ST. JEROME’S UNIVERSITY | VOLUME 34, 2016
UPDATE Pantone Green: 343c Gold: 139c
CMYK Green: 98/0/72/61 Gold: 0/37/100/23
Pantone Green: 343c
6 CAMPUS RENEWAL PROJECT Black
16 TECHNOLOGY IN LEARNING
20 WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? 30 WE ARE CHAMPIONS White
EDITOR Viola Poletes Montgomery
MANAGING EDITOR Sandra Moon
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Allanah Cormier
CONTRIBUTORS Darren Becks Steven Bednarski Katherine Bergman Allanah Cormier Maureen Drysdale Martha Fauteux Nancy Harper Sara Humphreys Erin Huston Scott Kline Whitney Lackenbauer Glen Lombard Zack MacDonald Bess Mitchell Sandra Moon Jane Nicholas Diana C. Parry Viola Poletes Montgomery Pamela Riseborough Dr. Jack Sehl Dr. Mike Sehl David Seljak Erika Toffelmire Cristina Vanin Rachel Warner Kira Vermond David Williams
FEATURE STORIES 16
TECHNOLOGY IN LEARNING Learning has changed, can our universities keep up?
WE ARE CHAMPIONS HeForShe comes to UWaterloo. See what St. Jerome’s University is doing to support IMPACT 10x10x10.
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PHOTOGRAPHY Light Imaging Photography Chantal Davidson Photography Bryn Gladding Photography Photographs by Mindy Gough
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ADDRESS 290 Westmount Road North Waterloo, Ontario Canada N2L 3G3 SJU Update is published by St. Jerome’s University, federated with the University of Waterloo since 1960.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? Freak shows, the Oxford English Dictionary, and peer support: faculty open up about their research.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 OUR CORE COMMITMENTS........................ 5 CAMPUS RENEWAL PROJECT...................... 6 TECHNOLOGY IN LEARNING................... 16 EX CORDE ECCLESIAE MEDAL................. 19 WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?........................... 20 AN INSTINCT TO CARE............................ 28 WE ARE CHAMPIONS.............................. 30 ENCOUNTER KW..................................... 34 THEOLOGY FOR THE WORLD.................. 38 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE..............................
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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Last year, the 150th anniversary of St. Jerome’s University provided a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our shared history and to take pride in all that we’ve achieved together. Now, as the University’s $47-million campus renewal project nears completion, we can look ahead to an even more promising future.
John Arnou Steven Bednarski Jim Beingessner, Chancellor Katherine Bergman, President and Vice Chancellor Frank Boerboom Mary Ellen Cullen, Vice Chair Ernest Doyle Mark Godin Cathy Horgan, Chair Ken Lavigne Jim Long Steven Lubczuk Rev. Murray McDermott, C.R., Provincial Superior Rev. Con O’Mahony, Vicar of Education, Diocese of Hamilton Toni Serafini James Skidmore Kathy Smidt Robert Truman Karen Van Staveren Dan Weber
I hope you were able to share in the excitement of our 150th anniversary celebrations, to reminisce with past friends, and to marvel at the diverse and dynamic community we’ve created here. Today, this University is entering a new era of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development. To that end, we’re building a bridge to the next 150 years with a campus renewal project that will prepare the next generation of student leaders for what lies ahead. Having been raised with a smartphone in hand — and 24/7 access to information at their fingertips — this is a generation that needed something more, and something different. I’m thrilled about our rejuvenated campus, which features a new residence complex, academic centre, wellness centre, administrative and student spaces, and a place of prominence for our chapel. Our new smart classrooms, interactive labs, and renovated learning spaces will do so much to transform the student experience and encourage intellectual discovery — while still providing the nurturing, inclusive environment that is the hallmark of St. Jerome’s University. I’m also excited to announce the new Discovery Lab, a “research park” space that we’ll use as a catalyst to create opportunities and develop new partnerships. It’s an investment in the University’s future that gives others confidence in us, and it has reinvigorated this institution as we bring our many assets to the table in new and different ways. It was an honour to celebrate the campus renewal project on reunion weekend in October, and I look forward to seeing throughout the year how it will help meet the demands of this new generation of students. With a new strategic plan in hand, we now have the deliberate focus we need to build on the strengths of our long and remarkable history, and to keep growing without compromising the enduring values of educating the whole person and promoting the common good.
It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m so glad you’ve been with us along the way.
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Dr. Katherine Bergman, President and Vice Chancellor
OUR CORE COMMITMENTS AT ST. JEROMEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S UNIVERSITY Our Identity Distinguish ourselves locally, nationally, and internationally as a liberal arts university
Our Future Build dynamic and collaborative partnerships
Our Catholicity Encourage the intellectual, spiritual, and social development of the whole person
Our Culture Foster a respectful, inclusive community
Teaching and Learning Research Nurture an environment that values excellence in scholarship, research, and creative activity
Inspire a lifelong commitment to independent and discerning learning
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CAMPUS RENEWAL PROJECT: BUILDING A FUTURE, LEAVING A LEGACY By Nancy Harper
INNOVATIVE BUILD HELPS TRANSFORM THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE With academic and residence buildings bursting at the seams — and a tiny six-acre campus leaving nowhere to grow — the message for the decisionmakers at St. Jerome’s University was clear: Find ways to innovate, or risk everything by doing nothing. To that end, a $47-million campus renewal project is nearing completion — and it’s not only getting top marks from within the University itself, but it’s also attracting attention on the national stage.
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“We had no space to grow. We were at a point where we had renovated every piece of space. We were stagnant — and when evolution gets stuck, it starts shrinking and leads to extinction.” — President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Katherine Bergman
“It was important for the University to embark on this path because if we didn’t, the writing was on the wall,” says St. Jerome’s University President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Katherine Bergman. Having invested virtually nothing in new infrastructure since 1995, Bergman says, it was critical to take a strategic look at the entire organization to decide what type of build made the most sense — because even though the buildings were structurally sound, the internal mechanics were 60 years old and couldn’t support the evolving needs of students and employees.
What the decision-makers were hearing was that parents loved the academic programs, but they didn’t want their kids living in a cramped, outdated residence or studying in small, crowded classrooms.
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The main priorities then, Bergman says, were to update the residences and build a new academic centre.
MEETING THE DEMANDS OF A NEW GENERATION According to Glen Lombard, Director, Office of Student Experience, transforming the student experience needed to be about encouraging intellectual discovery and innovation, while also supporting the University’s reputation as a leading Roman Catholic, liberal arts post-secondary institution. “Before the master campus plan, we were always retrofitting spaces designed for other purposes to adapt to the evolving needs of today’s students,” Lombard says. “With the opportunity to begin with a blank canvas, we were able to design spaces that students have been asking for and dreaming about.” “From a real do-it-yourself creative makerspace — with 3D printing and the tools at students’ fingertips to ignite their creativity — to recreational facilities and community spaces designed to foster the deep connections that have always been a mainstay at this University, every element of how our spaces were designed and built was done with the future in mind.”
CAMPUS RENEWAL PROJECT: THE HIGHLIGHTS The $47-million campus renewal project, designed to promote excellence in scholarship, research, and creative activity, is transforming not only the student experience but also the entire future of the University.
AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS: • A new residence complex, consisting of Ryan Hall and Siegfried Hall, with: – 360 beds – Offer both single and double rooms – Bedrooms upstairs and communal space on the ground floor for a more “house-like” feel • A new academic centre with: – A large atrium – Six classrooms: - Three large with fixed seating (one 300-seat, a 125-seat and a 90-seat) - Three smaller with flexible seating for 50 to 60 people • A wellness centre with a gym, fitness room, and change rooms • A fully renovated community centre • The former residence Sweeney Hall is being fully renovated: – The entire upper floor will house offices for academic staff – The south end of the lower floor will be home to the President’s Office and Administration – The north arm houses all the student support services • The Fireside Lounge is now an off-campus student hub • The J.R. Finn Residence will be repurposed into a collaborative space known as the Discovery Lab
• The existing Classrooms and Library Building will meet the needs of a library expansion and seminar rooms • The Notre Dame Chapel will have a prominent place on campus — the space formerly known as Siegfried Hall — and is expected to be renovated next summer
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IT’S ALL ABOUT COLLABORATION: CREATING A HUB OF RESEARCH AND KNOWLEDGE The library at St. Jerome’s University has long been a catalyst for inquiry and learning. But as education and research trends continue to evolve, it too must keep up with the times. According to Zack MacDonald, the librarian facilitating the library renewal, building a collaborative research and learning hub is the main focus of plans to expand and renovate the space. A needs assessment and initial concept have been drawn up, a design concept is in progress, and it is hoped that work on the existing space will begin by summer 2018. “We know where we need to go, but what the new space ultimately looks like will be decided over the coming year,” MacDonald says. The goal is to transform the library into something more in line with evolving trends in teaching and learning.
“It’s not the classroom or their residence room, it’s that third place where people can come together to break down barriers,” MacDonald says. “Collaboration and social learning spaces are two areas that the library is currently lacking in, and those types of spaces are definitely a priority for the new space.”
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As part of the overall campus renewal, the plan is to expand the library into the second floor of the Classrooms and Library Building. The goal is to improve the student experience in two ways: foster collaboration and allow for better service. “We’re hoping to give students the tools to look at their academic pursuits in different ways,” MacDonald says. “We want to get them to think more creatively about how they’re engaging in their course work. To do this, we want to create flexible, comfortable, and diverse study spaces that foster more collaboration and creativity.” “We are also looking to redesign our service points with a big focus on accessibility and more of a streamlined approach. We’re looking to get our library staff more engaged with library users, getting out from behind the traditional reference desk and really working on our outreach and programming.” Because we’re a small library, students can interact with staff on a very personal level. Being able to enhance that is the goal - to be able to bring our expertise to them.”
“It’s hard to learn when you’re in a small classroom with concrete walls and no windows. These new classrooms are bigger, brighter, the chairs are comfier — that alone can make a huge difference to how students learn.” — Speech Communication and Business student Rachel Warner
STUDENTS ALREADY FEELING THE DIFFERENCE Fourth-year Speech Communication and Business student, student leader, and campus experience guide Rachel Warner echoes Lombard’s enthusiasm, saying the renewal project is already having a positive impact on student life. She likes that the new academic building is accessible for people with mobility issues, and that it has plenty of areas for study and larger classrooms more suited to learning. “It’s hard to learn when you’re in a small classroom with concrete walls and no windows,” Warner says. “These new classrooms are bigger, brighter, the chairs are comfier — that alone can make a huge difference to how students learn.” And even with the larger residence and increased student numbers, Warner is pleased the University is still able to foster a sense of community that is unique to smaller campuses. “There are challenges when you increase in size and space,” Warner says. “Even though we have more students, we also have more physical spaces that can really help bring those people together.” “The first floor of the residence is all community space. The idea is that when people come back after class, they can see their friends playing pool in the games room or making a snack. The building was designed with that in mind. We have great spaces now: the games room, TV lounges, a gymnasium, and a fitness studio. We’re really working on what kinds of things we can offer students in terms of health and wellness.”
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NEW BUILDING METHODOLOGY A “LEAP OF FAITH” As a university federated with the University of Waterloo, St. Jerome’s University isn’t eligible for capital grants from the government, which made it especially critical that any build be delivered on time and on budget. Darren Becks, Vice President Administration, was instrumental in bringing the entire project forward using an innovative methodology that has given the University’s profile a huge boost. “My mission was to deliver on budget and on time in a way that had minimal impact on our operations,” Becks says. “It was a leap of faith in many respects because we asked both our Board and our community to embrace a completely different methodology.” The building and renovation project employed what’s known as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), a model that requires contractors, architects, and trade partners to place their profit at risk to drive project outcomes. Traditional construction projects often veer wildly off course, but the idea is that IPD projects unfold more smoothly because of the real restraints that force collaboration and transparency. Each partner must subscribe to the same philosophy: that efficiencies can be found to eliminate waste and save time and money. “We had to throw ourselves into it and work with a number of different partners,” Becks adds. “We measured everything: labour by the day, task commitments by day and week, total project resource requirements by trade, day, week, and month. We graphed and tracked everything — and if someone was trending outside where they needed to be, we’d sit down and discuss it.”
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“This is a huge win for us. There were a number of people who were very skeptical that we could turn the industry on its head and have this level of success. St. Jerome’s University is a small player but in many respects that gave us the opportunity to be more nimble.” — Darren Becks, Vice President Administration
“THIS IS A HUGE WIN FOR US” Becks says he’s thrilled with what he describes as an exceptional facility that far exceeds what could have been built using traditional methodologies. “This is a huge win for us,” he says. “I bought into the concept but I needed to make it happen. There were a number of people who were very skeptical that we could turn the industry on its head and have this level of success. This University is a small player, but in many respects that gave us the opportunity to be more nimble.” Bergman says the design process yielded over $2 million in value-added improvements and innovations, and the final build will increase the life cycles of buildings and equipment. As only the second IPD initiative in Canada and the first for a post-secondary institution, it has put St. Jerome’s University in the position of being sought out by other academic institutions and government departments eager for its expertise and advice. “That for me on a personal level has been very rewarding, that we were able to accomplish something impactful enough that people recognize that St. Jerome’s University and its team of people could do something out of the box,” Becks says.
THE CHAPEL: A CRITICAL PIECE OF THE OVERALL PLAN A commitment to educating the whole person is one of the things that makes St. Jerome’s University different. That’s why giving the chapel a place of prominence has been so critical to the overall campus renewal plan — not only for the students but also for the broader community that attends Mass at the University. Given that the Notre Dame Chapel has been repurposed, a new direction for Siegfried Hall is being welcomed with open arms: a renovation. Renovations on C.L. Siegfried Hall are now scheduled for the spring of 2017, with a special celebration to inaugurate the chapel as designated worship space tentatively scheduled for fall 2017. Martha Fauteux, Director of Campus Ministry, says the new Notre Dame Chapel is now set up — and although it’s not a finished product, she’s thrilled about the plans for its transformation. “We talk about developing the intellectual, the physical, the spiritual, and the social — this renovation will help us give attention to the spiritual dimension of our students,” Fauteux says.
“It’s about that part of our mission that talks about developing the whole person. It’s an opportunity to provide programming, liturgy, a space for students to be able to explore and deepen the spiritual part of their own being.” “It’s been a bit of a challenge to offer a quiet place the last few years. We’ve lost some of our space. We’ve had to find places to make things happen. Having a designated space for Campus Ministry, where we can offer programming … that’s just a real blessing for us.” “The neat thing about the chapel is that it’s going to be central to our campus. Part of the renovations will also include meeting rooms and open space. It will also offer a multi-faith space that meets the needs of all our students.” The former chapel is now the James & Sandra Beingessner Board and Senate Room, with renovations done in such a way that the governing members of the University will be reminded of their mission and heritage. “We kept the same ethos, including the stained glass windows,” says Bergman. “A lot of people are emotionally attached to that chapel, and historically there’s a lot of emotion invested there. It’s about connecting the present with the past. When you walk into the new academic centre, you look at the back wall of the chapel. The stonework has been made visible so that there’s that connection.”
“Having a designated space that’s ours and where we can offer the programming we want to offer … that’s just a real blessing for us.” — Director of Campus Ministry Martha Fauteux UPDATE MAGAZINE, VOLUME 34 | 13
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TECHNOLOGY IN LEARNING By Nancy Harper
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ Asking a room full of millennials to put their phones away to concentrate on the task at hand is a bit of a non-starter. After all, for those who have never known a world without social media — and who can access whatever information they want, the second they want it — the phone is as essential to their sense of self as just about anything. Statistics show the millennial’s attention span has actually dropped from 20 seconds to just eight, so it’s not all that surprising they look like lost lambs when asked to extricate themselves from the very thing that connects them to their world. In fact, university educators see this as one of the greatest generational differences separating millennials from Gen-Xers, not to mention all those who came before.
Shifts in technology have changed students and the way they learn. What hasn’t kept pace with these changes is the way education is actually delivered — and given that the workforce and its expectations for those who enter it are also evolving, that’s a real problem.
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St. Jerome’s University English lecturer Dr. Sara Humphreys believes that harnessing the power of technology in education — instead of railing against it — is not only the best way forward, it’s also the only way forward. “Students aren’t looking to their professors to be the ‘sage on the stage’ anymore,” Humphreys says. “What they want is that ‘guide on the side’ who they can access instantly through technology.” “A lot of teachers were trained to say, ‘With these keys you’re going to unlock doors to your life.’ It’s not like that anymore. You have a generation of students who not only have never had a world without social media, but who can grab knowledge whenever and wherever they are. This generation is not used to having a gatekeeper to knowledge.” “Yet technology in learning is something we’ve always had. It becomes such a normal part of our life that we don’t think of it as technology. We tend to forget, especially in the humanities, that a print book is actually technology. It contains data. Every page in the book is a file. It took 300 years for it to become what is — and it was a huge deal when the printing press came along.”
“Students aren’t looking to their professors to be the ‘sage on the stage’ anymore,” Humphreys says. “What they want is that ‘guide on the side’ who they can access instantly through technology.” — English lecturer Dr. Sara Humphreys UPDATE MAGAZINE, VOLUME 34 | 17
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“A PROFOUND AGE OF MASSIVE UPHEAVAL” The question, then, is how does St. Jerome’s University change with the times? According to Humphreys, it starts not only with making technology such as smart classrooms more readily available, but also with educating the whole person. Math students, for example, must now take two required communications courses. “We’re in a profound age of massive upheaval, a real transition in education,” Humphreys says. “We’ve returned back to ancient Greece where a mathematician has to know about rhetoric. An arts major can’t get away without knowing math. In the workforce they’re expected to be a jack of all trades.” “The barriers between disciplines are eroding slowly. It used to be that math students didn’t have to communicate a lot once they joined the workforce. They had to crunch the numbers and hand them back and somebody else could communicate the information.” “Now what math students are being asked to do in entering employment is to be flexible learners. They want ready-made students to come into the workforce, be ready to go and to provide more than probability and statistics. They need that fully rounded liberal arts education — and technology can facilitate that by letting the student have more control over their learning.” Consider, for example, that a school board wants a new video game to teach English as a second language. What they’ll be looking for when they approach a game development company is not only people who can code, but also people who have some understanding of history and languages.
“If you have team members who have some knowledge and respect for arts and that kind of
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“There is something about St Jerome’s University, that we help students navigate the waters as they transition from teen to young adult. We’re able to do that thanks to the support of our donors, our friends, and University alumni. They’re making a tangible impact on the lives of students.” — Director of Advancement Viola Poletes Montgomery
knowledge, it makes working with others so much better,” Humphreys says. “You have to be flexible and knowledgeable. You have to be agile in your thinking. That’s what critical thinking is. It’s about seeing the connections and the intersections, being able to think globally and at a detailed level.”
TECHNOLOGY IN LEARNING = COLLABORATION “So when we talk about technology in learning, we’re talking about collaboration. Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math — that’s what digital technology does best. A smart classroom, for example, has these circular tables with students working together to solve a problem. They communicate that solution they’ve gathered from different sources, made the connections, solved the problem.” “It’s a lot different than looking up at the sage waiting for that key to knowledge. Instead students are working together. There is a lot of knowledge out there and what you want to do is teach students to curate.” Adds Director of Advancement Viola Poletes Montgomery: “There is something about St. Jerome’s University, that we help students navigate the waters as they transition from teen to young adult. We’re able to do that thanks to the support of our donors, our friends, and University alumni. They’re making a tangible impact on the lives of students.”
EX CORDE ECCLESIAE MEDAL
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES
On June 12, 2016, Dr. Chantal Beauvais, North American Vice President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), presented the Ex Corde Ecclesia Medal to St. Jerome’s University.
The mission of IFCU is “to contribute to the building of a more just and humane world in the light of reason and faith with the ferment of the Gospel and the advances of knowledge.” IFCU aims to:
This medal rewards the tangible presence and recognition of the Federation to its members both for their distinction and their merit. It is conferred on the occasion of a noteworthy anniversary of the foundation of a member institution.
• Promote a collective reflection on their mission among Catholic higher education and research institutions; • Network knowledge and know-how at the service of efficient cooperation between members;
St. Jerome’s University has every reason to be proud of its rich history. Founded 150 years ago by the Congregation of the Resurrection, it has changed the lives of thousands of men and women through robust post-secondary education. Today, St. Jerome’s University continues to offer quality higher education to students who are looking not only for a degree, but also for an authentic human experience.
• Represent the Catholic universities in international organizations and associations and, in line with its institutional priorities, collaborate with them;
While prefacing the Ex Corde Ecclesiae document, which outlines the standards that Catholic universities must strive to meet, Pope John Paul II expressed his profound appreciation for the work that Catholic institutions conduct across the world.
IFCU confers the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Medal in a variety of circumstances, including, on the occasion of a noteworthy anniversary of the foundation of a member or associate member institution.
By awarding the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Medal to St. Jerome’s University, IFCU wishes to recognize the outstanding performance of this wonderful community of scholars in helping students find truth and meaning, and becoming the leaders that they aspire to be.
On behalf of the 219 IFCU member institutions across the world, congratulations to St. Jerome’s University and all the best for the next 150 years! — Dr. Chantal Beauvais, North American Vice President of IFCU
• Contribute to the development of Catholic higher education and to the assertion of its specific character, according to criteria of quality, continuity, and autonomy.
St. Jerome’s University was awarded the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Medal on the occasion of its 150th anniversary. In his recommendation to IFCU, Dr. David Sylvester, Principal of King’s University College and former Chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada, stated: “St. Jerome’s University is a remarkable story of success as a Catholic university in Canada… It is fitting, I believe, for IFCU to award the distinguished Ex Corde Ecclesiae Medal to St. Jerome’s University to acknowledge the impact that the University has had on the growth and development of Catholic education in Canada and across the world.” UPDATE MAGAZINE, VOLUME 34 | 19
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? By Kira Vermond
Research has the power to cure disease, alleviate suffering, inspire social change, and even stop war. But ask professors what they relish most about the research process and they’ll often point to unexpected discoveries, rabbit holes that propelled them to new revelations — and those “aha moments,” while blearyeyed and hunkered down in dusty archives, that once gave them chills. At St. Jerome’s University, extraordinary professors are digging deep into world history, emotion, and even surprising definitions of treasured words to uncover truths about the human experience. Here are some of the most fascinating projects, innovative ideas, and creative thinking happening now.
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JANE NICHOLAS PROFESSOR OF SEXUALITY, MARRIAGE, AND FAMILY STUDIES AND HISTORY When Dr. Jane Nicholas stepped into the New York Public Library a few years ago, she never expected that what she would find that day would bring tears to her eyes. But that’s exactly what happened. Sifting through a collection of old letters from the Depression-era New York World Fairs of 1939 and 1940, the professor of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies and History at St. Jerome’s University stumbled across a penned note. “It was a heartbreaking letter from a father saying, ‘My son’s just been born. He has a congenital disability. I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re poor. The institutions won’t take him. Please help me,’” she says now. The distraught man was writing to the owners of a so-called freak show. The letter is just one of many that Nicholas has unearthed while conducting research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for a history of freak shows in 20th-century Canada and beyond.
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While working on a monograph, which is in the process of being published, Nicholas was surprised to discover exactly how prevalent and entrenched within society freak shows once were. Hardly a peripheral pastime, freak shows were part of a sophisticated outdoor amusement industry that employed men, women, and children not only in the United States, but in Canada too. The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto was one of the most prestigious sites for a carnival company to set up shop. The last performance there involving a child with disabilities? The 1970s. “There was an important business side of it,” she says. “They were not just a fringe group of people. They were very much embedded with government, agricultural fairs, and everyday consumers.” And they were everywhere. Nicholas claims that she has travelled all over North America looking for their evidence and even gave herself a challenge: every time she visited a new city, she would visit the archives for one day to see what she would find. There was always some photo or written record about a freak show. Freak shows were more than simply abundant, they were a window into how people viewed “normal” versus “abnormal.” A distinction that still exists today. She points to a time when modern beauty contests and freak shows coexisted side by side on the same fairgrounds in the 1920s. “Here in one spot in the CNE you have what ideal beauty is and then, metres away, you have this idea of its opposite,” she explains. “None of those things are natural. We’ve naturalized them so we think we know what ugly is. We think we know what beautiful is. But these are all inventions of culture.”
What surprises her most perhaps, is how little outcry and criticism there was against freak shows, even from so-called progressive movements in the 20th century. Indeed, carnivals were adept at defending themselves. Before the 1930s, carnivals would claim they were
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the best solution for those who were different. It was better to be in a freak show and working than institutionalized. Later, after the creation of the welfare state, they would defend themselves again saying, “Well, better us than dependence on welfare.” “The problem is, that shouldn’t be the choice, right? The choice shouldn’t be freak show or ‘dependency,’ ” says Nicholas. Flip on the television today, and there are freak show equivalents to be found that have parallels with the original carnival versions. For instance, they were once touted as “educational.” They helped consumers learn about the world, the owners claimed. Today, The Learning Channel airs shows such as Little Couple, Kate Plus 8, My 600-lb Life, and even My Strange Addiction. Difference still draws eyeballs. Despite hunting high and low for more information about the baby boy in New York and the grieving father who wrote the unforgettable letter looking for help, Nicholas was unable to find out what happened to them. They disappeared without a trace. Even so, there are still others she is determined to shed light on and bring empathy to their time in history. Her new work that looks at the cultural history of grief actually emerged from the freak show project. “I wanted to be able to tell their story in a way that was respectful,” she explains. “If I can’t know anything about them, at least I want to be able to imagine a world where their lives would have been different.”
“The problem is, that shouldn’t be the choice, right? The choice shouldn’t be freak show or ‘dependency.’ ” — Dr. Jane Nicholas professor of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies and History
CHECKING IN 2016 has been a busy year for Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer. And that’s putting it mildly. Yet “mild” is not exactly how someone might describe his work’s focus: the Arctic and Canada’s Northern Strategy and circumpolar relations. The professor of History and co-director of the Centre on Foreign Policy and Federalism at St. Jerome’s University is one of Canada’s leading experts on the Arctic. In March 2016, at the invitation of the Canadian Embassy in Russia, Lackenbauer delivered presentations to standing-room-only packed rooms on a speaking tour that took him to Saint Petersburg State University of Economics; Northern (Arctic) Federal University in Arkhangelsk; the State Academic University for the Humanities, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow; and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “The reception was very positive,” Lackenbauer explains, “with many students staying to ask questions.” And while the discussions were meant to be exploratory, a number of Russian academics have already reached out to explore possible joint research. “The Arctic is an area where our countries share some common interests and can benefit from collaboration,” he notes. After Russia, Lackenbauer travelled to Rome to give presentations to the new master’s program in Sustainable Development, Geopolitics of Natural Resources and Polar Studies, run by the Società Italiana per l’Organizzazione Internazionale, United Nations Association - Italy. The rest of the year has kept him just as busy. In May 2016, Lackenbauer debated with University of Calgary professor Dr. Rob Huebert. Huebert maintained Arctic conflict is inevitable and Canada should be ready for it. Lackenbauer, however, explained that the circumpolar world remains largely cooperative. “I don’t want to see us stealing resources from social and economic programming to fund a massive military buildup against a threat that doesn’t exist,” Lackenbauer told the crowd at the time. Between his participation in the Defence Policy Consultation roundtable with the Minister of National Defence in Yellowknife, his responsibilities as the Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, and running Arctic security conferences in Toronto and Yellowknife, the only question remaining for Lackenbauer is, where to next?
Most people, when they hear the words “climate change” or “rising ocean levels,” envision a contemporary ecological and environmental disaster. But when Dr. Steven Bednarski hears them, he’s thinking about the past. Bednarski, a professor of History at St. Jerome’s University who specializes in the 14th and 15th centuries, is completing the final year of a four-year project, excavating and examining the estate at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England. He’s using the medieval manor and acreage around it to study the impact of global climate change and rising sea levels on human habitation and settlement patterns. During the past three years, over 30 undergraduate and graduate students have been trained as archeologists and junior archival detectives to examine the area. During the Little Ice Age at the end of the Middle Ages, the estate experienced flooding and farmers in England fought to keep the sea back. Hundreds of acres along the coast were lost. “This is a project that resonates today, as you read the newspaper and you see coastlines all over the world are at risk,” Bednarski says. “It’s interesting for us to study how people dealt with this before they had access to the technology we do.” Fortunately, Bednarski’s team has access to some of the most cutting-edge research toys now. Although there’s still traditional archeology work being done, using ground-penetrating radar, he can study the terrain without lifting a shovel. On October 13 and 14, 2016, he and his team of students presented preliminary findings to academics and the public at a symposium hosted in downtown Waterloo. Bednarski sees the work completed in the past three years as a framework so the work can carry on for another decade. Ultimately, he’s convinced that studying the past will help humans address today’s current climate change crisis. Five hundred years of distance could help leaders see the environmental and social challenges in a new light. “You can get very keen insights into dynamics that motivate people in crisis situations, then develop strategies to combat them in the present world,” he explains. “That’s the game historians should be playing.” UPDATE MAGAZINE, VOLUME 34 | 23
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
DAVID-ANTOINE WILLIAMS PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH What’s in a word? More than you might imagine.
That’s what Dr. David-Antoine Williams, a professor of English at St. Jerome’s University, has discovered while researching a project funded by his Early Research Award: The Life of Words: Poetry and the Oxford English Dictionary.
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The five-year undertaking, which received a $190,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science; the University of Waterloo; and St. Jerome’s University, examines the loop between poetry’s impact on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and how the OED influences poetry. In other words, poets don’t simply use the dictionary to find definitions, they actually have a significant hand in shifting and creating word definitions over time. The OED’s corpus – the vast collection of texts the dictionary editors use to track shifts in meaning and craft definitions – is a living, growing thing. “We tend to think of poetic language as being essentially connotative and resistant to rigid definition. Whereas the dictionary is all about definition – limiting meaning, being denotative, precise and scientific,” he explains. “The idea is to understand the exchanges between these two ways of thinking about the language.” Williams was first interested in poetry’s influence on the OED back when he was at Oxford University revising his book, Defending Poetry. Yet it was when he came to St. Jerome’s University in 2010 that he realized how fortuitous his move to Waterloo actually was. University of Waterloo was where the initial digitization of the OED took place back in the late 1980s. For the first time ever, anyone could consult the dictionary on a computer. The computer scientists took the enormous, multi-volume work and made it searchable, a major feat for the time. Amazingly, that background file is still available to researchers at UWaterloo. Today, Williams’s Life of Words project, which has included the work of 11 full-time and part-time undergraduate, masters, and doctoral research assistants over the years, delves deep into big data and adds to it. The team is inserting background metadata about genre that will make it easier for people to
understand where the dictionary’s quotations have come from. It’s all well and good to see that the word “nice” once meant “foolish or stupid,” but was that original meaning derived from a legal document, historical chronicle, or work of poetry? It matters. Williams has created up to 15 categories, tagging fiction and poetry, verse drama, wills, and reference books. The group is also adding information about the kind of publication the reference appears in, separating periodical publications from codices, for example. The author’s sex is also recorded. The work is far from easy. Even logging works within the categories can mean discussion between Williams and his research assistants if it’s a particularly tough call. “Literary genre is a really slippery thing. And there’s such a rich variety of texts when you look back from the year 800,” he says. In other words, how do you categorize an ancient book of proverbs or a 15th century cookbook written in rhyming couplets? There are moments of illumination though. Take the word, “redress.” The poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney once wrote a lecture that referred to an obsolete definition from the OED: to “redress the hounds” – or to bring the dogs back to the correct path when hunting. About 20 years later, another poet, Paul Muldoon, wrote about Heaney’s lecture. Soon after the OED added Muldoon’s mention to the entry for “redress” – and the word’s hunting-related definition was revived. Without the work being done on Life of Words, it’s unlikely anyone would have ever discovered that fascinating loop. “It’s a perfect example of the way words, meanings and usages live in a cycle of exchange between the dictionary and the wider culture, including the literary culture,” says Williams.
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WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
MAUREEN DRYSDALE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY Loneliness and worry These are the vexing and deeply personal feelings co-op students rarely talk about when discussing bouncing back and forth between work terms and on campus study. But as Dr. Maureen Drysdale and her graduate student Margaret McBeath have discovered in recent years, these emotions are very much a part of their lives. The professor of Psychology at St. Jerome’s University, with a global reputation as an expert on the topic of co-operative and work-integrated learning (WIL), has been uncovering new insight into everything from the psychological attributes of WIL students during critical school-to-work transitions, to the impact of perceived sense of belonging and peer support on overall mental health and well-being. In addition to feeling lonely while on work term, being very anxious about graduating and transitioning to full time work - is more common than not. “I teach adolescent and emerging adult psych and when I talk about my research, I say, ‘Does any of this resonate with you?’ and, anecdotally, what I hear is, ‘Absolutely. We’re worried. We’re scared. We don’t know if we’ll get a job. We wonder if we’ll ever be financially independent. We wonder if we’ll ever really make it like our parents and grandparents did,’ she explains. With house prices skyrocketing and salaries flatlining this past decade, that anxiety is a product of the times. But while post-secondary students used to feel it most acutely in the months leading up to, and then immediately after graduation, today’s students are feeling the pressure much earlier. For some, it starts in their first year of university. This often results in questioning if the textbook learning taking place in the
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classroom will result in employment. This questioning and anxiety can lead to switching academic programs and changing majors. This is more common amongst liberal arts students in the non-co-op stream at the University of Waterloo. Drysdale argues that they seem to be searching for a connection between what they are learning in the classroom and their chosen career path. Meanwhile, co-op students are less likely to change their major or switch programs because they’re able to draw a relatively straight line from their experiential education to full-time work after graduation. But that doesn’t mean they’re in the clear emotionally. Because they realize how important that practical experience is, they place an inordinate amount of pressure on themselves to land their next co-op placement and network with the right people. They want to do everything right in terms of a job search – while keeping up with their schoolwork. Then there’s the loneliness factor. In one report about the effect of peer support on sense of belonging and overall well-being, Drysdale and her research team found that students who don’t have a chance to make and keep friends on campus are more likely to express feelings of loneliness and isolation. Swinging back and forth between the academic terms and co-op terms can take its toll. “When they’re away from campus and their friends, they report feeling totally isolated, extreme loneliness, and horribly depressed. And that really hit me and my team,” she says. “We thought, ‘That’s so sad!’ ” It might seem surprising that being away from campus and one’s peer group can lead to these negative emotions given current social media trends and tools such as Skype and FaceTime. However, Drysdale states that “students are quick to report that social media is no substitute for face-to-face social support. Despite seeing them all with their heads down looking at their phones, they want to be with their friends and much prefer in-person support.”
To find ways to counteract these issues, Drysdale’s research team piloted an innovative peer support intervention with both co-op and non-co-op students. They found that students who participated in the peer support intervention, showed significant improvements in mental health. This interdisciplinary research brought together psychological and public health frameworks to develop an effective program that can easily be implemented by universities. “Universities can’t necessarily change the economy, the housing market, or unemployment rates,” she says. “We can just prepare our students and ensure they have the necessary skills, resources, and wellbeing to go out there and transition successfully. That’s our primary goal!”
“The focus of the research in my Mental Health and School-to-Work Transitions Research Lab is on designing and testing programs and interventions to address the mental health problems faced by today’s youth during these critical school-to-work transitions.” — Dr. Maureen Drysdale, professor of Psychology
To learn more about Drysdale’s Mental Health and School-to-Work Transitions Research Lab go to www.sju.ca/mhswtlab
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AN INSTINCT TO CARE By Kira Vermond
AFTER A LIFETIME OF SELFLESS GIVING, DR. JACK SEHL IS THE RECIPIENT OF THE 2016 CHANCELLOR JOHN SWEENEY AWARD FOR CATHOLIC LEADERSHIP As a doctor at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, Dr. Mike Sehl is used to writing prescriptions and checking in on patients each day. But there’s something else he’s accustomed to: staff members, patients, and even other physicians mentioning his father, Dr. Jack Sehl, and how the former Chief of Staff made a difference. “I’m at the hospital right now and already two people today have told me how incredible my father is. He either delivered their child, did their surgery, or took care of their mother,” Mike says. “He hasn’t been in practice now for close to 20 years. To still hear people talk about your father is a pretty fortunate thing.” That long-lasting, deeply felt respect for the local humanitarian and philanthropist is indicative of Jack’s lasting legacy in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, one that began in the late 1950s and continues even today at age 88. Jack is the recipient of the 2016 Chancellor John Sweeney Award for Catholic Leadership, an award presented annually to an exemplary leader living a life rooted in the values of truth, love, and justice.
Viola Poletes Montgomery, Director of Advancement at St. Jerome’s University, calls Jack her “favourite human being on the face of the Earth” and is convinced he is the epitome of someone who lives out the gospel values and inspires a new generation of leaders.
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“Have you heard of the phrase, ‘a good Catholic?’ He embodies that,” she says, explaining that although Jack has turned down similar recognition in the past, he has accepted this award because he knew John Sweeney personally, and because he received the award at the 2016 Grand Opening and Feast of St. Jerome, a fundraiser supporting student scholarships that will foster student leadership and help continue good works in the community. In the age of selfies, corporate image management, and social media boasting, Jack’s modest nature is as much a breath of fresh air as it is extraordinary in light of his accomplishments. Born in Waterloo, the father of six and grandfather of 16 is married to his equally altruistic wife, Mary, a former nurse whom he met in Detroit during his OB/ GYN specialty training. As Chief of Obstetrics for over 35 years in Kitchener, Jack delivered more than 30,000 babies and still found time to be involved in groups ranging from the Learning Disabilities Association Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter and the Cancer Society, to the The Waterloo Region Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre, and the KitchenerConestoga Rotary Club, where he raised money for a well in Honduras and rose to president. He put in long hours and inspired those around him to raise the $2.3 million needed to move Carizon (formerly Catholic Family Counselling Centre) to a larger facility, prompting others to call it, “the house that Jack built.” These days, you’ll still find him helping friends and neighbours when he can. But Jack also spends time reading prayers and reflecting on how religion has had an impact on his full and miraculous life serving his community. He maintains that his instinct to care for others can be attributed to his Catholic faith. Poletes Montgomery says she hopes everyone will learn something from Jack’s story. “Sometimes in the rush of life we will size someone up and come to a conclusion,” she explains. “But Jack never judges. His first reaction is empathy and kindness. That’s a good lesson for all of us.”
John [Sweeney] was a wonderful man and a leader in Catholic Education for the Catholic School Board of Waterloo Region who went on to become a very respected provincial politician. I was on the Board of St. Mary’s [Hospital] with John and always respected his opinion. He is the reason I agreed to accept this honour. — Dr. Jack Sehl
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WE ARE CHAMPIONS By Kira Vermond
HEFORSHE IMPACT 10x10x10 ENGAGES MEN AND BOYS TO BECOME AGENTS OF CHANGE FOR GENDER EQUITY. FOR ST. JEROME’S UNIVERSITY, THE GOAL ALREADY REFLECTS ITS MISSION AND IDENTITY.
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IMPACT 10x10x10 It was the morning of June 8, 2016, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-SecretaryGeneral and Executive Director of UN Women, sat beside the University of Waterloo’s president, Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur. She was at the the University of Waterloo to mark the first anniversary of its involvement in the United Nations Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative.
30 ADVOCATES FOR CHANGE
At the end of her keynote address, a young man stood and asked Mlambo-Ngcuka a question: HeForShe addressed concerns about gender equality and empowerment of women, but what about men in the university? He conceded that women were underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math, but over the past 30 years, there has been a dramatic reversal on Canadian university campuses with women graduates outnumbering men.
Head of state “impact champions” include prime ministers and presidents from places such as Finland, Romania, and Rwanda. Meanwhile CEOs with Twitter, Unilever, and Barclays, among others, vow to lead by example. And presidents and vice chancellors of universities from Georgetown to Nagoya and from Oxford to, yes, University of Waterloo – the only Canadian entity on the list of 30 – are committing themselves to the cause as well.
It was as if the whole room held its collective breath, including St. Jerome’s University’s president Dr. Katherine Bergman, who was in the room that day. What would Mlambo-Ngcuka say?
Considering that over half of today’s world population is under the age of 30, universities are uniquely positioned to reach young people and help shape their still developing perspectives on gender.
Gracious and sounding thoughtful, she gave her response.
The inclusive approach that recognizes men and boys as partners and proponents of women’s rights is something Bergman expects will resonate with professors, students, and staff as St. Jerome’s University continues its partnership with University of Waterloo in its support for the IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative.
“The deal is not about short-changing men. It’s about creating a world in which men and women can stand shoulder to shoulder, be in solidarity with each other, respect what each can do, bring to the table, and work together,” she answered. Months later, Bergman says that she’ll never forget that moment. “That, for me, was the most powerful thing she said,” explains Bergman.
HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 is a UN three-to-five-year pilot effort to advance and ultimately achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment through topdown change. Ten world leaders from three sectors are taking part: government, the private sector, and academia.
“We are a Catholic university, but we are Catholic in view of the true meaning of hospitality. We are open to everybody,” she says. “All feel welcome. It’s part of our mission and our identity.”
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WE ARE CHAMPIONS
NOT JUST LIP SERVICE While the original mandate of HeForShe, launched in September 2014 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, was to bring men to the cause (and it worked; HeForShe has been the subject of over two billion conversations on social media with off-line activities sprouting up across the globe), IMPACT 10x10x10 is about systematic change. Real results. Waterloo is focusing on three measurable areas in order to advance gender equity within its own campus: • Boost the number of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic - or STEM - outreach experiences and activities - to create future leaders • Increase the number of women in faculty positions to create parity • Attract and advance female leaders into senior academic and administrative university positions Faculty advocates from departments at UWaterloo, along with three colleges, including St. Jerome’s University, meet periodically to discuss new programs and ideas. UWaterloo centrally funds each of the six faculties at $5,000 a year, over six years, to act as a kind of seed money. In the first year and a half, UWaterloo has been busy acting on their commitments through specific initiatives. It created a HeForShe website portal (find it here: https://uwaterloo.ca/heforshe/heforsheimpact-10x10x10) where anyone can learn more about the universities’ IMPACT commitments, events, resources, and news. UWaterloo also provides six scholarships, valued at up to $12,000 each over four years, to outstanding female students admitted to an undergraduate STEM program.
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The university is offering PhysiXX in December 2016, which brings 100 Grade 7 and 8 female students to campus to explore the wonders of physics. Then
there’s the WIMIn event – Waterloo Women Ideas, Makers and Innovators – in January 2017, as well as the EQuALS conference – Excellence and Quality in Academic Life in STEM.
Yet on a more serious note, Seljak believes, like Bergman, that men at St. Jerome’s University, and indeed the Catholic Church itself, are well positioned to address gender equity.
But for Dr. Diana C. Parry, Special Advisor to the President - Women’s and Gender Issues, who facilitates HeForShe at UWaterloo, this past summer’s weekend camp for indigenous girls in grades 7 and 8 and their caregivers, was the true eye-opener. She watched as the 10 girls learned more about sciences, technology, and math, as well as their own culture. For most, it was the first time they had ever seen a university.
“There is the issue of justice. If men want to live in a just society, they absolutely have to confront gender inequity,” he says. “I would say it is the most pervasive and foundational of all injustices.”
“I think that with gender equity, we often need to think large scale and make macro-level changes like pay equity and family-friendly policies,” Parry says. “But, when we look at the micro – when we think local and act global – you can really see a difference. It’s just really rewarding.”
SMALL PARTNER WITH BIG IDEAS Just across the creek at St. Jerome’s University, Dr. David Seljak, professor of Religious Studies and the school’s own HeForShe advocate, experienced his own aha moment when he looked around the lecture hall in the Classrooms and Library Building back on March 30, 2016. Dr. Jennifer Berdahl, the internationally recognized scholar from the Sauder School of Business at UBC was there to speak about gender in organizations. The talk was part of the University’s commitment to the HeForShe campaign. The room was packed. Students and professors from St. Jerome’s University were there of course, but so were others from affiliated institutions and many from UWaterloo.
Even so, he’s the first to call the University’s own past record “mixed” and the Catholic Church’s “uneven.” Although there have been moves forward – Bergman is St. Jerome’s University’s first female president – there is still a way to go. That’s why he’s so pleased with two initiatives spearheaded by St. Jerome’s University. For starters, two St. Jerome’s University students, Monica Pierce and Kate Stericker, won the University’s first annual HeForShe Gender Equity Essay Contest in May 2016. UWaterloo has since launched its own writing contest, using the St. Jerome’s University contest as a model. And there’s also a new 360-degree faculty, staff, and student survey around gender equity in the works. “People can have a very different experience at the same institution. Have they felt disadvantages? Is there systemic discrimination? Is there a culture of exclusion here?” Seljak asks. Beyond that, he can’t wait to find out what will happen next. After all, the HeForShe committee he sits on is only meant to get the conversation started. “The committee doesn’t see its role as becoming the guardians of gender equity at St. Jerome’s,” explains Seljak. “Only the community – men and women – can do that.”
“I don’t think we’d had such a large contingent of UW folks on the St. Jerome’s campus since the annual Christmas dinner. And this time we weren’t giving them free food,” he says, joking. UPDATE MAGAZINE, VOLUME 34 | 33
ENCOUNTER KW By Nancy Harper
“More and more we’re hearing from students that they want opportunities to get that deep insight in their local community.”
— Outreach Programs Coordinator Bess Mitchell 34 |
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enc unterkw at St. Jerome’s University
For so many young people, that first overseas trip is more than a rite of passage. It’s a life-changing experience that sparks a desire for awareness, exploration, and discovery. What’s not as well known is that many of the same learning opportunities exist right here in our own backyard — and that the St. Jerome’s University EncounterKW program can be a catalyst for those experiences. With over ten years of experience in international experiential learning through the highly acclaimed Beyond Borders program, the next logical step for the University was to create a local option. Established as an alternative reading week program, EncounterKW is a five-day immersive co-curricular learning experience focused on issues that affect the people of Waterloo Region. Like its international counterpart, EncounterKW is not about changing the world or parachuting in to fix a broken system. Instead, it’s about providing students with an opportunity for meaningful engagement, and allowing them to discover the humanity in the marginalized people who live different lives from themselves. The idea is to support both student learning and the goals of the University’s partners in the local community. EncounterKW participants are encouraged to ask themselves the kinds of questions that add meaning and purpose to their own lives as they gain insights into social justice issues in the local context. Led by Outreach Programs Coordinator Bess Mitchell and Campus Ministry Coordinator Erika Toffelmire, the inaugural program in 2016 delved into food justice themes such as food access, agriculture, climate
change, and the role of food in building ecological justice. “We wanted to figure out where the gaps were in programming for students,” Mitchell says. “We offer a robust international experience, but more and more we’re hearing from students that they want opportunities to get that deep insight in their local community.” “We worked really closely with students to do some team-building and have intentional conversations about what these things could look like. We wanted to provide them with opportunities to encounter different pieces of the community that would help enhance their understanding of it but also enhance their sense of belonging to it.” “And we want to build partnerships in our community that are deep. Looking at how to make those things reciprocal helps students figure out their own path in the community, as well. There’s so much to be learned and gained from connecting with the wider community.” Adds Toffelmire: “I think university is an opportunity for them to broaden their understanding of how the world works and what their role is within that world. “Gaining experience in a context they understand can be really powerful. Even here in their own communities, things are complicated and interrelated. It can be difficult to know how to address an issue but it’s also very encouraging because students learn there are a lot of threads to pull on for them to have an impact.” “Through continually dialoguing with people involved in these things, they do have a role to play in decisions they make as a consumer and as a citizen.” Both Mitchell and Toffelmire were thrilled with the calibre of the students in the first year of the program, and have high hopes EncounterKW will only gain traction — and influence — in the future.
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FOOD JUSTICE: AN ALTERNATIVE READING WEEK IN ACTION
But when local families buy highly processed, salty, fatty foods, it’s not always because they want to.
“We often define people who are poor as ‘other,’ but being able to meet them as individuals and unique people with dignity — that was a really cool thing. It made me think, ‘Wow Erin, you need to check your privilege a little more often.’ ”
Sometimes it’s because they can’t afford the “good stuff:” the pricey organic produce, the locally raised beef, the additive-free healthy snacks that their wealthier neighbours consume en masse.
Huston, who is working on a double major in Peace and Conflict Studies and Legal Studies, was drawn to learning what she could about the challenges people face in her own backyard.
Eating well should never be a luxury.
The concept of food justice — which was the focus of the University’s first alternative reading week program — is defined as having the right to choose to live a healthy lifestyle. Those who often need to purchase less nutritious food — because of the more accessible price point placed upon them — are part of a population who experience some of the difficulties in exercising that very right. Student Erin Huston, who was part of the inaugural EncounterKW program, says it was an incredible experience to come face to face with the lack of food justice right here in Waterloo Region. “Even just taking a bus through Kitchener, you can definitely see the way poverty affects people,” Huston says. “It was a big hit of reality to be in community kitchens and talking to the people that you normally just
pass by — having conversations with them, asking them if they need coffee.
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EncounterKW students worked together to plan and shop for meals, to bond, and to start thinking about the concept of food justice. By the end of the week, after spending time at the Kitchener Market, a grocery store, and organic farms, they were expected to have developed a snapshot of the agricultural landscape in Kitchener-Waterloo and to identify how different populations are affected by a lack of food access. “There are so many trips where you travel to a faraway place and try to help the people there and then you come back and feel good about it,” Huston says. “What I really liked about this program was that it was a local encounter. I liked that there are things you can do locally that you can continue to do afterwards.”
“A lot of what we learned is that health is something you often have to sacrifice when you have a limited income and you don’t have the resources to buy healthy food.” — St. Jerome’s University student and EncounterKW participant Erin Huston
Huston and her fellow students were split into two groups, with Huston’s receiving just $60 to cover the cost of a lunch, dinner, and snack for 10 people, and the other receiving budget of $120, which was more representative of a relatively well-off local family. One of her team meals was a stir-fry made from vegetables no one else at the market seemed to want. Another was chickpea soup. “My group was based on [a family] with very, very limited income,” she explains. “We had to cut things out. We were very much going for the quantity of what we could get rather than the quality. Being full was very much a luxury we weren’t going to get, but that was OK.” The program also involved volunteering at local community kitchens and visiting organic farms to try to understand the challenges farmers face. The learning curve for both, Huston says, was huge.
“A lot of what we learned is that health is something you often have to sacrifice when you have a limited income and you don’t have the resources to buy healthy food,” she says. “Seeing food injustice on such a large scale from children to homeless populations to people who are trying to grow affordable organic food … those were a lot of big things that we learned.” Huston was impressed by the depth and breadth of the program, but also certain it will have a lingering impact on her own life. “Encounter KW is very different,” she says. “We went in with the idea that ‘We are not needed here, we are not here to save anyone, we are just here to learn. We weren’t there to feed the homeless, we were there to learn about the systems and what can be done [to address the challenges].” “It has changed my eating habits, even things like how I look at expiry dates, things like composting, organic farming, eating meat versus not eating meat, and the environmental impacts of that. It was very interesting.” “Food justice is not something I was connected to before, but when you go this in-depth with something and spend this much time with these incredible people — both in my group and the people we were learning from — and when you get a really comprehensive look at something like food justice, it does change how you view yourself in the world.”
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THEOLOGY FOR THE WORLD By Kira Vermond
MASTER OF CATHOLIC THOUGHT SET TO BECOME FULL-TIME PROGRAM Back at Christmastime in 2015, Dr. Cristina Vanin, professor in the Department of Religious Studies at St. Jerome’s University, met a young man contemplating his future. He was finishing his undergraduate degree, he knew his Catholic faith was important to him, and he was putting in some volunteer hours in keeping with that faith. But he was wondering what he should do next. Luckily, Vanin had a brand new option for him: a renewed and expanded Master of Catholic Thought (MCT), a distinct theology program unlike anything else in the country. Formerly offered only part-time, it has recently been approved to become a full-time graduate program. “Having both streams available, full-time and parttime, is the realization of a longstanding hope for this program and makes it available to a whole new group of potential students,” says Vanin, who is the MCT’s director.
When the part-time master’s program first received approval in 2004 and launched in 2005, it was primarily designed for people already working in education, health services, and social services who wanted more insight, either for professional or personal reasons, into Roman Catholic life and thought. Everyone applying needed to have at least
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two years of work experience. Some of the first students were Catholic teachers, others were lawyers, artists, business people, and newspaper religion reporters. Most students took two or three courses per year, finishing up the requirements and master’slevel research paper within five years. Then in 2011 the MCT went through its first formal program review. The external review team stated the program “provides students with a high quality learning experience, supported by a complement of highly qualified instructors.” Faculty enjoy teaching in the program and students are highly motivated and engaged. The reviewers acknowledged that the program responds to an important need and recommended that it be strengthened so that more students could benefit from this opportunity. For the past few years, the University has been working hard to do just that, and eventually received approval to deliver the MCT full time. Vanin says that expansion helps St. Jerome’s University to fulfill its mission and mandate as a Catholic university in new and exciting ways. “It now opens up the program to people in their twenties who have just finished their undergraduate degree, to anyone who wants to study during a leave from work, and to people who are heading in new professional directions,” she explains. Indeed, part of the uniqueness of the Master of Catholic Thought has always been its inclusivity. “Our program accepts people with any kind of undergraduate degree. In other words, you don’t have to have an undergraduate degree in theology,” says Vanin. “It’s wide open to people from a variety of disciplines.” While there are various other master’s level theology degrees in Canada, most of these are extensive programs that further students’ preparation for doctoral study or pastoral ministry. The St. Jerome’s University program, however, is smaller and gives the opportunity for some intense master’s-level study in
theology in a short period of time. On a professional level, MCT is best suited for those who are currently working in, or are considering work in, social services, pastoral care and counselling, or education. It is also for those in any walk of life who want a deeper understanding of this religious tradition, who want to investigate how it relates not only to their personal and professional lives, but also to the issues of our present time. One MCT graduate, a former teacher who went on to work at the Diocese of Hamilton and to complete a Doctor of Ministry degree, says she took the St. Jerome’s University program to be better informed and at a time when she was “unsure where the Lord was calling me.” MCT seemed like a good start to explore her next steps. “I met patient instructors who really introduced us to the foundations of our faith through key thinkers and important sources,” she explains. “Class discussions were so engaging and rich! I was challenged and stretched and blessed by the experience.” Little wonder. Professors who instruct in the program hail not only from the Department of Religious Studies but also from English, Philosophy, and History; students also have the opportunity to learn from visiting professors. Even so, Vanin says she believes that the true success of MCT also rests with the students. “They really want to be there and they really get engaged. It’s such a pleasure to spend time with students who are open to exploring their own questions, broadening their perspective, and thinking critically and theologically about the role that religion can have in our culture,” she says. And now, with the program opening its doors to those Pantone wanting to make the step from an undergraduate to a Green: 343c graduate degree, there are even more opportunities Gold: 139c of the to pursue a deeper knowledge and appreciation Catholic tradition.
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A YEAR WITH THE SAINT JOHN’S BIBLE In 2017, St. Jerome’s University will host A Year with The Saint John’s Bible. This is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago. Among the many activities planned for the year, we will officially welcome the Bible on January 24, 2017, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with a 4 p.m. ecumenical service. Fr. Michael Patella, OSB, will present a lecture entitled, ‘Bugs in the Bible: An Intertextual Approach’ on March 10, 2017. As well, the Bible and framed pages of illuminations from the Heritage edition will be available to schools, parishes, and the local community, and can be used in courses, Bible study, worship, and prayer.
Image credit: Road to Emmaus, Sally Mae Joseph, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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LECTURE DATES AND SPEAKERS OCTOBER 28, 2016 FAMILIES, LOVE, AND JUSTICE: THE VISION OF POPE FRANCIS Julie Hanlon Rubio, professor of Christian Ethics, St. Louis University
NOVEMBER 18, 2016 LIVING WITH THE DRAGON David Mulroney, President and Vice Chancellor, University of St. Michael’s College
DECEMBER 9, 2016 THE SCANDAL OF GRACE Shane Claiborne, best-selling author, renowned activist, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner”
JANUARY 20, 2017 INTEGRATION, TRANSFORMATION, AND RECONCILIATION: TRC CALLS TO ACTION AND LAUDATO SI’ Priscilla Solomon, CSJ, a Sister of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, and an Ojibway of the Anishinabek Nation Not everyone has the time to take a full Master of Catholic Thought, but anyone can consider the impact of a socially engaged faith by attending the Lectures in Catholic Experience at St. Jerome’s University. Vanin coordinates the series, which is open to the public and runs from October to April. Because the 2015-2016 academic year marked St. Jerome’s University’s 150th anniversary, last year’s lecture series was particularly special. The Anniversary Lectures brought in some of Canada’s best-known speakers and important thinkers, from philosopher Dr. Charles Taylor who examined belief in the contemporary West, to Kevin Tierney, the humorist who produced and co-wrote Canada’s first bilingual film, Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child Canada, drew on her 15 years of being at the front line of many of the world’s major crises to give the audience a compelling look at the impact of war, and novelist Lawrence Hill shared his observations on the subject of individual identity.
This year’s line-up continues the 34-year lecture tradition of inviting speakers who think critically and inspire reflection and change. This year’s theme is “From Indifference to Mercy and Solidarity.”
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FEBRUARY 10, 2017 52 MINUTES OF SILENCE: FINDING WORDS FOR THE INEXPRESSIBLE Mary Hynes, host of CBC Radio’s Tapestry
MARCH 10, 2017 BUGS IN THE BIBLE: AN INTERTEXTUAL APPROACH Fr. Michael Patella, Benedictine monk, professor of New Testament, Saint John’s University A Year with the Saint John’s Bible Event
APRIL 7, 2017 UNCOMFORTABLE PEWS: CANADA’S CHRISTIANS AND THE MAKING OF CONFEDERATION, 1867 Mark McGowan, professor of History, University of Toronto
LECTURES IN CATHOLIC EXPERIENCE NEW location! The Vanstone Lecture Theatre, Academic Centre (SJ2 1004) 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. | Doors open: 6:45 p.m.
FREE OF CHARGE | OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | FOLLOWED BY A RECEPTION
BRIDGES LECTURE SERIES
PUBLIC LECTURES CONNECTING ARTS, SCIENCE, AND MATHEMATICS
PATTERN FINDING – POPULAR EXPRESSION OF TRANSCENDENT IDEAS OCTOBER 26, 2016 | 7:30 PM Matthew Scott (Math) | Soheila Esfahani (Visual Art)
All lectures take place in the new Vanstone Lecture Theatre at St. Jerome’s University.
Visit www.sju.ca/bridges to RSVP and for more lecture dates.
MAKING MATH VISIBLE FEBRUARY 3, 2017 | 7:30 PM Elisabeth Heathfield (Visual Art) | George Hart (Math)
Join our mailing list and get the latest on upcoming lectures. www.sju.ca/bridges
See you there!
FINAL TWO COLOUR SHIELD
OUR MISSION St. Jerome’s University is a public Roman Catholic university federated with the University of Waterloo and historically associated with the educational vision of the Congregation of the Resurrection. We are committed to learning and academic excellence; the gospel values of love, truth, and justice; and the formation of leaders for the service of the community and the Church. In all of our activities and practices, St. Jerome’s University functions within the context of the Roman Catholic tradition and the principles of academic freedom.
OUR VISION At St. Jerome’s University we steward each student’s unique talents, nurture their ability to think critically, and inspire them to become life-long learners who seek knowledge and truth, act with compassion, and advocate for human dignity for all. We educate our students to become informed, courageous citizens who have the humility to work together for the common good and the courage to lead by example to build a more just society.
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