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StFX student Audra Jander to intern at International Criminal Court 

Wed, 2020-10-21 09:39
StFX student Audra Jander

StFX student Audra Jander has been offered an internship at the International Criminal Court (ICC), headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The ICC investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

Ms. Jander, of Georgetown ON, is currently in her fourth year at StFX and is completing a BA in political science with a minor in chemistry. 

The internship is for six months, December through June, and she will relocate to The Hague for that duration as it is the location of the court itself. Through her role, she will work alongside different departments and help organize meetings, collect information for presentations and other duties. 

Ms. Jander says she’s nervous, but very excited for the opportunity. 

“The ICC is an organization that I have always hoped to work for so this opportunity will hopefully provide me with networking connections and the chance to experience what my future may potentially be like.”

Throughout her four years at StFX, Ms. Jander says she’s had nothing but positive experiences. “I love having small classes and knowing my profs by name rather than just being a number.” 

Ms. Jander is the second StFX student to intern at the ICC. The first was Sarah Jackson, who wrote an honours thesis on the ICC and then pursued a law degree.

StFX political science professor Dr. Lavinia Stan taught both students in her class, PSCI 335 Human Rights and International Justice, which is focused on transitional justice, meaning the way in which governments and international bodies reckon with the legacy of mass human rights violations. 

“The fact that a small university like ours has two students at the ICC is quite remarkable. I am told we are the only university in Canada in this situation,” she says.

StFX launches resource to emphasize respect, safety and equity

Tue, 2020-10-20 14:18

St. Francis Xavier University is excited to announce the launch of Respectful Communities– a resource for all students. This one-hour, self-directed resource introduces the ways students can contribute to a safe, equitable, and respectful environment that identifies how to practice respect and safety in our interactions with others.

In recognition of StFX’s new Sexual Violence Policy, and the university’s commitment to ending sexual violence in our community, the resource (module) emphasizes topics of sexualized violence; consent and coercion; StFX policies and reporting processes; as well as the services and supports available to our students.   

“Creating a culture of respect and addressing the care and safety of students, the campus, and the surrounding community has been and continues to be a priority at StFX. We are working to ensure that everyone within our campus community has access to information, education and supports to contribute to a safe, healthy and respectful community,” says Elizabeth Yeo, Project Lead and StFX Vice President Students. 

"Thanks to funding from the province, this resource is an important step in establishing a minimum standard of expected behavior and consent education on our campus,” adds Ms. Yeo. 

“Creating safer campuses and a culture of consent will take hard work, diligence and collaboration,” said Derek Mombourquette, acting Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “The Sexual Violence Prevention Grant projects are helping to pave the way for a cultural shift on our university and community college campuses. We will continue to work with our partners to improve education and training around sexual violence prevention and response."

The module is available to all members of the Provincial Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, which is made up of all post- secondary institutions in Nova Scotia, as well as student groups and community organizations that address sexualized violence in the community. 

Developed by a provincial working group, this module reflects the diversity of students studying on campuses across the province and uses a combination of text, video and audio scenarios to reinforce the core concepts. Clancy McDaniel, Executive Director, Students Nova Scotia, and member of the provincial working group states that "At StudentsNS, we have long believed that in order to combat campus-based sexual violence, students need consent education before ever stepping foot on campus. This new online module - combining student feedback with expertise in the field - will ensure that no matter their background before starting classes, students will develop an understanding of consent that they can put in practice."

Funding for this resource was provided by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education and created by a provincial team which included Heather Blackburn, StFX Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Advocate, Clancy McDaniel, Executive Director, Students Nova Scotia, Dee Dooley, Coordinator of Community/Legal Education and Training, Avalon Sexual Assault Center, Jordan Roberts, Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Officer, University of Kings College, Collette Robert, Provincial Sexual Violence Response Coordinator, Dale Gruchy, Nova Scotia Community College, Olivia Landry and Annie Chau, Antigonish Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Services Resource Centre and Elizabeth Yeo, Vice President Students, StFX. The team was supported by Corrie Melanson, Project Manager and Instructional Designer, and Chad O’Brien, E-Learning Designer and by a significant number of students who provided input and focus group feedback at every stage of the project.

StFX staff, including Megan Fogarty, Human Rights and Equity Officer, Vishalle Wells, Residence Education Coordinator, Catherine Ashley, Manager of Conduct and Restorative Practices, Larissa Strong, Director of Internationalization, Marcus Wilmot, and Students' Union President Sarah Elliott supplemented the provincial team to tailor the content to the StFX context and support the launch of the module. Mark Kolanko provided technical advice and support.  

StFX is recipient of a second grant to complete phase two of this project for the Provincial Committee.   

Gerald Trites

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Gerald Tritesgtrites@stfx.caThe Antigonish ReviewImmaculata 413

Allan Turner

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Part time Faculty AdvisorAllan Turneraturner@stfx.caEducation

Maxine Trimboli

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Lab InstructorMaxine Trimbolimtrimboli@stfx.ca(902) 867-3975PhysicsPhysical Sciences Centre 1011

Adam Tragakis

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Adam Tragakisatragaki@stfx.ca(902) 867-2172ArtImmaculata 015

Matthew Turnbull

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Supervisor of Custodial ServicesMatthew Turnbullmturnbul@stfx.ca(902) 867-1809Facilities Management102 MacDonald Hall/ Govenors C139

Sandra Trenholm

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Sandra Trenholmstrenhol@stfx.caFacilities Management

Jantina Toxopeus

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Assistant ProfessorJantina Toxopeusjtoxopeu@stfx.ca(902) 867-2665BiologyBruce Brown Rm 214

Donna Trembinski

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Donna Trembinskidtrembin@stfx.ca(902) 867-3741HistoryNicholson Tower Rm 521

Chrissy Trenholm

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
GroundsChrissy Trenholmctrenhol@stfx.caFacilities Management

Max Toulch

Fri, 2020-10-16 16:50
Residence Life CoordinatorMax Toulchmtoulch@stfx.ca(902) 867-3624Residence LifeBloomfield Centre Rm 303B

Xaverian Capital: Schwartz School of Business student society hired as an internal investment manager for StFX

Tue, 2020-10-13 09:19
Xaverian Capital co-presidents Daniel Brohman and Jay McKenna

Managing real funds on behalf of a client. That’s what a group of students in StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business will be doing this year. Of note, the client is their university.

StFX’s Board of Governors has approved and hired Xaverian Capital, a Schwartz School student society, as an internal investment management team to manage $500,000 of the university’s endowment funds. 

It's an unmatched opportunity, and Schwartz School of Business Dean Dr. Tim Hynes says he could not be more pleased the university’s Board of Governors hired the Schwartz School students to serve as one of their Endowment Fund investment managers. 

“This shows the board’s confidence in the abilities of our students and their support for our efforts to provide Schwartz School students with the most tangible, real-world experiential learning opportunities,” Dr. Hynes says. 

“This will not only enhance the educational opportunities for our students who hope to move on to careers in the financial markets and banking sectors, but it will give them a real leg up in launching those careers.”

Daniel Brohman and Jay McKenna are the co-presidents of Xaverian Capital, which also includes Connor MacEachern, Dominic Young, Erik Usher, Jacob Nobbe, Joseph Robinson, Josh Foster, Luke Geiger, Nick Coyles, Sam Lacey, Emily Hall, Sophie Sharp, and Zolo Osorjamaa.

LONG TERM BENEFITS

“It excites me knowing the school has trusted students in managing a portion of their endowment. At the end of the day, this will provide learning experiences for students that will be second-to-none. It is definitely something that will have long-term benefits for the academic excellence of the school, as well as for the students that come through the program,” says Mr. Brohman, a fourth year advanced major BBA student from Toronto, ON who hopes to pursue a career in asset management. 

Mr. McKenna is a fourth year student from Calgary AB who is pursuing an advanced major in finance with a minor in economics and would like to begin his career in capital markets with an eye to eventually becoming an entrepreneur. 

“The job market is very competitive in the financial industry and this helps members stand out,” he says.  

“We are also gaining real world experience of managing people in teams. Most people think our experience is solely in investment management, however, leading/being part of a group like XC goes far beyond investment research.” 

ENRICHES EXPERIENCE

Mr. Brohman says the long-term benefits for having students manage real funds on behalf of a client are numerous. 

“For one, this enriches the academic experience for students coming to StFX, knowing they will have the opportunity to gain experiential learning in the form of real-world operations and engage in practical aspects of portfolio management, investment analysis, and valuation. 

“These are all skills that we aim to achieve through critical hands-on learning experiences all while engaging in regular interactions with industry professionals.”

He says this initiative allows students to learn beneficial and practical content that may not otherwise be taught in a classroom. 

“I believe this experience will allow students to build foundational knowledge that is critical to their success as they begin their careers in capital markets. This is an opportunity that is unmatched as they will have direct access to investing $500,000 of their clients' money, an experience you don't usually get until working in a career.”   

ELEVATE READINESS

Mr. Brohman says this initiative has been in the works for years now. The two founders of Xaverian Capital, Thomas Ciha and Cameron Chubb, he says, started the society a few years back with the hopes of securing a grant from the school to manage a student-led fund. “They saw that many other schools had similar programs, which really allowed students to gain real-world experience all while promoting the academic excellence of the school.”

They thought this would be a great opportunity for students to elevate their readiness and credibility as they move into careers in the finance world. 

“StFX has realized that this is a step in the right direction for competing with other top business programs, who have similar student-managed funds. We have all the students on the team go through an extensive training program, which enables the team to be ready for everything that comes with this initiative.” 

The entire team, he says, is thrilled that the school has trusted them to manage a portion of the endowment. 

“The main thing that excites me about this opportunity is the image that it will carry over to the entire school and all the students. This is a professional institution at the end of the day, and it allows StFX to promote the excellence of the business program by having this sort of fund operating.” 

Mr. McKenna says he gained interest in investing while in high school. Although he didn’t work in the financial industry, he began to read and follow the markets. Last summer, he worked for Mackenzie Investments where he conducted research and compared and analyzed mutual funds and ETF’s. 

Mr. Brohman worked at a private equity firm this past summer in Toronto where he dealt with researching potential buyout opportunities. He was tasked with providing valuation models and fundamental analyses of companies, which he says allowed him to continue to build the foundational knowledge of researching and looking for suitable investment options. He’s been investing real money since he was 16 and was able to create his own investment account at age 18. “I have always loved the public markets and have always found ways to make money in them,” he says. 

“I believe this experience will help me as it will elevate my readiness for real-world operations. It has helped me gain crucial valuation skills that I will be able to carry with me into my career. Aside from that, it has also taught me how to manage a team and deal with the adversity that comes with running a sizable organization. It has also taught me how to network well and build relationships in the industry that I will be able to use to my advantage as I progress through my career.”

Thank you, Antigonish!—Parents of StFX student plan local bursary as thanks for community kindness, volunteer program helping students through self-isolation 

Wed, 2020-10-07 15:10
Antigonish town councillor Mary Farrell is seen here delivering baked goods and groceries to students Bridget McCann and Mary Caplice as part of the Neighbours Helping Neighbours program.

It all started with a text message, warm words of welcome and an offer to help from Neighbours Helping Neighbours volunteer Dr. Kim Burnett to third year StFX student Sam Baker of Bowmanville, ON, returning to StFX and Antigonish to complete 14 days mandatory isolation. 

This kindness—multiplied many times over the next few weeks by some 240 volunteers—community members, StFX faculty, staff and alumni participating in the StFX Alumni Affairs program, was so impactful it prompted Sam’s parents, Lisa and Dean Baker, to create a bursary to benefit a local student.  

The Bakers, after thanking their son’s volunteer support person, felt they wanted to do something more to recognize the community as a whole for its generosity. They contacted StFX Advancement to see about creating a bursary to benefit a local student, a fund others who feel likewise could also contribute to. 

“My husband and I are so very thankful for all the volunteers and staff in the StFX and Antigonish communities who have helped him, his roommates, and fellow classmates get through this time,” says Ms. Baker noting all those who picked up groceries, dropped off baked goodies, provided calls of welcome and supported over 600 off-campus students from outside the Atlantic ‘bubble’ through isolation.

“We are very much aware that students returning to campus has created anxiety for many in the community. To still reach out and embrace these kids is an act of selflessness that is not to be forgotten.”

Ms. Baker says she knows this wasn’t easy for the community, who must be feeling anxious. “Antigonish stepped up to help. That’s pretty unique and special.”

ALL LIVING THROUGH TIME OF COVID 

“We’re all living through this time of COVID, and we were anxious to send him,” Ms. Baker says. “My son desperately wanted to go and with all you’re doing, he felt comfortable. The province, the school, the Atlantic ‘bubble,’ everyone, had everything in place to make me feel safe.”

She says for Sam being able to return is a gift. “It’s his second home. He loves it there and to have that available is a godsend. It’s a perfect fit for him.”Ms. Baker says before her son left home, he received wonderful messages from Dr. Burnett indicating how excited she was to welcome him back, letting him know that she was there to help, and that she was an X grad herself.  

“It made us feel less anxious.”

She says it was comforting too to know that her son could go to class, knowing that everyone had completed self-isolation, along with three COVID-19 tests.  

MEANS THE WORLD

“It means the world, honestly, being back here,” says Sam. “This feels like home at this point. This is my third year here. I’m really impressed by everyone, by the whole province, in general, in handling the situation.”

The Neighbours Helping Neighbours program definitely made him and fellow students feel welcome, he says. 

In particular, he praised his volunteer support person. “She was super generous, and she went out of her way to help,” he says, noting how she picked up groceries for some housemates who didn’t yet have their support person set up, got project supplies for him from Kent and Canadian Tire, and texted him to check in to see how he was doing and if he needed anything. 

“Always being there, that was the biggest thing,” he says. 

“Quarantine would definitely have been a lot more challenging without a support person.”

He says he and his housemates knew there was debate about having students back, and he says they wanted to show they respect the rules and quarantine. 

One thing that was nice about the two week isolation is that it gave students time to settle in, prepare and be in the mindset for being back at school and starting classes, he says. 

ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

Dr. Burnett says, “As soon as I heard about the Neighbours Helping Neighbours program, I happily signed up because I felt strongly that we all had to work together to make the return to campus succeed. For me, volunteering though was as much about helping keep the community safe as it was about helping students make it through the unenviable situation of being stuck inside for two weeks with as much ease as possible. This pandemic highlights that we really are all in this together; we all have to do what we can as a community to keep each other well. The Bakers’ generosity is a wonderful amplification of how we can work together to help our communities thrive.”

StFX Alumni Affairs Director Shanna Hopkins says the Neighbours Helping Neigbhours program was created as a means to provide a safe and responsible return to campus for students from outside the Atlantic ‘bubble.’  “We knew in creating this program, the only way it would be successful was to have the help from our amazing alumni and community members. This program allowed community members to connect with our amazing students by means of a call, a doorstep visit, a grocery drop-off, or for many of our lucky students, the delivery of freshly baked cookies or muffins. We received many positive comments, calls and emails from parents, and it truly warms my heart to see how the Bakers are going above and beyond to reciprocate the generosity from so many from the community.”  

By all accounts, it was an overwhelming success. 

Sam Baker admits he was a little nervous to return to StFX, wondering how different COVID would make the school year, and how would he learn, study, socialize. 

“It’s different,” he says, “but not as bad as I had thought. It’s not as completely foreign as I thought it may be. It still feels like StFX.” 

For those wishing to express their gratitude to the community of Antigonish for making the student return so pleasant, Lisa and Dean ask you go to this link www.stfx.ca/give and scroll to ‘Other’ designation box and indicate Antigonish Student X Bursary. 

“This program gives me hope”—StFX Centre for Employment and Innovation leads new program creating jobs for African Nova Scotians

Mon, 2020-10-05 16:17
Angela Bear

“This program gives me hope.”

That’s the reaction of Angela Bear, project lead, StFX’s Centre for Employment and Innovation, who says they are excited to be working with Black leaders within the Nova Scotia Works employment services system on the $2.5 million Diversity and Inclusion Program announced today, Oct 5, 2020. 

Fifteen African Nova Scotians and people of African descent will be hired at Nova Scotia Works employment services centres across the province to ensure service providers better reflect the communities they serve.

Funding for the program comes from the Canada-Nova Scotia Labour Market Development Agreement; $2.5 million will allow the permanent career practitioner positions to be created. They will work one-on one with clients to support access to quality employment and training.

The program is led by StFX’s Centre for Employment and Innovation and is guided by Black leaders within the Nova Scotia Works employment services system.

Ms. Bear says she believes this is the first initiative of its kind done in this way, across the province, with Black practitioners and leaders in a system that is meant to serve everyone. 

“As an African Nova Scotian woman, this program gives me hope. African Nova Scotians have historically experienced multiple systemic barriers to training and employment. This initiative works with African Nova Scotians and persons of African descent to open doors and create meaningful employment opportunities.”

"We know that access to quality employment services can be a barrier for African Nova Scotians,” African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince said in the announcement. "Employment service providers are connecting the people in their communities to training and jobs. This program will enable service providers to better reflect the communities they serve, and in turn, they’ll be able to provide increased support and outreach to other members of their communities."

The program was created by the department of Labour and Advanced Education, the Centre for Employment and Innovation, the Nova Scotia Career Development Association and several employment service providers representing African Nova Scotian and people of African descent communities, including, the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association, the YMCA-HRM, Career Connections and the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association.

Funding will support the positions for two years.

Nova Scotia Works centres are posting jobs individually in their communities. For information on how to apply, visit https://www.novascotia.ca/works for a full list of centres.

Over 310 StFX students discuss COVID-19 and its effect on inequality during 19th annual Global Issues Forum

Mon, 2020-10-05 13:22

Over 310 StFX students, through three online sessions and 31 different breakout groups, are joining together today to discuss COVID-19 and its effects on inequality around the world as part of the 19th annual Global Issues Forum at StFX.

The forum is annually organized by a consortium of professors to give students a chance to focus in on a global issue, including ways to improve on it. 

Despite extremely complicated circumstances, including moving to make this year’s event virtual, the forum is even more ambitious this year, organizers say. 

“We are very excited at how it has come together and think it provides a wonderful example of creative pedagogy to learn the most from the current situation,” says StFX anthropology professor Dr. Susan Vincent, one of the organizers. 

“The online element of this year’s forum has made the project more scalable, but also more complex to administer,” says Schwartz School of Business professor Dr. Brad Long, another organizer. 

The students have been assigned to groups and will discuss two questions: 1. Is COVID-19, and the associated measures in various places, an equal opportunity pandemic or is it exacerbating inequality? 2. Is there hope that measures implemented during the pandemic and the measures associated will improve lives of the most vulnerable? (for example, Peru is thinking about implementing universal health care.)

Dr. Vincent says the Global Issues Forum has been held almost every year since 2001.

It has involved several courses and Coady students getting together to discuss a topic from their different viewpoints. Topics have included free trade, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and transnational migration.

“We were faced with a challenge this year since we could not meet physically as we usually do. Nevertheless, over the past couple of months, we have put together an even more ambitious event than usual—students from 14 classes meeting virtually in three separate sessions.” 

Without the possibility of including Coady students this year, organizers coordinated with Immersion Service Learning. Jodi Van Dompseler invited the ISL partner organizations from Peru, Guatemala and Ghana to prepare videos in which they present their views on the topic.

The most important benefit of the forum is that it brings people with different perspectives into a common space to share their perspectives, says fourth year development major honours student Boye Matuluko from Nigeria. Not only are participants coming to their forum with their own lens, they’re bringing all these different ideas together to become more informed, he says.

“This would not have been possible without Matt Cameron’s stupendous efforts from Continuing and Distance Education,” Dr. Vincent says. 

Event organizers also included Drs. Corrine Cash, Christina Holmes, Sutapa Chattopadhyay, Shelley Price, Kim Burnett, L. Jane McMillan, Stefan Litz, and Jonathan Langdon. 

StFX adjunct English professor celebrates two latest works in upcoming book launch

Wed, 2020-09-30 11:47
StFX adjunct professor and author Anne Simpson will be celebrating her two latest works when Red Sky Gallery hosts a book launch on Friday, Oct. 2.

StFX adjunct English professor and author Anne Simpson will be celebrating her two latest works, her most recent novel, Speechless and her book of essays, Experiments in Distant Influence: Notes and Poems, when Red Sky Gallery hosts a book launch on Friday, Oct. 2 from 7-9 p.m. at Justamere Café & Bakery. 

Ms. Simpson’s novel, Speechless, was published in May 2020. It was a book, she says, that was 10 years in the making. She has written a story in which A’isha Nasir, a Nigerian teenager, has been charged with adultery. Sophie MacNeil, a young Canadian journalist who is living in Nigeria, publishes an impassioned article about her plight. When the article sets off a wave of outrage, Sophie must come to terms with the naivete with which she approached the article. 

Speechless is a novel about justice, witness, and courage in which Ms. Simpson explores the power of words, our responsibility for them, and the ways they affect others in matters of life and death.

Alexander MacLeod calls Speechless “a global narrative about gender and race, about words and actions and reactions, with tough female characters who will not back down and instead stand together against injustice. Simpson is a beautiful writer and this is a bold, brave book.”

Experiments in Distant Influence: Notes and Poems is a book of essays that investigate such issues as collaboration, courage, and community. Ms. Simpson says she approaches her subjects with intense curiosity and a deep empathy for both the human and non-human phenomena she encounters, recognizing the complex ecology of our communities and how, through practicing the attentiveness poetry fosters, we might help each other flourish.

Along with her book of essays, Ms. Simpson is the author of five collections of poetry, one of which, Loop, won the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize. She also writes fiction. Her recent novel, Speechless, was preceded by Falling, longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and winner of the Dartmouth Book Award. Her mentorship of other writers has taken her to libraries and universities across Canada.

For more on the Oct. 2 book launch, please contact rosemary@redskygallery.ca or phone (902) 863-8000. 

 

StFX’s Dr. Laura Estill named an inaugural member of new, national digital research council

Fri, 2020-09-25 16:14
Dr. Laura Estill

Dr. Laura Estill, Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities and a professor of English at StFX, has been named one of the inaugural members of a new national Research Council for the National Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO). She is one of two Atlantic Canada researchers successfully nominated to the council.

The NDRIO announced the selection of 22 multi-disciplinary researchers to its first Researcher Council, a critical component of NDRIO’s commitment to involve the research community as it designs and delivers a new service delivery model to support Canada’s national Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) Strategy.

At StFX, the appointment was welcome news.

“Dr. Estill’s appointment to the new Research Council of NDRIO is important in that she represents the interests of researchers and scholars making use of advanced research computing technologies in the social sciences and humanities, as well as her ability to represent the interests of researchers from dozens of smaller undergraduate-oriented universities in Canada similar to StFX,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies, who nominated Dr. Estill on behalf of StFX and ACENET. Dr. Isnor serves on the board of ACENET, which participates in interactions with NDRIO. 

“This is also an important research leadership step in terms of the development of Dr. Estill’s Canada Research Chair program in Digital Humanities and her efforts to build research networks in this area both regionally and nationally,” Dr. Isnor says. 

Dr. Estill says it is an honour to be a part of this team of incredible researchers and she looks forward to working to make Canada's digital research infrastructure as strong and accessible as possible.

“The Researcher Council's role is to make sure that the digital research infrastructure (DRI) needs of researchers across Canada are being met: this means accounting for diversity from a number of perspectives, including disciplinary, EDI, geographical, and more. I am one of two researchers who have been selected from Atlantic Canada; I am also one of two researchers from small, undergraduate-focused institutions,” she says.  

Greg Lukeman, ACENET Chief Executive Officer, says the Researcher Council will play a critical role in ensuring the design and delivery of Digital Research Infrastructure services under NDRIO reflects the needs and diversity of Canada’s research.

"I am thrilled to have Laura as one of our two voices from Atlantic Canada on the council. ACENET has been lucky to work closely with her these past few years supporting the goals of her Canada Research Chair. This work is yielding an exciting expansion of ACENET's support to the Humanities and Social Sciences. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Laura to make sure StFX and Atlantic Canada have the best possible digital research services and support."

Janet Davidson, OC, NDRIO Board Chair, says this impressive group of appointees is composed of strategic thinkers and visionaries who represent years of diverse research experience and expertise in advanced research computing, research software and data management.

“The contributions of this researcher-led group will be invaluable to the NDRIO Board and management as we work together on our researcher needs assessment, NDRIO’s first strategic plan and the growth of NDRIO.”

Researcher Council members will serve terms of up to three years with a maximum of two terms, subject to renewal after one year. 

The first meeting of the Researcher Council is expected to take place in early October 2020. 

Athletic training and coaching made smarter from new spin-out company from St. Francis Xavier University

Fri, 2020-09-25 13:30
StFX student Mbongeni Ndlovu (centre), recipient of a MITACS Accelerate Entrepreneur award, is pictured with Andrew Kendall, StFX’s Manager of Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer (left) and computer sciences professor Dr. James Hughes.

Mbongeni Ndlovu, a StFX student, has combined his entrepreneurial and business interests with his love of athletics and weight training.

Mr. Ndlovu of Zimbabwe (he likes to be called ‘Bo’) has formed his own company to commercialize a high-tech Artificial Intelligence app for exercise that he has created, and is now supported by a prestigious and significant MITACS Accelerate Entrepreneur award, which funds student entrepreneurs to further develop the research or technology at the core of their business when hosted by an incubator facility.

He is now taking a masters in computer science at StFX, and completed his undergraduate degree from StFX last May with an advanced major in enterprise systems (business). His newly incorporated company, OlyUp Technologies Inc.—OlyUp for short— will advance his AI exercise app to give coaches and athletes better training tools and systems, that ultimately makes their athletic training tailored specifically to their needs and far more convenient and efficient. 

The company will be hosted by the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre business incubator. Mr. Ndlovu is supervised and mentored by computer science professor Dr. James Hughes and has received encouragement and advice to commercialize the exercise app from Andrew Kendall, StFX’s Manager of Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer. 

“Bo is amazing,” says Mr. Kendall. “He has an infectious enthusiastic entrepreneurial spirit that combines athletic training with cutting-edge artificial intelligence computer science to create this app and OlyUp Technologies. There are real commercial growth opportunities with Bo and OlyUp. I’m hoping Bo can make Nova Scotia his home and be a part of the high-tech business ecosystem that we are building here.”

Dr. Hughes agrees. “Bo has an intuitive grasp of artificial intelligence. His use of AI in this app will give this training tool a huge advantage over the competing technologies out there.”

The idea for the company came out of Mr. Ndlovu’s experience as a strength and conditioning intern at StFX for the past four years and from the Olympic Weightlifting Society he’s run at the university for the past two years. 

“Last year I noted that making individualized training programs for athletes took too much of my time. I also have a lot of experience developing mobile and web-based apps. I have been studying Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the last 2.5 years now. I wanted to use all this experience I have to make a software application that uses AI, which helps assist strength coaches by making training programs for their athletes, based on their sport, position and individual unique characteristics,” he says.

The primary goals of the project are to make it more convenient for coaches to produce training programs and monitor the health and performance of their athletes; to improve the athletic performance of athletes in their respective sports and positions; and to reduce athletic injuries. Each exercise you do in the gym, he explains, is tied to specific muscles in the body. The goal is to track all the muscles affected by each exercise in a training program and have the AI develop a better fatigue and injury recovery management system.

Coaches will be able to save time and work on other duties that are more important and make things easier working with therapists, he says. The company will be working very closely with coaches and therapists alike during the development of the project, so as to identify the best user experience.

“This award will allow me to keep up with the costs, labour and financial, of developing the project. In order for me to receive the award I had to make a project timeline with deliverables and milestones and I’m very grateful for this because its given me a good sense direction of how I’m going to make this project become a reality.”

MITACS funding helps student entrepreneurs to take meaningful advantages of the supports provided by the incubator, with the goal of commercializing the technology, product, or service rapidly. Essentially, the student entrepreneurs get paid to grow their company and get to market faster. 

“I was pretty happy about receiving the award, after hearing the news I stopped everything I was doing at the time and went to the gym to train. I do a lot of Olympic Weightlifting, so I went pretty heavy that day, just to contain my happiness.” He says it is great to get the opportunity to significantly advance the progress of his research. 

Advantages and disadvantages of ex-politicians, former government officials on boards is subject of new article from StFX Schwartz School of Business professor

Tue, 2020-09-22 13:38
Dr. Mark Fuller

Does having a former politician or ex-governmental official provide a firm with a competitive advantage over firms that do not have such representation on their boards?

Do Canadian directors wish to have an ex-politician or a former government official serve alongside them on a corporate board in place of other prospective directors?

Those are the questions that StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business faculty member Dr. Mark Fuller and co-author Chris Bart from the Caribbean Governance Training Institute ask and answer in a recent article just published in the open access journal Corporate Board: Role, Duties and Composition.  

In researching the article, “The political duality: On the advantages and disadvantages of ex-politicians and former government officials serving on boards of directors,” Dr. Fuller says they conducted a survey of 82 Canadian board members and followed up with in-depth qualitative interviews with 10 directors. 

“Obtaining perspectives on corporate governance directly from board members is notoriously difficult, and typically American-centric, so our research is rare and novel in this regard,” he says.

Their findings suggest that firms in heavily-regulated industries, firms that sell a lot to government, and firms that frequently interact with foreign governments may benefit from having a former politician or an ex-government official on their board of directors.

Nonetheless, he says, 61 per cent of their survey respondents preferred someone without political or government experience to join their board of directors.

“In addition to implications for theory, our article has implications for corporate governance. Prior research in the literature suggests that the appointment of someone with previous political or government experience to the board may affect expected future returns by the firm, and our survey respondents would agree,” Dr. Fuller says. 

“Corporate political activity also has the potential to increase the perceived value of the firm. With 73.1 per cent of our survey respondents expecting the role of business to grow a little or a lot over the next decade, understanding of the impact of corporate political activity on that role is critically important.”           

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