StFX welcomed over 600 prospective new students and their families to campus, a total of nearly 1,500 people, on Saturday, Oct. 13 during its second annual Open House, a day designed to let high school students see firsthand what life is like as a StFX student and to discover all that the university offers.
For high school students, the full day of activities was a great chance to attend academic information sessions, to talk with faculty and staff, visit a student services showcase, tour campus, and enjoy lunch.
“I immediately fell in love with the place,” says high school student Olivia Brownell of Sackville, NB who wants to go into nursing and is interested in health studies.
“I’m very excited. I’ve never been so excited to see a school before. I first heard about StFX and its nursing program in Grade 9,” says Ms. Brownell who has already been accepted into StFX’s Bachelor of Arts and Science in Health and has applied to StFX’s Rankin School of Nursing.
Ms. Brownell says she got up at 6 a.m. to make the trip to Antigonish and is glad to have the opportunity to visit campus.
“I like seeing things before I make a decision…I feel I have a connection,” she says.
“I love it here. It’s welcoming, kind of like a family,” echoed Jacob MacDonald of Sydney, NS, who also got up before 6 a.m. without complaint to travel to StFX, where he learned he was accepted in the business program.
He was visiting with parents Melissa and Gerald, a StFX graduate of 1983.
Anna McCormick of Bedford, NS, and Maddy MacDonald of Hammonds Plains, NS, visiting with their mothers Sarah McCormick and Pam MacDonald, said the open house was a great opportunity to see what options exist and to learn more about the academic programs offered at StFX.
It was a theme echoed by StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley in opening remarks.
“This is your day to explore StFX and see if StFX is right for you. This is your day to ask a lot of questions,” Dr. Wamsley said.
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald welcomed all to campus and spoke about what he thinks makes StFX special.
“The reason StFX is different is we are a national university looking to engage students in a small, residential setting,” Dr. MacDonald said.
He said StFX is looking for academically focused, socially engaged students.
He encouraged prospective students when they come to university not to simply think of themselves as high school graduates, but as university students “where it is cool to be intellectually curious.”
Along with this academic focus, he says StFX wants students who are socially engaged, who have the ability to see beyond themselves and care about what’s going on in the world around them.
“This is a university for 166 years has produced social activists.”
He invited everyone to explore the campus – visiting classrooms and labs, attending student sessions and learning more about StFX.
The day started off with early-bird campus tours and included a Student Services Showcase so visiting students and their families could learn about the many services to support students in their personal and academic goals.
After a BBQ lunch, the afternoon included a chance for attendees to meet with faculty and program chairs to ask questions and explore the academic programs offered at StFX.
Student guides again helped visitors explore campus during the afternoon via guided tours including visits to the residences, academic spaces and student life buildings.
Students who applied online before Oct. 5 also had the chance to receive a decision on their application at the open house.
Anyone who missed the open house but would like to arrange a personalized campus tour are invited to do so any time by contacting the Visitor Centre by email at email@example.com or by phone 902-867-4964.
StFX celebrated an announcement of over $425,000 in new research funds from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants on Oct. 11 when Central Nova MP Sean Fraser visited campus to make the announcement and deliver remarks.
StFX faculty receiving awards in the 2018 NSERC Discovery Grant competition include:
• Dr. Mike Melchin, Earth Sciences, who received $29,000/year for five years, totaling $145,000, plus an additional $45,000 Northern Research Supplement ($9,000/year for five years).
• Dr. Jamie Braid, Earth Sciences, received $21,000/year for five years, totaling $105,000.
• Dr. Gerry Marangoni, Chemistry, received $22,000/year for five years, totaling $110,000.
• Dr. Karine LeBris, Physics, received a Discovery Development Grant of $10,000/year for 2 years, totaling $20,000 that will be supplemented by $5,000/year from StFX.
StFX Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Richard Isnor, thanked Mr. Fraser and the Government of Canada for the investment in scholarship.
“The NSERC Discovery Grants are critical for providing a diverse base of scientific research and training students of all types, in universities and communities across Canada,” he says.
“These grant applications receive rigorous peer review and successful applicants truly represent research excellence in their respective fields. I would like to congratulate our 2018 Discovery Grant recipients and recognize the research efforts of all StFX NSERC Discovery Grant holders.”
St. Francis Xavier University and Holland College have renewed two articulation agreements this week that open up opportunity and collaboration for music students.
The agreements provide the opportunity for graduates of Holland College’s Music Performance program, one of the offerings in the PEI college’s School of Performing Arts to enter into the third year of the StFX Bachelor of Music with Honours degree program in the Faculty of Arts or into the third year of the Bachelor of Music degree at StFX.
Admission to the StFX Bachelor of Music Honours degree is conditional on the successful completion of a performance audition. In addition, students are required to have achieved a minimum 75 per cent average and successfully completed all courses in the music performance diploma program with no music course mark below 70 per cent.
From StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald related to an incident of sexual assault that occurred last year:
To the Campus Community,
I wish to provide you with an update on the steps we are taking to address recent concerns related to an incident of sexual violence that occurred last year on our campus. Let me begin by affirming that the safety of every member of the StFX community is an expectation and a priority of mine.
I have spent considerable time having conversations with a variety of individuals and listening to concerns raised about this case. I have engaged with colleagues and members of the StFX community, both on the campus and off. I have heard many perspectives and what is clear to me is that there is a shared belief that we must provide a learning environment that is safe and free of sexual violence.
After much reflection and advice from my senior administration colleagues, I concluded that the student in question should withdraw from the university. I announce this morning that the student has withdrawn, effective immediately.
In addition to the decision that led to the student withdrawing from StFX, I have also asked that the existing wording within our disciplinary code as it relates to appeals be reviewed. Further, I have asked for an update regarding the connection between our relatively new Sexual Violence Policy and the university’s Code of Conduct. The purpose of this update is to ensure continuity between the good work produced by our Sexualized Violence Prevention Committee and the university’s judicial process.
I know many members of our community have worked very hard to ensure an open, fair and transparent process with respect to how we address the challenges associated with sexual violence. We remain committed to believing and supporting people who disclose that they have experienced sexual violence. We recognize and honour their courage and resilience, and respect their rights to make decisions that are in their own best interest. However, we must continue to develop and improve our policies and interventions, in order to truly succeed in achieving the goal of a victim/survivor-focused approach.
I acknowledge and accept the fact that we can do better. In this particular case, there were clear gaps in communication and apparent issues relating to our appeal processes that negatively affected our university community and, in some cases, retraumatized victim/survivors. For this, I am sorry.
I was inspired by several of the recent recommendations made by our student union leaders.
To that end, I can confirm that in the coming days and weeks we will engage with our broader community to provide opportunities to inform our review process. All comments and perspectives will be welcome as they help make our processes stronger and our university safer. Please note that more details related to this consultation work will be forthcoming.
We appreciate the continued support and engagement of our community as we navigate this very complex, and long-standing societal issue. I would like to recognize the commitment and efforts of those involved in developing and implementing the current policies that govern our campus life. This is important work, and we are committed to continuing to strengthen our policies and practices as we go forward.
In conclusion, we can, and will, do better to support victim/survivors of sexual violence.
Kent D. MacDonald
President and Vice Chancellor
St. Francis Xavier University