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StFX alumnus the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney delivers powerful presidential eulogy

Tue, 2018-12-11 10:12

The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister and a StFX alumnus from the Class of 1959, delivered a powerful and emotional tribute to former U.S. President George H.W. Bush as the 41st president was laid to rest in a state funeral last week in Washington, D.C.

The two leaders had formed a close friendship during their terms in office that continued through the years. 

During his moving remarks, Mr. Mulroney spoke eloquently about Mr. Bush’s legacy and the impact he had not only on the United States, but the world. 

We’re pleased to share a copy of this tribute, Mr. Mulroney's official eulogy of President Bush. 

Speech - Eulogy - Pres. G.H.W. Bush.pdf Speech - Eulogy - Pres. G.H.W. Bush.pdf

 

 

Call to action: StFX hosts National Day of Remembrance ceremony

Thu, 2018-12-06 13:39
L-r, ceremony co-hosts Cst. Deepak Prasad and Iffat Sohi

Gender-based violence ends when we as a community stand together and say no. 

That was the message from RCMP Cst. Deepak Prasad, one of the co-hosts of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women commemoration ceremony that was held at StFX in the Schwartz Auditorium on Dec. 6, 2018.

“What will be your call to action?” Cst. Prasad asked the students, staff, faculty and community members gathered for the annual ceremony that is itself a call to action against gender-based violence 

We as a community need to work on the issue, echoed ceremony co-host Iffat Sohi, equity student representative, StFX Students’ Union. 

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, the day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.

“Although this incident happened 29 years ago, gender-based violence remains a reality,” Ms. Sohi said. 

Keynote speaker Dolly Mosher, Domestic Violence Case Coordinator, Halifax Regional Police Victim Services Unit, provided a Nova Scotia perspective on violence against women. 

She spoke about Silent Witness Nova Scotia, a program established in 2014 to provide education in the community around domestic violence as well as education around how to get help. 

Ms. Mosher provided sobering statistics on gender-based violence in Nova Scotia since 1990, including the fact that up until September 2018 there have been 62 confirmed intimate partner homicides in the province. 

“Anyone can experience domestic violence,” she said, noting it impacts all ages, all occupations and all geographic areas. 

Cst. Prasad and Ms. Sohi listed resources for help and options that are available in the community. 

Second year English honours student Emma Kuzmyk received a standing ovation after she performed an original poem during the ceremony.  

Day of Remembrance scholarships 2018.jpg StFX Dean of Science Dr. Petra Hauf, Sarah Murrin, Claudia Fulton and Cst. Deepak Prasad

Also during the ceremony, StFX engineering students Sarah Murrin and Claudia Fulton were recognized as the recipients respectively of the StFX Memorial Scholarship for Women in Engineering and the General Motors of Canada Ltd. Women in Science Bursary, awarded for leadership potential and academic standard.

New agreement opens borders to new students and scholars

Wed, 2018-12-05 16:16
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald and Director of the Education Bureau of Qingbaijiang, Guo Wanjun, sign an educational partnership

A new agreement signed between St. Francis Xavier University and a Chinese educational delegation will strengthen the two countries’ scholarly exchange as well as enhance StFX recruitment in China.

The agreement was signed by StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald and Mr. Guo Wanjun, Director of the Education Bureau of Qingbaijiang. The agreement will allow for new opportunities for recruitment and encourage visiting scholars and faculty to look at other possible areas of cooperation in research and academic programs. Joint conferences, seminars, workshops and forums are other possibilities for this new relationship.

Mutual beneficial opportunities in international education will strengthen the bond between Canada and China and support faculty and students in fulfilling their academic pursuits across borders. 

Rankin School of Nursing student wins Public Health Student Award

Tue, 2018-12-04 14:22
L-r, Charlotte Curley and Rankin School of Nursing professor Sionnach Lukeman

Just days before her StFX graduation with an honours degree in the Advanced Option (AO) nursing program, Charlotte Curley, a StFX Rankin School of Nursing student who graduated on Dec. 1, 2018 at Fall Convocation, had more to celebrate when she learned she had won the Marie McCully Collier Population and Public Health Student Award from the Public Health Association of Nova Scotia.  

Ms. Curley was in competition for the honour with undergraduate and graduate students across Nova Scotia. 

“I was honoured and excited to receive this award. This award affirms the work I have done so far and indicates that I am on the right path for my future career. I feel that it reflects my potential in the field of public and population health,” says Ms. Curley who in January 2019 will start her career as a registered nurse on the maternity unit in the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, NB. 

In the new year, she will also edit and submit her thesis for publication in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. She also hopes to present her research at the Canadian Public Health Association annual conference in April 2019.

Her supervisor, Rankin School of Nursing professor Sionnach Lukeman, had much praise for Ms. Curley, who was also the only student in her AO class to complete an honours thesis.  

“Typically, students in our accelerated program do not do a thesis due to the demands of the condensed program. However, Charlotte presented a case for how she could manage, and we developed a plan to make it work. While doing this research project, she was also in my “advanced population and public health” course, and I could see how her passion, dedication and intellectual capacity was working together in a symbiotic way,” Prof. Lukeman says.  

“Her integration of the material both in class and in her research project was exceptional for an undergraduate student. Charlotte has submitted an abstract to the Canadian Public Health Association conference and will be using this award to attend the conference in Ottawa this spring.” 

Prof. Lukeman says as a new graduate who is considering a masters and working in public health, the opportunity to participate in the dissemination of research results with leading researchers in this field in Canada will be invaluable. 

“I believe this award will build Charlotte’s capacity for working in public health in the future. It is this kind of mentorship that is crucial at a time when capacity for working at the population level is needed more than ever. Charlotte is an excellent example of the capacity for research, innovation, and leadership in the discipline of nursing.”

Ms. Curley says by completing her honours thesis, she has achieved two important professional goals. 

“I had the privilege of working alongside an incredible teacher and role model, Sionnach Lukeman. We developed a symbiotic working relationship and I now have a valuable personal and professional relationship with her,” she says.

“Through my honours thesis, I have started to shed light on the important topic of public health reform in Canada. My research has initiated a platform for future research and development in this field.”

Ms. Curley, originally from Tara, ON, has lived in Antigonish since 2011 and has completed two honours degrees. “I feel that StFX has given me incredible research experience and invaluable relationships with faculty members and administrators across disciplines. My StFX experience has set the stage for my future. In my time here, I have developed skills in communication, work ethic, networking, collaboration and community involvement. I can confidently say that these skills will stay with me wherever I go.”

StFX Day 2018: “It feels like a dream come true”

Mon, 2018-12-03 15:56

It’s a symbol of excellence, leadership, community and success, and on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, it became very real for about 900 senior St. Francis Xavier University students who received their coveted X-Rings during a moving ceremony in StFX’s Charles V. Keating Centre on the feast day of St. Francis Xavier. 

The X-Ring, which represents each student’s unique journey at StFX, must be earned to be worn, and is awarded to senior students annually on December 3 in a ceremony replete with years of tradition and a touch of magic. 

XRing 3 2018.jpg

“It feels like a dream come true. It’s a lot of emotion,” several StFX students said moments before members of the Class of 2019, clad in black gowns, walked one by one to the main stage to receive their X-Ring—a moment they’ve been anticipating for four years, and in some cases, long before they even stepped onto campus. 

Energy and excitement were palpable across campus.

XRing 2018.jpg

“Finally,” StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said in his opening remarks. “I was driving up the street today and saw ‘zero days to X-Ring’,” he said, referencing the countdown signs that can be seen in windows across town. 

The students today are joining a very special community, and a lot of people have come a long way to join in this celebration, he said as he noted that greetings and well wishes have filled social media from across the country and as from as far afield as Sweden to the Czech Republic. 

Dr. MacDonald said as he took time to reflect on what this ring represents, he came back to the words of former StFX English professor Dr. Pat Walsh in the Prayers of the Xaverian Family. 

“You have earned this ring,” Dr. Walsh had said, “but the right to wear it must be earned every day for the rest of your life.”

Dr. MacDonald encouraged the Class of 2019 to remember those words and to make this ring a symbol that brings them always back to the values of looking beyond yourself and believing that each and every one can have an impact in the communities they live in. 

It was a message echoed by guest speaker Agassou (Augy) Jones, StFX Manager, Student Experience and a StFX alumnus himself.

“It is a distinct privilege to possess the X-Ring. It also carries great responsibility,” he said as he shared what the X-Ring symbolizes and talked about how real the StFX family concept is, including the fact he has putting “this beautiful ring” on his finger every day for nearly 30 years.

Responsibly comes with wearing this very recognizable ring, he said he encouraged the senior students to commit to utilizing their academics and to socializing and serving in the communities in which they will live. 

The ceremony was highlighted by student participation. Master of ceremonies was Sarah Comandante, co-president of the senior class, and Salome Barker, with seven X-Rings in her family, offered words of welcome to this long-awaited day. 

Senior class co-president Carl Miller gave opening remarks, speaking on pride, community and commitment and officially becoming part of the Xaverian Family. 

Senior student Pheerawich Chitnelawong gave an explanation of the StFX motto, and Claire Keehan read from the writings of Dr. Moses Coady. 

Dylan Roach introduced the guest speaker and Emma Crilly gave the response. 

Students’ Union president Rebecca Mesay led the Xaverian Commitment. 

HONORARY X-RING

The honorary X-Ring, presented annually to someone who personifies the Xaverian ideal, was awarded to Dr. Jeff Orr, Dean of the StFX Faculty of Education, who received a standing ovation. 

Last month in a special private ceremony, an honorary X-Ring was presented to the late Kevin Fraser, who spent 15 years working at StFX with Sodexo as the general manager of food services. His family accepted on his behalf. 

Poignant moments were many during the ceremony. Candles bearers solemnly marched up to the main stage as live instrumental music filled the room to place the candles in an “X” formation. And at ceremony’s end as the students exited, they tapped their X-Rings on a wooden Chapel kneeler – a long-held X-Ring tradition. 

December 3rd is also celebrated around the world as alumni annually get together in their home communities to recall when they earned their X-Rings.

“Breathe it in,” StFX Alumni Association president Glenn Horne said to the Class of 2019 in bringing alumni greetings to the ceremony. “Remember how you feel in this moment.

“On behalf of all alumni, we are all proud of you and we look forward to seeing what comes next,” he said as he reminded all that the Alumni Association is always there to support them. 

StFX confers degrees and diplomas; honours academic "trailblazers" during 2018 Fall Convocation

Sat, 2018-12-01 17:00
Graduating students enter the Charles V. Keating Centre for StFX's 2018 Fall Convocation Ceremony on December 1, 2018.

Jubilant friends and family filled the Charles V. Keating Centre to watch loved ones cross the stage and receive their hard-earned degrees and diplomas at the StFX’s 2018 Fall Convocation, held December 1.  

StFX conferred close to 300 degrees and diplomas during the ceremony, including to 41 graduates of the Coady Institute Diploma in Development Leadership program. Coady graduates came from 19 countries worldwide, including the first diploma graduate from Fiji.

StFX’s Elizabeth and Thomas Rankin School of Nursing also graduated the first students in its LPN to BScN Accelerated Option (AO) program. In all, 20 students were among the first graduates of the AO program, students who are also Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). 

“Each of you is unique,” said Mr. John Peacock, Chancellor of St. Francis Xavier University during his remarks to students.

“You each have your own story of struggle and achievement and your own circle of supporters. And you also have all of us here at StFX, who are with you 100% as you pursue your hopes and dreams.”

His comments were echoed by StFX President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Kent MacDonald.

“We recognize the journey many of you have taken has not been easy. There is no doubt that you have learned much, and that your faculty have prepared you well. But we also recognize that going through this journey means you have persistence, and that you are willing to do the hard work needed to achieve your goals.

“Don’t let that be lost on you.”

He also shared a simple but important piece of advice with graduates as they continue their lives and careers following their education at StFX.  

“Just be nice. I think life is much simpler and the world would be better if we all just took a little time to be nice to one another.”

StFX awarded honorary degrees to Dr. John F. Dewey, an expert in plate tectonics research known as one of the first geologists to apply plate tectonic theory to specific mountain belts, and to Dr. Thomas De Koninck, a scholar, humanist and author widely recognized for his work in human dignity and his writing on the philosophy of education.

In his address to students, Dr. Dewey noted that his first visit to Antigonish was 54 years ago when he completed fieldwork on geological formations in Antigonish County. He spoke about his happiness to return to the area, and his pride in receiving an honorary degree from StFX.

“I feel privileged to receive this,” he said. “StFX is one of the very few institutions that hasn’t lost its traditions, nor forgotten the meaning of the word ‘university.’

“To me, the value of a university is in the interactions between its students and faculty. When you take the best students and best faculty, a special magic happens. StFX has continued this great tradition of valuing students and faculty, and what they can accomplish together.”

In his remarks, Dr. De Koninck spoke about the university as “the powerhouse of freedom,” noting the role of universities in helping ensure healthy democratic societies across the world.

“How can we prevent the decline of democracy?” he asked. “The answer is so often education.”

Dr. De Koninck noted StFX’s reputation as a university that helps students think critically, a skill which he says is vital in helping to create and maintain global freedom.

Also honoured during the ceremony were StFX senior human kinetics lab instructor Kelly Thompson, recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Staff Teaching Award, and StFX senior biology lab instructor Randy Lauff, recipient of the 2018 Outreach Award.    

Coady graduate Musola Cathrine Kaseketi of Zambia, delivered the address on behalf of the graduating class. She encouraged all graduates – especially her fellow Coady Institute classmates – to recall everything they’ve already overcome when facing inevitable challenges in their lives and careers.

“We have been empowered and provoked to make a difference,” she said. “To walk paths many have not followed, and support our communities in many different ways. That is our next step, to take that trip and go out to make a difference in our world.”

Glenn Horne, president of the StFX Alumni Association, congratulated the new graduates and welcomed them into the Xaverian family of alumni. He also encouraged them to use their experiences at StFX to inspire others and make a difference in the world around them.

BIOS:

2018 Honorary Degree recipient

Dr. John F. Dewey, FRS
 

Dr. John F. Dewey has been described as the leading geoscientist of his generation. He is widely known for being at the forefront of the revolution in the field of plate tectonics, and was one of the first geologists to apply plate tectonic theory to specific mountain belts. For his work, Prof. Dewey has received the most prestigious awards from numerous academic societies, including the Lyell and Wollaston Medals conferred by the Geological Society of London, the Arthur Holmes Medal from the European Union of Geosciences, and the Penrose Medal, the Geological Society of America’s most prestigious medal. He has received several honorary degrees, is a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), and a member of the Royal Society of London and the US National Academy of Sciences. Prof. Dewey received his first doctorate from Imperial College, London, followed by D.Sc. degrees from Oxon and Canterbury. During his academic career, he held faculty positions at Cambridge, SUNY-Albany, Durham and Oxford universities as well as prestigious visiting fellowships on both sides of the Atlantic. He has authored or co-authored countless influential articles in high profile journals such as Nature and Geology, several with more than 2,000 citations, attesting to his global impact on the science. A proud field geologist, he is very familiar with the Antigonish area. His first academic position in North America took him to Arisaig, NS to instruct geological field methods for M.I.T. He has worked on every continent, and has inspired generations of students all over the world, many of whom have gone on to become academic leaders in their own right.

2018 Honorary Degree recipient

Dr. Thomas De Koninck, CM

Dr. Thomas De Koninck is an internationally-known philosopher and one of Canada’s leading academics. He has an M.A. Lit. Hum. from Oxford and a PhD from Laval University, and is currently professor emeritus at Laval University in Quebec where, before his 2015 retirement, he taught for decades and served as Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy. A scholar, humanist and author, his work bears significantly on issues essential to the betterment of society. Dr. De Koninck is perhaps best known for his studies on human dignity and for his writings in the philosophy of education. He has authored works that have received international acclaim, including De la dignité humaine, for which he won the Le Prix La Bruyère of the Académie française, the first Canadian to have received this award, and La nouvelle ignorance et le problème de la culture. His reputation as a scholar is equally matched by his reputation as a teacher, and he is known to generations of students as a mentor and guide. He has supervised an extraordinary number of masters and doctoral theses. Over the past 40 years, he has supervised 19 ‘licence’ theses, 158 MA theses and 59 doctoral theses. Dr. De Koninck is a former Rhodes Scholar and a recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellowship. He has received numerous awards, including being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. An active member and past president of the Canadian Philosophical Association, he is also a member of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques de France. 

Awards:

2018 Outreach Award

Randy Lauff


Randy Lauff is a senior laboratory instructor in the Biology Department, where he has spent nearly 30 years, making significant contributions and inspiring students. He’s also significantly grown StFX’s zoological collection so that over 60 per cent of Nova Scotia’s mammals and breeding birds are represented; amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates are also included. Specimens, collected by him or by students under his direction, have included North American and Canadian first records, provincial and Maritime firsts, significant range extensions, and documentation of introduced species. Several papers have been written using specimens from this collection. He has supervised both StFX honours students and, as a community resource person, a number of high school students. He is involved with many biological activities outside StFX, including Citizen Science data collection and participation in national and international bird surveys. He is a book reviewer for The Canadian Field-Naturalist and a former editor of Nova Scotia Birds. Active in research, receiving grants of over $50,000 since 1996, he is best known for his owl work. He found the first nests of the Boreal Owl in Nova Scotia, the only ones documented from the Maritimes in about 80 years. He is a frequent invited speaker, author of 19 peer-reviewed publications and a research associate with the Nova Scotia Museum. His favourite student is his four-year-old son Jacob who loves catching bugs and checking owl nests with him.

2018 Outstanding Staff Teaching Award - Kelly Thompson 

A senior human kinetics lab instructor at StFX since 2001, Kelly Thompson has been a physical educator for 28 years and has provided teaching progressions, technical strategies and general teaching tips for children, kinesiology students and physical education teachers. His passion is to promote physical education and literacy, gymnastics and lifelong fitness. He teaches educational gymnastics skills, principles of fitness skill classes and exercise physiology labs to StFX students. He has created four activity courses and developed one lab at StFX. In 2003, he started the popular HKIN After School Gymnastics Program, which not only provides instruction for local children, but practical teaching experiences for StFX students, who all complete Gymnastics 127. He also created and maintains an educational gymnastics website for StFX students and physical education teachers. Mr. Thompson holds a Master of Education from StFX, is a NCCP Level 4 Coach, NCCP Level 1 and 2 Course Conductor, FIG International Brevet Gymnastics official, and a certified personal trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences and has provided consulting services for the Nova Scotia School Curriculum (gymnastic PE component). He has officiated at the 2004 Olympic Games, as well as numerous world championships, Pan American Games and World University Games. Honours include Life Member Nomination, Gymnastics Canada and the Nova Scotia Official of the Year. 

Coady Institute speaker - Musola Cathrine Kaseketi

Founder and executive director of Vilole Images Productions (VIP), Musola Cathrine Kaseketi is the first Zambian female film director and an international award winner who has contributed tremendously to the film industry in Zambia. She was ushered into human rights advocacy at a very tender age. Through her journey, she has trained many Zambians in film and disability sectors including senior government officials to ensure disability is mainstreamed in all areas of development. VIP is an organization dedicated to using film as a tool for human rights advocacy by creating respect for human dignity and removing bias towards artists, women and girls with disability, and contributing towards changing lives in bringing hope to the helpless. VIP’s passion is about facilitating change to promote an inclusive, friendly society for all.

StFX welcomes two new Canada Research Chairs, exciting research opportunities in the social sciences and humanities

Fri, 2018-11-30 16:18
L-r, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald; Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Health Equity and Social Justice; Central Nova MP Sean Fraser; Dr. Laura Estill, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Digital Humanities and New Media; and Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies

StFX is pleased to welcome two new Canada Research Chairs to campus, Dr. Laura Estill, a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Digital Humanities and New Media; and Dr. Katie Aubrecht, a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Health Equity and Social Justice.

Both Dr. Aubrecht and Dr. Estill will each receive $500,000 over five years in funding from the Government of Canada, as well as a $20,000 per year research stipend as part of these Chairs. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced these investments on Nov. 13, on behalf of the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP). 

StFX held a special announcement celebration on Nov. 30 with Central Nova MP Sean Fraser in attendance. 

“It’s exciting to be here,” Mr. Fraser said as he noted to the crowd gathered that we’re here to celebrate these two new incredible talents to campus. 

“These CRC chairs have already made impressive contributions,” StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said as he welcomed Dr. Aubrecht and Dr. Estill to StFX and thanked the Government of Canada for its tremendous support in helping make this happen. 

The Canada Research Chair program is so important, he said, as it helps complement the faculty at StFX and continues to support the research contributions made in the community. 

“We are fortunate to have attracted Dr. Aubrecht and Dr. Estill, two exceptionally talented early career scholars to StFX as Canada Research Chairs. Together, they considerably strengthen the depth of StFX research expertise in health equity and digital humanities fields,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.

“We are delighted that they have been successful in their Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) applications to establish new laboratories for social sciences and humanities research. Dr. Aubrecht will establish the Intersectional Disability Studies Research Lab for work on policies and practices that will enhance the quality of mental health care for diverse populations living in Atlantic Canada’s rural communities. Dr. Estill will establish the StFX Digital Humanities Research Centre to advance pedagogical research in the digital humanities, as well as facilitate collaborative research with scholars across Canada and internationally. 

“Through their efforts, Dr. Aubrecht and Dr. Estill will create exciting new research opportunities for many StFX students in the social science and humanities.”

Bios of each new Canada Research Chair follow below. 

Dr. Laura Estill, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Digital Humanities and New Media 

Dr. Laura Estill is a newly appointed CRC in Digital Humanities and New Media in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts at StFX. Dr. Estill is an exceptional emerging scholar in this area.  

She holds a PhD in English from Wayne State University (awarded in 2010), an MA in English from the University of Toronto (2005), and a BA (honours with distinction) in drama and English from the University of Windsor (2004). Prior to her current appointment, she held a tenured academic position as associate professor of English at Texas A&M University, College Station where she was awarded a Texas A&M University College of Liberal Arts Rothrock Fellowship. She has received a Renaissance Society of America Research Fellowship held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford; a Texas A&M University Arts & Humanities Fellowship; and a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, which she held at the University of Victoria’s Electronic Textual Cultures Lab. Dr. Estill has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies and was awarded the Montague Teaching Award by the Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Estill’s research has been sponsored by multiple grants at the university, federal, and international level, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in Canada and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Folger Shakespeare Library in the United States.

Dr. Estill has achieved international stature as a result of her position as editor of the World Shakespeare Bibliography (WSB) Online, a longstanding digital humanities project often called “invaluable” to Shakespeare studies. Her recent Shakespeare Quarterly article, co-written with Dominic Klyve and Kate Bridal, takes a cultural analytics approach to writing about Shakespeare (including translation, adaptation, scholarship) indexed in the WSB to gauge how Shakespeare was received from 1960-2010.  The dataset for this article was published in the Journal of Open Humanities Data, opening the door for further quantitative research in this field. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Digital Humanities Quarterly, Digital Studies/Le champ numérique, Digital Literary Studies, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Shakespeare, and Studies in English Literature. Her monograph, Dramatic Extracts in Seventeenth-Century English Manuscripts: Watching, Reading, Changing Plays appeared in 2015; in 2016, she edited Early Modern Studies after the Digital Turn with Diane Jakacki and Michael Ullyot.

Dr. Estill has embraced a leadership role in fostering digital humanities and new media scholarship. She actively liaises with this emerging scholarly field, helping to build research networks and engaging in public humanities outreach. The nomination of Dr. Estill for this CRC will significantly enhance research strengths at StFX associated with this priority area of research. She will create new connections among StFX researchers working at the interface of humanities, digital technologies and media. Her research will contribute significantly to the development of pedagogy in this emerging area. Importantly, her vision is to create strong integration between undergraduate level teaching and research in the digital humanities locally, regionally and nationally, with the creation of a new national Canadian digital humanities research-based undergraduate certificate program (DHCanada), as well as addressing key gaps in digital humanities training and knowledge transmission in Atlantic Canada with the development of DHSI-East (Digital Humanities Summer Institute-East). These community-building projects fit strongly with the scholarly traditions of StFX. They align with the focus on remaining a primarily undergraduate liberal arts-based institution and they will result in tangible research deliverables, including the creation and dissemination of digital projects, journal articles, and an edited collection, Undergraduate Digital Humanities in Canada. DHCanada and DHSI-East will address gaps in undergraduate digital humanities training and foster student involvement in faculty research projects and original student research.

Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Health Equity and Social Justice

Dr. Katie Aubrecht is a newly appointed CRC in Health Equity and Social Justice in the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts at StFX. Dr. Aubrecht is an exceptional emerging scholar in this area.  

Dr. Aubrecht is a disability studies scholar and health services and social policy researcher with a PhD in sociology of education (2012) from the University of Toronto (Department of Social Justice Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from York University, and a Bachelor of Arts (first class honours) in sociology from St. Francis Xavier University. 

Dr. Aubrecht’s interdisciplinary CRC research program aims to improve the quality of care and the self-perceived health of people living in rural communities within Nova Scotia who experience mental health and marginalization on the basis of disability, age, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, sexuality, and socio-economic status. The program examines marginality and mental health, rurality and resilience across the life span as health equity and social justice issues. 

The CRC builds on Dr. Aubrecht’s previous work on person- and family-centred mental and behavioural health care practices, programs and policies, conducted at the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging and Department of Family Studies and Gerontology, Mount Saint Vincent University from 2011-2018. This work was supported by external funding from two Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) postdoctoral fellowships (2013-16/2017-18), and a Maritime Strategy for Patient Oriented Research Postdoctoral Award (2017). It is also informed by Dr. Aubrecht’s graduate research on Canadian mental health policy funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarships doctoral and master’s awards (2005/2007-2010). 

Dr. Aubrecht is actively engaged in multi-provincial equity-focused applied and arts-informed research programs; for example, as a research stream co-lead on the CIHR funded Seniors –Adding Life to Years (SALTY), which aims to improve quality in late life for people living in long-term care, their caregivers and the workers who support their care, and co-investigator on the Ontario-based SSHRC partnership project Bodies in Translation – Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life, which explores the relationship between cultivating activist art and achieving social and political justice. Dr. Aubrecht is a member of the inaugural cohort and network of CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Health System Impact Fellows. As a Fellow, from 2017-18 she worked with Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) Continuing Care Program leaders and partners on a new model of care designed to support evidence-based high-quality person and family-centered care for older people living with chronic and complex care needs in rural and urban Nova Scotia. Her research has been published in Health, Culture and Society; Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal; Canadian Journal of Disability Studies; Studies in Social Justice; Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture; Canadian Journal of Higher Education. 

As part of the CRC, Dr. Aubrecht has received funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation for her Spatializing Care: Intersectional Disability Studies Research Lab. The lab will establish a basis for intersectional disability studies research in Atlantic Canada, by developing a participatory arts-informed health research infrastructure at StFX that supports and enhances meaningful and ethical community engagement, and that connects and crosses disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, bridging medical, social and cultural approaches to mental health care. 

StFX to delay opening until 10AM today

Thu, 2018-11-29 06:08

Due to a university-wide power outage related to the current weather conditions, please be advised that the university will delay opening today, Thursday, November 29, until 10:00 AM. Essential services will remain open (Morrison Hall, Security Office, cleaning, snow removal).

Liam Elbourne is StFX’s newest Rhodes Scholar

Wed, 2018-11-28 11:30
Liam Elbourne

Liam Elbourne, a Schwartz School of Business student from Halifax, NS taking joint honours in business and economics, is StFX’s newest Rhodes Scholar.

The scholarship is widely considered one of the world’s most prestigious awards, valued at over $100,000 and enabling recipients to study at the University of Oxford in England. Only 11 students from across Canada are annually selected to receive the award.  

Established under the will of Cecil Rhodes, scholarships have been awarded since 1903. Recipients are extraordinarily accomplished young people with outstanding scholastic records. Candidates undergo a rigorous application process. Selection committees for the scholarships “are looking for young leaders of outstanding intellect and character who are motivated to engage with global challenges, committed to the service of others and show promise of becoming value-driven, principled leaders for the world’s future.”

Mr. Elbourne, who graduates from StFX this spring, has enjoyed a distinguished university career. Most recently, he garnered international attention for his research. In June, he presented his paper “Shocks to Military Support and Subsequent Assassinations in Ancient Rome,” co-authored with former StFX economics professor Cornelius Christian, at the 52nd annual conference of the Canadian Economics Association at McGill University. He was the only active undergraduate student to present in a regular session at this conference, which featured almost 1,000 presenters.

The paper was subsequently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Economics Letters, a highly-respected outlet that has published the work of many past Nobel Prize recipients. Full-length stories about this research appeared in some of the world’s leading outlets, including The Smithsonian magazine, The Economist and The Telegraph. 

“Coming to university without a clear idea of what field of study I might like to pursue, I feel quite lucky to have landed in one of the top undergraduate economics programs in the country,” Mr. Elbourne says. “Not only is the teaching exceptional, but the StFX Economics Department provides students the opportunity to pursue research with their professors. Without the guidance and support of Dr. Christian and the department, the incredible summer that I just had wouldn’t have been possible.”

Mr. Elbourne is also captain of the X-Men soccer team, and volunteers extensively within the StFX and Antigonish communities.

“In my first year at StFX, I never imagined that I would be selected as a Rhodes Scholar,” Mr. Elbourne says. “My main focus was soccer and I didn’t really know what it meant to be a good student or to make an impact in the community. StFX turned out to be the perfect place for me, and for that reason I feel extremely grateful.

“My coaches, professors, and other individuals at the university were wonderful mentors to me. I was surrounded by great friends on my soccer team, along with academic programs that challenged me in many different ways. Most of all, though, I think of my parents, sister, and partner who have supported me in every way imaginable.”

Mr. Elbourne was the top ranked business student at StFX in the 2017-18 academic year with a 94.25 per cent average. Receiving annual in-house scholarships, he was a finalist last year for the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies. He received the StFX Athletic Director's Award for academic achievement in 2016-17 and is a four-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian.

He has twice been a teaching assistant in the Department of Economics and has offered tutoring in courses across the business, economics, and mathematics departments. Now vice president of the StFX Economics Society, he aims to help build a mentorship program to be launched within the StFX Economics Department, connecting current students with StFX’s highly successful economics graduates.

Along with excelling in the classroom, he is an active StFX student leader. The AUS Student-Athlete Community Service Award recipient this past fall, he was also the 2018 StFX Male Community X-cellence award winner and was honoured as a Leader of Distinction with the StFX Leadership Academy.

In the StFX community, Mr. Elbourne has become an advocate for the prevention of sexualized violence. He served as the lone male panelist for the Contextualizing #MeToo panel discussion organized by the StFX Women's and Gender Studies department in November 2017. He also co-designed and co-facilitated a series of workshops in all StFX residences during the 2017-18 winter semester aimed at educating students on issues of consent and sexual assault. This past September, he was keynote speaker at the Antigonish March in Respect for Women and he was recently featured in the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre's initiative called ‘16 Days of Activism on Gender-Based Violence.’     

In addition, he has led the opening of two year-long Exhibitions of Indigenous Art at StFX. The first was created in honour of the permanent installation of the Mi'kmaq flag on the StFX campus in October 2017, and its success was such that a second exhibition was encouraged by the university. 

In his three years as president of the StFX German Society, he has been able to contribute positively to the student experience outside of the classroom. He has also been engaged with youth in his community. He has volunteered his time at the grassroots soccer level since he was a teenager, and in 2017, he was a facilitator at a youth leadership conference called Spark the Change, organized by the Healthy Relationships for Youth program in Nova Scotia. 

A midfielder on the soccer team, he has captained the X-Men for the past three seasons and was a key piece in leading StFX to consecutive second place finishes in the league standings. He is also a former AUS all-star and was the 2014 AUS rookie of the year.

Catholic studies students curate exhibit at Antigonish Heritage Museum

Tue, 2018-11-27 10:08
Students Lauren Henderson, Kenzie MacNeil, Ben von Muehldorfer, Catherine Culhane, Tyler Wilson and Sean Sullivan pose with Bishop Brian Dunn, Vicar of the Founder, and Barry MacKenzie, StFX Catholic studies and history professor

Students in CATH 298: Catholicism in Canada stepped outside the classroom this term for part of their major assignment, curating a new exhibit at the Antigonish Heritage Museum entitled “Venerable Objects: The Material Culture of Catholicism in Antigonish.”

“I wanted to provide the students with an opportunity to engage with different types of sources,” said course instructor, StFX Catholic studies and history professor Barry MacKenzie. 

“It is important that they learn to appreciate the incredible value of material culture. Whereas letters, diaries, newspapers and other print sources are wonderfully rich sources, they cannot tell us a story in quite the same way as physical artifacts.”

The exhibit, consisting of 30 artifacts from seven different local collections, is divided into nine different subject categories, all of which speak to some element of the story of Catholicism in Antigonish County. The category related to StFX University includes a ledger from the founding years of the university, a junior prom dance card from 1930, and an academic calendar from 1891-1892.

“It has been an exciting way to learn about history,” said Catherine Culhane, a fourth year honours history student who curated the artifacts relating to StFX. “This useful experience will be valuable to me in my future endeavours.”  

“It would be impossible for me to identify a favourite artifact from the exhibit,” Prof. MacKenzie said, “but there are a few which I think are particular highlights.” Among those are Moses Coady’s hat, a relic of St. Francis Xavier, and a beautiful lectern presented to John Cameron, Bishop of Antigonish and Chancellor of StFX from 1877 to 1910, by the Congregation of Notre Dame, which ran Mount St. Bernard Ladies Academy.  

“Professor MacKenzie has demonstrated that material culture is an exciting way to ignite students’ interests in Canadian history,” said Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell of the Department of History.

“I was pleased to be able to assist with this class project,” said Jocelyn Gillis, director of the Antigonish Heritage Museum, who has enjoyed her collaborations with Catholic studies and history students. 

“Venerable Objects” will run at the Antigonish Heritage Museum until late January 2019.

 

StFX honours trailblazer in plate tectonics and prominent educator in humanity; confers degrees and diplomas during Fall Convocation 2018

Thu, 2018-11-22 14:15
2018 Fall Convocation honorary degree recipients Dr. John F. Dewey, FRS, and Dr. Thomas De Koninck, CM

StFX will honour Dr. John F. Dewey, an expert at the forefront of plate tectonics research known the world over as one of the first geologists to apply plate tectonic theory to specific mountain belts, and Dr. Thomas De Koninck, a scholar, humanist and author known for his work in human dignity and his writing in the philosophy of education, whose work bears significantly on issues essential to the betterment of society, with honorary degrees during Fall Convocation 2018 taking place on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. at the Charles V. Keating Centre.

Over 200 degrees and diplomas will be conferred during the afternoon ceremony, including to 41 graduates of StFX’s Coady Institute Diploma in Development Leadership program. Coady graduates come from 19 countries across the globe, including the first diploma graduate from Fiji. Coady Institute class speaker will be Musola Cathrine Kaseketi, founder and executive director of Vilole Images Productions. 

Also receiving honours during the ceremony are StFX senior human kinetics lab instructor Kelly Thompson, recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Staff Teaching Award, and StFX senior biology lab instructor Randy Lauff, recipient of the 2018 Outreach Award.    

BIOS:

2018 Honorary Degree recipient

Dr. John F. Dewey, FRS
 

Dr. John F. Dewey has been described as the leading geoscientist of his generation. He is widely known for being at the forefront of the revolution in the field of plate tectonics, and was one of the first geologists to apply plate tectonic theory to specific mountain belts. For his work, Prof. Dewey has received the most prestigious awards from numerous academic societies, including the Lyell and Wollaston Medals conferred by the Geological Society of London, the Arthur Holmes Medal from the European Union of Geosciences, and the Penrose Medal, the Geological Society of America’s most prestigious medal. He has received several honorary degrees, is a fellow of the Royal Society (F.R.S.), and a member of the Royal Society of London and the US National Academy of Sciences. Prof. Dewey received his first doctorate from Imperial College, London, followed by D.Sc. degrees from Oxon and Canterbury. During his academic career, he held faculty positions at Cambridge, SUNY-Albany, Durham and Oxford universities as well as prestigious visiting fellowships on both sides of the Atlantic. He has authored or co-authored countless influential articles in high profile journals such as Nature and Geology, several with more than 2,000 citations, attesting to his global impact on the science. A proud field geologist, he is very familiar with the Antigonish area. His first academic position in North America took him to Arisaig, NS to instruct geological field methods for M.I.T. He has worked on every continent, and has inspired generations of students all over the world, many of whom have gone on to become academic leaders in their own right.

2018 Honorary Degree recipient

Dr. Thomas De Koninck, CM

Dr. Thomas De Koninck is an internationally-known philosopher and one of Canada’s leading academics. He has an M.A. Lit. Hum. from Oxford and a PhD from Laval University, and is currently professor emeritus at Laval University in Quebec where, before his 2015 retirement, he taught for decades and served as Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy. A scholar, humanist and author, his work bears significantly on issues essential to the betterment of society. Dr. De Koninck is perhaps best known for his studies on human dignity and for his writings in the philosophy of education. He has authored works that have received international acclaim, including De la dignité humaine, for which he won the Le Prix La Bruyère of the Académie française, the first Canadian to have received this award, and La nouvelle ignorance et le problème de la culture. His reputation as a scholar is equally matched by his reputation as a teacher, and he is known to generations of students as a mentor and guide. He has supervised an extraordinary number of masters and doctoral theses. Over the past 40 years, he has supervised 19 ‘licence’ theses, 158 MA theses and 59 doctoral theses. Dr. De Koninck is a former Rhodes Scholar and a recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellowship. He has received numerous awards, including being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. An active member and past president of the Canadian Philosophical Association, he is also a member of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques de France. 

Awards:

2018 Outreach Award

Randy Lauff


Randy Lauff is a senior laboratory instructor in the Biology Department, where he has spent nearly 30 years, making significant contributions and inspiring students. He’s also significantly grown StFX’s zoological collection so that over 60 per cent of Nova Scotia’s mammals and breeding birds are represented; amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates are also included. Specimens, collected by him or by students under his direction, have included North American and Canadian first records, provincial and Maritime firsts, significant range extensions, and documentation of introduced species. Several papers have been written using specimens from this collection. He has supervised both StFX honours students and, as a community resource person, a number of high school students. He is involved with many biological activities outside StFX, including Citizen Science data collection and participation in national and international bird surveys. He is a book reviewer for The Canadian Field-Naturalist and a former editor of Nova Scotia Birds. Active in research, receiving grants of over $50,000 since 1996, he is best known for his owl work. He found the first nests of the Boreal Owl in Nova Scotia, the only ones documented from the Maritimes in about 80 years. He is a frequent invited speaker, author of 19 peer-reviewed publications and a research associate with the Nova Scotia Museum. His favourite student is his four-year-old son Jacob who loves catching bugs and checking owl nests with him.

2018 Outstanding Staff Teaching Award

Kelly Thompson 


A senior human kinetics lab instructor at StFX since 2001, Kelly Thompson has been a physical educator for 28 years and has provided teaching progressions, technical strategies and general teaching tips for children, kinesiology students and physical education teachers. His passion is to promote physical education and literacy, gymnastics and lifelong fitness. He teaches educational gymnastics skills, principles of fitness skill classes and exercise physiology labs to StFX students. He has created four activity courses and developed one lab at StFX. In 2003, he started the popular HKIN After School Gymnastics Program, which not only provides instruction for local children, but practical teaching experiences for StFX students, who all complete Gymnastics 127. He also created and maintains an educational gymnastics website for StFX students and physical education teachers. Mr. Thompson holds a Master of Education from StFX, is a NCCP Level 4 Coach, NCCP Level 1 and 2 Course Conductor, FIG International Brevet Gymnastics official, and a certified personal trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences and has provided consulting services for the Nova Scotia School Curriculum (gymnastic PE component). He has officiated at the 2004 Olympic Games, as well as numerous world championships, Pan American Games and World University Games. Honours include Life Member Nomination, Gymnastics Canada and the Nova Scotia Official of the Year. 

Coady Institute speaker 

Musola Cathrine Kaseketi


Founder and executive director of Vilole Images Productions (VIP), Musola Cathrine Kaseketi is the first Zambian female film director and an international award winner who has contributed tremendously to the film industry in Zambia. She was ushered into human rights advocacy at a very tender age. Through her journey, she has trained many Zambians in film and disability sectors including senior government officials to ensure disability is mainstreamed in all areas of development. VIP is an organization dedicated to using film as a tool for human rights advocacy by creating respect for human dignity and removing bias towards artists, women and girls with disability, and contributing towards changing lives in bringing hope to the helpless. VIP’s passion is about facilitating change to promote an inclusive, friendly society for all.

 

 

StFX hosts first Refugee Awareness Day

Wed, 2018-11-21 09:21
StFX and community members gather for an education and information session during StFX's first Refugee Awareness Day

The compassion and caring in the StFX and Antigonish communities was very evident Nov. 20 as students, staff, faculty and community members gathered together on campus for the first ever StFX Refugee Awareness Day. 

The day-long event, under a theme of “Together—Strong,” was hosted by StFX for SAFE (Syrian Antigonish Families Embrace) and StFX WUSC (World University Service Canada) with several talks and education and information sessions taking place in a white tent set up in Xavier Gardens, with the cool November winds sweeping through the tent a reminder of living conditions facing many refugees around the world. 

“Imagine living in one of these tents for not days or months, but sometimes years,” StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said as a crowd gathered for opening remarks on a day that would see presentations from community groups including SAFE, St. Ninian Parish C.A.R.E. and Tri-HEART. 

Also highlighting the day’s agenda were remarks from WUSC Regional Liaison Officer – East, Sam Krueger; a talk from StFX political science professor Dr. Yvon Grenier on the politics of migration and displacement; another from StFX nursing faculty Dr. Elizabeth McGibbon on gender and refugee social justice; and a discussion with several panelists on helping refugees achieve academic goals. The day concluded with an evening presentation in the Schwartz School from members of the Al Hariri family on their journey to Antigonish. 

Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said the day is a chance to raise awareness, celebrate refugees and newcomers to the community, who add so much to its fabric, as well as all the volunteers who make this happen, and the two StFX student committees who made the day possible.  

Dr. MacDonald also thanked the students and everyone involved for all they do to support refugees and newcomers to campus and to the community. 

“I’m particularly proud of staff, faculty and students for the collective ways they have come together to support those efforts,” he said.

“The notion of giving back and helping refugees on this campus has a history of over 60  years,” he said recalling when StFX came together to help Hungarian refugees. 

Since that time, faculty, staff and students have continued important work to help. 

WUSC was established on campus in 1984, and in the 34 years since, it has supported students from Kenya, Burma, Afghanistan and across the world to come to StFX to study. 

More recently, StFX for SAFE has helped bring Syrian refugees to the community, and last year, the Class of 2018 student legacy project helped raise $40,000 to support a student refugee bursary. 

“I think it is really important what we are doing on this campus,” he said. 

Equally important and remarkable, he said, is the effort volunteers commit to help the newcomers feel supported, loved, and integrated into the community.  

It’s actually a two-way street, he noted, with the newcomers giving much back and making our community that much more rich, diverse, and vibrant. 

Students’ Union president Rebecca Mesay echoed the words of thanks, noting her parents came to Canada as refugees, as she remarked on the significance of the day. She quoted British-Somali poet Warsan Shire: “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” 

Rankin School graduating first LPN to BScN Acceleration Option students

Fri, 2018-11-16 15:20
L-r, AO LPN advanced major students Jennifer Hynick, Keith Torrey, Shauna Burns and Vivian Ramsay pictured at their project presentation

The StFX Rankin School of Nursing is looking forward to graduating the first students in its LPN to BScN Accelerated Option (AO) program next month during Fall Convocation 2018. 

In all, 20 students will be among the first graduates of the AO program, students who are also Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). These include four students who are also completing an advance major project, which they presented on Nov. 15, 2018. 

The students and their project titles are:

• Jennifer Hynick, “Providing Ethical and Evidence-Based Nursing Care to Women who use Opioids” with advisor Marion Alex.

• Keith Torrey, “Raising the Flag on Transgender Youth and Access to Healthcare in Atlantic Canada: An Upstream Approach” with advisor Wendy Panagopoulos.

• Shauna Burns, “Experiences of Chronic Pain in Children and Families” with advisor Jacqueline van Wijlen.

• Vivian Ramsay, “The Registered Nurse’s Role with Pharmacological Therapy in Heart Failure” with advisor Marie Arnott.

“The accelerated two-year option (AO) is the same program as the traditional four year program for nursing. The primary difference is the courses continue over two years starting in January with students graduating in December of their second year,” says Dr. Debbie Sheppard LeMoine, Rankin School Assistant Director and coordinator of the advanced major. 

She says for qualified LPNs, who graduated after 2008 from the Nova Scotia Community College and completed a bridging program in collaboration with Cape Breton University, StFX offered LPNs credit for prior education and practice experience thus allowing admission into the AO program. 

In the advanced major option, each AO LPN student completed an advanced major study and practice in a focused area of health guided by an advisor.

StFX student Emma Logan on a mission to give the gift of hearing

Thu, 2018-11-15 16:12
Emma Logan

Emma Logan is on a mission to make hearing accessible for all.

The fourth year StFX Schwartz School of Business finance student from Halifax, NS, has started an initiative that will give new purpose to old hearing aids. She launched Hearing for All and is collecting used hearing devices, which can be prohibitively expensive for some people, to refurbish and redistribute to those in need.  

Ms. Logan, who worked on the initiative this summer as a Wallace Family Intern in StFX’s Innovation and Enterprise Centre, is collecting excess devices in partnership with Calgary, AB-based audiology charity Gift of Hearing

In April 2019, they will travel together on a mission to Yamasá, a small, rural agricultural community in the Dominican Republic where Gift of Hearing has an audiology clinic. They hope to bring 1,000 hearing devices to Yamasá, which is home to many impoverished Dominicans as well as Haitians whose families crossed the border looking for a better life. 

Ms. Logan says in many low and middle income nations, hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Children with hearing impairment often don’t get the opportunity to go to school, and many face isolation and ignorance, with testing and treatment often out of reach.   

In these countries, there is often a large stigma against people living with disabilities, including hearing loss, she says. 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Ms. Logan says it’s always been her dream to start a social enterprise, something that would have an impact. She always wanted to make a difference, but until last year, she wasn’t sure how. 

“Now I have this greater mission to increase access and affordability,” says Ms. Logan, who lost her own hearing while just 13 months old after contracting meningitis. She’s worn hearing aids almost ever since and had cochlear implant surgery at age three that helps her hear. 

She says all through her life, family, friends, and the audio and hearing health care community have been extremely supportive of her. She has had access to abundant resources, and never struggled or had to go looking for help. That’s not the case for all people.

Last year, while on a StFX student exchange with a university in Australia, she took time to visit the cochlear implant headquarters in Sydney and came away even more impressed by what they do. 

A professor in Australia, knowing of her desire to start a social enterprise, suggested she think about starting something that would help those who didn’t have the same resources she did growing up in Canada. 

“I thought it was a great problem to solve and something I could be passionate about, but I didn’t know how I’d address it.”

Around the same time, she was invited to attend a start-up event where potential entrepreneurs pitched their ideas. 

While waiting for her big “aha” moment, she says she realized that she had two perfectly good hearing aids sitting at home, unused since she had upgraded to new ones. 

“Why isn’t someone else wearing them, and why isn’t there a channel to donate them?” she remembers thinking. In fact, she thought many people would have unused hearing devices at home when they get new ones.

She started researching the issue and making connections when she returned to Canada.

She applied for and was awarded a Wallace Family Internship at StFX, which provides funding to support full-time employment for 12 weeks. Interns receive coaching and assistance from StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise staff and faculty mentors, and work closely with experts in their fields of interest. Ms. Logan worked on her idea alongside faculty advisor Dr. Neil Maltby and other StFX staff and faculty.  

Hearing aid recycling happens a lot in the U.K., and the U.S., she says, but she noticed there were gaps to be filled in Canada. 

“There’s a large population even within Canada who can’t afford hearing aids. I want to focus on that going forward,” she says. 

She also wants to change the conversation between audiologists and those who are upgrading to new hearing devices so that it becomes the normal thing to do for people to consider donating their old ones. 

Ms. Logan has also partnered with the Funeral Services Association of Nova Scotia about setting up internal collections as they often speak with families about what to do with personal effects. 

She is also well connected with the deaf and hard of hearing community 

“It’s very, very rewarding and it’s been exciting. It’s been a lot of hard work,” she says. 

 Passionate about helping others, she is looking forward to seeing what impact she can make.

For more information on Hearing for All or how to donate, please see https://www.hearingforall.ca/

Top honours, national recognition for StFX Computer Science

Wed, 2018-11-14 13:33
Pictured are several of the StFX computer science faculty members, including, l-r, Dr. James Hughes, Dr. Man Lin, Dr. Iker Gondra, Dr. Jacob Levman and Dr. Laurence Yang

StFX’s Computer Science program is celebrating much good news—including a Maclean’s magazine ranking that shows the program is leading the country in research in the field weighted citation impact category.

StFX is tied with the University of Toronto for this honour.

Additionally, StFX’s Computer Science program is the top ranked in Atlantic Canada in Maclean’s for the third year in a row. 

And StFX computer science students are fresh off a successful showing in the Science Atlantic Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science conference where the computer science team of Darwin Groskleg, Brandon Anthony and Thomas Ciha placed so well they earned the right to advance to the North American North East regional competition held Nov. 10. StFX student Katie MacEachern also received second prize in the Computer Science Research Oral category at Science Atlantic, while Cynthia Forgeron received third prize in that same category. 

StFX computer science faculty are gratified with the recognition of the program’s many strengths.  

"Our field-weighted citation impact index rank, a measure of research output, is tied for number one in the country," says computer science professor Dr. James Hughes. “That’s great news for students who are at all interested in becoming involved in research,” says colleague Dr. Jacob Levman, Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics. 

StFX computer science faculty conduct research in areas such as machine learning, data science, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, cloud computing, internet of things, computer vision, and energy-aware management for embedded systems.

Working with faculty can be an integral part of the student experience at StFX. 

“Many students have the opportunity to be involved in computer science research,” says faculty member Dr. Iker Gondra, who notes the department’s annual Alley Heaps Summer Research Internship Award as one of the opportunities available to students.

Students also have opportunity to get involved with faculty projects. For instance, Dr. Laurence Yang organized the international 2018 IEEE Cybermatics Congress and StFX students had the chance to participate in that event. 

Drs. Levman and Hughes says involvement in research provides students with challenging, real world experience and goes above and beyond what students may see in the classroom.

Dr. Man Lin says another strength is the continuing effort computer science faculty members put into keeping up with new developments in the rapidly evolving field of computing, and introducing new courses on emerging topics.

StFX offers courses that meets the needs of a broad range of students, she says. It also offers a master’s program, an opportunity for undergraduate students to work with faculty in summer research projects, a co-op program option and a pre-education concentration for those interested in teaching. 

Dr. Gondra says faculty spend much time with the students so that they are well prepared when they finish their degrees.

Familiar Fields to Foreign Soil: Remembering the First World War

Fri, 2018-11-09 14:03

On 11 November, Canadians across the country will commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Great War had a transformative effect on Canadian society – socially, culturally, economically and politically. Over 620,000 Canadians served out of a population of eight million. Of these, more than 66,000 were killed and 172,000 wounded.

Peter Kikkert, Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Arctic Policy and assistant professor in the Mulroney Institute of Government at StFX, has just published the co-authored book Familiar Fields to Foreign Soil: Three Rural Townships and the Great War. Written with Whitney Lackenbauer, Canada Research Chair in the Study of the Canadian North at Trent University and adjunct professor with the Mulroney Institute of Government and Jennifer Arthur-Lackenbauer, the authors used letters, newspapers, memoirs, and other local sources to reveal how people understood home front and overseas experiences at the time, and how the war transformed individual lives, families, and communities in North Norwich, South Norwich, and East Oxford Townships in southern Ontario. 

The genesis of the book came when Profs. Kikkert and Lackenbauer delivered a Remembrance Day talk in 2014 to the South Norwich Historical Society in Otterville, Ontario, seeking to bring a local dynamic to understanding the global conflict. Intrigued by the intersections between local, national, and military histories, and in light of the Great War’s centenary, this local community organization suggested that the two historians consider writing a book on Norwich Township and the First World War. Other local groups quickly supported their vision to tell a local story of the war that would intertwine domestic and overseas experiences, wherever possible using the words of those actually who lived them, as did Arthur-Lackenbauer. “Our book attempts to offer both a comprehensive and accessible portrait of a rural Ontario community immersed in a global conflict,” Prof. Lackenbauer notes. “It is researched with all of the rigour of an academic study, but written in a way that we hope will appeal to a broad popular audience.”

“Familiar Fields to Foreign Soil stiches together the far-reaching effects of the war into the fabric of local life,” Prof. Kikkert explains. “The stories in this book represent our attempt to convey how the people of the townships responded to the war at the time – from the soldier in the muddy trenches of the Western Front, to the woman sitting in her kitchen knitting socks for him, the volunteer raising money and working in the patriotic societies to support him, the farmer working long days in the fields to feed him, and the child anxiously awaiting his return. Pieced together, these stories form an intricate quilt that depicts just how deeply the war touched and transformed the townships and the people who called them home.” While much of the scholarship on the First World War focuses on urban experiences, the authors wanted this book to capture the rural context – how the intensive pressure to produce more food clashed with the mounting pressure to enlist, and the impact this dynamic had on rural life. While the authors focus on a rural region in southern Ontario, similar pressures would have been felt by those living in rural Nova Scotia. 

The intent of Remembrance Day is not to celebrate war, but to commemorate the sacrifices made by Canadians for what they considered to be a just cause, Prof. Kikkert asserts. “We hope that readers will empathize with the sense of danger, horrific violence, suffering, and tragic loss experienced by individual Canadians, families, and communities embroiled in war,” Prof. Lackenbauer explains. “At the same time, we should also acknowledge the courage, kindness, volunteerism, and perseverance that underlay much of Canada’s war effort – and continues to animate our country today.”

The authors volunteered their time to research and write the book, and all proceeds from the sale of print versions will flow to the South Norwich Historical Society and Norwich & District Historical Society. In the spirit of open access, an e- book version is available online, free of charge.

 

StFX celebrates the life of Kevin Fraser, launching Kevin’s Corner, presenting honorary X-Ring

Thu, 2018-11-08 09:20
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald (left) and Anne Armstrong, wife of the late Kevin Fraser, tap the honorary X-Ring presented on behalf of Mr. Fraser on a kneeler from the University Chapel, a long held tradition at StFX.

In his 15 years working at StFX with Sodexo as the general manager of food services, the late Kevin Fraser touched many lives. On Saturday, Nov. 3, colleagues, friends and family gathered at StFX’s Keating Centre for a special presentation to remember and celebrate these contributions, presenting Mr. Fraser’s wife with an honorary X-Ring on his behalf. 

The event also launched Kevin’s Corner, which will continue his legacy at the Student Food Resource Centre, providing students with healthy snacks. During his time at StFX, Mr. Fraser, impacted students every day, including his deep support of this free, confidential and accessible service aimed at providing all students with the resources to manage a sufficient, healthy diet.  

Kevin's-Corner-01-MyStFX.jpg

“Kevin was a true Xaverian. He always went above and beyond to help the university and more importantly, the students,” said Bob Hale, StFX Director, Ancillary Services. 

“To acknowledge his contributions I ask StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald to join us for a special presentation.”

“Kevin exemplifies who should wear an X-Ring,” Dr. MacDonald said as he presented Mr. Fraser’s wife Anne Armstrong with an honorary X-Ring. Daughter Allie and Mr. Fraser’s sisters were also in attendance.  

Dr. MacDonald noted there is a very formal committee that thinks very carefully on who receives an honorary X-Ring, given annually to a member of the StFX community who epitomizes Xaverian values. 

“Over and over, he made everyone’s day,” Dr. MacDonald said as he reflected on how Mr. Fraser knew what it meant to be part of a community. 

Dr. MacDonald said the X-Ring is normally presented during the annual ceremony held on campus on December 3, the Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier. “It will be a joy to recognize Kevin with all the other Xaverians who receive their X-Rings that day,” he said. 

Students’ Union General Manager Sean Ryan, Students’ Union President Rebecca Mesay and Students Union VP Finance and Operations Tega Sefia all acknowledged what a great friend and co-worker Kevin was, remarking on how much he meant to everyone. 

“Students were touched by the work he did,” Ms. Mesay said as she recalled how he was always so keen to say hello to students as they entered meal heal, to look after any food allergies, and to  exemplify service leadership. “His impact is being felt, and will always be felt,” she said. 

“Kevin’s Corner is a great way for us to remember our great friend,” said Mary Jessie MacLellan, Associate Registrar, Recruitment, and the event’s host, as she invited Mr. Fraser’s friends and colleagues to bring up candles to form the shape of an X in his memory.  

“StFX is rich with tradition,” she said noting the kneeler brought in from the StFX Chapel. When the X-Ring ceremony was still small enough to be held in that space, students traditionally tapped their new X-Rings against the wooden kneelers. This tradition carries on today as kneelers are brought into the Keating Centre each year during the ceremony. She invited Dr. MacDonald and Ms. Armstrong to tap their rings on the kneeler as the ceremony concluded. 

 

Powerful and insightful: StFX anthropology professor Dr. L. Jane McMillan invited speaker at Harvard, publishes book on Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice

Wed, 2018-11-07 10:30
Dr. L. Jane McMillan

StFX anthropology professor Dr. L. Jane McMillan has celebrated significant accomplishments over the past few weeks: she was an invited speaker at Harvard University, travelled to Toronto to accept an award, and her new book, Truth and Conviction: Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice, has just been released—to much praise. 

The book is an account of how one man’s fight against racism and injustice transformed the criminal justice system and galvanized the Mi’kmaw nation’s struggle for self-determination, changing the landscape of Indigenous rights in Canada and around the world. 

“The name ‘Donald Marshall Jr.’ is synonymous with ‘wrongful conviction’ and the fight for Indigenous rights in Canada,” the book’s jacket reads. “In Truth and Conviction, Dr. McMillan—Marshall’s former partner, an acclaimed anthropologist, and an original defendant in the Supreme Court’s Marshall decision on Indigenous fishing rights—tells the story of how his fight against injustice permeated Canadian legal consciousness and revitalized Indigenous law.”

Reviews have been terrific. 

“Jane McMillan has written an admirable, engaging, and formidable book about an Indigenous man’s quest for justice against the systemic injustices of Canada,” writes Sákéj Henderson, Research Fellow, Native Law Centre of Canada, at the University of Saskatchewan.

It’s praise echoed by John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, at the University of Victoria. 

“This book offers powerful, insightful, and intimate insights into Mi’kmaw law and lifeways. It contains a perfect mix of stories, context, history, and analysis. It is just what I need to understand and be able to teach law in more nuanced ways,” he writes.  

The book’s publisher, UBC Press, has selected Truth and Conviction as a lead title, an honour in that it means they believe the story will resonate beyond the academy. 

“I’m excited. I hope it’s helpful. I hope there’s messages in the text that will be useful and will provide some guidance in how to engage in relationships that are reconciliatory and will help advance Indigenous rights,” says Dr. McMillan, the former Canada Research Chair for Indigenous People and Sustainable Communities (2006-16) at StFX and the current chair of the StFX Anthropology Department. 

She is a cultural and legal anthropologist specializing in Indigenous justice and applied research methodologies. She has worked in collaboration with Mi’kmaw communities through Atlantic Canada for 20 years, advocating for what they would like to see for legal reforms. 

“It’s surprisingly an emotional experience,” she says on receiving the book. “It had been a long and sometimes difficult journey.

“It chronicles the wrongful conviction of Donald Marshall Jr. and the Supreme Court of Canada fishing decision R. v. Marshall. It assesses the shifting legal landscape of the Mi’kmaw nation and investigates the state of justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is in part a personal account. I was Donald’s partner for 13 years. It’s really about honouring the impacts of his life and legacy,” she says, noting how his life was a catalyst for legal reform in the Canadian justice system and for the reinvigoration of Mi’kmaw legal principles. 

The book is also about treaty rights and treaty education.

She says it is important to document, teach and learn from Indigenous ways of knowing and being so that we can continually endeavor towards the goals of a more just society.

In reviewing the book, Prof. Ronald Niezen, the William Lyon MacKenzie King Visiting Chair at Harvard University, was so impressed by the work and felt like it would be a good fit for the Canada Seminar at Harvard, he invited Dr. McMillan to present a paper and speak. Previous speakers have included the Hon. Paul Okalik premier of Nunavut, Jeffrey Simpson, columnist and author, and Ken Dryden, author, MP, and former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Dr. McMillan prepared and presented a paper on Oct. 29 entitled, “Tropes, treaties and trials: Indigenous peoples and access to justice in Canada.” 

“I was thrilled to receive the invitation,” she says. “It was a great seminar, well attended, and excellent questions. I really enjoyed the experience.”

Dr. McMillan was also recently in Toronto with Mr. Marshall’s family to accept the inaugural Donald Marshall Award from Innocence Canada, an organization which advocates on behalf of prisoners who have been wrongfully convicted. Donald Marshall Jr. was the first person in Canada to be exonerated, and to honour his fight, Innocence Canada created an award in his name for other wrongfully convicted people who never give up until they are vindicated. The organization presented the inaugural award to Mr. Marshall’s family and to Dr. McMillan. 

StFX Systems Update

Sun, 2018-11-04 16:25

An update to the campus community:

IT Services continues to reinstate servers within the StFX network. At this time, we are employing a staggered approach in bringing the systems back online to minimize potential risk. Some services have now been restored such as Wifi, Moodle, DCB and debit transactions, among others. ITS will continue to work on bringing all services back online as soon as possible. Of note, services such as MesAmis and Banner are not yet available. ITS will prepare a list and update the status of services on an ongoing basis as services become available. A link to the list will be shared when ready.

On Thursday, ITS, in consultation with security specialists, purposefully disabled all network systems in response to what we learned to be to be an automated attack on our systems known as ‘crytpocoin mining.’ The malicious software attempted to utilize StFX’s collective computing power in order to create or discover bitcoin for monetary gain. At this time, there is no evidence that any personal information within our network was breached, however, ITS will continue to analyze and monitor for suspicious activity in the days and weeks ahead. ITS has also implemented heightened security measures in response to this event.

In this scenario, it is standard practice to reset all network passwords. We recognize this may be an inconvenience, however, it is necessary to protect the integrity of our systems. 

How to reset your password and recover your StFX account:

Option #1: (recommended)

-    Access the internet via a non-StFX connection (i.e. using data plan on your mobile phone, home connection, etc.)

-    Use the following link to reset your password and recover access to your StFX account. Please remember to put in your full email address. (e.g. x2018abc@stfx.ca

https://passwordreset.microsoftonline.com/  

 

-    If you are having difficulty resetting your password, please refer to the online guide found here: 

https://stfx.teamdynamix.com/TDClient/KB/ArticleDet?ID=33471



Option #2:

-    Visit the StFX Contact Centre located in the Angus L. MacDonald Library.  Staff will be able to assist. Hours are    

Sunday, November 4        12:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Monday – Thursday          8:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Friday                                8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Saturday                           12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

If you continue to have difficulty connecting to the StFX Wifi after resetting your password, please refer to the online guide found here: https://stfx.teamdynamix.com/TDClient/KB/ArticleDet?ID=30051

 

 

 

Scholarship honours life and legacy of longtime StFX music professor Jack O’Donnell

Mon, 2018-10-29 15:21
Fourth year honours music student Robyn Gale, the inaugural recipient of the Prof. Jack O'Donnell Scholarship

The life and legacy of the late John C. (Jack) O’Donnell, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the StFX Music Department, will live on at StFX, his alma mater, in a newly established scholarship. 

The Professor Jack O'Donnell Scholarship has been established by an anonymous donor who has admired Professor O’Donnell’s extensive service to the StFX Music Department and to the university, as well as the contributions he made to music in Nova Scotia, in Canada, and worldwide. 

Prof. O’Donnell, who passed away earlier this month, spent 40 years as a music professor at StFX. StFX awarded him an honorary degree in 2016. He also made an outstanding contribution to Canadian culture, serving for 50 years as conductor and musical director of The Men of the Deeps, North America’s only coal miner chorus, organized to preserve the rich folklore of Cape Breton’s coal mining communities. He received an Order of Canada for his work with the group. 

Prof. O’Donnell also made important contributions as a humanitarian, working along with his wife Judy to build and support L’Arche Antigonish, a community of people with and without intellectual disabilities that’s part of the international L’Arche network.

INAUGURAL RECIPIENT 

The O’Donnell Scholarship awards $1,500 and will be presented annually to a fourth year music student each September who has the highest grade average in their third year. The first recipient is Robyn Gale, a fourth year honours music student from Canning, NS. 

“I am honoured to receive the inaugural Jack O’Donnell Scholarship,” she says. 

“Although I did not know Jack personally, I deeply appreciate the contributions he made to the StFX Music Department and the greater music community. It is incredibly humbling to receive this award. His contributions continue to make an impact on the students in this program. Thank you very much.”

Kevin Brunkhorst, the current chair of the StFX Music Department says Prof. O’Donnell was a committed researcher into vocal music traditions in Nova Scotia, and he served as chair of the department several times, for many years. 

“His vision for the department was far ahead of its time, and he was a strong advocate for our discipline. It’s entirely fitting that a scholarship be established in his name,” says Prof. Brunkhorst.

 

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