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    Queen's announces next Dean of Smith School of Business

    Dr. Wanda Costen has been appointed to the role for a five-year term, beginning July 1, 2021.

    Dr. Wanda Costen
    Dr. Wanda Costen (Supplied Photo)

    Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane is pleased to announce the appointment of Wanda Costen as Dean, Smith School of Business for a five-year term effective July 1, 2021. This appointment follows a comprehensive search process chaired by Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green on behalf of the Principal that included representation and input from faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

    “Dr. Costen’s appointment is an incredibly important one for the university and we are excited to welcome her to Queen’s,” says Principal Deane. “She possesses a depth and breadth of experience which includes both academic and leadership skills that will be transformative as the Smith School of Business continues to develop and enhance its reputation for business education.”

    Dr. Costen brings a unique combination of experience in academia – as a Dean, senior administrator, researcher, and professor– with both a private and public sector management career. At a time when the university is embarking upon a new strategic direction focussed on its impact on the community at a local, national and international level, Dr. Costen is the embodiment of the university’s commitment to foster human talent through the cultivation of the mind and creative spirit and in doing so, create a better world. A profound goal of Queen’s and of the Smith School of Business is to prepare our students to become change makers, inspiring them with bold ambitions for a brighter future.

    “Post-secondary education is essential for improving society,” says Dr. Costen. “I believe business education has a responsibility to develop talent with the capabilities and desire to address social problems, while creating economic sustainability in their communities. Our role is to create learning experiences that challenge students’ world views, biases, and beliefs to develop open-minded, courageous leaders willing to take risks for the greater good.”

    Dr. Costen is currently the Dean, School of Business, at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta and previously held a senior academic leadership role at North Arizona University, and academic roles at University of Tennessee, University of Nevada, and Washington State University. Dr. Costen earned her PhD in Sociology from Washington State University and an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University. She completed her undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point, in only the seventh West Point class with women. In 2013/14 she was a Fulbright Scholar with the University of the West Indies – Mona, in Kingston, Jamaica.

    Dr. Costen’s research interests encompass women and leadership, strategic human resources, racial and gender inequality in organizations, managing diversity, and ethnic minority student experiences. She has consulted on equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization issues in both the public and private sectors working with Aon, ATB, TD Bank, and several municipalities. Her teaching expertise includes strategy, leadership and ethics, human resource management, organizational behaviour, employment law, and diversity. In her current role as Dean, she has leveraged her experience as a trailblazer to assist other academics, implementing a new faculty search process to reduce bias in hiring while enhancing equity and yielding highly qualified candidates. Dr. Costen established a Seed Grant Fund inspiring junior faculty through support for scholarly productivity and collaborative student-engaged research.

    “After interviewing a broad range of interested candidates, Dr. Costen’s leadership skills and passion for business education and research stood out. She also has a track record of fostering funding and partnerships while building cross-campus and community collaborations,” says Provost Green.

    Prior to her academic career, Dr. Costen held leadership and management roles with companies including Aramark Services, Pepsi-Cola and Greyhound Lines. She served as a Platoon Leader in the United States Army based in Frankfurt, West Germany. Dr. Costen grew up in a military family and relocated around the world during her childhood.

    The Principal and the Provost offer their most sincere thanks to Brenda Brouwer for her exceptional tenure as Interim Dean at Smith and extend their gratitude to the Principal’s Advisory Committee members for their dedication and service to the university.

    Smith shares EDII Strategy and Action Plan

    Smith School of Business at Queen's University releases framework for improving equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization.

    Smith School of Business EDII Strategy and Action Plan cover art.
    Smith School of Business’ EDII Strategy and Action Plan aligns with broader efforts taking place across the university in support of Queen's Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism.

    This week, Smith School of Business at Queen’s University released its EDII Strategy and Action Plan – a detailed framework designed to stimulate meaningful and lasting change in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization at the institution. Its development builds on prior anti-oppression initiatives and is a continuation of efforts by students, staff, faculty, and alumni who have courageously and devotedly pressed the advancement of anti-racism and anti-oppression on campus. There was significant internal and external consultation as the plan was developed.

    “The work ahead of us is both challenging and vitally important,” says Brenda Brouwer, Interim Dean at Smith. “We must eliminate forms of discrimination that have perpetuated inequities in our environment, curricula, research, and administrative operations, and we must change attitudes that have disadvantaged many. Access, equity, and inclusion are essential to our school’s future and to position our students to succeed as global citizens, role models, and leaders.”

    Commitments detailed in the plan fall under six core areas: responsible conduct; accessible and inclusive student experience; teaching and learning; support, resources, and capacity; research and thought leadership; and community. Each area entails specific actions that will help cultivate a vibrant, safe, and welcoming academic and work environment in which students, faculty, and staff are empowered to thrive.

    The plan prioritizes accountability and includes targets and performance measurements that align with the goals and assess Smith’s progress toward achieving them. Updates on progress will be shared with the campus community, and the action plan will continue to evolve as a ‘living document’ incorporating initiatives that build on the framework and maintain momentum toward a cultural shift.

    “We are answerable to the community for the commitments we make,” says Dean Brouwer. “It is through the efforts of many and support of all that we will deliver on the plans”

    Smith’s EDII Strategy and Action Plan aligns with broader efforts taking place across the university in support of the Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism made by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane and senior administrators in 2020.

    Learn more about equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization at Smith School of Business and read their EDII Strategy and Action Plan in its entirety.

    Why employees hesitate to speak up at work – and how to encourage them

    The Conversation: Studies consistently show that many employees are reluctant to speak up at work, and are even hardwired to remain silent.

    Employees are often reluctant to speak up at work. But if they make efforts to research their ideas and ensure they benefit the organization, it benefits both workers and employers. (Unsplash)


    Imagine this: You notice a problem that might be disastrous for your company’s reputation, or you have an idea that can save thousands of dollars.

    You want to say something but you’re not sure if you should. You’re afraid it might not go over well and not sure it will make a difference. You want to speak up, but you’re uncertain about how to voice your ideas in such a way that people will actually listen.

    You’re not alone. Studies consistently show that employees are reluctant to speak up, and are even hardwired to remain silent, with 50 per cent of employees keeping quiet at work. Why is this the case, and how can we help people voice their opinions at work more effectively?

    Speak up or zip it?

    Employee voice — speaking up with ideas, concerns, opinions or information — is vital for organizational performance and innovation. On the flip side, silence is at the root of many well-known organizational disasters.

    For example, Canada’s Phoenix pay system debacle, which has already cost the federal government $1.5 billion, was attributed to a culture that “does not reward those who share negative news.” Employees who sounded alarms were told they weren’t being “team players.”

    Employee voice is the antidote to this culture of silence, but it’s not easy to encourage. Employees withhold voice because they think it will not be heard or fear it may backfire by embarrassing their managers or damaging their own reputations. These reservations are reasonable.

    Although speaking up is generally linked with positive career outcomes, it can lead to lower social status at the office and lessened performance ratings in some circumstances.

    Employees’ proactive personalities and managers’ demonstrated openness are both relevant to overcoming these reservations. Although we can’t change someone’s personality, leaders can create more welcoming environments that support and encourage voice.

    Encouraging workers to voice opinions

    For example, employees are more likely to speak up when they believe their leader encourages and solicits their opinions. By contrast, when leaders punish employees who dare to speak up with concerns or ideas, such as by publicly reprimanding them, voice dwindles quickly.

    Pointing out others’ mistakes or sharing ideas that go against common practice can “rock the boat.” So how can employees still find ways to speak up effectively and have their ideas actually heard, despite these risks?

    A woman smiles in an office setting.
    Why don’t employees speak up? Often it’s because managers don’t encourage it. Healthy, happy workplaces encourage workers to voice their opinions. (You X Ventures/Unsplash)

    Our research sought to answer this question by focusing on the quality of the messages that employees express. We first unpacked the meaning of what we call high-quality voice, uncovering the key ways that employees can improve their messages to gain greater recognition. We investigated these ideas with five studies involving nearly 1,500 participants.

    We identified four critical features of employee voice attempts that make them higher-quality:

    1. They have a strong rationale. Their ideas and opinions are logical and based on evidence. Employees should do their homework first and build a compelling case for their ideas by showing they’ve put a lot of thought into them. They shouldn’t speak up if they haven’t gathered information or reflected on the reason behind implementing their ideas first.

    2. They have a high feasibility. Their ideas are practical and have the potential to be implemented. Employees should consider whether their organizations can realistically take action on their suggestions, such as by accounting for time or resource constraints and offering details on how to enact them. Employees shouldn’t ignore the realities and difficulties leaders face in actually doing something with their ideas and concerns.

    3. They have a strong organizational focus. Their opinions are critical to the success of the organization or team, not just personally beneficial to the employee. Workers should emphasize the collective benefits of their voice and link it with the organization’s visions, mission, and/or goals, such as by explaining how it will help the organization overall. They shouldn’t focus on issues that only affect themselves, otherwise it comes across as self-interested.

    4. They have a high novelty. Employees are innovative and account for new perspectives or viewpoints. They should consider whether their organization has tried (or considered) this idea before and clarify what makes it particularly unique, such as by contrasting it from typical conventions or opinions. They shouldn’t just repeat old ideas or approach the situation with the same frame of mind.

      Tips on voice quality are seen in a graph
      Voice quality tips. (Author), 

    Putting effort into better ‘voicing’

    Putting energy into developing higher-quality voice messages takes effort, but our research shows that it pays off. Employees who regularly presented higher-quality voice were regarded as more worthy of promotion and better all-round performers in their jobs.

    These positive outcomes were evaluated from both peers and managers. And these findings held up regardless of how often employees spoke up, whether the evaluator liked them or viewed them as competent. Basically, speaking up with higher-quality messages predicted job performance and promotability above and beyond all of these other factors.

    So is there a downside to speaking up? Yes, if you don’t put the time and energy into making your input high-quality.

    When people spoke up often with low-quality ideas, their peers reported that they were worse performers and less promotable. So speaking up can backfire if employees consume all of the airtime by frequently expressing low-quality ideas that offer little help to anyone.

    The lesson? It’s worthwhile to speak up and share your ideas and concerns — and it may help your career — but if you do so, ensure that you do your homework first, reflect on the feasibility of implementation, connect the benefits to the organization and/or its employees and consider what makes it particularly novel.

    How leaders can help

    What can organizational leaders do to help employees voice their opinions more effectively? When asking for input, prompt with some questions. For example:

    • What is the logic for this idea and is there evidence to support it?

    • How might we actually implement it and overcome barriers?

    • How does this fit within the organization’s priorities and/or help other employees?

    • What is new about this idea that we haven’t tried before?

    These questions can produce higher quality ideas that will benefit employees, leaders and organizations alike.

    Ultimately, increasing the quality of employee feedback and opinions will help them be heard. It will also result in ideas that are more likely to be implemented and improve work conditions and performance for the entire organization.The Conversation


    Kyle Brykman, Assistant Professor of Management, University of Windsor and Jana Raver, E. Marie Shantz Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Queen's University.

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

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

    2020: The Year in Research

    A look back at the major initiatives, the funding and awards garnered, and how a community mobilized to respond to and combat COVID-19.

    In recent years, we have taken a moment each December to highlight some of the research that has captured our attention over the previous 12 months.

    2020 was not a normal year. It challenged us, tested us, and saw our research community pivot in creative and unexpected ways to respond to the global crisis. Through all of this, research prominence remained a key driver for Queen’s and our researchers continued to make national and international headlines for their discoveries and award-winning scholarship.

    Join us as we review some of the highlights of 2020.

    [Photo of Hailey Poole dispensing hand sanitizer]
    A team of Queen’s researchers from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering along with GreenCentre Canada partnered with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Tri-Art Manufacturing (Kingston) to develop hand sanitizer, producing up to 300 litres of product per week to help meet the needs of Kingston hospitals.

    COVID-19 Response: Mobilizing as a Community to Confront COVID-19

    In the early days of the pandemic, Queen’s researchers across disciplines were active in offering commentary and fact-based analysis on COVID-19-related issues – from understanding if DNA is key to whether you get COVID and helping to diagnose unusual symptoms related to COVID stress to suggesting 5-min workouts you can do at home. Many of these analyses were carried on national and international news platforms, demonstrating the critical contribution that researchers and academics can make to informing the conversation.

    When news of PPE and ventilator shortages and test wait times hit international media, research and student groups across campus leveraged their skills to come up with innovative solutions. Here are a few examples:

    • A team of researchers from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, along with GreenCentre Canada, partnered with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Tri-Art Manufacturing (Kingston) to make 300 litres of hand sanitizer per week to help meet the needs of Kingston hospitals
    • Researchers from Queen’s University and KHSC partnered with Public Health Ontario Laboratories and Hamilton Health Sciences Center to develop an in-house COVID test that can provide results in 24 hours
    • Faculty and students at the Human Mobility Research Centre and Ingenuity Labs joined forces with KHSC health professionals to take on the Code Life Ventilator Challenge, a global call to design a low-cost and easy-to-manufacture ventilator that can be created and deployed anywhere around the world
    • Queen’s Noble Laureate, Dr. Arthur B. McDonald, led the Canadian arm of the Mechanical Ventilator Milano project, which aimed to create an easy-to-build ventilator that can help treat COVID-19 patients. In May, the Government of Canada announced an agreement with Vexos to produce 10,000 Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM) units and in September the ventilators received Health Canada approval
    (Photo by Matthew Manor / Kingston Health Sciences Centre)
    Queen’s University and Kingston Health Sciences Centres (KHSC) partnered with Public Health Ontario Laboratories and Hamilton Health Sciences Center to develop an in-house test for COVID-19 that can be completed in large volumes and provide results in 24 hours. (Photo by Matthew Manor / Kingston Health Sciences Centre)

    The Vice-Principal (Research) Portfolio also quickly mobilized to offer Rapid Response funding, which was awarded to advance 20 research projects supporting medical and social coronavirus-related solutions. Queen’s researchers also partnered with industry to transform pandemic decision-making and healthcare through two Digital Technology Supercluster projects, Looking Glass and Project ACTT, focused on predictive modelling and cancer testing and treatment. The projects received over $4 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster’s COVID-19 program.

    Funding Future Research

    Queen’s continued to attract leading researchers and competitive funding and awards through a number of national and international programs.

    [Rendering of the MVM Ventilator]
    A team of Canadian physicists, led by Queen’s Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, is part of an international effort to design the MVM Ventilator. With support from Canadian philanthropists and Queen's alumni the project was able to progress, leading to an order of 10,000 units from the Government of Canada.

    Hundreds of grants for new projects and research infrastructure were secured through CHIR, SSHRC, NSERC and CFI, Canada’s national funding agencies. Seven multidisciplinary Queen’s research projects received $1.7 million in support from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2019 Exploration competition, a program that fosters discovery and innovation by encouraging Canadian researchers to explore, take risks, and work with partners across disciplines and borders. Additionally, The Canadian Cancer Trials Group, SNOLAB, and Canada’s National Design Network, all of which are Queen’s-affiliated research facilities, saw a funding increase of over $60 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Sciences Initiatives fund. The Institute for Sustainable Finance received a boost of $5 million from Canada’s big banks to support ISF’s mission of aligning mainstream financial markets with Canada’s transition to a lower carbon economy.

    The university welcomed and appointed seven new and two renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC) in two rounds (September and December 2020) of CRC competition announced this year. One of the country’s highest research honours, Queen’s is now home to over 50 Canada Research Chairs. Queen’s also welcomed seven promising new researchers through the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars and Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship programs.

    Recognizing Research Leadership

    2020 saw Queen’s researchers win some of Canada’s top awards and honours for research excellence and the university continues to rank second in Canada for awards per faculty member (2021 Maclean’s University Rankings).

    [Photo of Leach’s storm petrel chick by Sabina Wilhelm]
    Queen's researchers, from graduate students to Canada Research Chairs, continue to make an impact on our understanding of the world. (Photo by Sabina Wilhelm

    Queen’s had a successful year earning fellowships within Canada’s national academies. Nancy van Deusen and Cathleen Crudden were elected to the Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, while Amy Latimer-Cheung and Awet Weldemichael were named members of the organization’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Health research leaders Janet Dancey, Marcia Finlayson, and Graeme Smith were inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and Michael Cunningham and Jean Hutchinson were elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

    While our researchers were recognized with dozens of honours throughout the year, below are a few highlights: David Lyon secured Canada’s Molson Prize for pioneering the field of surveillance studies. Education researcher Lynda Colgan received the NSERC Science Promo Prize for her efforts in promoting science to the general public. Heather Castleden was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa to engage with Native Hawaiians about their leadership in renewable energy projects. A lauded steward of the environment, John Smol received Canada’s Massey Medal for his lifetime of work in studying environmental stressors. The first Indigenous midwife in Canada to earn a doctoral degree, health researcher Karen Lawford was named one of this year’s 12 outstanding Indigenous leaders and received the Indspire Award for Health.

    Internally, researchers were honoured with the university’s Prizes for Excellence in Research (Yan-Fei-Liu, Michael Cunningham, and Gabor Fichtinger) and the Distinguished University Professor (Audrey Kobayashi, David Bakhurst, Julian Barling, Glenville Jones, John Smol, Kathleen Lahey) title.

    Major Initiatives

    The Discover Research@Queen’s campaign was launched to build engagement with the Research@Queen’s website and encouraged 1000s of key external stakeholders to learn more about the research happening at the University. Our community continued to mobilize their research through fact-based analysis on The Conversation Canada’s news platform. In 2020, 79 Queen’s researchers published 85 articles that garnered over 1.9 million views.

    [Illustration of the scales of justice by Gary Neill]
    Queen's University researchers Samuel Dahan and Xiaodan Zhu are using AI to level the legal playing field for Canadians, including those affected by COVID-19 unemployment.

    This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Art of Research photo contest with over 100 faculty, staff, students, and alumni submitting engaging and thought-provoking research images. Ten category and special prizes were awarded.

    The WE-Can (Women Entrepreneurs Canada) program through Queen’s Partnership and Innovation (QPI) celebrated one year of supporting women entrepreneurs in Kingston and the surrounding area, through programs such as Compass North and LEAD.  The QPI team also marked one year at its new downtown Kingston location, the Seaway Coworking building, which allows easy access for the community and partners.

    To support researchers thinking outside of the box to solve some of humanity’s most complex problems, the Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio launched the Wicked Ideas competition to fund high risk, high reward projects with interdisciplinary teams that are not easily supported through traditional funding opportunities. Twelve projects received funding in round one and researchers can now apply for round two.

    Congratulations to the Queen’s research community for their resilience and successes this year. We look forward to seeing what new research and opportunities 2021 will bring. To learn more about research at the university, visit the Research@Queen’s website, and for information about research promotion, contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives.

    [Art of Photo by Hayden Wainwright]
    2020 Art of Research Photo Contest Winner: Hayden Wainwright (MSc Biology), Nature's van Gogh (Category: Out in the Field)

    Internal funding for global impact

    The Wicked Ideas research competition is now open for applications with notice of intent due Jan. 6.

    The Vice-Principal (Research) is offering close to $2 million in funding for Queen’s researchers who are thinking outside of the box to solve some of humanity’s most complex problems.

    [Wicked Ideas Graphic]

    The Wicked Ideas Competition is open for its second year as an initiative to fund high risk, high reward projects with interdisciplinary teams that are not easily supported through traditional funding opportunities. The goal is to provide Queen’s researchers with the initial support to collaborate and apply their expertise towards wicked problems, issues so complex and dependent on so many factors that it is hard to grasp what exactly the problem is or how to tackle it. This year the initiative supported innovative approaches to cleantech, Lyme disease, and microplastics.

    The Competition

    This year’s competition will have two application streams. A minimum of 10 teams will be funded through the Interdisciplinary Stream where team members will be from multiple disciplines. The Discipline Specific Stream will fund a maximum of five teams where members can be from within a given discipline. The competition is open to all Queen’s faculty members, and teams can also leverage the expertise of students, post-doctoral fellows, and community members, to name a few, as members. Up to 15 teams successful in the first phase of the competition will be awarded $75,000.

    To compete for the second phase of funding, teams will be invited to pitch their projects to an adjudication panel made up of researchers, community members, industry, and other partners. Up to five successful teams from this round will receive an additional $150,000. Projects can concentrate on local, national, or global challenges and should focus on novel approaches (high risk) and disruptive or transformative thinking (high reward). Participating teams will also be asked about their potential knowledge mobilization outcomes and how this research could impact the community or lead to further partnerships for implementation and collaboration.

    "The first Wicked Ideas competition supported exciting projects that are addressing complex issues in creative and innovative ways with the potential to lead to additional funding through the government’s New Frontiers in Research program," says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). "I very much look forward to the response of the research community to this year’s opportunity."

    Notice of Intent

    Notice of Intent applications are due Jan. 6, 2021. For more information on the initiative and how to submit your project, see the Vice-Principal (Research) Office.

    Three Queen’s community members appointed to Order of Canada

    Two Queen’s University graduate students and an alumnus have been appointed to the Order of Canada.

    Governor General Julie Payette announced 114 appointments to the Order of Canada on Friday, Nov. 27, including Michele Leering, a lawyer and the executive director of the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre who is currently pursuing a PhD in the Faculty of Law, and Tessa Virtue, an Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater and student at Smith School of Business.

    Michele Leering
    Michele Leering

    Leering is being recognized for “her dedication to helping underprivileged and marginalized populations gain access to legal services and the justice system.”

    “Being nominated for this award is an honour because it recognizes the value of the community-based justice work being carried out by the staff of Ontario’s community legal clinics and our efforts to ensure equal access to justice, human rights, legal literacy, and the ‘legal health’ of people living on a low income,” Leering says.

    Her PhD thesis documents the imperatives for legal education reform, specifically the contribution of reflective practice as a professional learning theory of benefit to legal educators, law students, and legal practitioners. Her research compares approaches in Canadian and Australian law schools in traditional law and experiential learning courses.

    Virtue is one of the most-decorated Canadian skaters of all-time and is being appointed for “her unparalleled excellence in ice dancing and for inspiring the next generation of Canadian figure skaters.” Along with her ice dance partner Scott Moir, who is also being appointed, she captured the gold medal at the 2010 and 2018 Winter Olympics, as well as the silver medal in 2014. The duo are also three-time world champions (2010, 2012, 2017).

    Tessa Virtue
    Tessa Virtue

    “Feeling all wrapped up in emotion … Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big. I am humbled by this honour,” Virtue posted to her Twitter account.

    At Queen’s she is pursuing an Executive MBA through Game Plan, which includes a partnership between the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Smith School of Business. Through this strategic partnership Team Canada athletes are able to further their education and build their business skills after years of competitive sport. 

    Also appointed to the Order of Canada is alumnus Anthony Olmsted Hendrie (Arts’60), a lawyer from Ottawa who has spent 60 years volunteering and donating to many charities and non-profits. At Queen’s, he established the Anthony O. Hendrie Bursary to support students from the Georgian Triangle area of Southern Ontario.

    The Order of Canada was established in 1967. Queen’s alumnus and Member of Parliament John Matheson (Arts’40, LLD’80) was a driving force in its development. He said the Tricolour Society at Queen’s served as a model for the Order of Canada.

    Canada’s leading financial institutions commit $5M to Institute for Sustainable Finance

    The Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF) today announced that Canada’s big five banks, TD Bank Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, BMO and RBC, have committed $5 million to support ISF’s mission of aligning mainstream financial markets with Canada’s transition to a lower carbon economy. 

    ISF is the first-ever collaborative hub in Canada that brings together academia, the private sector, and government with the singular focus of increasing Canada’s sustainable finance capacity. Sustainable finance is the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into business and investment decisions.

    ISF recently released a landmark research report that outlines the investment requirements and opportunities to achieve Canada’s 2030 climate targets. The Capital Mobilization Plan for a Canadian Low Carbon Economy provides a concrete, data-driven capital blueprint for the country’s low carbon transition.

    This major bank funding will support ISF’s efforts in education, professional training, research and collaboration, as well as outreach to advance Canada’s leadership in sustainable finance.   

    “We are very excited to have Canada’s leading financial institutions supporting ISF and our initiatives. Their funding will be critically important as we accelerate our efforts to produce robust resources and insights about sustainable finance, particularly in the Canadian context,” says ISF executive director, Sean Cleary, BMO Professor of Finance and founding director of the Master of Finance program at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University.  

    As founding contributors, the banks’ support is as follows: TD - $1.25M; Scotiabank - $1.25M; CIBC - $1.25M; and BMO - $1M — all with commitments over five years. RBC has made an initial $250K commitment over one year.

    As part of its mandate, the ISF established the Canadian Sustainable Finance Network (CSFN), an independent formal research and educational network for academia, industry and government to bring together talented university faculty members and relevant members from industry, government and civil society. 

    “The CSFN’s research will close the knowledge gap around the competitive advantages of a lower carbon economy, including helping Canadians understand the cost of inaction and the investment opportunities that will finance our transition,” says Ryan Riordan, ISF director of research and associate professor at Smith School of Business.

    Since its inception the CSFN has grown to include 65 members from over 20 universities across Canada, and also hosts a monthly webinar series, open to the public, on topics related to sustainable finance.

    The Institute for Sustainable Finance is based at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University and is supported by the Ivey Foundation, the McCall MacBain Foundation, the Chisholm Thomson Family Foundation, the McConnell Foundation, and now TD Bank Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, BMO and RBC. 

    To learn more about the Institute for Sustainable Finance, visit isfcanada.org.

    The full release can be read here.

    Promoting Research@Queen’s

    Looking back on some of the most compelling stories of the Discover Research@Queen’s promotional campaign.

    In February, the university launched an institutional campaign, Discover Research@Queen’s, to showcase the impactful research happening at Queen’s and to build engagement with the new Research@Queen’s website.

    • [Photo of compacted plastics]
      Diving into microplastics: Addressing our "wicked" waste problem: Microplastics – They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we consume, and we are still learning about what this means for our health, the health of our environment, and our future. How do we tackle this “wicked” problem? Queen’s researcher Myra Hird believes the answer is in our own consumption habits.
    • [Photo of a woman touching her forehead]
      Strange physical symptoms? Blame the chronic stress of life during the COVID-19 pandemic: Itchy skin? More aches and pains? Unusual rash? Headaches? Pimples? If you've been experiencing unusual physical symptoms recently, Queen's researcher Kate Harkness explains it may be due to living with chronic stress for The Conversation Canada.
    • [Photo of Samuel Dahan and Xiaodan Zhu by Bernard Clark]
      Championing AI for social justice: Queen's University researchers Samuel Dahan and Xiaodan Zhu are using AI to level the legal playing field for Canadians, including those affected by COVID-19 unemployment.
    • [Art of Research Photo by Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin of a market in Adelabu]
      Capturing the Art of Research: Celebrating the 2020 prize recipients: The Queen’s Art of Research photo contest celebrates its fifth year, with the selection of ten stunning winning images.
    • [Illustration of a bar graph and tree by Gary Neill]
      Fixing financial fairy tales – The rise of sustainable finance in Canada: The Institute for Sustainable Finance based at Queen's Smith School of Business is dedicated to exploring how the many different ways in which we spend money might be adapted to reflect the principles of sustainability.

    However, much like the rest of the world, the campaign had to take stock and respond to the urgent concerns of the pandemic. As a consequence, the campaign was paused between March and May. During this period many Queen’s researchers pivoted their efforts to focus on pandemic relief and research, sharing their expertise and advice with the public as the crisis unfolded. In April, the campaign was reimagined to reflect these activities culminating in a new virtual events series with Advancement, Conversations Confronting COVID-19, where Queen’s researchers and alumni were able to discuss their research, provide comment, and take questions. These Conversations have reached more than 1,000 people and featured topics such as innovation and aging during the pandemic.

    “The original goal of the campaign was to help our audiences discover the critical and impactful research happening at Queen’s,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “While COVID-19 forced us to rethink our approach to a degree, the success of these efforts illustrate how eager our audiences are to understand how the work being done by Queen’s researchers can make a difference.”

    Overall, the campaign has doubled traffic to the Research@Queen’s website and helped drive significant awareness of the research happening at Queen’s. As we wrap up the campaign, the last phase features some of the most well-received stories featured over the last 10 months.

    Discover Research@Queen’s Stories and Features

    Diving into microplastics: Addressing our "wicked" waste problem: Microplastics – They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we consume, and we are still learning about what this means for our health, the health of our environment, and our future. How do we tackle this “wicked” problem? Queen’s researcher Myra Hird believes the answer is in our own consumption habits.

    Strange physical symptoms? Blame the chronic stress of life during the COVID-19 pandemic: Itchy skin? More aches and pains? Unusual rash? Headaches? Pimples? If you've been experiencing unusual physical symptoms recently, Queen's researcher Kate Harkness explains it may be due to living with chronic stress for The Conversation Canada.

    Championing AI for social justice: Queen's University researchers Samuel Dahan and Xiaodan Zhu are using AI to level the legal playing field for Canadians, including those affected by COVID-19 unemployment.

    Capturing the Art of Research: Celebrating the 2020 prize recipients: The Queen’s Art of Research photo contest celebrates its fifth year, with the selection of 10 stunning winning images.

    Fixing financial fairy tales – The rise of sustainable finance in Canada: The Institute for Sustainable Finance, based at Queen's Smith School of Business, is dedicated to exploring how the many different ways in which we spend money might be adapted to reflect the principles of sustainability.

    For more information, visit the Research@Queen’s website or contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives.

    Finding her authentic self

    Smith School of Business staff member Erin LeBlanc’s book provides valuable insights for those making a similar gender transition journey and their allies.

    Erin LeBlanc's book 'Stranger in the Mirror: The Search for Me' provides an emotional survival guide for those living with gender dysphoria.

    The journey of transgender people is often not an easy one, but through her new book, Erin LeBlanc provides an emotional survival guide for those living with gender dysphoria. Their families and friends, supporters and allies, and the LGBTQ+ community will also be able to find valuable insights in the memoir 

    Stranger in the Mirror: The Search for Me takes the reader through LeBlanc’s own transition journey. 

    “These are difficult times for the LBGTQ+ community and specifically the transgender community in countries around the world,” says LeBlanc, who works in the Smith School of Business at Queen’s. “While we are fortunate to benefit from a more accepting environment in Canada, there are still many who experience difficulties impacting their quality of life and health. I think we need a good news story. That is not to say that my story is to be celebrated, but rather to demonstrate that you can be who you were born to be, to be your authentic self, and you will be okay.” 

    The new book gives information for those that are transitioning and those who wish to be supporters and allies. It also provides an educational foundation for the general public on what it means to suffer from gender dysphoria or be transgender. LeBlanc’s story can help readers understand that transitioning is not a lifestyle choice. 

    “I was the beneficiary of the hard work and sacrifices of those in the community that went before me,” explains LeBlanc. “I wish I had more information when I was trying to figure out who I am, so I wanted to create that type of resource for others, to provide solace and guidance if I could, for others to learn from my mistakes and make the journey easier, if even just in the smallest way.” 

    Working in a very public place like Queen’s presented its own challenges but also offered unique opportunities. LeBlanc says she was terrified to come out at work and wanted to understand the protections she had. Her first stop was the Human Rights Office, where she met with Jean Pfleiderer, Associate Director, Human Rights Advisory Services.  

    “She immediately set me at ease with how welcoming and supportive she was and informative of how policies and laws were in place to provide protection,” says LeBlanc. “The response in initial conversations regarding my intent to come out was exemplary and leadership in the Smith School of Business was compassionate, supportive. They listened to my struggle and my wishes and truly created a team to work with me to move forward. Without exception, faculty, staff, and students were extremely welcoming and truly happy that I was now able to be who I really am.” 

    With the book now available to the general public, LeBlanc says she hopes people reading it can take some solace in learning of her journey. 

    “All I want to do is live my life, do my job, and contribute to the community. And that shouldn’t be too much to ask. Being your authentic self, who you were born to be, is an amazing thing.” 

    To learn more about Stranger in the Mirror: The Search for Me visit her website or watch her Facebook live video. A portion of the money raised from the sale of the book will go towards supporting TransFamily Kingston

    Free Virtual Event: Financing Canada’s climate-smart economy

    The Institute for Sustainable Finance launched the Capital Mobilization Plan for a Canadian Low Carbon Economy on Tuesday, Sept. 29, featuring landmark research to provide a concrete, data-driven capital blueprint for Canada’s low carbon transition. The plan highlights that cooperation between the public sector, private sector, and financial system is critical to securing investments needed to meet Canada’s 2030 climate targets.

    “What gets financed, gets built,” says Ryan Riordan, co-author of the report and associate professor at the Smith School of Business. “This is the heart of the financial sector’s role in helping Canada achieve a more competitive, climate-smart economy.”

    Responding to a foundational recommendation from Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, the report represents the first critical effort to close the knowledge gap around the scale of Canada’s low carbon investment opportunity.

    “Public and private investors need a solid grasp of that investment horizon. That’s the starting place: a sound and rigorous analysis that shows how and where capital needs to flow,” says Dr. Riordan, who will be participating in a special online discussion on the topic on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 12-1 p.m.

    Hosted by Canadian Club Toronto, in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Finance, the event will be moderated by Shawn McCarthy, former global energy reporter for The Globe & Mail.Along with Dr. Riordan the expert panel features: Martha Hall Findlay, Chief Sustainability Officer, Suncor Energy Inc.; Craig Stewart, Vice President, Federal Affairs, Insurance Bureau of Canada; Carlyle Coutinho, President, Enwave North America. The Institute for Sustainable Finance will present key findings from its report as well.

    Sponsored by Queen's University, the event is free to all attendees. Visit the Canadian Club of Toronto website to register.


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