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Research Prominence

Bullying prevention research network secures funding to tackle teen dating violence

PREVNet to train teachers how to identify dating violence and promote healthy relationships.

Wendy Craig, Head of Psychology, Queen’s University.

Leading national violence prevention network PREVNet has been awarded a $550,000, two and a half year contract with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to evaluate how best to educate teachers and teachers-in-training about teen dating violence and healthy relationships.

PREVNet, or the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network, was co-founded by Wendy Craig, Head of Psychology at Queen’s University and Debra Pepler, York University, and includes 130 leading scientists and 62 national youth-serving organizations who are working collectively to stop bullying in Canada.

“Students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and community agencies have a shared responsibility to promote positive relationships, prevent dating violence, and create healthy school climates,” says Dr. Craig. “With this new funding we will be co-creating resources with educators to help them prepare for these challenging situations so that they are equipped to help students navigate complicated interpersonal issues.”

From March 2018 to March 2020, PHAC funding will support four PREVNet projects designed to build educators’ capacity to address dating violence while on the job, as well as in specific cultural settings in provinces across the country. In a 2015 Canadian study, 51 per cent of victims aged 15 to 19 years, and 46 per cent of victims aged 20 to 24 years, were victimized by a current dating partner. These age groups were also more often victimized by former dating partners.

“As part of our first two projects, teachers will be receiving training to enhance their understanding, capacity, competence, and skills to address dating violence and promote healthy relationships,” says Dr. Craig. “Through these activities we will also be focused on identifying factors that will lead to successful integration of these strategies into their teaching practices.

Projects three and four will expand upon the training content developed, implemented, and honed in the first two projects, so it can be applied nationally and across cultural contexts.

“Project three will aim to co-create recommendations for culturally-appropriate training programs for educators in Indigenous communities, particularly in the Canadian North,” says Dr. Craig. “From there, the fourth project will involve creating free, evidence-based resources to assist educators, and to disseminate them through a national social media campaign.”

All four projects will cover critical subject areas, including: risk factors for gender-based violence in adolescent relationships; mental health; communication; conflict resolution; personal and interpersonal boundaries; victim blaming attitudes; the role of media and social norms; dominance, power, and privilege; the role of peers and of media; and more.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Craig and her co-director Dr. Pepler, PREVNet has implemented innovative and effective initiatives designed to make our communities and schools safe, happy, and healthy spaces for our children to grow and flourish,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research), Queen’s University. “On behalf of Queen’s I want to congratulate her and her team on securing new funding from the PHAC that will help the network continue this truly invaluable work.”

The new funding was announced by Canada’s Minister of Health today.

“The Government of Canada is proud to support innovative capacity-building projects for professionals working with youth,” says The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Government of Canada. “Equipping educators so that they can help youth develop the skills they need to have healthy relationships is one way that we can address and prevent gender-based violence, and foster positive mental health among young Canadians.”

Learn more about PREVNet and its programs on their website.

Five new Queen’s National Scholars announced

QNS program is designed to enrich teaching and research at the university while also supporting faculty renewal and diversity and inclusion efforts.

Designed to enrich teaching and research at the university, the Queen’s National Scholars (QNS) program has been bringing outstanding, early-career academics to Queen’s since 1985.

This year, five new faculty members will arrive on campus as Queen’s National Scholars, in fields of study from precision molecular medicine to African American gender history to computational neuroeconomics.

“The QNS program is an important initiative supporting our faculty renewal efforts, with a particular focus on newly-developing fields of knowledge,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), who co-chairs the QNS advisory committee. “The program is also an excellent opportunity to reinforce the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through its recruitment efforts.”

The 2018 QNS are:

Carolyn Prouse – Queen’s National Scholar in Urban Economic Geography
Faculty of Arts and Science

Dr. Prouse’s research focuses on critical urban post-colonial geographies in South America; her work inhabits an exciting space that combines critical economic geography methodologies to explore issues around economic uncertainty, feminism, and racism. Dr. Prouse has a well-established teaching portfolio and is capable of developing and delivering new and interesting topics to students. She was awarded her PhD in 2017 from the University of British Columbia and, most recently, held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto.

[Chantelle Capicciotti]Chantelle Capicciotti – Queen’s National Scholar in Precision Molecular Medicine
Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr. Capicciotti’s research focuses on identification and chemo-enzymatic synthesis of molecules (glycoconjugates: protein- and lipid-bound carbohydrates) that are crucial to a vast array of cellular recognition processes impacting human health and disease. The methodologies she has already developed, and those she plans to advance at Queen’s, are highly pertinent to the fields of disease biomarker discovery and modern biologic pharmaceutical design, both of which are primary goals of personalized medicine. She arrives at Queen’s from the University of Georgia.

Ashwini VasanthakumarAshwini Vasanthakumar – Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy
Faculty of Law

Dr. Vasanthakumar’s research bridges law, philosophy, and politics. It is both theoretical and planted in the real world of lived experience and policy compromise. Her research focuses on migrants and migrant communities, exploring broader contexts of community membership, citizenship, allegiance, and transitional justice from the perspective of postcolonial states and migrant and other marginalized communities. Her most recent project seeks to understand the rights and duties of diaspora communities: in relation to each other, to compatriots remaining in their countries of origin, to victims and perpetrators of atrocities, and to their adopted countries. She arrives at Queen’s from King’s College London in England.

Laila HaidaraliLaila Haidarali – Queen’s National Scholar in African American Gender History
Faculty of Arts and Science

Dr. Haidarali’s research is broadly concerned with race, gender, and representation in the study of African American women in 20th-century U.S. history. She engages the feminist politics of beauty to examine how mass-media representations and women’s self-styling efforts reflected one strand of civil rights activism that developed throughout the interwar decades. Dr. Haidarali’s work focuses on the rise of a beauty ideal that was defined by women’s brown complexions; she queries how and why an ideal of brown-skin beauty accrued heightened cultural currency during the era of African America’s mass modernization. She arrives from the University of Essex in England.

[Anita Tusche]Anita Tusche – Queen’s National Scholar in Computational Neuroeconomics
Faculty of Arts and Science

Dr. Tusche’s area of research interest is computational neuroscience with a focus on social cognition and decision-making. Her work seeks to disentangle computations that are generic to decision‐making, specialized for social cognition, and their interaction. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a neurally‐informed cognitive model of social decision‐making that enables targeted, process‐specific modulations to foster prosocial, healthy, and sustainable behaviours. Her research uses a highly-interdisciplinary approach that utilizes insights and methodological tools of psychology, behavioral economics, neuroscience (with a focus on functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI), and computational modeling (machine learning techniques, drift diffusion modeling). Dr. Tusche arrives at Queen’s from the California Institute of Technology.

The program provides $100,000 annually for five years for each QNS and is intended to attract outstanding early and mid-career researchers to Queen’s.

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 proactively seek representation from equity-seeking groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized individuals. Faculty renewal also facilitates the building of Queen’s current areas of research strength, as well as developing newly-identified emerging research priorities.  The program directly supports the objectives outlined in the Academic Plan, the Strategic Research Plan, and various other institutional planning documents.

More information about the Queen’s National Scholar program is available online.

Three engineering faculty members named CAE fellows

Amir Fam, Richard Holt, and Yan-Fei Liu were inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering during a ceremony in Calgary.

Three faculty members of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science have been appointed Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE).

Amir Fam, Richard Holt, and Yan-Fei Liu were inducted into the CAE during a ceremony in Calgary on Monday, June 18.

The CAE, comprised of many of Canada’s most accomplished engineers, is an independent, self-governing and non-profit organization established in 1987 to provide advice in matters of engineering concern.

“The fact that three of our faculty members have been named CAE fellows is a testament to the quality of our professors and researchers at the Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science,” says Kevin Deluzio, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “Drs. Fam, Holt, and Liu have contributed immensely to Queen’s as well as the engineering field in Canada through their hard work and enlightened research– and there is more to come as they continue their careers. I congratulate each of them on this fantastic achievement.”

Fellows of the Academy are nominated and elected by their peers, in view of their distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession. Fellows work closely with the other national engineering associations in Canada, and with the other Canadian academies that comprise the Council of Canadian Academies.

Queen’s 2018 CAE Inductees

Amir famAmir Fam - Department of Civil Engineering

Dr. Fam is the Donald and Sarah Munro Chair Professor and Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. He is also co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, vice-president and treasurer of the International Institute for FRP in Construction, and a former Canada Research Chair. Dr. Fam research is focused in the area of structural engineering using fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) in bridges and buildings. He has received an Ontario Early Researcher Award, a Civil Engineering Teaching Award, and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

Richard HoltRichard Holt – Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Dr. Holt is recognized internationally for his contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms of radiation damage and deformation in nuclear materials, contributing significantly to the safe and efficient operation of both CANDU and light-water reactors. After a distinguished industrial career, he conceived and developed the program of the NSERC - UNENE IRC in Nuclear Materials at Queen’s where he has developed the Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory (RMTL) – a unique reactor simulation facility for the study of radiation damage. Professor Emeritus Holt's work has been recognized by prestigious awards from the American Society of Testing Materials.

Yan-Fei Liu - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Yan-Fei LiuDr. Liu has advanced power electronics technology through a number of simple, practical innovations in digital control, driver technologies, high-efficiency resonant switching, and modeling of current-programmed control. He has collaborated with many global companies, such as the GE Global Research Centre and Huawei, has been the principal contributor to three IEEE standards, and holds 25 U.S. patents. Dr. Liu co-founded Potentia Semiconductor, a firm which developed power management integrated circuits, and whose products are used widely in LCD, LED and plasma TVs and monitors. Dr. Liu is also a Fellow of the IEEE.

Other inductees include Annette Bergeron (Sc’78) a former lecturer in Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and Smith School of Business, and current president of Engineers Canada, and Queen’s alumna Marilyn Gladu (Sc’84), Member of Parliament for the riding of Sarnia-Lambton.

Visit the CAE website for further information about the organization.

New research takes flight

Queen’s University researcher helps uncover how nocturnal insects navigate.

[Preparing a bogong moth for recording from brain]
A Bogong moth (Agrotis infusa) is prepped to enter a computerized flight simulator specifically designed for the moths. (Supplied photo)

Queen’s University researcher Barrie Frost and his research collaborators have uncovered the first reliable evidence that some nocturnal insects use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate during migration.

Each spring, millions of nocturnal Bogong moths (Agrotis infusa) hatch across breeding grounds throughout southeastern Australia before flying over 1,000 kilometres through the dark night to reach a limited number of high altitude caves in the Australian Alps. After a few months of summer dormancy in those cool mountain caves, the moths fly right back to the breeding grounds where they were born.

“When we began this study, we were convinced that the Bogong moth would exclusively use celestial cues in the sky, such as the stars and the moon, for navigation during migration,” says Dr. Frost, Director of the Visual and Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Queen’s. “This, it turned out, is not the case. We were very surprised when we discovered that these moths could sense the Earth’s magnetic field just like migratory birds.”

For this project, Dr. Frost created an upgraded, computerized flight simulator specifically designed for moths. He used Google Earth to create an accurate moving image of the ground the moths are flying over. When the moth is flying in the simulator, the ground is programmed to always move backward, no matter what direction they choose, which encourages them to keep flying.

Magnetics set-up for simulator
Bogong moths are safely suspended in the simulator after a small sensor, called a stalk, is  glued to their back. The stalk is then wired to a computer which tracks the moths direction of travel. (Supplied Photo)

To safely suspend the moth in the simulator, the researchers glued a small sensor, called a stalk, to their back, wired the stalk to a computer and then suspended them in the flight simulator using wires. Computers tracked their direction of travel.

Using this simulator, they found the moths’ flight direction turned predictably when dominant visual landmarks and a natural Earth-strength magnetic field were turned together. When those two cues were turned in conflicting ways, the moths became disoriented within minutes. The findings led the researchers to conclude that Bogong moths rely on a magnetic sense.

“This is essentially the same strategy we use when hiking in wilderness terrain: we determine our direction with a compass and then look for some distant landmark in roughly the same direction—for instance a mountaintop or a distant tree—and then head for this as we walk,” says Dr. Frost. “When this landmark is no longer reliable, we again check our direction with the compass and choose a new landmark to orient towards.”

The researchers say they would now like to dissect, in more detail, which visual and magnetic cues the moths use and how they are integrated in the brain. Due to the moths’ relatively simple nervous system, they also hope to learn how the insects detect magnetic information, something that has yet to be achieved in any animal.

The research appeared as the lead article in Current Biology and a photo of the Bogong moth appeared on the cover. The Gazette originally reported on Dr. Frost designing the simulator in 2015.

The Conversation: Time to press the reset button on Canada’s national parks

The Trudeau government's effort to fill national parks with people does not bode well for wildlife.

The wilderness in Canada’s parks is shrinking due to encroaching business. Pictured here: the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park is cantilevered 280 metres over the Sunwapta Valley floor. (Jack Borno/Wikimedia), CC BY-SA
The wilderness in Canada’s parks is shrinking due to encroaching business. Pictured here: the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park is cantilevered 280 metres over the Sunwapta Valley floor. (Jack Borno/Wikimedia)CC BY-SA

Last summer, my daughter and I hiked the Sulphur Skyline trail in Jasper National Park. As it was mid-week, we had hoped it would not be as crowded as it can be on a weekend.

Nothing, however, prepared us for the caravan of people we encountered along the way.

There were seasoned hikers like us. But there were also people stumbling along in flip flops and city shoes, a young man with a boombox blasting from his shoulder and slower folk who eventually turned back because they could not trek up the steep mountainside.

We could have left behind the bear spray.

The only animals we saw were chipmunks being hand-fed at the summit. No park officials were there to tell the tourists that this was both illegal and unhealthy for the rodents.

A wilderness experience this was not.

Too many people?

I should have anticipated this when the Trudeau government gave every Canadian a free park pass to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the country’s confederation.

The last thing that most of our national parks need is more people.

When Trudeau made the announcement in 2016, visits to the seven mountain parks — Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier — were already 8.5 million, up nearly 20 per cent since 2011-2012. The free passes added another five per cent, bringing the total number of visitors to the mountain parks to 9 million in 2017-2018.

This relentless effort to fill national parks with people does not bode well for the grizzly bears, caribou and other animals that Parks Canada is supposed to protect in wildernesses not overwhelmed by human activity.

It shouldn’t be too surprising to hear that animals fare better when humans aren’t around. Grizzly bears that live outside of national parks like Jasper have lower levels of physiological stress, better body condition and more successful reproduction.

Reset, again?

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna appears to have realized that Parks Canada has lost its way.

Yet when she vowed in May to press the reset button and send the agency back on a conservation course, there was a collective groan from scientists and conservationists on social media.

The button has already been reset so many times. There was a round table on Canada’s national parks last year — the fourth since 2008 — as well as the creation of a National Advisory Panel. People have stopped counting the ways in which Parks Canada has been given new direction, only to turn back to embrace business interests.

The most comprehensive reset was one offered up by the government-appointed Ecological Integrity Panel whose members, drawn from universities, government and non-profit organizations, travelled extensively to speak with Parks Canada staff and with interested Canadians to see first-hand the challenges the agency faced.

Their landmark report, published in 2000, remains timely. It offers a clear plan for limits on development within park boundaries and a strategy for ecological integrity, one in which conservation trumps development and addresses emerging issues such as wildfire and climate change.

A park ranger observes an elk
Following the report of the Ecological Integrity Panel, elk were no longer allowed to take refuge in national parks townsites. (Photo by Edward Struzik)

Parks Canada responded to that report and other blueprints by hiring more scientists to deal with species at risk, pollution, invasive plants and animals, and external issues that threaten ecological integrity.

The number of controlled burns were increased to mimic what Mother Nature would have done with lightning strikes. Elk were no longer allowed to take up residence in the Banff and Jasper townsites. Recovery plans were put in place for endangered species such as the black-footed ferret and caribou. Exotic trout were removed from mountain lakes. Golf courses made room for wildlife corridors.

It didn’t last long.

Burns bad for business

In the years after Stephen Harper was elected in 2006, many of the agency’s scientists were laid off. Those who stayed were forbidden to speak to journalists. One of them was dismissed without cause, allegedly because he wanted to release a year-old report on how a proposed ski expansion would further threaten caribou in Jasper.

As the scientists were shown the door, public relations experts, image consultants and marketing gurus were hired to lure more people into national parks.

The prescribed burn program continued on, but not with necessary speed, according to a scientist I spoke to. The budget wouldn’t allow for it. Burning trees was also deemed to be bad for business during the busy summer months.

The town of Banff is now in greater danger of burning than ever before because of climate change, and because Parks Canada has suppressed fire for so long in critical places such as Sulphur Mountain.

Caribou on the edge

Wildlife and wilderness have paid a high price.

In 2007, the last of Banff’s caribou died in an avalanche after years in which Parks Canada ignored the fate of caribou both within and outside the park. It was the first time a large mammal had disappeared from a national park in over a century.

Caribou in Pukaskwa in Northern Ontario are next in line. There may be as few as five left. None have reproduced in the park since 2011.

Now, we have the prospects for a paved bike path that will take riders from Jasper to Lake Louise through caribou, mountain goat and grizzly bear habitat.

We also have a road that will lead into a proposed mine adjacent to — and along the headwaters of — the South Nahanni River in Nahanni National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 180 km all-season road would connect the Prairie Creek Mine to the Liard Highway near Nahanni Butte, N.W.T, with about half of it passing through the Nahanni.

If there really is a reset under McKenna — Parks Canada declined to acknowledge that a panel has been struck — it might take Parks Canada back to its 2006 days when things started to unravel.

But what’s needed is a plan to make up for the progress that has been lost in the past 12 years.

Lowell Glacier Kluane National Park
There are breathtaking views available at Lowell Glacier Kluane National Park. (Photo by Edward Struzik)

As the wilderness in Canada continues to shrink, time is running out for caribou in Jasper and Pukaskwa, but also for the 42 at-risk species in Point Pelee, Ontario, the 18 in Grasslands in southern Saskatchewan, and the 50 or so in the Trent-Severn Waterway, in Ontario.

The ConversationThe list of species at risk in our national parks is a long one and unless Parks Canada takes meaningful action and puts their interests ahead of business, it will keep getting longer.

Edward Struzik is a Fellow at the Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, School of Policy Studies.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Stories worth telling

Galen Watts (Cultural Studies) secures one of five top spots in the 2018 SSHRC Storytellers contest.

It’s a lot easier to listen to a good story than it is to tell one. This storytelling process becomes even more complex when you mix it with research. That is why the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada created the SSHRC Storytellers contest, posing a challenge to postsecondary students across Canada to tell their social sciences and humanities research stories.

This year, Queen’s had two students in the Top 25 of the competition. Agnieszka Chalas, a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education specializing in art education, submitted a video entitled, “Painting a Portrait of Evaluation in Art Museums.” Galen Watts, a doctoral candidate in cultural studies specializing in contemporary spirituality, submitted a video entitled, “The Spirit of Millennials: Community and Citizenship in Canadian Life.” Members of the Top 25 each received a cash prize of $3,000.

Galen Watts presenting at Congress 2018. Photo credit: Michael Bell.
Galen Watts presenting at Congress 2018. Photo credit: Michael Bell.

Mr. Watts went on to place in the Top 5 of the SSHRC Storytellers contest after presenting at the 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Regina, and will further showcase his work at the 2018 SSHRC Impact Awards ceremony in Ottawa in fall 2018. The Gazette recently spoke with him to discuss his research and his passion for public outreach.

Tell us a bit about your research.

I am doing a PhD in Cultural Studies, which is very interdisciplinary. I work in religious studies, as well as cultural studies and sociology. Specifically, I’m looking at “spiritual, but not religious” millennials in Canada. The kind of research question I’m interested in is, “what does the rising number of ‘spiritual, but not religious,’ millennials mean for the future of Canadian society?”

Obviously, that’s a really broad question! Since religion has often been a source of community, I try to narrow down my thinking to, what does this mean for community? Does spirituality without religion encourage community? Does it encourage volunteering? Does it encourage positive attitudes towards redistribution?” In many ways, you could say I’m interested in the relationship between spirituality and social justice.

How did you get interested in this topic? What made you pursue a PhD in this field?

I left school for two years during my undergraduate degree, and during those two years I travelled and worked abroad. Over that period, I became really interested in questions of social justice, inequality and equity, as well as questions about how people find meaning. When I came back to school, I completed my degree in philosophy and drama. Graduate work examining questions about spirituality became a perfect means to explore these two issues of social justice and meaning.

What prompted you to apply to the Storytellers contest in particular, and how did you go about creating your video?

To be honest, it was a really spontaneous decision! My fiancée, Chantel Martin (Artsci’14, Ed’15), sent me a link about the contest and I decided to enter. So, I wrote the script, she helped with the visual aspects, and we spent an afternoon recording. The video is an ongoing slideshow, and it was a great collaboration.

What does it mean to you now that you have placed in the Top 5?

Galen Watts with fellow finalists and judges. Photo Credit: Alex Myers.
Galen Watts (third from right) with fellow finalists and judges. Photo Credit: Alex Myers.

I am very happy to get the opportunity to present in Ottawa in the fall. It will be great for my professional career, but it will also be really good to have the chance to tell the top researchers in Canada about what I’m doing and also be inspired by what they’re doing. That’s one opportunity I’m really looking forward to.

In terms of the Congress, it was a very illuminating experience. It was definitely an honour to be there with the other finalists, and it was wonderful to get to meet all of them and see all of the research projects that are going on across Canada. The diversity of research that was presented amazed me. I was really struck by my fellow finalists. The passion and dedication that they brought to their scholarship was very inspiring for me.

One aspect that was particularly nice about the whole experience was that, although we knew we were competing with one another, there was incredible collegiality among all of us. We had a Research Communications Workshop the day before, and we actually had to present what we had prepared to each other and then have everyone give their feedback. It was really clear that everyone wanted each other to do as well as they could.

You do a lot of other media outreach. Why do you think outreach about research is important?

When I came back to school during my undergraduate degree, I realized how important knowledge is for living a flourishing life. Not just for individuals, but for society in general. I think that knowledge is incredibly important, and something that we should value.

However, I am also very aware of the fact that most academic knowledge ends up completely untouched or unread by the vast majority of the population, and I think that is a huge waste. I have committed myself to being able to not just do innovative research, but also make it accessible to everyday people. I think this is an important commitment that any scholar should take up.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to be starting as a visiting student in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge this winter. While I’m there, I will be analyzing all of the data that I’ve collected so that, when I come back from Cambridge, I can start writing my dissertation. In the meantime, I’m carrying out fieldwork and engaging with public media outlets as much as possible.

For more information on the SSHRC Storytellers, please visit their website. Watch Mr. Watts' video below.


New fund to support Indigenous art at the Agnes

The Dodge Family Foundation is helping the Agnes Etherington Art Centre learn more about its Indigenous art collection.

A new fund will help the Agnes Etherington Art Centre discover the history behind some of its most important artifacts in order to guide future collection building.

The Dodge Family Indigenous Art Collection Research Fund has been established with a generous donation from Chancellor Emeritus David Dodge (Arts’65, LLD’02) and his wife, Christiane (Arts’65), to support the gallery in developing a strategy to grow its Indigenous art collection as a powerful asset for research and learning at the university and to encourage fellow alumni, friends, and faculty to support Indigenous arts at Queen’s.

“Our Indigenous art collection has accrued over a long period, and as a result, it’s quite eclectic,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “Our knowledge about the collection is uneven. Some of the pieces we know a lot about, others very little. Research must be done to ascertain cultures of origin and materials.”

[Indigenous frontlet art gift 2010]
Kwakwaka'wakw or Ts’msyan (Tsimshian) artist, Frontlet, undated, wood, paint, abalone shell, metal and hide. Gift of Dr. Archibald Malloch, 1910. This frontlet was used in a stirring performance by Mike and Mique’l Dangeli, of the internationally renowned Northwest Coast Git Hayetsk Dancers, at The Isabel in 2016. (Supplied Photo)

Alicia Boutilier, Chief Curator and Curator of Canadian Historical Art, says the fund will allow the Agnes to connect with communities where objects originated, including Inupiaq, Yupik, and Athabascan communities of the northwestern subarctic region.

“We are inviting knowledge keepers from that region to work with us to review and engage with the objects to give us a better understanding of what we have that’s beyond a typical museum record,” says Ms. Boutilier. “With that knowledge, we’ll have a better sense of how to move forward — what we can exhibit, how we can expand it, how we can display it, how we can even store it.”

An example of the knowledge the gallery is aiming to expand upon was realized when the internationally renowned Northwest Coast Git Hayetsk Dancers visited the collection prior to their performance at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in 2016.

During their visit, one of the artists, Mique’l Dangeli, discovered a frontlet — a headpiece made from wood, paint, abalone shell, metal, and hide — made by a Kwakwaka'wakw or Ts’msyan (Tsimshian) artist she believed originated from her people. She shared that, in her culture, a frontlet is used in ceremonial dance and worked with the gallery to incorporate it into their performance. With the help of conservator Amandina Anastassiades, students in the Master of Art Conservation program constructed a cradle to ensure the piece would be protected during the event.

“We were especially interested in Mique’l Dangeli’s knowledge about the traditional use of the piece — which she described as a cultural being — given we had very little information,” says Ms. Allen.

In addition to cultural insights, the Agnes will consult with a range of experts to define its goals in relation to its Indigenous art collection. This will include developing a strategy to assess potential acquisitions with research and learning in mind.

“The addition of this fund will bring us access to extraordinary expertise to advance our collection in tandem with the growth across campus of Indigenous studies and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Implementation,” says Ms. Allen. “We need to discern where these welcome resources will be placed to ensure our work is sensitive and well-informed.”

The Dodges say their intention is to support that growing knowledge with the creation of the fund.

“Other Canadian, European and, to some extent, Inuit art has been looked at more closely and the knowledge about it has been developed over time,” says Christiane Dodge. “But, as far as I know, not that much knowledge is available about Indigenous art. It’s about time the University and the rest of the world looked at that. We hope that others will join in supporting this fund.”

Ms. Allen says the creation of a fund is timely.

“A gift like the Dodges’ is especially exciting because it meets the demands of the moment,” she says. “We’re at a time where, in order to move ahead, we need to cultivate the knowledge and participation of specific communities and there’s a cost associated with that. This is a visionary gift.”

For more information on The Dodge Family Indigenous Art Collection Research Fund or to donate, visit givetoqueens.ca

This article originally appeared on the Queen's Alumni website.

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.

Supporting Indigenous academics and Indigenous research

New funding and updated policies will support Indigenous graduate students, and students conducting research with Indigenous communities.

[Alex Veinot Queen's Chemistry]
Alex Veinot is a PhD candidate in Chemistry, and a member of Glooscap First Nation located in Nova Scotia. (University Communications)

One in four Canadians holds a bachelor’s degree or higher according to Statistics Canada. Yet for Indigenous people in Canada, the number is just one in ten - making it more of a challenge for Indigenous learners wishing to obtain a graduate education.

To help support Indigenous students seeking their masters or doctorate, the School of Graduate Studies has earmarked additional funding, and introduced a new admissions policy for Indigenous applicants in keeping with the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) task force’s report.

“These actions are a step toward increasing access to graduate studies,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean (Graduate Studies). “They align with increasing inclusivity in our graduate community and promoting opportunities for research and scholarship that actively engages Indigenous communities.”

Among the changes, the value of entrance scholarships for Indigenous students has been increased from $10,000 to $15,000. Ten such awards are adjudicated each year.

Additionally, an Indigenous Student Admission policy was approved this year to encourage applications from Indigenous candidates and support access to graduate studies.

The regulation applies to all graduate programs in the School of Graduate Studies, and it means that the evaluation of applications from Indigenous candidates will consider academic, cultural, personal, and professional background, along with other factors indicative of capacity for graduate study.

To be considered under this regulation, applicants must self-identify as Indigenous upon application for admission defined as First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Peoples.

“Financial supports such as the Robert Sutherland Fellowship, which I received in my first year of doctoral studies, and other awards with allocations designated for Indigenous students are invaluable for promoting the advancement and development of Aboriginal communities throughout Canada,” says Alex Veinot, a PhD candidate in chemistry. “While Queen’s University has made significant improvements in supporting its Indigenous students both culturally and financially, there are still issues that need further attention in order to greatly improve the experience of Indigenous students at Queen’s.

The School of Graduate Studies has also set aside funding resources to support graduate students conducting research that requires travel to Indigenous communities. Masters and doctoral students engaged in Indigenous-related research can apply for Graduate Dean’s Travel Grant for Indigenous Field Research to help offset the costs.

These awards are similar to the Dean’s Travel Awards for Doctoral Field Research, but address a particular need linked with conducting responsible and respectful research with Indigenous communities. These awards are not restricted to PhD students.

It is expected the first applications for these travel awards will be submitted in the coming academic year in response to a call for applications from the SGS.

To further raise awareness about the distinctive requirements of research collaborations with Indigenous communities, the School of Graduate Studies has partnered with the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University (ACQU) to organize a series of workshops.

The first workshop was held in October 2017 alongside the Indigenous Research Symposium and attracted nearly 90 student, faculty, and community participants. A second workshop will be held in November 2018 and will focus on issues of ownership and control in research.

“We are working with the ACQU and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre to enhance our outreach, and to facilitate research with and by Indigenous communities,” says Marta Straznicky, Associate Dean (School of Graduate Studies). “It is important we build these relationships in a manner that respects Indigenous knowledge, research methodologies, and cultural protocols.”

“Respecting different ways of knowing and facilitating uptake and mobilization of the scholarly work requires that consideration be given to how the work is presented,” she adds. “The revised regulations on thesis structure affords flexibility in how the research is presented for alignment with the nature of the research conducted.”

For more information on support for Indigenous graduate students at Queen’s, visit queensu.ca/sgs/aboriginal-students

Focus on humanities and social sciences

Queen’s University researchers receive more than $3 million in funding to advance understanding of people and societies.

  • Professor Li-Jun-Ji at SSHRC announcement
    Li-Jun Ji talks about the importance of the funding she is receiving from SSHRC and how it will affect her work exploring the relationship between culture, adversity and resilience, during Friday's announcement.
  • Professor Sam McKegney at SSHRC announcement
    Sam McKegney (English Literature) explains his research into Indigenous peoples’ relationships with hockey in Canada and how newly-announced funding from SSHRC will support the project.
  • Principal Daniel Woolf at SSHRC announcement
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf provides a brief description of the research being done by each of the SSHRC funding recipients who took part in Friday's announcement.
  • Vice-Principal (Research John Fisher at SSHRC announcement
    Vice-Principal (Research) John Fisher talks about the importance of the SSHRC funding for university researchers, during Friday's announcement.
  • Queen's researchers attend the event announcing new SSHRC funding
    Queen's researchers who are receiving funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) attend Friday's event held at Richardson Hall.

A total of 24 Queen’s University researchers are recipients of more than $3 million in combined funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The Insight and Partnership Grants programs are designed to support their work in a range of disciplines that build knowledge and understanding about people, societies, and the world.

Successful Primary Applicants
Insight and Partnership Grants

Gauvin Bailey (Art History) - $97,035
Julian Barling (Business) - $209,046
Robert Clark (Economics) - $88,050
Jeffrey Collins (History) - $64,087
Patricia Collins (Geography and Planning) - $236,327
Rosanne Currarino (History) - $60,246
Tina Dacin (Business) - $198,625
Stanka Fitneva (Psychology) - $66,891
David Gordon (Geography and Planning) - $92,649
David Haglund (Political Studies) - $27,918
Tom Hollenstein (Psychology) - $179,706
Olena Ivus (Business) - $75,593
Li-Jun Ji (Psychology) - $172,150
Margaret Little (Political Studies/Gender Studies) - $200,159
W. George Lovell (Geography and Planning) - $65,310
Tara MacDonald (Psychology) - $95,800
Scott MacKenzie (Film and Media) - $197,978
Bertrand Malsch (Business) - $151,375
John McGarry (Political Studies) - $115,401
Sam McKegney (English Literature) - $305,060
Anton Ovhinnikov (Business) - $81,504
Jordan Poppenk (Psychology) - $84,537
Ana Siljak (History) - $65,648
Nancy van Deusen (History) - $110,656

The funding for Queen’s is part of $158 million invested in more than 800 research projects across Canada recently announced by Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen, is helping highlight the portion awarded to Queen’s researchers.  

“Social sciences and humanities research contributes to the well-being of all Canadians. It helps us better understand the world we live in, and how we can strengthen our social institutions. I am very proud that the federal government has invested in so many worthy projects undertaken by Queen’s researchers,” says Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands.

Highlights of the funding include Sam McKegney’s research into Indigenous peoples’ relationships with hockey in Canada and Li-Jun Ji’s work exploring the relationship between culture, adversity and resilience.

“Hockey is a vehicle through which non-Indigenous Canadians manufacture senses of belonging in the Northern landscape. Yet hockey is experienced by Indigenous players, coaches, and fans in ways that exceed the confines of the Canadian nation state and are expressive of Indigenous sovereignty,” says Dr. McKegney (English Literature) who received a $305,060 Insight Grant. “The research team, made up predominantly of Indigenous scholars, is grateful to SSHRC for funding that will allow us to collaborate with Indigenous individuals and communities throughout Turtle Island who are invested in decolonizing the game.”

Dr. Ji (Psychology) received a $172,150 Insight Grant to investigate how people from different cultures confront and cope with adversity and how they derive meaning from negative life experiences.

“Providing graduate students with good-quality training in cross-cultural research can be costly, as it naturally involves traveling, translating materials, meeting with collaborators and research participants from other cultures. The support of SSHRC makes all of this possible,” says Dr. Ji. “I have been continuously supported by SSHRC grants and without that support I wouldn’t be able to be as productive in my research and wouldn’t have been able to produce a group of excellent PhD students who have benefitted from my SSHRC grants and begun their own career successfully.”

In addition to the funding garnered for primary applicants from Queen’s, importantly, a number of Queen’s researchers will also act as co-applicants and collaborators on SSHRC Insight and Partnership grants held at other institutions. For example, Dylan Robinson (Language, Literatures and Cultures) and Karine Bertrand and Susan Lord (Film and Media) are co-applicants on a Partnership grant of $2.5 million out of York University, which will examine new theoretical questions, and the methodological challenges, that attend the changing nature and political realities of visual media archives.

“SSHRC funding provides the opportunity to develop our talent at Queen’s and connect those researchers with Canadian and international partners,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The projects focus on societal challenges and understanding human behaviour, and, ultimately, will provide better insight into the world around us.”

For more information visit the SSHRC website.


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