Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Arts and Science

Not your typical history classes

Steven Maynard’s courses in Canadian history are “not your typical history classes.”

Instead of relying on textbooks or readings regarding the past, with students handing in a paper or writing an exam, Mr. Maynard develops a project based around a particular segment of Canadian history that requires students to research, create and present.

[Steven Maynard]
Steven Maynard and his students from HIST 312 attend the opening of the exhibition The Taste of the Library that they created and curated earlier this year  in the Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections located in Douglas Library. (Supplied Photo)  

“The approach I use is called the history of the present. That means a couple of different things but one of them is making the connections between the past and the present,” he explains. “A lot of students, even history students, understand the past as a kind of antiquarian project. It might be interesting to them but not necessarily have a lot of immediate application. So with this idea of the history of the present, I’m trying to get them to think of ways in which you might use the past to answer questions students have about the present.”

For example, as Queen’s devised its policy on sexual violence over the past several years, Mr. Maynard’s students conducted research in archival records to investigate the university’s previous efforts to grapple with the issue.

More recently, students in Mr. Maynard’s HIST 312 Canadian Social History course were tasked with exploring interesting themes in regards to food and what stories cookbooks tell. As with all of his courses, an emphasis is placed on students honing skills in seminar presentation, historiographical critique, and primary historical research.

For HIST 312 this meant digging deep into the cookbooks collection found in the Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections located in Douglas Library. To complete the course, the students created and curated an exhibit highlighting their research called The Taste of the Library.

“The projects I come up with are almost always about making a link with a current issue but even if they’re not doing that I try to design a project where the students present their work in public,” Mr. Maynard explains, adding that he is always trying to answer the question of ‘What can I do with a history degree?’ “I think it’s incumbent upon those of us who teach history to have an answer and one of the answers is to get students to think about ways their research can have a public life rather than just writing a term paper. Presenting your research in public, explaining your work to a live audience or to the media, these are portable skills.”

For encouraging students to use primary sources and engage critically with those resources in his courses. Mr. Maynard was the 2016 recipient of the Promoting Student Inquiry Teaching Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards.

The award is sponsored and coordinated by Queen’s University Library. Queen’s Archives, which is part of Queen’s University Library, is where most of the primary sources used in Mr. Maynard’s courses are found.

“It’s an incredible resource and they are always really helpful when I come along with a new idea,” he says, adding that he does the advance work and then works with an archivist. Students then conduct much of their research through Queen’s Archives.

The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus. The awards are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The Promoting Student Inquiry Teaching recognizes innovative instructional design which enables active student engagement in learning.

Nominations for the 2017 award are currently being accepted. All nominations should be sent electronically in PDF form to inforef@queensu.ca no later than Tuesday, Aug. 1, by 4 pm. For more information about the award and the nomination form and process, visit the CTL website

Film student lands Cannes internship

Queen's in the World

Among the gossip and celebrities and champagne on the French Riviera, Diana Zhao might catch herself to smile into the flash of a paparazzo’s camera when she’s not busy at work this month.

“It’s a great networking opportunity, especially compared to other festivals because it’s more exclusive – Cannes is by invitation only,” says Ms. Zhao (Artsci’17), a political science and film and media student who is participating in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival as a marketing intern for the two weeks of its run in May.

The annual festival is held in the city of Cannes, in the south of France, and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It’s an important showcase for international, but especially European, films, and draws hundreds of celebrities associated with cinema, including famous actors and directors.

Diana Zhao (Artsci'17), a political science and film and media student, is working at the Cannes Film Festival as a marketing intern. (Supplied photo)

Asked whether she’s excited to meet such Academy Award-winning luminaries as Sofia Coppola and Leonardo DiCaprio, who are expected at the event this year, Ms. Zhao humbly concedes, “It’s a great opportunity to meet people in the industry.”

Ms. Zhao has been interested in film since high school, when she attended an arts intensive school, but she also thought about going into journalism. Fortunately, her time at Queen’s allowed her the opportunity to explore different avenues of education and career development.

“Queen’s lets you try out different courses in first year, so I felt like I had an extra year to decide what to do,” she says. Ms. Zhao says she was more inclined to journalism and writing than acting, but was unsure whether the film industry offered such opportunities for people like her. “Before being exposed to the industry, I thought if you want to be in film you have to be either an actor or director. I didn’t know there were actually so many career options.”

In particular, FILM450, a special topics course designed this year by instructor Alex Jansen around “The Business of Media,” was a formative experience for Ms. Zhao and opened her eyes to the many ways she could get involved in the film industry, as well as to how she could apply her skills.

Among the course’s many lessons, Ms. Zhao says “it taught me how to network, how to break into the industry, how to contact someone from the industry, and how to write a profile.” One beneficial assignment required tapping into the Queen’s alumni network and contacting two recent graduates of the film program, both of whom had a similar educational background to hers and are now successfully working in advertising and PR companies.

Leaping into festival work

The jump from FILM450 to the Cannes Film Festival is shorter than might be expected. Ms. Zhao’s résumé already includes an internship as a marketing assistant with the Kingston Canadian Film Festival in 2016, in which position she designed promotional material, managed social media platforms, and handled communications with sponsors and film producers.

While still enrolled in the course, she heard about opportunities to get involved with major film festivals from a few other former Queen’s film students, and filed an early application to the Creative Mind Group, a U.S.-based foundation that is dedicated to developing the next generation of film and television professionals and building their networks. They connect students and young professionals like Ms. Zhao to entertainment festivals and markets all over the world. At Cannes, she has been assigned a variety of administrative duties, which will include greeting clients as they arrive and running such errands as delivering premier tickets to clients before shows begin.

Ms. Zhao, who spent a semester studying at Tsinghua University in China during her degree, is also gearing up for her involvement with an entrepreneurial start-up this summer through the Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) program and is also preparing for her master’s of management degree at UBC, which she will begin in September.

“I’m interested in working in PR, marketing, and working with distribution companies. After talking to industry professionals for FILM450, it’s definitely an industry I’m interested in. Once I get my MA in management, I’ll be ready to enter.”

 

 

Renewable energy and reconciliation

Queen’s researcher receives CIHR grant for interdisciplinary research program on Indigenous leadership in renewable energy development.

Queen’s University researcher Heather Castleden (Geography and Planning/ Public Health Sciences) has received a $2 million team grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to lead an interdisciplinary research program on Indigenous leadership in renewable energy development for healthy communities.

Dr. Castleden hopes that the project will bring to light new and restored understandings of integrative health by sharing our stories, resources, and tools with Indigenous and Settler governments, industries, ENGOs, universities, and beyond. (Photo Credit: Jon Aarssen)

The program of research, titled A SHARED Future: Achieving Strength, Health, and Autonomy through Renewable Energy Development for the Future, will bring together more than 75 Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, as well as representatives from various Indigenous and settler governments and organizations across Canada, to examine how fostering Indigenous leadership in renewable energy development has the potential to deliver positive community benefits and spur efforts towards reconciliation.

“Much of my research has involved a Two-Eyed Seeing framework – something I learned from Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshal and his colleague, Cheryl Bartlett, who is a retired biologist and former Canada Research Chair in Integrative Science,” explains Dr. Castleden, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities. “The guiding principle of Two-Eyed Seeing is to bring the best of Indigenous and Western knowledge systems together to try to answer research questions more comprehensively and whole-istically.”

Through this program of research involving multiple projects, Dr. Castleden and her colleagues will examine stories of success in renewable energy development. Amongst other criteria, the research will determine whether Indigenous communities, governments, and organizations are using a business-as-usual model, a joint venture model, a co-operative, or an Indigenous leadership model in their collaborations. The team will also examine how these efforts have the potential to lead towards new and restored understandings for integrative health by reconciling and healing relations between the Indigenous and settler communities, as well as the relationship with the environment.

“For the past 15 years, Dr. Castleden has partnered with Indigenous communities across Canada in conducting community-based, participatory research on issues such as social and environmental justice and health equity,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This project will not only bring about a better understanding of the impacts of renewable energy development on Indigenous communities, it will also foster a deeper understanding of the requirements necessary to overcome barriers that address relationships and support for Indigenous populations and their communities,  in order for Canadians to pursue meaning reconciliation.”

Indigenous Ways of Knowing will play a central role throughout the design of the program and its various projects, in conceptualizing the team’s research approach, organization and methodology. Dr. Castleden explains that doing so allows the research team to consider issues in a broader and more whole-istic nature. She adds that Indigenous leadership and efforts towards self-determination and autonomy have led to broader inclusion of Indigenous perspectives and knowledge in academic research.

“We have been trained in academia to specialize in our fields, which makes it very difficult to see a problem from multiple generations back or forward, to translate from the individual to the community and beyond – that’s where Indigenous knowledge systems bring the breadth of the issue to light,” she says. “This is especially true with health research. There is, with many Indigenous knowledge systems, the ability to see health issues as being not just about physical health or mental health but also emotional health, cultural and spiritual health and well-being of people. We don’t tend to do that in Western science, so again that’s what makes this make sense.”

Dr. Castleden and her team are one of nine team grants to receive funding under the CIHR Environments and Health Signature Initiatives program. The program aims to support researchers and teams investigating how various sectors can collaborate to promote healthy environments and reduce exposure to the causes of poor health.

For more information on the A SHARED Future project, please visit the HECLab website.

Award provides opportunity for return to Queen's

Queen’s to host Professor Werner Nell – Distinguished German professor and John G. Diefenbaker Award recipient.

Queen's in the World

A leading researcher in the field of German literature and culture, Werner Nell has received the prestigious John G. Diefenbaker Award from the Canada Council for the Arts. Nominated for the award by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Queen’s, Dr. Nell will spend the 2017-2018 academic year in Kingston – collaborating with Queen’s faculty and conducting research on the concepts of rurality, urbanity, and migration.

Dr. Nell will utilize his time in Kingston to conduct research on the changing concepts of rurality and urbanity and their cultural reflections in both Canada and Germany. (Supplied Photo)

“It is a tremendous honour to receive the Diefenbaker Award and have the opportunity to return to Queen’s,” says Dr. Nell. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my previous visits to the university, and look forward to continuing my research and reconnecting with my Queen’s colleagues.

Dr. Nell has a long-standing relationship with Queen’s, dating back to 2007 when he spent a semester as a visiting professor in the former German department. He was instrumental in establishing an exchange program between Queen’s and the Germanistisches Institut, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, which has provided students from both institutions with a unique cross-cultural learning experience.

“Introducing new perspectives and avenues for collaboration, which are accompanied by internationalization, provides new opportunities for faculty and students alike,” says John Fisher, Queen’s Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Dr. Nell has worked tirelessly to build and strengthen the ties between our two institutions – creating opportunities for research collaborations and international student exchange. We are proud to welcome him back to Queen’s and offer our most sincere congratulations on receiving this prestigious and competitive Canadian honour.”

While in Canada, Dr. Nell will conduct research on the changing concepts of rurality and urbanity and their cultural reflections in both Canada and Germany. His research will focus on furthering the understanding of how social communities influence, change and challenge the way people live, as well as how they conceptualize themselves, their relationships with political bodies, and navigate and utilize institutions. Attention will also be paid to what he refers to as the “contradictions of modernity,” or the need to reconnect with themes and values from our rural past to solve the issues of the modern age.

“We are extremely pleased that our nominee, Dr. Nell, was granted the prestigious Diefenbaker Award,” says Donato Santeramo, Head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. “Dr. Nell embodies, in many ways, our department’s unique transcultural and intercultural curricula. His research project “Urban Villages in the Arrival City” aims at examining the impact of the “migrants” transition from a rural setting to a metropolitan one, with the goal of reinforcing the values of tolerance and democracy, which permeate both German and Canadian identity.  It will be an honour to host Dr. Nell and we look forward to having the opportunity of working with him during his tenure at Queen’s.”  

Established in 1991 in memory of former Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker, the award allows a distinguished German scholar in the humanities to conduct research in Canada and spend brief periods gaining further experience at American institutions. It is the counterpart to the Konrad Adenauer Award, established in Germany in 1988. Both awards aim to encourage exchange between the university communities of Canada and Germany.

For more information on the John G. Diefenbaker Award, please visit the website.

Queen’s researchers and students are collaborating with colleagues around the world to develop innovations and advance research that has the potential to bring myriad benefits to society. The university is committed to increasing global engagement by developing new international research collaborations and building sustained multinational partnerships. These activities foster an environment where resources and expertise can be shared and knowledge can be mobilized and translated.

Back to the beginning

Geologists from across Canada are going “back to where it began,” as Queen’s University’s Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering hosts the Geological Association of Canada (GAC)/Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) Annual Meeting May 14-18.

It’s an auspicious year for the organizations as the conference coincides with the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in Kingston. The GSC, Canada’s oldest scientific agency, was established by the legislature of the Province of Canada in 1842, in Kingston. Queen’s University is also celebrating its 175th anniversary and the Geological Association of Canada is marking 70 years.

The annual meeting offers a mix of technical sessions, field trips, workshops and social events. Highlights include three events featuring Queen’s faculty members:

  • a GSC plenary address by Professor Emeritus Ray Price on the evolution of the GSC, on Tuesday starting at 11:15 am 
  • a public lecture by E.R. Ward Neale Medal recipient Guy Narbonne regarding his work at Mistaken Point, Nfld., the newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, on Wednesday at 1 pm
  • an address by Peacock Medalist Heather Jamieson, at 3:30 pm. Each event takes place at the Biosciences Auditorium

On Saturday, the Miller Museum of Geology is hosting a hands-on training workshop to help local teachers with their teaching of earth sciences in the classroom.

The full schedule of events is available on the conference website.

Scholars receive prestigious national chairs

Three Queen’s researchers receive Canada Research Chairs from Government of Canada.

An internationally-renowned chemist who has reshaped the field, Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) has been named the new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry.

Arriving at Queen’s in 2002 as a Queen’s National Scholar, Dr. Crudden’s research investigates the interaction of organic compounds with metals in the synthesis of novel materials and for the development of highly active catalysts. Her work has widespread applications in pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and agriculture – a testament to the depth and breadth of her research.

Dr. Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) has been named the new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry. She is joined by Dr. Peter Davies (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Protein Engineering) and Dr. Mohammad Zulkernine (Computing, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Software Reliability and Security) who saw their Canada Research Chairs renewed.

Dr. Crudden’s work in the field of organic chemistry has been lauded as revolutionary and has allowed for the synthesis of compounds previously thought impossible. In recent years, she has published nearly 100 papers in high-impact journals, and her research has been cited nearly 3,000 times. Committed to training the next generation of leading multidisciplinary researchers, she has also supervised 20 doctoral candidates, 19 master’s candidates and 31 postdoctoral fellows – many of whom have taken positions in research and industry.

“This grant will let me spend more time on research while still having the pleasure of teaching Queen’s undergraduates,” says Dr. Crudden. “Our research program has also become very international lately and this research chair will allow me to set aside time to visit collaborators in the U.S., Finland, Scotland, Japan and the rest of Canada.” 

Two other Queen’s researchers have seen their Canada Research Chairs renewed. Peter Davies (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) has been renewed as the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Protein Engineering, while Mohammad Zulkernine (Computing) has been renewed as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Software Reliability and Security.

“The CRC program allows Queen’s to attract top-calibre researchers, to provide them with the tools to succeed, and to make Canada an international leader in research and development,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  “Queen’s researchers, including the three CRC recipients announced today, are at the forefront of their fields, conducting research that addresses some of the most challenging and complex problems in science, with potential to have a global impact.”

Dr. Davies’ research focuses on how a protein’s structure enables it to carry out its purpose and how the function of a protein can be changed by altering its structure. His research has numerous potential applications in healthcare and biotechnology.

“I am delighted to have the support of the Canada Research Chair program for another seven years,” Dr. Davies says. “This renewal is a vote of confidence for the research we have been doing in recent years, and it will allow my group to branch out into a new area. We have recently become involved in the study of adhesin proteins that bacteria use to form biofilms and infect various hosts. By studying and engineering these proteins we hope to interfere with their infectivity.”

As technology becomes a larger aspect of our day-to-day lives, security and reliability are of paramount concern. Dr. Zulkernine’s research is focused on addressing these issues at different stages of the development cycle, in order to better protect the next generation of mobile and cloud computing environments.

“This award actually belongs to my current and former graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have worked hard with me to achieve my research goals,” says Dr. Zulkernine. “I am also thankful to my collaborators in the School of Computing, Queen's, and industry partners for their continuous support. This award will attract more high quality students and world renowned software security and reliability researchers to our Queen's Reliable Software Technology (QRST) research group.”

Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program is at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development since 2000. The CRC program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Canadian universities both nominate Canada Research Chairs and administer their funds.

For more information on the Canada Research Chairs program, please visit the website.

Queen’s researchers lead the way in numerous fields, with notable advances made recently in particle astrophysics, cancer research, ecological history and environmental change, and clean energy technology. Through leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines. Queen’s University is a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities.

A whirlwind tour of Washington D.C.

Art McDonald inducted into National Academy, gives speech at Canadian Embassy.

It was another full week for Queen’s professor emeritus and Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, as he visited Washington DC for the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and delivered a presentation on the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment at the Canadian Embassy.

Dr. McDonald signs the Book of Membership at the National Academy of Sciences annual meeting on April 29. (Photo Credit: National Academy of Sciences).

On Saturday, April 29, Dr. McDonald was formally inducted as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences at the Academy’s 154th annual meeting. Dr. McDonald was one of 20 fellow researchers from 14 countries to receive the honour. Of the 490 foreign associates, Dr. McDonald is one of only 20 living Canadian researchers with membership in the Academy – a group that includes Queen’s professor emeritus Raymond A. Price (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering).

 “Having conducted my graduate work at Caltech, served as a professor at Princeton and collaborated extensively with U.S. scientists throughout my research career, I am honoured to have been elected to The National Academy of Sciences.” says Dr. McDonald. “At this important time in the dialogue on the importance of scientific research, I am proud to be granted membership in this highly respected group.”

Established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the National Academy of Science recognizes achievement in science and provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the US federal government and other organizations. Election to the Academy is widely considered one of the greatest achievements in science, and approximately 200 of its members have received Nobel prizes.

“Induction into the National Academy is amongst the highest honours that one can receive, and is a testament to the significance of Dr. McDonald’s research,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “This award is further recognition of the groundbreaking research conducted at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory by Dr. McDonald and his collaborators. On behalf of the entire university community, I would like to extend him my most sincere congratulations.”

From L-R: Nigel Smith, SNOLAB Director, Dr. Art McDonald, Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, Denis Stevens, Deputy Ambassador, John Fisher, Vice-Principal(Research).

Following the NAS annual meeting, on May 2, Dr. McDonald visited the Canadian Embassy in Washington. The theme of the evening focused on international research collaboration, particularly the US-Canada collaboration on the SNO experiment and at the SNOLAB underground laboratory. Dr. McDonald, along with Dr. John Fisher (Vice-Principal, Research) and Nigel Smith (SNOLAB) gave presentations on the past, present and future of international collaborations at SNOLAB and the value of international collaboration in leading-edge research. Science Minister Kirsty Duncan was also on hand to reiterate the government’s commitment to international collaboration in science.

Queen’s researchers and students are collaborating with colleagues around the world on innovative research projects that have the potential to bring about a wide variety of societal benefits. The university is committed to increasing global engagement by developing new international research collaborations and building sustained multinational partnerships. These activities foster an environment where resources and expertise can be shared and knowledge can be mobilized and translated.

From breaking ground to a groundbreaking building

As he provides an update on the Innovation and Wellness Centre, John Witjes can’t help but get excited about the finished product. 

“Seeing a state-of-the-art facility rise from a building built in the 1930s and the 1970s will be really impressive,” says the associate vice-principal (facilities). “Connecting the old and the new is something that Queen’s does well – just look at Goodes Hall and the Isabel – and the Innovation and Wellness Centre is going to be another great example of that.”

[Foundation rising at IWC]
After the demolition work, crews started forming and pouring columns, foundation, and shear walls for the new Innovation and Wellness Centre. (Submitted photo) 

Construction work began on the project in September 2016, thanks to investments from Queen’s, the federal and provincial governments, and numerous benefactors. When students return to campus in September 2018, they will have full access to expanded research and innovation spaces, a wellness centre, athletics and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre.

Within the next couple of weeks, the Queen’s community will notice a shift in the project. Demolition is nearly complete, and the new structure will start to rise out of the ground. Crews have poured footings and foundations and the structural steel will arrive on the construction site next week.

“It will be very exciting to watch this incredible building truly start to take shape,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “The steel structure will soon rise into view, and soon after we will start to fit in the state of the art research, innovation and student wellness spaces that make this project so important for the future of Queen’s.”

Mr. Witjes says crews have managed to stay on schedule while overcoming certain challenges that arise from retrofitting an existing building instead of constructing something brand new. 

“You will always find unexpected things that you have to react to or design around,” Mr. Witjes says. “It’s particularly challenging with this project because there are essentially two buildings: the 1930s building and the 1970s addition.”

The project team is also taking great care to preserve the heritage components of the original structure. The limestone façade facing Union Street will remain, and Queen’s will reinstate the original windows.

[Front facade of IWC]
The new Innovation and Wellness Centre will include the original limestone façade. Queen’s will also reinstate the original windows. (Submitted photo)

While the heritage aspects on the outside will remain, the inside will have a completely new look and feel. From Union Street, visitors will enter into an expansive space with skylights and glass on all sides. The Bews Gymnasium that used to be at the front of the building will be relocated underneath the Ross Gym.

“Whereas the old building was very compartmentalized and disconnected, the new building will be much more open. We are introducing intersecting spaces where people will come into contact with each other as they travel from one area of the building to the other,” Mr. Witjes says.

The building will be enclosed by the end of the fall, with crews continuing to work inside through the winter. Mr. Witjes says he appreciates the Queen’s community’s co-operation and understanding as the university constructs a major capital project in the heart of campus.

“We realize it is disruptive, but I think the facility is going to be amazing and people are going to be impressed by the end result,” he says. “With so many key components of the Queen’s student learning experience coming together in this space, it’s nice to see this happening to a building that is in the centre of campus. It’s going to be really exciting.”

Follow the construction live on this webcam

[Innovation and Wellness Centre]
An architectural rendering of the Innovation and Wellness Centre, showing the blend of the old building and the new structure. The centre will include expanded research and innovation spaces, a wellness centre, athletics and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre.

 

Highlighting international collaboration

Dr. Art McDonald presents on SNO research, Canada-US collaboration at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C..

  • Dr. McDonald meets with David MacNaughton, Canada's Ambassador to the United States. (Photo Credit: Embassy of Canada)
    Dr. McDonald meets with David MacNaughton, Canada's Ambassador to the United States. (Photo Credit: Embassy of Canada)
  • Dr. McDonald discusses the importance of the Canada-US relationship and international scientific collaboration. (Photo Credit: Embassy of Canada)
    Dr. McDonald discusses the importance of the Canada-US relationship and international scientific collaboration. (Photo Credit: Embassy of Canada)
  • Dr. McDonald delivers his presentation on the SNO collaboration and the role of international collaboration in bringing the project to fruition. (Photo Credit: Embassy of Canada)
    Dr. McDonald delivers his presentation on the SNO collaboration and the role of international collaboration in bringing the project to fruition. (Photo Credit: Embassy of Canada)
  • Dr. McDonald and John Fisher (Interim Vice-Principal, Research) meet with Science Minister Kirsty Duncan and members of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
    Dr. McDonald and John Fisher (Interim Vice-Principal, Research) meet with Science Minister Kirsty Duncan and members of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

On Tuesday, May 2, Queen's professor emeritus Art McDonald (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) visited the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.. The theme of the evening focused on international research collaboration, particularly the US-Canada collaboration on the SNO experiment and at the SNOLAB underground laboratory.

Dr. McDonald, along with Dr. John Fisher (Vice-Principal, Research) and Nigel Smith (SNOLAB) gave presentations on the past, present and future of international collaborations at SNOLAB and the value of international collaboration in leading-edge research. Also in attendance was Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, who reiterated the government’s commitment to international collaboration in science, and discussed the recently-completed Science Review.

Dr. McDonald was in Washington to attend the 154th annual National Academy of Sciences annual meeting, where he was formally inducted as a foreign associate of the Academy.

Professors honoured for mentoring, enhancing diversity work

[Beverley Mullings and Leela Viswanathan]
Beverley Mullings and Leela Viswanathan were both recently recognized by the American Association of Geographers. Dr. Mullings received the Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award and Dr. Viswanathan received the Enhancing Diversity Award. (University Communications)

Leela Viswanathan and Beverley Mullings both credit their upbringing and their experiences as visible minorities with their drive to become outstanding professors determined to make the world a better place.

“When I teach I make it a point that students hear multiple voices through readings, guests, and my own presence. As a representative of my discipline [planning] I am determined to build diversity into the teaching,” says Dr. Viswanathan, who, along with Dr. Mullings, was recently recognized by the American Association of Geographers.

The pair are both professors in the Queen’s Department of Geography and Planning. Dr. Viswanathan received the association’s Enhancing Diversity Award for her pioneering efforts toward encouraging a more diverse discipline over the course of several years, while Dr. Mullings received the Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award for demonstrating extraordinary leadership in guiding the academic growth of her students and junior colleagues.

Dr. Viswanathan’s career and her commitment to ethnic diversity was informed by her early experiences as a girl of South Asian descent growing up in Montreal. She still holds up a picture to her undergraduate students of her 5-year-old-self. “I am the only ‘brown’ little girl in the picture,” she says. Her youthful experience has profoundly shaped her attitude and her desire to understand and educate people about ethnic diversity and all the complexities that comes with that.

“I try to understand places from the standpoint of people who live there, as opposed to only a theoretical or academic position,” she says.

With a research focus on Indigenous decolonization efforts of urban First Nations communities and promoting activism needed to support these aims, Dr. Viswanathan is forging new directions in the planning profession. For example, she brought together a team of colleagues, graduate students, and partner members of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and Walpole Island First Nation to advocate for change to the 2014 Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).  “This was a successful effort that led to reinforcing the rights of Aboriginal people to be included at all stages of the planning process under section 35 of Canada’s Constitution,” she explains.

Dr. Viswanathan brings an intense level of dedication to her students, and beyond in the wider community. She is a stalwart supporter and advocate for accessibility rights on campus and has supported students in need of an advocate. She is also co-editor with Scott Morgensen, Associate Professor (Gender Studies, Cultural Studies), of the Journal of Critical Race Inquiry, a journal that advances Canadian and international scholarship on race and racialization.

Belonging, mental health, and mentoring

As a young girl growing up in the Caribbean, Dr. Mullings enjoyed a sense of belonging within her community. Unfortunately, she lost that sense when she moved to the U.K.

“It was a profoundly alienating experience. There were no people of colour. I had no role models,” she says.

“A lot of your success in the academy is how you work your way through. How to navigate a world that was not built for women and minorities.”
                                                                                                                     – Beverley Mullings

“I got a student job at a place that focuses on issues of race and had a manager who really made me feel part of a community. That’s where I learned that I have to reach out and help others.”

While a young academic in Syracuse, she was mentored by mid-career feminists who encouraged her. “I realized I must do the same, to always inquire and help students and junior academics about their well-being. My job is to teach them the lay of the land in the world of academics.”

Dr. Mullings is a champion for mental health issues, always reaching out to her colleagues and students in a compassionate way. At recent forums, she has been shedding light on the issue of mental illness and lack of care that often goes unremarked and unreported in the academy. A colleague who nominated her for the recent award noted that Dr. Mullings’ activism serves as a testament to her commitment to mentoring and support in the academy, where the stresses of work can manifest in serious mental and physical illnesses.

In her various roles, as teacher, researcher, advocate for her geography profession, and community activist, Dr. Mullings is a trailblazer, building networks of solidarity by focusing on the voices of students and faculty who might find themselves on the outside looking in, because of their sexuality, race, or social status.

“A lot of your success in the academy is how you work your way through. How to navigate a world that was not built for women and minorities,” she says

At Queen’s, both Dr. Viswanathan and Dr. Mullings now find themselves in a position of being the older and wiser members of the faculty. With that distinction comes a certain amount of confidence and determination to continue on their journeys to make the world a better place.

“It’s easy to lose hope, to feel disillusioned,” says Dr. Viswanathan. “But we cannot afford not to be hopeful. Diversity will continue and policies and practices need to change. Despite the disillusionment, we must always find our way back to hope, together.”

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Arts and Science