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Children’s books nurture grit, determination, and hope

Helping children develop strategies for personal resilience has become a vital part of parenting and education. (Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash)

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 68.8 per cent of mental health problems have their onset in childhood and adolescence. Helping children develop strategies for personal resilience has become a vital part of parenting and education, but it can be challenging to know where to begin.

Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology at University of Pennsylvania, and bestselling author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance says grit has four main components: interest, practice, purpose and hope. The combination of these traits help individuals develop grit, which is a particularly strong, scrappy form of resilience.

According to Duckworth, grit is a major determinant to success. More importantly, she believes that grit can be developed over time; it’s something we can learn. However, in order to develop grit, we must first have the chance to see it in action.

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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.

This is where books come into play. Picture books and children’s novels offer multiple ways to enter these tricky conversations about resilience and wellness.

We are educators and literacy researchers with a shared love of literature and exploring the role of books in children’s learning. Jen has master’s degrees in library science and children’s literature, and Clarissa has a master’s in education that examined reading experiences of anxious adolescents.

We examined how the children’s books in a large cross-Canada reading program might help parents and educators spark necessary dialogue about resilience in classrooms and communities.

Forest of reading

In the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program, librarians curate book lists for different age groups of readers from kindergarten right up to adults.

Readers register to read the books in their level. Across the country over 270,000 readers participate annually in libraries and schools. Participants, including whole classes, can vote for a favourite book among the reading list for their level, and these reader-voted awards are presented at The Festival of Trees, a three-day book celebration held in Toronto each spring.

‘Shark Lady’ by Jess Keating. (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

We analyzed books nominated betweeen 2013 and 2018 in the Blue Spruce category, for ages kindergarten to Grade 2, to gauge how the protagonists of these books show grittiness and resilience.

We wanted to see how these books might offer entry points for teachers, librarians and parents to talk to kids about overcoming adversity or developing resilience and wellness.

To guide our analysis, we used Duckworth’s grit scale for children, which contains self-assessment questions that align with the characteristics she identifies with grit.

Out of a possible grit score of five, 19 of the 28 books scored a four or higher. We rated the top “grittiest” books as: Shark Lady, written by Jess Keaton; Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavaek and Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay.

And, we found four themes repeatedly appeared in the grittiest books from our analysis:

The Natural World

‘The Owl and The Lemming’ by Roselynn Akulukjuk. (Inhabit Media)

The Owl and the Lemming by Roselynn Akulukjuk, is about a lemming that outsmarts an owl trying to catch it for a meal.

This book portrays grit in two ways. First, the lemming persists despite initially failing to trick the owl. Second, the owl loses his meal but optimistically plans to improve his hunting. This book draws upon Inuit oral tradition and ecological relationships to provide readers with examples of grit.

This book was among 10 that we identified as highlighting the lead characters’ connections to the natural world.

Creativity

‘The Most Magnificent Thing’ by Ashley Spires. (Kids Can Press)

Ashley Spires’ The Most Magnificent Thing follows a girl as she attempts to create an idea she has for a contraption.

The girl becomes frustrated when her first attempts do not match her vision, but eventually, she observes the small successes in her past attempts, and finally makes “the most magnificent thing.”

This book emphasizes the importance of grit by highlighting how the creative process is a series of failures that we can learn from. It’s among nine books we identified with similar themes.

Gender identity and performance

‘Henry Holton Takes the Ice’ by Sandra Bradley. (Dial Books)

In Sandra Bradley’s Henry Holton Takes the Ice, Henry demonstrates grit when he insists on using figure skates and doing ice dance even though it goes against his family’s hockey tradition and the gender roles associated with ice dancing.

Henry Holton takes the Ice has the potential to be a powerful example of grit for children regarding commonly gendered activities that may seem exclusionary.

This book was one of six we rated for grittiness that features protagonists who face situations in which they challenge heteronormative gender roles and identity.

Intergenerational relationships

‘The Branch’ by Mireille Messier. (Kids Can Press)

In The Branch by Mireille Messier, the protagonist develops a relationship with her neighbour as they work together to make something from a branch that has snapped off her favourite tree.

Mr. Frank helps the protagonist develop her grit by encouraging her to find a solution for the broken branch problem and by helping her complete her project.

The Branch was one of seven titles we found in five years of Blue Spruce award nominees that focus on the importance of intergenerational relationships.

When adults encourage children to read about grit, and children can talk about their reading experiences, our society takes an important step towards normalizing conversations surrounding failure and growth.

Such discussions in turn play a part in helping students develop their own understanding and expression of resilience and hope.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Jen McConnel is a PhD candidate in Literacy Education at Queen's University and Clarissa de Leon is a PhD student in Education at Queen's University.

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

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International faculty and staff supports

The Human Rights & Equity Office is holding discussion sessions about developing and strengthening supports for employees coming to Queen's from abroad.

Staff and faculty participating in the first brainstorm meeting
Queen's faculty and staff participating in a brainstorming session about supports for international employees.

The Human Rights & Equity Office (HREO) recently invited international staff and faculty to engage in an initial conversation about what potential supports or groups could be created or strengthened to assist those moving from abroad for employment at Queen’s University.

A group of international faculty and staff gathered on Sept. 30 for a brainstorming session facilitated by Queen's Human Rights Advisor Nilani Loganathan, who guided the group in an exercise to begin to identify gaps in services and programs, and suggest ways that could better support international employees.

“I’m very pleased with the ideas brought forth by those who attended our first session,” says Loganathan. “We touched on a number of areas, including issues concerning relocating to Kingston, settling in at Queen’s, employment and education supports for families, and much more. We’re looking forward to continuing the conversation and collecting more feedback that will best inform our path forward.”

Employees who identify as international staff and faculty will have additional opportunities to provide their input. The next session is to take place on Friday, Nov. 15 in Mackintosh-Corry Hall, B176 from 12pm – 1pm. Please email hrights@queensu.ca to confirm your attendance.

Teaching truth and reconciliation in Canada

 

Drum Circle for Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Students, faculty members and staff take part in a drumming circle hosted by the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program to mark the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report in December 2015.

Where do we start?

Our question echoes our larger work supporting and educating teacher candidates, and our personal commitments seeking to act as witnesses to the need for reconciliation in Canada.

As researchers, teachers and administrators — one of whom is of Anishinaabe, German, and French heritage and one of whom is a longstanding non-Indigenous ally of Irish, Scottish and English ancestry — we have dedicated our careers to education for and about Indigenous people, and to Indigenous-led ally-building in education.

So, we start by acknowledging the situation. We are acutely aware of the historic and ongoing legacy of colonialism and racism that pervades Canadian society, and the specific role that education had in creating and perpetuating this legacy. Indeed, in Canada the education system has been a tool for genocide through the residential school system.

Truth and reconciliation

At the same time, we acknowledge that we have tremendous hope. We see self-determination and resilience in Indigenous communities, and increasing willingness, unimaginable a generation ago, in the general Canadian population to acknowledge history and move forward in a better way. And we acknowledge that we are teaching and learning in an era where, after the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, we know more about colonial legacies. We have more guidance on what to do moving forward than ever before.

Teacher education offers a path forward

In our personal actions, we start where we are. For us, this means working together and with the teachers and teachers-to-be whom we encounter in our work at our Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. The Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) at Queen’s University that we both work with qualifies graduates for Ontario College of Teachers certification and provides a focus on Indigenous education in their teacher preparation. This program has over 400 primarily Indigenous graduates. We stand in awe of the change they have made at all levels of education; we are excited to follow where this change leads next. We deeply believe in decolonized, self-determined, authentically Indigenized education.

At the same time, it is unfair to expect already marginalized people to shoulder the full burden of educating the mainstream population and creating social change, as is often the case. We believe it is a vital part of our jobs to facilitate the learning of settler teachers so they can see their roles and responsibilities in the reconciliatory process. As Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC, told the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples:

“I’ll tell you what gets me through it now and got me through it then, and that is the belief that you don’t have to believe that reconciliation will happen; you have to believe that reconciliation must happen … and you have to do what you can to make it happen.”

Our teacher candidates come from a variety of backgrounds. In addition to the teacher candidates who come from diverse Indigenous nations and heritages, we work with teacher candidates who are racialized, some of whom also carry post-colonial histories both internal to and external to North America. However, the majority of teacher candidates in our faculty are settler people of diverse European heritages. Given their diverse backgrounds, our teacher candidates engage with Canada’s legacy of colonization in different ways. We also spend time working with qualified teachers to respond to inquiries about how to address truth and reconciliation in their teaching practice.

Overcome guilt, find courage

For many teachers and teacher candidates, especially those who are non-Indigenous, the biggest obstacle we now see is fear — these educators want to do the right thing but they are afraid of making the problem worse, of being guilty of cultural appropriation, of offending or misinforming.

Many teachers have come from educational backgrounds that offered little in the way of Indigenous education content, and have not been challenged to think about power and privilege, or how various kinds of privilege intersect. They are now called to include Indigenous perspectives that they didn’t have the opportunity learn themselves, which presents an obvious challenge. As educators still learning (as we all are), we empathize with feelings of anxiety and inadequacy.

In addition to a lack of education, we are aware that another barrier can be caused by what University of Washington whiteness studies scholar Robin DiAngelo describes as “white fragility,” which includes “anger, withdrawal, emotional incapacitation, guilt, argumentation and cognitive dissonance, (all of which reinforce the pressure on facilitators to avoid directly addressing racism).”

These emotions can be paralyzing. We tell our settler students: You can cry. You can feel angry. You have a huge burden to carry. But do not stop at guilt. Guilt is unproductive. Even if the ongoing legacy of colonization is not your fault, it is your responsibility, and you do benefit from it. So to move forward in a spirit of right relations, it’s important to recognize what is going on and what you can do about it. That doesn’t mean taking over, or taking charge of the reconciliatory process, since meaningful reconciliation needs to be led by Indigenous people. It does mean listening, really listening, in the effort to find fitting paths forward. We know that inaction in itself is a choice and an action.

No reconciliation without truth

So, the first step in becoming an ally is witnessing. Being a good witness involves deep listening — full attention, openness, the ability to be present without judging and accurate recall. Sharing what is witnessed is about enacting the responsibility to promote right relations by widening the circle of learning and understanding.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) gifted us with 94 Calls to Action that have provided valuable guidance on how to proceed in supporting and furthering truth and reconciliation. The Calls to Action are practical, easy to understand and apply to all Canadians.

Inspired by the Calls to Action, an abundance of resources exist to help guide action. For example, The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation produces invaluable resources to help people grow as allies. The Assembly of First Nations and the Montreal Indigenous Community Network have also both created outstanding resources for aspiring allies.

We understand that for many Indigenous people, reconciliation is a meaningless term in a time when social inequity is still rampant and the legacy of residential schools and Indian day schools is still so visible. There cannot be reconciliation without truth. There can also be no reconciliation without Indigenous leadership, language and culture perpetuation, equal sharing of resources and meaningful consultation on issues such as resource extraction and relationships to land, air and water.

If we want to build something better for generations yet to come, each person must answer their own unique call to work for truth and reconciliation, which means noticing and responding to the particular circumstances and realities surrounding them.

The work has started. We have nowhere to go but forward.

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Lindsay Morcom is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education at Queen's University. Kate Freeman is the Manager of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program of the Queen's Faculty of Education.

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.

Bringing Indigenous stories to the stage

[Tanya Talaga]
This year's speaker for the MacClement lecture is Tanya Talaga, award-winning journalist and author of Seven Fallen Feathers. (Supplied Photo)

Award-winning journalist and author Tanya Talaga is this year’s speaker for the MacClement Lecture, hosted by the Faculty of Education.

Talaga will speak on Indigenous education, health, and the responsibility for all of us to take an active role in reconciliation.  The event will take place Thursday, Sept. 26 at 5 pm at Duncan MacArthur Hall

The First Ojibway woman to deliver the CBC Massey Lectures, Talaga is an acclaimed storyteller. Her book Seven Fallen Feathers, a national bestseller that introduced seven Indigenous high school students who mysteriously died in Thunder Bay, won the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize.

In her powerful keynotes, Talaga shares Indigenous stories from across Canada and the world, humanizing the legacy of cultural genocide and sharing her hope for a more inclusive and equitable future. 

“I am so looking forward to hearing Tanya Talaga speak. Her book, Seven Fallen Feathers, should be read by every adult (full stop),” says Elder-in-Residence for the Faculty of Education Deb St. Amant. “I am thankful that she listened to the Elders who wanted her to write about this important topic. She has an incredible gift for telling the truths of Indigenous experience.”

The lecture is free to attend and open to the public. More information is available on the Faculty of Education website.

The MacClement Lectureship was established in 1985 by friends and family in memory of William T. MacClement, a former professor of biology at Queen’s who helped establish a successful summer school at the university.

For the past 20 years, Talaga has worked as a journalist, and now columnist, for The Toronto Star. She has authored two books – All Our Relations: Finding The Path Forward and Seven Fallen Feathers. In addition to the RBC Taylor Prize, Seven Fallen Feathers also won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and the First Nation Communities Read: Young Adult/Adult Award. It was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction, and was named CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book.

(This article has been updated to correct the date to Thursday, Sept. 26)

A royal honour for research

Royal Society of Canada elects four Queen’s University researchers.

[Royal Society of Canada]
Queen's University researchers Rosa Bruno-Jofré, Margaret Moore, and Kim Nossal have been elected as fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, while Grégoire Webber was named a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists. 

Four Queen’s University researchers have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada, the most prestigious academic society in Canada. Rosa Bruno-Jofré, Margaret Moore, and Kim Nossal were elected to the Fellowship of the academy, while Grégoire Webber was named a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

The group offers a diverse range of research interests including foreign and defence policy, the history of education, territorial rights, and human rights.

The Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada comprises over 2,000 Canadian scholars, artists, and scientists, peer-elected as the best in their field. These are distinguished men and women from all branches of learning who have made contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life.

The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership.

Queen’s is proud to be home to over 90 members of the Fellowship and 11 members of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

“Congratulations to the four researchers recognized as members of this esteemed group of Canada’s most influential academics,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University. “This honour reflects their outstanding leadership in the field of research and the significant contributions they have made to the academy.”

The four Queen’s scholars are:

Rosa Bruno-Jofré (Education) is internationally acclaimed for her research into the history of education, the development of large interdisciplinary projects, and her futuristic view of outreach. She has contributed innovative approaches to the study of Catholic history.

Margaret Moore (Political Studies) is one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of territorial rights. She has developed a comprehensive and systematic theory of territory dealing with some of the most pressing issues faced in national and international politics: how to draw state boundaries, secession, resource rights, rights to migrate and rights of national defense.

Kim Nossal (Political Studies, School of Policy Studies) has published widely and influentially on Canada’s foreign and defence policy. Uniquely, his scholarship has successfully sought to build bridges to the significant francophone scholarly community examining Canada’s political role globally.

Grégoire Webber (Law) has worked for the Privy Council Office, served as Legal Affairs Advisor to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and received a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General for founding the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute.

The four Queen’s researchers will be inducted at the Royal Society of Canada's annual Celebration of Excellence and Engagement on Friday, Nov. 22. For more information visit the Royal Society of Canada website.

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.

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