Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Education

Queen’s remembers Ken Ball

Ken Ball
Ken Ball

The Queen’s community is remembering Kenneth (Ken) Ball, Administrative Assistant and Workshop Supervisor and pillar of the Technological Education Program at the Faculty of Education, who died Sunday, Feb. 14, in his 78th year.

A dedicated life-long learner, it was not uncommon to find Mr. Ball in the Technological Education Workshop researching new technological innovations, design and make methodologies, hands-on/minds-on learning tasks and of course, making breathtakingly beautiful teaching and learning artifacts to help new teachers hone and perfect their skills in preparation for classroom teaching. Mr. Ball’s love of learning and warm-hearted, pragmatic approach to support students was a role he loved. He was admired and respected by the students he worked with, both for his dedication and his guidance for which he was awarded the Service Excellence Award in 2015.

Mr. Ball was a vital part of the education community in Kingston. Following his rich career as a teacher and administrator with the Limestone District School Board, his thirst for knowledge drew him to the Faculty of Education; first, as the developer and teacher of a summer science and technology enrichment program for local school children to foster a love of technology and later, as dedicated teacher and mentor to many pre-service teachers, instructors, and administrators alike.

As the Technological Education Workshop Administrator, Mr. Ball who was affectionately known and almost always addressed simply by his first name “Ken”, was often the first point of contact for pre-service teachers seeking a deeper understanding of project-based learning. He was always keen to offer his insights and worked diligently to assist all who requested his help in finding real-world solutions to technological challenges. Ken’s commitment to “leaving this world just a little better than how I found it”, was demonstrated in the facilitation and development of numerous community-based and service-learning projects including an augmented bicycle trailer for a boy with a severe physical disability, numerous local lending libraries, a cupboard to combat food insecurity on campus, adapted musical instruments for children with developmental and/or physical challenges just to name a few.

Ken’s genial manner and warm sense of humor fostered a climate kindness and joy and his boundless energy and scholarship will be greatly missed by colleagues, students, and staff.

A family obituary is available online.

Queen’s remembers Professor Irwin Talesnick

Irwin TalesnickThe Queen’s community is remembering Irwin Talesnick, Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Education, who died Nov. 21, 2020.

Professor Talesnick arrived at Queen’s in 1968 after teaching high school chemistry, physics, and general science in Toronto since 1960.

He would stay at Queen’s for the next 25 years as a professor of chemical preparing new teachers for life in the classroom and inspired many teacher candidates with his enthusiasm and love for science.

He also developed a number of teaching tools during his career, including the ‘Orange Juice Clock’. Powered by orange juice, the clock face featured atomic numbers, and helped introduce students to the main concepts of electrochemistry.

Similarly, he was well known for his stance that “Science is a verb,” meaning that students should be doing science, not watching it being done.

Professor Talesnick was a long-time, prominent member of Science Teachers Association of Ontario, and received the organization’s Life Member Award, recognizing his outstanding and sustained service to STAO.

When he retired from Queen’s in 1993, the organization presented him with the STAO Excellence in Science Teaching Award, and, at that time, renamed the award in his honour.

He was recognized by the Faculty of Education for his commitment to science education through the Irwin Talesnick Science Education Bursary, which was established by the organizing committee of ChemEd 89.

Following his retirement, Professor Talesnick increased his workshop and lecture schedule, taking him across Canada and the United States, as well as Mexico, England, Wales, China, Sweden, and Israel. His lectures were designed to motivate teachers, students, and the general public to inquire into the phenomena that are placed before them in the laboratory and in everyday life.

What motivates changing behaviours during COVID-19

 

A woman shopper wearing a surgical mask stocks up on toilet paper at a supermarket
In the early days of the pandemic, people panic bought toilet paper. (Shutterstock)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make some pretty interesting decisions like buying in bulk, wearing face masks and physically distancing from other people.

The Conversation logoHow do we make decisions and choices? Motivation is the reason why we do what we do. Motivation theory analyzes the why of human behaviour as a means of understanding people’s decision-making processes. But people’s motivations are more complicated than we might think, because decisions are usually based on several factors that may or may not be context-specific.

My research looks at how people can be motivated to innovate: I study learning environments, leadership strategies and how to develop innovation potential. Understanding motivation in innovation can help us understand how we make decisions in unusual times.

Motivation depends on what’s going on

Motivation as a field of study can be found in the writings of the Greek philosopher Plutarch and the Bhagavad Gita — among many other ancient texts — although focused psychological studies or motivation dynamics are rather recent. In the past century, motivation theory has looked at whether motivation is extrinsic or intrinsic to a task.

Those of us who study motivation have many theories to choose from, each with strengths and weaknesses. You would, however, be hard-pressed to find a framework more easily transferable than expectancy-value-cost theory (EVC), which understands motivation as uniquely contextual for each situation.

One way to think of it is as a dynamic interaction of the expectancies (confidence in the outcome) and values (what makes it valuable) going up against the perceived costs related to a given task to a given person in a given context. If your held expectancies and values outweigh your perceived costs, you are likely motivated to complete the task, and vice versa.

What drove people to buy up toilet paper?

For most of March and April 2020, it was pretty hard to come by toilet paper because it was literally rolling off the shelves. People were panic-buying toilet paper in bulk, and supply couldn’t keep up with demand.

Applying EVC theory suggests that people were increasingly motivated to buy toilet paper because of a perceived need to be prepared. The increase in perceived value went unchecked, and plenty of people’s motivation to buy toilet paper went through the roof as fast as their probably sound reasoning went down the drain.

Increasing, explaining or revealing the values of any task (good or bad) makes it more likely that someone will do it. When you effectively communicating why people should behave in a certain way by explaining the value of a decision or choice, they are more likely to behave in that way.

How did people adjust to working from home?

A public health mandate may have necessitated many people to work from home, but until many people actually had settled into working from home, few would have believed that they could passably perform their role from home. Folks might have been nervous or unconfident in their ability to accomplish their role early on, but over time, people grew into working from home or in whatever changed circumstance they found themselves working in.

In other words, we adapted to the reality in front of us. Lots of people would now be more likely to think it’s possible to capably manage working from home.

Our expectations of success are built by our lived experiences, especially the unplanned ones, and we are more comfortable doing what we have done in the past. These experiences change what we believe ourselves to be capable of doing.

Motivating a desired outcome

EVC theory can be applied to increase the chances of a specific outcome. As a first step, EVC theory splits the factors into two groups, those that promote the task outcome and those that hinder the task outcome. Naturally, we would want to make the promoting factors as big as possible and the hindering factors as small as possible as for instance innovating or changing thinking .

This makes for a two-pronged approach to motivate people to make the desired choice: maximizing expectancies and values and mitigating costs, such as time investment, isolation, loss of stability, sense of safety and additional effort.

In the case of people adapting to physical distancing (or pretty much anything), providing easily understood information from a trusted source will likely increase the chances of the behaviour. Explaining in clear terms what someone will get from doing something builds one or more types of value, such as fulfilling a communal or shared duty.

This can be applied anywhere, for example, fitness during the pandemic, healthy diets, physical distancing. The key is helping someone see and believe they can do something, explain what the whole point of the exercise is and what they get from doing it (fun, fulfilment, importance or reward) and then work to address their perceived barriers to actually doing it. This turns into the blueprint for driving desired behaviours.The Conversation

___________________________________________

Eleftherios Soleas, Adjunct assistant professor, Education, Queen's University.

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

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.

University admissions tests under scrutiny especially in the age of COVID-19

Students writing an exam.
Many people are beginning to question the appropriateness of testing for equitable admissions decisions, particularly now in the COVID-19 era. (Shutterstock)

Many Grade 12 high school students are now looking ahead to post-secondary studies next fall. Those wishing to attend universities in the United States will see that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growing shift to test-optional university admissions policies — or scrapping entrance tests altogether.

Due to COVID-19, many U.S. universities, including Yale, Cornell, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania have announced they won’t require applicants for fall 2021 to write either the SAT or ACT.

But even before the pandemic, entrance examinations were under scrutiny. The University of California voted in May to phase out both the SAT and the ACT as requirements for university admissions, largely due to concerns over racial and cultural bias. Other universities have made similar pronouncements.

Many people are wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic will spell the end of university admission testing altogether, and what the implications are for Canadian universities and the approximately 25,000 Canadian students that attend post-secondary institutions in the United States each year.

History of admissions testing

In England, some universities first adopted examinations as the basis for admission in the 1800s. It was not long until university admission testing spread to other parts of the world. A large number of countries now use some form of testing for admission to undergraduate education.

In the United Kingdom, A-level exams across subjects are administered by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations. In New Zealand, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) uses internal and external assessments to determine students’ achievement of standards, and subsequent admission to post-secondary education and employment.

In Canada, several provinces including Alberta and British Columbia have used senior level subject exams as indicators for university entrance, and often in conjunction with teacher grades. In Australia, universities may ask some applicants to write the STAT, a scholastic aptitude test. However, many people are beginning to question the appropriateness of testing for equitable admissions decisions, particularly now in the COVID-19 era.

A common metric?

Advocates of admissions testing say there is a need to compare students using a common metric. Their chief rationale for using a common benchmark to make admittance decisions is wanting reliable and valid assessments, rather than depending on the idiosyncratic nature of classroom teachers’ assessment practices.

Supporters of admissions testing argue that these external examinations provide an objective metric that may help disadvantaged pupils.

Well before the pandemic, some argued that admissions testing at some of Canada’s universities would help ensure students have the necessary abilities for post-secondary success in their targeted programs.

Digital companies are beginning to take a vested interested in testing — particularly in light of COVID-19, which has forced several assessments into remote proctored environments. Some companies have advanced new technologies that enable responsive test questions, secure online test distribution and administration. Some are currently integrating virtual and alternative digital realities to create more authentic testing environments.

What opponents say

Opponents of admissions testing argue that using external exams for high-stakes decisions creates pressure to raise test scores and degrades rather than improves instruction and learning in schools.

Although this criticism is most often made in relation to high-stakes secondary school testing, the pressure to teach to the test also applies when governments track students’ admissions testing performance from year to year.

Last year’s college admissions scandal in the U.S. highlighted how high-stakes admissions exams can lead to improper and even illegal actions that impact the legitimacy of testing.

Critics have also suggested tests have racial, gender and economic biases as different groups may interact with specific test items in different ways, putting them at an unfair disadvantage. Allegations of bias have sparked legal action against some testing organizations.

As with any high-stakes tests, admissions testing can provoke anxiety, worry and concern in students, leading to significant well-being and wellness challenges. Admission tests reflect broad skills, competencies and aptitudes for higher education, yet are not directly aligned to standards where student applicants may be studying. Hence students may have different levels of preparation for such tests.

Similarly, coaching and preparatory courses can help boost performance for people who can afford such services.

Collectively, these points underscore critical equity concerns related to admission testing and suggest an unequal playing field.

Levelling the field

Testing organizations have increasingly focused their efforts on methods to account for social and economic background characteristics (known as an adversity score) to address bias.

The SAT adversity score includes 15 variables in three different areas: family environment, neighbourhood environment and secondary school environment. Characterized as a poor fix, the adversity score has been criticized for not accounting for unique student circumstances.

Moving tests into online platforms has enabled more responsive question formats, additional accommodations for students with disabilities and, most recently, remote invigilation practices.

In the absence of external admissions exams, universities are turning towards alternative metrics. Some universities look at test results students have written throughout their formal schooling. There have been calls for professional development to ensure teacher grades lead to reliable and valid information about students’ achievement, and many American colleges and universities are exploring ways to develop their own admissions tests.

Perhaps the ultimate arbitrator of the use of admission tests is whether students’ test performances actually predict student success. Unfortunately, the research about this is somewhat mixed and suggests students’ first-year university grades may be both over- and under-predicted by test scores.

Regardless of whether or not universities rely on entrance exams, admissions decisions are supplemented by students’ activities, such as completion of specific programs like the International Baccalaureate. At least one Canadian university has adjusted student grades depending on the high school students attended.

The fact that some students will access more “enriched” secondary opportunities will do little to address concerns of cultural bias and the fact that COVID-19 may have further exacerbated school-based inequities.

With more and more institutions phasing out admission testing, there will be an increasing need to rely on teachers’ judgements to make university admissions decisions.

Accordingly, it will become even more important that teachers have sound assessment skills to provide valid judgements of their students’ achievement of learning. With the increasing shift to online learning environments, teachers will need expanded competencies in assessing students. Teachers’ assessment literacy is key and must be a critical focus of what teachers need to learn in their university education and in professional development.

_____________________________________________________________The Conversation

Christopher DeLuca, Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies & Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Queen's UniversityLouis Volante, Professor of Education, Brock University; and Don A. Klinger, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Te Kura Toi Tangata Division of Education; Professor of Measurement, Assessment and Evaluation, University of Waikato

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

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.

Indian day school survivors are seeking truth and justice

In January 2020, Canada began accepting claims emerging from a billion-dollar settlement with survivors of the Indian day schools. This landmark settlement has been embroiled by legal battles as well as additional lawsuits. In the meantime, survivors and the public have yet to learn how the $200 million, earmarked for education, healing and commemoration, will be used.

An estimated 200,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend Indian day schools that operated on First Nations reserves in every Canadian province from the mid-1800s until 2000. While the government of Canada funded the schools, the daily operations were run by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches and, later, the United Church of Canada.

We have collaborated on a new historical biography, Spirit of the Grassroots People: Seeking Justice for Indigenous Survivors of Canada’s Colonial Education System. The perspectives we bring are as an Indian day school survivor and activist (Raymond), author of this book, a mixed settler-Anishinaabe historian (Jackson) and a white settler scholar of education (Theodore), the book’s editors.

As historians of education, we believe that Canada must continue to come to grips with the full extent of its past. Schools and curricula are a part of this past, as well as the present and the future. They also laid the historical foundation of inequality for Indigenous students.

Attendance in Indian Day Schools vs Residential Schools in Ontario, 1871-1961. (Library and Archives Canada, Indian Affairs Annual Reports, 1864-1990)

Forced attendance, abuse

Since the official submission date for claims opened in January 2020, survivors have been navigating the confusing and lengthy written application of documenting their trauma and abuse.

While the settlement covers the costs for survivors to file a claim with the designated legal counsel, only recently have survivors been able to hire their own lawyers, who they themselves must pay. In June of this year, survivors also learned that they cannot change the level of claim they previously submitted.

Survivors who submit an application are entitled to a minimum of $10,000 for “harms associated with attendance” at one of the 699 recognized schools.

A man smiling.
Survivor Garry McLean attended the day school at Dog Creek First Nation. When McLean passed away in February 2019, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs noted that McLean recollected getting the strap because he didn’t know how to say ‘good morning’ in English. (Raymond Mason), Author provided

This does not include the approximately 700 Indian day schools that the federal government excluded from the settlement. Former students who were physically or sexually abused could receive between $50,000 to $200,000 based on “severity of the abuses suffered.”

This federal settlement was reached after extensive advocacy work by survivors.

Survivor Garry McLean, with Raymond, approached lawyers in 2016 after spending the previous seven years building a network of survivors and submitting a claim within the Manitoba court system. After extensive negotiations with the federal government, there was an announcement of an agreement in principle on Parliament Hill in December 2018. After additional negotiations, the final settlement worth $1.47 billion was announced in August 2019.

Survivors’ work has opened up processes of legal acknowledgement of wrongdoing and thus made possible a form of justice and compensation. As of Sept. 30, 2020, the settlement had received 84,427 claims and paid 27,690 survivors with another 56,737 applications still under review.

National inquiry into day schools

It has been over five years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) presented their findings in a report and in Calls to Action. Since that time, ongoing injustices towards Indigenous people have led some to debate whether reconciliation is already dead. Yet the truth that was uncovered through oral testimony and historical research as part of the TRC has provided valuable knowledge to those who are listening.

Numerous departments in universities, colleges and public schools have begun incorporating the history of Indian residential schools into their curricula.

This process of seeking the truth is unfortunately not happening for Indian day schools survivors, despite an estimated 2,000 individuals who are passing away every year. It is time for a national inquiry into the history of Indian day schools and their ongoing legacy for the education of Indigenous students in Canada.

Helen Raptis, who has studied the history of Indian day schools in British Columbia, has argued that our understanding of Indigenous education “has been hampered by historians’ almost singular focus on residential schooling.” This is despite the fact that more students attended an Indian day school than a residential school in Canada.

Abuse, forced to abandon language

When the federal government, plaintiffs and lawyers announced the day schools agreement in principle in December 2018, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, acknowledged:

“As a result of the harmful and discriminatory government policies at the time, students who attended these schools were subject to sexual, physical and psychological abuse and forced to abandon their language and culture. Survivors across this country continue to suffer from the abuse and horrific experiences they were subjected to, which were perpetuated by the very people charged with educating them as children.”

Since this announcement, neither the government nor any of the religious organizations involved, have launched a national inquiry or issued a formal apology. If the federal government and church organizations are unwilling to support an investigation into the full extent of survivors’ accounts of abuse, then historians and the general public must make it a priority to learn this history.

Book cover for Spirit of the Grassroots People
“Spirit of the Grassroots People: Seeking Justice for Indigenous Survivors of Canada’s Colonial Education System” (McGill-Queen's University Press)

Indian day school survivors and their descendants have already begun sharing their schooling experiences. Through organizing and sharing information about their claims and experiences on a growing Facebook group and articles by journalists such as Ka’nhehsí:io Deer, their stories are slowly becoming heard. The nearly 20,000-strong Facebook group offers mentors, guidance and a supportive community for survivors. This virtual place has become a primary source of information for claimants.

Mapping Indian day schools

From the perspective of survivors, such private forums are critical. However, they cannot replace the need for publicly accessible records, including digital records, for future generations of survivors’ descendants, historians and the general public.

In research at Queen’s University, we are now working towards a map-making project that will provide an online resource that visualizes the location of all Indian day schools and describes what archival files are available.

In addition to this, we invite Indian day school survivors to participate in a study that seeks to learn about their experiences through questions such as: What did you experience in Ontario’s Indian day school? How did these experiences impact you later in life? What would you like to be remembered about the Indian day schools?

These questions are only small steps towards a wider goal of providing an option for Indian day school survivors to tell their history without the interference of the government, lawyers or a claims administrator. The oral history from survivors will play an essential role in the memory of these events as evidenced from the testimonies of survivors of residential schools.

Click here for more articles in our ongoing series about the TRC Calls to Action.

Urgent response required

There is an urgent need to document history related to the day schools, and also to commit to holding Canada accountable for systemic injustices that continue to harm Indigenous lives and communities today.

Sen. Murray Sinclair, who chaired the TRC, has criticized the way the federal government has handled records related to residential schools’ survivors’ accounts. In June, he noted:

The disappearance [of records] is actually tragic because it means the information around the full and complete story of the residential school experiences … is not going to be told.”

This is despite the TRC’s call for a national review of archival policies. An ongoing battle over the records of residential school survivors stories and missing files is still an issue more than a decade later.

We believe that all Canadians must join with survivors in demanding transparent processes in the Indian day school settlement. This would involve funds being available to the legacy fund for the support of healing and education.

Seeking truth in history should begin with study of our educational systems. These embed our values and beliefs. The Indian day schools are a part of Canada’s history and directly affect every Canadian, not only those who survived them.The Conversation

____________________________________________________________________________

Jackson Pind, PhD Candidate, Indigenous education, Queen's University; Raymond Mason, Community research partner, Peguis First Nation, and Theodore Christou, Professor, Social Studies and History Education, Queen's University

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

Start writing for The Conversation Canada

Scott White, Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, to host two online, interactive workshops for faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows on Sept. 17 and 21.

The importance of fact-based, expert commentary in the news has never been more apparent. The public is seeking informed information on issues important to them, particularly as the world gets accustomed to the new normal of living in a global pandemic.  

For researchers looking for an opportunity to reach the public and mobilize their knowledge, The Conversation is an ideal platform. It combines academic rigour with journalistic flair by pairing academic experts with experienced journalists to write informed content that can be repurposed by media outlets worldwide.

Global Reach

Founded in Australia in 2011, the online news platform has 11 national or regional editions with more than 112,000 academics from 2,065 institutions as registered authors whose articles attract 42 million readers monthly worldwide. The Conversation’s Creative Commons Licensing has meant that over 22,000 news outlets around the world have shared and repurposed content.

As a founding member of The Conversation Canada, over the last three years the Queen’s research community has embraced the platform as a unique tool for sharing their research expertise and engaging with the media. More than 160 Queen’s researchers have published 270 articles that have received an impressive audience of over 4.3 million via The Conversation Canada’s website. Through the platform’s Creative Commons Licensing and newswire access, dozens of major media outlets, including Maclean’sThe National PostTIME, and The Washington Post, to name a few, have republished these pieces.

For Queen’s researchers interested in learning more about the platform, University Relations and the School of Graduate Studies will host two interactive, online workshops in September. The workshops will explore the changing media landscape in Canada, why researchers should write for The Conversation, and how to develop the perfect pitch. 

Online Workshops

Faculty are invited to attend the workshop on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 10-11:30 am. Interested graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are asked to register for a specially designed workshop on Monday, Sept. 21 from 10-11:30 am that will also count towards the SGS Expanding Horizons Certificate in Professional Development. Scott White, Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, and members of his editorial team will host both workshops over Zoom. Participants are asked to bring an idea to pitch to the workshop to receive real-time editorial feedback from the team.

In order to facilitate a collaborative workshop, spaces will be limited. Please visit the Research@Queen’s website to register.

It’s time to join The Conversation

Queen’s is looking to add to its roster of authors taking part in The Conversation Canada. Faculty and graduate students interested in learning more about the platform and research promotion are encouraged to register for the September workshops or contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, for more information.

Safely moving into residence

New procedures for student move-in will support campus and community safety.

Photograph of Leonard Hall
Move-in for the reduced number of students living on campus will take place from Sept.1 to Sept. 5 at staggered times throughout the day.

The Labour Day weekend is usually an incredibly busy one at Queen’s, with first-year students all moving into residence for the start of the fall term. It’s also an important milestone for the students who move in, as unpacking their boxes in their residence room marks the beginning of their Queen’s experience.  

Due to COVID-19, moving in will look different this year for the reduced number of students living on campus. A new move-in process is being implemented to prioritize the health and safety of students, their families and supporters, staff, and the Kingston community.

This year, move in will take place over five days from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5 at staggered times throughout the day.

“Keeping students, families, supports, Queen’s staff, and the community safe during move-in is our top priority. Our new procedures will make it possible for everyone to maintain a safe physical distance throughout the process,” says Leah Wales, Executive Director, Housing and Ancillary Services.

For the fall, Queen’s has reduced the number of students who can live in residence to approximately half of the usual total. And only 10 of the 17 buildings will be in use.

During the move-in week, no more than 450 students will move into residence on one day, and students can bring a maximum of two people with them for assistance. When they arrive on campus, students will head to Richardson Stadium, where there is a contactless check-in station. Students will remain in their cars while they pick up the key to their room.  Queen’s staff will be present during the move-in days to provide information and directions, however the typical large numbers of volunteers will not be involved in move-in this year, in order to maintain physical distancing.

Additional measures have been put in place inside the residences to promote safety during all move-in days. There is a planned movement flow throughout the buildings to maximize physical distancing, everyone must wear a face covering, and the university has placed COVID-19 informational signs and hand sanitizers throughout all buildings. There will be frequent cleanings of surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons throughout each day.

Traffic and parking

Compared to previous years, move-in days will have limited impact on traffic and parking in the campus area. There will be no closures of public streets around residence buildings.

Bader Lane will be restricted to one-way traffic, west-bound only, and no parking will be permitted on the street. These changes will be in effect from Tuesday Sept. 1 at 8 am through Saturday Sept. 5 at 9 pm. In addition, parking restrictions will be in place for the five-day period, on the following streets:

  • Lower Albert, from Queen’s Crescent to King St.
  • Queen’s Crescent
  • Collingwood St., from King to Queen’s Crescent
  • Stuart St., from University to Albert

Representatives from the City of Kingston have approved the university’s traffic management plan.

Safe return to campus

While they live in residence, students will be protected by a variety of safety measures. No guests will be permitted into any residence building. All students will be living in single rooms and sharing a bathroom with only a small number of other students. To limit the number of people students are in contact with, floors are being organized by academic program.

Queen’s is taking a variety of actions to ensure the safety of the campus and Kingston communities beyond residences as well. New and returning students are being asked to take important safety measures, including testing and limiting contact with others. The university has also launched a communications and advertising campaign that directs students to important information that will help them keep themselves and the campus and Kingston communities safe.

Learn more about plans for residence move-in days and residence safety on the Queen’s Residences website.

For more information about the university’s plans for the fall semester, see the Queen’s COVID-19 website.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Education