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Flags lowered for Mary Balanchuk

Flags on campus are lowered in memory of Mary Lilian Balanchuk, a professor emerita in the Faculty of Education. She died on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital in Kingston.

[Mary Balanchuk with sister Stephanie Patterson]
Mary Balanchuk (right), Arts'49, is survived by her sister Stephanie Patterson, Arts'63. The siblings attended the launch of the Initiative Campaign in 2012. 

Ms. Balanchuk is a former member of the Queen’s Board of Trustees and a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 1994. She served as president of the Faculty Women’s Club (now known as the Queen’s Women’s Association) from 1998-2001.

Family and friends will be received at the Gordon F. Tompkins Funeral Home – Township Chapel (435 Davis Drive) on Friday, Oct. 2 from 10 am until the service at 11 am. Reception to follow. Final place of rest will be Mountainview Cemetery, Thunder Bay.

For those wishing, donations may be made to the Mary Balanchuk & Stephanie Patterson Fund. 

Passion plus math equals success

Queen’s Professor Lynda Colgan invited to participate at National Book Festival.

Lynda Colgan, one of Canada’s leading experts in math education, will share her unique approach to the topic at the 15th annual National Book Festival, a major event hosted by the Library of Congress.

Dr. Colgan (Education) was invited to the Sept. 5 event in Washington, D.C., by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute of America and the Children’s Book Council after her book Mathemagic: Number Tricks was named an Honor Book this year.

“I’ve been asked to do a mathemagic show at the event,” explains Dr. Colgan. “I’ll be doing magic tricks and explaining the math behind them. I’m then hoping the children will take the tricks and do them with their friends. Anything to teach them more about math.”

More than 75,000 people are expected to attend the National Book Festival and Dr. Colgan is hoping to reach a wide range of children to show them math can be fun. Another highlight of the event will be the official opening attended by national event chairs President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. “I’m also hoping to meet other math authors so we can share ideas” says Dr. Colgan. “This is my passion and I want to share it. Math is very important for everyone.”

Along with her trip to Washington, Dr. Colgan is putting the finishing touches on her new TVO/TFO show MathXplosion. The television program features three minute fun math segments that include unique math magic tricks.

Aboriginal education course a key element of enhanced BEd program

Throughout its history, Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education has placed an importance on Canada’s First Nations and the latest example is the introduction of a new Aboriginal education course that is a required element of the enhanced Bachelor of Education (BEd) program.

Aboriginal Teacher Education (ATEP) and Artist in Community Education (ACE) teacher candidates learn to make traditional Anishnaabe hand drums at a special workshop. (University Communications)

With the Government of Ontario’s recent extension of Bachelor of Education programs from two terms to four terms, this provided the faculty the opportunity to better prepare teacher-candidates to teach Aboriginal topics as well as create an inclusive environment in their future classrooms, explains Peter Chin, Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies.

The move to four terms affects all Ontario universities with education programs. Queen’s is unique in offering the BEd over four successive terms on campus. The Ministry of Education also mandated a list of required features that it wanted to see in the programs. How each faculty meets these mandates is entirely up to them, Dr. Chin says.

As a result, the Queen’s Faculty of Education decided to meet the Aboriginal Education curriculum mandate by creating a 12-hour dedicated course that will be a required element for BEd students. Other universities might follow a similar path or take a different route, such as folding the element into another course.

“We’ve taken the position that we don’t want to just integrate Aboriginal education into another course. We actually want to have a standalone course,” Dr. Chin says. “What this does is it continues to re-emphasize the importance we place on Aboriginal education within our program as well as inclusive practices in general.”

[Medicine Garden]
Volunteers from the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) help create the medicine garden at Duncan McArthur Hall earlier this year. (University Communications)

From its beginning, he points out, the faculty has placed an importance on Aboriginal inclusion and education.  It has offered the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) option and the Community-based ATEP Program has been administered at sites across the province since 1991. More recently, it incorporated Aboriginal Education lessons, designed by school board Aboriginal Education consultants, into its first year Concurrent Education courses.  In addition to offering a Master of Education Aboriginal & World Indigenous Educational Studies, the faculty also offers Aboriginal Education as a field of study in its new online Professional Master of Education Program.

Beyond program offerings, there’s an Aboriginal component to the faculty’s annual opening and Remembrance Day ceremonies, there are regular drum and smudging ceremonies, as well as the ATEP Office and Library and the recently created sacred medicine garden outside Duncan McArthur Hall on West Campus.

“In our new BEd program, we’re going to demonstrate our focus on Aboriginal education by giving it the credibility and legitimacy of a standalone course. With a standalone course, you know everybody gets it, you know what the topic is, you know who is instructing it,” Dr. Chin says. “We’re elevating this because we see the importance of it, which is consistent with our other actions over the years and the importance of Aboriginal education to our faculty.”

He also points out that the four-term program also allows the faculty to allocate more credits to elements it values, such as mental health, environmental education, high school transitions and an emphasis on English language learning. 

Luce-Kapler to grow community as new dean

Dr. Luce-Kapler looks forward with great excitement to the future of the Faculty of Education at a time of change and renewal.

Rebecca Luce-Kapler was at home and about to leave for a vacation when she received an e-mail from Provost Alan Harrison asking her to call him at her earliest convenience. She called him immediately and was offered the position of dean of Education at Queen’s.

Accepting his offer, she hung up the phone and then ran around the house, looking for her husband.

She remembers yelling one thing: “I GOT THE JOB!”

“I didn’t realize just how much I wanted the job until I got closer to finding out. I’ll never forget how good that felt,” says Dr. Luce-Kapler, who stepped into her new role on July 1.

[Dr. Luce-Kapler]
Rebecca Luce-Kapler took on the role as dean of Education on July 1.

Dr. Luce-Kapler, who lives on a cliff overlooking a lake and who confesses a great love for Kingston, first came to Queen’s with similar feelings of excitement in 1997 to work on language and literacy research and programming within the Faculty of Education.

A B.Ed graduate who pursued her graduate work at the University of Alberta, Dr. Luce-Kapler set out to complete a master’s degree with the intention of returning to teach in the classroom.

During that process, however, she came to realize that she wanted to make a deeper impact on education beyond the traditional school-teacher setting. She ended up staying to complete a PhD in language and literacy education, fostering a love for research and higher education at the same time.

Arriving at Queen’s, she was surprised to find that transitioning between provinces was more difficult than expected.

“When I came to Queen’s, I thought, it’s not going to be that big a transition because it’s still Canada… well it turns out that Alberta and Ontario are kind of different,” she laughs.

Due to the immediate bonds and sense of community that she experienced within her new faculty, however, Dr. Luce-Kapler grew to love her city and her Queen’s community. “I thought I’d stay for a few years and then go back to the prairies, and I never did,” she admits.

She cites the collaborative environment and special relationships she has developed as the primary reason that she never left.

“There’s an intermingling between disciplines and levels here that I found very synergistic,” she says. “I ended up doing research that I never imagined I’d have the chance to do… and I really, really like our students.”

Now at the helm of this community, Dr. Luce-Kapler feels excitement about the myriad of opportunities that lie ahead. Recognizing things will get even more hectic when September rolls around, she has not wasted any time in getting to work.

One such opportunity is the introduction of a new Bachelor of Education program, whose first cohort started at the faculty in May. The provincially mandated changes for B.Ed programs in Ontario have led to the complete restructuring of the faculty’s education program. The Queen’s program now takes 16 months to complete and sees students starting in the spring, rather than in September.

She describes the feedback from students she’s spoken with so far as being positive, and says she is excited to help shape teacher education at Queen’s within a new provincial framework.

“The opportunity to see this program and its students grow, and to continue to grow our community as a whole on a number of different levels – it’s all very exciting,” she says.

When speaking about growth, Dr. Luce-Kapler routinely focuses on the people involved in the process, and the importance of forming meaningful relationships within the faculty.

She speaks, particularly, of her close relationship with former dean Stephen Elliott, who she met soon after arriving to Queen’s. He became one of her first friends and has continued to be a wonderful support system.

[Dr. Luce-Kapler]
In her office, Dr. Luce-Kapler poses with a painting created by former dean, Dr. Stephen Elliott.

The connections she made with her colleagues were fostered in unique ways. When Dr. Luce-Kapler first arrived, she, Dr. Elliott and Dr. Peter Chin (who now serves as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies), formed a hermeneutic reading group, reading texts from that philosophical perspective.

“I was lonely when I first came – I knew no one here and my entire family was in Alberta. Back in Alberta, I was part of a reading group and I really missed that, so I asked Peter [Chin] who I knew was from the west as well if he wanted to join a hermeneutic reading group, and he said yes. Stephen [Elliott] was walking by, asked us ‘what’s hermeneutics?’, and we said that he’d had to join to find out. So for a year, the three of us had a hermeneutic reading group.”

She explains how when the three of them went on to become the administration team years later, they laughed when thinking back to their earlier experiences together.

A lover of gardening, cooking, and poetry, regularly drafting biographical poetry about women’s experiences in her spare time, Dr. Luce-Kapler is a people-oriented leader who greatly cherishes opportunities to bring individuals together and share experiences. Perhaps most telling is how she describes her colleagues as friends and her faculty at large as a family.

“The Faculty of Education at Queen’s is non-departmentalized, and so it really feels like you’re working in a community together,” she says.

When it comes to her new role, Dr. Luce-Kapler feels like everything has fallen into place in the right way at the right time.

“Things have flowed in a lovely way since I arrived here. I couldn’t be happier to be where I am, and I cannot wait to see where this faculty goes from here.” 

A unique viewpoint

Queen's researcher Amber White gets Aboriginal students to utilize canvas to tell the story of their lives.

“May I borrow your story?”

This was the question asked by Queen’s researcher Amber White when she travelled to Sudbury for a research project. The Master’s of Education student encouraged eight Aboriginal youth in the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre to explain why they left high school before graduation, using nothing but paint, a brush, and a blank canvas.

Amber White's new art show documents the lives of eight Aboriginal young people.

The result is Speaking Through Acrylic: Potholes, Loss and Dreams, an art exhibit created by those eight Aboriginal students that delves deep into their lives and doesn’t pull any punches. From bullying, to teenage pregnancy and loneliness, the eight canvasses are stark and unforgiving.

The show has been mounted in The Studio, located in the Queen’s Faculty of Education.

“I travelled to Sudbury and they trusted me,” says Ms. White. “This was a humbling experience and I hope it resonates. It’s important to know why urban aboriginal youth withdraw from mainstream schools. Without their voices, there won’t be change.”

The name of the show reflects the message the students want to convey. Potholes are symbolic of the roadblocks these youth continue to face and overcome, while loss is something each participant has felt in their lives. Each has dreams for the future; some of these dreams were taken away, while some are still held near and dear. Each of these complexities and emotions come together within the eight pieces of art.

“This is a unique way to tell a story and I hope we listen,” says Ms. White. “The students want their teachers to come to their defense, to understand what they are going through. It’s a serious situation. These students are dropping out of school and some aren’t coming back.”

Going forward, Ms. White has plans to return to Sudbury to continue her research.

“I also want to give back to the community that welcomed me in. Some researchers go and just take and take,” she says. “I want to give them something in return.”

The show opens Tuesday, July 28 with a special Thanks Giving ceremony at 1:30 pm. The show runs every day from 1:30 to 5:30 pm until Friday, Aug. 14.

To learn more about the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre visit the website.

Strengthening the research culture

[Research Mentors Yolande Chan]
Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research), the Queen’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) leader, says she has seen increased engagement for faculty through the Research Mentors program. (University Communications)

The Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio is aiming to increase research engagement, collaboration and funding for faculty conducting their research in the social sciences, humanities and the creative arts through a research mentorship pilot initiative.

While the newly created Research Mentors program definitely has a mentoring aspect, it actually provides much more. The 16 Research Mentors act as leaders in peer review processes for grant applications to improve funding success. They also help to identify potential nominees for awards and research celebrations, like the recent PechaKucha Research Showcase.

The Research Mentors are mid-career to senior faculty in the social sciences, humanities and the creative arts with a high level of experience and knowledge of the grant application processes. The role is voluntary, and each Research Mentor has the freedom to approach the position differently – but they are all encouraged to start peer review processes in their cognate groups, and to develop awards committees.

“The early results have been positive,” says Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research), the Queen’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) leader, and an E. Marie Shantz Professor of Management Information Systems in the Queen’s School of Business. “Some mentors are very much on fire and they themselves have been renewed as a result of being part of this program and are now acting in catalytic ways, assisting others.”

The effects of the Research Mentors can also be seen in the turnout for events such as a recent information session on SSHRC Insight Grant applications where many more people registered than in the recent past. “We are already seeing greater SSHRC engagement,” she says. “The program is designed to strengthen the research culture by creating excitement and a buzz. The Research Mentors are actively promoting, giving visibility to, and celebrating their colleagues’ success.”

Further information can be found at the Research Mentors webpage. Questions about the program may be directed to Dr. Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research).

Being dean a 'creative time' for Stephen Elliott

Dr. Elliott steered the Faculty of Education through productive, yet challenging years – and now looks forward to having time to paint.

Stephen Elliott is a visual artist, but he learned his business sense from his father, who taught business and finance and was an industrial engineer for Chrysler earlier in his career. At Chrysler, it was his father's job to find the most efficient ways to do things on the factory floor.

“He would routinely do time studies, measuring how fast specific tasks were being completed. He’d bring that home with him and create games for me and my siblings, such as fastening bolts to a matrix,” says Dr. Elliott. “He would time us completing the tasks, and take his findings back to work. These activities left me with a great interest in making things, being creative in my approach and doing things the best and most efficient way possible.”

It’s this philosophy of doing things efficiently, and creatively, that served him well in his position of dean in the Faculty of Education, a post he held for the past five and a half years and left last month, making way for incoming Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler.

Stephen Elliott – seen with his painting, Still Life with Lemon, Pepper, and three Kittys – stepped down from his position as dean of the Faculty of Education last month.

Dr. Elliott likens his work as dean to a performance arts piece – pulling disparate parts together in a meaningful way to create a meaningful thing.

“Most of what I did as dean I learned in art school,” says Dr. Elliott, who earned his BFA from Queen’s in 1979, studying printmaking and later working as a master printmaker for noted artists such as André Biéler. “Bringing things together, shaping them — it’s been a great job for me, being dean. I’ve worked with wonderful faculty and staff.”

Dr. Elliott has steered the faculty through productive, yet challenging years. The faculty faces different challenges than other faculties, he explains, because the province regulates enrolment, tuition and program, and recently mandated the change in structure to undergraduate degrees in education from one year to two. Students in the Consecutive Education program now take four successive semesters, beginning in May and ending in August of the following year.

“This new program has just begun, but we think it’s going to be great. Most other programs in the province have the break over the summer, but ours is intensive and puts students into the workforce a full eight months before other programs in the province. It’s really intensive – it drives the experience deeper into their souls.”

In addition to the changes in the BEd program, Dr. Elliott is also proud of the new online master’s program the faculty offers.

Dr. Elliott never expected to work in administration. After his BFA, he worked as a printmaker for a fine art publisher in Toronto and went on to complete a BEd at Queen’s, leading to a career as a high school art teacher. He received his MEd from Queen’s and a decade later finished a PhD in art in education from Concordia University.

After teaching in Gananoque for several years, Dr. Elliott came to Queen’s as a professor in 1989. He became the coordinator of the Art in Community Education (ACE) program, and infused the program with his passion for nurturing the arts in education and in the greater community. While teaching in ACE, he often urged students to go into education administration, because the arts are often underrepresented and not well understood in schools.

“Artists are too busy to waste time in meetings,” he says. “But students need the opportunity to think divergently, differently, and the arts do that. We nurture that.”

In the end, Dr. Elliott, while urging students to pursue administrative roles, was encouraged to do the same himself. A student asked him, at one point, what he was doing in terms of administration. While he always served on committees and boards, he hadn’t actively pursued an administrative position. As he opened himself to the idea, the position of associate dean of undergraduate studies at Queen’s became available. He put his name in, spent one and a half years in that role before taking on the deanship.

“I’ve really enjoyed the experience of being dean. It’s been a creative time for me,” says Dr. Elliott, who continued to teach in the ACE program while leading the faculty. “We have the best programs in the province, and moving forward I think the faculty is in a strong position, with excellent people to lead it.”

Next for Dr. Elliott is a return to painting. He’ll clean out his home studio and see what comes up. The last painting he did before becoming dean used to hang in his office in Duncan McArthur Hall. It’s a still life — a whimsical image of a dog and a table, with a wispy plant sitting in a glass.

While he’s still a systems-oriented, forward-thinking taskmaster (thanks to his father), he’s looking forward to having the headspace to paint, and to taking a more relaxed approach to his art and life. “I hope I become more playful as I get older,” he says, smiling.

 

 

 

 

Familiar face to helm Faculty of Education

Queen’s University recently announced the appointment of Rebecca Luce-Kapler as Dean of the Faculty of Education for a five-year term effective July 1, 2015.

[Rebecca Luce-Kapler]
Rebecca Luce-Kapler will replace Stephen Elliott as the Dean of the Faculty of Education on July 1. (Submitted Photo) 

“We are pleased Rebecca has accepted the principal’s invitation to succeed outgoing dean Stephen Elliott. Her experience as interim dean during the first half of 2014 will serve her well,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “I should also like to thank Stephen Elliott for his many very significant contributions to the Faculty of Education.”

Dr. Luce-Kapler is currently Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Education, in which role she has led several important initiatives including the development and implementation of the online Professional Master of Education program.

After being awarded her doctorate by the University of Alberta, Dr. Luce-Kapler came to Queen’s in 1997 as a language and literacy scholar. During her time at Queen’s, she has taught secondary English methods courses and developed writing courses for both B.Ed. and graduate students. She has also taught English as an elementary/secondary school teacher in Alberta, and holds a permanent teaching certificate from that province, in addition to which she is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Her research interests focus on the integral role of literary practices, particularly writing, in the development of human consciousness and identity. This work has contributed to understanding the normative power of cultural forms and the importance of interpretive reading and writing practices for generative learning and teaching.

Dr. Luce-Kapler is also a poet with a number of literary publications, including a poetry collection, The gardens where she dreams.

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

Queen’s Faculty of Education develops progressive, ethical, competent and thoughtful leaders in education through teaching, research and professional collaboration. The faculty strives to be a leader in the educational landscape, recognized for its commitment to teaching, international initiatives, innovative programs and influential research.

Lives Lived: A social view of the world and education

Howard A. Smith, B. Sc. (University of New Brunswick, 1964), Educational Diploma, Class I (McGill, 1965), M. A. (University of Toronto, 1969), Ph.D. (University of Toronto, 1972), began his long career in education as a secondary school teacher at Baron Byng High School in what was then the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (1965-1967). From 1967 to 1971, he engaged his academic career in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

[Howard Smith]
Howard Smith

His career at Queen’s University, Faculty of Education, began in 1971 where he became a Full Professor in 2002, and Professor Emeritus in 2008. He served a term as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the 1990s. His contributions to the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University helped shape the faculty’s vision and program for 37 years.

Howard noted his research interests as: Educational psychology as a science of signs, applied semiotics in learning and education, and multiple “intelligences” or ways of learning Charles S. Peirce. He was the recipient of numerous grants, of which four were from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), as either principal investigator or co-investigator. Howard wrote two significant books Psychosemiotics  (2001): Peter Lang, and Teaching adolescents: Educational Psychology as a science of signs (2007): University of Toronto Press. His work was also widely disseminated through peer reviewed journals and national and international conferences.

Howard was an avid outdoor person who enjoyed hiking and other outdoor activities. His interest in photography was paired with his interest in nature. He was a founding director and president of New Leaf Link (NeLL), “a non-profit charitable organization that supports the continuing education and meaningful occupation of youth and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum conditions, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injury, and other neurological conditions” (newleaflink.ca).

Howard’s social view of the world and education made a difference in the lives of many individuals.

- Ann Marie Hill is a Professor at the Faculty of Education. She was a colleague, research partner, and friend of Howard A. Smith.

LIVES LIVED: A passion for mathematics, church and Scottish dance

Doug Crawford, a professor at Queen’s for many years, died Jan. 19, in his 91st year.

Doug Crawford

Doug was born in Scotland, and long maintained his passion for Scottish dancing. However, he immigrated to North America and completed a PhD in mathematics education at the University of Syracuse. In 1962 he joined the Department of Mathematics at Queen’s University, with his focus primarily on math education and secondarily on statistics, and subsequently joined the Queen’s Faculty of Education when it was founded in 1968.

As well as his regular teaching he was heavily involved until his retirement in 1988 in numerous studies and reports on school mathematics (again, often concentrating on statistics), most often in collaboration with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). 

Doug was a life-long dedicated churchgoer, usually attending his neighborhood United Church, St. Margaret’s United (later Crossroads United) where his wife Pat sang in the choir, but for a while attended St. George’s Cathedral when one of his sons sang in the boys’ choir there.

Both at work and at church Doug had a wide range of strong opinions, and was not shy about sharing them, but always well-reasoned and articulated (even if not always persuasive).

Doug was a voracious reader with many areas of interest, and this naturally went along with a sharpness of mind that stayed with him right to the end.  Indeed, almost his only complaint about the nursing home where he spent his last years was what he felt was rather a lack of intellectual stimulation.

He lived a full and rich life.

Norman Rice is a retired professor from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He was a long-time friend and colleague of Doug Crawford.

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