image. By adulthood, the average person has ~160,000 km total length of these tracts.

Category: Community Collaborations

[A group of researchers collaborating in a space with mobile robots]

Researchers at Offroad Robotics

Submitted by: Heshan Fernando, Student (PhD), Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Location of Photo: Jackson Hall, Queen’s University

Description of Photo: A group of multidisciplinary engineering researchers with expertise in mining and construction applications, mechanical and mechatronics systems, as well as electrical and computer engineering collaborate to develop the next generation of field and mobile robots.

Category: People's Choice

[Researchers and community members travelling on snowmobiles]

Learning from the Land

Submitted by: Sarah Flisikowski, Student (MES), School of Environmental Studies

Location of Photo: Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada

Description of Photo: The transmission and documentation of traditional knowledge and skills is of great importance to Inuit, especially considering the continuing social, environmental, and economic changes in the Arctic. I am examining how Inuit traditional knowledge is generated and shared through a case study of an existing project in Ulukhaktok called Nunamin Illihakvia, which means "learning from the land" in Inuinnaqtun. Participants from other Inuvialuit communities were invited to travel to Ulukhaktok in February 2020 to participate in cultural activities that promoted discussion on what a cultural learning program should include. This photo shows our first trip out on Queen's Bay together.

KHGRI Prize

Sponsored by Kingston General Health Research Institute

[Patient care simulation depicting one researcher and one patient]

This is EPIC: Simulation Education with Patient Actors to Improve Care

Submitted by: Monakshi Sawhney, Faculty, School of Nursing

Location of Photo: Education and Research Centre, North York General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

Description of Photo: Simulation education, using standardized patient actors, is a unique way to provide education in health care settings to practicing clinicians. It is an opportunity to practice assessment skills and critical thinking in a safe environment that mimics the patient care setting. Our team implemented this concept at a hospital in Toronto, with a focus on researching the outcomes of a simulation intervention for nurses who care for patients receiving epidural analgesia for pain management after surgery. This photograph depicts the real-to-life patient care environment that was created for this study.

Graduate Studies Prize

Sponsored by the School of Graduate Studies

[Fish eye lens photograph of Dog Lake]

Shattered Planet

Submitted by: Allen Tian, Student (MSc), Biology

Location of Photo: Milburn Bay, Dog Lake, South Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada

Description of Photo: The impact of human activity on our planet is often difficult to see in the moment, and requires a long-term, overlooking, view. This photo is a drone panorama of my field site on the Rideau Canal System, where I investigate the impact of human activity on aquatic ecosystems, particularly the development of toxic algal blooms. Activities such as fishing, property development and farming have fragmented and altered this ecosystem, and we need a holistic, broader view to piece together how we can protect our delicate, beautiful, world.

Innovation, Knowledge Mobilization, and Entrepreneurship Prize

Sponsored by Partnerships and Innovation

[Photograph of a leg being prepared for dynamic X-ray video]

Propelling Research

Submitted by: Lauren Welte, Student (PhD), Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Location of Photo: Skeletal Observation Laboratory, Queen’s University

Description of Photo: Our feet make contact with the ground millions of times within our lifetime, yet we still do not completely understand how they function. Using dynamic X-ray video, we image foot bones in ways we could only previously imagine.  Recent work has questioned several popular theories about soft tissue function in the arch. Ongoing research aims to understand healthy foot function, to better inform treatments for foot pain. This research has the capacity to propel our understanding of foot function forward.

Health Sciences Prize

Sponsored by the Faculty of Health Sciences

[Microscopic photo of cells within a brain region]

A Glance in the Brain

Submitted by: Natalia de Menezes Lyra e Silva, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Location of Photo: Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen’s University

Description of Photo: The primate brain is highly specialized, allowing us an incredible range of experiences. This microscopic photo captures cells within a brain region, the hippocampus, involved with learning and memory. Every lived experience that we are able to remember has boosted the formation of new connections in our brains. These connections are affected in diseases that impair memory, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we can observe cells involved with the brain inflammatory response. These cells are upregulated in the brains of AD patients. This technique allows us to better understand how our brains work and how they are altered by diseases.

 

To learn more about this year’s winners and explore past winners and top submissions, visit The Art of Research Photo Gallery on the Research@Queen’s website.

Small businesses must focus on easing employee, customer fears

Small businesses will need to engage the hearts and minds of employees and customers by recognizing that they feel emotions differently than they did before COVID-19.

A Post-It note on glass door announces a business is closed due to COVID-19.
Businesses across Canada are preparing to reopen following lengthy closures due to COVID-19. (Unsplash / Anastasiia Chepinska)

A small business has been given the green light to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. What does it need to consider for employees and customers?

The Conversation CanadaSmall business owners are reorganizing physical space to account for continued distancing requirements and rethinking supply chains to deliver products and services in new ways to meet changing demand patterns.

But they must not forget the hearts and minds of employees and customers.

That doesn’t mean replacing a focus on the bottom line, but it helps address the need for a new set of expectations and ways of communicating in terms of product or service offerings, delivery methods and real-time feedback.

Based on our expertise in organizational behaviour and past research we’ve conducted, we provide a set of recommendations to help small businesses thrive in our new COVID-19 economy by looking after the hearts and minds of the people most important to businesses — employees and customers.

Fear, anxiety

One of the biggest outcomes of living amid the COVID pandemic is the fear, anger, sadness and vulnerability many people are feeling. Even very loyal customers may have suddenly short fuses when a favourite product or service is delayed.

Both old and new customers may feel hesitant to enter shops or restaurants, unsure of how to engage with employees safely and afraid of unknowingly getting infected or infecting others.

Employees, although likely relieved to be able to earn a pay cheque, may have similar fears, and wonder how to control potentially unsafe situations or customers who aren’t adhering to social distancing protocols.

Overall, engaging the hearts and mind of both employees and customers means recognizing that they’re probably feeling emotions differently than they were before COVID-19. In particular, they may experience more ambivalence — a mix of emotions that can feel uncomfortable or even alien — as they grapple with discovering, experimenting and understanding what a “new normal” means.

Research shows this kind of emotional complexity can lead to a host of outcomes, including vacillation, disengagement and even paralysis — at least partly explaining why employees and customers may seem like deer in headlights during the first days of a business reopening.

Yet our previous research shows that ambivalence can actually be helpful, increasing people’s problem-solving abilities by opening their thinking to alternative perspectives.

People line up with shopping carts at a grocery store.
People line up with shopping carts at a grocery store. (Unsplash / Adrien Delforge)

Redirecting emotions

That means rather than avoiding ambivalence because it feels uncomfortable, small businesses must help their employees redirect these feelings into brainstorming creative solutions for engaging customers, updating websites and soliciting and incorporating customer feedback.

Doing so will have the added benefit of helping employees and customers feel more in control over the situation — a basic human need that has been drastically reduced during the pandemic.

Coupled with emotional complexity is the loss of beloved everyday rituals, from shaking hands to being able to stand close to help a customer decide on a haircut, new clothes or specific menu items.

As businesses reopen, addressing this loss of tradition and predictability in employees’ and customers’ minds will be crucial.

Our research on the role of rituals in institutional maintenance shows that common rituals bind people together, anchoring our sense of identity and structuring our lives in comfortable and predictable ways.

In short, rituals create the sense of normalcy that is now lost.

But to form new rituals and traditions, businesses must first re-establish trust. When trust is fragile and old rituals must be abandoned to make way for new practices, business leaders need to consider multiple approaches in how to work and interact with employees and customers.

Start a dialogue

The first approach is to engage in dialogue.

Reopening costs do not solely pertain to sanitizing workplaces and providing personal protection equipment, but also to the amount of time it takes to discuss and address concerns.

Important questions to employees and customers include:

  • What are your concerns about being here? What can we do to make things safer?

  • What do I need to know about you that could help me work with and serve you better?

Companies should use this feedback to create new rituals and workplace norms together with employees and customers.

Customization, in fact, will be increasingly important as both employees and customers have unique needs and circumstances.

According to local small business owner Lisa Arbo of Salon 296 in Kingston, Ont.: “A large part of success going forward will be about being sensitive to everyone’s reality.” This type of empathetic co-creation is likely to reduce uncertainty and give everyone a healthier sense of emotional and physical comfort and control.

A woman with a facemask, and riding a bike, looks out over a bridge.
Managing perceptions will be an important step for small business owners as they restart operations. (Unsplash / Thomas De Luz)

Manage perceptions

The second approach is to manage perceptions. Small business owners are the custodians of the trusted relationships between their companies, employees and customers.

Even as business owners adapt to this new, emotionally complex and less predictable world, their employees and customers are looking for them to communicate clearly, succinctly and often about what is both possible and not possible, and what the new expectations are at all levels of the social contract. That includes everything from physical distancing rules to standards for customer satisfaction.

By recognizing and finding ways to incorporate employees’ and customers’ emotional complexity and sense of loss for beloved traditions, small businesses can actually make this challenging time an unexpected opportunity to thrive.

Uncertainty, change and customization are key elements of the new business reality and embracing them, while difficult, will yield success. Businesses that excel will be the ones that effectively learn to engage the hearts and minds of their employees and customers.

_______________________________________________________________________The Conversation

M. Tina Dacin, Stephen J.R. Smith Chaired Professor of Strategy & Organizational Behavior, Queen's University, and Laura Rees, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Queen's University

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

Vote in the Art of Research photo contest

The Queen’s community has until June 3 to vote for the People’s Choice winner as the Art of Research celebrates its fifth year.

[Photo of a Renaissance statute - Art of Research Photo Contest]
Art of Research Winner 2016: Santa Fina – Submitted by Una D'Elia (Faculty, Art History and Art Conservation)

Have your say in promoting the beauty and creativity of research happening at Queen’s. Voting is now open for the People’s Choice category in the fifth annual Art of Research photo contest.

Hosted by the Office of the Vice-Principal (University Relations), the contest is an opportunity for researchers to mobilize their research and spark curiosity. By looking at research from a different perspective, it is possible to find the beauty and art in any project. More than 100 submissions were received this year from faculty, staff, students, and alumni representing multiple disciplines and research happening at all career stages.

Contest Prizes

The People’s Choice is one of the annual contest’s category prizes celebrating Community Collaborations, Invisible Discoveries, Out in the Field, Art in Action, and Best Caption. For the fifth anniversary of the contest, four special prizes were sponsored by Partnerships and Innovation, the School of Graduate Studies, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Kingston General Hospital Research Institute. Images selected for the People’s Choice vote are entries that generated discussion and were shortlisted by the adjudication committee. All prizes come with a monetary prize of $500.

Cast Your Vote

The survey closes on June 3 at midnight. To learn more about past contest winners, visit the Research@Queen’s website.

2020 Art of Research Adjudication Committee

Amanda Gilbert, Communications Coordinator, Partnerships and Innovation

Amir Fam, Associate Dean (Research), Engineering and Applied Sciences

Betsy Donald, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies

Brenda Paul, Associate Vice-Principal (Integrated Communications)

Dave Rideout, Senior Communications Officer, Integrated Communications

Efkan Oguz, PhD Candidate, Department of Cultural Studies

Elizabeth Cooper, Communications Coordinator, Faculty of Health Sciences

Elliot Ferguson, Multimedia Journalist, The Kingston Whig Standard

Laila Haidarali, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair, Department of Gender Studies

Lavie Williams, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Advisor, Human Rights and Equity Office

Mary Anne Beaudette, Research Knowledge Mobilization Officer, KGH Research Institute

Mary Beth Gauthier, Communications Manager, Office of the Principal

Mona Rahman, Communications and Research Activities, Office of the VP (Research)

Tina Fisher, Director, Brand and Insights, Integrated Communications

Sandra den Otter, Associate Vice-Principal (Research and International)

Yolande Chan, Associate Dean (Research), Smith School of Business

[Photo of UV light train - Art of Research Photo Contest]
Art of Research Winner 2019: A New Light – Submitted by Robert Cichocki (PhD Student, Civil Engineering)

Celebrating graduates during COVID-19

Principal, Chancellor, and Rector share special video messages with the class of 2020 to mark important milestone.

 

Student waving Queen's flag.
Lists of conferred graduates will appear on the new Registrar web page over the coming weeks.

As public health officials continue to respond to COVID-19, the class of 2020 is marking their graduation under truly unprecedented circumstances. Since traditional convocation ceremonies have been delayed until safety guidelines permit, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Rector Sam Hiemstra, have shared special video messages of congratulations with graduates to mark this important milestone.

“This has been an amazing academic year, and I’ve thought a lot about the situation of our students bringing their careers to a close in what is an absolutely unprecedented set of circumstances,” says Principal Deane. “The big celebration with the robes, the music, and the applause – that will have to wait. In the meantime, congratulations! You have my deepest admiration, and best wishes for the future.”

The video messages have been shared as part of a new degree conferral and graduation activity webpage, which will also highlight evolving lists of graduates that will be added as they are conferred over the coming days and weeks. With in-person ceremonies postponed for an indeterminant period, many of the faculties are looking to celebrate graduates in a variety of virtual ways, and degrees will be mailed directly to them over the coming weeks. These activities will be highlighted on this page as they become available as well.

“We want to take this moment to congratulate you for completing your studies, and thus, earning your degrees, diplomas and certificates,” says Chancellor Leech. “You should be proud of your accomplishments, and that you are now a full-fledged member of Queen’s alumni.”

Planning is underway to offer in-person celebrations to ensure the university is ready to offer Spring 2020 graduates the experience they deserve, once conditions allow.

“During a traditional ceremony, we would soon gather outside of Ontario Hall, admiring the gardens and feeling the iconic Kingston warm breeze as we take photos and reminisce,” says Rector Hiemstra. “While that may not be happening today, from the bottom of my heart, I want you all to know that you are celebrated and valued.”

Learn more on the degree conferral and graduation activities webpage. Queen’s will update Spring 2020 graduates on planning for in-person ceremonies as pandemic response guidelines continue to evolve.

Global community responds to need

Smith School of Business community in China sends thousands of masks to Kingston.

Cindy Liang (Comm'23), left, delivers a shipment of masks to Ann van Herpt, director of supply chain services at 3SO.

In these trying times, there are many examples of people helping families, friends, neighbours and strangers. The Smith School of Business community – which spans the globe and encompasses students, staff, faculty, alumni, partners and more – is no different.

As a business school with deep international ties, Smith has long benefited from its relationships around the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many in the Smith community have repeatedly demonstrated their eagerness to join together to help those in need.

Over the past few months, there has been a well-documented shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by frontline health-care workers facing the threat of COVID-19. As the crisis became more manageable in China, it was only starting in North America, and health professionals in Kingston were in need of PPE. 

By April, several members of the Smith community had begun initiatives to get a supply of protective masks from China to Canada. Global partners, alumni clubs and individual students rallied to get thousands of masks delivered.

“The Smith community was quick to respond to the needs generated by the spread of COVID-19, from alumni and students pivoting their businesses and launching new initiatives to assist frontline workers and those at risk, to faculty, students, staff and local community partners coming together to support impacted businesses,” notes Dean Brenda Brouwer. “The donations of personal protective equipment from our students, alumni and partners in China further emphasize the strength and spirit of the Smith network.”

One donation, of 2,000 masks, came to Kingston from the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing. Smith’s partnership with Peking, which began in 2005, was expanded last year to allow for select Commerce students to earn a dual degree from both institutions. In a letter to Smith administration, a Peking official expressed thanks for the support the school received during the early stages of the crisis and offered to send the masks as a sign of gratitude and to provide practical help.

With thousands of business-minded alumni spanning the globe, it is no surprise that by late March, Smith alumni in China were also hard at work on a plan to help out. Members of Smith Business Club China, which represents and connects the growing number of Smith alumni in China, were eager to help out their alma mater from afar. They arranged to deliver 6,400 masks to the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) in early May.

For Smith Commerce students, international experiences are integral to their time in the program. Whether they have come to Kingston from abroad to earn their degrees or have a broadened perspective from participating in international exchange, students appreciate that they are preparing to enter an increasingly globalized business world.

This knowledge was not lost on first-year Commerce student Cindy Liang, Comm’23, who arranged a third donation of masks after seeing a tweet from KHSC regarding PPE donations. She worked with a group of former peers from her high school (Beijing’s Keystone Academy) who were interested in donating medical supplies to those in need abroad. 

“After they heard my story, they didn’t hesitate to help and generously sent many medical supplies to me, shipping a total of 14 packages to Canada,” Cindy explains.

She worked with university representatives to get the shipment into Canada and delivered 3,650 masks to KHSC.

“Looking back at the process, I have to say I am very appreciative of the help from the Queen’s community because I could not have accomplished this task without them,” says Cindy, who received help from the university’s procurement services to get the masks through customs. 

“I am glad that we could contribute to frontline medical workers in Kingston, and I am also fortunate to be part of the Queen’s community, which is filled with love and support.”

All mask donations were facilitated through 3SO (Shared Support Services Southeastern Ontario), which is responsible for sourcing and distributing PPE for the Kingston region. 

Research@Queen’s: Championing AI for social justice

How Queen’s researchers are using AI to level the legal playing field for Canadians, including those affected by COVID-19 unemployment.

Research at Queen's

Queen's researcher Samuel Dahan is focused on making legal services more equitable, and he knows all about winning and losing disputes in battle, and the importance of a level playing field for combatants. While researching alternative dispute resolution for his PhD in law at the University of Cambridge, this versatile, black-belt competitor won many bouts in the ring as Cambridge taekwondo team captain and a varsity kickboxer. He also earned medals in the French taekwondo nationals, and the French and British kickboxing championships.

Discover Research@Queen’s
Did you know that the university recently launched a new central website for Queen’s research? From in-depth features to the latest information on how our researchers are confronting COVID-19, the site is a destination showcasing the impact of Queen’s research. Discover Research@Queen’s.

“In martial arts competition, you don’t want to fight someone less experienced than you or someone better than you. Fights are arranged so there is a balance of power,” says Dahan, Director of the Conflict Analytics Lab and assistant professor in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University. “But fighting is the worst scenario for settling disputes in the real world."

Dahan has teamed up with Xiaodan Zhu, assistant professor in the Ingenuity Labs Research Institute and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Queen’s, to develop an AI (artificial intelligence)-powered set of tools to help level the legal playing field for lower- and middle-income Canadians.

In the wake of COVID-19 unemployment, Dahan and collaborators also recently launched MyOpenCourt.org, an open access app to help recently laid off workers.

Continue the story on the Research@Queen’s website.

Samuel Dahan and Xiaodan Zu

Samuel Dahan, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, teamed up with Xiaodan Zhu, assistant professor in the Ingenuity Labs Research Institute and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, to develop an AI-powered set of tools to help level the legal playing field for lower- and middle-income Canadians. (Photograph was taken before social distancing measures were implemented.)

Touching down in YGK

Looking beyond COVID-19, graduate students and city officials are teaming up to investigate ways to improve air travel to Kingston.

Plane landing gear (Pexels)
Smith School of Business masters students are collecting survey to assess air travel preferences. (Photo by Joël Super from Pexels)

Each year, thousands of people from over 100 countries visit Kingston for leisure, business, and education, but their ability to do so is limited by existing service offerings through major urban hubs, like Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Recently, senior students from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University have partnered with local government and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation to make travelling to Kingston easier, faster, and more affordable.

“Our aim is to gather market intelligence during this COVID-19 time to improve air transportation supporting the community and local economy,” says Shelley Hirstwood, Business Development Officer at Kingston Economic Development. “Working toward this goal with Smith graduate students, particularly at this juncture when the global pandemic has placed extreme challenges upon all of us, will ensure local travel, tourism, and business can recover and optimize opportunities for future growth.”

Comprised of four Master of International Business (MIB) students, the team is operating as part of Smith Business Consulting (SBC), a student-run management consulting firm that partners with businesses, start-ups, non-profits, and government to provide high-impact, cost-effective advice.

“We are excited to support the Kingston community in growing its connections to the region, the country, and the world,” says Despoina Dasiou, who is collaborating with her peers Karanveer Cheema, Andrew Boughner, and Indiwarjeet Hundal on the project. “Uncovering more about travelers’ needs and price sensitivity will help us to generate recommendations that can improve access to the city.”

In line with the city’s completed runway expansion project and recent renovations of the airport terminal, the SBC team has created a survey to assess traveler behavior patterns, price sensitivities, and service preferences further. All Queen’s students, Kingston residents, and those traveling between Kingston and Ottawa or Toronto are invited to fill it out.

“From insights gathered though this exercise, we will gain a better understanding of what ingredients go into an exceptional travel experience,” says Cheema.

The potential benefits of improved air access for future travelers – particularly students set to attend one of Kingston’s post-secondary institutions, like Queen’s – are numerous, but SBC Director Charlie Mignault goes further – citing the effort to understand access to Kingston as an invaluable education opportunity for the student consultants he mentors right now.

“Projects like this are fantastic opportunities for our students to gain hands-on, industry-facing experience before graduating,” he says. “Furthermore, they find the work enriching because they are able to see the impact they can make on their clients’ missions. The project with Kingston Economic Development, for instance, could provide invaluable insight into air travel that can help Kingston grow and prosper.”

Learn more about Smith Business Consulting and fill out the survey.

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