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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 remain closed today, Thursday November 29

Thu, 2018-11-29 06:08

UPDATED: 9:28 AM:

To the campus community,

 

Power remains sporadic across campus and throughout the wider community due to the storm. As a result, StFX University will be closed for the entire day today, Thursday, November 29th,  reopening tomorrow, Friday, November 30th, at 6:00 AM. 

 

Essential services will remain open (Morrison Hall, Security, snow removal, cleaning).

 

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 Fraser, 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 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 Mrs. Fraser 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

 

 

 

StFX Systems Update

Sat, 2018-11-03 14:33

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. We remain committed to sharing details as they become available. We appreciate your patience.

Systems update

Sat, 2018-11-03 08:48

An update to the campus community:

 

The systems restart process continues and is proceeding well. Timing of having the systems completely operational is still being determined, however, we remain committed to keeping the campus community updated as we continue to work toward restoring all systems. We will be providing updates to the StFX Alerts Emergency System, stfx.ca and StFX social media (Facebook and Twitter) as relevant details become available.

 

To sign up for StFX Alerts, click here.

StFX IT Network Services Interrupted

Thu, 2018-11-01 13:15

To the StFX community

Not long ago, the ITS team recognized odd activity occurring within the StFX networked environment. An investigation was launched immediately. 

Cyber-security is a serious threat to any network. As a precaution, we are implementing an entire system shutdown to the campus systems as we investigate the issue. This includes disrupting access to all services that access the StFX environment, including

-    Email (including via webmail)

-    Moodle 

-    Shared storage space and drives on the StFX network 

We do not know how long this interruption will be in effect. We will be providing updates to the StFX Alerts Emergency System, stfx.ca and StFX social media (Facebook and Twitter) as relevant details become available. To sign up for StFX Alerts, click here.

We recognize that this is an inconvenience to the campus and are committed to restoring services as soon as possible.

 

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.

 

Master of Persuasion: Brian Mulroney’s Global Legacy – Dr. Fen Osler Hampson’s book launched at StFX

Thu, 2018-10-25 22:45
L-r, Author and international affairs historian Dr. Fen Osler Hampson and the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, Canada's 18th prime minister, in a fireside chat during the book launch

From pivotal moments in global politics to his time as a StFX student, members of the StFX and Antigonish communities had a tremendous opportunity to glimpse into the life and legacy of the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th prime minister, who was on campus Oct. 25 as a special guest at the launch of Dr. Fen Osler Hampson’s book, Master of Persuasion: Brian Mulroney’s Global Legacy.

The book by Dr. Hampson, Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University and Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Global Security and Politics Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, is based on unprecedented access—interviews with key players, diaries, memos, etc.—and is the first book to document Mr. Mulroney's impressive foreign policy record, from NAFTA to the collapse of the Soviet Union, climate change to the release of Nelson Mandela.

International affairs historian Dr. Hampson is the author/co-author of 12 books on Canadian foreign policy and international affairs and co-editor of 28 volumes. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and is also a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Toronto.

“It is a real honour and privilege to be with you at his wonderful, outstanding university to celebrate the global legacy of the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney,” Dr. Hampson said, opening his presentation at the book launch held before a large crowd of StFX students, faculty and staff, and community members in StFX’s Schwartz Auditorium. 

“I wrote this book as I’ve been studying Canadian foreign policy for many years. It struck me as I looked at the record, and I began to put the pieces together, how much was achieved in his almost nine years as prime minister. It really is a remarkable legacy,” said Dr. Hampson, who during the evening’s event also participated in a question and answer session with Mr. Mulroney.

The book, Dr. Hampson said, is a story about a leader who brought a laser-like focus to his relations working with international leaders and who produced major, measurable, and transformative results during his time in office. 

Prime Minister Mulroney, he said, had the talent for mobilizing the right people, a leadership style that reached across the political aisle, and he understood what national interest is all about. He was also a team builder, he said, something that requires real leadership. 

During a fireside chat, which at times drew standing ovations, Mr. Mulroney answered questions, taking the audience back to key moments during his time as prime minister as well as into modern day issues. He gave intimate glimpses into a range of issues from his perspective on the recently signed free trade deal between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to his take on iconic international leaders with whom he worked. 

He also touched on how lessons he learned during his time as a StFX student influenced his global politics and foreign policy, including the fight for Nelson Mandela’s liberation. 

Coady Chair in Social Justice, Sadi Mfalatsane of South Africa, who was in the audience, took the opportunity during the audience question period to sing a song for Mr. Mulroney and thank him “for what you’ve done for us.” She also asked and received his opinion regarding South Africa’s future. 

StFX political science professor Dr. Lavinia Stan moderated the event, which was hosted by StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald and Board of Governors Chair Mike Boyd on behalf of the StFX Board of Governors.

“We’re brought back in time in terms of the impact a young man had on this country since he left here (StFX) in 1959,” Dr. MacDonald noted. 

Audience members were gifted with a signed copy of Master of Persuasion

A $5.3 million gift from Gerald Schwartz creates over 44 new business scholarships and 20 new bursaries at StFX

Thu, 2018-10-25 12:33
Gerald Schwartz

St. Francis Xavier University’s leadership came from away—all the way from Antigonish—to Toronto this week and joined many of the university’s loyal alumni to celebrate the philanthropy of Gerry Schwartz, and his $5.3 million donation to StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business—a gift which includes $4 million to create 44 new entrance scholarships and 20 new bursaries at the business school. 

The funding, to start in the 2019-20 academic year, will make an undergraduate business education at StFX even more accessible, and will help the Schwartz School—named in recognition of Mr. Schwartz’s already significant contributions to the university—attract the best and brightest young minds from across Canada and beyond. 

The Royal Alexandra Theatre in downtown Toronto provided the backdrop for the event and the stage where the award-winning Canadian musical, Come From Away, is playing. 

“First of all, I love StFX,” Mr. Schwartz, President and CEO or ONEX Corporation, told the crowd of about 100 StFX alumni, supporters and friends. 

“I have never had a bad day there … and I’ve only had one rainy day,” he said. “I’m very pleased to be part of the school of business.”

Gerald-Schwartz-01-MyStFX.jpg

L-r, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald, Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz

The $5.3 million gift, from The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation, will allocate $4 million toward scholarships and bursaries for students enrolled in the business school, including the introduction of the Schwartz National Scholar award for four students, who will each receive $80,000 over four years to attend StFX. 

The new funding will also provide many other benefits, including bursaries for students in financial need, those looking for an international exchange experience and support for summer research internships. Academic scholarships will also be designated specifically for women, international students, and students transferring from college diploma programs. 

In addition, about $1.3 million of the gift is dedicated to supporting StFX’s marketing and recruitment work across Canada to encourage young people from all over the country to attend StFX. There are also opportunities for new scholarships in the business program that can be matched by some of the foundation’s gift.

“The great thing I like about StFX is when you make a contribution to the university it doesn’t disappear into some big fund … instead something happens,” said Mr. Schwartz. “People take action … and use the contribution and something moves forward, I love it.”

StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald characterized the gift as a “game changer.” 

“It’s going to transform the school,” he said. “Overall, over the period of four years, we will be able to touch hundreds upon hundreds of students who will be able to come to the school and study in the Schwartz School. So that really is a game changer.”

“This is tremendous news for StFX, and great news for StFX business students. These scholarships and bursaries will have an incredible impact on the lives of many young people,” says Schwartz School Dean of Business Dr. Tim Hynes. “A huge ‘thank you’ to Mr. Schwartz for the generosity and foresight to establish this wonderful legacy in support of talented young leaders.” 

In addition to recognizing superior scholastic achievement, the new Schwartz School scholarships are intended to support well-rounded students who demonstrate StFX’s commitment to leadership and service to one’s community, Dr. Hynes says. 

Known for its small class sizes, talented faculty, and an immersive, hands-on approach to learning, the Schwarz School of Business is recognized as one of the best undergraduate business schools in the country.

Erica Harper, who was at the event, and who graduated from the Schwartz School of Business with a marketing degree in 2018, said StFX changed her life. It gave her confidence and she was able to find a job almost immediately upon graduating.

“It’s such a special place,” she said.

Lisa Downey agrees with that sentiment. She graduated with a business degree from the Schwartz School in 2017.

“I am so excited about it,” she said referring to the donation. “It’s such a great opportunity. The Schwartz School of Business was such a great four years of my life and the best time I have had. This donation is going to let other students have the opportunity to go the school as well.”

Ms. Downey was able to get a job in her field after graduating – and in a matter of hours discovered her boss’ daughter attends StFX. 

“I made that connection on my first day,” she said. “So it was great.”

For Trish Murphy, a StFX graduate who brought her Toronto family to the event, Nova Scotia is in her heart and StFX is part of her extended family. Her father, stepmother and brother attended the university. Ms. Murphy graduated with an education degree from StFX in 1989 and has been teaching in Toronto ever since. “What I see Mr. Schwartz doing is celebrating community,” she said. “I am so impressed by people who celebrate ties to communities, like StFX.”

Among the new awards offered are:

Schwartz National Scholars. StFX will offer annually four Schwartz National Scholars awards of $20,000 per year, renewable, for a total of $80,000 over four years. These awards are open to all first-year full-time BBA students who have a minimum 90 per cent average and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community. The awards are open to all nationalities.

Order of Merit Entrance Awards. StFX will offer six Order of Merit Entrance Awards, of $7,500 per year, renewable for a total of $30,000 over four years. These awards will be open to first-year full-time BBA students enrolling from high school who are Canadian residents and have a minimum 90 per cent average and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to society. 

Heather Reisman Women in Business Scholars. StFX will offer two Heather Reisman Women in Business Scholars awards, each renewal at $7,500 per year for a total of $30,000 over four years. These awards are open to first-year full-time female BBA students enrolling from high school. The awards are open to Canadian residents, with a minimum 90 per cent average and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community.  

Scholars of Distinction. StFX will offer 14 Schwartz Business Scholars of Distinction awards of $4,000 per year, renewable for a total of $16,000 over four years. The awards are open to first-year, full-time BBA students enrolling from high school with a minimum average of 85 per cent and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community. The awards are open to Canadian residents. 

International Scholars. StFX will offer 14 Schwartz School of Business International Scholars awards, each valued at $8,000 annually and renewable for a total of $32,000 over four years. These awards are open to all first-year, full-time BBA students enrolling from high school with a minimum average of 85 per cent and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community. The awards are open to all non-Canadian residents. 

Transfer Entrance Scholarships. StFX will offer four Transfer Entrance Scholarships of $3,000, each renewable for a total of $9,000 over three years. These awards will be  open to students transferring full-time into the BBA program from the Nova Scotia Community College system or equivalent college in Canada with a minimum of 80 per cent average and no fewer than 24 credits in the past year of study. The scholarship is open to all Canadian residents. 

• The scholarship and bursary program will also offer annually eight International Exchange Travel Bursaries of $2,000 each; three Summer Research Internships of $7,000 each; one McKenna Fellowship valued at $33,000;  and 10 Financial Need Bursaries of $2,000 each.

For more information or to apply for a scholarship, please see https://www.stfx.ca/admissions/financing-your-education/scholarships/bba-scholarships 

 

 

 

Research by StFX student Liam Elbourne receives international attention

Wed, 2018-10-24 11:09
Liam Elbourne

Liam Elbourne, a StFX Schwartz School of Business student from Halifax, NS, taking joint honours in business and economics, has had a busy and successful summer, gaining 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 in Montreal. He was the only active undergraduate student to present in a regular session at this conference, which featured almost 1,000 presenters.

The paper, which showed that ancient Roman troops who relied heavily on local food sources were more likely to mutiny during drought years, thus reducing the emporer’s support and increasing the probability of their assassination, 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. 

Although historical in nature, the findings of this paper received extensive media exposure due to the current prevalence of droughts and global warming. Full-length stories about this research appeared in some of the world’s leading outlets, including The Smithsonian magazine (which has a print circulation of 1.8 million), The Economist (1.1 million) and The Telegraph (400,000). 

Mr. Elbourne attributes much of his success to the guidance he has received from Dr. Christian and the StFX Economics Department. 

“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,” he 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, who is also captain of the X-Men soccer team, will graduate in May. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in economics. 

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