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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Two words. Thank you.
That was the simple, yet heartfelt message shared at the 45th annual President’s Club Gala, held June 1, 2019 at the Charles V. Keating Centre, both to supporters and friends of StFX and to StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald who finishes his term as StFX President and Vice-Chancellor in July.
The President’s Club Gala annually celebrates and thanks supporters of StFX. During the evening, StFX recognizes President’s Club members who have reached new 10-year, 20-year, and lifetime milestones.
This year, the evening also included a special tribute to Dr. MacDonald, who led StFX for the past five years.
“Tonight, we express our deep gratitude to you, whose generosity makes it possible for StFX to remain one of Canada's finest universities,” Murray Kyte, Vice President, Advancement and the evening’s master of ceremonies, said in opening remarks as he thanked all those who so generously support StFX.
“Tonight, we celebrate your generosity, your support, and your commitment to StFX. And, we take this opportunity to pay special tribute to those of you who have reached milestones.”
StFX is so grateful for the support it receives from President Club members, he said. These donations have considerable impact on the lives of students and make StFX, and in turn society, even stronger.
He also thanked Dr. MacDonald for his leadership, and in particular his efforts and commitment to make StFX accessible to all students regardless of their financial background including initiating the Xaverian Fund.
StFX Director of Development Wendy Langley, who led the recognition of new patrons during the ceremony, spoke of how truly blessed StFX is to enjoy the friendship and support of so many.
“Thank you again to all of our members of the President’s Club,” she said as she noted the tremendous impact President’s Club members have had on the university—since its inception members have donated over $184 million to StFX.
“Thank you for all that you do for StFX!”
THANK YOU, DR. MACDONALD
The night also celebrated Dr. MacDonald and the legacy he will leave following his five year tenure.
“It is of course bittersweet that we are using this evening to laud Kent’s accomplishments,” StFX Board of Governors Chair Mike Boyd said as he paid tribute to Dr. MacDonald, who he described as the type of leader who encourages others to step into roles that might seem daunting or beyond their existing scope and then supports and guides them.
“But most importantly, he creates space for them to become something more than they thought they could be.
“And so, while we lament his departure, we also recognize that his legacy lies in the people who remain.”
Mr. Boyd thanked Dr. MacDonald, his wife Mary Ellen and his family and wished them well on behalf of the Board of Governors. “StFX is a better place because of your hard work and leadership,” he said.
A number of video greetings from students, alumni, faculty, staff and Board of Governors members were played throughout the evening, each commenting on the impact Dr. MacDonald made during his tenure.
Dr. Kent MacDonald
Dr. MacDonald, who received a standing ovation both before and after delivering his remarks, spoke of the many accomplishments from the past year, and about highlights on the horizon. He updated on enrollment and new academic programs, the national Special Olympics held at StFX this year, award-winning students, accomplishments of faculty and staff, the upcoming 50th anniversary of women athletics and the upcoming opening of Mulroney Hall and the Mulroney Institute of Government.
He also had his own thanks to share.
In particular he thanked donors and supporters for all they do for the university, and encouraged them to continue to give time, talent or treasure to give back to StFX, a place “we all love,” he said.
“To all of you, I say thank you.”
Dr. MacDonald also thanked and recognized Bishop Brian Dunn and members of the clergy, the Sisters of St. Martha, the Congregation of Notre Dame, alumni leaders, faculty, staff, and students, members of the Board of Governors, and the university’s leadership team, and his family for all the support and commitment.
“What a joy and a blessing it has been to be able to serve this community.”
During the evening, Mr. Kyte also thanked Bishop Brian Dunn, Vicar of the Founder and a StFX Board of Governors member, who will also depart from Antigonish as he was recently named by His Holiness, Pope Francis, as Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth. “We wish you the very best in this new role,” he said.President Gala 2 2019.jpg President Gala 4 2019.jpg
Other special highlights during the evening included a musical performance by 2019 StFX graduate Shane Arsenault, a number of pieces of art from the StFX’s permanent collection on display, and a rousing, trademark “Go X Go!” group cheer led by Fr. Stan MacDonald, himself recognized during the evening as a new 10-Year Xaverian Patron.
President’s Club members reaching milestones in 2018-19 included:
New Lifetime Xaverian Patrons (recognizing $100,000 and above in lifetime giving):
Barrick Gold Corporation
Michael and Beth Brien
Thomas J. and Gail Hayes
The late Leo D. Kirwan
The Molson Foundation
Kenneth J. Moscone
Guy R. Savard
Francis and Mary Shea
Timothy Upton and Beryle Girard
R. Howard Webster Foundation
The Windsor Foundation
New 20-Year Xaverian Patrons (recognizing 20 consecutive years of President’s Club membership):
Michael A. and Anne Campbell
Marc and Clare Champoux
Penny Fuller and Bill Marshall
Joan E. Gillis
Roderick W. Landry
Colin P. and Irene MacDonald
Alistair and Anita MacLeod
John C. McCurnin
Fran and Joe McGann
Shelly and Ed J. McHugh
Sheilagh A. Ross
New 10-Year Xaverian Patrons (recognizing 10 consecutive years of President’s Club membership):
Richard and Jeanne Brown
Anne Emery and Joe A. Cameron
Thomas and Lois Chadwick
Peter I. Chisholm
Lt Col Brian W. Donovan
David and Sandra Gibeault
Robert and Beth Hynes
Carmen B. Lowe
Allan S. MacDonald
Rev. Stanley V. MacDonald
Mike and Mary MacKinnon
Helen D. MacPherson
Francis X. Shea
An intensive weeklong workshop was organized on the island of Malta, historically referred to as the Nurse of the Mediterranean. The research workshop—a collaborative effort between nursing faculty from the University of Malta and nursing faculty from Cape Breton University, Dalhousie University and St. Francis Xavier University—was designed for graduate nursing students at the University of Malta seeking to submit a dissertation in partial fulfilment of their Master of Nursing.
Participating faculty included Dr. Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine from the StFX Rankin School of Nursing, Dr. Vicky Sultana and Dr. Josiane Scerri from the University of Malta, Dr. Odette Griscti and Dr. Audrey Walsh, from Cape Breton University, and Dr. Megan Aston and Dr. Audrey Steenbeek from Dalhousie University. Various other faculties from the Department of Nursing, University of Malta, also participated in sessions and round table discussions.
The workshop was held at the historic university campus in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. It consisted of a four day interactive dialogue between faculty and students around research designs, methodologies and student projects. By the end of the workshop, each student was able to develop a research proposal in preparation for their Master of Nursing degree.
Dr. Sheppard-LeMoine says this international nursing collaboration was a rewarding way to share nursing research talent and build further opportunities. “We were welcomed by our colleagues at the University of Malta and their graduate students and look forward to what comes next,” she says.
Overall, all of the participating faculty and the graduate students found the workshop valuable and beneficial, the organizers say. It is planned to hold similar workshops between the three universities and the University of Malta in the future.
Sean Fraser, Member of Parliament for Central Nova and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, highlighted $341,000 in new support for discovery research at StFX. The funding is part of an investment of over $588 million through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grants Program announced by Minister Duncan on May 21.
The funding, part of $4 billion for research committed in Budget 2018, will also support graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships for students in the natural sciences and engineering. This funding will go to more than 4,850 researchers and students across the country, and includes support for nearly 500 early career researchers.
StFX is receiving $341,000 for researchers and students working in areas including earth sciences, chemistry, human kinetics and computer science. Dr. Melanie Lam in the Department of Human Kinetics has received $127,500 over five years for an exploration of the behavioural, electrophysiological, and neural mechanisms underlying joint action; Dr. Jacob Levman, Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics within the Department of Computer Science has received $127,500 over five years to develop methods for reliable machine learning with applications in medical imaging. Dr. David Risk, Earth Sciences Department, received $51,000 for a one-year project to study thermogenic methane distribution, sources, drivers in the MacKenzie Delta region. StFX graduate student Dreenan Shea (chemistry) received a Canada Graduate Scholarship worth $17,500 over one year to support her research on nanoparticle materials for the photodegradation of pollutants and biomass waste. Sean Freeborn, a new StFX graduate student in earth sciences, has received a Canada Graduate Scholarship worth $17,500 over one year to support his research on magmatism and the evolution of mountain-building. This investment is part of Canada’s Science Vision and the Government of Canada’s commitment of more than $10 billion to science, which includes the largest-ever increase in funding for fundamental research.
“NSERC Discovery Grants, as well as NSERC scholarships and fellowships provide a critical underpinning for diverse university research and student researcher training across all science and engineering disciplines. This NSERC funding ensures that our faculty members and students are able to stay at the forefront of Canadian research efforts in the natural and physical sciences,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.
“As a proud StFX alum, it is exciting to see this meaningful investment in the research community on campus. These research grants are helping the faculty at StFX discover the solutions to our world’s greatest problems, and at the same time, putting people to work in our community,” Mr. Fraser said.
Minister Duncan says the funding announced demonstrates the government’s strong and enduring commitment to science and researchers. “Our government has worked hard to bring science and research back to their rightful place, and this historic investment in the discoveries of tomorrow is just one example of how we are achieving this goal.”