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Leaders in their fields garner competitive research chairs

Three new Canada Research Chairs emphasize commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Queen’s University welcomed three new and eight renewed Canada Research Chairs as part of the Government of Canada’s recent announcement of a diverse group of Canada Research Chairs.

Announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sports, the investment of $275 million for 346 Canada Research Chairs across Canada builds on the minister’s vision for an equitable, diverse, and inclusive research community. The most recent competition results are 47 per cent women, 22 per cent visible minorities, five per cent persons with disabilities, and four per cent Indigenous peoples.

The new chairs include two current faculty members: Heather Aldersey (Rehabilitation Therapy), Canada Research Chair in Disability-Inclusive Development (Tier 2), and Lindsay Morcom (Education), Canada Research Chair in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education (Tier 2). Anna Panchenko (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Canada Research Chair in Computational Biology and Biophysics (Tier 1), will join Queen's as of July 1.

Tier 1 Chairs are recognized by their peers as world leaders in their respective fields, while Tier 2 Chairs are recognized as emerging leaders in their research areas. Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

“Canada’s advancement as a world leader in discovery and innovation has been greatly influenced by the CRC program, which supports talented researchers while fostering an inclusive research community,” Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Our success in garnering three new chairs and a number of renewals is demonstrative of Queen’s leading research, addressing complex issues both domestically and internationally.”

The three new Canada Research Chairs at Queen’s will focus on topics critical to Canadians and global citizens, including families affected by disability, the causes of cancer, and Indigenous education.

Dr. Aldersey’s research identifies needs of families affected by disability, then develops and evaluates supports available to meet those needs, with a focus on populations in low- and middle-income countries.

“I am so excited for the opportunities that this Canada Research Chair will provide,” says Dr. Aldersey. “This chair will enable me to expand my research with people with disabilities, their families, and their communities to promote disability-inclusive community development globally. I will also be able to support more research trainees who are passionate about inclusion in their own communities, and engage with key stakeholders to identify strengths-based, culturally relevant, and solutions-driven action for human rights and inclusion.”   

Building on current on-reserve and urban research on language revitalization, Dr. Morcom will work in partnership with Indigenous communities to develop best practices for education and language planning.

"I’m especially proud to be named the Canada Research Chair in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education in 2019 because the United Nations has declared this to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages,” says Dr. Morcom. “All Indigenous languages in Canada are either vulnerable or endangered, but there is a tremendous amount being done within Indigenous communities and in partnership with external institutions to revitalize them. I am grateful to be able to use this position to contribute to those efforts and help make sure our languages survive and are passed on to generations yet to come.”

Dr. Panchenko is working to identify the causes of cancer progression and to find out what factors can contribute to cancer mutation occurrence in DNA.

In addition to the three new chairs, also announced last week were eight chair renewals for Queen’s University:

  • P. Andrew Evans - Canada Research Chair in Organic and Organometallic Chemistry – Tier 1
  • Mark Rosenberg - Canada Research Chair in Development Studies – Tier 1
  • Christopher Booth - Canada Research Chair in Population Cancer Care – Tier 2
  • Ahmed Hassan - Canada Research Chair in Software Analytics – Tier 2
  • Jeffrey Masuda - Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health Equity – Tier 2
  • Jordan Poppenk - Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience – Tier 2
  • William Take - Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical Engineering – Tier 2
  • Ying Zou - Canada Research Chair in Software Evolution – Tier 2

For more information, visit the website.

Dean of Education reappointed for new term

Rebecca Luce-Kapler renews as head of Faculty of Education for another five year term.

Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Queen's Dean of the Faculty of Education.
Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Queen's Dean of the Faculty of Education, has renewed her role for a new term.

Queen’s University is pleased to announce that Rebecca Luce-Kapler has accepted re-appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Education for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2020. The offer of appointment from Principal Daniel Woolf was in response to a unanimous and enthusiastic recommendation from the Principal’s Advisory Committee, chaired by Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris.

Dr. Luce-Kapler has served as Dean of the Faculty of Education since July 1, 2015, and brings over thirty years of experience in education to her position.

“Throughout her tenure as Dean, Dr. Luce-Kapler has focused on building a collaborative and inclusive environment where students, staff, and faculty in the Faculty of Education can thrive,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “She has also strengthened teaching, learning, and research by expanding the faculty complement and enhancing graduate studies.”

Since taking on the role of Dean, Dr. Luce-Kapler has worked to enhance the financial position of her portfolio, and the Faculty of Education’s expertise in revenue diversification is recognized across campus. She has also made measurable strides in developing strategic local, national, and international relationships, such as the partnership with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Dr. Luce-Kapler received her doctorate from the University of Alberta in 1997 and came to Queen’s that same year as a language and literacy scholar. Prior to her appointment as Dean, Dr. Luce-Kapler served as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Education where she led several important initiatives, including the development and implementation of the online Professional Master of Education program. During her time at Queen’s, she has taught secondary English methods courses and developed writing courses for both B.Ed. and graduate students. She has also taught English as an elementary and secondary school teacher in Alberta, and holds a permanent teaching certificate from that province, in addition to being a member of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Her research interests focus on the integral role of literary practices, particularly writing, in the development of human consciousness and identity. This work has contributed to understanding the normative power of cultural forms and the importance of interpretive reading and writing practices for generative learning and teaching. She is the author of Writing with, through, and beyond the text: An ecology of language and The gardens where she dreams. She is also the co-author of Engaging Minds: Changing teaching in complex times and Language and learning: An introduction for teaching.

Visit the Faculty of Education website to learn more about Dr. Luce-Kapler.

The Principal joins the Provost in expressing the university’s gratitude to the following individuals who served on the Principal’s Advisory Committee. Their willingness to undertake this responsibility is very much appreciated.

Alana Butler

Assistant Professor of At-Risk Learners and Student Success, Faculty of Education

Theodore Christou

Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of Education

Barbara Crow

Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science

Betsy Donald

Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies

Tom Harris   

Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), and Committee Chair

Carlyn McQueen

Information and Project Coordinator, Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), and Committee Secretary

Julie Anne Matias

Director, Finance and Administration, Faculty of Education

Lindsay Morcom

Associate Professor in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education, Faculty of Education

Carla Namkung

President, Concurrent Education Students’ Association

Jean Pfleiderer

Associate Director, Human Rights Advisory Services

Jackson Pind

President, Education Graduate Student Society

Brenda Reed

Head Education Librarian

Jordan Shurr

Associate Professor of Special Education, Faculty of Education

Sources of inspiration for new graduates

  • Faculty of Law Convocation 2019
    Honorary degree recipient Fiona Sampson (Artsci’85, Law’93) is hooded by Dean Bill Flanagan during the convocation ceremony for the Faculty of Law on Thursday, June 6. (Queen's University/Garrett Elliott)
  • Faculty of Law Convocation 2019
    Honorary degree recipient Fiona Sampson shakes hands with Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, as Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Rector Alex Da Silva look on.
  • Faculty of Law Convocation 2019
    Graduates from the Faculty of Law are hooded while Erik Knutsen, Associate Dean (Academic), struggles with a hood during the convocation ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
  • Sir Richard Evans honorary degree
    British historian and author Sir Richard Evans receives his honorary degree from Queen's University during Thursday morning's convocation ceremony. (Queen's University/Lars Hagberg)
  • Sir Richard Evans honorary degree
    Sir Richard Evans speaks to the graduands from the Faculty of Arts and Science after receiving an honorary degree at Grant Hall on Thursday, June 6. (Queen's University/Lars Hagberg)
  • Sir Richard Evans honorary degree
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Rector Alex Da Silva share a funny moment on the stage at Grant Hall on Thursday. (Queen's University/Lars Hagberg)
  • Faculty of Education Convocation
    Two graduands from the Faculty of Education are hooded during the Spring Convocation ceremony on Thursday afternoon at Grant Hall. (Queen's University/Garrett Elliott)
  • Faculty of Education Convocation
    Elder-in-Residence for the Faculty of Education Deb St. Amant presents a blanket to a graduate during Thursday afternoon's convocation ceremony. (Queen's University/Garrett Elliott)
  • Faculty of Education Convocation
    A group of graduates from the Faculty of Education celebrate outside of Grant Hall on Thursday, June, 6. (Queen's University/Garrett Elliott)

Queen’s presented two more honorary degrees on the sixth day of Spring Convocation at the university.

Sir Richard Evans, a British historian and author, was presented with his honorary degree during the morning ceremony at Grant Hall. Throughout his academic career Sir Richard has received a number of key appointments, including as Regius Professor of History in 2008 until retiring in 2014, and as president of Wolfson College, Cambridge from 2010-2017. He is currently Provost of Gresham College in the City of London, which has been offering free lectures for the general public since 1597. Sir Richard is the author of more than 20 books. His three-volume history of Nazi Germany (The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power, and The Third Reich at War) has been translated into 15 languages.

Fiona Sampson (Artsci’85, Law’93) was recognized during the afternoon ceremony for dedicating her 20-plus year career to seeking justice for society’s disadvantaged: disabled persons, refugees, Indigenous persons, and victims of violence. Sampson founded the equality effect, an NGO that uses international human rights law to make girls/women’s rights real and, as CEO, led her team to the landmark 160 Girls High Court victory in Kenya. She has published widely relating to women’s and girls’ equality and has received many awards and much recognition for her human rights work.

A total of seven honorary degrees are being conferred by Queen’s during convocation.

Spring Convocation will resume on Tuesday, June 11 with two ceremonies being held at main gym of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC).

A total of 18 ceremonies are being held for Spring Convocation, with the final one scheduled for Wednesday, June 12. The full schedule of the ceremonies is available online.

Live ceremony feeds will begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of each ceremony.

More information about Convocation at Queen's is available on the website of the Office of the University Registrar.

More photos can be viewed at the Queen’s University page on flickr.

Castle campus marks 25 years

Queen’s Bader International Study Centre to celebrate milestone with alumni reunion.

Queen's Bader International Study Centre
Queen's Bader International Study Centre (BISC) celebrates 25 years.

Inside the walls of a nearly 600-year-old English castle, Queen’s alumni, faculty, staff, and friends will soon gather to mark the 25th anniversary of the Queen’s Bader International Study Centre (BISC) housed there. Among them: a NASA astronaut, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, leading academics, Canadian expats, local community members, and those traveling from around the world – all of whom will be on hand from June 29-30, 2019 to celebrate the past, present, and future of the overseas Queen’s campus.

“For a quarter century, the BISC has been a temporary home to Queen’s students looking to further broaden the scope of their learning,” says Hugh Horton, Vice-Provost and BISC Executive Director. “Here, they are able to engage with scholars from across the world, in a close-knit, interdisciplinary academic environment to not only enhance their education, but give it a truly global dimension.”

Visionary philanthropists and Queen’s alumni Alfred and Isabel Bader gifted the BISC, located on the Herstmonceux Castle estate in East Sussex, UK, to Queen’s University in 1993, and it opened doors to students in 1994. It has since provided innovative, international undergraduate and graduate programs to over 7,000 Queen’s students, across disciplines as diverse as archaeology, music, international law and politics, global health, international project management, and astronomy. Program offerings continue to grow.

In 2017, the BISC accepted its first group of students from the Queen’s Concurrent Education Program, which prepares undergraduates to become educators. Students enrolled in this program complete local practicums at primary and secondary schools nearby the BISC campus, providing a hands-on comparative learning experience.

This year, programming for science students is set to expand with the opening of the BISC’s brand-new teaching science laboratory and innovation design space, allowing the campus to offer practical science subjects on campus for the very first time. The facility will be officially unveiled during the 25th anniversary celebrations.

The Bader International Study Centre
Queen's Bader International Study Centre.

“The Baders envisaged a learning facility that could take the Queen’s educational experience Alfred deeply cherished, and extend its reach internationally,” says Dr. Horton. “With 25-years of BISC alumni now living and working in countries across the world—many of whom are set to join us in celebration of this incredible milestone—and our ever-growing complement of programs, I think their vision has truly taken shape. In honour of their vision, and of Alfred, who passed away late last year, I look forward to continuing our momentum forward into the next 25 years.”

On June 29, 2019, BISC alumni and their families are invited to the first day of 25th anniversary celebrations. There, they will have a chance to reminisce during castle tours, have tea in the Elizabethan gardens, mingle with professors, and attend the unveiling of a commemorative garden honouring the Baders. NASA astronaut and Queen’s alumnus Drew Feustel, who returned from the International Space Station last October following a six-month mission, will also deliver a keynote address.

On June 30, the celebration will open to the public and take on a Canadian theme in recognition of the Canada Day weekend. Canadians living in England are encouraged to join alumni on the castle grounds for street hockey, tastes from home such as poutine and Nanaimo bars, falconry and archery demonstrations, and a symphonova performance by the BISC Musicians in Residence, featuring works by Dan School of Drama and Music Professor John Burge.

Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Vice-Principal (Advancement) Karen Bertrand will be among senior leaders there to help mark the milestone.

“In 1993, the Baders bestowed Queen’s with the BISC; an amazing gift that went on to play a foundational role in extending our university’s global horizons,” says Principal Woolf. “The unique, experiential learning prospects that the facility provides helped inspire us to chart educational linkages with many other institutions and organizations internationally – opening a world of opportunities for our students.”

Those interested in attending the festivities can register on the website.

Funding new scientific frontiers

New Frontiers in Research Fund fuels Queen’s research in topics ranging from Lyme disease to climate change.

Early-career researchers are the backbone of Canada’s research infrastructure. Recognizing this area of research strength and its potential, the Government of Canada has launched the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) to support early-career researchers as they pursue the next great discovery in their fields.

[Minister Kirsty Duncan]
Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Seven Queen’s University projects earned a $1.72 million portion of the $38 million in NFRF funding announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, earlier this week. The successful Queen’s researchers are: Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) and Mark Ormiston (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Robert Colautti (Biology), Samuel Dahan (Law), Lindsay Morcom (Education), Jessica Selinger (Kinesiology and Health Science), Kevin Stamplecoskie (Chemistry), and Laura Thomson (Geography and Planning).

“I am pleased today to celebrate the very first researchers to benefit from the New Frontiers in Research Fund. Our government’s vision is for our researchers to take risks and be innovative,” says Minister Duncan. “We want our scientists and students to have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, and we want the halls of academia to better reflect the diversity of Canada itself. This new fund will help us achieve that vision.”

Drs. Capicciotti and Ormiston are studying how cancer cells change the sugars that they express on their surface to avoid detection by the immune system. The researchers will work to develop technology to screen hundreds of sugar structures, with the ultimate goal of creating new cancer therapies that function by boosting an individual’s immune response.

As a member of the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (CLyDRN) based at Queen’s, Dr. Colautti is leading a diverse and multidisciplinary group of researchers to disrupt the way that tick-borne diseases are identified and managed in Canada. Their approach includes the use of handheld DNA sequencers and cloud computing for rapid detection of known or potential tick-borne pathogens, summarizing this information into a risk assessment framework for medical practitioners, public health officials, and the general populace.

Professor Dahan, in collaboration with Xiaodan Zhu (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and a team of 25 data scientists, Artificial Intelligence researchers, and law students, is working on an open source AI-tribunal for small claims in Ontario. This digital dispute-resolution platform will provide predictive legal services and negotiation support for self-represented plaintiffs. The NFRF funding will help develop the first stage of the product, focusing on severance pay and termination negotiation.

Using the skills of an interdisciplinary team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and visual and digital media artists, Dr. Morcom and her team will work to create a network of virtual reality spaces across the country. The newly-created spaces will be used to stage cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and cross-generational encounters.

Dr. Selinger has formed an interdisciplinary team that combines expertise in fundamental human biomechanics, clinical rehabilitative medicine, and applied robotic control. The research has the potential to revolutionize the next generation of rehabilitation strategies by focusing on how people re-learn to walk after a stroke.

Focusing on a new area of research, Dr. Stamplecoskie and partner Guojun Liu (Chemistry), are researching new electrochemical devices, capable of capturing the tremendous amount of energy available in rainfall, waves, and evaporating water. The research is working to create new devices capable to meeting global energy demands.

Dr. Thomson has amassed an interdisciplinary team that will integrate modern glacier research practices and inter-generational perspectives on climate, to improve environmental monitoring in Canada’s high-Arctic. This initiative will provide open-access, real-time climate data for the first time in this part of the Arctic, and provide public access to rare historic data.

All of the Queen’s projects are funded under the Exploration stream of the NFRF program. The second stream is the Transformation stream that provides large-scale support for Canada to build strength and leadership in interdisciplinary and transformative research. The third stream, International, will come online later, according to Minister Duncan.

“Through the NFRF program, early-career researchers at Queen’s are bringing new ideas and methodologies to critical issues from Lyme disease to climate change,” say Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Importantly, they are increasing the potential impact and application of their work by collaborating across disciplinary boundaries.”

For more information, visit the NFRF website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities listserv.

A day of learning and exploring with Queen’s Research

  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019, part of NSERC’s Science Odyssey campaign, was the largest and most successful event to date with 5,200 visitors and 400 volunteers learning more about the groundbreaking STEAM research happening at Queen’s and in Kingston. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Canadian Astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16), former commander of the International Space Station and Queen’s alumnus, was the special guest at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    An exciting performance at the Chemistry Magic Show with Queen’s Chemistry graduate students and faculty researcher Kevin Stamplecoskie at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Grade school participants of the Ask an Astronaut Q&A with Astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16), former commander of the International Space Station and Queen’s alumnus, at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Queen’s Faculty of Education professor, Lynda Colgan, co-coordinator of Science Rendezvous Kingston, attends the opening ceremonies of Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019 with Ingenuity Lab robot, Husky. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    An attendee learns about the anatomical sciences with Queen’s Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Mark Gerretsen, MP for Kingston and the Islands, celebrates the opening of Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019 on Saturday, May 11. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    An attendee learns more about bee health and pollination with the Limestone Beekeepers’ Guild at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

As part of NSERC’s Science Odyssey campaign, Science Rendezvous Kingston was the largest and most successful to date with 5,200 visitors and 400 volunteers learning more about the groundbreaking STEAM research happening at Queen’s and in the Kingston community.

Hosted at the Leon's Centre, the day featured three headline events. Attendees had an opportunity to meet Astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16), former commander of the International Space Station and Queen’s alumnus at the Ask an Astronaut Q&A. Upon entering the event space, visitors were greeted by Dippy the dinosaur, a casting of a Diplodocus standing over four metres high and 26 metres long. There was also an opportunity to learn about bee health and pollination with the Limestone Beekeepers’ Guild as they demonstrated a working beehive.

About 75 per cent of the researchers exhibiting at Science Rendezvous Kingston were Queen’s affiliated. Some of the highlights of the free, family-oriented event included hands-on exhibits from Queen’s Anatomy, Hexagon Magic Puzzles, the Art of Research pop-up photo exhibit, demonstrations from Ingenuity Labs, and the Chemistry Magic Show.

For more information about Science Rendezvous Kingston, visit the website.

A unanimous choice for inaugural award

[Concurrent Education student Afsheen Chowdhury]
Afsheen Chowdhury speaks at Senate after receiving the inaugural Margaret Hooey Governance Award. (University Communications)

During her time at Queen’s, Afsheen Chowdhury (ConEd’19), like many students, has been involved in numerous extra-curricular activities.

She has been a residence don for three years, serves as a Board Member for the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre (LGAC) and held several positions on the Concurrent Education Student Association (CESA), for example.

What makes her stand out from other students, however, has been her participation in the governance of the university – student Senator for the Faculty of Education; member and co-chair of the Queen’s University Board-Senate Advisory Committee; member of the Joint Board-Senate Principalship Search Committee; and, perhaps most significantly, member of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE).

For all her contributions and continuing commitment, Chowdhury is the inaugural winner of the Margaret Hooey Governance Award.

The award was established in November 2018 by the estate of Margaret Hooey (LLD’02), the long-time secretary of Queen’s who was admired for her dedication to the university as well as the welfare of her colleagues, students, friends and family. The award is given to a student enrolled in any degree program at Queen’s who has made an outstanding contribution to the good governance of the university through work with Senate or any committee of the Senate.

For Chowdhury, receiving the award has been both exciting and humbling.

“It’s a little surreal. I think it is everything that went into it and this is the end of my journey here, after everything that has happened,” she says. “Receiving an award like this is an important reminder that the work you do has a real tangible impact to the people beyond the borders of that room and beyond the Senate.”

The award committee was unanimous in selecting Chowdhury as the inaugural winner. Letters of support mentioned her “thoughtful comments and opinions,” “impressive insights,” and keen interest in Queen’s governance processes.

While she had already been actively involved in governance at Queen’s, a turning point came when she ran for rector in 2017. During the campaign week she received many messages from students – Muslim students, international students, students of colour – telling her how important it was to see someone just like them standing up and trying to make a difference in the university community.

Ultimately, her campaign was not successful but the experience set her on a new path, one that led her to become a champion for equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives at Queen’s.

“We always talk about how representation matters but then you realize that it really does matter. This is about people feeling safe and realizing they can be someone,” Chowdhury says. “That’s when I really started to take it seriously and I said even if I don’t win the election I was still a senator and I’m still going to sit on the principal selection committee. I was going to move forward and I still wanted to do the things that I promised during the campaign.”

As much as she has contributed during her time at Queen’s, Chowdhury is quick to point out all that she has gained, particularly through her various roles with Senate. In the end her time as a senator wasn’t about networking but about personal and community growth.

“I think what really went a long way for me, especially sitting on Senate, was building community and genuine connections. It’s sharing our stories with each other,” she says. “The people who nominated me for this award were my friends, they are people who I had dinner with and it is such a blessing to have friends who are in their 40s, 50s, 60s, who are giving this wisdom but also treating me as an equal and feeling that I can have some wisdom to provide for them. It’s people who genuinely pick you up and pick each other up throughout the process.”

A Pillar of the Queen’s Community

During her more than 30 years at Queen’s, Margaret Hooey, was a valued adviser to four principals and their administrations, and a trusted mentor to students, staff, faculty and trustees. She played a key role in shaping Queen’s modern governances system and was an advocate for the unique form of student government. More than her role as an administrator, she was viewed by student leaders as a mentor and friend. For her contributions and dedication Dr. Hooey received the Queen’s Distinguished Service Award (1992), the John Orr Award (1998), and an honorary doctorate (2002).

Research storytelling events captivate audiences

[IGnite Research poster]

Featuring topics from medical miracles to environmental policy, the IGnite lecture series has showcased the diversity of research happening at Queen’s to a captivated audience of campus and community members. On Thursday, March 28 the public will hear about the future of gender policy in the Canadian school systems and innovative methods to solve environmental problems.

IGnite is a collaboration between the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and the University Relations portfolio. Each event features two researchers from different fields discussing their projects and research experiences, while also including interactive demonstrations and poster presentations from students and additional researchers. The series offers a public platform where researchers can share what first ignited their curiosity and motivates them to pursue their research.

Lee Airton (Education) is a SSHRC-funded researcher and will present “The future of gender: Policy and practice playing catch-up to an ever-changing phenomenon.” They recently published a popular press book on welcoming gender diversity in everyday life, Gender: Your guide. Dr. Airton has also received a 2017 Youth Role Model of the Year Award from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity and founded They is My Pronoun (TIMP) and the No Big Deal Campaign

Dr. Airton explains that research should be shared with those it impacts. 

“I study something that is relevant to every single member of the public, but is thought of as something that only transgender people care about: how other people read and respond to our gender expression, every day,” Dr. Airton says. “Events like the IGnite lecture allow me to bring the implications of my research directly to people who might not have thought about how they participate in gender, and encourage them to act on what we know about making gender into a safer and more comfortable experience for everyone.”

Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry Philip Jessop (Chemistry) will discuss his research on carbonated water as it applies to solving environmental problems. An expert in switchable surfactants, Dr. Jessop received the NSERC John C. Polanyi Award in 2008 and is the technical director of GreenCentre Canada.

Dr. Jessop further elaborates that for him IGnite is an opportunity to return the public’s investment in his research.

“Society allows me to do research and it is only fair that in return I let society know what I’m doing,” he says. “I find that many people like to hear about new ways to reduce environmental harm.”

The event, the final in a three-part series for the 2018-2019 academic year, will take place Thursday 6:30-9 pm at the Biosciences Complex at 116 Barrie Street. Registration is free on Eventbrite and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on the series, visit the McDonald Institute’s website.  

Advisory committee — Dean, Faculty of Education

Dr. Rebecca Luce-Kapler’s term as Dean of the Faculty of Education ends on June 30, 2020, and Dr. Luce-Kapler has indicated that she would be pleased to consider a second term as dean. In accordance with the procedures established by Senate, an advisory committee chaired by Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris will be established to advise the principal on the present state and future prospects of the faculty, and on the dean’s renewal. 

Future Prospects of the Faculty and Advisory Committee Membership

Members of the university community are invited to submit letters with commentary on the present state and future prospects of the faculty, and to suggest individuals who might serve on the advisory committee. Respondents are asked to indicate whether they wish to have their letters shown, in confidence, to the members of the advisory committee. More information on the Faculty of Education is available on the faculty website and in the Dean’s Review report published in 2018.

Letters and advisory committee member suggestions should be submitted to Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), via provost@queensu.ca, by Wednesday, March 27, 2019. 

The official announcement can be accessed on the Provost’s website.

The Conversation: Dealing with test anxiety – and re-think on what testing means

[Students write an exam in a gymnasium]
Much like older students, younger students are increasingly experiencing test anxiety (Photo by Shutterstock)

The term “test anxiety” typically conjures up images of a high school or university student obsessing over an upcoming exam.

Certainly, older students have been the focus of more than a half a century of research examining test and assessment anxiety and its impact on grades. Researchers know that such test anxiety generally has a negative impact on academic achievement.

Yet we also know schools and parents are recognizing anxiety in younger children. Researchers have probed how, in particular, a rise in test anxiety in schools corresponds to an increase in the use of standardized testing increasingly mandated for accountability and evaluation purposes.

Coupled with growing awareness of responding to mental health challenges in schools, educators and policy-makers need to understand how to confront and minimize the effects of testing on students’ anxiety.

In the big picture, current assessment methods must adapt to reflect contemporary knowledge of both children’s diverse cultural contexts and a more nuanced understanding of developmental competencies.

In the day-to-day, parents and teachers can empower themselves to be better prepared to support student well-being by re-thinking their own approaches to tests, and what adults are modelling.

What is test anxiety?

Test anxiety is generally regarded as a “nervous feeling” that is excessive and interferes with student performance. Symptoms of test anxiety may fall into four broad physical, emotional, behavioural and cognitive categories.

Children could exhibit physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, sweating and shortness of breath or feelings of fear, depression and helplessness. Behaviours might include fidgeting, pacing and avoidance. Cognitive disruptions could look like “going blank,” racing thoughts and negative self-talk.

[A young female students awaits teacher.]
Left prolonged or unattended, test anxiety can lead to negative outcomes. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Although not all students experience each of these problems, the impact of one or more of these symptoms can be debilitating. Left unacknowledged or unaddressed, in time such symptoms may lead to personal negative outcomes or harm, and difficulties at school.

The trouble with testing policy

Our research in Canada and abroad has consistently found that when policy-makers seek school reform, there is an ensuing emphasis on testing for accountability.

In these contexts, teachers and school administrators will focus classroom and school instruction on select areas and ultimately undermine a more holistic approach to children’s education. Standardized testing for accountability is also associated with heightened educator and student stress.

A narrow sense of “achievement” — such as is measured via standardized tests in select subject areas — is inadequate to capture key knowledge, skills and dispositions children need to be successful in contemporary schooling and life.

For these reasons, policy-makers would be wise to consider multi-dimensional approaches to holding schools accountable. For example, educational reforms are more likely to be successful when they use collective processes that incorporate perspectives of educators and communities.

What parents and teachers can do

In the context of these systemic and long-term issues, parents and teachers can intervene to reduce test anxiety for young children in the following ways:

1. Offer positive messaging

One of the simplest and most effective ways parents can combat test anxiety is through positive messaging.

For example, research demonstrates positive benefits when parents encourage positive self-talk, offer relaxation techniques and reassure children that anxiety is a natural feeling. Parents should know that psychological research suggests a certain amount of heightened arousal is necessary to perform well, a state of balance-in-tension.

2. Keep communication open

Parents also need to maintain open lines of communication with their child’s teachers — particularly since students do not necessarily exhibit test anxiety in all subjects.

3. Lower the stakes

Too often parent expectations increase the perceived “stakes” of the tests for students, assigning additional consequences or judging a child’s merit and ability on the outcome of a single test.

Instead, it is important for parents to understand and also convey to their child that tests are one indicator of their performance in a subject. No test is a perfect reflection of what a student knows or is able to do.

Seeing tests as one piece of information about how a child is progressing, and seeking out additional information as needed, will help parents gain perspective.

4. Take care of yourself

Ironically, one key issue both parents and teachers need to consider when attempting to assist students with test anxiety is to first take care of themselves.

Just as parents must be aware of what messsages they send, teachers also need to attend to their own well-being and avoid inadvertently transmitting their own anxieties to students.

For example, the relationship between teachers’ math anxiety and student math anxiety is well-established prompting some researchers to explore ways of breaking a mathematics anxiety cycle.

Similarly, teacher worry about large-scale test results, such as provincial or state-wide assessments, can transfer to students.

Thankfully, a positive development to emerge from some of these troubling findings is that there is a growing recognition of the relationship between teacher and student well-being.

5. Emphasize test skills, not drilling

Teachers can also help students combat test concerns by offering test-preparation skill development and reviews before important assessments.

The latter should not be confused with “teaching to the test,” which both narrows curriculum and may relentlessly drill test content.

Rather, practicing strategies such as re-reading difficult questions, writing brief outlines beside short answer questions and managing time during tests will be helpful.

Preparing students to write tests effectively also includes teaching students about test structures — question formats, the rationale of scoring schemes and common pitfalls with different question types.

Collectively, these skills can be applied to any curriculum or test. Students who have been prepared in both content and skills tend to have lower levels of test anxiety and are more capable of managing their time and responses.

Not surprisingly, these types of strategies are more effective when they are supported by parents and caregivers.

Optimally, parents, teachers and policymakers can work in their various roles to support children’s success while learning about possibilities for more complex and intelligent forms of accountability.

Overall, we need to re-think what matters in schools and what’s worth measuring.The Conversation

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Christopher DeLuca is an associate professor in classroom assessment and acting associate dean, Graduate Studies & Research, Faculty of Education, Queen's University. Louis Volante is a professor of education at Brock 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

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