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Creating space for art

  • Kristyn Watterworth, artist-in-residence for educational technology firm Desire2Learn (D2L), talks about her art piece after it was unveiled at Duncan McArthur Hall. The three-panel piece was created specifically for the Faculty of Education following a request from Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research.
    Kristyn Watterworth, artist-in-residence for educational technology firm Desire2Learn (D2L), talks about her art piece after it was unveiled at Duncan McArthur Hall.
  • Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler speaks during the unveiling of the piece of art created for the Faculty of Education following a request Dean Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research.
    Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler speaks after unveiling the piece of art created for the Faculty of Education following a request Dean Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Desire2Learn (D2L) CEO John Baker speaks at Duncan McArthur Hall after donating an art piece by artist-in-residence Kristyn Watterworth.
    Desire2Learn (D2L) CEO John Baker speaks at Duncan McArthur Hall after donating an art piece by artist-in-residence Kristyn Watterworth.
  • A three-panel artwork, created for the Faculty of Education following a request from Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research, is unveiled at Duncan McArthur hall.
    A three-panel artwork, created for the Faculty of Education following a request from Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research, is unveiled at Duncan McArthur Hall.

When a post-secondary institution and company work together it doesn’t always have to only be about business.

There is room for conversation, for sharing and, clearly, for art.

The Faculty of Education recently unveiled a new piece of art that was created specifically for it by educational technology firm Desire2Learn (D2L). The three-panel painting, created by D2L’s artist-in-residence Kristyn Watterworth, is now mounted prominently at the centre of Duncan McArthur Hall where it can be viewed by practically anyone who enters the building.

As Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education, explains, the art piece got its start when Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research, found out about Ms. Watterworth. He then pitched the idea to D2L CEO John Baker who was happy to comply.

“Don Klinger and I brought him down and showed him the space, and at that time our Aboriginal garden was in full growth,” Dr. Luce-Kapler explains adding that Mr. Baker took photos of the garden as well as the proposed wall space. “You could see there was that sense of different kinds of education – that old brick wall and here’s this garden growing outside. So I think this piece captures that sense of all the dimensions of education.”

Once she saw the space she would be working with, Ms. Watterworth says she realized that she could create a large three-panel piece. The theme of past, present and future lined up well and she started creating the paintings, which draw on influences of abstract expressionism and futurism.

With the first panel she says she tried to create the dynamic of what education looked like in the past, where “knowledge was passed between people, always one-on-one, very central.” The image is dark and has a circular feel to it but remains static.

For the present, Ms. Watterworth says there’s still a darkness, and “it’s very structured, very compartmentalized. While there is movement it remains distinctive.” 

The last panel presents a more hopeful vision, incorporating the shift in technology where “learning will be global” and more far-reaching.

“I tried to create that movement within that piece,” she says. “It’s really lit up and there are different changes in perspective and lighting. It feels more like glass than the others. They are very tactile and the last one is more smooth, flat and easy – and enlightened.”

Located on Student Street within Duncan McArthur Hall, the painting also highlights the role that art can play in a working and learning environment, says Alan Wilkinson, Assistant to the Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies, who has played a role in arranging many of the art pieces in the building.

“I think that art in institutions offers the people who work in that environment opportunities for reflection. They improve the work environment. They improve the learning environment by giving you moments to pause and look into something and draw meaning out,” he says. “That creates a dialogue and it can recur over and over. In addition, certain works of art speak to people very individually and very powerfully and that work of art can be a touchstone from one day to another, one week to another and it can provide a valuable support for what a student is doing within the building and what faculty members do as well.

When research meets practice

An upcoming education conference being hosted by Queen’s University is bringing together teachers and education researchers from across the country with the aim of fostering collaboration on assessment for learning.

Chris DeLuca (Education), centre, takes part in one of the many discussion groups at the 2015 Canadian Assessment for Learning Network (CAfLN) Conference and Symposium. This year's event is being hosted at Queen's University. (CAfLN Photo)

The third annual Canadian Assessment for Learning Network (CAfLN) Conference and Symposium is being hosted at Queen’s on May 13-14 under the banner of Moving Forward: Assessment for Learning in Policy, Research & Practice.

The goal of the conference, explains Chris DeLuca (Education), is to create permanent links between the research and theory from the academic side with the practice of the educators in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels.

“The conference is really about bringing people together because what we see in the teacher world, for professional learning, is that educators are doing a lot of professional education on their own or in their schools. But this is an opportunity where teachers can talk to teachers from across districts, across regions, across provinces and also then have a conversation with researchers,” says Dr. DeLuca, an associate professor of Classroom Assessment in the Faculty of Education. “It’s emphasizing assessment to be used in very positive ways – classroom-level assessment and how teachers grade and do test and performance assessments with their students – how they can do that in a more productive, generative and supportive way for students.”

The event is expected to draw approximately 200 educators, assessment researchers and policy leaders from across the country, including some 100 local educators. After the conference, it is hoped that the participants will maintain the connections they have made and share what they have learned with their colleagues.

Previous conferences have already yielded positive results.

“This is a real opportunity to work with practitioners and establish networks for them to continue their learning,” Dr. DeLuca says. “We’re hoping to continue to build the CAfLN and have teachers really connect with one another and establish greater connections to support their efforts at positive assessment in schools and classrooms.”

Visit the Faculty of Education’s website to learn more about the CAfLN conference.

Promoting science to young Canadians

NSERC funds engineering outreach to Aboriginal students, Science Rendezvous event. 

Two Queen’s University projects will promote engineering and mathematics to young Canadians – including Aboriginal students – with support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

“Both of these programs deserve applause for their work fostering an interest in and instilling a passion for engineering and mathematics in youth,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “Congratulations to both the Aboriginal Access to Engineering program and Dr. Colgan on their continued efforts and leadership to champion STEM education.”

Melanie Howard, Director of Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE).

Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE) within the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has received $228,900 over three years from the NSERC PromoScience program. The outreach initiatives of AAE aim to get more Aboriginal youth excited about science and mathematics and encourage them to consider engineering as a potential career path.

“We are thrilled that NSERC has recognized the opportunities and potential that Aboriginal Access to Engineering opens up for Indigenous youth,” says AAE Director Melanie Howard (Artsci’95, Ed’98). “We look forward to engaging more frequently with Indigenous youth through culturally relevant and exciting STEM enrichment experiences, and inspiring youth in Indigenous communities to see themselves as future engineers.”

One of only three undergraduate support programs for Aboriginal engineering students in Canada, AAE is also the only program with a corresponding K-12 outreach component. AAE sets up interactive displays at various community events throughout the summer, engaging youth through storytelling, games and activities to help them learn about the importance of engineering within an Indigenous context.

The program also works extensively with teachers and schools in First Nations to inspire linkages between culture and technology in the elementary science curriculum. Aboriginal youth also have opportunities to visit Queen’s each year and learn more about engineering through in-person meetings.

AAE will use the funding from PromoScience to extend its long-term, reciprocal relationships with proximate Indigenous communities and to strengthen the quality of its outreach and educational efforts.

"I thought, ‘that sounds like so much fun!’"

- Lynda Colgan (Education) on the Mathematics Midway

Lynda Colgan (Education) received PromoScience program funding from NSERC to host the Mathematics Midway at Science Rendezvous Kingston.

Lynda Colgan (Education) is spearheading the other Queen’s project that received NSERC funding. With the $20,000 PromoScience grant, Dr. Colgan is bringing the Mathematics Midway to this year’s Science Rendezvous Kingston. The attraction features mathematics-related puzzles and games.

“Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to place a student for a practicum at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City,” Dr. Colgan says. “As part of a street festival in Manhattan, they ran a Math Midway, which was an opportunity to play games with math and experience the more artistic, whimsical side of math. I thought, ‘that sounds like so much fun!’”

The highlight of the Mathematics Midway at Science Rendezvous Kingston will be the square-wheeled tricycles. Participants will have the opportunity to ride these seemingly impossible vehicles along a specially designed roadway while learning about the math behind what makes them work.

NSERC's PromoScience Program offers financial support for organizations working with young Canadians to promote an understanding of science and engineering (including mathematics and technology). For more information on the PromoScience program, please visit the website.

Celebrating a historic decade of philanthropy

Funds donated during the Initiative Campaign have furthered the university’s top priorities in teaching, research and athletics and recreation.

Queen’s University is celebrating the success of the Initiative Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its 175-year history, which concluded on April 30, 2016. Thanks to the collective dedication and generosity of volunteers and donors, more than $640 million has been donated to Queen’s University during the 10-year Initiative Campaign, surpassing the $500 million goal set at the beginning of the campaign in 2006.

Queen's Bands enter during the Initiative Campaign launch event held inside Grant Hall in October 2012. Queen's is celebrating the successful conclusion of the Initiative Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university's 175-year history. (University Communications) 

“This is a proud moment in Queen’s history. The university is enormously grateful to all of our volunteers and donors who recognize the value of a Queen’s education, and have invested in making one of Canada’s top universities even better,” says Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice Chancellor.  

More than 60,000 individual donors, including 35,000 alumni, contributed to the campaign since it was launched in 2006. Funds donated during the Initiative Campaign have furthered the university’s top priorities in teaching, research and athletics and recreation.

Over $85 million has been used to support student assistance programs, including the creation of 473 new student awards and 22 new chairs and professorships. Campuses and facilities at Queen’s have already improved greatly as a result of donations during the Initiative Campaign with further investments to be made in a number of priority areas.

“I would like to extend my most sincere gratitude to the volunteers, donors, alumni and supporters who have contributed to the Initiative Campaign over the past 10 years,” says Gord Nixon, Chair of the Initiative Campaign. “Their efforts have contributed greatly to the campaign, and the excitement and momentum that inspires others to make the same commitment to Queen’s.”

Campuses and facilities at Queen’s have improved greatly as a result of donations during the Initiative Campaign. These investments support the university’s programs and its people, including experiences beyond the classroom that enable the Queen’s community to make a significant impact on society as an informed citizenry, nationally and internationally.

In addition to the funds raised, support from the three levels of government provided an additional $94 million that was not included in the Initiative Campaign total. Queen’s partnered with the federal and provincial governments to build Queen’s School of Medicine, and received support from the federal, provincial and municipal governments to bring the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts to fruition. This support was essential in making these projects possible and the university is enormously grateful for these investments.

More than $115 million has been committed in future estate gifts against the university’s parallel goal of $100 million, which is counted outside of the Initiative Campaign total.

Down to a science

The sixth annual Science Rendezvous Kingston promises to be bigger and better than ever

Square-wheeled tricycles, birds of prey, a quarantine tent and robots in action.

Those are just a few examples of the 60 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) stations that are part of this year’s Science Rendezvous Kingston at the Rogers K-Rock Centre on Saturday, May 7

The free event features 20 Queen’s University departments, 12 from the Royal Military College of Canada, two from St. Lawrence College and a large number of citizen science groups. The event runs from 10 am to 3 pm and the first 2,000 families will receive a take-home booklet filled with science experiments.

“The idea of Science Rendezvous is to increase and stimulate interest in the STEM subjects,” says lead organizer Lynda Colgan (Education). “The event has just gotten bigger and bigger over the years. We are expecting more than 4,000 people from the greater Kingston community to attend and it is possible only because of the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of more than 350 volunteers who year after year prepare engaging and educational activities for people of all ages.”

Each year, the diversity of the exhibits changes and grows and this year is no different. A highlight this year is a presentation by Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald. His talk, entitled The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory: Observing Massive Neutrinos from the Sun, will start at noon.

Other unique events include:

  • A Chemistry Magic Show — 10:30 am and 1:30 pm by Dr. Philip Jessop (Chemistry) and his team of graduate students 
  • Birds of Prey — 11 am and 2 pm Canadian Raptor Conservancy
  • Lasers: From nanotech to epic movies — 11:30 am by Dr. James Fraser (Physics)
  • The Kingston Police Force Canine Unit — 1 pm
  • Will Sanderson, Arctic and Antarctic expedition member — 2:30 pm

“This year we are bringing in a quarantine tent as our public service type display,” says Dr. Colgan. “People can visit the tent where there are medical students in period costumes made up to look like they have different diseases such as smallpox, measles and polio. They can describe the disease including symptoms and cures. They also talk about why vaccines are important.” The Quarantine Tent is funded in part by the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s.

Dr. Colgan adds another highlight of Science Rendezvous Kingston will be the three square-wheeled tricycles that ride smoothly along on their inverted catenary roadway. The tricycles were designed and constructed by 18 first-year applied science students, the third consecutive year for such a collaboration between the Education Community Outreach Centre and the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering).

“After all, everyone believes bicycles and tricycles must have round wheels. The wow of operational square-wheeled vehicles will attract a lot of attention,” she says.

Self-care isn't selfish

  • Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education, joins in the pet therapy during the Revive & Thrive event hosted at Duncan McArthur Hall on Wednesday.
    Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education, joins in the pet therapy during the Revive & Thrive event hosted at Duncan McArthur Hall on Wednesday.
  • Sarah Horsford, the Faculty of Education's Personal Counsellor, sits in the conversation ball pit during the Revive & Thrive event hosted at Duncan McArthur Hall.
    Sarah Horsford, the Faculty of Education's Personal Counsellor, sits in the conversation ball pit during the Revive & Thrive event hosted at Duncan McArthur Hall.
  • Paul Carl, administrative assistant for the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, teaches students how to make a drumstick as part of a drum awakening ceremony.
    Paul Carl, administrative assistant for the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, teaches students how to make a drumstick as part of a drum awakening ceremony.
  • Students make their own buttons at a table set up along Student Street in Duncan McArthur Hall on Wednesday as part of Revive & Thrive wellness day.
    Students make their own buttons at a table set up along Student Street in Duncan McArthur Hall on Wednesday as part of Revive & Thrive wellness day.
  • The dogs brought in by Therapeutic Paws of Canada were a popular attraction as students, staff and faculty lined up to take part in a bit of pet therapy.
    The dogs brought in by Therapeutic Paws of Canada were a popular attraction as students, staff and faculty lined up to take part in a bit of pet therapy.

Sometimes it’s just nice to take a break from your daily routine.

The Faculty of Education hosted a Revive and Thrive! wellness day on Wednesday, April 20 at Duncan McArthur Hall, organized by its personal counsellor and Education Students’ Mental Health Initiative (ESMHI).

With a focus on mental wellness creativity and self-care, participants were able to take part in a number of activities including therapy dogs, yoga, massage, button making and Lego.

The ESMHI was created in 2015 by a group of graduate students, with the support of the Faculty of Education’s Personal Counsellor Sarah Horsford, who recognized a need to support mental health and wellbeing at West Campus. The existence of Ms. Horsford’s role has contributed to educating and changing the culture regarding mental health within the faculty, and the community as a whole.

A key part of her role, Ms. Horsford explains, is programming and throughout the year she and the ESMHI have hosted “uplifting” activities such as posting positive notes, cookie decorating, a mental health awareness day coinciding with Bell Let’s Talk Day and an information fair to highlight the range of support resources available at Queen’s.

Ms. Horsford also provides a series of workshops to the Bachelor of Education students that place a focus on self-care – a key element for their future careers as teachers.

“Self-care is actually something that is needed in order for us to have stamina in our careers, especially when we are helping others,” Ms Horsford explains. “So this type of day is an opportunity for everybody to practice what we’ve been talking about in the sessions all year long and it also helps bring the community together because everybody’s involved – a lot of staff are involved as well as community partners who have come in for the day.” 

There's no place like home

Queen’s honorary degrees will be reserved for alumni in 2016 in celebration of the university’s 175th anniversary.

[Logo for the 175th anniversary]
Queen's 175th Anniversary

This year’s spring convocation ceremonies at Queen’s University will give the honorees the feeling of coming home. The 11 recipients this spring are all Queen’s alumni and feature musicians The Tragically Hip, journalist Ali Velshi and former Queen’s University Chaplain Brian Yealland among others.

“Bestowing honorary degrees on Queen’s University alumni as we prepare to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the university is very fitting,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “This year we are celebrating the university’s unique legacy while recognizing our leaders in academia, business, science and the arts.”

The ceremonies get underway Thursday, May 19 and wrap up Friday, June 10. The recipients include:

Hailing from Kingston, and with close ties to the Queen's community, The Tragically Hip formed in 1984. Consisting of lead singer Gordon Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay, The Hip has released 12 studio albums, two live albums, one EP and 54 singles. The group has won 14 Juno awards and nine of its albums have reached No. 1 in Canada. In addition to their musical contributions, the band members are also significant for the ways in which they have given back to local and national communities and agencies, contributed to international aid, and helped preserve the environment. Thursday, May 19 at 2:30 pm.

Donald Creighton Rae Sobey

Donald Creighton Rae Sobey (Com’57) joined the board of Empire Company Limited in 1963. In 2004, he retired as Chairman of Empire Company Limited and retired from the Board in 2015. He was inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame and Canadian Business Hall of Fame, and is a member of the Order of Canada. Mr. Sobey established the D & R Sobey Atlantic Leadership Scholarships at Queen’s University, which are awarded to Atlantic Canadian students who demonstrate academic achievement and leadership. He also serves on the Smith School of Business Advisory Board at Queen’s University. Monday, May 30 at 2:30 pm.


P. Kim Sturgess

P. Kim Sturgess (Sc’77) is the founder and CEO of Alberta WaterSMART, an organization committed to improving water management through better technologies and practices. In 2007, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and in 2012 was named the Business Woman of the Year in Calgary. She also earned the Queen’s Alumni Achievement Award. Ms. Sturgess is a member of the Order of Canada. Wednesday, June 1 at 2:30 pm.

Ronald McCallum

After teaching law at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, for 18 years, Ronald McCallum (LLM’74) was appointed to a full professorship at the University of Sydney. This appointment made Mr. McCallum the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship at any Australian or New Zealand university. He served as Dean of the University of Sydney Law School between 2002 and 2007. Friday, June 3 at 2:30 pm.

Eileen Hutton

Eileen Hutton (NSc’74) is currently the Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of Midwifery at McMaster University. She was the first midwife member of the Council of the Society of Obstetrician and Gynecologist of Canada. She is the first midwife ever to hold a professorship in the Netherlands. The Association of Ontario Midwives recently awarded her the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her role in education, research and contribution to the profession. Monday, June 6 at 10 am.

Piers Handling

Piers Handling (Artsci’71) has been the director and CEO of Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a charitable cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world, through film, since 1994. Under Mr. Handling’s direction, the organization has grown to become an internationally renowned cultural institution. In 2014, Mr. Handling was invested into the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest official honour, by Lieutenant-Governor David Onley. Monday, June 6 at 2:30 pm.

Debra Pepler (PHE’73, Ed’74) has been a member of the Department of Psychology at York University since 1988 and works closely with Queen’s professor Wendy Craig as co-scientific director of Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet). This is a collaborative and interdisciplinary initiative that brings together 62 researchers from 27 Canadian universities and 49 national organizations. Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 10 am.

Ali Velshi

Ali Velshi (Artsci’94) graduated from Queen’s with a degree in religious studies. He was most recently the host of Ali Velshi On Target, a nightly primetime show on Al Jazeera America. He’s also reported from the U.S. presidential campaign trail, as well as covering ISIL and the Syrian refugee crisis from Turkey, the days leading up to the nuclear deal from Tehran, the debt crisis in Greece, and the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Tuesday, June 7 at 2:30 pm.

Brian Yealland (MDiv’72) was ordained a United Church minister the same year as his graduation. Following the retirement of Padre A. Marshall Laverty, Rev. Yealland worked as the Queen’s University Chaplain from 1983 until 2013. He is the recipient of the Queen’s University Distinguished Service Award, the John Orr Award from the Queen’s Toronto Alumni Branch, and the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. Wednesday, June 8 at 10 am.

Wendy Jane Crewson

Wendy Jane Crewson (Artsci’77) graduated from Queen’s and moved on to study theatre in London. She has worked all over the world and her career includes more than 100 titles including The Santa Clause with Tim Allen and Air Force One with Harrison Ford. She also continues her role as Dr. Dana Kinney on Saving Hope. Wednesday, June 8 at 2:30 pm.

Stephen H. Safe

Stephen H. Safe (MSc’62) graduated from Queen’s and was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study for his doctorate at the University of Oxford in England. His scientific career has covered several different areas of research that include his early studies on the chemistry of pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). His work has helped regulate and reduce levels of this compound in wildlife, humans and food. Friday, June 10 at 10 am.

Choral work wins national award

Benjamin Bolden, an associate professor in Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education, has won a national competition for choral music.

[Ben Bolden]
Ben Bolden of the Faculty of Education is the winner of the 2016 Competition for Choral Writing. (Supplied Photo) 

Dr. Bolden’s composition Tread Softly, a setting of The Cloths of Heaven by poet W.B. Yeats, was recently selected by Choral Canada as the winner of 2016 Competition for Choral Writing.

As a result, the Tread Softly will be published by Cypress Choral Music, a co-sponsor of the competition, and be premiered by the 2016 National Youth Choir of Canada during Choral Canada’s Podium biennial choral conference and festival in Edmonton on Friday, May 20.

He also receives the $1,500 Dianne Loomer Award.

“Having the piece performed by the National Youth Choir is an immense privilege,” Dr. Bolden says. “To think that all these superb young musicians will be dedicating their energy, expertise, musicality and spirit to bring my music alive… it is such a gift that the music I imagine, and hope might work, and write down as black marks on a page, can actually see the light of day and become beautiful through their voices.”

Tread Softly is an a cappella choral work which Michael Zaugg, guest conductor for the 2016 National Youth Choir of Canada, says uses “a lush tonal language” to set the words by Yeats.

“The well-structured dynamic and melodic development brings the text to the forefront and engages the performer and listener alike,” Mr. Zaugg adds. “I look forward to presenting these soaring melodies and rich harmonies in concert with the National Youth Choir of Canada.”

Dr. Bolden says he was inspired to compose the piece by a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally-recognized expert on education in the arts, where he spoke about the importance of educating children in a way that allows them to be who they need to be, and of honouring their dreams.

“He closed the talk by reading the poem ‘The Cloths of Heaven’ by William Butler Yeats,” he says. “He was using the poem to remind policy makers, educators, and parents that, every day and everywhere, children lay their dreams at our feet. We need to tread softly.”

Dr. Bolden’s research interests include the learning and teaching of composing, creativity, community music, arts-based research, Web 2.0 technologies in education, teacher knowledge, and teachers’ professional learning. He is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and his compositions have been performed by a variety of professional and amateur performing ensembles.

Founded in 1980, Choral Canada is the national voice of the Canadian choral community, representing and uniting a network of conductors, educators, composers, administrators, choral industry leaders, and more than 42,000 choral singers. 

Do relationships matter?

National study shows a decline in risky adolescent behaviours and reports of bullying others among Canadian youth.

Findings from the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey (HBSC) show that relationships with family, school, peers, and community play a critical role in the health of young people. Queen’s University researchers William Pickett (Public Health Science) and John Freeman (Education) were co-principal investigators on the study.

The HBSC is a cross-national research study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) internationally and with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) nationally. The survey was administered to 29,784 students in Grade 6 through 10 from 377 Canadian schools across all 10 Canadian provinces and three Canadian territories.

New research has shown positive social support leads to positive health outcomes.

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support Queen’s University in the development of this report,” says Jane Philpott, Minister of Health. “Positive relationships and support systems are essential to the health of our youth. The study will help inform the work we do to improve their long-term health and well-being.”

A number of key findings emerged from the report:

  • Positive social supports provided from parents, teachers, friends, and communities are critical for positive health outcomes.
  • Family matters—for virtually all relationships examined, family support was the most important source of support linked to better health outcomes.
  • The prevalence of cannabis use peaked in 2002 and has declined ever since. Cannabis use among Canadian youth is now at its lowest level ever in the 24-year study, at 23% for both boys and girls.
  • Reports of bullying others have declined 50% since the last survey, but reports of being victimized have remained the same.
  • Girls were particularly vulnerable to mental health issues, especially Grade 9-10 girls who reported more negatively on mental and emotional health outcomes than all other groups.
  • Only 1 in 5 Canadian youth reported participating in enough moderate to vigorous physical activity to meet Canada’s physical activity guidelines (i.e., 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day).
  • Approximately 1 on 3 boys and 1 in 4 girls were classified as having overweight or obesity by their reported Body Mass Index (BMI).
  • Over half of the reported injuries were experienced during healthy pursuits, such as sport participation.

“This report from the Canadian HBSC team focuses on the link between supportive relationships and adolescents’ health,” explained William Pickett of Queen’s University, who is co-Principal Investigator of the study. “Do relationships matter to the health of young people in Canada? Clearly, the answer to that question is yes.”

For the last 25 years, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) has been a vital source of information in Canada, describing the health experiences of young Canadians and factors that determine their health. The survey is coordinated by the Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG) at Queen’s University, and researchers from Queen's University, the University of British Columbia, McGill University, and the University of New Brunswick collaborated on the study.

“The declines in many risk behaviours, like cannabis use and bullying, are good news,” said Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc of the University of British Columbia, a co-Investigator on the study. “But there are still areas of concern. Too many young people aren’t meeting the Canada guidelines for physical activity. Rates of overweight and obesity among adolescents and negative mental health outcomes, especially for Grade 9 to 10 girls, remain priority issues.”

The Canadian HBSC Report is available on the website.

Breathing new life into the PEC

Queen’s University recently has made progress in its plans to revitalize the former Physical Education Centre (PEC) as a centre for health, wellness and innovation. Jasmine Toor, Communications Specialist, spoke with Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), to learn what the plan will mean for the university.

The revitalization plan for the former Physical Education Centre (PEC) sees the building transformed into a health, wellness and innovation centre.
Construction of the former Physical Education Centre (PEC) was completed in 1931, offering gymnasiums as well as swimming, diving and water polo facilities.

Jasmine Toor: What progress has been made on the university’s plan to revitalize the former PEC building?

Alan Harrison: The university has made significant progress. Queen’s retained CS&P Architects in fall 2015 to produce a functional program and conceptual design for the revitalized building. The preliminary business case for the project is complete and we have initiated the work that will yield a more reliable cost estimate (known as a class B estimate). Our hope is that the first phase of the project, the demolition of much of the interior, will commence early in 2017. Queen’s has raised a significant portion of the total cost of the project, the class D estimate for which is $87 million.   

JT: What was the impetus that led to the decision to redevelop the building?

AH: A structural assessment by an external consultant found that the building was in excellent shape and thus could provide a considerable amount of additional space at a relatively low cost per square foot, if renovated, in comparison to a newly constructed building. The Queen's Health, Wellness and Innovation Centre affords us a wonderful opportunity to utilize and revitalize valuable space in the heart of campus.

JT: What will the revitalized building be used for?

AH: The major constituent parts of this project are engineering, innovation and health and wellness. The revitalized building will enhance both the quality of our student experience and the quality of our research facilities by aligning academic and non-academic uses for the building.  Queen’s has a longstanding reputation of offering our students an exceptional educational and extra-curricular learning experience. When completed, the project will be a prominent symbol of Queen’s as the quintessential balanced academy, the Canadian research-intensive university with a transformative learning experience.

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science will be a major occupant of the revitalized building. Undergraduate learning in engineering will be supported by an interactive Learning Commons that will allow more than 500 mechanical and materials engineering students to work individually or collaboratively on projects and assignments in an environment that offers state-of-the-art information and computing technology. Additionally, a number of high-technology, leading-edge teaching and design studios will each support between 75 and 150 undergraduate students.

Interdisciplinary laboratory space will support more than 20 faculty researchers working on bioengineering, environmental and biomedical research. This laboratory space will allow considerable expansion of interdisciplinary research, primarily but not exclusively in the areas of chemical and civil engineering. The benefits of this laboratory space will accrue not only to the researchers but also to their graduate students.

The Queen’s Health, Wellness and Innovation Centre affords us a wonderful opportunity to utilize and revitalize valuable space in the heart of campus.

— Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

JT: How does this plan align with Queen’s commitment to enhanced health and wellness related facilities?

AH: The Wellness Centre is an integral part of the revitalization project. The new Wellness Centre will allow us to co-locate services, so anyone seeking counselling is assured of privacy.  By combining health, counselling and accessibility services together in one centrally located and visible location, along with three gymnasia and other athletic and recreation facilities, the revitalized building will provide opportunities to integrate physical and mental health, connecting them with the student experience.

Furthermore, the new Wellness Centre will be able to provide us with the increased capacity and flexibility to meet the rising demand across the spectrum of wellness services and expand in response to the evolving needs of our student population. This was acknowledged by the 2012 report of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health, which recommended a new and centralized location for student wellness services.

The completion of Queen’s Gymnasium in 1931:
“It is modern in every respect; we can hold up our heads and boast of one of the finest gymnasiums in Dominion. The undergraduates will reap the benefits and it behooves them to carry on and bring more athletic honors to Queen’s. Swimming and diving and water-polo facilities are now open for the Queen’s natatorialartists and soon graduates should hear that Queen’s is once more carrying off championships in this new athletic field.”

JT: How does the revitalization project align with Queen’s commitment to innovation?

AH: Queen’s has committed to increasing the number of new opportunities for experiential and entrepreneurial learning, improving intra-university collaboration through new programs and curriculum innovation, and creating new and innovative ways for students to develop fundamental academic skills. The new engineering space of the building will include an Innovation Hub. This and other space in the refurbished building dedicated to innovation will result in a considerable expansion of the Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC), which will support and allow the development of a core strength of the QIC, which is its interdisciplinary nature.

Students from across the university will have access to the resources, the networks and the mentors that will help transform their ideas into products and services. They will work in diverse teams to address important problems and identify the solutions that will yield benefits not only for our region, but nationally and globally too. The innovation component of the redevelopment plan also aligns with the federal government’s focus on innovation as an important component of university research.


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