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StFX philosophy professor Dr. Christopher Byrne’s book on Aristotle’s physics a finalist for prestigious PROSE award

Wed, 2019-02-06 11:28
Dr. Christopher Byrne

StFX philosophy professor Dr. Christopher Byrne has been recognized internationally for the quality of his scholarship.

Dr. Bryne’s new book, Aristotle’s Science of Matter and Motion, published by the University of Toronto Press in 2018, has been named a finalist in the philosophy section of the PROSE (Professional Scholarly Excellence) awards for 2019 given out by the Association of American Publishers.

These awards honour scholarly work of extraordinary merit that make a significant contribution to a field of study in a given year.

“This is fantastic news. Being nominated for this internationally recognized publishing award is a significant academic honour and we are delighted to see Dr. Byrne receive a nomination for his book Aristotle's Science of Matter and Motion,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.

The list of nominees in the awards 49 categories is pretty much a who’s who of academic publishers, representing not just major U.S. publishers, but those from around the world. 

“I was elated,” Dr. Byrne says on the honour. “Surprised and elated. I didn’t realize it had been nominated in the first place,” he says until he received a congratulatory message from his editor. 

His book, which deals with Aristotle’s contributions to physics, was one of three named as finalists. While he didn’t win the category, it’s a win to be shortlisted. Hundreds of books on philosophy would have been published in the year. 

“It’s an honour just to get on the list,” he says. 

It’s not the first recognition the book has received.

Dr. Byrne received a grant of $8,000 for the book from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Aid to Scholarly Publications through the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences. It is a competitive process and a prestigious award.

“I was quite gratified to receive this award, as the topic of my book is not exactly on everyone’s lips. Still, I was moved to write this book because there is a curious view of Aristotle that is still quite widespread: on the one hand, he is considered one of the most important figures in the history of philosophy, indeed, in many fields, having made important contributions to biology, ethics, political philosophy, logic, metaphysics, rhetoric, and the theory of tragedy; on the other hand, he is held by many philosophers and historians of science to have failed so badly at physics that he held back its development until the seventeenth century when the Scientific Revolution finally overthrew Aristotelianism,” Dr. Byrne had said when receiving that award.

“So the puzzle that drew me to this topic was how such a great thinker could have failed so badly in his understanding of the material world.

“As it turned out, I discovered that his views on the material world are not nearly so bizarre and wrong-headed as people have claimed. On the contrary, he offers a systematic account of matter, motion, and the basic causal powers found in all physical objects due to the matter from which they are made.”

Matter is important for Aristotle because he holds that all perceptible objects are ultimately made from physical stuff of one kind or another and that this matter is responsible for many of their basic features. He also investigates the nature of change in general, independent of the specific nature of the object undergoing a change; here, he begins with locomotion, the most fundamental kind of change.

Finally, Aristotle offers an account of the basic features of matter and motion that is quantitative and non-teleological. His use of final causes in biology and elsewhere is compatible with his quantitative, non-teleological account of matter and motion, because in his view all goal-directed changes take place in physical entities more complex than the material elements.

“Indeed, Aristotle’s biology presupposes his physics because goal-directed changes presuppose non-teleological changes in matter. For Aristotle, then, matter matters a great deal,” says Dr. Byrne.

Publication, conference presentation for StFX honours nursing work on Mi’kmaq women’s experience accessing prenatal care in rural Nova Scotia

Tue, 2019-02-05 16:05
L-r, Dr. Joanne Whitty-Rogers, Laura Burns, Dr. Cathy MacDonald and Dr. Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine

Laura Burns wanted to gain a better understanding of Mi’kmaq women’s experience in accessing prenatal care in rural Nova Scotia so, as an honours nursing student in StFX’s Rankin School of Nursing, she focused her undergraduate research work on the topic. The quality of that work has stood out—so much so that it’s been accepted as an article in a respected journal and for presentation at an international conference. 

Her research was accepted for publication in Advances in Nursing Sciences. The article will be published in the June 2019 print issue, and became available online in December 2018. 

In addition, in October, Ms. Burns, of Antigonish, NS, presented this research at the 44th annual conference of the Transcultural Nursing Society Conference held in San Antonio, Texas.   

“It’s very exciting,” she says. “I wasn’t expecting it to go that far, or to take it to that level. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and also motivation to continue my master’s in science in nursing in the next couple of years.”  

Going forward, Ms. Burns, who has since graduated, says these experiences will continue to impact her nursing and her ability to connect with co-workers and patients, and better prepare her for what she needs to complete her master’s degree. 

She says since high school she always had an interest in Indigenous health care, and became interested in her research topic during her first year studying at the Rankin School.

“My early education of the Mi’kmaq people was essentially through the lens of Caucasian, Euro-Canadian perspectives,” she says. “The importance of gaining an understanding of Mi’kmaq people’s experiences from their own perspectives became especially important during my first year at the nursing school, when I was introduced to the concept of cultural safety in the curriculum. 

“I recognized that nurses have the responsibility to continuously learn, and by listening to the stories of Mi’kmaq women’s experiences accessing prenatal care I continued to develop my understanding of what it is like to navigate the Canadian health care system from a perspective that is much different from my own.” 

Ms. Burns says through the research process, she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the literature, and also have engaging conversations with Mi'kmaq women in their community. 

“Their experiences highlighted the importance of receiving culturally relevant and safe prenatal care, and also that access to care is a complex issue for some women. This area of research has expanded my understanding of the root causes of health inequities, and will help me recognize access-related issues in my practice as a registered nurse.”

She gives much credit to her supervisor Dr. Joanne Whitty-Rogers and second reader Dr. Cathy MacDonald, both Rankin School faculty, who she describes as mentors.  

“I couldn’t have done it without them. They’re very supportive, always led me in the right direction, listened to my concerns, and helped me along the way,” she says. 

For her part, Dr. Whitty-Rogers describes Ms. Burns as a dedicated, hard-working student who always tried to push as far as she could and went above and beyond in her work. She says it is a credit to Ms. Burns that the research was approved by both the StFX Research Ethics board as well as by Mi’kmaq Ethics. She says Ms. Burns has always been very sensitive and aware and respectful of the culture.

“Laura is what you would want to have in an honours student,” says Dr. MacDonald, who noted it is quite an accomplishment to have your undergraduate research published. She says having this experience will make Ms. Burns an even stronger applicant for graduate school. 

Dr. Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine, who coordinates the honours and advanced major program at the school, says it is a proud moment to see all this come together. She says the Rankin School is unique in Canada in that it is rare in the country for nursing schools to offer advanced major and honours options as the degree itself is so intensive with so many required courses. 

Ms. Burns encourages other Rankin School of Nursing students to consider completing an honours degree. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end.”

StFX philosophy student presents honours work on the ethics of organ donation at Atlantic philosophy conference

Tue, 2019-02-05 10:13
StFX honours philosophy student Jamie Samson (right) pictured with a visiting speaker, Dr. Eleonore Stump of St. Louis University

Jamie Samson, a StFX honours philosophy student from Louisdale, NS, has been working on the topic of organ donation as part of her honours thesis in philosophy for only six months, but the quality of her research has been so high that her paper was accepted and she presented on the topic at the recent Atlantic Region Philosophers Association meeting. The only undergraduate student to present at the conference, Ms. Samson’s paper was on the topic of ‘The Ethics of Organ Donation.’

In her paper, Ms. Samson argues that the need for donor organs for transplants is very great and, since so few are available, Canadian society ought to take greater steps to see that organs are available. Instead of the current ‘opt in’ system, where individuals have to indicate their willingness to be a donor, Ms. Samson argues that it would be ethical – and perhaps ethically obligatory, to revise the system, and have an ‘opt out’ system. This, she believes would not only make more organs available for transplant purposes, but would also address the problem of families faced with decisions about the organs of loved ones who may be dying and incapable of expressing consent.

According to Dr. William Sweet, Chair of the StFX Philosophy Department, it is rare to have undergraduate presentations at the conference, although StFX philosophy students have frequently attended the conference. He says although Ms. Samson’s participation in the conference this year was unique, last year another philosophy student, Leah Gray, who graduated in 2018, also presented at the conference on “The Ethical and Moral Implications of a Hook-up Culture.”

“Participating in the conference gave me a unique opportunity to do a presentation that required my work to be both concise and yet detailed enough for others to understand what I’d spent so much time on,” Ms. Samson says. “I was impressed that students like me were welcome, and that my presentation was as well attended as those of professional philosophers. I felt that my work was placed on equal footing with more experienced philosophers, which was beneficial for my work and for my confidence.”

Ms. Samson’s research was initially funded through an Irving Research Mentorship Award, offered through StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership with an endowment established by Irving Oil, allowed her to work on the topic under the supervision of Dr. Sweet.


Rankin School of Nursing students attend national assembly of Canadian Nursing Students Association

Mon, 2019-02-04 11:25
StFX Rankin School of Nursing students, l-r, Emma Morin (3rd year, Associate Delegate); Valeri Molnar (4th year, Debate Team Winner); Maridith Brown (4th year, Official Delegate, Community Involvement Award Winner); and Therese Mccurdy (3rd year, Travel Award Winner) at the CNSA National Assembly

Four StFX Rankin School of Nursing students had the opportunity to represent StFX, gain insights into different areas of nursing, and have their voices heard when they attended the National Assembly of the Canadian Nursing Students Association (CNSA) held Jan. 22-26, 2019 in Calgary, AB. Of the four students, three attended as award winners. 

In attendance from StFX were fourth year student Maridith Brown, Official Delegate, StFX chapter, and Community Involvement Award winner; Emma Morin, a third year student and Associate Delegate, StFX chapter; fourth year student and Debate Team winner Valeri Molnar; and third year student and Travel Award winner Therese McCurdy.

Ms. Brown says it was a tremendous experience, and one it’s vital that StFX be a part of. 

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of StFX nursing students having a vote on the National Assembly of the CNSA. There are much bigger systemic issues being handled at the national level that students might not be aware of on a day-to-day basis here at X. We are one of 58 chapter schools across Canada and our voices speak loud. The impact of these collaborative efforts is much greater than any one school could have on its own,” says Ms. Brown.  

For example, she says they are advocating for better NCLEX translation for francophone students, and they voted an Indigenous member onto their executive committee, “which is a huge step in the right direction to reconciliation.” 

Ms. Brown says CNSA is for students by students, and that its objectives are to be the primary resource for nursing students, to influence and advance curriculum, and to strengthen linkages. CNSA has a number of stakeholders that nursing students are familiar with, she says, including Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, and Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, to name a few. 

“We have a voting position on CASN, which accredits nursing schools in Canada and handles curriculum issues.”  

She says along with the governance changes made at the national conference, much education was shared during the event, from informative speaker sessions to a nursing specialty speed dating event where students learned about unique specialty areas. 

“StFX's involvement in the CNSA is solely student run, so we cycle in the Official and Associate Delegates,” she says. Ms. Brown says she applied to be a delegate in her second year, and spent a semester as Associate Delegate before taking over as Official Delegate when the fourth years phased out. She encourages second year nursing students consider becoming involved. 

Ms. Brown says she and Associate Delegate Ms. Morin were proud to have two award winners from StFX along with them in Calgary. Ms. Molnar was a Debate Team winner, and Ms. McCurdy won the Travel Award. Both had to write essays to win the awards. Additionally, Ms. Molnar was required to debate in front of conference attendees. The topic, kept secret until arriving in Calgary, was that health care funds should be controlled by health care providers. “This was a heated debate and Val did an excellent job of defending her side,” says Ms. Brown, who received the CNSA's Community Involvement Scholarship. 

“The great thing about CNSA is that these awards are available to all members of chapter schools. I would urge any nursing student to apply for CNSA awards as there are increasing numbers of awards annually,” she says. 

Ms. Brown says regional conferences also happen across Canada and offer the same great benefits. In the Atlantic region, L'Université de Moncton will host in fall 2019. 

Says Ms. Brown, “I was proud to see StFX Rankin School of Nursing so well represented in Calgary and my hope for the future is that the school stays involved in this association. Anyone looking to get involved with CNSA can contact me directly or visit, where there are many committees to get involved with.”


Our history is your history: African Heritage Month in Antigonish launched during ceremony at StFX

Thu, 2019-01-31 16:33
Unveiling the African Heritage Month 2019 poster are Kelsey Jones, Councillor Mary Farrell, Warden Owen McCarron, Allanique Hunter, Minister Tony Ince, Marcel Desmond and Lorraine Reddick

A full house—from the Hon. Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, to local school children—gathered at StFX’s Bloomfield Centre on Jan. 31 to celebrate the launch of African Heritage Month 2019 in Antigonish, under a theme of “Our History is YOUR History.” 

“We gather to honour and celebrate the many achievements that African Nova Scotians have made to our society,” said co-emcee Kelsey Jones, StFX African Descent Student Affairs Coordinator, who hosted the ceremony with Lorraine Reddick, Student Support Worker with the Strait Regional Centre for Education (SRCE). 

African Heritage Month marks a time of reflection, but more importantly, a time for education, she said. 

The month gives attention to a history that’s far too often exploited by the mainstream narrative. “Our history is your history,” Ms. Jones said, repeating this year’s theme as she encouraged everyone to listen and to learn, to attend events, and to listen to voices, not just during this month, but throughout the entire year. 

In a special part of the ceremony, and an historic first, she said today marks the first time the Pan African flag will be flown on campus for the entirety of African Heritage Month. The Pan African flag was raised at both the Antigonish Town Hall and in front of the President’s Office on the StFX campus. 

Another special moment came in a tribute and a moment of silence for the late Dr. Agnes Calliste, retired StFX sociology professor, national and international celebrated academic, and community champion who tirelessly served the Xaverian and Nova Scotian communities, including as StFX’s Black Student Advisor. Dr. Calliste passed away in August 2018. 


Minister Ince said this is an important time, a time to learn something different and unique.

“African Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and share the culture, history, and achievements of African Nova Scotians,” he said.  

It’s a time to recognize the distinct story of African Nova Scotians and how this story is interwoven in our province’s past, present and future, he said. 

“This theme recognizes that when we understand the diversity that exists in Nova Scotia, we will be able to facilitate positive change for our province.” 

AHM 2019.jpg

Kelsey Jones (left) and Brenda Gateva are seen singing "Lift Every Voice" during the ceremony

AHM 2019 2.jpg

Poet Naomi Ogbogbo presents her work entitled 'Royalty'

Understanding and celebrating this diversity was a message shared by a number of speakers. 

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the ceremony at StFX, and the long overdue flying of the Pan African flag on campus,” said Andrew Beckett, StFX Vice-President Finance & Administration.

Mr. Beckett said it speaks to the importance of diversity, and the richness it adds. While he noted that StFX has much more to do, he said the university is pleased to be embracing and building on this diversity, in past efforts and in the recent opening of the Diversity Education Centre on campus, designed to help celebrate and create more of a focus. 

Both Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron and Antigonish town councilor Mary Farrell spoke of how the month celebrates the culture, legacy and achievements of African Nova Scotians, while sharing how this story is interwoven. “When we all acknowledge our shared history, we will be able to facilitate positive change,” Mr. McCarron said. 

As part of the ceremony, SRCE teacher and StFX alumnus Morgan Gero led an African Drumming performance with students from St. Andrew Junior School and Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School. Minister Ince, an accomplished drummer himself, joined in the closing performance. 

AHM 2019 3.jpg Minister Tony Ince (second left) joins in the African Drumming performance

Several classes from St. Andrew’s Consolidated School and the Antigonish Education Centre attended the event. 

Others speaking at the ceremony included Paul Landry, SRCE, and Rev. Peter Smith, who offered a prayer. Remarks were also read from the Hon. Randy Delorey, MLA, and Sean Fraser, MP, who were unable to be in attendance. Naomi Ogbogbo presented her poem entitled "Royalty." 

The event is hosted by the Town of Antigonish, Zone #7 African Cultural Awareness Association, African Nova Scotia Affairs, Support 4 Culture, the County of Antigonish, Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia, SRCE, and StFX.

StFX students awarded scholarships to study at Netherlands partner university

Wed, 2019-01-30 15:25
StFX students, l-r, Iris Magill and Brenna Wilson

Brenna Wilson and Iris Magill are looking forward to a unique new international study opportunity in the Netherlands at StFX partner exchange university, HAN University of Technology—as scholarship recipients. 

The two StFX human kinetics students have each received the HAN University of Technology Summer Program Scholarship, valued at €1,620 or $2,445 CAD, that offers StFX students the opportunity to study at the HAN Faculty of Health and Social Studies for their 2019 Summer School: Health, Social Work and Sport

This program consists of three, one-week courses, starting May 20 and ending June 7. The scholarship pays the tuition fee and covers accommodations, local transportation, and a field trip associated with each course at HAN University of Technology, located in the city of Nijmegen, in eastern Netherlands, near the German border. 

“It’s a unique opportunity and a good opportunity to take some other courses...I’m excited,” says Ms. Wilson, a third year student from Saint John, NB majoring in kinesiology in the BSc human kinetics program. 

Ms. Wilson says she is looking forward to meeting new people, to seeing how classes are taught there, and to learning from professors in courses that range from sports event management to issues in health care. 

She says she is looking forward to gaining new perspectives and new creative ways of thinking from the experience.

It’s a sentiment shared by Ms. Magill of Ottawa, ON, a second year BA in human kinetics student taking a minor in sport management.

“It’s such an interesting opportunity,” she says. “I’m so interested in the courses offered, they’re all so different, and to compare and contrast how things are done there and here. 

“I’m really looking forward to it, to meeting new people and seeing how things happen in different cultures, and how our different cultures conduct different events.” 

Ms. Magill says she’s had a travel bug lately to explore different cultures and at the same time she’s been trying to get involved in as much as she can and build her resume. 

“I thought this was perfect to mix both, the travel and to see how other people, how the Dutch culture go about marketing and organizing events, and contrast how we do things here.”

She says she is also looking forward to building connections.

Both Ms. Wilson and Ms. Magill say they’re hoping the experience will help give them further focus on what they’d like to do after finishing their undergraduate degrees at StFX. 

They both say they’re eager too to bring back different ideas and all they learn when they return to StFX. 

To be eligible for the scholarship, students had to be in either the BA or BSc human kinetics program, or the BASc Health program at StFX, be in good academic standing, have a focused professional and academic interest in human health and well-being, and have a curious, independent, open-minded and adventurous attitude.

StFX Athletics honours record-high 96 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians

Mon, 2019-01-28 14:24

The StFX Department of Athletics honoured its 2017-18 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians on Jan. 28, 2019 at their annual celebratory breakfast. This year, there was a record-high 96 Academic All-Canadians, those student-athletes who have achieved an 80 per cent average or above while consuming a year of eligibility competing for a varsity team. The number was an increase from the previous high of 82 Academic All-Canadians in 2016-17.

“It is important that we pause to celebrate the fantastic academic accomplishments of our student-athletes,” comments StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson. 

“These Academic All-Canadians are masters at balancing a demanding varsity sport commitment and community outreach activities, while at the same time achieving excellence in their academic endeavors. Their accomplishments are very impressive.”

Out of the possible 290 eligible student-athletes who consumed U SPORTS eligibility by participating on a varsity team at StFX during the 2017-18 season, 33 per cent achieved  Academic All-Canadian status, including 40 male and 56 female student-athletes. The X-Women soccer team had the highest percentage of any StFX team with 80 per cent of their team members earning the distinction. 

There were 52 first-time Academic All-Canadians, 22 student-athletes who received the honour for the second time in their career, and 12 who were three-time Academic All-Canadians. Ten student-athletes earned the elite distinction of being a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians four times including: Chloe Brennan (soccer), Elise Brennan (soccer), Craig Duininck (hockey), Liam Elbourne (soccer), Kristoff Kontos (hockey), Olivia MacDonald (cross country), Cole Suart (soccer), Alex Taylor (soccer), Erin Visser (soccer) and Marco Zanchetta (soccer).   

The Athletics Director’s awards for academic achievement, presented to the top StFX male and female academic student-athletes were Amy Graham from the X-Women hockey team and recently named Rhodes Scholar Liam Elbourne from the X-Men soccer team who received the honour for the second consecutive year. 


Amy Graham, pictured in the left photo, and Liam Elbourne, in the right photo, receive their awards from Athletics Director Leo MacPherson

The 2017-18 Academic All-Canadians were honoured at a celebratory breakfast at the Bloomfield Centre where they received a certificate from U SPORTS along with a gift from the Department of Athletics. All student-athletes were encouraged to invite a faculty member to accompany them to the breakfast. The breakfast kicked off StFX Athletics annual Faculty Appreciation Week.

The complete list of 2017-18 StFX Academic All-Canadians is as follows:

Quinn Alexander, Track & Field                    Catherine Kennedy, Soccer

MacKenzie Bell, Rugby                                 Kristoff Kontos, Hockey

Melanie Belong, Soccer                                Meg Mary Krawchuk, Soccer

Dustin Benetti, Soccer                                  Adam Kuntz, Football

Merrit Blair, Rugby                                        Emma Kuzmyk, Soccer

Emma Boudreau, Track & Field                   Justin Laforest, Hockey

Chloe Brennan, Soccer                                 Beth Lawrence, Track & Field

Elise Brennan, Soccer                                  Taylor Leger, Track & Field

Sarah Bruce, Soccer                                     Emma Logan, Curling

Sarah Bujold, Hockey                                    Liz MacDonald, Cross Country

Carly Burrows, Hockey                                  Olivia MacDonald, Track & Field

Joanne Callow, Rugby                                   Claire MacDougall, Soccer

Tane Caubo, Soccer                                       Branden MacInnis-Morris, Track & Field

Santino Centorame, Hockey                          Katie MacIntosh, Basketball

Sam Charron, Soccer                                     Paul MacLellan, Cross Country

Paige Chisholm, Cross Country                     Danielle Makar, Soccer

Jillian Clarke, Soccer                                      Patrick Marlow, Cross Country

Nicole Corcoran, Hockey                               Hana Marmura, Cross Country

Marcus Cuomo, Hockey                                 Madison McClure, Hockey

Olivia Czipf, Soccer                                       Therese McCurdy, Curling

Craig Duininck, Hockey                                 Mercy Myles, Soccer

Liam Elbourne, Soccer                                   Matt Needham, Hockey

Emerson Elliott, Hockey                                Alex Neuffer, Cross Country

Hannah Ellis, Rugby                                       Daley Oddy, Hockey

Kelsey Ellis, Soccer                                        Maggie Oliver, Track & Field

Isaac Fagnan, Football                                   Devon Parris, Football

Jeremy Fagnan, Football                                Joseph Pereyras, Track & Field

Dylan Fisher, Football                                     Angus Rawling, Cross Country

Ashley Francis, Curling                                 Ashley Robson, Cross Country

Megan Frost, Soccer                                      Amy Rowe, Soccer

Claudia Fulton, Rugby                                   Paytan Ruiz, Soccer

Sam Gan, Football                                         Lydia Schurman, Hockey

Alley Goodreau, Hockey                                Holly Scott, Basketball

Alex Gosse, Soccer                                        Sam Studnicka, Hockey

Amy Graham, Hockey                                    Cole Suart, Soccer

Megan Graham, Track & Field                      Madison Suart, Rugby

Nicole Halladay, Hockey                               Alex Taylor, Soccer

Alex Hamilton, Rugby                                   Natneal Tecle, Soccer

Liam Harrigan, Soccer                                    Aaron Thibeau, Soccer

Rachel Hawkins, Soccer                                 Patti-Anne Tracey, Hockey

Jonathan Heidebrecht, Football                      Curtis Urlacher, Football

Joshua Henderson, Curling                             Erin Visser, Soccer

Jane Hergett, Cross Country                           William Warren, Soccer

Ben Herringer, Soccer                                    Larissa White, Soccer

Justin Holland, Football                                  Hayley Wilson, Track & Field

Aaron Hoyles, Hockey                                   Emma Winters, Hockey

Matt Jemmett, Football                                   Alex Yakimenko, Football

Sarah Johnson, Hockey                                  Marco Zanchetta, Soccer

StFX hires Dr. Claire Betker as Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health

Thu, 2019-01-24 10:17
Dr. Claire Betker

StFX is pleased to announce that Dr. Claire Betker will be the next Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH), effective March 4, 2019. The NCCDH, hosted at StFX, is one of six federally funded, national public health knowledge centres. It mobilizes knowledge to contribute to the Canadian public health sector’s capacity and decision-making to address social conditions that determine health. The NCCDH generates evidence-based resources, provides consultation, delivers an electronic resource library, hosts events and facilitates networks. 

Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate VP of Research & Graduate Studies, who oversees the NCCDH, is very pleased with the outcome of the far-reaching recruitment. “Claire’s expertise and extensive public health experience position her as an ideal leader to direct the NCCDH,” he says.  

A registered nurse, Dr. Betker is the current President of the Canadian Nurses Association. She is deeply familiar with the NCCDH, having working for the NCCDH previously as senior knowledge translation specialist and director of research - early child development. Dr. Betker will come to StFX from her current position as Acting Executive Director of Active Living, Population & Public Health Branch at MB Health, Seniors & Active Living. In that position, she oversees development of intersectoral policies, government standards and a wide range of public health programs and services. 

Dr. Betker’s research work for her PhD (Nursing, U Saskatchewan, 2016) investigated public health leadership to advance health equity, using a scoping review and metasummary methodology. She coordinated the Public Health Agency of Canada’s development of Canada’s public health core competencies, released in 2008. These interprofessional competencies inform all Canadian public health practitioners through their academic training, employers and professional associations. She was a member of the teams that developed the discipline-specific competencies for public health nursing; the public health leadership competencies; and Manitoba’s public health nursing standards. 

Dr. Betker has co-authored journal articles, book chapters and NCCDH publications. Her community health career began in rural Manitoba at a single-nurse public health office. Since then, she has worked for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, as a freelance consultant, at a nurse-managed primary care centre, and has taught nursing students. Dr. Betker is a past president of the Community Health Nurses of Canada, and has been a long-standing member of the Canadian Public Health Association and, as a settler-ally, the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association.

“Claire brings a wealth of leadership expertise, rich networks and a passion to put knowledge into action -- especially when it comes to increasing the public health sector’s capacity to help Canadian communities achieve their full health potential,” says Connie Clement, current NCCDH scientific director who will retire as Dr. Betker arrives. “Claire’s a talented, highly collaborative colleague who lives and breathes the very values that her research demonstrates are integral for public health to improve social conditions that advance population health.” 

StFX Catholic Studies Program recognizes 10 students with awards

Wed, 2019-01-23 16:33
Recipients of the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards and the Rev. B.A. MacDonald Memorial Bursaries, include, l-r, Joseph MacMaster, Abigail Law, Hannah Krebs, Jamie Samson, Clare Quirk, Emily Matthews, Kenzie MacNeil, Catherine Culhane, Sarah Furness and William Kehoe.

A number of StFX students, who are making a significant contribution to Christian and intellectual life, were recognized on Jan. 22, 2019 when the Catholic Studies Program presented 10 students with bursaries as recipients of the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards and the Rev. Bernard A. MacDonald Memorial Bursaries.

The awards commemorate Archie and Catherine MacPhee, the parents of Rev. Norman MacPhee, and Father Bernard A. MacDonald, who was a professor of moral theology at StFX until his death in February 1998.

The Rev. B.A. MacDonald Bursaries and the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards recognize and support undergraduate students who have an interest in Catholic Studies, philosophy, or moral theology, and who have made or are making a significant contribution to Christian intellectual and spiritual life on campus or in their home community.

This year’s recipients include Joseph MacMaster, Abigail Law, Hannah Krebs, Jamie Samson, Clare Quirk, Emily Matthews, Kenzie MacNeil, Catherine Culhane, Sarah Furness and William Kehoe.


StFX students invited to lead panel discussions at WUSC International Forum

Tue, 2019-01-22 10:39
L-r, Travis Radtke, Angelique Gakulu, Dr. Maria Soledad Paz-MacKay, Priscilla Panchol and Kristen Stephens

A delegation of StFX students will be attending the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC) annual International Forum in Ottawa, ON on January 25-27, 2019, where they will also lead and participate in several panel discussion at the national event.

WUSC is a Canadian non-profit organization in international development that works with post-secondary institutions, private-sector partners, and volunteers to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth around the world.

Five StFX students from across disciplines will attend the international forum, including StFX WUSC president Kristen Stephens, WUSC treasurer Travis Radtke, Carter Julius, Priscilla Panchol and Angelique Gakulu. StFX modern languages professor and WUSC faculty advisor Dr. Maria Soledad Paz-Mackay will also attend. 

Dr. Paz-Mackay says the success of the first StFX Refugee Awareness Day, which the WUSC group co-organized on campus on Nov. 20, 2018, led organizers of the national event to request the StFX group take part in the Jan. 27th plenary session, WUSC World Cafe, which consists of small group discussions led by WUSC local committees presenting on a specific topic. 

“Given our experience organizing the event on November 20th, the students were invited to lead the session "Scaling up your events/How to plan a successful event,” she says. 

The StFX event, she says, was carefully designed to raise the profile of the Student Refugee Program (SRP) on campus, and to bring attention to this important issue. She says the StFX WUSC chapter has been active on campus for 35 years. Since 1984, numerous students have been brought to Antigonish to study, live, achieve, thrive, and become a part of the Xaverian family through the SRP, a unique youth-to-youth sponsorship, which aims at connecting youth living in refugee camps throughout the world with supportive university campuses. 

The StFX Refugee Awareness Day event also created a collaboration with many other community groups working towards the same goal. “As a result, our local committee members have been invited to facilitate a table discussion during the International Forum,” she says. 

Furthermore, StFX development studies Priscilla Panchol of Kenya, who came to StFX through WUSC, has been invited to take part in a Jan. 25th panel where she will join the presentation, “Moving the needle on gender equality: young women’s leadership for a more equitable and inclusive world.” 

“This panel brings together a group of young and dynamic students who are making a real change in their communities and campus working towards a more equitable and inclusive world,” Dr. Paz-Mackay says.

Ms. Panchol says she is looking forward to the experience.

“Attending the forum means a lot as I will be participating with a team of others in the panel to discuss the current problems refugee girls are facing and how to tackle gender issues. I am really excited to part of this group as this will shape my leadership skills in future.”

WUSC StFX president Kristen Stephens, a second year human nutrition student from Keswick Ridge, NB, says she knew she wanted to be part of WUSC ever since she learned about it on campus. She is very much looking forward to participating in the forum.

“It is one thing to be involved in the WUSC society on campus, but it is an overwhelming feeling spending a weekend with members involved in WUSC from all around the world. I was in Ottawa with WUSC in August of 2018 and it was amazing connecting with others in WUSC,” she says. “I find events like this create motivation more than anything. The energy at these weekends is enough to light a fire in anyone.

“I feel blessed and honoured and can't wait for it.” 

Mr. Radtke, a fourth year Schwartz School of Business student from Cornwall, ON, who became involved with WUSC StFX after taking a service learning option in his Introduction to International Development class in his first year, says he is ecstatic to have a chance to participate, answer questions and share his experience as part of the panel presentation at the event.

He says the International Forum will provide him with the opportunity to broaden his scope and to meet with students from other campuses across the country to share ideas to benefit all. 

Over the course of the three-day International Forum, participants will have opportunities to network and meet with key Canadian and international development participants. This year’s theme is “Development in motion.”

“This provides beneficial opportunities for students to expand their knowledge of international development, while also networking with like-minded individuals from over 80 post-secondary institutions,” says Dr. Paz-Mackay.

“Ultimately, as a local committee, our presence at the International Forum will allow us to increase our activity on campus and enhance internationalism at our university.”

 As the faculty advisor for the StFX WUSC Society, Dr. Paz-Mackay says she participated last year in this event, and she was pleasantly surprised to see how many students from all across Canada took part. “I was also sad to see that none of our StFX students were there. So, we made it our goal to participate this year. The forum is an exciting annual gathering where the best ideas and practices for global development are shared. It will provide a unique opportunity for the five students to learn and bring new ideas back to StFX.” 

Well-known journalist Linden MacIntyre to take the stage to deliver the Allan J. MacEachen Lecture in Politics at StFX

Thu, 2019-01-17 15:19
Linden MacIntyre

Well-known journalist and author Linden MacIntyre will deliver this year’s Allan J. MacEachen Annual Lecture Series in Politics at StFX. The lecture, open to the public, takes place on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Schwartz Auditorium. Mr. MacIntyre’s talk is entitled “Whatsoever things are lies: Twilight time for truth and liberty.” 

This annual lecture series was established in 1996 through the generous support of friends and associates of the late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen. 

Over the years, speakers at the MacEachen Lecture, now in its 22nd year, have included four former Canadian prime ministers, the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, the Rt. Hon. John Turner, and the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, as well as a number of distinguished academics, politicians, journalists and a justice of the Supreme Court. Past speakers have also included Preston Manning, the Hon. Bob Rae, the Hon. Frank McKenna, Dalton Camp, Senator Jerry Grafstein, the Hon. Roy Romanow, Dr. Margaret MacMillan, Dr. Jennifer Welsh, the Hon. Flora MacDonald, Senator Lowell Murray, the Hon. Dr. Donald J. Johnston, Allan Gregg and the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin.

At this year's event, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald will deliver welcoming remarks and the Honourable Lowell Murray will introduce Mr. MacIntyre. StFX political science professor Dr. Jim Bickerton will serve as master of ceremonies. 

Mr. MacIntyre was born in Newfoundland and grew up in Cape Breton. He is a graduate of StFX and worked for many years as a journalist, first in print, then broadcasting. He spent 24 years as the co-host of the Fifth Estate and has won 10 Gemini awards for his work there.

His bestselling first novel, The Long Stretch, was nominated for a CBA Libris Award and his boyhood memoir, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize. His second novel, The Bishop’s Man, was a #1 national bestseller, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Dartmouth Book Award and the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, among other honours. The third book in the loose-knit trilogy, Why Men Lie, was also a #1 national bestseller as well as a Globe and Mail “Can’t Miss” Book for 2012. His most recent novels are Punishment, in 2014, and The Only Café, 2017. He is working on a non-fiction project based in Newfoundland scheduled for publication in 2019.


StFX Schwartz School of Business students win big at JDC Central competition

Wed, 2019-01-09 15:57
Schwartz School JDCC marketing team, students Mairi Liska, Matt McGlashan and Reed Wigglesworth

A delegation of students from StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business certainly made their mark at the JDC Central (JDCC) competition held Jan. 4-7, 2019 at Guelph University, coming away from the event with a first and second place finish.

StFX took a delegation of 47 students to Guelph to compete in a variety of events at JDCC, the largest undergraduate business school competition in central Canada, which brings over 700 student delegates together from Ontario, Québec and the Maritimes, including in academic case presentations in eight different business streams, debate, social, and sports. Delegates from 11 universities participated, with StFX the only university from the east coast. 

StFX’s Schwartz School marketing team of fourth year business students Matt McGlashan, Reed Wigglesworth, and Mairi Liska placed first in the case competition for their academic stream. 

StFX’s sports team also placed second overall for their performance in dodgeball. 

“Our marketing team’s performance was stellar,” says Schwartz School professor and faculty advisor Prof. Rhonda McIver.

“The three students representing StFX prepared an in-depth analysis of the case content, provided excellent recommendations, and their responses to the questions from the judges were incredibly insightful and articulate. When the team was presented with the first place award for their performance, the judge presenting the award emphasized that she was “incredibly pleased to award this team first place” and that is was “with honour that she presented the StFX team with their award.”  

Prof. McIver says each team is put into isolation as early as 5 a.m. and up to the first presentation time of 8 a.m. Once presentations begin, all teams must be in isolation. The academic team is given a marketing case three hours prior to their presentation time. The team has exactly three hours to review, analyze and make a solid recommendation on the case material, as well as prepare a power point presentation to present to the judges.  

Typically, there are four judges for each stream, comprised of industry professionals, often including a representative or stakeholder tied to the business being analyzed in the case. 

The students say the competition was a great experience, and they were thrilled with the win.  

“I have probably said it so many times that my teammates are tired of hearing it, but I feel so lucky that all of us were put on this team together, we worked together so well, and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our last term here at X,” says Mr. McGlashan, a fourth year student from Kingston, ON, who first attended JDCC as a first year student. 

Just getting to compete at JDCC is a thrill, he says, and one he highly recommends to any incoming StFX business student. “It is so incredibly fun and valuable.”

Ms. Wigglesworth, a fourth year student from Ottawa, ON, says she and her teammates have a lot of fun working on the cases together—including at the JDCC competition.

“The whole StFX delegation has become a great group of supporting friends, and I have learned a lot from the cases. I am really happy I decided to try out and although it is a lot of work, it definitely paid off.” 

Prof. McIver says she was very proud too of StFX’s sports team who she says displayed much enthusiasm and sportsmanship en route to their second place finish. The team was comprised of Riley Milford, Cameron Fritz, Dylan Thring, Patrick Wallace, Joseph Hunter, Grace Knowles, Maya Hockley, and Bryanna Meggs.


“I am certain that Mr. Schwartz would have been incredibly proud of all 47 delegates representing the Gerald Schwartz School of Business in the JDCC competition last weekend. Although we did not place in all categories, every delegate put their best effort into every event,” she says. 

“The students were pushed to their limits – exhausted – yet the StFX spirit shone through. They are always the most respectful, collegial, and spirited group at every event in which they participate. I am honoured to have been able to participate with these students as their faculty advisor.”  

StFX Class of 2019 establishing Emergency Mental Health Bursary as Senior Class Gift

Wed, 2019-01-09 10:07
L-r, senior class co-president Carl Miller, senior class development officer Kylie Ito, and senior class co-president Sarah Comandante

The StFX Class of 2019 is establishing The Emergency Mental Health Bursary as its Senior Class Gift, creating a legacy that will help support students who are dealing with mental health concerns. 

“The intent of this bursary stemmed from our desire to create a gift that would increase mental health support for students of all years, programs, and backgrounds,” says senior class co-presidents Sarah Comandante and Carl Miller, who are working with fellow senior student Kylie Ito, the senior class development officer, to establish the bursary. 

“Every person at some point in their life will be affected by a mental health concern,” they say.

University students in particular can face many challenges, including being away form home, unique new stress that accompanies university, and financial burdens that can cause distress.   

“This bursary is essentially an ‘accessibility bursary’ that will have the opportunity to provide necessary support to students facing sudden and unexpected compromising circumstances. This may include, but certainly is not limited to, travel costs to fly a student home for a funeral, rehabilitation program costs, grocery cards if a student is unable to work at the time due to a mental health concern, legal or travel costs to support a student who is a victim of sexual violence, and so on.”

They plan for the bursary to be distributed under the privy of StFX Health and Counselling Centre staff so that there is no need for students to apply and subject themselves to disclosing sensitive information. 

“We also believe that the doctors, nurses, and counsellors at the centre are the best personnel to judge a situation for when a student may benefit from this bursary. This also eliminates the confidentiality breach of a third party being involved to assess eligibility.”

The goal, they say, is to raise enough money so that the bursary will be self sufficient enough to provide a fixed amount of funding to the centre each academic year for distribution, and the funds can be distributed as needed, not based a fixed number of students. 

“We hope that through the creation of this bursary, the stigma surrounding mental health will continue to be lowered and encourage students to reach out for the help they need.” 

Anyone interested in learning more or in making a donation is encouraged to do so here

Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister cuts the ribbon at grand opening of StFX lab that measures cognitive abilities in the brain

Mon, 2018-12-17 10:25
Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Randy Delorey (third from left) cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Applied Neuro-Cognitive Research (ANChoR) Laboratory at StFX. Also pictured, l-r, are Dean of Science and psychology professor Dr. Petra Hauf, PhD candidate Megan MacGillivray, human kinetics professor Dr. Melanie Lam, psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan, fourth year honours psychology and biology student Tessa Anzai, lab research technician Ashley Francis, and Dean of Arts Dr. Karen Brebner.

The Hon. Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness was on campus Dec. 14, 2018 to officially cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Applied Neuro-Cognitive Research (ANChoR) Laboratory, where three StFX faculty are researching and measuring  cognitive abilities in the brain.

Funding support of $40,000 each from the Province of Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust), as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was used to acquire new advanced research equipment. The lab is equipped with electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which records the electrical activity of the brain, and enables faculty to research the biological systems that support how people think. 

StFX psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan, human kinetics professor Dr. Mel Lam, and Dean of Science and psychology professor Dr. Petra Hauf each carry out differing cognitive neuroscience research in the lab. The research programs are diverse, reflecting the unique background of each of the team members. 

Anchor Lab opening 2.jpg

StFX psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan (left) speaks with Minister Randy Delorey about the research happening in the  ANChoR Lab

 The lab was created, they say, to investigate the biological systems involved in a variety of cognitive abilities, such as how we process information from our environment, movement control, attention, learning, memory, using electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs).

The researchers say they are capable of studying these abilities across the lifespan, from infancy to old age, and in individuals affected by developmental disorders such as autism, Down syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. 

“Support from the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT), CFI, and others allowed us to move beyond studying these cognitive abilities using only behavioural observation to now also measure how the brain is functioning, in turn determining the biological activity related to our cognitive skills. This research will have important benefits for Nova Scotians,” they say.

“For example, understanding biological constraints on our ability to attend to and remember new information can inform education curriculum and training programs. Furthermore, understanding the changes in brain function that cause cognitive difficulties for people with the aforementioned disorders and diseases will help us to improve healthcare services. Our research has the potential to improve diagnostic measures, to develop effective rehabilitation programs, and to provide valuable information in the development of new medications.”

Dr. Berrigan investigates how cognitive abilities are influenced by diseases and disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. The goals of her research include refining methods of identifying cognitive dysfunction, improving cognitive health, and ultimately, to improving patients’ quality of life. 

Dr. Lam’s research seeks to answer the question “how does the brain receive, organize, and understand sensory input for action?” Her research explores the cognitive and neural processes that support action prediction and action planning when two or more people perform a task together. 

The research conducted by Dr. Hauf focuses on the link of motor development and cognitive development in infants, and the impact of motor experience on cognitive functions essential for movement perception, object exploration, and action understanding. 

Minister Delorey noted the funding support is a testament to the quality and caliber of the research. As well, he noted strengths of the lab include cross-department and cross-institutional collaboration opportunities and the involvement of undergraduate and master’s students in high-end technology and research. The research, he says, aligns well with the province’s priorities and vision. 

StFX philosophy professor invited visiting professor in China

Fri, 2018-12-14 14:08
StFX philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet with Renmin University students and faculty

StFX philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet was recently invited to serve as a Visiting Professor in the School of Philosophy at Renmin University in China.

Prof. Sweet was invited under Renmin University's International Frontier Faculty Training Program, whereby an outstanding overseas scholar is invited to the university to give a course of lectures, aimed at providing Chinese academics with the latest academic research on issues of contemporary concern. Dr. Sweet gave a series of lectures on normative ethical theory and the place of intercultural philosophy. 

His Visiting Professorship followed on an earlier trip to China this year in August, where he lectured at Shandong University, in Jinan, at the Beijing Institute of Buddhism Culture, and at the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing.

Renmin University is one of China's leading universities, devoted primarily to the humanities and social sciences, and one of the elite "985" group (so designated by Chinese President Deng Xiaoping in September 1985), that was "established to promote the development and reputation of the Chinese higher education system." Its School of Philosophy has some 80 faculty members, including over a dozen in the area of ethics alone. 

During his time in China, Prof. Sweet also met with scholars from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, with graduate and post-doctoral students from philosophy, politics, and law, at Renmin, and, later, with faculty from Changzhou University and from the School of Business Administration of the Suzhou University of Science and Technology, where he also gave an invited lecture. Dr. Sweet was particularly impressed by the students who, he said, were among the best that he has met.


Provincial government recognizes StFX contribution to northeastern Nova Scotia; Additional $3.95 million funding is an investment in the community

Fri, 2018-12-14 10:29

On Friday, December 14, St. Francis Xavier University and leaders within the Town and County of Antigonish applauded the provincial government’s $3.95 million dollar increase to the university’s annual operating funding. 

“This announcement is tremendous news for StFX. On behalf of the StFX Board of Governors, I want to thank the Premier, the Minister of Advanced Labour and Education for the Province of Nova Scotia and local MLA, Randy Delorey for their vision, leadership and commitment to post-secondary education within the province,” said Mike Boyd, Chair, StFX Board of Governors. “I also wish to acknowledge the work of StFX staff under the leadership of Dr. Kent MacDonald who, for over two years, worked tirelessly on this file.”

The funding will be added directly to the university’s base operating grant, taking effect within the 2018-2019 fiscal year. 

“I’ve spoken with Mayor Boucher and Warden McCarron, and together with the university, we are so very pleased with this decision of the government,” says Dr. Kent MacDonald, President and Vice Chancellor of StFX University. “It signals to us that this provincial government understands and appreciates that by investing in StFX, the government is investing in an economic, social and cultural driver for the town and county of Antigonish, the northeastern region of Nova Scotia, and the province.”

"The StFX Students’ Union was excited to hear about the funding announcement on the increase to the base-operating grant for the university,” said StFX Students’ Union President Rebecca Mesay. “I’m very pleased to see funding that will go to areas that directly support students.”

In December, 2017, a report was released that outlined StFX’s $486 million economic impact to the province of Nova Scotia in 2016-17. The report concluded that for every $1 invested in the university, StFX generates $15 in return to the province. 

Together We Can launches at StFX; aims to improve girls’ positive identity

Thu, 2018-12-13 16:02
L-r, StFX psychology professor Kara Thompson (left), StFX education professor Dr. Chris Gilham, registered nurse and NBCC faculty member Stephanie Ruckstuhl, Strait Regional Centre for Education co-ordinator of programs and policy Wanda Fougere and Faye Fraser, Schools Plus Community Outreach worker and former Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre staff member at the StFX launch of Together We Can

Together We Can, a new girls empowerment program, has launched at StFX. 

And on Dec. 5, 2018, project partners gathered on campus to celebrate the milestone, and to look ahead to research work aimed at helping pre-teen girls maintain their self-esteem and self-confidence during a time when research shows their social and emotional health tends to drops. 

Together We Can is the result of a three-year project led by the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and StFX that focused on the challenges young girls in rural areas face, and the interventions that help improve or maintain positive identity.

Stephanie Ruckstuhl, a registered nurse and NBCC faculty member with the practical nursing and allied health programs, started the program after seeing research which showed the severe drop-off in positive self identity numbers for girls in Canada, between Grade 6 and Grade 9.

Over the past three years, the project used StFX education students and NBCC licensed practical nursing students, as well as staff from the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC) to act as peer mentors and deliver workshops to girls in Grade 7 and 8 in schools in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The partners received three years in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to test the effectiveness of the Girls’ Action Foundation's Amplify program, which it used in this project.  

“This is important upstream work because we know nationally that girls’ sense of positive identity significantly drops through adolescence. We also know that girls’ reporting of mental health problems increases in this adolescent range,” said StFX education professor Dr. Chris Gilham, one of the program partners. “The program focuses on strategies and activities aimed to empower young girls and we have strong evidence to show it works, especially for vulnerable, at-risk girls.”

Dr. Gilham says the program is recognized by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, and the Department of Education as an evidenced-based social-emotional program, and that the Strait Regional Centre for Education has taken it up in earnest. He says they would love to see more school boards across the Maritimes pick it up. He says they are starting a roll-out phase where they will mail information to administrators in all Atlantic Canada schools, as well as the majority of schools across the country.

The Tides of Time: StFX English professor publishes book celebrating rural Nova Scotia

Wed, 2018-12-12 11:50
Dr. Suzanne Stewart

Dr. Suzanne Stewart, a StFX English professor, has long been fascinated with nature, rural life and the changing seasons. Now, she’s ably parlayed those interests into a new book that celebrates life in rural Nova Scotia. 

The Tides of Time: A Nova Scotia Book of Seasons, published by Pottersfield Press in November 2018, is set in northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton and presents portraits of contemporary labourers whose harvests mark the rhythms of the seasonal year. 

Each of its 12 chapters are monthly essays that tell the story of a labour unique to that month, including jobs like tuna fishing, cranberry farming, maple syrup production, sheep farming, beekeeping, lobster fishing, and foraging for wild mushrooms. 

“It’s a book in part about nature. I’m quite attracted to the beauty of nature,” says Dr. Stewart who holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from the University of King’s College, as well as a PhD in English literature with a specialization in the poetry of the Romantic period.

More specifically, she says, The Tides of Time is a book about rural life. 

“It’s meant to be a book that celebrates what people are doing. I want to show the deep knowledge, the attachment and integrity, and their devotion to what they do.”

Dr. Stewart says she was inspired to write the book in part from reading the Labours of the Month Calendar she discovered in the medieval The Book of Hours, a widely popular book of its time. 

She says every month of the year in the calendar had a particular task set out, depicting rural activities that commonly took place during that month. 

“What I liked about it was it was so determined by seasonal change and the rhythm of time.” 

It’s an area to which she’s particularly drawn. She in fact received a bursary to attend the Wordsworth Summer Conference, in Grasmere, England, in August, 2018, where she presented the paper "'Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee': Dorothy Wordsworth and the Months of the Year."

Both the concept of time and rural life peaked her interest.

Romantic literature, her area of specialization, is known to elevate and celebrate a rural way of life. 

She says she was also intrigued by the concept of time and the crisis of time facing today’s society where many lives have become so accelerated and busy, with some losing the natural rhythms of time. 

Dr. Stewart says she wanted to see if she could construct her own Nova Scotia labour of the month calendar, bringing a literary lens to her observations of rural life. She set out to see if she could tie each month of the year to a monthly labour or harvest. 

She started by talking with vendors at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market and expanded from there, travelling across the region to meet with farmers and fishers and producers. She turned each visit into a story. Each story, she says, details both the actual labour and the personality of the labourer. She also drew on years and years of notes and attentiveness to the seasons, to the details and delicacy of nature, to vividly paint the descriptive elements of each season. 

In The Tides of Time, “Stewart revitalizes an older, contemplative view of the sacredness of time,” reads the book’s jacket description. 

“In keeping with the genre of nature writing, her book offers a meticulous way of looking at the world as she blends first-hand observations of seasonal change with stories of the labourers. The Tides of Time offers a refuge from the rush of urban life. It turns to the seasons, rural life and literature for an alternative mode of time, which is fluid, rhythmic, and gentle.”

“Nova Scotia suits this tradition so nicely because our seasons are so distinct,” she says. “We’re able to witness the seasonal changes so nicely here and to see how rural life is tied to those changes.”

The Tides of Time is Dr. Stewart’s first book. It is available online through Indigo and locally at Coles in the Antigonish Market Square mall, the Five to a Dollar, and the Antigonish Heritage Museum. 

She is already at work on a second book. 


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

Tue, 2018-12-11 10:12
The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney

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, as well as a video of the tribute. 

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.