Western News https://news.westernu.ca Western University's newspaper of record since 1972 Fri, 13 Dec 2019 16:20:47 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/back_issues/2018/06/WN_June_21-web.pdf https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/back_issues/2018/06/WN_June_21-web-114x150.jpg 5.74MB Campus operations prepare for holiday hours https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/campus-operations-prepare-for-holiday-hours/ Fri, 13 Dec 2019 16:20:47 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35658 ’Tis the season for regular campus operations to slow heading into the New Year.

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’Tis the season for regular campus operations to slow heading into the New Year.

Western will be largely closed for the holidays from 6:30 p.m. Dec. 22 through 6:30 a.m. Jan. 2. There will be minimal services during this period.

Western Libraries will be closed from Dec. 21-Jan. 1 and reopen Jan. 2.

Western Student Recreation Centre will be closed Dec. 23-26, open Dec. 27-30 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), closed Dec. 31-Jan. 1, and reopen t 6 a.m. Jan 2.

The University Community Centre will be closed from noon Dec. 24 through 6 a.m. Jan. 2.

Student Central at Western will be closed from 4 p.m. Dec. 20 through 9 a.m. Jan. 2.

Classes resume Jan. 6.

To add/drop or swap second-term half courses online, students can do so at student.uwo.ca from now until 11:59 p.m. Jan. 14. Visit Book Store at Western, Campus Eateries and Residence Dining for a list of holidays hours.

Throughout the holiday season, Campus Community Police Service will be available at 519-661-3300 for non-emergencies and at 911 from campus telephones for emergencies.

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Reichelt: Prevent junk food from trashing teen brains https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/reichelt-prevent-junk-food-from-trashing-teen-brains/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 20:02:59 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35654 Adolescents are the greatest consumers of calorie-rich ‘junk’ foods. During puberty, many children have an insatiable appetite as rapid growth requires lots of energy. Heightened metabolism and growth spurts can protect against obesity, to an extent. But excessively eating high-calorie junk foods and increasingly sedentary lifestyles can outweigh any metabolic protection.

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Obesity is increasing worldwide, especially among children and teenagers. More than 150 million children in the world are obese in 2019. These children have increased risk of heart disease, cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

Teenagers with obesity are likely to remain obese as adults. If these trends continue, 70 per cent of adults aged 40 years could be either overweight or obese by 2040.

I am a neuroscientist and my research investigates how diet changes the brain. I want to understand how unhealthy diets impact the developing brain, and also why young people today are so prone to developing obesity.

Adolescents are the greatest consumers of calorie-rich ‘junk’ foods. During puberty, many children have an insatiable appetite as rapid growth requires lots of energy. Heightened metabolism and growth spurts can protect against obesity, to an extent. But excessively eating high-calorie junk foods and increasingly sedentary lifestyles can outweigh any metabolic protection.

The teenage brain is vulnerable

The teenage years are a key window of brain development. Adolescence coincides with a new-found social autonomy and the independence to make personal food choices.

During adolescence, connections between different brain regions and individual neurons are also being refined and strengthened. The adolescent brain is malleable because of increased levels of neuroplasticity.

This means the brain is highly receptive to being shaped and rewired by the environment – including diet. In turn, these changes can become hardwired when development is complete. So the adolescent brain is vulnerable to diet-induced changes, but these changes may endure through life.

Resisting junk food is tough

Neuroscientists use functional brain imaging to examine how the brain responds to specific events. Brain scans show that the prefrontal cortex – a key brain area for behavioural control and decision-making –doesn’t fully mature until the early 20s.

The prefrontal cortex controls and overrides urges triggered by events in the environment. Resisting eating a whole bag of candy or buying cheap junk foods can be particularly difficult for teenagers.

Voracious drive for rewards

In contrast to the immature prefrontal cortex, the brain’s reward system – the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system – is fully developed at a much earlier age.

Teenagers are particularly drawn to rewards, including sweet and calorie-dense foods. This is due to increased numbers of dopamine receptors in the adolescent brain, so the feeling of reward can be exaggerated. Frequent stimulation of the reward system results in enduring brain adaptations.

During adolescence, these changes may cause long-lasting shifts to the balance of brain chemicals.

Taken together, the teenage brain has a voracious drive for reward, diminished behavioural control and a susceptibility to be shaped by experience.

This manifests as a reduced ability to resist rewarding behaviours. So it’s not surprising that teenagers prefer to eat foods that are easy to obtain and immediately gratifying, even in the face of health advice to the contrary. But what are the enduring brain consequences?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Functional imaging studies show brain activity during tasks or viewing images of foods. Brain circuits that process food rewards are more active in adolescents with obesity compared to those considered normal weight.

Interestingly, lower activity is seen in regions of the prefrontal cortex. This shows that obesity can both heighten activation of the reward system and reduce brain activity in centres that can override the desire to eat.

Importantly, successful weight loss in adolescents restores levels of activity in the prefrontal cortex. This provides critical knowledge that the prefrontal cortex is a key area of the brain for controlling food intake, and that diet interventions increase activity in brain regions that exert self control.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a way scientists can modify brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, can change inhibitory control of eating behaviour. Repeated TMS treatment could be a new therapy to restore cognitive control over eating, helping with long-term weight loss.

Exercise boosts brain plasticity

Excessively eating junk foods during adolescence could alter brain development, leading to lasting poor diet habits. But, like a muscle, the brain can be exercised to improve willpower.

Increased brain plasticity during adolescence means the young mind may be more receptive to lifestyle changes. Physical exercise boosts brain plasticity, helping to set in place new healthy habits. Identifying how the brain is changed by obesity provides opportunities to identify and intervene.

Functional brain imaging adds a new layer of information where clinicians can identify at-risk individuals and track brain changes during nutritional and lifestyle interventions.

Even more, TMS could be a new treatment approach to improve re-calibration of the young brain to prevent enduring changes into adulthood.

Western Postdoctoral Scholar Amy Reichelt is a BrainsCAN Research Associate and a scientist at the Robarts Research Institute. This article originally appeared in The Conversation.

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WE SPEAK survey set to roll out in New Year https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/we-speak-survey-set-to-roll-out-in-new-year/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 18:36:22 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35606 Starting in the New Year, Western is set to deliver the WE SPEAK Faculty and Staff Survey 2020, which runs Jan. 28-Feb. 14, and is designed to measure workplace culture and employee engagement.

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Your voice matters at Western – and a great opportunity to have your say is coming soon.

Starting in the New Year, the university is set to deliver the WE SPEAK Faculty and Staff Survey 2020, which runs Jan. 28-Feb. 14, and is designed to measure workplace culture and employee engagement.

Western employees will receive an email from Metrics@Work containing a link to the survey and a unique password. This password ensures each individual takes the survey only once. For accessibility needs, paper copies will also be available during that time in Human Resources.

The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete and contains questions about both work engagement and organizational engagement.

The survey is confidential and optional. Western will not receive any results that identify individual responses – only group reports for a team, department or faculty.

Survey results are used to benefit local work areas as well as Western as a whole. For example, Western has used results from 2012 and 2017 surveys to explore and improve wellness and health programming, funding of continued learning, employee recognition programs and more.

For instance, Living Well @ Western has expanded in recent years to offer more free lunch hour wellness classes, as well as onsite wellness breaks.

Cathy Thorpe, Research Associate/ Manager of the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, brought Living Well Coordinator Adam Craig in for weekly stretch breaks. Cathy’s academic background/research and her own experience with health/illness has led her to recognize that even short wellness breaks can have a positive impact on health and well-being.

“A 15-minute stretch session can really make a difference. It gives people a small break, gets them out of their office, and helps them recharge physically and mentally. I believe these sessions benefit the participants as well as others who gain from having more focused, energized teammates. We’ve expanded on what Adam offers; we facilitate yoga-style mindful stretching once a week, too, and have given meditation a try.”

While WE SPEAK results can spur Western-wide changes, the most impact happens locally.

Typically, departments or faculties discuss local results with their teams, identify areas for celebration, and areas where improvement is possible. Many departments/faculties then hold town-hall meetings to promote discussion of the results, allowing deeper insight into concerns or ideas for change and growth. Some departments have formed WE ACT committees or working groups to review ideas, and recommend or plan action.

In 2017, Western’s WORLDiscoveries team used WE SPEAK results to identify areas of pride, as well as three areas where they wanted to improve. They partnered with Western Human Resources who facilitated three separate sessions for the team over three years. They focused on three goals – better internal communication within World Discoveries, better communication with the broader Research Western, and on innovation and continuous improvement.

Lisa Cechetto, WORLDiscoveries Executive Director, says her team’s work is continuing, and big changes do not happen overnight.

“Once people see some tangible results, and learn there are no negative consequences for sharing their concerns, things can start to happen,” she said. “It’s about shifting the culture over time.”

Western Engineering has also put WE SPEAK results to good use since the first survey in 2012.

The faculty formed working groups on communication, mentorship and work/life balance.

Andy Hrymak, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), was Dean of Engineering for both the 2012 and 2017 surveys. He says the university continues to use the survey results as part of academic and budget planning discussions, because faculties are asked to comment on actions they have taken and changes made in response to their survey results.

“There are actionable items in the survey results,” Hrymak said. “The input we receive from our faculty and staff members is valuable. That’s why it is important to encourage as many people as possible to participate in this survey to ensure the results are as meaningful and as informed as possible. It can make Western a better place for all.”

As WORLDiscoveries’ Cechetto says, WE SPEAK is a “great opportunity to get feedback that can be used as a foundation to celebrate what we’re doing well and to explore opportunities to make it even better.”

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Season’s greetings and selections https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/seasons-greetings-and-selections/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 17:46:30 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35603 Why settle for only a handful of selections this time of year, when you can also receive a holiday season bonus, as well, when Chemistry professor Mark Workentin takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Chemistry professor Mark Workentin is a bit of a classroom legend, with numerous honours including the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Today, he takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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Read.

I read way too much for work – research papers – so I seldom turn to reading for relaxation. I do other things, including photography, guitar, painting, refereeing ringette. My favourite book is Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. It is set in Italy (I should have been Italian), and mixes things I like – medieval ‘history’ and mystery, hypocrisy in religion, love/sex. It has it all. It is a book about books that reminds us of the power of humour and laughter in a world that is often dark.

Watch.

All time favourite TV show is The West Wing. I am intrigued (or was until the last few years) with American politics and the show was smart, funny and entertaining. It is also the show that gave me my Twitter by-line description: Abu El Banat (Arab/Bedouin for ‘father of daughters.’ I need a shirt with that on it.

Listen.

I have a very eclectic taste that gets broader each day with my kids reigning over music choice in the home and car.  Favourite album is Hoodoo Man Blues by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band. Love the blues as it mixes many genres. But I am also a bit of a crooner/ballad guy, so for CanCon, I recommend the artist Royal Wood. Among his many (sad) songs, my favourite is Photograph. I guess I am getting more sentimental as I get older. “I still have, our days gone past, these photographs”

For podcasts, I jump about, listening to different ones on my walk to work in the winter so no real ‘go-to.’ Otherwise, I ride my bike and don’t distract myself. I am always up for Under The Influence with Terry O’Reilly.

Read. Holiday Edition.

Since my first daughter was a baby, we have a tradition of reading Twas The Night Before Christmas before going to bed on Dec. 24. Hard to not love that (see nostalgic above).

Watch. Holiday Edition.

So many good holiday movie ‘classics’ from Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, to Arthur’s Christmas (our go-to Christmas Eve), to the Rankin/Bass movies like Santa Claus is Coming to Town (and the song One Foot in Front of the Other), to the old classics like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life and, perhaps my favourite because I watch it with my mom, Bells of St. Mary’s. Reminds me of my Catholic School upbringing and the awesome sisters who taught me the importance of education and respect for all.

Listen. Holiday Edition.

Again, how does one pick a holiday song? Crooner: The Christmas Song by Mel Torme. Choral: Carol of the Bells. Modern: All My Bells Are Ringing by Lenka. “Take my heart this Christmas, and wrap it in a ribbon and a bow, take it wherever you go!”

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If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see in Read. Watch. Listen., or would like to participate yourself, drop a line to inside.western@uwo.ca.

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Live From Westminster featuring David Malloy https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/live-from-westminster-featuring-david-malloy/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 17:16:14 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35600 A bassist-by-trade, guitarist-by-necessity, Kings University College Principal David Malloy recently stopped by the Western News office, playing an acoustic set and introducing himself to the Western community.

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Live From Westminster is a concert series where faculty, staff and students are invited to perform live in the Western News newsroom. Admittedly crowded and low-tech, the performances look to showcase unique – and sometimes hidden – musical talents across campus. Interested in performing – or know someone who is? Drop a line to inside.western@uwo.ca.

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David Malloy, BA’83 (Physical Education), MA’86, was recently installed as the ninth Principal at King’s University College. Malloy enjoyed a 30-year career with the University of Regina, both as a faculty member and administrator, and as the Vice-President (Research) since 2013. He is also a lifelong musician who not only relieves personal stress through his art, but has put his skills in play for charities in his community.

A bassist-by-trade, guitarist-by-necessity, Malloy recently stopped by the Western News office, playing an acoustic set and introducing himself to the Western community.

Be sure and check out previous episodes of Live From Westminster featuring Nursing student Maddy McKenzie and English and Theatre and Performance Studies alumna Camille Intson.

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Research looks for results that ‘outlive us all’ https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/research-looks-for-results-that-outlive-us-all/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 16:51:31 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35572 Western research into the developing and testing nuclear waste storage technologies was recently showcased as officials from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) paid a visit to Western for a high-level update on the progress of their work.

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Ensuring forever-safe storage of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste is a complex choreography that requires cutting-edge science, judicious site selection, secure transportation and no small measure of public buy-in. And although many of the logistics are in other experts’ hands, Western has emerged as a significant player in the science of developing and testing storage technologies that won’t corrode, leak or release radiation.

Interdisciplinary teams of chemists, microbiologists, physicists, earth scientists and engineers are working on inter-related aspects of the problem to make Canada a world leader in responsible nuclear waste management that keeps radioactive materials safely stored for millennia.

That research was recently showcased as officials from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) paid a visit to Western for a high-level update on the progress of their work. The tours were also an opportunity for NWMO President and CEO Laurie Swami to meet with emerging and established researchers at the home of the organization’s longest-term university partner.

“It’s the institution we’ve had the longest relationship with and our largest investment through those 20 years,” Swami said. “Western is obviously an important part of our program.”

Since 1999, NWMO has invested millions of dollars at Western directly supporting technical research. Those funds allowed faculty to leverage further investments from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) and other research bodies.

The main emphasis of the research involves predicting and ensuring corrosion resistance in the copper-over-carbon-steel canisters that will entomb the spent fuel bundles in dense bentonite clay in a vault deep below the Earth’s surface.

Western’s challenge is to test and scientifically model how a planned 3-mm copper electroplated surface can be more durable than a 50-mm copper sheath other that other nuclear-energy countries such as Finland and Switzerland are developing to manage their waste.

Answers to these questions have implications that, in the words of one senior NWMO official, “will outlive us all.”

Canada has about three million bundles of fuel waste in surface storage, with each bundle about the size of a fireplace log. NWMO is responsible for a long-term solution intended to last a million years, and has proposed an engineered barrier system that includes placing them in sealed and electroplated canisters and embedding them in bentonite clay deep below surface in a dense limestone or granite repository.

Corrosion-proof electroplating is a key part of this multiple-redundancy system, Swami said.

“It’s really important that corrosion is prevented because we don’t want any of the used fuel (bundles) exposed. With the copper coating and the carbon steel vessel, we have a good barrier to prevent corrosion – it really demonstrates that the long-term safety for the used fuel in the underground environment will be protected, even with radiolysis, even under different environment conditions.”

The group toured labs supervised by Chemistry professors and researchers Clara Wren, David Shoesmith and Jamie Noel and heard from young researchers working both on different and inter-connected facets of the work.

Science Dean Matt Davidson said the research undertaken at Western’s labs “is a shining example” of solid science, teamwork and partnerships. “The relationship has already been a fruitful one.”

Within the research teams, there’s an almost equal number of males and females – a ratio that also makes for well-rounded research approaches and problem-solving, Swami noted.

Swami – an engineering chemist who has worked in power generation and nuclear waste management and decommissioning at the provincial and national level since 1986 – said it’s important to cultivate smart scientists of both sexes and to remove barriers junior women have to entering and growing in the field.

“Women do bring a different perspective, whether to research or collaboration or communication. They do bring a different perspective to bear on whatever the work is,” Swami said.

Her team is working to shift the balance change by growing “a complete pipeline” for women in the field, from junior hires through to senior managers and the board.

Wren added perceptions of women in nuclear science has “progressed a lot” during her combined 35 years working in the industry and in university research: “What we are recognizing is that the women are equally capable and in fact they bring different skills. Women tend to think at things in more inclusive ways, more interdisciplinary ways.”

Wren and her student researchers said some of their work, soon to be published in peer-reviewed journals, challenges assumptions of previous corrosion models.

“We have a better way of predicting how the corrosion might evolve over a long period of time and the environment the containers will be exposed to. I think we have a lot more confidence about how these containers will behave.”

Of the original 22 Canadian communities expressing interest as “informed and willing hosts” to the repository, NWMO has recently narrowed the list to three: Ignace in northwestern Ontario and the municipalities of Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce, near the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.

By 2023, NWMO will have chosen one site, Swami said.

The safety analyses, extensive third-party review and public hearings are all “a fundamental part of the work” towards expected regulatory approval by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, licencing by 2032 and operation by 2043, Swami said.

“From my perspective, the technical case is there. There’s still work to be done,” she said. “There’s obviously more studies to be done but we have the best technical solution for used fuel management in the long run. No question in my mind. What we really need to do is have all of the processes in place to make sure that communities feel confident, as I feel confident in the safety of the technology.

“We’re responsible for the long-term safe management of used nuclear fuel that will protect people and the environment essentially for forever, and so it has to be something that stands the test of time.”

Swami was appointed to the top NWMO role in 2016. She previously served as Senior Vice-President of Decomissioning and Nuclear Waste Management at Ontario Power Generation, where she oversaw OPG’s nuclear waste management facilities and led the file for OPG’s plans to build a deep geologic repository (now on hold) for non-fuel, intermediate- and low-level nuclear waste.

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Bolstered mother-child bonds at heart of research https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/bolstered-mother-child-bonds-at-heart-of-research/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 16:27:40 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35566 While treating postpartum depression itself doesn’t always end up benefiting the mother/child relationship, Nursing professor Panagiota Tryphonopoulos is looking at ways to bolster this critical bond.

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Nursing professor Panagiota Tryphonopoulos looks to reconnect mothers with their young children, counteracting the critical parental bond lost due to the effects of postpartum depression.

Known as ‘the thief that steals motherhood,’ postpartum depression (PPD) not only obstructs a mother’s capacity for understanding and enjoying her baby, but puts children at risk for behavioural and cognitive problems.

While treating PPD itself doesn’t always end up benefiting the mother/child relationship, Nursing professor Panagiota Tryphonopoulos is looking at ways to bolster this critical bond.

“Everybody experiences parenting differently. Think about how challenging it is to begin with – then throw the wrench of PPD into the mix,” said Tryphonopoulos, noting as high 1-in-5 new mothers are affected by PPD. “People sometimes don’t realize infants are capable communicators. They have these engagement and disengagement cues to bring mom in and say, ‘I’m here and ready to play. I’m having fun. I’m loving this. I love looking at your face and hearing your voice,’ or ‘I’m over stimulated or need a change.’

“We need to give props to the babies for the skills they have.”

Tryphonopoulos explores how these depressive symptoms essentially mask how mom understands and enjoys her baby. She is doing that through a program called VID-KIDS – short for Video-Feedback Interaction Guidance for Improving Interactions Between Depressed Mothers and Their Infants.

In the program, nurses record regular, everyday mother-child interactions. Afterward, they review the video with the mother. While moms are still the experts around what their babies need, Tryphonopoulos said, the idea is to offer additional tools to improve and strengthen the bond.

“We watch that video with mom, pointing out those engagement cues and showing her how much her baby is enjoying being with her and how much they light up when looking at her face,” Tryphonopoulos added.

Tryphonopoulos describes it as a ‘serve and return’ idea where nurses show mothers what the child is trying to say (serving) and how the mother responded.

“This video feedback intervention lets the moms know that even while babies can’t speak they are sophisticated at communicating their wants and needs,” Tryphonopoulos said. “We like to call it a ‘positive parenting intervention’ or ‘strength-based parenting intervention.’ We’re really focusing in on those little snippets of interaction that indicate the baby is engaged, ready to play and having a great time with mom.”

By improving interaction quality, depressed mothers may be motivated to engage in further play. Their infants, in turn, may be more likely to elicit positive, enjoyable experiences.

Infants can perceive PPD, triggering a stress hormone (cortisol) release which negatively affects developing their brains by decreasing its size.

“Children of depressed moms typically tend to maybe more fearful of strangers, more anxious, have more difficulty with emotional regulation and, later on in life, it may indicate a limited school readiness. Like a house, you need that good foundation architecture to begin – and then everything follows.”

PPD is treatable with antidepressants, psychotherapy or peer support. But even if the symptoms are resolved, that damage done in the early mother-child bond may be locked in an unbreakable pattern.

Tryphonopoulos has taken her program to Hamilton where she trains nurses in its use in the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program.

“As nurses, we’re problem solvers. We want to do things to help you feel better. This is something that could be really, really promising for families struggling with things like depression,” Tryphonopoulos said.

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Former President Chakma lands top spot at UWA https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/former-president-chakma-lands-top-spot-at-uwa/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 12:48:53 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35538 Former Western President Amit Chakma has been named Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia (UWA), with a term beginning in July 2020.

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Former Western President Amit Chakma has been named Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia (UWA), with a term beginning in July 2020.

Based in Perth, the university has an enrolment of 25,000 and has produced one Australian Prime Minister, several High Court Justices and two Nobel Prize Laureates.

In announcing the appointment to its top executive position this week, UWA Chancellor Robert French said Chakma’s record as a researcher and administrative leader will help bring that university’s new vision to life.

“He has proven commercial acumen and intellectual capacity and has also demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and equity in access to higher education,” he said. “Professor Chakma’s appointment brings to UWA a person with a proven track record who has the necessary combination of experience, skills and capacity to lead the university at this important time in its history.”

In July 2019, President Alan Shepard became Western’s 11th President and Vice-Chancellor, after Chakma completed his second five-year term in the role.

 

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Saugeen-Maitland celebrates half century of connections https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/saugeen-maitland-celebrates-half-century-of-connections/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:37:16 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35521 One of Western’s most iconic residence buildings is celebrating 50 years as the starting point for thousands of students embarking on their university careers.

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One of Western’s most iconic residence buildings is celebrating 50 years as the starting point for thousands of students embarking on their university careers.

In 1969, Saugeen-Maitland Hall opened its doors and has housed approximately 1,200 students each year. The traditional-style building has been home for one-fifth of Western’s 300,000 strong alumni network since.

Management and Organizational Studies professor Daniel Brou, a Saugeen-Maitland Hall alumnus, said the connections he made in the building shaped not only his time at Western but beyond.

“Throughout the rest of my Western life, I lived with or studied with people who I had spent a lot of time with at Saugeen. The most important one is that I met my wife there, so that’s impacted my life greatly, very positively,” Brou said.

The professor lived in Saugeen-Maitland for two years in the late-1990s, first as an incoming student and then a Residence Soph. After completing his undergraduate degree in Economics, he went on to pursue his masters and doctorate at the University of Toronto and Columbia University, respectively. He has now returned to London to teach at his alma mater.

He was also one of the dozens of alumni who attended the 50th-anniversary celebration in Saugeen-Maitland Hall during Homecoming Weekend. At the event, past residents could tour the building, visit their old floors, and listen to a set from Rick McGhie, while reminiscing about their time in ‘The Geen.’

For Brou, his Saugeen-Maitland experience not only created countless memories but fostered connections that helped him kickstart his time at Western.

“It was just a really nice community, it was a lot of fun. But the most important thing is I’m still friends with a lot of the people I lived with in first year. It just really helped me get through first year,” he said.

Brou’s memories of the community mirror many Saugeen-Maitland Hall residents, like current student Michaela Wand. Wand has lived in Saugeen for the past three years, as a first-year student, Residence Soph, and now as the building’s Head Soph.

“It’s a very welcoming environment. You could walk into the cafeteria and talk to anyone, or if you go to any floor. The floors are bonded; they’re like best friends – family,” Wand said.

When it first opened, Saugeen-Maitland Hall was one of the largest residence buildings in the province. The new building brought a host of firsts for Western residences: first building to be designated as smoke-free; first to implement co-ed floors; first to make a concerted effort to increase engaging late-night programming.

Even as a large building, Saugeen-Maitland still fosters a tight-knit, thriving community year after year. For Chris Alleyne, the Associate Vice-President (Housing and Ancillary Services), the size of the building means more opportunity for students.

With so many people, there’s always someone to connect with.

“You live, eat, sleep, breathe the same air as these people for eight months and Saugeen is large enough that it’s like a small little town on campus,” Alleyne said. “But, you’re still familiar with the people. You still walk to class every day with people. You still recognize them in the dining hall.”

Alleyne is a Saugeen-Maitland Hall alumnus himself, residing in the building as a Residence Staff member, and later as a Residence Manager. He said that the openness of the building is what helps foster a sense of belonging amongst residents.

“Just being able to wander from floor to floor and meet people, really made that sense of community strong at Saugeen,” Alleyne said.

For many alumni, it’s this sense of community and the connections they form with others that shapes the fondest memories of their residence experience.

“I remember always open doors, going around and doing everything together with these people,” Brou said. “The floor I was on was full of really interesting people that did all sorts of really cool things, and that really drove me to do well.”

In his role, Alleyne is able to hear from countless alumni how the people in the building are what make it a special place every year.

“It’s not about the bricks and mortar; it’s about the people, the relationships, the culture built every year,” Alleyne said. “There’s a soft spot in many people’s hearts to what that building was able to facilitate and create for them in their first-year experience.”

In her three-year tenure, Wand has seen how this feeling of home is carried on year after year, even with 1,100 new students entering the building each September.

“Every year, it’s like a new set of faces. But a good chunk of those faces become your family, who you turn to, have fun with, whatever it is. I find that it never fails to become a home every year,” she said. “There are always people who make it home.”

When it was built, Saugeen-Maitland Hall was just the third residence building on Western’s campus. While the building count has increased to nine, Saugeen-Maitland is still one of the most beloved with five decades worth of students feeling the rumble.

For Brou, the impact of the building resonates even in a joking conversation with his wife about their proximity to a Western institution and Saugeen favourite. “Rick McGhie lives in the same neighbourhood we live in now – that’s when we knew we had made it,” he said.

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Regional imaging excellence at heart of partnership https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/regional-imaging-excellence-at-heart-of-partnership/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:20:58 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35519 A new partnership between Western, London hospitals and a medical technology pioneer will make southwestern Ontario a “global powerhouse” when it comes to state-of-the-art imaging research and clinical application.

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A new partnership between Western, London hospitals and a medical technology pioneer will make southwestern Ontario a “global powerhouse” when it comes to state-of-the-art imaging research and clinical application.

Announced today, the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics brings Western, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and Siemens Healthineers together in a partnership focused on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), interventional angiography, cardiology and cardiac surgery.

“This partnership represents another important building block in the incredible foundation of imaging excellence that we have in London,” said Dr. Narinder Paul, Chair/Chief of the Department of Medical Imaging at LHSC, St. Joseph’s, and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

“Not only will we become leaders in state-of-the-art imaging and intervention through the centre of excellence, but thanks to the research contribution from Siemens Healthineers, we will also have dedicated funds for critical research in cardiovascular and neurological diseases that will translate to improved services and outcomes for patients in London and the region.”

This new partnership also includes the creation of an education, training and scientific research support fund in the area of advanced diagnostic imaging and therapeutics. Siemens will provide more than $1 million in support funding for research, advanced clinical applications, teaching and outcomes analysis.

The research fund will support collaborations between teams in diagnostic and interventional radiology, cardiology, and cardiac surgery, with imaging scientists at Lawson Health Research Institute and Western’s Robarts Research Institute, as well as teams from across the university.

These teams will partner with scientists from Siemens Healthineers to focus on improving both the patient experience and the outcomes in important cardiovascular and neurological diseases. The funds will be leveraged against provincial and federal research grants to increase the funds available to the teams.

“Collectively, Western and our partner institutions in London are becoming a global powerhouse, recognized for our expertise and facilities in imaging that drives discovery and innovation across a broad range of disciplines,” said Alan Shepard, Western President and Vice-Chancellor. “This partnership with Siemens Healthineers builds on our strengths, increases capacity to enhance patient care, and expands opportunities to integrate education, training and research for the benefit of learners and faculty.

“It’s a huge win for London and southwestern Ontario.”

The announcement builds further on more than 40 years of Canadian leadership in biomedical imaging excellence at Western, where a unique combination of researchers, integrated research programs, affiliated hospitals and world-class infrastructure offer the perfect location to provide insight into the future of health care.

Western boasts unique infrastructure covering all major imaging modalities and biomedical applications. Its work in the area is powered by more than 350 dedicated personnel, including more than 10 Canada Research Chairs. The Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping at Robarts houses Canada’s only collection of high-field (3T human) and ultra-high field (7T human and 9.4T animal) MR systems.

The Centre of Excellence in Advanced Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics will provide hands-on training in MRI, diagnostic, and interventional catheter procedures through development of advanced simulation and phantom models.

Medical learners and radiologists, cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and technologists in London and from across Canada will be able to access this centre to improve their diagnostic and therapeutic skills, which will in turn improve patient access to skilled clinicians.

As part of the partnership, LHSC and St. Joseph’s are acquiring six clinical MRIs and six angiogram suites to be used for patient care.

“Investments in capital equipment, such as these new MRI machines and angiogram suites, are incredibly important as they will immediately translate into safer, higher quality care for the patients we serve – in this case it’s by offering the highest resolution images available, in less time, and with improved comfort for patients,” said Dr. Paul Woods, President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre.

“London has an illustrious history of innovation that has been groundbreaking in shaping the scope and possibilities of medical imaging within the health-care system,” said Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Health Care London. “This exciting partnership ensures our ongoing leadership and expertise in the introduction of leading-edge medical imaging technologies and is a critical step toward new approaches in imaging research and patient care.”

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Liao named among 2021 Schwarzman Scholars https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/liao-named-among-2021-schwarzman-scholars/ Mon, 09 Dec 2019 20:12:22 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35514 Cynthia Liao, HBA’14, was recently named a Schwarzman Scholar, one of 145 young leaders to receive this distinguished scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She’ll begin her studies in August 2020.

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Cynthia Liao once said she wanted to be ‘a change-maker.’ Count her one step closer to that goal today.

Liao, HBA’14, was recently named a Schwarzman Scholar, one of 145 young global leaders to receive this distinguished scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She’ll begin her studies in August 2020.

One of only four Canadians named among the class, Liao is the first scholar ever named from Western in the program’s five-year history.

The Class of 2021 was selected from more than 4,700 applicants and includes students from 41 countries and 108 universities. More than ever before, this cohort expands the community of Schwarzman Scholars to include 12 additional countries and 41 new universities, including Western.

“I am inspired by these remarkable, accomplished and dynamic young individuals who will be joining Schwarzman Scholars at a time when its mission is more important than ever,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Founding Trustee of Schwarzman Scholars. “I am excited to see how they contribute to both the Schwarzman College and greater Tsinghua University communities, and ultimately how they will apply themselves as people of consequence in their generation,”

While completing a one-year master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University, the students’ education is complemented by internships, career development mentors, high-profile speakers, and opportunities to travel throughout China.

Inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, the Schwarzman Scholarship program began in 2015 to bring together talented young leaders and prepare them for the geopolitical and economic challenges of the 21st century by deepening their understanding of China.

Liao has long had an interest in solving global problems. In 2013, she was chosen for The Next 36, Canada’s most selective program for young entrepreneurs, due to her passion to use social entrepreneurship to find solutions to the world’s problems. The following year, she was part of a team tackling former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s health-care challenge at the fifth annual Hult Prize Competition in Dubai.

She is currently a Senior Associate on the Global Markets team at Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc.  Through her work, she partners with global donors, medical device companies, and governments across Asia and Africa to innovate, commercialize, and scale health-access solutions. These include pneumonia diagnostics, medical oxygen therapy, assistive technologies for people with disabilities, and solar energy electrification for off-grid, rural health centres.

Previously, she helped launch a $300-million distributed solar investment fund at General Electric.

Liao is excited to consolidate her passions and experiences to launch her own company addressing challenges in health and energy access in developing countries. She plans to use her experience at Schwarzman College to better understand the economic and political influence of China’s Belt and Road Initiative across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

The Schwarzman Scholars Class of 2021 comprises a remarkable group of individuals “whose talents are as diverse as they are inspirational,” according to organizers: a Scholar from Chile who led the launch of the country’s first commercial satellite to prevent wildfires; two new Schwarzman Scholars who hold patents, including one for a process to detect diseases like Alzheimer’s via retinal imaging; an NCAA Division I athlete; a five-time Carnegie Hall pianist; a machinist and welder who built shelters for more than 26,000 earthquake victims in Nepal; one of BBC’s Most Inspiring Women of the Year; and, the CEO of a company from Syria that provides 3D-printed prosthetics to refugees.

“Each one of these scholars has demonstrated excellence in their chosen field of study,” said Xue Lan, Dean of Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University. “We look forward to welcoming this incredible group to Schwarzman College, where I have no doubt they will impress us all with their intellectual and leadership abilities.”

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New Chair eager to ‘lead the charge to greatness’ https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/new-chair-eager-to-lead-the-charge-to-greatness/ Mon, 09 Dec 2019 20:05:15 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35503 Rick Konrad does not believe in half-measures. He is not interested in a role as part booster, part strategic thinker, part fiscal manager, part mobilizer. Instead, the incoming Chair of Western’s Board of Governors wants to be all these things – all the time.

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Frank Neufeld // Western NewsRick Konrad, BSc’75, begins his two-year term as Chair of Western’s Board of Governors on Jan. 1, 2020.

Rick Konrad does not believe in half-measures. He is not interested in a role as part booster, part strategic thinker, part fiscal manager, part mobilizer. Instead, the incoming Chair of Western’s Board of Governors wants to be all these things – all the time.

“We’re unifiers; we’re cheerleaders; we really should be helping lead the charge to greatness,” he said. “It’s not a matter of being great again. We are great – and we’re going to be greater.”

Konrad, BSc’75, begins his two-year term on Jan. 1, 2020. Most recently serving as Vice-Chair, he has been part of the university’s Investment Committee since 2008 and served on several key Board committees since 2014. He was also part of the Presidential Selection Committee that brought Alan Shepard to his post this year.

Konrad’s work on the Board has only reinforced his belief that the body, and the university, should be an environment of consensus, understanding, wise and informed decision-making, and mutual respect.

“The Board is incredibly caring and diligent, very intent in their decision-making. They really dig deeply. From my experience in industry, I’ve seen members of boards happy to take a cheque. They’re part of a ‘hallelujah chorus,’ and don’t want to debate anything quite often because they didn’t really want to work at it.

“By contrast, on Western’s Board, we’re all volunteers and there is avid discussion. That’s the place where you settle issues. We come to an agreement, but there’s good, healthy debate. It’s not a glad-handing situation.”

To the Board, Konrad brings not just his enthusiasm but investment acumen as part of his 40-year career as an asset manager. He is managing partner at The Roosevelt Group Inc. and was founder of Blueprint Financial Planning and Value Architects Asset Management. He has also held partnership or founding roles in Ryan Beck & Co., Lincluden Management and Sceptre Investment Counsel, where he was responsible for several billion dollars under asset management.

He holds Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Analyst designations, earned his Masters of Science in Finance from Northeastern University and has completed the Harvard Business School Executive Program on behavioral investing.

It’s not such a different path from his Western undergraduate degree in Biophysics, he insists.

First in his family to attend university, Konrad said Western offered him a broad perspective on how to analyze and factor the human element into his research and reasoning.

“What’s interesting about biophysics is you’re applying mathematics and physics to very uncertain things, to psychological principles, and it’s kind of that way in life. There are no set rules. You have to have large error bars in what you’re pursuing, and people’s biological systems behaviour isn’t necessarily as predictable as pure Newtonian mechanics.

“The ability to think, to listen, to be curious – those are the things instilled in you with a good academic guide. That’s what I have had. I love this place.”

With a passion for good governance, Konrad is also one of two Board appointees to Senate, which guides the university’s academic policies. It’s an additional role top officers of the Board rarely seek, but he was insistent.

“It was a great opportunity for someone who is a leader – I was Vice-Chair at the time – to listen, to learn. I spend a fair amount of time getting to know faculty and staff and students. Senate is a mélange of a lot of interests. The Greek term was ‘agora,’ a meeting place. I’m a great believer in bicameral governance. It’s listening; it’s collaboration; it’s hearing what everyone is doing and what everyone is thinking.”

As part of the Presidential Selection Committee, he took part in a lot of listening sessions with students, staff and faculty and was impressed with the passion people expressed for Western’s place and future. “We all bleed purple,” he said.

Although far from a reluctant leader, he hadn’t expected at this stage in his life – with two adult children, a supportive spouse ­and thriving businesses in two countries – to get this involved. Or to enjoy it this much.

“One of my favourite people is Frank Hasenfratz, LLD’16, of Linamar Corporation (and father of current Western Chancellor Linda Hasenfratz, BSc’89, MBA’97, LLD’19). When I called Frank to tell him that I’d just turned 65 he said, ‘That’s great – you’re halfway through your career.’ I think the best is yet to come.”

Konrad credited his two immediate predecessors – Paul Jenkins and Hanny Hassan – and the “tremendous amount of talent” on the Board for putting students’ needs at the forefront.

“What is an institution? What is a university? It’s nothing more than a place that develops humans to be better people.”

A priority during his term will be helping President Shepard sculpt a new strategic plan, one that outlines Western’s inspirational and aspirational strengths and ensures an exceptional teaching, learning and research environment.

“It’s going to be a consensus plan; it’s going to draw from the entire community,” Konrad said. “It’s a lot of listening sessions and it’s my most important responsibility.

“Whether you’re buying a Tesla magnet for the Brain and Mind Institute or securing experiential-learning opportunities for someone in the Arts & Humanities, we all have a place in learning here. There’s no reason we cannot continue to sustain a high level of learning and a high level of research on this campus.”

Admittedly, he said, this will be a time of understanding funding priorities in a tight fiscal environment, and managing investment risks. Western is in a solid financial position because of prudent management, he said.

Throughout this term, he hopes the community will understand there’s a common purpose throughout the university.

“I want people to realize we put students at the very front. That’s the most critical thing – ensuring they have a good educational experience.”

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Finishing degree matters in health outcomes https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/finishing-that-degree-matters-in-health-outcomes/ Mon, 09 Dec 2019 15:53:10 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35500 What researcher Anna Zajacova discovered about the health outcomes of people who completed some postsecondary education, but never graduated, may lead to new insights into how higher education levels impact lives.

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The positive relationship between a person’s education levels and their health is a well-established – the more the better.

But there is a relatively unexplored middle group, one Western researcher believes, who holds the key to understanding how additional schooling influences health outcomes at the upper end of the educational spectrum.

Sociology professor Anna Zajacova explores individuals who finished high school and completed some postsecondary education, but never graduated. This group has remained relatively untouched by researchers, even though it is a gigantic cohort.

ZAJACOVA

“They were always lumped together and called ‘high school completers,’” she said. “This group is in the tens of millions of people. It’s the biggest group out there when you look at educational categories.”

With data from her time at the University of Wyoming, Zajacova found those who started but did not complete their postsecondary studies reported more health conditions, more disabilities, more functional limitations, more pain and, to some degree, worse mental health.

In terms of overall health, they fell right in the middle – slightly better off than high school graduates but far worse off than those with a postsecondary diploma.

Zajacova has been looking at similar data on this side of the border since joining Western in 2017. While the Canadian postsecondary system is different than the United States in many ways – from possible educational paths to costs – she is interested to see if similarities exist around health outcomes.

In an earlier study, she looked at individuals who had obtained trade certificates that showed, especially in men, they weren’t all doing better in terms of general health despite having better jobs and higher incomes that high school graduates.

Her current study, however, offered some surprises, given the important role completion played in health.

“We have looked at a number of suspects like income, student loan debt, health behaviours that are causing these health outcomes. On their own, they are not necessarily explaining what’s going on,” Zajacova said. “We know the types of things that are not explaining it. It’s sort of like Sherlock Holmes in eliminating suspects.”

Maybe employment quality are affecting health outcomes, or maybe the act of trying and failing at university of college can have an effect on their confidence levels. The direct factors are not totally clear yet, she continued.

“Some potential lead suspects haven’t been eliminated yet. Maybe people who are more likely not to stick with university are similar to people who will not stick with other things – and that then affects their health. We don’t know.”

Decades ago, a high school diploma was a ticket to success. Then, any postsecondary education helped lead to a better life. But as more and more people got more and more education, that education becomes less valuable in some ways, she continued.

“A few generations ago, a high school diploma would have been great for middle class life, now bachelor degrees barely suffice,” she said. “The boundary where people are going to expect to see the returns will just keep moving higher, towards masters degrees, perhaps.”

Given the majority of young adults now complete at least some postsecondary education, it is crucial to understand how additional schooling matters for health at the upper end of the educational distribution.

“Health is a reflection in which, unless now you complete a university degree, you’re not seeing much in the way of return to your life,” Zajacova said.

“We may then want to expand to other outcomes (for not completing your degree) that would allow us to see things like marital behaviour, child-bearing behaviour, political behaviour. This would allow you to see these little aspects of people’s lives and see where those gaps are.”

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Research explores state of migrant worker protections https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/research-explores-state-of-migrant-worker-protections/ Mon, 09 Dec 2019 14:24:15 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35406 Federal protections lacking in clarity, accessibility and enforcement are leaving thousands of migrant workers across Canada open to exploitation, and in some cases putting their health and lives at risk to maintain employment, according to a Western researcher.

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Federal protections lacking in clarity, accessibility and enforcement are leaving thousands of migrant workers across Canada open to exploitation, and in some cases putting their health and lives at risk to maintain employment, according to a Western researcher.

Through on-the-ground interviews with migrant workers, Nursing professor Susana Caxaj discovered huge gaps in how, where and even if migrant workers are able to access information on employment standards, occupational health and safety and workplace compensation through the federal government’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).

SAWP allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers from participating countries when Canadians and permanent residents are not available. The program also outlines a series of worker protections, including wages, working conditions, housing, insurance, safety, and others, that must be followed by participating employers.

“The program is set up a little naively – it assumes the employer can, and will, take care of all these things. But these individuals experience so many larger structural barriers to actually asserting those rights,” said Caxaj, whose recent research paper, I Will Not Leave My Body Here: Migrant Workers’ Health and Safety Amidst a Climate of Coercion, was published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

“The things we espouse about these programs are not actually happening in practice.”

While a fair amount of research has expressed concerns about how SAWP is enforced, Caxaj wanted to give voice to the migrant agricultural workers’ experiences through her work.

“There is a chilling affect for workers,” she said, adding 75 per cent of Canada’s agricultural workforce is made up of migrant workers. “Sometimes an incident wouldn’t even have to happen on their farm. It was enough just knowing that at some other farm a worker told their boss that housing conditions were inadequate and that person wasn’t brought back the next season.

“There are lots of ways coercion is really at play in both subtle and explicit ways, even when a worker is ready to say, ‘I’m entitled to workplace compensation, I was injured on the job, I know my rights.’”

Caxaj interviewed a dozen migrant agricultural workers, followed by a public consultation with more than 100 workers in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. She was surprised to the degree their life in Canada was strictly work.

“It’s not just a stint of work – living and working on the farm is their life,” she said. “It’s one of the most hazardous occupations. Now, couple that with not speaking the language and no orientation to their legal protection as workers. They are not aware of (their rights) and, even if they are, there are a lot of risks.”

Participants in the study described numerous barriers to accessing something as simple as medical care, including transportation, geographic isolation, language, limited clinic hours, demanding work hours and fear of job loss.

Related to that final barrier, many of the migrant workers spoke to Caxaj of the need they had to “man up” – that somebody else would be happy to replace them.

“Many of these individuals feel like they have to normalize risk. And not just risk. They feel like they need to normalize the possibility they’ll get injured, normalize the possibility they could die on the job because of that need to keep this employment,” she said.

Caxaj found many migrant workers felt uncomfortable refusing unsafe working conditions. They wanted to stay in their employer’s ‘good books’ and be able to return the following year.

“Sadly, this means that workers’ bodies are on the line because they are accepting conditions that are sometimes exploitative and hazardous,” she said. “There is a paradox here, because the more workers risk their bodies to keep their job in the short-term, the more physical risk they might put themselves through, which may cost them their way of making a living (through manual labour).”

She also found numerous ways SAWP failed these workers.

“Workers want Canadian agencies to play more of a role in carrying out unannounced inspections that can flag problematic workplace and living conditions,” Caxaj said. She added that too much onus is placed on the individual to risk everything to correct a problem on a farm.

“They want their employers to be more responsible to maintain workplace safety and protection.”

Caxaj is currently piloting a model in British Columbia that would include an outreach worker and legal advocate for the workers as a way to bridge the barriers to access.

There is a growing interest among Canadians to want to do things differently, she continued. They want to see migrant workers treated as equals in the workplace.

“The only thing they have that is different is they are from a different country. That speaks to the disconnect of the value Canadians have and how Canadian policy is implemented here,” she said.

“It speaks to discrimination and that’s something Canadians don’t stand for. Until we recognize the ways we are writing them out of our community, we are doing a disservice to the type of world I hope we all want to live in.”

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Voice of the Raptors finds home at the mic https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/voice-of-the-raptors-finds-home-at-the-mic/ Fri, 06 Dec 2019 18:14:51 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35414 Teacher by day, Toronto Raptors broadcaster by night, Paul Jones, BEd’82, MA’84, has compressed two careers into one lifetime – and he’s still going.

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Teacher by day, Toronto Raptors broadcaster by night, Paul Jones, BEd’82, MA’84, has compressed two careers into one lifetime – and he’s still going.

For more than two decades, Jones was a dedicated teacher and school administrator in Toronto who kept one foot firmly planted in the world of professional sport. “I was a sports fan and I was never going to leave that,” he said.

After graduating from Western, Jones spent 22 years as a teacher, vice-principal and principal with the Toronto District School Board, all the while working part-time as a broadcaster for the Raptors. He has done play-by-play, analysis and sideline reporting for the franchise on TSN, CTV, Rogers Sportsnet and NBA TV Canada.

It wasn’t until 2004 that he decided to focus full-time on broadcasting. Today, Jones works exclusively as the Raptors play-by-play commentator for TSN radio and the broadcast analyst for the games on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

“Wherever the team is, I am. I sit at the back of the plane with the rest of the broadcast crew. On game day, we’re doing research, reading, number-crunching, talking to coaches, players, scouts – always gathering bits and pieces of information,” he said.

It’s a hectic pace but one he relishes.

“Even if I won $40 million in the lottery, I wouldn’t quit my job. I love my job,” he said.

“There are times when it’s the third game in four nights, we’ve been in Chicago, Detroit and arrived back home in the wee hours of the morning. Next day driving in, I’ll admit to feeling really tired. But then I get to the gym, and feel its energy, the rush of being around professional sports, seeing 10-year-old kids come into the arena and run down the stairs to the court, and I think, ‘This is pretty cool.’”

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, his family immigrated to Canada when Jones was a few months old. His summers were spent with extended family in both Jamaica and Queen’s, New York.

“I really had a culturally diverse upbringing. Being Jamaican-born, living in a traditional Jamaican household, being educated in Canada, vacationing with my relatives in Queen’s, it taught me how to mix with different groups, understand, assimilate. I look back now and realize I was pretty lucky,” he said.

Jones attended Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto before enrolling at York University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. He became a star basketball player at York, helping the team win three provincial titles and earning MVP honours in the 1981 championship game. While at York, he met professor Vietta ‘Sue’ Wilson, a noted sports psychologist, who helped him understand the mental side of the game.

After graduating from York, he applied to Western.

“Considering the admission standards and how tough it was to get into Western, I almost fainted when I got the letter saying I had been accepted at Teacher’s College.”

He earned his Bachelor of Education degree in 1982 and a master’s degree in Sports Psychology in 1984 – before it was in vogue to be a sports psychologist.

Inspired by his work with Wilson, he knew he wanted to get into sports psychology.

“I had an idea and thanks to the genius of Bert Carron (now-retired Kinesiology professor), it came through. It was a fledgling area, sports psychology, now it’s all the rage. And when I tell people I have a master’s in sports psychology, they look at me like, ‘Really?’” Jones said.

While at Western, he served as an assistant coach to the late longtime basketball coach Doug Hayes – “a wonderful man, just a prince of a man. He was smart, he was funny, and he really understood the game.”

Armed with education, experience and a passion for sport, Jones eyed a coaching career and planned to start with the varsity basketball team at Western. However, in 1984, his father got sick and Jones returned to Toronto. (His father lived another 35 years after that initial scare, passing away last June at the age of 94).

He was still intent on coaching but “the problem was, nobody in Canada cared about coaching, let alone coaching basketball.” He accepted a position as a supply teacher in Toronto, figuring he could take on coaching responsibilities in the school environment.

In 1985, the same year he landed a full-time teaching job, Jones got some part-time work at TSN writing for highlight reels.

“While I was building my teaching resume, my brother, Mark (now a play-by-play commentator for the NBA with ESPN), was hired at the newly formed TSN. He said, ‘You’ve got to get a job here. I get paid to watch the games. We don’t have to go to bars and ask guys to move satellites anymore.’ So that’s where it started,” laughed Jones.

From that point, his teaching and broadcasting careers progressed in tandem.

Even with a full-time teaching job, he couldn’t cut the cord at TSN.

He found himself holding down two jobs, teaching all day, doing lesson plans and marking at night while watching and analyzing basketball games. It was an intense schedule but for a then-single guy, living at home, and trying to pay back student loans, it was perfect.

“My school teams were doing well and I was having an impact with the kids. Being a visible minority, a young black teacher in the system, kids could say, ‘Look there’s someone that looks like me.’ It was all going swimmingly,” he said.

He was also enjoying success as a coach for the Ontario provincial team when he got a call from CTV in 1992 with an offer to work the Olympics in Barcelona – the first games in which professional players from the NBA were allowed to compete. The NBA was sending the Dream Team to the Olympics, and they needed a basketball guy.

“I had the time of my life covering the Olympics and living in Spain for a month or so.”

In 1994, he got a call from the Toronto Raptors, the new NBA team in town. They were putting together an all-Canadian broadcast team and offered him a spot as a broadcast analyst on radio station CFRB.

Jones joined the team of John Saunders, Leo Rautins (still doing the Raptors games) and Mike Inglis (now calling the games for the Miami Heat).

Now a principal, Jones continued to alternate between his school responsibilities and his broadcast duties.

“After getting married and having kids, my wife said, ‘OK, make a decision.’ I held off for about five more years and finally, in 2004, when the politics of the school system were getting too much, I left and went to the Raptors broadcast team full-time.”

As someone in on the ground floor covering the Raptors, witnessing the team’s historic win this past year was a beautiful thing.

“I started watching basketball when I was a kid. It’s a scene I’ve seen my whole life: confetti raining down from the ceiling, players hugging each other, the trophy being wheeled out. And here I am, standing in the middle of it,” he said. “Even now when I think of it, it feels surreal. I mean, a championship. I remember 25 years ago when we won 16 games.”

These days, in his down time, he spends time with his family and doesn’t play basketball but stays in shape, with one caveat.

“Anything that will hinder me chasing my golf ball is out of the question,” he explained. “I am an ardent, passionate but not necessarily skilled golfer. It’s the hardest game in the world.”

Sounds like the makings of a third career.

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Memorial honours the memory of those slain https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/memorial-honours-the-memory-of-those-slain/ Fri, 06 Dec 2019 17:46:55 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35469 Western Engineering, the Undergraduate Engineering Society and Women in Engineering paused today to honour the memory of the 14 women killed at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in 1989, along with Western’s Lynda Shaw, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student murdered near Highway 401 in 1990.

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Click to view slideshow.

Western Engineering, the Undergraduate Engineering Society and Women in Engineering paused today to honour the memory of the 14 women killed at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in 1989, along with Western’s Lynda Shaw, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student murdered near Highway 401 in 1990.

In what remains the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history, 12 engineering students, one nursing student and a university employee – all women – were killed in what has become known as the Montreal Massacre by a man whose manifesto said he was out to kill feminists.

Western Engineering professor Lauren Briens, BESc’94, PhD’00 (Chemical Engineering), spoke today of the impact of this tragic event and how the profession has changed in the last 30 years. Engineering students were on hand to light candles in memory of those who were killed. The event was held at the Amit Chakma Engineering Building.

Western News presents a special collection of thoughts commemorating the 30th anniversary of this watershed event by inviting a handful of Western community members to reflect on the lessons that still echo – and even on those still ignored – three decades out from that tragic day.

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London named host of rowing championships https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/london-named-host-of-rowing-championships/ Fri, 06 Dec 2019 17:38:11 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35467 The best university rowers in the world will take to the water in London as the Forrest City has been named host of the 2022 International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Rowing Championship, U SPORTS officials announced today.

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The best university rowers in the world will take to the water in London as the Forrest City has been named host of the 2022 International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Rowing Championship, U SPORTS officials announced today.

“Hosting the championships is both an exciting step forward for international sport in Canada, as well as an honour for U SPORTS, together with Western, Rowing Canada Aviron, and Tourism London,” said Lisette Johnson Stapley, Chief Sport Officer at U SPORTS. “With FISU’s trust in our organizing committee, we relish the opportunity to stage an event of this calibre on the world stage and look forward to bringing more FISU events to Canada in concert with our sport, membership and community partners.”

FISU stages the multi-sport Summer Universiade and single-sport World University Championship events in alternating years. Zagreb, Croatia, will host the 2020 edition of the games next August.

Rowing is also slated to be part of the 2021 FISU Summer Universiade program in Chengdu, China.

In its last appearance against world competition, Canada captured a pair of silver medals in the women’s double and women’s eight at the 2018 FISU World University Championship in Shanghai, China.

In August 2022, 300 high-performance student-athletes from more than 20 countries will arrive in the City of London for competition hosted at Fanshawe Lake.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this event,” said Zanth Jarvis, Director (Sport Tourism) at Tourism London. “London has a storied history when it comes to rowing and the legacies resulting from this event will further enhance our city as a leader in the international rowing community.”

A national rowing hub for generations, London was home to Rowing Canada’s National Training Centre and its Women’s National Team at Fanshawe Lake for more than 30 years.

“Dating back to London’s first documented regatta in 1849, the Forest City has produced some of the finest rowers in Canada,” said Ed Holder, Mayor, City of London. “We look forward to welcoming the world to London in 2022, while adding to our community’s rich rowing history.”

Historically, Western Rowing has stood as an elite program in North America.

In 1957, rowing was recognized as a Western intercollegiate men’s sport after years of petitioning by future coach Phil ‘Doc’ Fitz-James. Rowing was introduced as a women’s sport in the early 1970s. Since those days, both programs have had incredible success.

The Western Mustangs have captured 14 combined men’s and women’s Canadian University Rowing Championship titles while adding 54 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) combined titles in program history. The program is the only Canadian university team to win the Henley Royal Regatta (England), and has claimed multiple Head of the Charles victories, the world’s most popular head race, held in Boston; multiple Dad Vail victories, an historic Philadelphia regatta; and multiple Canadian Henley victories, North America’s largest club regatta, in St. Catharines.

More than 120 Western rowers have represented Canada in international competition, winning medals at every level of competition including Junior, U23 and Senior World Championships, as well as Commonwealth, Pan-American and Olympic Games.

Western’s 35 rowing Olympians have won 20 medals starting with Roger Jackson in the Tokyo Games of 1964 to Lesley Thompson-Willie in the London Games of 2012.

Nine Western coaches, or former rowers, have coached at the international level, six at the Olympics, including current coach Volker Nolte, who led the 2016 Olympic team in Rio.

We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes that represent our country on the highest stage and are very excited that they will be able to do this at home,” said Daniel Bechard, Chair, Organizing Committee, and Head Coach, Western Rowing. “We are also very proud of our community and being able to work with Tourism London and our community partners in acquiring the rights to this event.”

This event will mark the third World University Championship awarded to Canada by FISU, which announced today nearly 40 WUC hosts for both the 2022 and 2024 seasons.

Previously, the 2010 FISU World University Cross Country Championship was hosted by Queen’s University, while the 2002 FISU World University Wrestling Championship was awarded to the University of Alberta and staged in Edmonton.

The Alberta capital was also the site of the 1983 FISU Summer Universiade – the lone World University Games Canada has hosted in its history.

“Western is proud to have been selected as host of the 2022 FISU World University Rowing Championship,” said Christine Stapleton, Director (Sports and Recreation). “Fanshawe Lake is a spectacular venue to host the championships. I know our Mustangs men’s and women’s rowing teams, their coaches and supporters are enthusiastically looking forward to welcoming the world to London in 2022.”

On the international stage, Canada has won 35 medals in FISU rowing competition – 11 gold, 12 silver, and 12 bronze.

Sixteen have come in World University Championship action since 2002, while the remaining 19 podium finishes came at the FISU Summer Universiade, where it has been contested as on optional sport on six occasions dating back to 1987.

“We are very pleased that London has been selected to host the 2022 World University Rowing Championship,”

“The London community and Western have a rich history of rowing success at Fanshawe Lake dating back over several decades,” said Terry Dillon, Rowing Canada Aviron Chief Executive Officer. “We are confident London is well-equipped to host such a prestigious event and look forward to welcoming rowers to Canada in 2022.”

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Remember 30: Thriving environments https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/remember-30-thriving-environments/ Fri, 06 Dec 2019 14:23:21 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35442 Thirty years after the Montreal Massacre violence against women remains pervasive in society.

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Thirty years after the Montreal Massacre violence against women remains pervasive in society.

As we pause to remember those innocent women who were murdered while attending class, we also have to reflect on the important fact that they were killed because they were women. There has been a long history of violence against women that began before that day 30 years ago.

And it continues today.

A key part of student-affairs work is cultivating living and learning environments that foster equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we know that addressing complex cultural issues like gender-based violence can only happen in collaboration.

On postsecondary campuses across Canada, student-affairs professionals work alongside other academic and administrative leaders, in partnership with student organizations, to do this important work. Student-affairs professionals are trained to advance learning outside the classroom which is where students can learn about healthy sexuality and acquire the skills they need to develop positive and healthy relationships.

Gender-based violence isn’t limited to our campuses either. Systemic social issues including sexism, racism, and homophobia, along with rape culture myths normalize violence against women. We are not immune to these social structures and therefore we are not immune from the violence they create.

Gender-based violence is complex, multifaceted, and insidious. It shapes and is shaped by day-to-day interactions that include the objectification of women in music and media, the silencing of women’s voices, efforts to control women’s bodies through social conformity or through physical violence, and demeaning jokes and sexist stories.

Gender-based violence is powerful because it is so normal. Men and women are both involved in sustaining the cultures that normalize it, which means we all have a role to play in disrupting those harmful social norms if we are to eradicate such violence.

We have seen change in the past 30 years, but there remains much more work to do before we can declare this problem solved.

This is work that I am committed to. I chose a career in student affairs because I am deeply committed to equity in education and because I value the expertise that student affairs professionals to the campus in engaging students in courageous dialogue on difficult issues.

This is our job.

Western is likewise committed to addressing gender-based violence. The university holds student safety as our top priority. We are committed to addressing all forms of gender-based and sexual violence, so that our campus can truly become a place where all students can thrive.

And it doesn’t end here.

As our students journey away from us when they graduate, we want to know that they are taking pieces of our thriving community with them, including a new outlook on how abnormal gender-based violence should be.

Jennifer Massey is the Associate Vice-President (Student Experience).

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Remember 30: Replacing bias with balance https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/remember-30-replacing-bias-with-balance/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 17:48:35 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35436 On Dec. 6, 1989, I was in my first year working in a consulting engineering firm after university. It was an especially demanding time in my life, and frankly, I do not recall the event being discussed at my office at all, probably because out of about 100 staff, there was only one other female engineer in the firm.

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Editor’s note: This is one of a series of pieces commemorating the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique murders. Read other Western community members’ reflections on the lessons that still echo – and even on those lessons still ignored – three decades out from that tragic day.

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On Dec. 6, 1989, I was in my first year working in a consulting engineering firm after university. It was an especially demanding time in my life, and frankly, I do not recall the event being discussed at my office at all, probably because out of about 100 staff, there was only one other female engineer in the firm.

After coming from a university environment that was very inclusive, I found myself working in one that was not. So my memory is that of feeling quite isolated and working very hard to fit in and survive.

I was horrified about the shootings, and felt such sadness for the women who lost their lives simply for pursuing an education – the same one I had pursued.

Although this was one very troubled person’s action, it shone a light on the fact there were very few women in the engineering profession and very few women attracted to it at that time. I knew I had to do something to show women engineering is a profession that should be available to them and encouraged as a wonderful career option.

I have worked towards that ever since, both within my firm, and as a volunteer.

My mother and father always encouraged me and my sister to pursue whatever career we dreamed of – even if that meant a career that was not traditionally female. In fact, being a woman wanting to pursue a dominantly male field was never even discussed in our household. And I found an incredibly inclusive and supportive environment at Western Engineering, despite the fact there were very few women in the faculty at the time.

Some progress has been made. Women are definitely more accepted now. The barriers that come by virtue of so few women being in the field are slowly lifting as, thankfully, the number of women in engineering increases – yet ever so slowly.

Today, only 13 per cent of the 295,000 professional engineers in Canada are women. A workplace that has a minority of women is an inherently difficult place for a woman to thrive. Respected studies have shown that up to 50 per cent of women are driven out of companies and the engineering field altogether, due in no small part to a culture which is not always as accepting as it should be.

The way to begin to change this is to openly acknowledge these cultural challenges exist.

When I was President of Engineers Canada, we adopted an audacious goal of ‘30 by 30’ – 30 per cent of professional engineers obtaining licenses will be women in 2030. This goal has been adopted by all regulatory bodies across Canada, and the profession across the country is working very hard on many fronts to bring this goal to a reality.

In the meantime, firms can revise policies to eliminate bias that negatively impacts women, institute part-time positions so women can continue to develop their careers during child-rearing years, provide flexible work hours, and be mindful in how they recognize, reward, respect and support women.

Many studies have shown that having a balance between the number of men and women in engineering leads to superior performance on many fronts. As men and women can have quite different points of view about issues, this balance in our field will also lead to more balanced and socially conscious solutions to real-world problems.

Catherine Karakatsanis, BESc’83, MESc’91, is a Professional Engineer and the COO and Director at Morrison Hershfield Group Inc. and a member of the Board of Governors at Western.

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Seeing the world in new ways https://news.westernu.ca/2019/12/seeing-the-world-in-new-ways/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 16:24:28 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=35375 Embrace new ways, nostalgia and a touch of artistic danger when Huron University College professor Paul Nesbitt-Larking takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Paul Nesbitt-Larking is a political science professor at Huron University College.

Today, he takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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Read.

Along with Xueqing Xu, my colleagues Hua Laura Wu and Corinne Davies have recently co-edited an eye-opening collection of short stories from Chinese Canadian writers, Toward The North. Through the eyes of the characters who populate these eclectic and fascinating stories, I have come to see Canada in new ways.

Watch.

For those of us getting just a little older, David Crosby: Remember My Name is a compelling film. Apart from reminding us of his musical relevance to the 60s generation and beyond, the autobiographical elements of the film capture beautifully the delicate balances between regret and self-acceptance, remembering and moving on, and nostalgia and being available to the future.

Listen.

I’ve recently been drawn to the pure integrity, artistic danger, and righteous anger of performance poet and recording artist Kate Tempest. Among her standout pieces are Europe is Lost and Progress. I’ve also been loving CDs from two brilliant singers who played our London Musical Hall in the last month: Secularia by Eliza Gilkyson and Mavis Staples Live in London.

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If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see in Read. Watch. Listen., or would like to participate yourself, drop a line to inside.western@uwo.ca.

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