For StFX students Ella Maltby and Megan Fraser, the opportunity to present their research at the 46th Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop in Quebec City from Oct. 6-9, 2019 was a terrific learning opportunity, a chance to gain experience, learn about other avenues of research and career opportunities and network with experts.
And it all came about thanks to their research work and their supervisors, StFX faculty Dr. Jim Williams and Dr. Russell Wyeth who alerted the two to the opportunity and encouraged them to submit abstracts to present at the annual meeting, which shares information on topics of regional, national and international importance related to contaminants in ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial. Participants include students, academics, government scientists and regulators, environmental consultants and industry representatives.
Ms. Maltby, a master’s biology student from Antigonish, NS co-supervised by Dr. Williams and Dr. Wyeth, gave both a poster and an oral presentation, reflecting the two parts of her thesis work. The poster presentation, “Assessment of contaminants in the American lobster, Homarus americanus: a baseline survey for Boat Harbour remediation,” focused on the contaminant survey she conducted on lobster tissue from around coastal areas of the Northumberland Strait, a baseline survey for Boat Harbour remediation.
Her oral presentation, “Effects of cadmium on the escape response, foraging, and shelter-use behaviours of juvenile American lobster, Homarus americanus,” focused on the behaviour experiment she is conducting with juvenile lobster exposed to cadmium, a heavy metal that may be found in polluted or contaminated waters.
Ms. Fraser, of New Glasgow, NS, a fourth year aquatic resources student taking an advanced major in biology and supervised by Dr. Williams, gave an oral presentation on her work projecting forward to Boat Harbour, Pictou County, NS, a body of water that has been receiving effluent from a nearby mill for over 50 years, and how the ecosystem will be able to return to its pre-industrial condition, including understanding what types of marine grasses and small organisms might be able to live in the pre-industrial sediments of Boat Harbour once remediation of the site is complete.
She’s been conducting research on the topic with Dr. Williams for the past two summers, including this past year as an Irving Research Mentorship Award recipient. She says their goal is to prepare an official report for Nova Scotia Lands and eventually to publish the research in a journal.
Ms. Maltby says attending the workshop and networking with experts in the field, who provided advice and direction. was very useful.
“Being very early in my career, it was really great to get that exposure and make those connections,” Ms. Fraser agreed.
“I’m so grateful to both my supervisors for the support they give and the encouragement they provide. They really care about your future,” Ms. Maltby says.
Adds Ms. Fraser: “It’s nice to have someone so encouraging. It kind of pushes you to get out of your comfort zone.”
Dr. Peter Kikkert, the Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Arctic Policy at the Mulroney Institute of Government, is having a very good year. Scarcely twelve months into his time at StFX, Dr. Kikkert has received more than two hundred thousand dollars in funding for various projects he’s undertaken in the North; currently, he is working with northern communities to map existing assets, identify gaps, and provide horizontal coordination to improve Search and Rescue and emergency response systems in the Arctic.
In the North, community-based groups such as the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ground Search and Rescue, Marine SAR Societies, CASARA, and the Canadian Rangers play an essential role in SAR and emergency response. Given the distances involved, the lack of federal and territorial SAR resources in the region, and their knowledge of the land, water, and ice, these groups are the foundation of Canada’s Arctic SAR system. As the number of SAR incidents in the North increase, as a result of both climate change and increased human activity, Dr. Kikkert notes that it is “vital that local communities are able to respond quickly and safely” to conduct rescue operations. Dr. Kikkert and his team are conducting crosscutting research that will enhance existing expertise, facilitate knowledge-sharing, and help direct funding to where it is most needed – thus building community capacity and resilience.
This summer, Dr. Kikkert and his two research students, Marcus Cuomo and Brenna Martell, engaged in an aggressive research agenda that matches the myriad areas requiring focus in any study of Arctic challenges and opportunities. Cuomo, a rising senior from St. Johns, NL (and the son of two StFX graduates), was excited to receive Dr. Kikkert’s invitation to join the research team. “It was definitely a confidence boost,” Cuomo notes, “and it made me start thinking seriously about my academic future.” In Dr. Kikkert’s Public Policy 201 class last year, both Cuomo and Martell stood out as highly engaged students who didn’t hesitate to dig into class discussions – characteristics that Dr. Kikkert thought boded well for community-based work in the North.
Under Dr. Kikkert’s guidance, Cuomo spent the summer analyzing the Oceans Protection Plan, a $1.5B federal project heralded as capable of both protecting our nation’s waterways and boosting the economy. But, as Cuomo has discovered, there are countless layers to the OPP – and he’s on a mission to discover exactly how this funding has impacted individual communities in the North. At the conclusion of this research project, Dr. Kikkert and Cuomo plan to publish several papers – giving Cuomo a decided edge over students from other universities, who rarely have the opportunity to engage in such detailed research while undergraduates.
It is important to Dr. Kikkert that he provide Cuomo and Martell with the same advantages he had early in his own academic career: to work with established faculty, learning the craft of academia in a nurturing setting – all while conducting leading-edge and nation-changing research. Dr. Kikkert credits his work with mentors such as Whitney Lackenbauer, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Study of the Canadian North at Trent University and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, as seminal to the establishment of his own research agenda. Their research partnership has continued to grow and Dr. Lackenbauer is a co-investigator on the project exploring Arctic SAR, emergency response, and community resilience. And, he notes that such scholars as Jackie Dawson and Natalie Carter, whose Arctic Corridors project serves as a model for community-engaged research in the North, have been foundational to the development of his own methodologies.
Indeed, Dr. Kikkert’s approach also shares direct kinship with the Asset-Based Community Development model that the Coady International Institute espouses: rather than lamenting weaknesses in existing structures, Dr. Kikkert prefers to identify strengths that are already embedded within northern communities and then work to maximize the efficacy of those strengths by matching them with necessary equipment, technology, and other resources. “Consistency is key,” he notes. He will follow up a preliminary trip he made in the spring with another in the fall, this time accompanied by Cuomo and Martell – and their “listen first” approach is essential to the projects’ success.
This fall, Dr. Kikkert will also host a two-day workshop in Ottawa, which will engage a broad range of experts and practitioners on the subjects of mass rescue operations, Arctic sustainment packages, interagency cooperation and coordination, and the use of community assets as force multipliers. Supported by the Department of National Defence’s Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security program, this workshop will allow worldwide experts to share best practices in Arctic and Antarctic marine safety.
During his short tenure at StFX, Dr. Kikkert has set an ambitious research agenda, formed a strong partnership with his colleagues at the Mulroney Institute of Government, created a team of top-notch student researchers, and secured an impressive amount of external funding with which to conduct his ground-breaking (ice-breaking?) research. And, he says, “we’re really just getting started.”
Hundreds of high school students from across Canada and into the United States visited the StFX campus on Oct. 19, 2019 to see firsthand what life is like as a StFX student as the university hosted its annual Open House.
StFX welcomed about 900 visitors, high school students and their families, to campus during a day designed to discover all the university offers, from incredible faculty and academic programs to amazing student leadership opportunities to that special feeling of community StFX is famous for.
“You’re here today to walk across this beautiful campus and see how it feels to you, to get a sense of what it’s like to live here, to study here,” StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley said as he welcomed a full house to campus and spoke about what makes StFX special during the President’s Welcome held in Coach K Court in the Amelia Saputo Centre for Healthy Living.
“We’re all here for the same reason, post-secondary education. It’s a big decision to make,” Dr Wamsley said as he encouraged the high school students present to visit at least their top three choices.
“You need to walk across the campus and feel like you belong.”
Why should you come to StFX, he asked? What makes the difference for university?
“What makes StFX different is its values.”open house 22 2019.jpg
We believe in respect at StFX, he said: respect for yourself, your families, fellow students, staff and faculty and the Antigonish community.
“The second thing is about service.” You’re here to get an outstanding education, but it’s more than just graduating and being successful, it’s also about giving back and serving your community, he said.
It’s also about leadership. “We have so many opportunities for leadership, including the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership,” he said, noting you don’t have to the be loudest voice in the room to be a leader.
The X-Ring also makes StFX stand out, he said, “but you don’t just come here to get a ring…you come here for what the ring symbolizes.”
Dr. Wamsley advised the students that when they’re making this very difficult decision, don’t do it because you like the look of a certain building or you received the highest scholarship. Make the decision based on the academic programs and the people that are there that will provide an outstanding education and that will respect and care about you.
For high school student Logan Jones and his father Larry of Halifax, NS, the day provided a great opportunity to learn more about StFX in general and its political science program in particular.
Logan says he is interested in the degree, and several StFX political science alumni they know rave about the program. On his way to a program information session, he says he really liked the open feel of the campus.open house 33 2019.jpg
Luke Conlon and his mother Sheree of Dartmouth, NS, visited the StFX campus for the first time to learn more about the Gerald Schwartz School of Business. They say they’ve been enjoying the experience. Luke says he was impressed with the President’s Welcome. “I liked how passionate he is about education.”
The visiting students and their families had a full day, starting with early bird campus tours, exploring campus before the day’s events started. The tours, led by knowledgeable student guides, were again offered in the afternoon, giving visitors a taste of StFX life by touring residences, academic spaces and student life building.
Professors and program chairs from all departments were on hand to meet students and their families and to answer questions during an Academic and Student Services Showcase held in the recently opened Mulroney Hall. During the showcase, students also had an opportunity to meet with student services staff to learn how StFX can support their personal and academic growth.
The day also included lunch in Morrison Hall dining room.
Students who had applied online before Oct. 16th, were able to receive a decision on their application at the Open House.
Anyone who missed the event, but would like to explore StFX is invited to arrange a personalized campus tour at any time by contacting the Visitor Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (902) 867-4964.
As the newly-appointed President of StFX (Interim), Dr. Kevin Wamsley is looking forward to continuing the momentum he’s helped build over the past five years as Academic Vice-President and Provost. Although that role includes the obligation to step into the presidential role when necessary, Dr. Wamsley notes that “it’s not in the front of your mind.”
And so, even as the Board of Governors conducts the search for the 19th President of StFX, Dr. Wamsley is not thinking of merely “keeping the ship afloat, but steering it” in accordance with the long-term planning that’s already in place. “We’re not making any hard turns” during this time, he says. “Now it’s just a matter of following through.”
A member of the senior leadership team for the past four years, Dr. Wamsley is poised to take the helm with the confidence of knowing his colleagues remain focused and dedicated to their collective vision for a sustainable, healthy, and leading university. The task, of course, is not without its unique challenges, but Dr. Wamsley’s oft-given advice to students, faculty, and staff is now echoing more clearly in his own ears: “It doesn’t matter how bad the problem is. There’s always someone on campus you can turn to … always, always, always.”
In his previous role, Dr. Wamsley was the caretaker of the academic portfolio – one (very significant) piece of the larger university puzzle. Now, at the helm of StFX, he is committed to ensuring that all of the pieces carefully slot together to maximize student success, ensure financial stability, and bolster an already-ambitious team of faculty and staff. He is a consummate listener who actively solicits the ideas and opinions of others – a skill born from regular family dinners at home in Ontario. Dr. Wamsley and his four older sisters spent hours with their parents around the kitchen table during the tumult of the 1960s and early 1970s, discussing everything from gender and class politics to social inequities.
Dr. Wamsley is particularly eager to direct and observe the infrastructural and academic impact that the Mulroney Institute of Government will have on StFX. The new classrooms, student spaces, faculty offices, the new Teaching and Learning Centre, and cultural exhibits in Mulroney Hall represent nearly two years of regular planning meetings; Dr. Wamsley is keen to witness the myriad ways in which the physical space will transform teaching and learning opportunities at StFX. The Mulroney Institute of Government represents the key mandates Dr. Wamsley held as Academic Vice-President: to improve core programs, and create new ones that best serve the needs of a changing population. Now, as Interim President, he will continue to pursue academic opportunities that will bear fruit for current and future students.
A graduate of both Western University and the University of Alberta, Dr. Wamsley has had an academic career hallmarked by energetic and innovative contributions to community life, and by tireless work with and for his students. A student-athlete himself, his research interests have long focused on areas such as gender and sport, violence in sport, and the history of the Olympic Games. Widely regarded as an expert in his field, he’s often asked to provide comment on such topics as the complexities of hosting the Olympics in China. He also contributes substantively to the North American Society for Sport History, serving numerous roles and publishing important research.
Here in Antigonish, Dr. Wamsley is an active member of the community – and is eager to spend much of the coming year continuing to explore StFX’s relationship with Antigonish and its surrounding communities. In particular, he is committed to ensuring that StFX is a welcoming and inclusive university for all students, particularly those for whom a university education might have previously been beyond reach. And, he’s excited to be part of an ongoing collaboration among the Town and County of Antigonish and the community of Paq’tnkek, working towards several key climate change and sustainability initiatives.
With Dr. Wamsley at the helm and with a dedicated team of faculty and staff at his side, StFX will assuredly continue to grow and thrive, through this academic year and beyond.
Partnership between RBC Future Launch and Riipen provides $50,000 funding to incorporate practical and meaningful work experience into university classrooms
The Maple League of Universities is pleased to announce that the RBC Future Launch program has awarded the four universities – Acadia, Mount Allison, St. Francis Xavier, and Bishop’s – $50,000 in funding to make Riipen’s work-integrated learning software available at the four Maple League institutions.
At the core of the Maple League's mission is the centrality of the student experience. By providing unique experiential learning opportunities such as those made possible through the Riipen platform, we equip our students with the skills necessary to enter the world ready for a rapidly changing job market.
“Experiential learning is critical to a 21st century liberal education, and is well aligned with the emerging and established strategic visions of our universities,” said Dr. Peter Ricketts, Chair of the Maple League of Universities and President of Acadia University. “We are excited to see how this platform can help us with capacity building and resource sharing. Riipen will give our students access to valuable work experience that will enhance their learning and stand out to future employers.”
This investment will allow the institutions to build more experiential and work-integrated learning into courses and provide support for faculty who want to incorporate industry projects and case studies more easily and directly into the curriculum. Experiential or capstone assignments can be posted to Riipen’s marketplace of over 5,000 industry partners, and students will work on real-world projects to gain hands-on experience, demonstrate employable skills and network with employers.
“We are excited to be partnering with the Maple League. Seeing this level of collaboration between institutions is crucial to the improvement of student experiences,” said Dana Stephenson, CEO and Founder of Riipen. “What makes the Maple League an especially exciting partner for us is their focus on teaching, their shared history in the liberal arts and their willingness to work together to improve the student experience. We look forward to seeing creative and collaborative experiential learning opportunities for students facilitated through Riipen.”
Students and alumni from StFX and its Maple League of Universities partners have a unique opportunity to learn about the Holocaust and the relevance of Holocaust education today through a new Maple League immersion spring session course, The Holocaust & Now.
The course, delivered through distance education and immersive, in-person learning in Europe, brings history, psychology, sociology, education, art, and more fields together with experiential learning, to examine human behaviour and experience during and after the Holocaust with a focus on the relevance of Holocaust education today. Students will be able to tailor course content to their specific program while also participating in a general curriculum focused on understanding the human context of the Holocaust.
Along with readings, class discussions and assignments, the course includes a 16 day immersion portion travelling to Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic with faculty leaders Dr. Karen Blair and Dr. Rhea Hoskin. The group will visit sites relevant to the Holocaust and will participate in unique immersive learning experiences. Students from all disciplines and years are welcome to apply before the Oct. 15, 2019 deadline.
“Holocaust education is at a turning point where we are currently educating the very last generation who will ever have the chance to meet and hear from a Holocaust survivor firsthand,” says Dr. Blair, a StFX psychology professor.
“Consequently, the future of Holocaust education now rests in their hands - how will they use that information? How will they continue to share survivors’ stories with the world? Being able to say to their children, grandchildren ‘I visited these sites, I heard from survivors with my own ears.’ will be incredibly powerful once there are no longer any survivors with us,”
In 2016, Dr. Blair began teaching a fourth year psychology seminar course on the Social Psychology of the Holocaust, which later led to designing StFX’s annual Germany/Poland Service Learning trip that takes students to Germany and Poland over reading week to learn about the Holocaust.
She says the idea for the Maple League course came about so that students could have enough prior knowledge of the Holocaust to add proper context to what they’re seeing to get the most out of the experience.
Holocaust knowledge has been slowly decreasing over time, she says, yet, there are a number of universal lessons that can be applied from the Holocaust to current day events, and indeed to future events yet to happen.
“Demystifying the humans who were involved, critically examining the behaviour of perpetrators, bystanders, and rescuers, as well as intimately seeking to understand the experiences of victims are all important for understanding humanity and human behaviour in any context,” she says.
“Students who have taken similar courses or participated in the StFX Holocaust Service learning trip speak of the experience as life-changing. For many, participating in this course will be a once in a lifetime experience that they carry with them for the rest of their lives and that will shape the way that they interact with others on a day-to-day basis.”
Dr. Blair says one of the unique features of the Holocaust & Now course is that it isn’t just about learning about the Holocaust, it’s also a critical examination of Holocaust education and will encourage students to think deeply about what the future of Holocaust education will look like and what role they will play.
She says the idea to open the course to the Maple League of Universities made sense.
“The Maple League of Universities focuses on providing transformative learning experiences with immersive elements. The Maple League also allows us to harness the power of four smaller universities to tackle ambitious projects like this one. It may be difficult to find 12 students from one campus alone who would have the means and interest in participating in such a course, but across four campuses, and across the alumni of all four campuses, we have no doubt that we’ll find enough interested participants.
“There’s also something special added to the experience by travelling with peers from other institutions. At the end of the day, much of what happened to allow the Holocaust to occur can be boiled down to viewing the world through the lens of ‘us vs. them.’ Bringing students together who perhaps sometimes take an ‘us vs. them’ perspective on each other can further contribute to building a transformative learning environment.”
The course is interdisciplinary and is aimed to appeal to students across any area of study. In fact, the final assignment will be tailored to each students’ interests and academic needs.
The course is designed as a 300 level course, but it is open to students from first year onward. Any student can apply. Additionally, because the course is offered through Continuing Education studies, it is also open to alumni and friends of the Maple League universities, meaning that applicants do not need to be current university students to apply.
Dr. Blair brings to the course her expertise teaching the fourth year seminar on the Social Psychology of the Holocaust, developing StFX’s annual Holocaust Service Learning Trip and her experience in studying human behaviour: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Her research interests dovetail with this perspective on human behaviour, as she studies Holocaust education, prejudice, hate-crimes, and mass-shootings, but also studies relationships, social support, resiliency and health.
Dr. Hoskin’s background is in gender studies, feminist sociology and social psychology. Her research focuses on gender roles and their association with violence. In the context of the Holocaust, she studies how masculinity and femininity, as well as views of both of these constructs, influenced perpetrator behaviour and were used to shape the dehumanizing victims. Dr. Hoskin co-led the first Holocaust Service Learning trip in 2018.
StFX Athletics inducted the 23rd class into the StFX Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 3, 2019, to kick off Homecoming weekend. Included in the 2019 class are three athletes: Andrew Culligan (hockey), Dave Liem (soccer) and Dr. Beth McCharles (soccer, hockey), along with two builders: Dr. Cecil MacLean and Dr. David Cudmore.
Andrew (Andy) Culligan (Hockey, Class of 1974)
Andy Culligan enjoyed five successful seasons with the X-Men hockey team. A prolific goal scorer, the left-winger led the team in scoring for three of those years. Honoured on three occasions as an Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association (AIAA) all-star, he was second overall in league scoring for two seasons skating with the blue and white. The 1971 StFX rookie of the year, he earned recognition as the team's most valuable player in 1972. His 194 career points remains the third best in X-Men all-time career leading scoring as he has left his mark in the record books.
Dave Liem (Soccer, Class of 1987)
Dave Liem was a standout goal scorer with the X-Men soccer team for four seasons. Leading the team scoring race for three of those campaigns, he was honoured as an Atlantic University Athletic Association (AUAA) all-star for three consecutive years. He received national recognition as a second team all-Canadian in 1983, the first X-Men soccer athlete to receive such status. Upon graduation, his 27 career goals garnered him the third position in the conference record books and tops in the StFX career scoring list. The X-Men team most valuable player in 1984, to this date, he remains fourth overall in the StFX record book for career goals.
Dr. Beth McCharles (Soccer/Hockey, Class of 2001)
A successful dual-sport athlete, Beth McCharles was a national-caliber goalkeeper with the X-Women soccer team for four seasons, in addition to skating with the X-Women hockey team. For her extraordinary play on the soccer pitch, she was honoured as the 1998 AUS most valuable player, and became the second ever X-Women soccer athlete to garner first team all-Canadian status. She again received all-Canadian recognition on the second team in 2000, as well as being named an AUS first team all-star. A leader and captain with the soccer squad, she won three AUS championships on the ice with the hockey team, enjoying a remarkable StFX varsity athletics career.
Dr. Cecil MacLean (Builder, Class of 1931)
Dr. Cecil MacLean enters the StFX Sports Hall of Fame posthumously in the builder category, having made significant contributions to the StFX athletic department for the better part of 50 years in varying capacities. From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, Dr. MacLean was a volunteer broadcaster, covering the play-by-play commentary on the road for countless StFX hockey and rugby games for the local CJFX radio station. For 46 years he hosted a radio sports program reporting on intercollegiate team events and providing on-air interviews of StFX varsity athletes. He lent his writing talents to a weekly sports editorial column for the Antigonish Casket newspaper for 30 years, detailing the many achievements of StFX teams and athletes. Aside from his journalistic contributions, Dr. Mac Lean coached the X-Men hockey team for three seasons, leading them to a N.S. and Maritime Intercollegiate championship in 1941. He was responsible for the revitalization of intercollegiate baseball at StFX in the mid 1940s and coached the team for a decade. He was readily counted upon to be the master of ceremonies for numerous athletic banquets, as well as guest speaking at countless StFX alumni events. He was the founding member of the StFX Varsity Club that established the StFX Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1976, and he remained an integral member of the induction committee for many years, researching and writing citations for numerous inductees.
Dr. David Cudmore (Builder)
Dr. David Cudmore enters the Hall of Fame as a builder, having dedicated his time and medical expertise to StFX Athletics for the last 30 years. The medical leader of the sports medicine team for StFX Athletics, he is a genuine and devoted supporter of X-Men and X-Women varsity athletes. A notable sports medicine expert certified by the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Dr. Cudmore has been an invaluable resource to the athletic therapy staff, coaches and athletes as a selfless individual who makes himself readily accessible for countless treatments. He has covered hundreds of home and away games in all StFX sports over the years as a consulting physician, often travelling to AUS and U SPORTS championships to be on the sidelines should a medical need arise. Well respected in the regional and national sports medicine community, Dr. Cudmore serves on the U SPORTS medical committee and has become a leader in the treatment of concussions over the past decade. His local Antigonish concussion clinic has gained province-wide recognition and he himself received the 2015 Special Recognition Award for outstanding support to advance the causes of brain injuries in Canada. Honoured with the 2005 Alumni Award of Excellence as a Friend of StFX, four years later he was the deserving recipient of the X-ceptional award for going above and beyond to contribute in a positive manner to StFX Athletics. For three decades Dr. Cudmore has served as a formidable mentor to countless student-athletes over the past three decades while generously giving his time and medical expertise to the StFX Athletics department.
To understand the warmth that the Sisters of St. Martha have shared with the campus community for a quarter of a century through Wellspring Centre—celebrating its 25th anniversary this year—is as simple as stepping into Wellspring’s space on the second floor of Morrison Hall, filled with plants, soft lights, tables and seating, and members of the campus community quietly reading, making toast or a cup of tea.
For 25 years now, Wellspring has been an oasis in the middle of campus, where students, staff and faculty can stop in for a cookie, some fresh fruit and a bit of peace.
On Oct. 4, the Marthas celebrated the anniversary during StFX Homecoming weekend with an afternoon open house and cake cutting.
As well, to mark the milestone, 16 stories from students now hang in the University Chapel, sharing the importance of the gift of the Marthas in creating Wellspring. Several Marthas also provided stories, sharing the history of Wellspring.
Sr. Catherine Arsenault and Sr. Ivy Maccan are the Marthas who currently staff the centre, located in the former St. Martha’s Convent.
Wellspring opened in September 1994 as a means for the Marthas, a congregation founded in Antigonish in 1900, to maintain a StFX presence when the convent closed in August of that year. Students, staff and faculty have since enjoyed a warm spacious gathering room; kitchenette facilities including complimentary tea and coffee; a seminar room where up to 10 can gather, a comfortable quiet room for reflection, prayer and meditation, and friendly, helpful staff.
“We’re not about programming. We’re really about presence,” the Sisters have said over the years.
“Our main goal is to serve the university community.”
Wellspring, they say, really found its niche on campus as a place of welcome, with many people calling it a sacred space. “Students come here to study because of the peace it offers. There’s something really special about the place. I think it’s about hospitality, and what that can do for people, being welcomed.”
Wellspring’s mission has been to offer a welcoming Martha presence on the StFX campus, one that is conducive to the development of persons and one that enhances the life of the university community. The centre is a comfortable, peaceful place for all members of the university community to spend time in the midst of a bustling, hectic campus. The facilities provide a place for quiet reflection, for study, or to relax with friends over a cup of tea. As one student remarked “everyone benefits in their own way.”
Climate justice was the topic of conversation as nearly 300 StFX students—taking courses in development studies, women’s and gender studies and sociology—gathered together Sept. 27 to take part in the Women's and Gender Studies Educational Forum, Seeking Justice & Equity Amidst The Climate Crisis, held at the Keating Centre.
This educational forum, co-sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Development Studies Program, and the Department of Sociology, and co-organized by faculty members Sutapa Chattopadhyay (development studies), Dr. Riley Chisholm (sociology) and Dr. Nancy Forestell (history and women’s and gender studies), explored the connection between gender and climate justice.
Each of the participating students had to read an article to prepare for the event, while an introductory short panel, led by Prof. Chattopadhyay, Dr. Chisholm, and Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre executive director Wyanne Sandler, kicked off more extensive conversation throughout the afternoon. After round table discussion, the students were asked to report back with ideas and action items from their conversations.
“The broad focus we had was to connect environmental destruction/harm/crimes/violence with feminism as a political struggle, a movement and its basic tenants, to show how social inequalities and injustices are interlayered and enmeshed with climate destruction, but also ask broader questions as how climate change is an intersectional matter and how is it tied with history, politics and power,” the presenters said.
They said students were asked to construct and develop their own perspectives through discussions forwarded by the speakers and through their own everyday challenges linking climate crisis/change with feminism.
Students were also asked to discuss, debate and propose changes to halt or slow down global climate construction, and to think about the roles they’ve played or can play.
The forum, they say, is designed to offer students a broad understanding of or a way forward to the future while showing the entanglements across race, ethnicity, class, and gender with climate destruction.
StFX psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair has won an award recognizing her outstanding research. She is the recipient of the 2018 Hugo G. Beigel Award for the best paper published in the Journal of Sex Research (JSR) in 2018. The award, named for the first editor of JSR, promotes and rewards research excellence in sexual science, and is granted annually.
The award is adjudicated by the journal’s editor and six associate editors, who each read every article published throughout the year and vote on the winner.
“Many of the awards we receive in academia are awards that we apply for ourselves. What really makes this award quite an honour is that no one applies for it; it is adjudicated by a small group of dedicated associate editors at JSR who take the time to read and evaluate every single paper published in the journal each year and then they select a winner. JSR is one of the top journals in my field of research and many of the associate editors are scholars whom I have looked up to for years, which makes receiving this award quite a privilege,” Dr. Blair says.
Dr. Blair’s article, entitled “Not all orgasms were created equal: Differences in frequency and satisfaction of orgasm experiences by sexual activity in same-sex versus mixed-sex relationships,” was published in issue 6, vol 55 of the Journal of Sex Research. The article explores the popularly referred to concept of the ‘orgasm gap,’ in which researchers have long reported that men appear to experience more frequent and consistent orgasms than women. However, in Dr. Blair’s article, she and her co-authors, Dr. Jaclyn Cappell and Dr. Caroline Pukall, found that the gap ceases to exist when considering solitary sexual activities or same-sex relationships. Further, the study was one of the first to explore variations in satisfaction associated with different sexual activities. In her role as the director of the StFX Knowledge Translation Centre, Dr. Blair and StFX students produced a video abstract for the paper last year, which can be viewed here.
The award will be presented at The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality’s 2019 Annual Meeting (SSSS). The award consists of a cash grant of $500 US, one registration fee waiver for this year’s meeting, and a Certificate of Research Excellence from The Society. This year the annual meeting will be held November 7-10, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.