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Employee and Family Assistance Program provider publishes January edition of ‘Lifelines’

Read the January edition of Lifelines.

As the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider for Queen’s University, Homewood Health publishes a number of regular newsletters, including Lifelines.

The monthly newsletter is intended to support key personnel with a wealth of information on the topic presented. The January edition, entitled Dealing with Seasonal Depression, provides information on what tactics to identify and combat seasonal depression symptoms. 

For more information on the Queen’s EFAP, visit the Human Resources website.

For 24-hour EFAP services call 1-800-663-1142 (English) or 1-866-398-9505 (French). 

Leading the way for accessibility

Accessibility for James McNutt is more than a topic of interest – it directly affects his life every day.

"James McNutt"
For his efforts in highlighting the importance of accessibility at Queen's, James McNutt won the 2016 Steve Cutway Accessibility Award. (University Communications)

Mr. McNutt lives with cerebral palsy and gets around via a motorized wheelchair. Having earned three degrees at Queen’s, the most recent being a Master’s of Education completed in 2016, he is intimately familiar with many of the barriers and hurdles to accessibility on campus, not just for himself but for all Queen’s community members, especially students.

“Accessibility issues are extremely important. Queen’s University receives public funds for its operations,” he says. “The implication of this fact is that all who meet entrance requirements can attend, no matter what their creed, colour, or ability. By ensuring that all buildings are accessible, the university fulfills its obligations to its diverse and inclusive student body.”

In 2015, Mr. McNutt took it upon himself to conduct an independent accessibility audit at Queen’s, a project that used video to highlight and share accessibility challenges on campus.

For his efforts he received the 2016 Steve Cutway Accessibilty Award, one of the university’s Tri-Awards along with the Employment Equity Award and the Queen’s Human Rights Initiative Award.

It’s a recognition that continues to hold a special meaning for Mr. McNutt.

“It has meant a great deal for me to be even nominated for the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award,” he says. “I did my video to raise awareness about Queen’s accessibility issues. However, to be recognized by the university for my efforts is the icing on the cake.”

Established in 2008, the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award recognizes the contributions of faculty, staff and students towards advancing accessibility for persons with disabilities at Queen’s. The Queen's Accessibility Committee in partnership with Accessibility Queen’s named the Award in honour of Steve Cutway, a long-serving employee of Queen’s, who, for 36 years, dedicated himself to advancing accessibility at the university.

Nominations for the Tri-Awards are currently being accepted. The deadline is Jan. 12, 2018.

The awards will be presented on March 20, 2018 at the Diversity and Inclusion Round-Table Discussion and 2017 Tri-Awards Celebration. Register online early as spaces are limited for this event.

Nomination forms and further information on the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award, Employment Equity Award, and Human Rights Initiative Award are available on the Equity Office website. Questions can be directed to the Equity Office at 533-2563 or equity@queensu.ca.

Queen's University closing for winter holidays

Queen’s University's winter holiday shutdown will commence on Monday, Dec. 25, with the return to work scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Information regarding the Christmas Closing Policy can be found on the Human Resources website.

Staff and faculty are also reminded to turn off computers, laptops and work devices when leaving for the holiday break.

Throughout the holiday period Campus Security and Emergency Services will remain fully staffed and operational.

• • •

Physical Plant Services will be closed from 4 pm on Friday, Dec. 22, through to 8 am on Tuesday Jan. 2, 2018. In preparing for the holiday closure, please keep the following information in mind:

1. Energy Conservation: Turn off office lights, power down non-essential equipment, close windows and doors, and set thermostats no lower than 18 degrees Celsius or 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Garbage/Recycling: Ensure that all garbage and recycling is routed to the central waste stations located in the common areas of your buildings before noon on Friday, Dec. 22. This provides Custodial Services with one last opportunity to check and empty these stations.

3. Organics: Departments participating in the office organics program should ensure that the organic waste is placed in the available exterior toters before leaving for the day on Friday, Dec. 22.

4. Report any ongoing water issues (ongoing leaks, broken toilets or leaky faucets) or lack of heating to Fixit at ext. 77301 at your earliest convenience.

5. For urgent physical plant issues (e.g. floods, broken windows, lack of heating or exterior door issues) during the closure, contact the Emergency Report Centre at 613-533-6080 (613-533-6111, Emergency) for immediate assistance.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Top stories for 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, the Gazette takes a look back at the stories, events, and people at Queen’s who grabbed our attention over the past 12 months.

The year began with Queen’s continuing to celebrate its 175 anniversary and rounded out with a number of new programs working to make the university a stronger, more welcoming place for all.

Diversity and inclusivity

In response to concerns about diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s, an implementation committee was created by Principal Daniel Woolf in late 2016. After a process of consultation, review, and discussion, the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) submitted its final report on April 10, which included numerous recommendations for implementation, both in the short and long term.

UCARE membersOne of these recommendations was the creation of a new council tasked with ensuring there is a continuing and sustained conversation aimed at supporting anti-racism, diversity, inclusivity and equity on campus. The inaugural members of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) were announced in December and the meeting is scheduled for early 2018.

Also in April, Teri Shearer saw her title modified to Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), with expanded responsibilities, including championing equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the university’s mission.

In August, the university announced the establishment of a working group to review undergraduate orientation. Interested students, staff and faculty took part in a series of public town halls to discuss how to make undergraduate orientation more welcoming and inclusive for new students. 

The road to reconciliation

The final report and recommendations of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Task Force were unveiled during a special event on March 22 at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Principal Daniel Woolf also stated his commitment to the TRC recommendations in a special Senate meeting on March 7, where he acknowledged “Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous People.”

On Sept. 22, the university announced the appointment of Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) as the inaugural Director of Indigenous Initiatives. The creation of the office was a recommendation of the Queen’s TRC task force final report.

In the fall it was also announced that the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre would be expanded, doubling its current size to meet the growing enrolment of Aboriginal student as well as programming and community-building opportunities as recommended by the Queen’s TRC Task Force.

Welcome to Queen’s

The Faculty of Arts and Science welcomed Barbara Crow as dean while Kevin Deluzio was appointed dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Hugh Horton arrived at Herstmonceux Castle in his new role as vice-provost and executive director of the Bader International Study Centre (BISC).

The university also initiated a faculty renewal plan with the goal of hiring 200 new faculty members over a five-year period, with approximately 50 of these positions being net new hires.

Making an international impact

The university’s internationalization efforts continue and yielded some impressive results in 2017. In January a new partnership between Queen’s University and the University of Gondar in Ethiopia – supported by a 10-year, USD$24-million grant from The Mastercard Foundation – was unveiled.

Through the foundation’s Scholars Program, Queen’s and Gondar will collaborate to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa. In East Sussex, England, the BISC saw its largest-ever incoming class, with 139 first-year arrivals.

Innovation continued to make news, this time on the international front, as Spectra Plasmonics, a student-run startup created through the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), claimed top prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition in Singapore. For a second year in a row, Queen’s celebrated a Rhodes Scholar, as engineering graduate Iain Sander (Sc'17) received the prestigious scholarship.

Supporting the student learning experience

There is nothing more important at Queen’s than the student learning experience and the university made a number of announcements in support of this ongoing endeavour. At its Feb. 28 meeting, Senate approved a two-day fall term break that will first take effect in the 2018-19 academic year.

In July, Queen’s became the first medical school in North America to make the transition to competency-based medical education (CBME) in all 29 of its specialty programs for medical residents. Under the CBME model, residents are promoted to their next rotation once they have demonstrated competency in the clinical tasks and activities expected of them at each stage.

Construction at the Innovation and Wellness Centre continued and the site will be completely enclosed by the end of 2017. Providing expanded research and innovation spaces, a wellness centre, athletics and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre, the IWC is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.

There are many more accomplishments and stories from the Queen’s community, including many research accomplishments to share. Find out more at queensu.ca/gazette/.

Preparations for the upcoming holiday closing

Physical Plant Services will be closed starting at 4 pm on Friday, Dec. 22, through to 8 am on Tuesday Jan. 2, 2018.

Please keep the following information in mind as your department prepares for the upcoming holiday closing:

1.      Energy Conservation: Turn off office lights, power down non-essential equipment, close windows and doors, and set thermostats no lower than 18 degrees Celsius or 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.      Garbage/Recycling: Ensure that all garbage and recycling is routed to the central waste stations located in the common areas of your buildings before noon on Friday, Dec. 22. This provides Custodial Services with one last opportunity to check and empty these stations.

3.      Organics: Departments participating in the office organics program should ensure that the organic waste is placed in the available exterior toters before leaving for the day on Friday, Dec. 22.

4.      Report any ongoing water issues (ongoing leaks, broken toilets or leaky faucets) or lack of heating to Fixit at ext. 77301 at your earliest convenience.

5.      For urgent physical plant issues (e.g. floods, broken windows, lack of heating or exterior door issues) during the closure, contact the Emergency Report Centre at 613-533-6080 (613-533-6111, Emergency) for immediate assistance.

Giving the gift of hope through the United Way

The Queen’s United Way campaign continues to raise funds towards its $320,000 target, and the goal is in sight.

During the holidays the Queen’s community can continue to show their support for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington through the annual Gift of Hope campaign.

The Gift of Hope is available through the United Way KFLA website and provides opportunities to donate and provide support in six categories: Buy Winter Boots to Keep a Child Warm; Refugee Relief; Help Give a Youth Shelter; Hot Meals for the Hungry; Welcome Home Basket; and Buy a Backpack for a Child.

“The United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington is addressing the root causes of poverty by bringing ideas as well as volunteers to a problem, and working with the community to solve it,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations) and Executive Sponsor for the Queen’s United Way campaign. “It’s encouraging to consider how many lives are touched by the United Way, thanks to the support of the Queen’s community and so many others.”

While the United Way KFLA has wrapped up its campaign, the Queen’s United Way campaign continues to accept donations for its campaign. The final total will be announced in January.

Queen’s community members can back the United Way through payroll deduction, a one-time gift, credit card, cheque or cash. To make a donation online through the United Way’s ePledge system, simply go to queensu.ca/unitedway. Please note that if you donated last year and selected the auto-renewal action, no further action is required unless you would like to change your donation. 

More information on the campaign and the role of the Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee is available in this Gazette article.

Expanding access to Queen’s

New recruitment rep in the GTA aiming to bring more under-represented students to Queen’s University.

As a first-year student at Queen’s, Curtis Carmichael knew that he wanted to work full-time with youth from populations that are under-represented on university campuses.

Curtis Carmichael receives the Russ Jackson Award
As a member of the Queen's Gaels football team, Curtis Carmichael received the Russ Jackson Award in 2015. Mr. Carmichael will be returning to Queen's as the university's first GTA-based Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment representative. (Photo by Mathieu Belanger)

He now has that opportunity as Queen’s first GTA-based Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment representative, who will focus on outreach to prospective students from diverse backgrounds with the goal of motivating them to apply to Queen’s.

He will be advising students on admission policies and requirements, campus resources and services, student life and financial assistance. In addition, he will be building relationships with communities and organizations that serve and support students, who may benefit from Queen’s new First-Generation Admission Policy. The policy seeks to encourage more applications from a broad range of under-represented populations, including students who would be the first in their family to attend university and those facing educational or socio-economic disadvantage.

“This is not just a job for me,” he says. “It’s my passion to give students the tools to overcome systemic barriers. My purpose is to provide more equitable access to education for students from under-represented communities.”

Mr. Carmichael is a Queen’s alumnus (Artsci’16), a former football Gael, and recipient of scholarships and national awards for academic excellence, athletics, and leadership. He is currently completing a degree at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Education. He has volunteered with low-income youth and marginalized adults at drop-in centres, and he speaks on topics such as education, race, privilege, and poverty. He is also the founder of Ride for Promise, and cycled across Canada to raise money and awareness of institutional racism and the stigma of social housing.

“We are looking forward to Curtis joining our recruitment team, enhancing our connections with youth and community groups in the GTA, and talking to them about the opportunities that are accessible at Queen’s,” says Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney. “Curtis has extensive experience and a strong commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for youth. We are thrilled to welcome him back to Queen’s as we work to increase enrolment among under-represented student populations.”

Mr. Carmichael joins Queen’s on Jan. 15, and will initially spend time at the Kingston campus, meeting colleagues across campus and training.

Gerald Jacob Joseph Tulchinsky: 1933-2017

Gerald Jacob Joseph Tulchinsky
Professor Emeritus Gerald Tulchinsky

Gerald Jacob Joseph Tulchinsky, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 13. He was 84.

Professor Tulchinsky arrived at Queen’s in 1966 and taught history until 1999. After his retirement he served as director of Jewish Studies at Queen’s.

He was a much loved and respected member of the Department of History, and of the Queen’s community, and will be greatly missed by many.

Professor Tulchinsky’s funeral took place Thursday, Dec. 14 at Beth Israel Congregation in Kingston.

His obituary is available online. Former colleague Peter Campbell (History) also wrote a memorial tribute.

Getting into the holiday spirit at the Ban Righ Centre

Many students who use Queen’s Ban Righ Centre are mothers who can’t always afford to give their children multiple presents for the holidays and some of these students do not celebrate Christmas, but their children hear about it at school.

The daughter of a Queen’s student pick out donated presents for the holiday season ( Candice Pinto Photo)
The daughter of a Queen’s student picks out donated presents for the holiday season, during the Winter Bazaar at the Ban Righ Centre. (University Communications)

To help everyone enjoy the pleasure of gift giving for whatever reason they choose, the centre recently hosted its second annual Winter Bazaar.

The event is held for students with children, to build community, share a meal, and give the kids a chance to visit the university campus. The basement of the Ban Righ Centre is filled with new and slightly used toys, jewelry, and household items that have been gifted or donated by Queen’s staff, faculty, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students and some local businesses.

Children are able to go shopping and make purchases for a quarter each for gifts for their family and friends. Their parents and caregivers visit upstairs in the living room area, while the children select and wrap their gifts together, making new friends and playmates.

“Oftentimes, mothers who have returned to their studies after a break do not have a lot of time to socialize or meet other parents on campus,” says Carole Morrison, Director of the Ban Righ Centre. “In particular, international students, and other non-traditional students, may be attending Queen’s away from their existing social networks and support systems. We want to host and promote events that are child-friendly, that celebrate the diversity within our student population, and leave the children and their parents knowing that they belong and are welcome.”

Rosie, a Fine Arts student, arrived at the bazaar for the second year with her son, and noted the impact the event has had on her family.

“For us, even though my whole family is in our home country, the Ban Righ Centre is very family-oriented and is a welcoming space for us,” she says. “At the centre, we are all non-traditional students, but still feel supported and have a place to call home.”

To learn more about the Ban Righ Centre, visit: http://banrighcentre.queensu.ca/  

New support for Indigenous students near and far

Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre has hired a new Cultural Counsellor/Elder-in-Residence, while the Faculty of Education has also added an Elder-in-Residence.

Two new staff members hired this fall are already having a significant positive impact on the Queen’s community, particularly for Indigenous students.

Vernon Altiman (University Relations)
Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) can be found at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. (University Communications)

Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) joined Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre in Oct. as an Elder-in-Residence and Cultural Counsellor, a new role which sees him meeting with students and supporting Indigenous cultural ceremonies. His hiring diversifies the voices at Four Directions, as he is the only Anishinaabe man working in the centre.

Mr. Altiman’s career has been focused on traditional healing practices, specifically in mental health. He was summoned by the Elders to complete a Master’s of Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy Program through Seven Generations Education Institute in Fort Frances, Ontario. The institute is connected to the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC), and is affiliated with Queen’s.

Mr. Altiman moved back to Kingston last year to work with the federal penitentiaries, and while in town he became involved in the local Indigenous community through Four Directions.

He began helping the centre with its Ojibway language programming and, through the connections he made at Four Directions, Mr. Altiman heard that Queen’s was seeking an Ojibway language teacher.

“It was an opportunity of a lifetime,” he says. “I never dreamed that I would be asked to do it.”

A few months later, Mr. Altiman also took on the Elder and Cultural Counsellor roles with Four Directions. He says there are some similarities in providing guidance to students and his past work.

“The difference is that the students are willing and seeking the knowledge,” he says. “There are different objectives, different teachings that are used…and it is open and free.”

Since joining Four Directions, Mr. Altiman has had the opportunity to present to medical and education students, and help organize Indigenous ceremonies on campus including smudging. Annually, he participates in ceremonies such as the Sun Dance, which involves four days without food or water and a trial of physical endurance.

“It’s not just feathers and beads…it is research. It is hard work, commitment, and sacrifice,” he says. “I pick up a lot of baggage that I have to dispose of, so that’s why I am committed to these traditional annual practices.”

Bezhig Waabshke Ma’iingan Gewetiigaabo (Deborah St Amant). (Supplied Photo)
Bezhig Waabshke Ma’iingan Gewetiigaabo (Deborah St Amant) has an office in Duncan McArthur Hall, and she also connects to students through video conferencing. (Supplied Photo)

Meanwhile, in the Faculty of Education, Bezhig Waabshke Ma’iingan Gewetiigaabo (Deborah St Amant) is applying new technologies to Indigenous traditions. Ms. St Amant (Ed’82) describes the largest part of her role as a ‘Cyber Elder’, where she virtually connects with students in the Master of Education in Aboriginal and World Indigenous Educational Studies (AWIES) and the faculty’s doctorate programs.

“When the AWIES students get together in the summer, they really like that sense of community,” Ms. St Amant says. “When they leave Kingston – headed to Whitehorse, to Moosonee, and every other part of Canada – they lose that connection to their student learning community. The relationship is so important in any Indigenous culture…it’s all about the relationship and being able to see the person.”

To help foster those relationships with the students, she holds regular video calls – and, starting in January, she hopes to start a virtual ‘talking circle’ with the entire group simultaneously connected to the same video call. Ms. St Amant is also on-campus twice a month specifically to support students in the Aboriginal Teachers Education Program (ATEP) or other faculty, staff, and students seeking an Elder.

She says Indigenous students face a number of barriers in the education system, and it can be helpful to have an Elder who can counsel them and vouch for them.

“A lot of the discussions I have are about the challenges of doing this work online as an Indigenous person; about social, familial, and funding barriers; barriers within the education system and cultural misunderstandings; and the intergenerational trauma that was caused by the residential school system,” she says. “Those who have not experienced some of these hurdles cannot understand their impact, but I am able to help them clear these hurdles.”

Ms. St Amant, who possesses both Métis and Ojibway heritage, worked as a teacher for three decades before retiring in 2012 – skills which have served her well as Elder-in-Residence in an academic environment. Since starting in her part-time role in October, there has been significant demand for her time.

“This is an important role, and it’s a great step for the faculty. I something like this was available when I was a student.”

The Elder-in-Residence position within the Faculty of Education was established with the support of Oriel MacLennan in memory of her mother, Edwina Diaper (MEd’82), who was a teacher in the Kingston community for many years. Learn more about this position on the Faculty of Education’s website.

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