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Investing in innovative ideas

Teams of Queen’s and St. Lawrence College students will be receiving internships and other supports to implement their city-building ideas.

Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)
Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)

The City of Kingston will be investing in projects to potentially make it easier to get around town, and make it easier to find out what’s going on.

On Friday, the winners of the first Mayor’s Innovation Challenge were announced. This new competition was designed to garner innovative ideas which could address local challenges. Postsecondary students from across Kingston were invited to submit proposals and pitch before a panel of judges for the chance to win support for their ideas.  

“We saw wonderfully creative and innovative ideas come forward through this inaugural Mayor’s Innovation Challenge and I am looking forward to seeing the winning ideas come to life through the internships awarded,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07). “We have so much talent in our community and I am proud this challenge has allowed us to showcase and harness this talent to address challenges we face while supporting and launching the careers of youth in Kingston.” 

A team of four Master of Planning students took away the top prize through their proposal for a pilot project to develop a multi-seasonal cycling network. The student team, including Anna Geladi, Nick Kuhl, Mac Fitzgerald and Gurraj Ahluwalia, will receive internships with the City, a $10,000 budget and support from City staff to help implement their project.

“The four of us came together to take on the Mayor’s Challenge because of our shared passion for active transportation,” says Mr. Fitzgerald. “It is both exciting and validating to have won the competition, knowing how much work we put into our proposal and that our ideas resonated with the judges and the City. We are all looking forward to seeing some of our suggestions come to fruition this summer and eager to become even more involved with active transportation planning in Kingston through our internship.”

Two proposals, each focused on enhancing local attractions and learning opportunities for youth through event applications, tied to win the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) internship sponsored by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). During the pitches, it became clear that there were strong synergies and complementary strengths between the two groups, and the judging panel encouraged them to merge and join the QICSI program as a team of four.

These teams, consisting of Queen’s students Skyler McArthur-O’Blenes (Artsci’19) and William Medeiros (Sc’18) and St. Lawrence College students Mark Mathieu and Brandon Crausen, will receive $7,000 stipends per team member for the summer and $4,000 in seed capital for their ideas.

“I'm incredibly excited to have the opportunity and the resources to realize an idea that just a few months ago was nothing more than brainstorming over paper plates of pad thai,” says Mr. Medeiros. “I'm incredibly appreciative to the judges for recognizing the synergy between the original teams and proposing a merger. I think we'll do great work together.”

James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC, was one of the judges and says there was a palpable dynamic of excitement and sense of purpose in council chambers during the pitches.

“I’m very pleased and excited to be working with the City of Kingston on these social innovation projects,” says James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC. “As a “townie” myself, I am impressed and grateful for the commitment that Mayor Patterson has shown to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in the Kingston region, and I’m excited to see the close collaboration with the City of Kingston growing.”

The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge was made possible through partnership and collaboration with Bell Canada, Queen’s Centre for Advanced Computing, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the Queen’s Centre for Social Impact, Royal Military College, and St. Lawrence College.

Deputy Provost launches inclusivity newsletter

Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer is launching a monthly email newsletter in support of an inclusive living and learning environment at Queen’s. 

Want to be in the know about major announcements, events, and activities related to diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s? Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer is launching a monthly email newsletter in support of an inclusive living and learning environment at Queen’s. 

In March's debut issue, get caught up on:

To subscribe to this new resource, please email phillip.gaudreau@queensu.ca

Queen’s Law reveals shortlist of Indigenous art proposals

Have your say on the three proposals submitted by Indigenous artists seeking to create a permanent art installation in the Queen’s Law building.

  • Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.”  The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
  • All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
    All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
  • Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
  • Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
    Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
  • Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
    Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
  • The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)
    The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)

 

This fall, the Faculty of Law atrium will be home to a permanent art installation created by an Indigenous artist – and the project committee that launched the special commission is seeking your input on three proposals.

“The Indigenous community at Queen’s Law is excited to have a permanent visual representation of our heritage, culture and presences on campus,” says Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Co-ordinator at Queen’s and project committee member. “This art will reflect our history, present and future in Canada, and the evolution of law.”

The Indigenous Art Commission was launched by Queen’s Law in September 2017. The purpose of the commission is to further the cause of reconciliation on campus by increasing the visibility of Indigenous art and culture and the recognition of Indigenous territory, specifically within the Faculty of Law. Additionally, the members are seeking to create a welcoming space for Indigenous people and to promote awareness around historical and contemporary issues that are relevant to Indigenous people and law.

“Queen’s University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “By honouring this traditional territory, we acknowledge its significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived, and continue to live, upon it. Having a work of art that reflects Indigenous culture and values in the entrance to our school will be one of many ways we honour this traditional territory and embrace Indigenous engagement in all that we do in the Faculty of Law.”

The project committee has shortlisted three artists who will be presenting their proposals on Monday, March 12 from noon to 1 pm in the Queen’s Law atrium. Each artist will display a three-dimensional maquette or digital scale-rendering of their proposed artwork. Attendees of the open drop-in will have an opportunity to ask the artists about their proposals, and submit comments to the project committee via a survey.

Later that day, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm at an Agnes Etherington Art Centre reception, the Queen’s community can meet and chat with members of the project committee and the three shortlisted artists.

The project committee members will consider public input when making its final decision. Those who are unable to attend the open house can submit their feedback via an online survey.

For those who are unable to attend the presentations on March 12, a summary of the three shortlisted proposals and the online survey is available on the Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission web page.

The spirit of Black History Month 2018 lives on

The themes of Black History Month 2018 included perseverance, and looking to the future. Both were on display throughout February as part of events organized by the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) and the African Caribbean Students' Association (ACSA).

  • Amanda Parris, CBC television and radio personality, provided the opening keynote for Kingston Black History Month 2018. (Supplied Photo)
    Amanda Parris, CBC television and radio personality, provided the opening keynote for Kingston Black History Month 2018. (Supplied Photo)
  • Dozens gathered in the Renaissance Event Venue for the February 4 opening event. The night included performances, guest speakers, and the announcement of all planned events. The events were open to the community and attracted a wide array of participants. (Supplied Photo)
    Dozens gathered in the Renaissance Event Venue for the February 4 opening event. The night included performances, guest speakers, and the announcement of all planned events. The events were open to the community and attracted a wide array of participants. (Supplied Photo)
  • Edward Thomas (Sc’06, MASc’12) presents to a crowd of students, faculty, staff, and community members about the fate of black medical students who were expelled in 1918. (Supplied Photo)
    Edward Thomas (Sc’06, MASc’12) presents to a crowd of students, faculty, staff, and community members about the fate of black medical students who were expelled in 1918. (Supplied Photo)
  • Mr. Thomas, who is also a Queen's employee and former journalist, spent hours sifting through public documents and the Queen’s Archives to uncover the fate of 10 of the students. According to Mr. Thomas' research, some of them became medical heroes, statesmen, patrons, tycoons, clerics, builders, activists, and advocates. (Supplied Photo)
    Mr. Thomas, who is also a Queen's employee and former journalist, spent hours sifting through public documents and the Queen’s Archives to uncover the fate of 10 of the students. According to Mr. Thomas' research, some of them became medical heroes, statesmen, patrons, tycoons, clerics, builders, activists, and advocates. (Supplied Photo)

From delving into the past, to looking into the future.

From food and dance, to reminders of the struggles faced, and overcome, by Black Canadians.

From reflections on diversity and mental wellness, to community building.

Black History Month 2018 explored it all through a series of social and academic events. It kicked off Sunday, Feb. 4 with an opening ceremony, and carried on with discussion panels, food and dancing lessons, and a campaign across campus centred on the legacy of alumnus Robert Sutherland. The Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) and the African Caribbean Students' Association (ACSA) partnered to organize this year’s festivities.

“It's such a meaningful experience each year to work on putting together Black History Month with people from different backgrounds and walks of life," says Asha Gordon (Artsci'18), President of the Queen's Black Academic Society. "This year's opening ceremony and events surrounding resilience showed me the multitude of ways in which people of the Black diaspora, unify, celebrate, and overcome. There is such a fortitude of mutual support and resourcefulness in our communities and I can't wait to see where we go with celebrations for February 2019!"

In support of QBAS and ACSA’s plans, the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) and the Alma Mater Society each provided grants to support Black History Month festivities.

For those who missed Edward Thomas’ presentation in Robert Sutherland Hall on the fate of the black medical students who were expelled in 1918, please visit the Principal’s blog for a guest column.

To carry the momentum forward from Black History Month, the Queen’s Black Academic Society is planning an inaugural conference on the future of black scholarship. The conference, which will take place Saturday, March 10 at the Tett Centre, will look at the subject of, “Learning in White Spaces”. To learn more about this conference, visit their registration page.

Learning Outcomes Assessment project into new phase

New focus on embedding and assessing student critical thinking skills in course work.

Natalie Simper and Wanda Beyer review document.
Wanda Beyer, assessment facilitator, (left), reviews a standardized rubric with Natalie Simper, Assessment Research Project Manager in the Centre for Teaching and Learning. (University Communications)

During their undergraduate years, students are busy mastering their course curriculums. But there is a growing focus across the university on ensuring their critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem solving skills are also being put to the test at every opportunity. These transferable skills are what employers are interested in, and can really help when students get out into the job market.

This is where the ongoing Learning Outcomes Assessment project at Queen’s comes in. It’s funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and has now entered a new phase with the launch of the Cognitive Assessment Redesign (CAR) initiative.

“This initiative is aimed at taking into account everything we have learned so far about how to measure and embed more cognitive thinking skills into undergraduate courses,” says Jill Scott, Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning). “It also provides our faculty with support to increase their capacity to specifically develop and assess transferable higher-order skills.”

To get things started, instructors from 25 first and fourth year courses expressed interest in redesigning assignments materials to support student skill development. The courses from several different faculties each received a $5,000 grant to fund the modification or improvement of their courses. Each was also paired with an assessment facilitator with expertise in their area to help them align their assessments to a set of standardized rubrics.

A rubric is essentially a tool for teachers that defines and describes what is expected for a specific level of achievement. Queen’s has settled on a set of standardized rubrics that articulate four levels of achievement, aimed at the demonstration of skills from first to fourth year undergraduate education.

“As the research is showing, one of the best ways to measure a student’s ability to apply knowledge or skills as they would in the real world is to embed critical thinking and problem solving challenges into their regular course work and then assess it as part of their mark,” says Brian Frank, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) and co-Principal Investigator along with Dr. Scott. “The important part is ensuring the standardized rubrics are being applied by all instructors in the same way so we can gather reliable data and thereby get a clearer picture of how much our students are typically improving during their undergraduate years at Queen’s.”

As part of this rollout, teaching assistants working with participating instructors are also being specially trained to score assignments that align with the standardized rubrics. This will ensure they are all marking consistently across a course that has quite a few students and quite a few teaching assistants.

“For students, this new way of designing authentic assignments or assessments has a lot of benefits. When they receive the rubrics up front it helps them figure out what they need to demonstrate to receive top marks on the assignment. They can also then compare their eventual mark to the rubric to see where they can improve,” says Natalie Simper, Assessment Research Project Manager in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

“Instructors are reporting students are appreciating the clearer direction the rubrics provide and have fewer questions both during and after their assignments.”

Along with this authentic assignment work, a selection of students in first and fourth year are also writing a standardized test this year. The ETS HEIgthen assessment also aims to measure the students’ ability to both analyze and synthesize complex information.

“So far about 1,500 students have written the test this year. We have developed methods to effectively compare the first and fourth year group’s test results so we can quantify the difference. These results support the  validity of rubric evaluation of the authentic assignments,” says Ms. Simper. 

Queen’s is one of seven universities and colleges in the Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium created by HEQCO in December 2012. The organization will soon publish the results from the first phase of the Learning Outcomes Assessment project completed last year at Queen’s. As for next steps, the program has received the green light for the 2018-19 academic year to ensure the initiative can continue to grow.

“Overall, our aim in this phase is to create a hub or network of instructors and facilitators who are able to share their expertise in cognitive assessment redesign with their colleagues. This way the work will begin to spread organically for the benefit of students and instructors alike,” says Dr. Scott. “Most people at Queen’s have likely never been part of a project like this before and it can change how you think about your role or practice as a teacher. It is a different way to think about assessment but it’s quite invigorating to apply fresh techniques and new knowledge to the educational work we all believe in.”

For more information on the CAR initiative or the overall project, visit the Learning Outcomes Project webpage or contact natalie.simper@queensu.ca.

Principal’s Distinguished Visitor on the Enhancement of Learning Lecture

What would a higher education look like if we were designing it now, given what we know about the full spectrum of learning, the expanding population of students entering higher education, the global digital ecosystem, and the challenges that lay ahead for our graduates?

Dr. Randy Bass will explore the creative imperative to redesign the classroom experience, and the ways we measure and document learning in his lecture "Assessment Matters: Integrative Learning in a Dis-integrative Era." He is the founding Executive Director of Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, and has worked at the intersections of new media technologies and the scholarship of teaching and learning for nearly thirty years.

The Principal's Distinguished Visitor on the Enhancement of Learning Lecture takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 3:00 p.m. at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

RSVP to Keith Gawronski-McNinch by Feb 20

613.533.6647 or principal.events@queensu.ca

Introducing our new faculty members: Kristy Timmons

Kristy Timmons (Education) is one of the 41 new faculty members hired in 2017-18 as part of Principal Daniel Woolf's faculty renewal plans. 

This profile is part of a series which will highlight 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 over the next five years - approximately 10 net new faculty hires per year.

Kristy Timmons (Education) sat down with the Gazette to talk about her experience so far and how she made it to Queen’s.

Kristy Timmons, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education. Dr. Timmons joined Queen's in the summer of 2017, part of a faculty renewal program initiated by the Principal. (University Communications)
Kristy Timmons, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education. Dr. Timmons joined Queen's in the summer of 2017, part of a faculty renewal program initiated by the Principal. (University Communications)

Tell us about yourself and how your first few months at Queen’s have been.

My research and teaching are focused in the area of early child development. I completed my undergraduate degree at Ryerson University in Early Childhood Studies. This experience really taught me the importance of having both theoretical knowledge and practical experiences to truly understand child development. Upon graduation, I pursued graduate studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), in the Child Study and Education Master’s program.

I really enjoyed working as a Registered Early Childhood Educator and a Certified teacher. These experiences surfaced a lot more questions than answers about the education field. This lead me to pursue a PhD in Developmental Psychology and Education at OISE/University of Toronto. While completing my doctoral studies I had the opportunity to teach in Higher Education at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto.

While I was writing my dissertation, in the final year of my doctoral work, this position in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s was posted and it really felt like the perfect fit for me.

I have now been in the position since July 1, 2017 and I feel lucky to be at a University where there is so much support for new Faculty. In the Faculty of Education we have a mentorship program and are supported in our transition to Queen’s. This mentorship group includes both formal and informal meetings. I was hired with two other new faculty members, Dr. Lee Airton and Dr. Alana Butler, who I am really fortunate to work with!

Tell us about your research.

Fast facts about Dr. Timmons

  Department: Education

  Hometown: Pickering, Ontario

  Research area: The processes that influence young children’s learning, engagement, and self-regulation

  Favourite kid’s book: Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid

  Dr. Timmons' webpage

My research interests centre on the processes that influence young children’s learning, engagement, and self-regulation. Within this focus, I have carried out research with children, families, and pre- and in-services educators.

My doctoral work examined the influence of educator and child expectations on kindergarten children’s literacy and self-regulation outcomes.

My current research focuses on two additional studies that were informed by findings from my doctoral work. The first is titled, “What is self-regulation anyway? Examination of the ways in which self-regulation is defined and promoted in early years practice and policy documents in Ontario. The second is, “Beyond expectation levels: The influence of educator expectations, beliefs, and practices on children’s learning outcomes in play-based kindergarten classrooms.

Sell us on taking a class with you. 

I am currently teaching four courses in the Consecutive Bachelor of Education Program. I hope to teach a graduate course this fall.

I recently pitched a graduate course on self-regulation and executive functions. Self-regulation has been a research focus in many fields ranging from education to neurobiology to many subfields of psychology. One of the major challenges is that there is no universal definition for self-regulation, and with differing definitions comes varying ways of measuring it.

It is important that teachers are aware of how to support the development of self-regulation. I often talk about co-regulation with students, as self-regulation involves a social component where a parent or teacher can support children in developing skills to be successful at managing their behaviours, impulses, emotions, and thoughts. Think of a group of Kindergarten students sitting on the carpet: one student is trying to talk to another student about their birthday party while the teacher is reading a story aloud to the class. The child has to inhibit their desire of talking to their friend about their birthday party in order to comprehend the story. With older students, the distraction could be looking on Facebook or checking a text message. These are really simple examples but are helpful in thinking about the daily interactions that require self-regulation skills. 

Childrens self-regulatory and attention skills are among the strongest predictors of future academic success. Although educators know the importance of self-regulation development, researchers and teachers alike continue to struggle to understand the complexities of what self-regulation is and how best to support it in a school context. I am hoping to offer a graduate course where we can begin to unpack the complexities of self-regulation and executive functions together.

Dr. Timmons delivers a lecture in "Self-Regulation in Kindergarten Contexts". (University Communications)
Dr. Timmons delivers a lecture in "Self-Regulation in Kindergarten Contexts". (University Communications)

You are teaching teachers so…what are some of the strategies you use in the classroom?

I apply a lot of strategies I used when I was a teacher to my teaching in higher education. It sounds a bit funny, but when you think about it, I am teaching at the Faculty of Education, many of our graduates will become teachers. I try to model strategies and practices that they will use in their classrooms.

I use various teaching approaches into my weekly class structure. I integrate a lecture component with in-class activities and discussions. I often integrate case studies into my lectures, as I find this allows students to reflect on real practice situations. I promote student involvement in the courses I teach through think, pair, and share interactions and small group discussions. I often encourage students to begin discussing concepts in these smaller groups and then ask for a group leader or a member of the partner team to summarize key points that have been discussed.

This past term, I had the opportunity to teach a Foundations of Psychology course where I had over 500 students. This was my first time teaching a large lecture-style class and I am continuing to learn what works and does not work in that teaching context.

Given your interest in early years education…what is your favourite kid's book, and why? And what was your favourite subject in school?

Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid. I like to promote inquiry-based learning methods with students. In one of my classes, before reading the story, I asked the students to picture a tree and then to draw what they were picturing. Some drew a family tree, some drew a Christmas tree, and others had personal stories about a tree they had planted in their backyard or a tree they pass by on their daily run.

I emphasize in my literacy and language course how to use storybooks as a starting point into an exploration. I think these examples demonstrate the unique ideas and perspectives students bring with them to their teaching and learning.

My favourite subject…language arts or social studies. 

Anything you do to unwind?

Since moving to Kingston, I have taken up rock climbing which is something I never tried before. Unwinding for me often involves being active…spinning, weight lifting, and walking my dog. I am looking forward to exploring more of Kingston this summer. I went to Wolfe Island last year but I am hoping to see other islands this year.

What are you most grateful for?

I had an interest in research and teaching in the early years. With this role at Queen’s, I have found a path that brings teaching and research together. From early on, I knew I was interested in teaching yet I always had questions I wanted to explore in a research capacity. I am grateful to be in a position where I get to teach in higher education, work in the early years through my research, and continue to explore questions with the hope of improving the education of our youngest learners.

I am also really grateful to have a loving supportive network of family and friends around me who have supported me in accomplishing my goals. They have provided that extra external motivation when my internal motivation was running low.

I am the only teacher in my family, my brother’s background is in musical theatre and I remember telling him  ‘teaching is my stage’.

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 will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the past six years and will result in approximately 10 net new hires per year.

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.

Queen’s Engineering Outreach team teaching digital skills

The program has received new CanCode funding to support visits to local schools and First Nations communities.

Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen and local grade school students try their hand at some robotics experiments in the Queen's Tinker Trailer. (University Communications)
Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen and local grade school students try their hand at some robotics experiments in the Queen's Tech n' Tinker Trailer, a mobile education unit operated by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. (University Communications)

Local youth and schools will continue to benefit from technology workshops offered through Queen’s thanks to a recent federal government funding announcement.

Actua, a Canadian charity focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among youth, was the organization that received the largest amount of funding under CanCode, an initiative of the Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. As a member of the Actua network, Queen’s Engineering Outreach will receive $230,000 over the next 18 months.

On hand to celebrate the funding announcement were representatives from Actua, and Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen.

“CanCode is our Government’s down payment on Canada’s future. This program will help ensure more young Canadians, of all backgrounds, have the right skills for the jobs of the future. Coding and digital literacy will be the bedrock of future jobs and further study in high-demand STEM fields,” says Mr. Gerretsen.

Representatives from Rideau Heights Public School and Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science celebrate funding which will allow Queen's to continue to visit schools like Rideau Heights and offer science, technology, engineering, and math programming. (University Communications)
Representatives from Rideau Heights Public School, Actua, and Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science celebrate the CanCode funding announcement. This funding will allow Queen's to continue to visit schools like Rideau Heights and offer science, technology, engineering, and math programming. (University Communications)

The funds will be used to provide free workshops to grade school students to help them build their digital skills, and expose them to technologies such as coding and robotics. The workshops are offered multiple times per week across the greater Kingston area, and the funding will support programming through to the summer of 2019.

“On behalf of Queen’s, we thank Actua and the federal government for this funding, which will benefit thousands of students in our area,” says Scott Compeau, Outreach Lead with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“This funding will allow us to continue to partner not only with local schools but also with First Nations communities to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and math-related learning activities,” says Melanie Howard, Director of Aboriginal Access to Engineering.

The Queen’s Engineering Outreach team recently won the “Experience Award: Indigenous Youth in STEM” from Actua. For more information on the Aboriginal Access to Engineering program at Queen’s, visit www.aboriginalaccess.ca

Queen’s family medicine residents participate in unique Falkland Islands rotation

One Queen's family medicine resident will be heading 11,000 kilometres south for a year to help citizens of a remote Commonwealth territory. 

Katherine Soucie, a second-year post-graduate family medicine resident (PGY2), assesses patient Norma Edwards in clinic at the King Edward Memorial VII Hospital (KEMH) in Stanley, the Falkland Islands. (Supplied Photo)
Katherine Soucie, a second-year post-graduate family medicine resident (PGY2), assesses patient Norma Edwards in clinic at the King Edward Memorial VII Hospital (KEMH) in Stanley, the Falkland Islands. (Supplied Photo)

One of the strengths of Queen’s Family Medicine residents is their ability to work almost anywhere. As a part of their two-year residency, these family doctors spend six months of training in a community setting, and at least two of those months are spent in a rural setting.

So, when a remote British overseas territory off the coast of South America found itself in need of medical professionals, a Queen’s alumnus knew exactly where the Falkland Islands’ government could find help.

“Thanks to a connection made by Andrew Pipe (Meds’74) of the Ottawa Heart Institute, Queen’s Family Medicine residents have been taking on placements in the Falkland Islands in recent years as part of a strategy to help the territory meet their need for well-trained family doctors,” says Geoffrey Hodgetts, Enhanced Skills Program Director, Rural Skills Program Coordinator and Kingston Residency Site Director in the School of Medicine.

While the Falklands previously relied on British and foreign-trained physicians, it has been more difficult to attract doctors with the necessary skills to work in a remote setting such as the small island nation, located to the east of South America’s Patagonia coast. Additionally, providing medical care to the population – which is divided up across several islands – requires medical experts who can work in the field with limited equipment.

Queen’s University family medicine residents stay at “Canada House”, which is a typical Falkland Islands house. These accommodations were given the name when the Queen’s University residency program began several years ago. The location is ideally situated near the hospital. (Supplied Photo)
Queen’s University family medicine residents stay at “Canada House”, which is a typical Falkland Islands house. These accommodations were given the name when the Queen’s University residency program began several years ago. The location is ideally situated near the hospital. (Supplied Photo)
Why the Falkland Islands?
● The Falkland Islands are a remotely located British territory with just 3,400 citizens, making it a distinctive environment to gain practical medicine training.
● Providing health care on the islands can be costly as more critically ill patients may require air evacuation to a hospital, and accessing more advanced care can be a challenge.
● Queen’s Family Medicine residents come well prepared for these challenges through their rural and community training.
● The demanding environment helps residents master their skills and meet the requirements of their residency.

Since forming the agreement, approximately six Queen’s family medicine residents per year have headed to the Falkland Islands with one or two residents making the trip at a time. During their rotations, residents work under the direction of the Falkland’s Chief Medical Officer, Rebecca Edwards, and her delegates. 

“We are privileged to work with these skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced young doctors,” says Dr. Edwards. “I am always extremely impressed with the ability of these residents to travel across the globe, to a new country and unknown hospital where medical practices might be unfamiliar, and be able to just get on with the job at hand. The residents seem unfazed by the changes, meeting each new challenge with focus and dedication and asking appropriate questions when needed.”

This rotation gives residents an opportunity to experience the Falkland Islands, and assess their interest in the territory’s available enhanced training scholarship. The scholarship offers a post-graduate third-year training position provided the resident stays for a one-year return of service. Most importantly, it helps the island nation potentially recruit physicians to help meet their needs longer term. 

Belle Song (Meds’15), a Queen’s family medicine graduate, is the first to take advantage of the Falkland Islands’ training scholarship. Dr. Song is currently completing her enhanced rural skills training. When she completes her training later this year, she will work at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in the Falkland Islands.

She is already familiar with this setting, as Dr. Song was one of the earliest Queen’s family medicine residents to complete a two-month rotation in the Falkland Islands in 2016.

"From the moment I arrived, I felt that I was a part of the Falklands community. Some of the nurses, pharmacists, radiation techs, and physiotherapists have become close personal friends, and even residents of the island were incredibly welcoming,” she says. “I am certain that this year in the Falklands will help me become a stronger and more confident rural generalist, developing skills that will be useful when I come back to Canada. I've always believed that you can't learn and grow without pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.”

Dr. Geoffrey Hodgetts and Dr. Rebecca Edwards discuss her assessment of a Queen's family medicine resident. Dr. Hodgetts is part of a Queen's delegation currently visiting the Islands. (Supplied Photo)
Dr. Geoffrey Hodgetts and Dr. Rebecca Edwards discuss her assessment of a Queen's family medicine resident during a visit by a Queen's delegation. (Supplied Photo)

While rural medical training is an expectation among Canadian family medicine post-graduate medical programs, Queen’s Department of Family Medicine has had a long tradition of preparing family physicians for practice in various rural and remote settings.

“I know that the residents enjoy their time with us as we have received great feedback, and this is definitely a two-way relationship,” Dr. Edwards adds. “The constant flow of keen, intelligent, up-to-date young doctors that we get to work with and mentor provide our team with fresh and valuable perspectives on clinical scenarios.”

To learn more about the Falkland Islands scholarship for Family Medicine residents, visit the Department of Family Medicine’s website.

Queen's encourages innovation with student competition prize

The City of Kingston and the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre have partnered to create an additional prize for the Mayor's Innovation Challenge.

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson visits the 2017 Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) participants. (Supplied Photo)
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson visits the 2017 Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) participants. (Supplied Photo)

Building on the strong partnership between the City of Kingston and Queen’s University, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) has stepped forward to sponsor an additional prize for the 2018 Mayor’s Innovation Challenge.

“Modern cities need to consistently innovate to improve the lives of their citizens, and modern universities are always looking for ways to enhance and support their communities," said Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). "In that spirit, Queen’s is very proud to support the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge and to work in partnership with the City to leverage the innovative talents of Kingston’s citizens to address real municipal issues.".

In addition to the opportunity to be awarded a 16-week paid internship with the City to implement their project idea, competing teams of post-secondary students will now also have an opportunity, sponsored by the DDQIC, to receive:

  • a $7,000 stipend per team member for the summer,
  • $4,000 in seed capital for the idea, and
  • access to the entire summer's Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI 2018) programming to accelerate their innovation.

This exciting partnership will create additional opportunities for career development and employment for youth, and facilitate an additional innovative municipal project to be implemented.

“I’m so thrilled that we’ve partnered with Queen’s University and the DDQIC to offer another prize for students as part of the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge,” said Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson. “We have a great relationship with Queen’s and we both want to help launch our post-secondary students into the workforce by providing paid opportunities to help build their skills and experience. It’s amazing that we will now be able to award two teams with truly unique and potentially life-changing summer experiences.”

The Mayor's Innovation Challenge pitch competition will be held Friday, March 2 between 9:30 am and 12 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The big reveal of the winning teams is expected to take place around 12:45 pm that day.

For more information on the challenge, visit the City's website.

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