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William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

 

Teachers-turned-students

The first PhD candidates of the 10-year Mastercard Foundation partnership reflect on their first year at Queen’s, and how their experience will affect Ethiopia.

After a successful first year at Queen’s, Mulugeta Chala and Molalign Adugna are heading home to Ethiopia to conduct field research that will contribute to the foundation of an internationally accredited rehabilitation therapy program at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. Both are doctoral students in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and participants in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

Mulugeta Chala (left) and Molalign Adugna (right), doctoral students in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, will return to Ethiopia for a year of data collection in the fall after their first year at Queen’s. (Photo: University Communications)
Mulugeta Chala (left) and Molalign Adugna (right), doctoral students in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, will return to Ethiopia for a year of data collection in the fall after their first year at Queen’s. (Photo: University Communications)

Mr. Adugna taught sociology and worked as the Director of Continuing and Distance Educational Programs at the University of Gondar.

“My focus has shifted to rehabilitation from sociology for my PhD, and specifically on the nexus between stigma and inclusive education among children with disabilities in rural Ethiopia,” says Mr. Adugna. “I want to learn different stigma reduction strategies that work in Canada, and find which can be applied to Ethiopia. I also want to develop an intervention strategy for disability awareness for future Ethiopian researchers to practice.”

Mr. Chala is a physiotherapist, clinical educator, and coordinated the Office of Research Linkage and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Gondar to connect researchers with the local community.

“My focus is on chronic lower back pain. I’m hoping to develop a chronic pain self-management program customized to the Ethiopian context. Most programs used in developing countries copy strategies from Europe, the United States, and Canada. Those may work for a while, but they’re not sustainable because they lack the context of the developing country,” says Mr. Chala. “While at Queen’s, I want to gain the research skills to develop a research question, and also lay the foundation for the next generation of researchers in Ethiopia. We have a responsibility to train those that follow us.”

The doctoral students had a similar experience to many international graduate students from typically warmer climates; warned about snow, both bought many heavy jackets to fend off the cold.

“We had a lot of preparation, but I found the winter wasn’t bad. I come from the mountains area of Ethiopia, and we have a cold season,” says. Mr. Chala. “Bussing into the school and library made it not so bad.”

The cultural transition has been successful for both students, thanks to the support of the Queen’s and local community.

“I’ve been to the U.S. before, so I didn’t find it too different in Kingston,” says Mr. Adugna. “I’m impressed with the whole system, from infrastructure to transportation, and the Canadian education system. I had a culture shock at first, but people are very friendly at Queen’s and Kingston, so I feel very supported.”

“When we arrived in June, it was very green and beautiful in Kingston,” says Mr. Chala. “I think Kingston is beautiful, and a friendly place to live. It’s small, compared to Toronto, but I think that’s good for students.”

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a 10-year, $24 million partnership that brought Queen’s and the University of Gondar together to support the growth of rehabilitation therapy at the Ethiopian university. The partnership, now in its second year, includes:

  • Scholarships for 450 undergraduate scholars, including those with disabilities and from areas of conflict, to study at Gondar,
  • 60 faculty members from the University of Gondar to study at the graduate level at Queen’s,
  • a Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) certificate, and
  • an internationally recognized occupational therapy curriculum at the University of Gondar.

Mr. Chala and Adugna return to Ethiopia for a work placement, and will be back at Queen’s for their second year of graduate course work.

To find out more about the Mastercard Foundation Scholar’s Program, check out the University of Gondar and Queen’s University partnership website and stay tuned for more highlights as the second cohort of graduate students prepare for their first semester at Queen’s.

The facts of the (dark) matter

World leading researchers gather at Queen’s to discuss dark matter, galaxies, and the universe.

The Andromeda galaxy
The Andromeda Galaxy (Photo credit: Jonathan Sick, Queen's University)

Top scientists from around the world have gathered at Queen's University this week to celebrate fundamental discoveries in the fields of dark matter and galaxy astrophysics, and to honour ten of the top minds in dark matter astrophysics. The symposium, entitled The Physics of Galaxy Scaling Relations and the Nature of Dark Matter, will feature a public lecture, and spotlight research results in the studies of dark matter, galaxy structure, and particle astrophysics during a time of unprecedented intellectual productivity and discovery in the field.  

“To have these giants of dark matter and astroparticle physics gathered here in Canada is a truly rare opportunity that befits the prominent role that Queen’s scientists are developing in these research areas,” says Stéphane Courteau, Chair of the conference organizing committee and Queen’s Professor of Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy.  “Our guests of honour are the pioneers of these study areas and architects of models of our Universe in which a very large fraction of the matter is completely dark, so this is a unique and exciting opportunity to discuss the future of dark matter physics and to recognize our guests’ tremendous accomplishments.”

Running from July 15-20, the conference will not only feature panel discussions and invited lectures on some of the universe’s biggest mysteries, but will also serve as a celebration of the career contributions of the event’s ten guests of honour.

Among the distinguished guests is Sandra Faber, Professor Emerita from the University of California, who co-leads a Hubble Space Telescope project looking at galaxy formation back to the time of the Big Bang. She has been the recipient of major international awards, and was recognized most notably by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013 with the National Medal of Science.

On July 19, Michael Turner from the University of Chicago – the researcher who originally coined the term dark energy – will be giving a free public lecture open to attendees, faculty, staff, students, and the Kingston community. Entitled The Dark Side of the Universe, his talk will explain what we know about the crucial roles of dark matter and dark energy play in shaping our universe.

“The complexities of the universe are vast and intricate, so the public lecture will be an excellent opportunity for the Queen’s and Kingston community to gain a clear, thought-provoking understanding of this research,” says Dr. Courteau. “It will also be valuable for current and prospective students who are considering pursuing this field of study, especially with the recent launch of the new McDonald Institute marking Queen’s University’s leadership role in astroparticle physics.”

Queen’s University recently launched the McDonald Institute (Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute) in partnership with eight universities and five research organizations, cementing its reputation as a world leader in astroparticle physics. This week’s conference marks the most high-profile event hosted by the McDonald Institute since its May 2018 unveiling ceremony, organized in honour of its namesake, Queen’s professor emeritus and Nobel Laureate Arthur B. McDonald.

You can learn more about the conference or reserve your free space at the public lecture now.

A focus on global health and rehabilitation

Queen’s International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) hosts first tri-university conference on global health and rehabilitation.

[Conference Executive Committee]
Some of the members of the conference’s Executive Committee, formed by members of Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, and McGill University. (Photo credit: Atul Jaiswal)

The first global health and rehabilitation conference run collaboratively between Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, and McGill University took place this weekend at Queen’s.

Scholars from the three participating universities and beyond came together for the Future Leaders in Global Health and Rehabilitation Conference 2018. They tackled global topics such as human rights, equity promotion, and global health research competencies.

“This is a first of its kind collaboration between the three disability- and rehabilitation-focused research centres, and may act as a stepping stone for larger engagement among students and faculty in global health research,” says Heather Aldersey, Director of the International Centre for the Advancement of Community-Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. “Giving students and junior scholars a chance to connect with others interested in this field is a fantastic opportunity for them to share, learn and grow, and we were happy to host the first conference at Queen’s.”

The three centres that organized in the conferences included ICACBR, the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation at the University of Toronto, and the Global Health and Rehabilitation Initiative (GHRI) at McGill University. Community engagement funding from the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program supported the event. Many of the executive organizing committee members were Queen Elizabeth Scholars from low- and middle-income countries.

Students from disciplines such as law, engineering, social work, and geography joined health and rehabilitation students to discuss how to build capacity for global health research competencies, share the activities underway at each centre, and plan for future collaborations.

“This tri-university event provided a wonderful opportunity for the ICACBR to share how and what it has contributed to the developing and developed world in the global health and rehabilitation field,” says Atul Jaiswal, Executive Committee Member for the conference and doctoral candidate with the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. “Bringing three leading centres on this discipline together creates opportunities to collaborate and do much more than one centre can do on its own.”

The ICACBR began in 1991 with a mandate to advance the development of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) internationally. Since then, Queen’s has spearheaded CBR, disability, and global health initiatives in over 15 countries in Central and South America, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific Region.

To learn more about ICACBR and their work within the School of Rehabilitation at Queen’s, visit their website.

 

Forum unites Pan-Asian diplomats

The Ambassadors’ Forum brings diplomats from across the Asia-Pacific region to gather and collaborate.

[queen's university summerhill ambassador's forum]
Queen’s representatives and international ambassadors pose together in front of Summerhill, a yearly tradition after the Ambassadors’ Forum. (University Communications)

The Ambassadors’ Forum at Benidickson House brings diplomats from a dozen countries in the Asia-Pacific region to Queen’s to connect, share ideas, and learn.

“This forum is a model for how academics and diplomats can work together to further cultural diplomacy between regions,” said Principal Daniel Woolf during his welcome to the delegates to the forum. “We have international aspirations at Queen’s, and are particularly focused on very good relations with the Asia-Pacific region. We’re also very interested in inter-disciplinary experiential research and student mobility in that region.”

The annual event, which began in 2003, is a chance for Queen’s to bring together ambassadors and high commissioners from countries such as Australia, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand to share international education perspectives, announce partnerships that have been agreed on throughout the year, and discuss issues of relevance as a group.

This year, the forum featured a talk by Dr. James McKay, Assistant Professor of Political Science with the Royal Military College, on “Global Security in the Trump Era”.

In addition to the principal, Queen’s representatives at the forum included Cynthia Fekken, Associate Vice-Principal (Research) and Ryan Rodrigues, Associate Vice-Principal (Alumni Relations and Annual Giving).

[queen's university ambassador forum daniel woolf Hok-Lin Leung]
“I must thank Hok-Lin Leung for his significant help with fostering this international initiative. Dr. Leung recognized the merit and opportunity of linking this very important diplomatic community,” said Dr. Woolf during his welcome speech. Dr. Leung, Professor Emeritus and former director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning, acts as the organizer of the forum. (University Communications)

 

Introducing our new faculty members: Mohamed Khimji

Mohamed Khimji joins the Faculty of Law as the David Allgood Professor in Business Law.

This profile is part of a series highlighting some of the new faculty members who have recently joined the Queen's community as part of the principal's faculty renewal plans, which will see 200 new faculty members hired between 2017-18 and 2022-23.

Mohamed Khimji (Law) sat down with the Gazette to talk about his experience so far. Mr. Khimji is the David Allgood Professor in Business Law.

[Mohamed Khimji]
Mohamed Khimji joined Queen's as the David Allgood Professor in Business Law. (Supplied Photo)
Fast Facts About Mr. Khimji

Department: Law

Hometown: Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Alma mater: London School of Econonmics and Political Science (LL.M.)

Research areas: Shareholder democracy, business law

Hobbies include: Champions League football (soccer), listening to Indie pop music, cooking

Mr. Khimji's web bio
Why did you decide to join Queen’s Faculty of Law?
I have been in academia for a while now. I started at Dalhousie University in the Law school there, and later taught at the University of Western Ontario where I became a chair in corporate finance during my last year. Then the opportunity came up at Queen’s to take on the David Allgood professorship, which struck me as a very interesting and exciting opportunity.
For this role, the Faculty of Law was looking for someone to provide leadership to the business law program and increase its research profile. The opportunity to drive this initiative was very appealing. As an academic, it is an opportunity to go beyond teaching and research and to get involved in administration.
If you look at the major areas of practice, Queen’s is very strong in all of them. This is about taking the business law program a step further.
What got you interested in business law?
Like a lot of law students, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Business law is the default thing to do. It’s easy to default into it because the business law firms tend to have a very structured hiring program – if you just flow through it, you get a job and you get into it.
I happened to like it, so I stayed in it and I went to graduate school. I got a bit lucky…I took a leave of absence from my firm to do a master’s with a plan to leave my firm and do a PhD later. Once I published my LLM thesis, Dalhousie offered me a job – I didn’t need to obtain my PhD.
It made no sense to move to Nova Scotia, but when you’re young and naïve you make bolder decisions. So I packed up my car, moved to Halifax, and that started my teaching career.
How has teaching been at Queen’s?
I very much enjoy teaching at Queen’s and I like the students. They’re very smart and engaged. I think Queen’s students are especially nice to deal with as people. I get along with them very well, and part of that might be my leadership role in the business law department.
One thing I want to do is help the students to be more successful here. I want more of them to get the big business law jobs, I want more of them to be successful when they get those jobs. The learning curve is quite steep and I want them to be as prepared as possible, so I engage with them in terms of where we might improve.
Tell us about your research.
Last year I won a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development grant for a five-year empirical study on shareholder democracy.
This is a big corporate governance issue right now – the extent to which we allocate power to shareholders and management. There are different opinions about what is best for society, what is best for capital markets.
I want to find out why shareholders engage and how shareholders engage, and the extent to which they engage.
What I am working on now is a qualitative study where I am interviewing the different players in the shareholder democracy infrastructure. The interviews are necessary to find out information that is not publicly available.
After this, I want to combine some quantitative analysis with the publicly available information and make some policy recommendations.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I have been in academia long enough where some of my earliest students are now quite senior in the profession. My proudest moment is when I had one of my former students come back to my class to deliver a guest lecture.
This student was a partner in a transactional law practice and he gave a lecture in my mergers and acquisitions class. That was a very proud moment – the student coming back to teach the teacher.
How are you settling in?
My family and I have been living in Toronto. We enjoy the time we spend in Kingston, however. I like the small town community feel. I like bumping into people on my way to work and on my way home from work – I like knowing who my neighbours are.
I find I don’t bump into my students as much as you might think in a city this size – which means I don’t see them in compromising situations and they don’t see me in compromising situations!
The Faculty of Law is great and has been very welcoming. It’s an exciting time to be here with the hiring of seven new faculty members starting in July. We have become more diverse in terms of subject matters and methodologies.
I am also looking forward to working with Robert Yalden again. We will be working closely together as he was appointed the inaugural Stephen Sigurdson Professor in Corporate Law and Finance.
[Khimji office Faculty of Law Queen's]
Walking the halls of the Faculty of Law building, Mr. Khimji's office is not hard to spot. (University Communications)
Any hobbies or interests?
I love football (or soccer as Canadians like to call it) and I cheer for Liverpool in the Champions League.
When I was growing up in Tanzania, you could support one of two football teams. It was either Liverpool or Manchester United. My family happened to frequent this teashop that supported Liverpool, so they became my team. It has been an exciting season – Liverpool reached the final, but then lost quite badly in the final.
I also really enjoy cooking. Right now I am interested in Sichuan cuisine and I am a huge Fuchsia Dunlop fan. She is a food writer who went to the famous Sichuan cooking school for a year. I use her books…I love the spice.
And, of course, taking care of my son who is five months old!

Faculty Renewal

Principal Daniel Woolf has identified faculty renewal as a high priority for reinvestment by the university in support of the academic mission. The five-year renewal plan, launched in 2017, will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the previous six years.

Faculty renewal supports Queen’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by giving the university the opportunity to seek, proactively, representation from equity-seeking groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized individuals. It will also build on Queen’s current areas of research strength.

To learn more about the Principal’s faculty renewal plans, read this Gazette article. Stay tuned for additional new faculty profiles in the Gazette.

Decade-long Cuban partnership continues

Queen’s and the University of Havana celebrate the future of their partnership.

[The 2018 Cuba trip cohort pose together with a statue in Havana. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)]
The 2018 Cuba trip cohort pose together with a statue in Havana. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)

Queen’s and the University of Havana have partnered  for the past 10 years to teach the Cuban Society and Culture course and host visiting scholars and artists. The study abroad course has seen over 300 Queen’s students study in Havana thus far, and will continue thanks to a new agreement signed in Havana during a celebration of the course and partnership in May.

[Students, staff, and faculty from both universities enjoy local food and musical (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)]
Students, staff, and faculty from both universities enjoy local food and music. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)

For Susan Lord (Film and Media) and Karen Dubinsky (History/Global Development Studies), their ongoing professional relationship with their colleagues from the University of Havana has created opportunities that stretch farther than their annual course.

The course begins at Queen’s in the winter term. Students learn about the history of Cuba from 1959 to present day, studying social and cultural challenges, successes, and innovations. Students then travel to Havana for two weeks to experience what they learned over the semester. They visit historic monuments, take in the modern landscape of music, agriculture, and city living, participate in classes at the University of Havana, and enjoy the warm hospitality of their Cuban colleagues and fellow students.

“We have sessions throughout the trip for students to digest their experiences,” says Dr. Lord. “We talk about what they find on the street that contradicts or extends what they’ve learned in books. Some of the key takeaways for students from this past trip was the amount of music everywhere in Havana and the diversity of perspectives on Cuban reality presented by professors in the course. This is much more enriching than only learning in a textbook.”

[Students travel through an art exhibit featuring mosaic tile. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)]
Students travel through an art exhibit featuring mosaic tile. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)

A decade of collaboration has led to lasting relationships between the coordinators from both countries. University of Havana professor Sonia Enjamio was a core contact for Drs. Lord and Dubinsky before she died in 2010. To commemorate her dedication to the course and students, the coordinators of the course, including Drs. Lord and Dubinsky and University of Havana Vice-Dean (International) Lourdes Perez, decided to create the Sonia Enjamio Fund to help Queen’s students continue their studies and University of Havana students study at Queen’s.

“Relationships are a key ingredient to success for these kinds of programs, and the Cuban Society and Culture course is a great example of best practices,” says Jenny Corlett, Director of International Initiatives with the Faculty of Arts and Science. “The coursework is the trunk of the tree, but there are so many relationships that spread like roots to make it stable and keep it growing.”

This connection between Queen’s and the University of Havana has led to dozens of research projects by both universities’ researchers. Ten scholars and artists from Cuba have participated in exchanges to Queen’s. Freddy Monasterio Barso (Cultural Studies) is a Cuban PhD candidate and one of the course instructors for Cuban Society and Culture.

Recent research collaborations between Cuba and Queen’s include:

  • An upcoming book of essays and interviews of Sara Gómez, an Afro-Cuban filmmaker of the sixties by Dr. Lord;
  • A book on Canada-Cuban person-to-person relations by Dr. Dubinsky;
  • A master’s thesis on staying current in an offline country by Xenia Reloba de la Cruz, a Cuban journalist who completed her master’s at Queen’s in Cultural Studies; and
  • A 2014 anthology of renowned Cuban musician Carlos Varela’s work in English and Spanish curated by Dr. Dubinsky, Ms. Reloba de la Cruz, and former Cuban visiting scholar to Queen’s Maria Caridad Cumana. Mr. Varela received an honorary degree from Queen’s in the same year.

“The relationship between Queen’s and the University of Havana precedes the course by several decades,” says Dr. Dubinsky. “It began in the early seventies as part of a large project organized by Canadian University Service Overseas, a Canadian non-governmental organization. Fifty Canadian engineering professors taught over 300 Cuban students. That first project was judged a rousing success, and efforts such as our course continue that connection.”

[Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International), and Barbara Crow, Dean (Faculty of Arts and Science) participate in the awarding of certificates to students in the course. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)]
Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International), and Barbara Crow, Dean (Faculty of Arts and Science) participate in the awarding of certificates to students in the course. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)

Dr. Lord’s vision for the next 5 years of the course is a healthy mixture of growth and sustainability.

“We work hard to keep the costs low. This is one of the least expensive exchange courses to Cuba, so we have to be innovative about how we grow sustainably,” says Dr. Lord. “We would like to increase the Sonia Enjamio Fund to have more reciprocal exchange, and explore more initiatives to support the course. I’d also like to do more work with graduate students to help facilitate their participation.”

The end of the tenth trip was marked with a celebration involving students, staff, and faculty from both universities. Guests enjoyed local cuisine, music (including a concert by Cuban hip hop artist Telmary Diaz, visiting artist at Queen’s in 2017), and the signing of an agreement by Barbara Crow, Dean (Faculty of Arts and Science) and Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International) to continue the partnership for another 5 years.

[Students thank their guides and professors during the contract signing and 10 year celebration at the end of the visit. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)]
Students thank their guides and professors during the contract signing and 10 year celebration at the end of the visit. (Photo: Chris Tianyu Yao)

“Cuban Culture and Society is one of my favourite memories of my first year here at Queen’s,” says Chris Tianyu Yao (ArtSci’21), a Film and Media student. “From my perspective, the uniqueness of the course is the diverse and interdisciplinary content. It gave me an opportunity to engage in many new fields of study, such as politics, global development, and health studies. I could also easily find my own interests in this course. These experiences helped me to continue my study and research in film, art, and cultural studies.”

To find out more about the course, visit the Department of Global Development Studies website.

Alumnus takes command of ISS

A. J. (Drew) Feustel, Queen’s alumnus and astronaut, has taken command of the ISS for Expedition 56 after three months in space.

  • [Dr. Feustel floats above the Earth (Photo: University Relations)]
    Dr. Feustel floats above the Earth, representing Queen’s. (Photo: University Relations)
  • [Kingston as seen from the ISS (Photo: @Astro_Feustel on Twitter)]
    Kingston, as seen by Dr. Feustel from the International Space Station on May 10, 2018. (Photo: @Astro_Feustel on Twitter)
  • [Dr. Feustel during his spacewalk on March 29, 2018 (Photo: @Astro_Feustel on Twitter)]
    Dr. Feustel pauses for a photo during his six and a half hour spacewalk on March 29, 2018. (Photo: @Astro_Feustel on Twitter)
  • [A rock and roll concert on the ISS (Photo: @OlegMKS on Twitter)]
    Dr. Feustel and his crewmates jam out together on the ISS. (Photo: @OlegMKS on Twitter)

A. J. (Drew) Feustel (PhD’95) became commander of Expedition 56 on the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, June 1.

The Change of Command Ceremony involved Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos handing over command of the station to Dr. Feustel. The ceremony was streamed live through NASATV.

Three of the Expedition 55 crew return to Earth on June 3, marking the official beginning of Expedition 56 as Dr. Feustel, NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold, and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev continue as a three-person crew for several days. Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Valerevich, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, and NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor will arrive on June 6 to complete the Expedition 56 crew.

Expedition 56 continues the international research work of Expedition 55, which brought Dr. Feustel to the ISS as a Flight Engineer. The patch for Expedition 56 features a dove with an olive branch in its beak, symbolizing the hope for peace that comes from international space collaboration. The patch has a special significance to Dr. Feustel; his son, Aden, designed it.

Dr. Feustel has had a busy three months aboard the station, now halfway through his time there. On top of the dozens of scientific experiments he and his crew have conducted already, he has also worked on repairs to the outside of the ISS, taken photos of home below, and even starred in a rock concert.

Drs. Feustel and Arnold performed the 100th spacewalk by ISS crewmembers on March 29. For over six hours, the astronauts installed a new communications antenna and replaced camera equipment on the outside of the ISS. This was followed by another spacewalk on May 16 to replace pumps for the station’s thermal control system and other equipment. Dr. Feustel is now ranked seventh for most cumulative time spent spacewalking.

Dr. Artemyev shared a photo of an impromptu concert in space. Dr. Feustel called it ‘the first guitar jam in space with amplifiers and effects’. The photo features the crew playing guitars, flutes, and a drum.

Every 90 minutes (the time it takes for the ISS to make a rotation around the Earth), Dr. Feustel can look down from the station and see the provinces and states he spent the first 32 years of his life in, including Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, and Indiana.

“Congratulations to my alma mater Queen’s and Canadian partner universities on the launch of the McDonald Institute,” Dr. Feustel said in a tweet on May 10, including a photo of Kingston taken from the ISS (408 km above sea level). “Wonderful to see it named after Queen’s Nobel Laureate, Art McDonald!”

To learn more about Dr. Feustel’s journey from Queen’s to the ISS, check out our previous stories:

The Castle’s marathon man

Running 52 marathons in 52 weeks helped Adrian Thomas share his experience and tackle the stigma of mental health issues in the workplace.

Adrian Thomas and his son pose after his fifty-second marathon in 52 weeks.
Adrian Thomas and his son pose after his 52nd marathon in 52 weeks.

Adrian Thomas, Catering Manager at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC), began his weekly marathon challenge with two goals; maintain a healthy lifestyle, and raise awareness about the stigma that surrounds mental health issues in the workplace.

Fresh from the final marathon of his 52 in 52 Challenge and on the heels of Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK (May 14 to 20), Mr. Thomas and the BISC have big plans to support student and employee mental health.

Battling stigma

Mr. Thomas lives with depression and had a mental health crisis in 2011 that led to a yearlong period when he was unable to work, which caused anxiety and hardship for him and his family.

“Fortunately, I have a very supportive wife, Michelle, and an adorable son, Edwin, and several close friends who have helped me hugely as I came out of that bad period in my life,” says Mr. Thomas.

Mr. Thomas took up running during this time, having read that it can help with symptoms of depression. He joined his local running club, The Hailsham Harriers, and set ever-increasing mileage targets to slowly increase his endurance levels until he was able to run marathons and even ultra-marathons.

When Mr. Thomas reflects on his experiences, he describes a stigma in the workplace at his previous employers regarding mental health issues and a lack of understanding. He also describes the frustration that his wife experienced because she felt she had no one she could turn to who could help her understand what he was going through.

The custom medal for the 52 in 52 Challenge.
The custom medal for the 52 in 52 Challenge.

In April 2017, Mr. Thomas entered the 52 in 52 Challenge, where competitors pledge to complete 52 official marathons in 52 weeks. His additional goal was to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and address the stigma associated with discussing mental health in the workplace.

Mr. Thomas completed the challenge in just 50 weeks by participating in marathon races across southern England in Sussex, Kent, and Surrey. He wore through six pairs of running shoes and spent roughly $6,000 (£3,500) on race fees, travel, accommodations, and gear.

Mr. Thomas launched his own charity, Different Minds, on World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10) in 2017. The charity trains volunteers in recognizing the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues to become Mental Health First Aiders.

“I firmly believe that by opening up a dialogue where it is okay to talk about our mental health, we as a society can change attitudes,” says Mr. Thomas. “Our volunteers are trained to go anywhere and say, ‘We can all suffer from depression and it’s okay to talk about it!’”

Mr. Thomas partnered with the student government at the BISC in March for an auction fundraiser to support Different Minds, and to broaden the conversation at the Castle about mental health at work and school.

Safeguarding student mental health

At the BISC, the on-site Student Services Team places a particular emphasis on promoting positive student mental health at the Castle. The team is stepping up their services this year by growing their Peer Health Educator Program (now in its second year), providing free access to two professional counsellors through ten bookable sessions every week, and by creating an environment of open dialogue year-round.

“Our Student Services team take a holistic approach to students’ health and wellness. We offer spaces for conversations and direct students to appropriate resources, such as personal counselling,” says Roxy Denniston-Stewart, Student and Enrolment Services Manager at the BISC. “Students are also provided with a space to speak up and share stories with peers. Our goal is to provide students at the BISC with the resources and tools they need to support their wellbeing in an interdependent community.”

Events to promote healthy living happen year-round at the BISC, including the BISC Mental Health Week in the fall term. The week will focus on coping with exam stress and promoting the benefits of exercise, diet, and sleep during the revision period.

To read more about Mr. Thomas’s story and the work of Different Minds, check out the Facebook page.

Introducing our new faculty members: Thomas Rotter

Thomas Rotter is a new member of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

This profile is part of a series highlighting some of the new faculty members who have recently joined the Queen's community as part of the Principal's faculty renewal initiative, which will see 200 new faculty members hired over five years.

Thomas Rotter (Healthcare Quality) sat down with the Gazette to talk about his experience so far. Dr. Rotter is an associate professor.

[Thomas Rotter]
Dr. Thomas Rotter joined the Queen's community in July of 2017. (University Communications)
Fast Facts about Dr. Rotter

Department: Healthcare Quality, and Nursing

Hometown: Günzburg, Germany

Alma mater: Technische Universität Dresden (public health), Erasmus University (evaluation science)

Research areas: healthcare quality, risk, and patient safety

Hobbies include: Cooking, bicycling, gardening

Dr. Rotter’s web bio
How did you decide to become a teacher?
I never thought I would be a professor, which makes me a rare species. If you told me even in my thirties that I would be a professor, I would not have believed you. 
I worked as a nurse clinician for eleven years in Germany in a variety of settings before deciding to go back to university to complete my PhD. While completing my doctorate, I connected with the Cochrane Collaboration – this is like a dating agency for those involved in evidence-based practice and medicine. Through this, I met my mentor – Dr. Leigh Kinsman in Australia – and we started doing research together. He taught me about how to successfully apply for high-level research grants, how to publish, and he helped me overcome my anxiety about these things.
He is still my most important collaborator and friend, and my mentor – before I make any important decisions, such as taking this job at Queen’s, I am always consulting him. My passion for research led me to academia, and I ended up loving it.
How did you end up in Canada?
In 2012, I applied for a research chair position at the University of Saskatchewan in health quality improvement science, and I was accepted. During my time there, my wife and I had our daughter – she’s now four years old. So we are now working on our citizenship applications and intending to stay in Canada. I decided after five years of this wonderful chair position that I should go for a faculty position so I could have more time with my daughter.
With this faculty position at Queen’s, teaching is about 35 per cent of my job and I really love it. One course I teach is about research and evaluation methods in health quality, risk, and safety. It is delivered in a hybrid format as part of a two-year masters course. Students are here twice for a week, and the rest is delivered online.
It was a bit of a challenge in the start, but it is going really well and I am looking forward to more teaching – as well as bringing more of my research from Saskatchewan here.
Tell us a bit about your research. Why is it important?
All of my research has a common aim – to cut down the time it takes for a new discovery in healthcare to arrive at the patient’s bedside. I am considering both the patient outcomes, as well as the knowledge and ability of the healthcare professionals – ensuring they are using the best available knowledge to treat their patients. All of my research is of an applied nature. I am doing loads of different stuff because my scope is broad. It applies to every discipline in primary and hospital care.
Some of my research focuses on clinical pathways – interventions which are aimed at guiding evidence-based practice and improving the interactions between health services. I have worked on pathway projects in Canada and internationally as a way to standardize the way we provide care for patients with cancer, pediatric asthma, gastroenteritis, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to improve both their quality of life and life expectancy – but primarily focusing on quality of care.
I also want to do some research into suicide prevention, going back to my time as a psych nurse. The numbers are terrible, and we have to do something.
My skills are generally applicable as long as I work with content experts. I am currently working with a lung doctor on a project in Saskatchewan to implement and evaluate a clinical pathway for COPD patients in Regina.
How did you become passionate about healthcare quality?
This area is under-researched, when compared to basic research, and it is truly multidisciplinary by nature. Some innovations make it into the care setting quicker and we don’t know why. It can be the political climate, the context, or just the right timing – what I know is that we don’t know.
We spend billions of dollars every year to create ‘me too’ drugs that are almost the same as existing drugs – if we instead focused more on quality and ensuring medical knowledge and cutting-edge products made it into the care setting faster, this would save lives and have a much greater effect. This principle applies to every sector of medicine.
Another project you have worked on relates to simulating patient deterioration. What is that?
This is a project I worked on in Australia, which I would like to bring to Canada to test the transferability. We picked two hospitals in Australia and used face-to-face simulations to test nurses’ knowledge and skills on patient deterioration before and after the training, and in two other hospitals we used web-based video simulations. I was a strong believer in face-to-face simulation. I have a background as a health economist, and Dr. Kinsman asked me to do the cost analysis.
We found that both formats were as effective at increasing nurses’ knowledge, and that over time web-based delivery gets cheaper. It is costly at the start but after about 100 nurse trainees you hit the break-even point. I hope to test the findings next year in Canada.
[Thomas Rotter]
Dr. Rotter holds up a picture of his daughter. (University Communications)
What do you think of Kingston?
It was a very good trade – the best thing my family and I have done since moving to Canada. Though we had a wonderful time in Saskatchewan, this is the right opportunity for us and it is closer to Europe so I can visit my family in Germany. It is a magnificent town. It is the right size, and every time I drive home from Toronto I am happy to be coming back – though it is nice to visit Toronto too and take in the sights.
What you might not know is Saskatchewan has no passenger trains, and being from Europe I am so used to that. I appreciate the trains here. I am regularly going to Ottawa or Toronto…I can work. It’s almost like being back home.
What do you do for fun?
I am a hobby chef. I enjoy cooking from country to country – the more exotic the better. Most of the stuff I like is from Africa or the Caribbean. I never cook for myself – I love to cook for guests, and cooking together.
I also love to bike – I lived in the Netherlands for six years and my wife and I both fluently speak Dutch. I recently went to a conference in Amsterdam and the first thing I did was get a bike – I would bike from the hotel to the conference. My Canadian colleagues looked at me and asked, “Are you biking?” and I said, “Yes, every morning – it’s nice guys!” “Is this considered to be safe?” they asked. They took a cab or the tram.
I am also a hobby gardener. What I like about gardening is to grow your own vegetables. Having your own veggie garden is the only way to know what you are eating, and it is a great workout.

Faculty Renewal

Principal Daniel Woolf has identified faculty renewal as a high priority for reinvestment by the university in support of the academic mission. The five-year renewal plan, launched in 2017, will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the previous six years.

Faculty renewal supports Queen’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by giving the university the opportunity to seek, proactively, representation from equity-seeking groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized individuals. It will also build on Queen’s current areas of research strength.

To learn more about the Principal’s faculty renewal plans, read this Gazette article. Stay tuned for additional new faculty profiles in the Gazette.

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