News StFX News en StFX sociology professor receives academic recognition in classic text <p>StFX sociology professor Dr. Patricia Cormack now has a very important footnote in history. In what many scholars call &lsquo;the Bible of sociology,&rsquo; the new edition of Durkheim&rsquo;s <em>Rules of Sociological Method </em>(1895), edited by Dr. Steven Lukes, she is given the first footnote, a huge academic recognition.</p> <div>In the new book, published by Free Press, a division of Simon &amp; Schuster, Dr. Lukes, nearly 30 years after his original, writes a new introduction to the text of French sociologist Emile Durkheim&rsquo;s groundbreaking work.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. Lukes had previously characterized the text as a &quot;manifesto.&quot; Then a graduate student, Dr. Cormack took this up and investigated it as such &ndash; almost 20 years ago. She made the argument that this text is not just a manifesto in the sense of introducing a new field of study, sociology, and its new methods of investigation and its unique object of study, but that it was a manifesto of modern life in general &ndash; one that invites everyone to think sociologically about their world.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>With this footnote, her 1996 paper, &ldquo;<em>The Paradox of Durkheim's Manifesto: &nbsp;Reconsidering The Rules of Sociological Method,</em>&quot; Theory &amp; Society No. 25, is now part of the long history and layers of scholarship associated with Durkheim&rsquo;s book.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a little footnote, but Steven Lukes has put that right in the text everybody reads. It&rsquo;s authoritative. He&rsquo;s saying &lsquo;there is something interesting out there, and you should go and read it.&rsquo; He&rsquo;s drawing attention to people&rsquo;s work,&rdquo; Dr. Cormack says.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;This is a really important text, you could argue it&rsquo;s the most important text in sociology, and it&rsquo;s introduced by this very well-known scholar.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> The footnote came as a complete surprise to Dr. Cormack. She&rsquo;d been reading the new book online when she noticed her name and the acknowledgement.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> Footnotes, she says, are a curious thing, and convey a lot of different meaning. They can acknowledge other scholars, and support other scholars in various ways, be it recognition of someone&rsquo;s mentorship in the work, to drawing attention to another academic&rsquo;s work.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;There is a generosity,&rdquo; she says.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:36:57 NO StFX researchers create buzz around infection fighting bee glue <p><span>St. Francis Xavier University students and professors have joined forces with a rural Nova Scotia bee producer to create a product that will heal some illnesses.</span></p> <div>StFX professor and microbiologist Dr. Lori Graham was able to scientifically prove that Propolis &lsquo;bee glue,&rsquo; made by bees from tree sap, indeed has antibacterial activity against a range of organisms, many of which are associated with food-borne illnesses.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Propolis is sticky, resinous material used to waterproof and insulate their hives, says beekeeper Margaret Cornect from Cornect Family Farms in Denver, Guysborough County. In many parts of the world, in particular in Europe, it is used as a healing salve and ointment because of its health care properties, adds Ms. Cornect.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. David Pink, senior research professor in StFX's Physics Department, and his colleague senior research associate Dr. Erzsebet Papp-Szabo will begin developing some products using &lsquo;bee glue.&rsquo; Both professors have experience in developing new products. Dr. Papp-Szabo developed Paw-Shield, a product which protects and heals dogs' paws from winter cold and salt.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The rural Nova Scotia business owner likes this mix of scientific competence and personal confidence. She realizes the advantages of having top scientists work with her. &ldquo;These research collaborations are a great way for me to build my business,&rdquo; says Ms. Cornect. &ldquo;It's great to see a university reaching out to work with small businesses like mine, helping to develop or dream up new products, and involve students in real-world applied science.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ms. Cornect is aiming to have her Propolis health products available in 2015.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:09:29 NO Nursing students facilitate evidence-based practice workshops <p><span>Third year StFX nursing students continue to develop their capacity in research appraisal and leadership. As part of their nursing research and leadership course this fall, students facilitated innovative evidence-informed practice workshops to review and question health system practices, policies and associated outcomes. &nbsp;</span></p> <div>Students used change theory and evidence to inform their workshops, developed creative video capsules to share research on the urgency of the concern and used group work and interactive technology to discuss the barriers, facilitators and resources needed to create change within the health system, says nursing professor Dr. Patti Hansen-Ketchum, who taught the course this term.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>They inspired one another and developed their self-efficacy as they took ownership of their concerns, compiled and critiqued the research literature, and used their knowledge and creativity to develop workshops around such topics as gender bias, stigma and drug use, music therapy and dementia, burnout, and non-pharmacological pain management amongst many other relevant topics. &nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:32:37 NO StFX student advisor recognized in Black Business Initiative magazine <p><span>Michael Fisher, StFX&rsquo;s Advisor for Students of African Descent, has been recognized in the <em>Black Business Initiative</em> magazine&rsquo;s winter 2014 issue.&nbsp;</span></p> <div>Mr. Fisher is highlighted in the magazine as a member of the 2014-15 cohort of 21 young leaders selected from all across the province as part of the <em>21 Leaders for the 21st Century</em>, commonly known as 21inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial leaders aged under 40 years old across Atlantic Canada.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>In July 2014, he was selected from over 350 nominations in Nova Scotia to be one of the 21 &quot;exceptional young leaders who demonstrate superior leadership skills and are attuned to the needs of their communities.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>For the 10-month leadership development program, cohort members are paired with a seasoned leader who acts as a mentor on their journey to become effective 21st century leaders. Cohort members participate in several &ldquo;accelerator&rdquo; weekends as well as a week-long study tour of the province talking to leaders, government officials and entrepreneurs. By the end of their term, each group member is to present a final project, which they will have implemented in a community and given ownership to that community. &nbsp;</div> <div><br /> Mr. Fisher says a recent tour took the group to various places across the province including l'Universit&eacute; Sainte-Anne in Church Point to meet with President Allister Surette to talk about renewable energy on campus; to Just Us Coffee in Grand Pr&eacute; to speak with Debra Moore; a futuristic planning session with Acadia University President Ray Ivany; with Laurie Jennings, owner of Masstown Market; a tour of Coady International Institute with Shannon Archibald, John Gaventa and Alison Mathie; a presentation with Dan <br /> Christmas at Membertou Heritage Park; a meeting with Port Authorities of Halifax; and a historical presentation by El Jones on Africville and the Black Cultural Centre in Dartmouth.</div> <div><br /> &quot;It&rsquo;s definitely humbling to be recognized as one of the young leaders who are making a difference in Nova Scotia and to be a part of the 21Inc Leadership organization,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;While I am acutely aware of some of the challenges that exist in our province, I&rsquo;m also very optimistic about the opportunities that we have to help create a future where I envision young people becoming change agents who play a vital role in the leadership, development and sustainability of Nova Scotia - this is as much an important task of the educational institution as it is of any other branch of government or the private sector. Working together, I&rsquo;m confident we can make Nova Scotia a beacon of the Atlantic provinces and throughout Canada. As always, 'we need not settle for less because we were made for greater!&rsquo;&quot;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 05:29:04 NO Local businesses get boost from StFX research <p><span>St. Francis Xavier University faculty and students are using their research to help local businesses improve products and services while students receive real-world experience.&nbsp;</span></p> <div>Students and faculty are preparing to work with more businesses in the new year as word spreads among Nova Scotia businesses about the benefits of working with faculty and students.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The local economy is getting a boost from a diverse range of innovative research from StFX. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s awesome to see our faculty working together with their students on scientific problems facing industry,&rdquo; says Andrew Kendall, StFX&rsquo;s manager of Industry Liaison and Knowledge Transfer. &ldquo;These students will be graduating from StFX with real-world, industry relevant experience and it&rsquo;s a great way to get an edge-up on launching a career.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;We have a new season of applied research and better ways to assess the cleanup of hydrocarbon contaminated lands, new ways to reduce sodium in commercially produced bread dough, safer and more efficient ways for safety inspections of bridges and more refined tools to pinpoint methane emissions from coal seams for environmental monitoring.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The bridge inspection project is a great example of faculty and students supporting a local company, says Mr. Kendall. &ldquo;StFX engineering professor Frank Comeau and his undergraduate students are looking at ways for an aerial drone to inspect a bridge and send visual and other digital information regarding structural safety to the drone operating inspector.&quot;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;This is a fairly complex problem because the metal of the bridge can interfere with wireless transmission of this information,&rdquo; says Dr. Comeau. &ldquo;I will be working with my students to deal with this problem by crafting new circuitry and associated software processing of the data collected by the drone. But I am confident that we can find a solution.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. Vidya Limaye, president of the Halifax-based company SHM Canada Consulting Ltd. for whom this work is being done says the StFX research should result in his small company being able to compete for much larger bridge inspection projects. &ldquo;It makes good business sense for me to partner with StFX to tackle these problems. This research will give my company an advantage in this specialty engineering area. I am already thinking of more research that I can do with StFX when this project is over,&rdquo; he adds.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 05:25:07 NO StFX education professor co-edits new book that looks at how understanding can arise out of difficult situations <p>The ancient idea of learning through suffering, or the understanding that can arise out of difficult situations, is the theme of a new book co-edited by StFX education professor Dr. Chris Gilham.</p> <div>The book, <em>On the Pedagogy of Suffering: Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education</em>, released by Peter Lang International Academic Publishers on Nov. 27, 2014, looks at how difficult situations can be key to authentic and meaningful acts of teaching and learning.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Along with Dr. Gilham, co-editors are education professor Dr. David W. Jardine and nursing professor Dr. Graham McCaffrey, both at the University of Calgary.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;In our work in various disciplines, education, nursing, psychiatry, for example, we often noticed a frantic, panicky struggle to constantly alleviate challenging, difficult conditions, sometimes conditions that created suffering on the part of both educator and students,&rdquo; Dr. Gilham says.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>For example, the struggle to alleviate any sign of stress seemed to be counter-productive: it exacerbated the suffering. &ldquo;A kind of attachment or clinging to suffering and its amelioration ensued, which in the face of its often non-arrival, compounded the desire for cure, thereby increasing the suffering,&rdquo; he says.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The three co-editors wanted to wrestle with the idea, an ancient one, that suffering can be pedagogical, he says.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;It can teach us. In other words, understanding often arises out of difficult situations and circumstances of misunderstanding, which can include suffering. This is not to be avoided all the time, at all costs. We found that there were cases of mindful composure &ndash; a noticing and being with suffering &ndash; that could cultivate deeper understanding. In turn, values, beliefs, dispositions, practices, were transformed. This book strives to articulate this idea through Buddhist and Hermeneutic scholarship tied to the stories of the many contributors in the book. Thus, the book is at once philosophical and deeply grounded in the lived experiences of people who work and live in places of suffering. In this way the book attempts to be what Aristotle and more recently, Hans-Georg Gadamer called a practical philosophy.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. Gilham says as his first book, he&rsquo;s excited and nervous at once. &ldquo;The topic is not an easy one, nor can it be the single story of suffering and pedagogy. Like all texts launched into the public it requires our careful handling of it. I'm deeply grateful to Dr. David Jardine, one of my MA and PhD supervisors who led the way in the creation of this book.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. Gilham is a former junior high/elementary school teacher and consultant. His work is focused on helping cultivate spaces in school settings where typically marginalized and codified students and their educators can thrive together.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:24:47 NO StFX faculty earn internationally competitive Endeavour Research Fellowships to conduct research work in Australia <p><span>StFX biology professor Dr. Russell Wyeth and Dr. Christina Holmes, adjunct faculty in StFX&rsquo;s Anthropology Department, are each recipients of the internationally competitive $24,500 Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian government.&nbsp;</span></p> <div>The husband and wife duo, along with their two children, will spend six months from February to July 2015 in Australia working on their respective research project.</div> <div><br /> Dr. Wyeth, who is on sabbatical, will collaborate with researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast and Queensland Institute of Medical Research, studying gene function in snails that are the alternate host for <em>Schistosomiasis</em>, a parasitic disease that affects tens of millions of people in the tropics.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;My goal is to develop a collaboration with Dr. Scott Cummins at the University of the Sunshine Coast. We have a common interest in the biology of molluscs, and complementary expertise,&rdquo; Dr. Wyeth says.</div> <div><br /> They hope to better understand the functions of olfactory genes in the aquatic snail Biomphalaria. &ldquo;By working with this species, which is a vector for the human parasitic blood fluke, our goal is to expand understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying the snail&rsquo;s behaviour, while also validating a technique valuable for use in studies on this and other molluscs with societal importance,&rdquo; he says.</div> <div><br /> Dr. Wyeth&rsquo;s past research has focused particularly on the neurobiology and behaviour of slugs and snails. &ldquo;We know these animals use odours to move around in their habitat, finding food and mates and avoiding predators. I would like to continue this by exploring the genes involved in detecting the odours, which will in turn help me to reconstruct the neural circuits that actually control the behaviours. &nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;To do this, I need to test the function of different genes by selectively eliminating them, Dr. Cummins expertise, and then measuring the behavioural consequences, my expertise.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> Dr. Wyeth will work in both Dr. Cummins' lab, and the lab of collaborator Dr. Don McManus, Head of Molecular Parasitology Laboratory QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. &ldquo;We anticipate building a long-standing collaboration to answer a range of questions about molluscan olfaction,&rdquo; he says.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> Dr. Holmes&rsquo; postdoctoral program will allow her to focus on a CIHR-funded collaborative project with Dr. Fiona McDonald, senior lecturer, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology. The project follows the emerging science of proteomics, the large-scale study of proteins, as a case study of the role of knowledge translation in evolving health sciences. The translation of scientific knowledge into clinical practice, although crucial for novel health care strategies, is often difficult within newly established research fields, she says.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 10 Dec 2014 07:20:22 NO Company created by StFX professor and students goes global <p><span>A company created in a science lab at St. Francis Xavier University is set for global expansion.&nbsp;</span></p> <div><span>StFX earth sciences professor Dr. David Risk and his students spin-off company, called Forerunner Research, is leading the pack in innovative gas technologies.&nbsp;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The company&rsquo;s instruments and expertise all revolve around the detection, analysis and monitoring of naturally occurring gases, including emissions from oil and gas production fields, contaminated sites, or tiny, slow leaks from pipelines and other industrial infrastructure.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>These technologies and the expertise of Forerunner Research have allowed the company to acquire an initial round of public and private investment to expand its operations. Now, StFX is also enthusiastically supporting the company&rsquo;s growth by its own investment in Forerunner.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;StFX&rsquo;s research backing is a critical step in allowing us to secure further investment,&rdquo; says Forerunner Research president Gordon McArthur. &ldquo;We now have customers and projects in five continents, and StFX&rsquo;s investment, in the form of patents will help propel us further.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;StFX&rsquo;s firm support of Forerunner makes sense from many areas &ndash; the company has what it takes for growth in the competitive high-tech world of clean technology,&rdquo; says StFX&rsquo;s Manager of Industry Liaison, Andrew Kendall. &ldquo;Also, it proves that applied, industry relevant research and education that are a priority at StFX because the technologies have come from student&ndash;professor collaborations at StFX, and best of all, many of our graduate students are working at the company including Gordon as Forerunner&rsquo;s President, Nick Nickerson as chief scientist and Chance Creelman as R&amp;D scientist.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. Risk, primary inventor of many of the technologies says, &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been working on these projects for many years, and StFX has been a supportive partner from day one. By working together we&rsquo;ve been able to maximize research impact by moving these useful technologies outside the lab and into the hands of end users, and along the way we&rsquo;ve made great opportunities for students. Of course this institution is one where we have a long tradition of looking outside, and mobilizing support to communities who needed our help. To me, this is another example of that spirit. We can compete globally in clean technology and the knowledge economy.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Forerunner is very grateful for support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC‐IRAP) and Innovacorp, says Mr. McArthur. &ldquo;We are all very grateful for this tremendous network of economic and research support agencies and their belief in the applied research of our students.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:40:20 NO New book by StFX education professor provides insights into teaching online <p><span>A new book by StFX education professor Dr. David Young provides important insights into the topic of teaching online.</span></p> <div>The peer-reviewed book, <em>Teaching Online: Stories from Within</em>, is co-edited with Dr. Thomas Ryan from Nipissing University, and captures the narratives of 15 post-secondary instructors who currently teach online.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;It is a pan-Canadian sample―including contributors from StFX―of those who step out of the depths of cyber-space to reveal their own personal insights regarding the trials and tribulations of online teaching in a manner that enables readers to access answers to some of the current questions concerning this medium,&rdquo; Dr. Young says. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> The genesis for the book began in 2012 at a conference he and his co-editor were attending, Dr. Young says. &ldquo;During our conversations the idea of a manuscript chronicling the lived experiences of those who teach online began to take shape. It seemed clear that online education was an important issue we both had a vested interest in, as each of us were heavily involved in teaching graduate level M.Ed. courses online.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Although the book was not designed as a blueprint for teaching online, the various narratives do provide valuable suggestions for teaching in this environment, he says.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>At StFX, Dr. Young&rsquo;s research is focused on the broad topic of educational administration and policy. More particularly, his current writing deals with issues surrounding law and education. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including <em>Capsle Comments,</em> the<em> Education &amp; Law Journal, </em>the<em> Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, </em>and the<em> Journal of Educational Administration and Foundations</em>. Among the courses he has taught are psychological foundations of education, educating exceptional students, social foundations of education, educational policy, educational research, school administration, inclusive schools and education law.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 05:39:08 NO Interrogating the past - StFX research selected as a journal highlight by the European Geosciences Union <p><span>In studying past climates, one of the least known energy reservoirs is that of the energy stored in the upper layers of the continents. Now, work from StFX&rsquo;s Climate and Atmospheric Sciences Institute (CASI) is making an important contribution to understanding the quantity and nature of the heat absorbed by the continental areas.</span></p> <div>The work, by earth sciences professor Dr. Hugo Beltrami in collaboration with several colleagues, has recently been chosen as a journal highlight by the European Geosciences Union in their latest newsletter.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Studies of past climates reveal important environmental information useful for constraining the range of global climate model projections that simulate the state of the climate of the Earth over the next centuries.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Such research is dedicated to the quantification and reduction of uncertainties in paleoclimatic data to be used as validation, or verification tools for global climate models under the assumption that if a climate model is capable of simulating the statistics and qualitative behaviour of the climate of the past, then its future climate change projections may be worth taking into account.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;Such work is fundamental because the measures to be taken by society to adapt and mitigate the potentially dangerous effects of climate change at regional scales must be as precise as possible to protect the population, environment and economic prosperity,&rdquo; says Dr. Beltrami.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The important issue is, however, to ascertain the overall energy balance of the Earth&rsquo;s climate system and how the extra energy from an enhanced greenhouse effect from anthropogenic activities is distributed, exchanged and stored in the several components of the climate system, he says.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The research paper Dr. Beltrami, co-authored with Dr. G. Matharoo (Climate &amp; Atmospheric Sciences Institute, StFX), Dr. L. Tarasov (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Dr. V. Rath (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Ireland and 2011 James Chair Professor), and Dr. J. E. Smerdon (LDEO, Columbia University, New York and 2009 James Chair Professor) provides the first estimate of the impact of the development of the Laurentide ice sheet on the estimates of energy and temperature reconstructions from measurements of terrestrial borehole temperatures in North America according to a set of simulations from the MUN Glacial System Model.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;This is important information as most of Canada was covered by a thick ice sheet over much of the last 120 thousand years. For example, Nova Scotia was under some 1.5 km of ice until about 18,000 years ago,&rdquo; Dr. Beltrami says.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The paper, &ldquo;<em>Numerical studies on the Impact of the Last Glacial Cycle on recent borehole temperature profiles: implications for terrestrial energy balance</em>,&rdquo; published in the European Geosciences Union journal &ldquo;Climate of the Past&rdquo; explains that reconstructions of past climatic changes from geothermal data are important and independent estimates of temperature histories over the last millennium. They also point out that there remain multiple uncertainties in the interpretation of these data as climatic indicators and as estimates of the heat storage of the continental subsurface in response to long-term climatic change.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>One of these sources of error is associated with the often ignored impact of the last glacial cycle on the subsurface energy content, which it is the basic information needed to quantify the extent of the subsurface energy change and to derive spatial maps of the expected changes over North America.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In their article, the authors also present quantitative estimates of the potential effects of temperature changes during the last glacial cycle on the paleoclimatic reconstructions over the last millennium for North America. Their results point to discrepancies, as much as 50 per cent of previous estimates of the continental heat change in North America when the effects of the last glacial cycle are not taken into account.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Drs. Beltrami and Tarasov&rsquo;s research programs are supported by NSERC Discovery Grants program. ACOA-AIF also supports Drs. Beltrami and Matharoo&rsquo;s research.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>For more, please see, GeoQ Newsletter: <a href=""></a>; European Geosciences Union:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></div> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:28:10 NO Achievement honoured; possibility, responsibility to do good in the world message at StFX Fall Convocation 2014 <p>It was a day of academic achievement and celebration for students from over 20 countries at StFX on Saturday, Dec. 6 when close to 200 degrees and diplomas were conferred in addition to 49 diplomas awarded to graduates of the Coady International Institute during Fall Convocation 2014.&nbsp;</p> <div><span>StFX also honoured Dr. James Orbinski, humanitarian practitioner and leading scholar in global health, with a Doctor of Laws degree <em>honoris causa</em> for his contributions to domestic and international human rights and for challenging all to imagine a better tomorrow.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;What a full and genuine honour it is for me to share this day with you my fellow StFX graduates. You are well prepared from one of the best and finest academic institutions in Canada,&rdquo; Dr. Orbinski told Fall Convocation.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. Orbinski is Research Chair in Global Health at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and professor of International Policy and Governance at Wilfrid Laurier University.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Dr. Orbinski spoke to convocation about how we all can be more humane, just, and fair to each other, and how it&rsquo;s possible to address major issues in the world.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;You have had a great beginning here at StFX, in this community of Antigonish.&nbsp;<span>You have had an immensely local experience and acquired the skills for global impact. On this graduation day, your community is bigger, your place in it is bigger, and your responsibility in it is bigger,&rdquo; he told graduates.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;Go out and literally shape and change the world.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Do not fall sway to the thought that you can do it alone, he said. You do it by speaking, listening, and doing, and always from community.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>StFX, &ldquo;what is now a national treasure with global impact&rdquo; grew from a community of mothers and fathers who gave and were deeply committed to the betterment of their children through education, he said.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;You join one of the most unique families across the globe,&rdquo; StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said in remarks which recognized and celebrated graduate achievements, all who supported them, and StFX&rsquo;s dedicated and talented faculty and staff.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>He recognized all those who chose to attend StFX, who have come, in some cases, from many miles and many countries including &ldquo;the fantastic 49 from 20 different countries&rdquo; at StFX&rsquo;s Coady International Institute.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a simple journey to complete a university education,&rdquo; he said&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Looking forward, Dr. MacDonald gave graduates one last assignment: to think about their responsibility and possibility to do good, to carry this X spirit forward to create a more just and equitable world. &ldquo;How will you make the lives of those around you a little bit better?&rdquo; Dr. MacDonald challenged graduates.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Highlights of the ceremony included Jamie Powell, senior laboratory instructor in StFX&rsquo;s Physics Department, receiving the 2014 Outreach Award, given to a university faculty or staff member who has demonstrated a long and consistent involvement in activities that has served the Nova Scotia community; and the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS) receiving the StFX Community Partner Recognition Award, given to a community partner who has made a significant and sustained contribution to the growth and development of educational opportunities at StFX</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Coady Institute graduate Abu Augustus Brima of Sierra Leone offered acknowledgement on behalf of the graduating class.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>StFX Alumni Affairs Director Mary Jessie MacLellan welcomed all graduates to the Xaverian alumni family. &ldquo;Remember to look for the ring, and make the connection. You are not alone,&rdquo; she said.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>Bios:</strong></div> <div><strong><br /> </strong></div> <div><strong>Dr. James Orbinski</strong></div> <div>At the University of Toronto, Dr. Orbinski is full professor of Medicine at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Senior Fellow at both Massey College, and the Munk School of Global Affairs. In 1986-87, he lived in Sub-Saharan Africa researching HIV/AIDS in children under a Canadian Medical Research Council Fellowship. He has extensive field experience with M&eacute;decins Sans Fronti&egrave;res (MSF), having worked as a doctor in Peru, Brazil, and as MSF&rsquo;s medical co-coordinator in Somalia during the civil war and famine, and in Afghanistan during the civil war. He led MSF&rsquo;s mission in Kigali, Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and civil war, and in Goma, Zaire during the 1996-97 civil war and refugee crisis. After completing a masters degree in international relations, he was elected international president of MSF from 1998-2001. During this time, he launched MSF&rsquo;s Access to Essential Medicines Campaign and accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to MSF in 1999. From 2001-04, he co-chaired MSF&rsquo;s Neglected Diseases Working Group, which in 2004 launched the not-for profit Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi). In 2004, he co-founded Dignitas International, now supporting over 200,000 people with full treatment for HIV, and is scaling up its primary health care treatment model to serve a population of three million in Malawi. Some of Dr. Orbinski&rsquo;s medical research is recognized as among the &ldquo;best science in the world&rdquo; and as having shaped scholarship in the field of global health. He is author of the award-winning and best-selling book, An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarianism in the 21st Century (Bloomsbury, 2009), and the subject of the award-winning 2008 documentary, Triage: Dr. James Orbinski&rsquo;s Humanitarian Dilemma. He has served and founded numerous boards, is a member of the Order of Ontario and an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has received 11 honorary doctorates, the Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award from the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association in recognition of &lsquo;his outstanding contributions to domestic and international human rights,&rsquo; and the 2012 Canadian Civil Liberties Award of Excellence.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>The StFX Community Partner Recognition Award presented to Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network</strong> (BTS). BTS is a voluntary network of people in the Maritimes who began to organize in 1989 to support the efforts of Guatemalans struggling for political, social, and economic justice. BTS is committed to supporting structural transformation both in Guatemala and in Canada by building long-term relationships based on solidarity and mutuality. Since its inception, BTS has partnered with StFX to enhance educational experiences of students and staff by facilitating events and guest speakers. BTS has been a critical partner for StFX&rsquo;s Immersion Service Learning Program trip to Guatemala providing pre-trip and around the clock support during. BTS has also engaged students by employing them as interns and engaging them as volunteers encouraging them to advocate for change locally and abroad. Accepting the award on behalf of BTS is Maritime founder Kathryn Anderson. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>The Outreach Award presented to Jamie Powell</strong>, who is a senior laboratory instructor in StFX&rsquo;s Physics Department. Over and beyond this commitment, for over two decades Mr. Powell has offered his time and talent to provide science education and outreach experiences throughout eastern Nova Scotia. Mr. Powell&rsquo;s outreach has also impacted teaching and research at StFX. Mr. Powell has volunteered his expertise to numerous youth organizations and schools. &nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Sat, 06 Dec 2014 13:01:01 NO Large crowd marks 25th anniversary, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women <p>A large crowd gathered in the Schwartz School Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 5 for a ceremony to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.</p> <div>During the ceremony &ndash; which marks the 25th anniversary of the murders of 14 young women whose lives were tragically taken on December 6, 1989 at l'&Eacute;cole Polytechnique de Montr&eacute;al &ndash; several speakers encouraged all gathered not to remain silent on violence against women, to speak up if they are a victim and if they see violence happening. &nbsp; &nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;This is an important day of remembrance and action,&quot; keynote speaker Cst. Jennifer Arnold of the Antigonish RCMP said.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>It is important to reflect, 25 years later, why violence against women is still so prevalent, and more importantly, what we can do about it.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;We must not remain silent,&quot; Cst. Arnold told those gathered. &quot;This is what allows violence against women to continue.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;Speak out if you are a victim of violence, speak up if you see violence happening.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;We have to realize our words have power,&quot; she said. &quot;This is a community problem and it demands a community solution.&quot;</div> <div><br /> The day is an opportunity for Canadians to reflect and to commit to ending violence against women, said StFX student athlete Bobbie Martin who co-led the ceremony with fellow student athlete Charlton Elliott.</div> <div><br /> &quot;It&rsquo;s a day to learn, to remember, to help educate, and create a catalyst for change,&quot; Mr. Eilliott said.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>During the ceremony, Mi&rsquo;kmaq Elder Mary Lafford offered the opening prayer.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> Frank Comeau, chair of the Engineering Department, presented a bursary to Emily Seymour and the Women in Engineering Memorial Scholarship to Randi Kennedy.</div> <div><br /> Established by the Parliament of Canada on December 6th, 1991 to commemorate these women and all women who have lost their lives as a result of violence, the National Day of Remembrance on December 6th represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in society and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence and as a commitment to end violence against women.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 10:04:56 NO Schwartz School students honoured with Dr. Trudy Eagan Women in Business Award <p>Jane Fraser and Nikki Mills, two fourth year Schwartz School of Business students, are the 2014 recipients of the Dr. Trudy Eagan Women in Business Award winners.</p> <p>The awards have been bestowed annually at StFX since 2000 to two top female students in the Schwartz School of Business.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The 2014 award recipients represent the next generation of Canadian business leaders. They have distinguished themselves through their dedication to learning, service to the university and the broader community, and the difference they have made in the lives of those around them. They truly exemplify the Xaverian way,&rdquo; says Dr. Trudy Eagan, a New Brunswick native who attended StFX before establishing her career. She served as CAO and Executive Vice President of Sun Media Information. In 1999, she received an honorary degree from StFX in recognition of her success in business and her extensive volunteer work. <br /> <br /> Ms. Fraser is a fourth year accounting major from Merigomish, NS and a member of the Dean&rsquo;s List. She has been an active member of the academic community throughout her years at StFX. Along with helping to organize special events on campus, she has been VP Social Affairs, Schwartz Business Society; a peer tutor; an Academic Day and Academic X-Po volunteer; and a student Leaders&rsquo; Forum participant. She has actively voluntered with MADD Antigonish and with the Victoria Order of Nurses.<br /> <br /> She will join Grant Thornton in Halifax, NS as a CPA student following graduation. <br /> <br /> Ms. Mills of Indian Harbour Lake, NS is a fourth year honours accounting major. In addition to serving as VP of the Schwartz Business Society, she is a co-captain of this year&rsquo;s StFX delegation to the JDC Central Competition in Toronto, ON. She has also distinguished herself as a StFX research assistant helping to design and implement a financial literacy program for First Nations communities; as a high school math tutor; a member of the Business Society which tripled sales in one of its main fundraisers; and she placed second in the Deloitte Atlantic accounting case competition last year.<br /> <br /> Following graduation, she will join Pricewaterhouse Coopers as an Associate in Audit and Assurance.</p> Business Thu, 04 Dec 2014 07:58:17 NO You never forget the feeling of getting your X-Ring – poignant ceremony marks X-Ring 2014 <p><span>&ldquo;Never taking if off.&rdquo; &nbsp;</span></p> <div>That was the reaction of more than one student as poignant fiddle music filled the Keating Centre as black-robed senior students marched two-by-two down the centre aisle to receive their long-coveted X-Ring.</div> <div><br /> Parents, family and friends watched from overflow rooms while many others tuned in to the live broadcast online from Kuwait to Nicaragua, from Germany to England, to all across North America.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;It really is a special day,&rdquo; StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said in opening remarks, noting how in the last few days he has meet parents and family members who have come from across the country to celebrate this achievement with the Class of 2015. Post-RN BScN student Marlene MacKay for instance, who studies at a distance and who will graduate in May 2015, travelled from Victoria B.C. with her husband to attend X-Ring.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;This spirit is simply not normal behavior at any other university,&rdquo; he joked as the campus hummed with an infectious spirit of energy and enthusiasm as senior students prepared to receive their X-Ring on Dec. 3, the Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> What makes the X-Ring so important?</div> <div><br /> It symbolizes academic excellence, community, shared experiences, a reward for hard work, and is a dream come true, are some of the answers Dr. MacDonald says he received when he posed that question to senior students.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;The X-Ring is more than simply jewelry.&rdquo;</div> <div><br /> In a poignant reminder of this very community, Dr. MacDonald gave a shout-out in his remarks to Class of 2015 member Jesse Crowley who due to illness couldn&rsquo;t be in attendance at the ceremony. Though Jesse was not able to be at StFX, it didn&rsquo;t stop the X-Ring from coming to him. Dr. MacDonald&rsquo;s wife Mary-Ellen MacPhee delivered Jesse his X-Ring in Ottawa.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;StFX is more than just a school. It is a place of purpose,&rdquo; Dr. MacDonald said, and these X-Rings will connect you forever. He noted how he has been stopped in New Zealand to Africa by people recognizing the X-Ring and wanting to have a conversation.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> The X-Ring is a symbol of academic excellence, of StFX&rsquo;s talented and dedicated faculty and staff, of community, of commitment to social justice, he said.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a day you&rsquo;ll never forget.&rdquo;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;This ring unites us all,&rdquo; StFX senior class president and ceremony emcee Kate MacDonald said.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> Attending StFX is the best decision she ever made, she said, as she spoke of the support, the community and the opportunity for personal growth she found at the university.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;Now we have a larger role to play,&rdquo; she said, in spreading their knowledge, in making a mark in the world as Xaverians.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> The X-Ring is a symbol of the world you are capable of creating, guest speaker Dr. Andrew Howlett, from the Class of 2002, and president of the StFX Alumni Association, told the students.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;We all know this is more than just a ring.</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;Alumni around the world are excited for you,&rdquo; he said.</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;The future of these X-Rings will be in your hands, literally.&rdquo;</div> <div><br /> &quot;It's hard to concentrate when you're staring at your ring,&quot; Students' Union president Brandon Hamilton joked just minutes after receiving his X-Ring.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> The Class of 2015 stood as Mr. Hamilton led the reciting of the Xaverian Commitment, which students took in first year.&nbsp;</div> <div>He then presented the honorary X-Ring, given for outstanding contribution, to this year&rsquo;s recipient Francis Juurlink, &ldquo;an individual who goes the extra step,&rdquo; &ldquo;who does more than his job description.&rdquo;</div> <div><br /> Mr. Juurlink, custodian in Bloomfield Centre, has been on staff at StFX since 1993. Mr. Hamilton spoke about the difference his support and friendship makes. He also told of how Mr. Juurlink as part of his job is the one who always transports the X-Rings to the Keating Centre. &ldquo;He is the X-Ring carrier now in every sense of the word.&rdquo;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;The X-Ring is a symbol of our experiences at StFX. It represents the intangibles,&rdquo; student Hilary Perry said in remarks thanking the guest speaker. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s also a reminder we are part of something bigger. It connects us to one another, but also to those who came before and will come after.&rdquo; &nbsp;</div> <div><br /> During the ceremony, Michael Thompson read an explanation of the StFX motto, and senior class vice-president Emily Pelley read from the writings of Dr. Moses Coady. Vocalist Jessica de Domenico&rsquo;s stirring music filled the room as students proceed to light candles in the shape of an x.</div> <div><br /> In keeping with tradition, as students filed out of Keating Centre at the ceremony&rsquo;s conclusion, most smiling broadly and staring at their shiny new X-Rings, they took a moment to tap that ring on a piece of Chapel kneeler wood, a nod to the tradition when the ceremony still fit in the StFX Chapel.</div> <div>&nbsp;&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:17:33 NO Another successful year for Dr. Moses M. Coady Debating Competition at StFX <p><span>In a closely contested match, Halifax Grammar I defeated Sydney Academy I in the championship round to win top honours at the 2014 Dr. Moses M. Coady Debating Competition for high school students held at StFX.</span></p> <div>The annual competition is a tradition at StFX that dates back to at least 1983. Each year, about 10-18 high school debate teams with some of the area&rsquo;s top high school students come to StFX for the two-day event.<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>At this year&rsquo;s event, held Nov. 21 and 22, Ben Gillis of Halifax Grammar I emerged as the top debater, with Ainslie Pierrynowski of Sydney Academy scoring in second place for individual debaters.</div> <div><br /> For the past 12 years, StFX philosophy professors Dr. Steve Baldner and Dr. Ed Carty have organized the event, with Dr. Baldner handling the supervision of judges and the judges clinic and Dr. Carty concentrating on organizing the debates and running the competition aspect. StFX Recruitment sponsors the competition, with much support this year from Rebecca Lewis, and the StFX student debate society, X Debate, provides full and generous cooperation.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> Dr. Baldner and Dr. Carty say the competition has received excellent technical support from Dr. Bernard Liengme and more recently, David Coyle.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> They say many people&mdash;faculty, staff, and community members&mdash;generously volunteer year after year as judges and speakers.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;Quite a number of people have been putting out substantial effort for a number of years,&rdquo; they say.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;They enjoy the intellectual contest amongst the students. They like the battle of wits,&rdquo; Dr. Carty says.</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s contesting an issue. It&rsquo;s competitive and fun to watch, and it&rsquo;s impressive,&rdquo; adds Dr. Baldner. &ldquo;These high school students stand up and speak intelligently for eight minutes, many times with very little time for preparation.&rdquo;</div> <div><br /> The first two rounds are on prepared topics, but the next four rounds are impromptu where debaters receive their topic 10 minutes before competing.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;We both regard it as a service to the university. It&rsquo;s a very good opportunity to bring bright high school students to campus and give them an experience at StFX,&rdquo; Dr. Baldner says.</div> <div><br /> &ldquo;Overall, it creates a very positive impression for the university,&rdquo; says Dr. Carty.&nbsp;</div> <div><br /> The debate competition is named in honour of Dr. Moses Coady, first director of the StFX Extension Department, a professor of education at StFX, and remarkable pioneer in adult education. His social action programs and the economic model that became known as the Antigonish Movement continue today under the auspices of the Coady International Institute.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 09:26:57 NO