On July 17th, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced over $285 million in funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to researchers and graduate students across Canada—including to a large number of StFX faculty and students.
Humanities and social sciences research plays a critical role in helping us understand some of the biggest challenges Canadians face, Minister Duncan said. Researchers provide the evidence needed to make informed decisions about our communities, economy, health and future prosperity.
At StFX, the research projects range from understanding youth mobility in Nova Scotia to coastal search and rescue in the western Arctic.
“SSHRC grants play a key role in supporting research across a broad range of social science and humanities disciplines at StFX and they provide many opportunities for our students to gain invaluable research experience,” says StFX Vice-President Research & Graduate Studies Dr. Richard Isnor.
Dr. Isnor says StFX researchers have been doing very well in SSHRC competitions, including in this latest round where over a dozen StFX faculty and two graduate students successfully received research grants.
“We had a 100 per cent success rate in our most Insight Grant applications for 2018-19. And we had a very good success rate for the most recent SSHRC Insight Development Grants competition, with four out of seven applications approved” Dr. Isnor says.
Additionally, he says religious studies professor Dr. Ken Penner’s application was the top-rated Insight application in his category and several career faculty members received their first SSHRC grants.
StFX faculty are also tapping into a larger variety of SSHRC grant programs. Psychology professor Dr. Tara Callaghan, for example, received close to $200,000 for a three-year SSHRC Partnership Development Grant project in partnership with the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
StFX faculty and students receiving SSHRC awards in 2018-19 include:
SSHRC Insight Grants
• Dr. Ken Penner (Religious Studies), $66,759. Project: Digital Codex Marchalianus.
• Dr. Robert White (Education), $89,392. Project: Critical interdisciplinary scholarship: A digital application.
• Dr. Adam Lajeunesse (Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair, Mulroney Institute of Government, Public Policy and Governance), $63,686. Project: The Manhattan Voyage and the Creation of the Modern Canadian North, with Dr. Peter Kikkert (Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair, Mulroney Institute of Government, Public Policy and Governance), co-applicant.
• Dr. Jonathan Langdon (Development Studies), co-applicant on a $80,908 project led by Dr. Blane Harvey, McGill University. Project: T-Learn: Understanding how facilitated learning supports transdisciplinary action on climate change.
SSHRC Insight Development Grants
• Dr. Adam Perry (Adult Education), $42,327. Project: Learning to stay, learning to go: Understanding youth mobility aspirations in Nova Scotia.
• Dr. Peter Kikkert (Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair, Mulroney Institute of Government, Public Policy and Governance), $63,719. Project: Horizontal Capacity-Mapping to Support Capability-Based Planning and Capacity-Building for Community-Based Maritime and Coastal Search and Rescue and Emergency Response in the Western Arctic.
• Dr. Nathan Allen (Political Science), $54,648. Project: Restricting Non-resident Voting Rights: The Effect of British Institutional Legacy in India and Abroad.
• Dr. Kara Thompson (Psychology). $74,996. Project: How Sex and Gender Differences in Modes of Administration Alter the Effects of Cannabis.
• Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden (Co-Applicant), $65,000. Project led by Dr. Dawn Wiseman at Bishop’s University. Project: "What does it look like in the classroom?": Locally meaningful STEM teaching and learning in Indigenous K-12 contexts.
SSHRC Partnership Development Grants
• Rohingya refugee children and youth: Development and facilitation of prosocial behavior in mega-camp contexts. Dr. Tara Callaghan (Psychology), three-year, $199,600 project. Partners: Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
SSHRC Partnership Grants
• Canadian Defence and Security Network, Seven-year, $2,498,789 project led by Dr. Stephen Saideman, Carleton University. StFX participants: Dr. Adam Lajeunesse, Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair in Canadian Arctic Security Policy (co-applicant).
• Thinking Historically for Canada's Future, Seven-year, $2,500,000 project led by Dr. Carla Peck, University of Alberta. StFX participants: Dr. Ingrid Robinson and Dr. Jeff Orr, Education (co-applicants).
• Univenture: A Partnership to Address Heavy Drinking and Other Substance Misuse on Canadian University Campuses, five-year; $2,500,000 project led by Dr. Sherry Stewart, Dalhousie University. StFX participants: Dr. Margo Watt & Dr. Kara Thompson, Psychology (co-applicants)
SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship
• Wendy Mackey, $20,000, one-year. Transforming a School System through Culturally Relevant Pedagogy : An Instrumental Case Study.
SSHRC Armand Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship – Masters
• Meaghan Campbell, $17,500, one year. The Sacred Landscape of the Irish Cailleach.
Almost 60 StFX students have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in important research projects this summer, while being mentored by StFX’s talented faculty members, as recipients of StFX undergraduate student summer research awards.
The students, who are from a wide variety of disciplines, are recipients of a number of prestigious awards including: the Irving Research Mentorship Awards, with funding provided through the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership; RBC Foundation Research Awards, with funding provided through the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government; Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) Scotia Scholar Awards; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council USRA Awards; Alley Heaps Student Research Awards; University Council for Research Student Research Awards; Gatto Research Chair Student Research Awards; and newly created student research awards available in the Faculty of Business through funding from the Schwartz Foundation.
Each student has been awarded a minimum of $6,250 and will spend their summer developing valuable academic and leadership skills, conducting research in diverse areas from projects looking at Canadian multiculturalism as a deterrent for radical right-wing populism to the applications of visible-light photocatalysis for water decontamination.
“This year, on the advice of the Research Advisory Committee, we made a conscious effort to further increase the number of undergraduate student research awards, as well as increase the funding levels to an equivalent level,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Vice-President Research & Graduate Studies. “We also moved to a common application process; students being involved in developing their research applications is an important part of the research process. It’s wonderful to see the growing demand by students interested in undertaking research as part of their educational experience and the diversity of topics and disciplines being addressed. The support of our donors, such as the Schwartz Foundation, the RBC Foundation and Irving has been instrumental in these efforts.”
The 2019 Undergraduate Student Research Awards, are listed below, and include the student recipient, department and supervisor.
Irving Research Mentorships (The Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership)
Megan Fraser; Biology; J. Williams
Justin Laforest; Human Kinetics; M. Lam
Chelsey MacPherson; Celtic Studies; M. Linkletter
Taliah Powers; Philosophy; D. Vossen
Denisse Molina Quiroga; Psychology; T. Callaghan
Caleb Scargall; Philosophy; D. Al-Maini
MacGillvray Smith; Psychology; C. Lomore
Lauren Sobot; Biology; K. Blair
Adelaide Strickland; Development Studies; M. Moynagh
Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) Scotia Scholars
Samantha Bardwell; Math and Statistics; R. Lukeman
Allison Britten; Psychology; E. Koch
Kelsey Gill; Human Nutrition; J. Jamieson
Amanda Gormley; Biology; T. Rodela
Emma Manning; Psychology; L. Berrigan
Bernadette McCann; Computer Science; J. Levman
Therese McCurdy; Nursing; J. Whittey-Rogers
Alaa Salih; Psychology; L. Berrigan
Kayleigh Trenholm; Psychology; A. Weaver/K. Blair
Hang Yu; Computer Science; L. Yang
RBC Foundation Research Awards (The Mulroney Institute of Government)
Marcus Cuomo; Political Science; P. Kikkert
David Eliot; Sociology; R. Bantjes
Alistair Hill; Sociology; N. Verberg
Brenna Martell; Aquatic Resources; P. Kikkert
Sara Murrin; Engineering; D. Risk
Kaitlin Owens; Education; J. Mitton-Kukner
MacKenzie Thomas; Political Science; L. Stan
Susannah Wolfe; History/WGS; R. Hurst
Alison Barkhouse; Earth Sciences; J. Braid
Melanie Belong; Biology/MS; R. Lukeman
Catherine Boisvert; Physics; P. Poole
Brian Canam; Physics; P. Marzlin
Dean Eaton; Physics; P. Poole
Elvin Girineza; Chemistry; G. Hallett-Tapley
Thomas Hujon; Physics; P. Marzlin
Megan MacDonald; Biology; R. Wyeth
Courtney MacDonald; Math and Statistics; R. Lukeman
Lauren Macquarrie; Earth Sciences; B. Murphy
Ellen McCole; BSC Math + Engineering; D. Risk
Maddy McDonald; Biology; C. Bishop
Grace Moffatt; Human Kinetics; D. Kane
Carmen Ucciferri; Biology; R. Wyeth
Alley Heaps Student Research Awards
Mingyang Ge; Computer Science; M. Lin
Prahar Injer; Computer Science; J. Levman
Allistar May; Computer Science; M. Lin
Logan Murphy; Computer Science; W. MacCaull
UCR Student Awards
Lauren Berrington; Biology; T. Rodela
Megan Davies; Biology; R. Wyeth
Charlotte Elliott; Chemistry; S. Razul
Cassandra Fenlon; Human Nutrition; M. English
Daniel Winters; Physics; R. van den Hoogen
Gatto Research Chair – Summer Student Research Award
Shaughnessy Cudmore-Keating; Philosophy; S. Baldner
Schwartz Foundation in Business
Samuel Studnicka; Y. Nguyen
William Warren; M. Fuller
Rachel MacDonald; S. Price
Mairi McKinnon; B. Long
Cameron Chubb; H. Ghouma
Lauren Huntley; Y. Nguyen
Five recent StFX graduates are the recipients of $125,000 in scholarship funding and will complete an eight-month paid placement with the federal government in Ottawa, thanks to the recently launched McKenna Centre Leadership Fellows Program at St. Francis Xavier University.
Matthew Eliot of Kingston, ON; Elizabeth Wallace of Antigonish, NS; Mackenzie Sly of Ottawa, ON; Allyson Amodeo of Kingston, ON; and Alejandra Torres of Honduras; are the inaugural McKenna Fellows, each recipient of a $25,000 scholarship.
The program is open to recent StFX graduates interested in public policy, public service and leadership, and includes a one-year commitment to further education and training.
“With the McKenna Fellows Program, there are a lot of things to be excited about,” says program coordinator Larry Swatuk. “The most exciting thing is the fact we are creating a bridge into public service for youth who have passion and energy,” he says.
“They are ready, but they’re often not taken seriously, or don’t know a way in. We’re opening that pathway for them.”
Mr. Swatuk says StFX has such an emphasis on quality undergraduate education, that the university and the McKenna Centre for Leadership wanted to offer a bridging program for great students, to give them a leg up in the working world with a focus on public service.
Additionally, he says today’s youth are disengaged with politics, and that’s a problem.
“Young people are opting out of the system, they’re not opting in. We’re opening up that pathway so they can become part of the solution.
“Twenty-first century Canada needs these people to be able to thrive and survive, and that’s exciting.”
As part of the bridging program, Mr. Swatuk says they are working to provide the scholarship holders with two four-month paid government internships. He says the participants will go through interviews and a matching process, and the intent is for them to gain experience with government, including learning how they can work in government, and to have meaningful work as professionals.
Mr. Swatuk says the McKenna Fellows Program has connected with the StFX network on the Hill and has been working with, among others, StFX graduate and NSERC vice-president Alfred LeBlanc, who chairs an alumni caucus of StFX graduates working in a range of careers for and in government in Ottawa.
“This fellowship is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door to learn,” says Matthew Eliot, who graduated from StFX with a degree in math and aquatic resources, and who has always been interested in public policy. He says he is excited to see how government works from the inside and to see if this is a field he wants to work in.
“I’m excited about expanding my knowledge base. I’m excited to try something new, to get out of my comfort zone and gain confidence in new fields,” says Ms. Sly, who graduated with a BBA in international business and will complete her first internship with the Treasury Board Secretariat, Centre for Greening Government. She previously worked three student jobs with Transport Canada and was involved in the Deputy Minister University Champion Initiative associated with StFX. She says the fellowship particularly appealed as it allows her to keep working with government and maintain ties to StFX. “What I’m most excited about is to build a network and to have the support from StFX alumni,” she says.
Ms. Amodeo says while she has always been interested in effecting change, she was never one for politics, and wasn’t going to apply for the fellowship until her StFX history professor Dr. Rhonda Semple encouraged her, noting you don’t have to be an expert in politics to be involved and create change. Ms. Amodeo says she is excited for the opportunity, and seeing how everything she has learned as a history and English graduate can apply, and what doors this may open.
Ms. Wallace, who graduated from StFX with a human kinetics degree and is finishing a masters in global health, also didn’t see herself involved in policy or politics, but through her studies saw how tied the social determinants of health are to public policy and how policy really impacts health. “That kind of drew me to pursuing this opportunity,” she says. “I’m excited to be able to work and to put five years of university to work in some capacity.”
“Echoing a lot of what my fellow colleagues said, I never saw myself working in politics,” says Ms. Torres who graduated in May with an honours degree in English. “My research incorporated different fields such as critical race theory, ethics and production, and theoretical analyses of identity politics. Although I focused mainly on the media industry, my main interest lied on minority rights and cultural analysis. As a result, I became keenly interested in applying all of my research experience to an area that focuses on making tangible changes for society—governance,” she says.
As an international student, Ms. Torres says she feels honoured to have an opportunity to learn more about policy making and governance in Canada. “I hope I can also contribute a different perspective to this field for I am an immigrant in this country. This program will allow me to contribute to the country where I have been fortunate enough to receive my undergraduate education. And I feel very fortunate to be able to continue to enhance my skill set and gain new skills with the federal government in Ottawa.”
Currently, the McKenna Fellows are participating in a two-week course on campus. During this portion of the training, Mr. Swatuk says the Fellows are completing three certificate-based courses centred on key government issues such as climate change and environment; gender and social equity; and Indigenous rights and treaty law. They will also participate in a one-day training session on ‘how government works;’ take part in leadership skills seminars, as well as in a field trip integrating all of the above. Additionally, they will visit two First Nations communities to talk about issues and concerns, and they will complete a day of hands-on environmental training around the Bras d’Or Lakes.
The McKenna Fellows will then complete the two internships between September-December 2019 and January-April 2020. The internships will include direct experience working in federal government, such as a policy analyst, or assistant to a senior manager in a government department or agency.
The program concludes with a two-day capstone exercise at StFX in April 2020 that will include a debriefing exercise involving a presentation to other program Fellows, members of the university, the wider community, NGOs, and the private sector.
Dr. Kevin Wamsley, StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost, is pleased to announce that Dr. Daniel Belliveau ’88 has been appointed the Dean of Science at StFX, effective January 1, 2020.
Dr. Belliveau comes to the university from his current position as Director, School of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Belliveau has served in multiple leadership positions during his tenure at Western, including as Undergraduate Chair, School of Health Studies; Director, School of Health Studies; and President, University of Western Ontario Faculty Association. He is described by his colleagues as an innovator in the classroom, an unwavering voice of support for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and an engaging leader
A scholar of anatomy, Dr. Belliveau has focused recently on three-dimensional representations of anatomy and their enhancement of the learning environment and the influence of competition on learning. He is the successful recipient of numerous research grants, including from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; eCampus Ontario – Open Content Initiative; Western Teaching Fellow; Cancer Research Society; Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund; and Canada Foundation for Innovation. Additionally, he has been honoured as the 2019 recipient of the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching, Western University’s most distinguished teaching honour; as well as a number of other awards including the 2018 Faculty of Health Sciences Teaching Award of Excellence for Faculty; the 2016 CAUT Distinguished Service Award; and the Faculty of Health Sciences Recognition of Excellence in Teaching. He has supervised dozens of undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Belliveau has authored and co-authored numerous papers, book chapters and proceedings, and has presented invited papers. Among administrative and professional activities, he served as an external reviewer and consultant for StFX’s Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Health; as well as was a participant in Building Administrative Skills through Innovation, Collegiality and Strategy, a Western University program offered to emerging academic leaders.
He has given his time and expertise to extensive university committees, and in the community, including chairing the Emergency Department Patient & Family Advisory Council, and the school council at St. Paul’s Catholic Elementary School.
StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley is pleased to announce that Sandy Iverson has been appointed University Librarian, effective August 1, 2019.
Ms. Iverson has a unique and varied career encompassing librarianship and leadership experience in a range of academic and educational settings including specialized academic libraries, university and college experience, and adult literacy and education organizations. The common thread and theme throughout her career has been in supporting students and faculty in research and educational endeavors through a wide range of supportive services and specialized programs.
Most recently, she has led health information and knowledge programs at St. Michael’s Hospital, one of the primary teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto, by supporting students with their research and educational pursuits, and staff with research appointments and clinical work. Reporting to the VP of Education, Ms. Iverson managed library services, archives, patient & family education, and eLearning and educational technology.
Ms. Iverson is the recipient of numerous awards and is involved in producing many publications and presentations about libraries services and education. She is currently the Vice-President/President-Elect with the Canadian Health Libraries Association, as well as a founding member of their leadership institute working group. She is former President and Past-President, Toronto Health Libraries Association.
She holds a Master’s of Library & Information Science, University of British Columbia; Master’s of Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto; BA, Library Science, Concordia University; and RP/DipTIRP, Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy, registered with the Ontario College of Psychotherapists.
Dr. Karen Blair, a StFX psychology professor, is on her way to Europe to learn more about the Holocaust as one of 25 educators from across Canada selected to participate in the Leaders of Change Program.
The program is a new scholarship initiative from the Canadian Society of Yad Vashem (CSYV) intended to provide education and training to leaders in the field of Holocaust education in Canada.
Dr. Karen Blair
Dr. Blair has been active in Holocaust education at StFX for several years and is currently working with StFX Continuing Education to develop a Maple League of Universities course to be offered in May 2020 to students at all four Maple League institutions: StFX, Acadia, Bishop’s and Mount Allison. The course will focus on “The Holocaust and Today,” to bring to light the relevance of studying the Holocaust and applying its universal lessons to an understanding of current events and human behavior, she says.
“One of the reasons that I am participating in this trip is to help learn about how best to teach about the Holocaust to young adults and how best to design immersion learning experiences related to the Holocaust,” Dr. Blair says.
The trip began in Toronto with a two-day seminar that included learning about how to teach about the Holocaust in the classroom, the history of antisemitism, and a meeting with three Holocaust survivors. The group now travels to Berlin, where they will learn about Jewish history and life before, during and after WWII.
From there, they continue to Poland, where they will stop in Warsaw, Zamość, Krakow and Auschwitz. Along the way, they’ll visit museums and memorials related to concentration and death camps, including Treblinka, Belzec, and Majdanek. While away, Dr. Blair will share parts of the experience through the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StFXShoahEd/
Dr. Blair has been active in Holocaust education at StFX. Each year, she teaches Psych 441 - Advanced Social Psychology, and since 2016 she’s been teaching this as the Social Psychology of the Holocaust.
“It’s been a very impactful course for students and allows them to apply their academic learning to a historical event that has many current day applications and relevances,” she says.
In 2017, she designed StFX’s first Holocaust Service Learning trip and led the first trip in February 2018, taking 10 students and another instructor to Germany and Poland for an immersive learning experience focused on the Holocaust. “Many of the students had previously taken Psych 441 or another Holocaust-related course and the trip really helped them to better understand the concepts that they had been learning about in the classroom,” she says. “Experiential learning related to the Holocaust is really quite different than reading about what happened through a book. Immersive learning engages all of the senses and helps students to really connect with the personal narratives of the Holocaust.” The second trip went last year with faculty lead Dr. Rhonda Semple and the third is planned for February 2020.
Dr. Blair says along with her Psych 240 Social Psychology students, she has been conducting a study for the past two years on Holocaust education and knowledge at StFX.
“By and large, StFX students have similar levels of knowledge concerning the Holocaust as other millennials in Canada, however, this level of knowledge is not great, not specific, and appears to be going down over time,” she says.
“One of the goals of the Leaders of Change program is to help address the paradigm shift in Holocaust education as we move into an era where students will no longer be able to hear firsthand from Holocaust survivors.”
Dr. Blair says the new Maple League course will be targeted at third year students, but open to those in second, third and fourth year. It will involve an online reading and discussion course followed by a two-week immersion study trip to Europe where participants will visit sites of relevance to the Holocaust, including Berlin, Wannsee, Krakow and Auschwitz.Holocaust immersion photo a.jpg
Dr. Karen Blair and StFX students on StFX’s first Holocaust Service Learning trip
Finally, students will complete a capstone project related to the Holocaust upon their return from Europe that is tailored to their own particular field of study or academic interests.
Students will need to apply to be accepted into the course. She says they expect the application deadline falling in early fall 2019.
Dr. Blair’s participation in the current trip is sponsored by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem as well as additional funds from the Jules Leger Fund to support pedagogical training experiences for faculty members at StFX.