Department News

Subscribe to Department News feed
Updated: 3 hours 15 min ago

Responsible management education: StFX’s Schwartz School of Business signs on to the PRME initiative

Wed, 2019-08-21 13:37
Dr. Brad Long, Schwartz School professor and the John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility

StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business has signed on to become a member of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, starting a transformational journey toward a more sustainable and responsible business education.

PRME is a United Nations-supported initiative founded to raise the profile of sustainability in schools around the world, and to equip business students with the understanding and ability to deliver change tomorrow. Working through six principles, PRME engages business and management schools to ensure they provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals, while drawing attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligning academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact.

By becoming a PRME signatory, the Schwartz School joins a worldwide network (including 19 in Canada) of business schools that have declared a commitment to responsible management education, says Dr. Brad Long, Schwartz School professor and the John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility, who introduced the initiative to StFX.   

“Ultimately, PRME implementation boils down to embedding the values of corporate sustainability and responsibility into the daily activities of the Schwartz School of Business through a wide range of potential projects, actions, policies, and structural changes,” Dr. Long says. 

“PRME is a way of holding us accountable for developing the responsible business leaders of tomorrow.” 

Dr. Long says by signing on to PRME, the Schwartz School is formally acknowledging its commitment to responsible education as it aligns its teaching, research and knowledge dissemination with those concepts so its graduates are able to enter the workforce concerned about and having a skill set in social responsibility and sustainability 

“We’re also being true to ourselves, to our stated strategic objectives, in the Schwartz Strategic Plan,” he says.  

Dr. Long says the PRME designation will be a process of incremental change. It doesn’t radically change the BBA curriculum; rather, it’s building on it. He says there will be some new course offerings and some other courses that will develop modules that connect their topics and materials to these ideas. 

The process will be guided and developed through a PRME working group of Schwartz faculty, and Dr. Long says the learning will be in the classroom and also beyond it in terms of research opportunities, conferences, guest speakers and service learning. Faculty, too, will be looking to how their own research questions can contribute to advancing sustainable development goals. 

“I’m proud of the school and the faculty for seeing the value in this initiative,” Dr. Long says. 

“I think it’s an important milestone in the history of the Gerald Schwartz School of Business. I look forward to seeing what comes out of it. We’re on a journey, and I’m excited to see where that takes us.” 

StFX human nutrition professor receives national funding for food chemistry research

Mon, 2019-08-12 12:21

Innovative food chemistry research on the StFX campus received a big boost with the news that human nutrition professor Dr. Marcia English has received nearly $200,000 in research funds.

Dr. English has received a $88,626 John R. Evans Leaders Fund award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to purchase research equipment for her project, “Food Chemistry Research Platform for Investigating Aroma-active Compound Interactions in Plant-based Proteins.” She has also received $88,626 in matching funds from Research Nova Scotia.

The funding is part of over $61 million that the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, recently announced for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment through the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund. The investment supports 261 projects at 40 universities across Canada.

Dr. English says receiving the grant is important and exciting as it allows her to bring new equipment to the university to provide new research opportunities.

“The combined funding from CFI and Research Nova Scotia has provided a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer with olfactory detection (GC-MS/O) and a preparative chromatography system for protein purification to support food chemistry research at StFX,” she says.

The GC-MS/O will allow Dr. English and her research group to establish correlations between the chemical nature of specific aroma and off-flavour compounds from leguminous plant sources with the human perception of smell.

In addition, the protein purification system will enable the team to extract and purify key proteins from these plant sources, and study their biochemical interactions with aroma compounds.

“This equipment is very timely since there has been an increased interest to replace and/or reduce the levels of animal protein with plant-based proteins in traditional and novel food products,” Dr. English says.

“Moreover, this equipment has provided new opportunities to train undergraduate and graduate students at StFX with interdisciplinary skills in protein and flavour chemistry, which will be beneficial for various placements in the food industry.”

Government of Canada invests in cutting-edge tools for universities

Mon, 2019-08-12 12:14

EDMONTON, A.B. — Researchers across the country need the best labs and tools to spark discoveries that lead to healthy communities, clean air and water, new job opportunities and a prosperous future. That’s why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, today announced more than $61 million for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This investment will support 261 projects at 40 universities across Canada.

The Fund helps exceptional university scientists conduct leading-edge research by giving them the tools and equipment they need to become leaders in their field.

The University of Alberta is receiving more than $2.2 million for 10 research infrastructure projects that will, among other things, ensure food safety, improve end-of-life care for patients, reclaim mining sites and reduce air pollution.

This investment will also help support Dr. Sandra Davidge, a pioneer in cardiovascular health in women and children at the University of Alberta. She is receiving funding for specialized imaging equipment that will enable her and her team to understand the link between low oxygen flow to an unborn baby and the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. The team’s work will help create early interventions that will allow these babies to grow into heart-healthy adults. This is just one example of how new investments in research infrastructure trigger innovations that affect the lives of everyday Canadians.  

While in Edmonton, Minister Duncan also signed the Dimensions Charter with the University of Alberta. Institutions that endorse the Charter commit to embedding the principles of equity, diversity and inclusiveness in their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

 

Quotes

“Researchers in Canada know that cutting-edge tools and labs are necessary to make discoveries and innovate. That is why our government is announcing funding for the infrastructure needs of Canadian researchers. Their ground-breaking contributions to science and research have an enormous impact on the breakthroughs that help make our visions for a better future a reality.”

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“Canada’s leading researchers require cutting-edge infrastructure to solve global challenges. At the Canada Foundation for Innovation we are proud to invest in their work and in our nation’s future.”

– Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation

“To pursue ground-breaking research initiatives that will improve the lives of Canadians, our researchers require state-of-the-art resources, facilities, and technologies—I am pleased to see this continued support for the extraordinary work being done at the University of Alberta and throughout Canada. I congratulate all of the recipients of the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and thank the Government of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation for these critical investments.”

David Turpin, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Alberta

 

Quick facts

  • Budget 2019 is making a historic investment of nearly $10 billion over five years in research and in the next generation of scientists. This includes the single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history.
  • Budget 2018 set aside $763 million over five years for the CFI, and ongoing funding of $462 million per year starting in 2023. This permanent funding will put cutting-edge tools in the hands of our researchers and students to ensure they can make discoveries and innovate.
  • Total funding is $47,096,019: includes capital funding for infrastructure of $32,967,213, and an additional $14,128,806 for incremental operating and maintenance costs awarded under the CFI’s Infrastructure Operating Fund.

 

Quick links

 

Related products

A full list of the funded projects and stories about the facilities are available online at Innovation.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter @InnovationCA and subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos about the CFI and its many transformative research projects.

Contacts

Malorie Bertrand

Media Relations and Social Media Specialist

Canada Foundation for Innovation

O: 613-943-2580

C: 613-227-0198

malorie.bertrand@innovation.ca



Daniele Medlej

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

O: 343-291-4204

daniele.medlej@canada.ca



Media Relations

Innovation, Science, and Economic

Development Canada

O: 343-291-1777

ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

 

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

For more than 20 years, the CFI has been giving researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. And a robust innovation system translates into jobs and new enterprises, better health, cleaner environments and, ultimately, vibrant communities. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI also helps to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.

StFX well represented at international conference in Wales

Fri, 2019-08-09 13:20
L-r, Dr. Natasha Sumner, Dr. Michael Linkletter, Dr. Ranke de Vries, Dr. Anna Pagé, Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, Emmet Taylor , Dr. Kristen Mills, Kathleen Reddy, Darán Ó Dochartaigh, and Lelia Houbé (front)

What do two gruesome murders in colonial Nova Scotia and descriptions of medical conditions in early Irish manuscripts have in common? Answer: The XVIth International Congress of Celtic Studies of 2019.  

From July 22-26, StFX faculty, Drs. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, Senior Research Professor, Department of History, Michael Linkletter, Chair of the Celtic Studies Department, and Ranke de Vries, Celtic Studies Department, attended this conference at Bangor University in North Wales. Dr. de Vries presented a paper, titled “Medical Material in Early Irish Literary Sources,” and Drs. Stanley-Blackwell and Linkletter co-presented on “The Gavel, Gaelic, and the Grave: Murder in Nineteenth-century Nova Scotia.”

Dr. de Vries’s presentation was based on a broader research project, which explores medieval non-medical Irish manuscript sources for evidence about medical terminology, ailments, and disease patterns in medieval Ireland. Dr. Stanley-Blackwell and Dr. Linkletter’s presentation, which examines Gaelic language use in Nova Scotia’s early court system, stems from their SSHRC-funded research into the deathways of Nova Scotia’s early Gaels.  

This conference, which consisted of 131 sessions, in addition to five plenary lectures, attracted scholars from around the world “to discuss all things Celtic.” For a Canadian historian, the experience was particularly impressive. Dr. Stanley-Blackwell says, “The breadth of scholarship was sweeping and inspiring. Topics ranged from Welsh headstone inscriptions to Conchobar birth tales, post-tonic vowels in Cornish, Marian devotion in 20th-century Southern Hebrides, changelings in Irish storytelling, and contemporary Welsh and Irish language laws.”

The conference also epitomized the vibrancy and reach of StFX’s Celtic Studies program. Five of the presentations were given by alumni. In addition to Dr. Linkletter, they included Dr. Natasha Sumner of Harvard University and Dr. Anna Pagé of the University of Vienna, as well as graduate students, Emmet Taylor and Kathleen Reddy, who are enrolled in PhD programs at the University of Cork and University of Glasgow respectively. Also in attendance were two former members of the StFX Celtic Studies Department, Dr. Kristen Mills and Darán Ó Dochartaigh, and undergraduate Celtic Studies student, Lelia Houbé.  

Says Dr. Linkletter, “The conference meets every four years. It provides us with a welcome opportunity to reconnect with some of our former students who are making a mark internationally.”  According to Dr. de Vries, member of the Congress’s International Committee, the next conference will be hosted by Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 2023.  

 

StFX's Kenzie MacNeil wins national James F. Kenney Prize

Tue, 2019-08-06 09:39
L-r, StFX history and Catholic studies professor Dr. Barry MacKenzie, Kenzie MacNeil, recipient of the James F. Kenney Prize, and Dr. Peter Ludlow, president of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association.

The Canadian Catholic Historical Association (CCHA) recently awarded the 2019 James F. Kenney Prize to Kenzie MacNeil, a 2019 graduate of the departments of History and Sociology at St. Francis Xavier University. Named in honour of the historian, former Dominion Archivist of Canada and CCHA founder James F. Kenney (1884-1946), the prize is awarded for the best essay on any aspect of the history of Catholicism in Canada written in course by an undergraduate student. Ms. MacNeil’s paper, “Fishers of Women: The Congregation of Notre Dame’s Pioneering Efforts on Female Education in Nova Scotia,” examined the important role that religious congregations had in delivering education for Catholic women in communities like eastern Nova Scotia. 

CCHA President, Dr. Peter Ludlow, was very pleased with Ms. MacNeil’s paper and notes that this kind of scholarship is important in understanding how faith shaped all aspects of Canadian society. This paper helps demonstrate that “Catholic history is not merely about priests and bishops,” Dr. Ludlow noted, "but encapsulates issues like gender and ethnicity that together construct a fascinating social history.”

StFX history and Catholic studies professor Dr. Barry MacKenzie, who nominated Ms. MacNeil for the prize, was delighted with the news. “The Church, through both men and women religious, and in the way it guided the actions of the laity, played an immensely important role in the foundation and expansion of StFX, and in the region more broadly,” he commented. “Generally, that history is not well known, and so I was especially pleased that Kenzie took the initiative in telling the story of the CND sisters at Mount St. Bernard. We need to fully understand these stories, and in a more nuanced way.”

 

StFX faculty enjoy continued success in SSHRC research grants competition

Wed, 2019-07-24 11:00
Several of the successful SSHRC recipients pictured include, l-r, Drs. Adam Perry, Ingrid Robinson, Robert White, Lisa Lunney Borden, Peter Kikkert and Ken Penner.

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. 

Kara Thompson.jpg Jeff Orr 2019.jpg Jon Langdon.jpg Meaghan Campbell SSHRC photo.jpg

SSHRC award recipients pictured include Dr. Kara Thompson, Dr. Jeff Orr, Dr. Jonathan Langdon, and master's student Meaghan Campbell. 

Almost 60 StFX students gaining valuable research experience as recipients of summer student research awards

Tue, 2019-07-23 12:48
StFX summer student researchers pictured including, front row, l-r, Susannah Wolfe, Quinn Keily-Finlay, Charlotte Elliott, Bernadette McCann, Adelaide Strickland, Ellen McCole. Second row: Thomas Hujon, Catherine Boisvert, Savannah MacDonald, Allie Britten, Emma Manning, Alastair May. Third row: Daniel Winters, Lauren Sobot, Kaitlin Owens, Grace Tompkins, Courtney MacDonald, Hang Yu. Back: Duncan Osmond, Joshua Henderson, Derek Berger, Prahar Injer, Mingyang Ge, Taliah Powers, Samantha Bardwell.

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

NSERC USRA

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

McKenna Centre Leadership Fellows Program providing scholarships, opening pathway to public service for recent StFX graduates

Thu, 2019-07-11 14:01
McKenna Centre Leadership Fellows, l-r, Elizabeth Wallace, Allyson Amodeo, Alejandra Torres, Mackenzie Sly, and Matthew Eliot.

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. Daniel Belliveau appointed Dean of Science at StFX

Thu, 2019-07-11 13:57
Dr. Daniel Belliveau

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.

Sandy Iverson appointed StFX University Librarian

Fri, 2019-07-05 15:17
Sandy Iverson

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.  

StFX psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair among educators across Canada selected to participate in Holocaust education

Thu, 2019-07-04 09:35
StFX psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair has been active in Holocaust education, including designing StFX’s first Holocaust Service Learning trip (some participants pictured above). Now, she 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.

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.

Karen Blair 2019.jpg

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/

IMPACTFUL COURSE

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.”

WHAT’S NEXT

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.

Nova Scotia education department officials visit StFX lab focused on development of software tools to aid in medical challenges

Wed, 2019-07-03 11:45
Duff Montgomery, Deputy Minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and Greg Ells, Acting Senior Director, recently visited the lab of Dr. Jacob Levman, Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics in StFX's Computer Science Department.

The research work led by Dr. Jacob Levman, Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics in StFX's Computer Science Department, is focused on developing tools that will address a key medical challenge—namely the early diagnosis of neurological disorders in children—using advanced computing techniques.

Dr. Levman and members of his lab are focused on the development of computational techniques and software tools that can be used in a variety of health applications. His work, “Novel pattern recognition technologies in medical imaging applications,” received funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust to help purchase a series of high-end secure computer workstations and advanced software to help with machine learning analysis of MRI data for the lab, located in newly-renovated research space with the Physical Sciences Building.  

Levman Lab 2.jpg

L-r, Lab members Derek Berger, Shekhar Dewan, Acting Senior Director Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education Greg Ells, Dr. Jacob Levman, Deputy Minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education Duff Montgomery, Duncan Osmond, Marissa Campbell and Joshua Henderson

On June 25, 2019, the Levman lab welcomed Duff Montgomery, Deputy Minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and Greg Ells, Acting Senior Director. The two were on campus for a morning session and lunch meeting with the StFX President’s Council, and to learn more about Dr. Levman’s project, which involves computational research to support a wide variety of medical imaging applications such as neurodevelopmental imaging. 

Dr. Levman maintains an affiliation with Harvard Medical School to provide ongoing access to high-quality clinical imaging data and to facilitate collaborations with physicians and neuroscientists. 

The goals of this research, he says, include the development of new detection and diagnostic technologies, which can improve the standard of patient care for Nova Scotians and Canadians. This research is also intended to help the scientific community better understand the underlying physiological conditions associated with the development of a variety of medical disorders. It is hoped that, by providing a better understanding of medical conditions, this research can contribute to educating physicians and inspiring clinician researchers to develop novel therapeutic interventions for a variety of disorders. 

Dr. Levman currently has a number of StFX students involved in his research.

StFX voted new member of Belle II collaboration; providing opportunity to work on potentially Nobel Prize winning research

Wed, 2019-06-26 16:30
L-r, Noah Tessema, Dr. Peter Marzlin, Dr. Hossain Ahmed and Patrick O’Brien

StFX has received some very good news. The university, through its Physics Department, has been voted as a new institutional member of the Belle II collaboration, a major particle physics experiment that includes over 100 institutions and close to 1,000 members worldwide. 

The collaboration is based at the KEK (High Energy Accelerator Research Organization) in Japan. It carries out and continues research work that has previously resulted in a Nobel Prize. 

StFX physics professor Dr. Hossain Ahmed was in Japan in late June to present StFX’s presentation to join Belle II. He says it is rare that a primarily undergraduate university is part of this type of collaboration. StFX is also now part of the Belle II Canada Project Grant, which receives funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Dr. Ahmed, who was instrumental in StFX’s participation in the BABAR collaboration, a large, international particle physics experiment at Stanford University in California, says he is thrilled with the news. 

He says this collaboration will bring opportunities for StFX students, researchers, and colleagues in the experimental particle physics area.

“To put this in perspective of what it means, it’s a brand new collaboration. It will collect data for five to 10 years and conduct data analysis for another five to 10 years. This means StFX will be able to work with other well-regarded universities, and to work on potentially Nobel Prize winning experiments,” says department chair Dr. Peter Marzlin. 

StFX students can certainly benefit from being involved in this research, and StFX, he says, is fortunate to have the only elementary particle physicist in Atlantic Canada involved in such a collaboration in Dr. Ahmed. 

Dr. Marzlin says as part of the presentation, Dr. Ahmed discussed what StFX can bring to the group. “We can prepare our undergraduate students in a fantastic way in our research, providing them with future graduate students who know exactly what they are doing.” 

Dr. Ahmed says the Belle II collaboration continues the work of the BABAR collaboration and Belle project, which recorded data and studied matter and anti-matter symmetry in the universe. 

BABAR produced more than 500 journal papers, including the precise measurements of differences between matter and antimatter, which have proved the theory of Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa, resulting in the awarding of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics.

More research though is needed as there is not currently enough evidence to explain symmetry in the Big Bang. Dr. Ahmed says the Belle II collaboration will have about 40 times more data than its predecessors and researchers are expecting to uncover more evidence and a deeper understanding. This next generation B-factory experiment will also be important for New Physics beyond the Standard Model scenario, he says, such as flavour violation, dark matter particles search etc.    

Patrick O’Brien, a 2019 StFX physics graduate who will start his fully-funded master’s studies at the University of Alberta in the fall, says his work with the BABAR project as a StFX student has been beneficial. 

“It’s certainly helped me already,” he says. “I’ve found a good supervisor, it’s sparked my interest even more, gave him a set of skills that will help me in my master’s and PhD, and maybe even opportunity for future work and collaboration.”

Likewise, current StFX physics student Noah Tessema of Ottawa, ON is looking forward to becoming involved in this research and the opportunities it may bring. “I’m very excited,” he says. 

Dr. Ahmed says he is very grateful for the support and collaboration inherent in the StFX physics department. “It’s just like a family,” he says noting how Dr. Marzlin and faculty colleagues helped in any way they could to prepare for this collaboration. 

StFX restructures the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science into two distinct departments and educational pathways

Mon, 2019-06-24 13:54

Welcome changes are coming to the StFX Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. In the 2018-19 academic year, the Computer Science group, and the Mathematics and Statistics group requested that two new departments be created from the existing Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department

As of July 1, 2019, the current department will reform into two separate departments—the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Department of Computer Science, offering students two distinct educational pathways. 

The new, separate departments will also provide students with a distinct academic home, fostering academic engagement and pride.

The Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science was unique in StFX’s Faculty of Science in that it housed two related, but different fields of study. The two fields co-existed within a single department, but offered separate honours, advanced majors, majors and minors, along with a research-based MSc program in computer science. 

It’s expected that the two programs will benefit from enhanced visibility both within and outside the university as separate departments. 

Announcement of Interim President

Fri, 2019-06-21 14:51
Dr. Kevin Wamsley

To the campus community,

It is my pleasure to announce Dr. Kevin Wamsley as Interim President of StFX University, effective August 1, 2019. The recommendation was submitted by the Human Resources Committee of the Board, and unanimously supported by the StFX Board of Governors earlier today.

Kevin began his term as Academic Vice-President and Provost at StFX in 2015. His leadership and unwavering commitment to our academic mission has supported our Faculty members and greatly contributed to the exceptional learning experience we offer to our students. His time serving as an ex-officio member of StFX’s Board of Governors, a member of the Executive and President’s Council, leading the academic portfolio, and his more than 30 years of post-secondary experience have provided him with an in-depth understanding of the complexities and opportunities related to running a world-class institution such as ours.

Most recently, Kevin accepted a request to renew his term as Academic Vice President and Provost, serving the campus community for another six years, effective August 1, 2020, what he considers to be a most important honour. He has agreed to accept the role of interim President until a permanent appointment is announced, after which he will return to the role of Academic Vice President and Provost. There will be more on the status of our search for the President in the months ahead.

An award-winning teacher and celebrated researcher, Kevin holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Master of Arts from Western University, and a PhD from the University of Alberta. He and his wife, Carol, live in Bayfield and are very happy to be members of the Antigonish community.  

Please join me in congratulating Kevin.

Mike Boyd ’85

Chair, StFX Board of Governors

StFX faculty, recent grad recognized for extraordinary achievement during Dietitians of Canada conference

Fri, 2019-06-14 15:12
L-r, Dr. Laurie Wadsworth, Heather-Ann Burrell, and Fran Haley

StFX human nutrition retired faculty member Dr. Laurie Wadsworth, part-time faculty Fran Haley and 2018 graduate Heather-Ann Burrell certainly have reason to celebrate—they all received major awards at the Dietitians of Canada conference held in Ottawa from June 6-8, 2019. 

The trio were among the individuals celebrated at an awards ceremony on June 6. The awards celebrate individuals who have inspired, empowered and lent their passion to promote and elevate the dietetics profession.

Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecture 

Dr. Wadsworth delivered the prestigious Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecture. Dr. Wadsworth’s career has focused on nutrition and health policy development in public health and academia. She investigates mass media messages to understand the roles of food in society and studies the historical roots of dietetics. She has worked collaboratively to effect change in public policy for improved nutrient profiles in the national food supply as a member of the Trans Fat Task Force and with Heart and Stroke Canada. Dr. Wadsworth also mentors dietetic students in policy development and research to build capacity for a strong future profession. She is a Fellow of Dietitians of Canada and served as Chair of the DC Board of Directors. “Dr. Wadsworth has certainly made a dynamic impact on individual dietitians and the profession and is very deserving of the prestigious Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award for 2019,” says a release from Dietitians of Canada.  

Emeritus Member  

Fran Haley was presented with the DC Emeritus award. The Board of Directors bestows this permanent designation to retired members of DC in appreciation of unique and outstanding contributions to the advancement of the dietetic profession in Canada during the nominees' career.

National Morgan Medal

Recent StFX graduate Heather-Ann Burell received the Regional Morgan Medal (Ontario) for research completed for her honours thesis at StFX. At the 2019 conference she was awarded the National Morgan Medal for excellence in research. 

Rankin School of Nursing professor Dr. Donna Halperin receives two grants for vaccine research

Fri, 2019-06-14 09:14
Dr. Donna Halperin

StFX Rankin School of Nursing professor Dr. Donna Halperin is the successful recipient of two new Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) grants that will help fund vaccine research. 

CIRN has recently funded two new studies with Dr.  Halperin, the co-principal investigator. The first project is funded for $300,481 over two years to research “Burden Ethnographic Modeling Evaluation Qaujilisaaqtuq (BEMEQ) RSV,” and she has been granted a further $150,010 to fund, “A multifaceted evaluation of provincial maternal Tdap immunization programs.”

Dr. Halperin says the multi-faceted evaluation of provincial maternal Tdap programs study is taking place in five provinces, which will inform the implementation of maternal Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) programs being rolled out across the country.

“The purpose of administering this vaccine is to protect newborn infants in Canada from severe outcomes of pertussis infection. Bordetella pertussis causes pertussis (Whooping Cough), a severe respiratory infection. Unimmunized infants, including those who are too young to have completed their primary infant immunization series, are at the greatest risk of hospitalization and death,” she says. “Immunization in pregnancy is safe and protects the infant until they are ready to receive the vaccine at two months of age.”

She says the focus of this study is to determine support and resources offered to health care providers for maternal Tdap programs and to identify gaps in learning needs according to provider type. 

Also, she says knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs and behaviors (KABB) of pregnant women will be determined regarding the maternal Tdap vaccine. Three interventions will be developed; a practice intervention tool for providers and an information intervention and social marketing strategy directed towards pregnant women for maternal immunization. These three interventions will be evaluated for acceptability.

In the “Burden Ethnographic Modeling Evaluation Qaujilisaaqtuq (BEMEQ) RSV” study she says there has been the recent accelerated clinical development of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine candidates for pregnant women and children that offers the promise of RSV prevention.

“RSV is the most common cause of severe lower respiratory tract infection in young children worldwide. Exceedingly high rates are observed in the Canadian Arctic,” she says.

This study, which is situated in Nunavik (northern third of the province of Quebec) and Nunavut, will help inform public health planning by collecting data on RSV morbidity and health care use, careful modelling and economic analysis of the potential benefits of vaccines and an understanding of the acceptability of proposed interventions in target populations. 

Dr. Halperin says there are three separate studies within the broader study, which brings together 28 investigators across Canada. 

The focus of her portion of the study will be to describe the key determinants of vaccine acceptance and refusal at the demand side (values, attitudes, beliefs) and the access side (logistical, healthcare system factors impacting access and vaccine services) amongst parents, healthcare providers, educators, and public health practitioners. Sharing circles and key informant interviews will be used to collect this information in Nunavut, she says.

CIRN is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and is a national network of vaccine researchers who develop and test methodologies related to the evaluation of vaccines as they pertain to safety, immunogenicity and effectiveness, and program implementation and evaluation.

CIRN is a network of networks, comprising eight sub-networks, composed of over 100 investigators across 40 Canadian institutions, involving experts in vaccine-related evaluative research. 

 

Three StFX Rankin School of Nursing students gaining experience with summer employment at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology

Thu, 2019-06-13 11:49
L-r, Layla Green, Antonia Di Castri and Laura Leppan

Three StFX Rankin School of Nursing students and recent graduates, Layla Green, Antonia Di Castri and Laura Leppan, are all employed and gaining valuable experience this summer working at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) in Halifax. 

The Canadian Center for Vaccinology was established to develop, implement and evaluate technologies and vaccines for infectious diseases that have a significant impact on Canadian and global health, and to train experts in these critical and evolving fields. It’s housed in the IWK Health Centre, and is a collaboration of the IWK, Dalhousie University, and the Nova Scotia Health Authority. 

The students are supervised by StFX nursing professor Dr. Donna Halperin, who holds a cross-appointment in pediatrics at Dalhousie University and is the associate director of the CCfV, responsible for the Programs, Policy and Implementation Group; and Dr. Scott Halperin, director at the CCfV and a professor of pediatrics, and microbiology & immunology at Dalhousie and adjunct professor at StFX.

Laura Leppan, of Halifax, NS, is entering her fourth year of the nursing program at StFX, in the honours stream. Her research at CCfV this summer is part of an ongoing clinical trial examining ways to protect very young infants from whooping cough (pertussis). 

“Specifically, I will be analyzing breast milk from women who were vaccinated during pregnancy to test for antibodies against whooping cough. If there are sufficient antibodies against whooping cough present in the breast milk, it could suggest that breastfeeding after maternal immunizations during pregnancy may offer additional protection to the newborn until they are old enough to receive their own vaccines,” she says 

She says becoming part of the CCfV team came from expressing interest in gaining research experience to her professor, now her honours co-supervisor, Dr. Donna Halperin, this past winter. 

“She was very keen to help me in this journey, and after discussing my interests in public health and maternal and newborn health, she consulted with Dr. Scott Halperin, also of CCfV, who suggested this project may be a great fit. I am so grateful for this incredible learning opportunity,” Ms. Leppan says. 

“So far, I have learned a vast amount about immunology, physiology behind vaccines, breast feeding, and preventable diseases, which have all further sparked my interest in these areas.”

Layla Green from Falmouth, NS, who just graduated from the honours nursing program in May 2019 is continuing the research she took part in as the subject of her undergraduate thesis at StFX, looking at the experiences and perspectives of community health experts in Nunavut with regard to maternal immunization in Inuit populations. 

“With this current position, having put in two years on this project already with my thesis, it has been great to continue on with this work past graduation and see where it goes,” says Ms. Green, who has also been added to the teams developing the protocols for two new recently funded projects. 

“I have had Dr. Donna Halperin as a prof since my first year at StFX and developed a very good working relationship with her over the course of my honours thesis project, where both she and Dr. Scott Halperin were my thesis advisors. She has definitely been a wonderful support and has opened up many doors for me in terms of research opportunities.” 

Ms. Green says the entire honours process at the Rankin School has left a strong impression on her and where she sees her career as a nurse going. “While I still thoroughly enjoy working at the bedside, having had the experience of doing research and learning to look at health care questions in a much different light has been truly eye-opening, and I hope to always keep one foot in the realm of research as I move forward in this profession.” 

Antonia Di Castri, of St. Albert, AB, graduated with a honours nursing degree from StFX in 2017 and is now a MSc candidate in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. This summer, her primary focus is work on her master's thesis project, a mixed methods study of the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviours of pregnant Inuit women and Northern healthcare providers about maternal pertussis immunization. 

She is also writing manuscripts for projects she has worked on in previous years at the CCfV. Among them is her quantitative undergraduate honours thesis project, which explores public and healthcare provider perceptions of pharmacists as immunizers in Nova Scotia. 

“I am finding it to be a very exciting time in my work because I am finally able to see the results of these studies that I have been involved with since their nascence,” she says.

Ms. Di Castri says she was first offered a position at the CCfV during the summer between her third and fourth year of the StFX nursing program.

“Working at CCfV has been, and continues to be instrumental in my career path. I have honed a diverse research skill set that has proven to be very useful in my pursuit of graduate studies in epidemiology. I have had the opportunity to be a co-author on several academic articles and to present our research studies at national conferences. I am indebted to the investigators at the CCfV for their commensurate mentorship. Any future success that I might encounter is built upon the foundation laid by these outstanding people.”

Dr. Donna Halperin says this opportunity provides students with multidisciplinary exposure to a complete range of health disciplines, as CCfV brings together researchers from multiple institutions with biomedical, clinical, social sciences, and humanities backgrounds.

She says the opportunity also aligns members of the School of Nursing with a large, interdisciplinary research group comprising members from a broad range of health disciplines with an international reputation in vaccine research, and provides an impactful mechanism to expand StFX’s footprint in the health-related research realm. 

Ethics in Nursing: StFX Rankin School of Nursing hosts 2019 ARCASN Conference

Wed, 2019-06-12 14:39
StFX's Rankin School of Nursing is hosting the 2019 ARCASN Conference

Nursing faculty and educators from schools of nursing across Atlantic Canada will converge on StFX this week as the Rankin School of Nursing hosts the 2019 Atlantic Region of Canadian Schools of Nursing’s (ARCASN) annual conference from June 13-15.

This year, the conference focuses on ethics within nursing and will bring educators together to share energies and insights as they network together for ethics and quality nursing education under a theme of “Fostering a moral climate of care and nursing research, practice and pedagogy.”

“This year’s ARCASN conference aims to explore several areas related to ethics in nursing, including highlighting ethics as a fundamental guide to nursing and health care,” says Rankin School nursing faculty Marion Alex, an ARCASN representative and the conference’s committee chair.  

Highlights from the event will include keynote addresses from Dr. Franco A. Carnevale, a nurse, psychologist and clinical ethicist from McGill University, who will lead an address and discussion focused around “Recognizing nurses as moral agents: New directions in nursing ethics;” as well as a keynote address from Kerry Prosper, Mi’Kmaq Elder from Paqtnkek First Nations and the Inaugural Knowledge Keeper at StFX, whose work is in traditional ceremonies and healing practices.

Other highlights will include a panel discussion lead by guest speakers Cynthia Baker, Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing; Christine Rieck Buckley, Canadian Nurses’ Foundation; and Dr. Claire Betker, scientific director for the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health; and a closing address about moral agency and ethics in professional nursing from nurses Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald, Speaking on Persons Against Non‐State Torture. They have recently returned from a global conference about women’s and human rights in Paris, where they continued advocating for recognition that forms of domestic violence manifest as torture.

A special part of the conference will be a dedication to the legacy of Sister Simone Roach and the Sisters of St. Martha, pioneers in nursing and health care in eastern Nova Scotia.

“In this conference about nursing ethics, here at St. Francis Xavier University’s School of Nursing, we stand upon the shoulders of a giant in nursing education and nursing ethics in Canada: Sister Marie Simone Roach. With admiration, gratitude, affection, and respect, we dedicate this conference to her memory and to her Sisters of Saint Martha,” Prof. Alex says. 

Among numerous accomplishments, Sister Simone led the four‐year integrated BScN program at StFX and served as its chairperson from 1970‐1979. As well, in the 1980s she responded to a request to direct a Code of Ethics Project for the Canadian Nurses Association. The code she authored was the first to be grounded in clearly articulated ethical values—fundamental values that remain as its cornerstone today. She received the Order of Canada for her work on Ethics and Caring Theory in 2010.  

StFX’s Dr. Agnes Calliste posthumously recognized by Canadian Sociology Association for outstanding contributions

Wed, 2019-06-05 13:39

Dr. Agnes Calliste, a celebrated academic and a sociology professor who taught at StFX for over two decades where she pioneered courses on the sociology of race and gender, has been posthumously recognized for her outstanding contributions to Canadian sociology by the Canadian Sociology Association (CSA).

Dr. Calliste was the recipient of the CSA Outstanding Contribution Award presented this week in Vancouver at the association’s annual meeting.

Dr. Calliste taught at StFX from 1984 until her retirement in 2010.

“Over the course of this time Dr. Calliste distinguished herself as one the country's leading experts in the areas of anti-racism, gender and education, and Canada's immigration and race-base employment policies during the first half of the 20th Century,” StFX sociology professor Dr. David Lynes said in the nomination letter he wrote on behalf of the Sociology Department.

“Particularly influential was Dr. Calliste's research into the experience of African-Canadian sleeping car porters and their struggle for employment equity on Canada's national railroads. Equally significant were publications on anti-racism organizing and resistance by African-Canadian women nurses, black families in Canada, and the influence of the civil rights and black power movements in Canada. Important parts of this work were undertaken collaboratively with Dr. George Dei from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.”

Dr. Calliste's commitment to these issues, however, was certainly not limited to the printed page, he says.

“As important and impressive as Dr. Calliste's curriculum vitae is, what it does not capture quite as well is Dr. Calliste's many contributions to the quality life here at St. Francis Xavier University and to the local community over the course of her 26-year tenure,” he says.

“The many courses she developed and went on to teach, including a senior seminar on African Canadian Issues in Education, and two third year courses entitled The Black/African Diaspora in the Americas, and Race, Class, Gender, & Sexuality, contributed to the strength and distinctiveness of the sociology program and continues to do so to this day. But it was the generosity of her time outside of the classroom, that was so well appreciated and perhaps best remembered, especially by the many students whose health and welfare she continuously went out of her way to defend and promote.”

Not long after arriving at StFX, Dr. Calliste participated as a member of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, as well as starting up and serving as the first chair for the local chapter of the National Congress of Black Women. From these positions, together with many other local initiatives, Dr. Calliste continually worked to encourage local young people of African descent to pursue a university education and to become more politically involved, he said.

Additionally, the annual African Heritage Month lectures that Dr. Calliste initiated are now institutionalized at StFX as the annual Dr. Agnes Calliste African Heritage Lecture.

Dr. Calliste's interest in and support for student athletes certainly stands out, reinforcing and promoting, the importance of academics in the lives of these students, many of African descent, who arrived at university with a wide range of preparation and expectations surrounding their status as varsity athletes. StFX's most successful basketball coach, Steve Konchalski, had the following to say about what Dr. Calliste meant to so many of these students, "while recognizing the unique challenges of African Canadians students in particular and guiding them through them…I had one African-Canadian student-athlete who never had a black teacher throughout his whole education until he took a course from Agnes. She took many students under her wing, taking a personal interest in their lives in addition to giving them academic supports. She would often call me to discuss the academic progress or social well-being of one of my athletes and call them into her office to offer guidance.”  

Mr. Konchalski also remembered fondly Dr. Calliste's promotion of and participation in the university's Kwanzaa celebration as part of her role as StFX African Descent Student Affairs Coordinator, and concludes by observing that Dr. Calliste "did a tremendous amount to bring many ethnic groups on campus together in a celebration that showcased some of the unique talents of our students and helped bridge the gap with faculty/student relations as well."

“Dr. Calliste's distinguished career is eminently deserving of the Canadian Sociological Association's Outstanding Contribution Award as her unique contributions continue to inspire students, community members, and academics alike,” Dr. Lynes wrote.

Pages