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Updated: 26 min 15 sec ago

Brock LINC opening signals new era of community engagement for Brock University

Fri, 2020-02-21 18:00

MEDIA RELEASE: 21 February 2020 – R0035

From brainstorming an idea to producing a prototype with a 3D printer to testing out consumer reaction in a virtual reality lab, the Brock LINC presents a world of opportunities.

Whether those ideas come from the minds of students, researchers or community members, the doors are now open — both literally and figuratively — to a transformational new innovation space at Brock University.

Brock students, faculty and staff joined officials from all levels of government on Friday, Feb. 21 to officially open the Brock LINC, which stands for Learn, Innovate, Network and Collaborate.

“Today, we celebrate the dawn of a new era of possibility for the Niagara region,” Brock University President Gervan Fearon said during the ceremony. “Our key priorities involve fostering a culture of inclusivity and accessibility, offering a transformational university experience, building Brock’s research capacity, and enhancing the vitality of communities in Niagara and beyond. The Brock LINC is a catalyst to help us achieve all of those goals and we have many of you here today to thank for that.”

The $19-million Brock LINC project, first announced in 2016, moved forward with funding from both the federal and provincial governments, as well as from the University itself and the generous donations of community partners such as Tom Rankin, for whom the Rankin Family Pavilion in which the Brock LINC is housed, is named.

“Modern learning spaces play a critical part in supporting skills development to prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This important investment at Brock University will help students advance the next generation of leading-edge research and innovation in Canada.”

The construction project involved converting the former open-air pedestrian mall in front of Schmon Tower into a 41,000-square-foot research, innovation and commercialization centre. The two-storey building includes: open spaces for networking and collaboration; a new makerspace to design, build and prototype; cutting-edge labs for digital scholarship and virtual reality research; entrepreneurial space for early-stage business ideas and start-ups; and multi-purpose rooms and meeting spaces for learning and sharing.

To create those spaces, contractors faced the extremely complex challenge of marrying a modern glass and steel structure to the 52-year-old concrete tower and surrounding buildings.

It took some time, but it was worth the wait.

“Investing in the success of our students is an investment into all of our futures,” said Hon. Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Projects like Brock LINC will ensure that students in Niagara have access to learning environments that will encourage collaboration, resourcefulness, and gives the skills and training they need to meet the labour market needs in the Niagara region.”

The new facilities will provide the Brock community with space to experience and experiment with entrepreneurship and will add a strategic asset within Niagara’s innovation ecosystem that supports a greater number of research and development partnerships between Brock and Niagara’s businesses and social organizations. Brock is known for its leadership in experiential and co-op education, and the Brock LINC will advance entrepreneurial teaching and learning at the University.

* * *

Friday’s ceremony also served as a celebration to mark the completion of Brock’s District Energy Efficiency Project (DEEP).

Located in the Central Utilities Building along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, Brock’s 25-year-old co-generation engines have been replaced with state-of-the-art energy efficient units, which provide a reliable source of electricity, cooling and heating on campus.

For the first phase of the project, the University received nearly $5.2 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment. Brock also contributed $5.4 million, which included its annual allotment of deferred maintenance from the Government of Ontario. These funds allowed Brock to update the facility’s gas-powered engines and controls, as well as chillers and water lines, replacing them with newer, more efficient units and reducing Brock’s carbon output.

The second phase of the project was funded by the Government of Ontario, which provided $7.9 million through the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program Innovation Grant Fund. This phase completed the modernization of the co-generation plant, including the replacement of the remaining four engines with two high-efficiency engines and a new energy efficient chiller.

“By conducting a massive overhaul to our on-site district energy system, the DEEP project significantly improves Brock’s energy efficiency, lowers our emissions and puts us on track to meeting our environmental sustainability goals,” said Scott Johnstone, Senior Associate Vice-President of Operations and Infrastructure Services at Brock. “It also creates a resilient energy system supplying reliable electricity, heat and cooling to our growing campus, which will support the Brock community for decades to come.”

The completed DEEP project has resulted in an 85 per cent decrease in Brock’s NOx emissions and a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions. The new co-generation engines also consume 26 per cent less fuel and result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility cost savings each year.

Additional Quotes:

Hon. Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

“The Brock LINC and the upgrades to the co-generation facility are two direct success stories of the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. As a result of our government’s investment, students, teachers and researchers will now work in state-of-the-art facilities that advance our country’s best research and continue to allow Canada to be a world leader in turning ideas into solutions.”

Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament, Niagara Centre

“It’s always a pleasure to partner with Brock University to enhance the educational experience for our students. Investment in education is one of the keys to ensuring the longstanding success and prosperity of the Niagara region.”

Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament, St. Catharines

“Brock LINC is an entrepreneurial space that will challenge the next generation of innovators to create solutions to real-world problems. This space provides an incredible opportunity for students to turn ideas into inventions, turn solutions into action and apply research in a new way that will not only benefit their studies, it will benefit the Niagara community, our country and our world.”

Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction

“Innovation will be a key driver of Ontario’s economic growth and development in the years ahead, and Brock University’s LINC initiative is helping build the Ontario of tomorrow, today. By creating a dedicated space that supports innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, Brock is creating fertile ground for the ideas that will help shape Ontario’s future.”

David Piccini, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Colleges and Universities
“I am thrilled to be here at Brock University to highlight the important investment our government is making to upgrade equipment and fund innovative research. The opening of Brock LINC is an exciting time for Brock and the Niagara region and will broaden horizons for our next generation and better prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research, Brock University

“Brock LINC is about making connections that would otherwise have been unlikely. Its facilities and programs will link creativity with application and researcher expertise with entrepreneurial opportunity. Partnerships with our researchers enable solutions to problems and development of ideas in new and sometimes unexpected directions.”

Farzana Crocco, Brock LINC Executive Director

“The Brock LINC is where innovation, research and entrepreneurship converge at the University,” she said. “While the resources in each of these areas are numerous at Brock, there has never been a central place to access them or explore how they can work together. The Brock LINC provides that central point of access to navigate what’s available, but will also build programs to connect different parts of the University in new and interesting ways.”

Brock launches Canada-Caribbean Institute with University of the West Indies

Thu, 2020-02-20 16:17

MEDIA RELEASE: 20 February 2020 – R0034

This week in Jamaica, officials from Brock University and the University of the West Indies (UWI) capped off a year of collaborative planning and formally launched the Canada-Caribbean Institute (CCI).

The CCI, which will support studies and research into specific Canada/Caribbean issues, became a reality on Monday, Feb. 17 with its inaugural Canada-Caribbean Research Symposium, held at the UWI’s regional headquarters campus in Kingston, Jamaica.

Remarks were made by Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; by Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Laurie Peters; and by UWI’s Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, and its Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, R. Richard Bernal, who is Jamaica’s former ambassador to the United States.

Brock President Gervan Fearon, a leading advocate behind the new international body, attended the symposium with a contingent of Brock researchers and officials.

Fearon has helped directly energize the new Institute by personally contributing to funding the new Dr. Gervan Fearon Scholarships. Starting in September 2020, these will be awarded annually to graduate students studying Canadian Caribbean issues at Brock. The scholarships will be awarded to a student or students from Canada one year, and a student from the Caribbean in the alternating year.

“I have had many discussions with my Brock colleagues, and we know this partnership is a wonderful opportunity for many people to collaborate and make a positive difference that creates very real future benefits both in Canada and across the Caribbean,” said Fearon.

The goal of the CCI is to facilitate collaborative academic and research initiatives; faculty, student and staff exchange programs; and institutional capacity building in areas of shared interest between Canada and the Caribbean such as socio-economic development, environmental and health promotion, gender studies, and trade and economic policy.

The Institute provides a framework for scholars in the Caribbean and Canada to conduct research and scholarly activities, and generate needed knowledge and analysis to inform innovative policy and initiatives for enhancing Canada-Caribbean relations.

Camille Rutherford, Brock’s Vice-Provost for Strategic Partnerships and International, said establishing the CCI reflects Brock’s increasingly energized internationalization strategy.

“Throughout the symposium this week, Brock faculty members were actively engaged in discussions that have already resulted in new research, collaboration and exchange opportunities,” she said.

The Canadian High Commission celebrated the milestone on Facebook saying “The new Institute, which is a collaboration with Brock University in Canada, will provide multi-disciplinary research and teaching to deepen and improve the relations between Canada and the Caribbean, and serve to examine issues affecting the Caribbean diaspora communities in Canada.”

During the symposium, significant economic and cultural linkages between Canada and the Caribbean were discussed by participants from both regions. Like Canada, the Caribbean is a diverse region in terms of geography, culture and language, with much to learn from and to contribute to each other.

In an earlier interview with the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, UWI Vice-Chancellor Beckles said Canada has been “a most reliable supporter of Caribbean nation building.”

“Creative, courageous, and confident people build bridges and not walls, and the Canada-Caribbean bridge has been one of the most productive and mutually beneficial relation constructed in the last hundred years.”

Bernal, UWI’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor and one of the architects behind the new Institute, echoed that theme.

“Canada has been an emphatic partner for the small island states of the English-speaking Caribbean dating back to the colonial era,” he told The Voice newspaper in Saint Lucia. “This relationship has been reflected in trade, capital for development, tourism, migration and remittances, as well as in diplomatic solidarity.”

With its headquarters in Jamaica, the University of the West Indies also has physical campuses in Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua & Barbuda, as well as a virtual Open Campus that provides academic programming in 17 nations across the Caribbean.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

 Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Brock researchers examine how stereotypes of older adults impact jury duty

Thu, 2020-02-20 09:54

MEDIA RELEASE: 20 February 2020 – R0033

Although some may try to avoid jury duty, it’s still regarded as a valuable contribution to society.

Despite the number of people who strive to wriggle out of that obligation, there’s a group of citizens that, in about three-quarters of Canadian jurisdictions, can be exempt from jury duty without much effort.

They only need to be 65 years of age or over.

At first glance, it seems to be a reasonable measure to alleviate stress in an older person’s life. But for Brock University Psychology PhD student Alison O’Connor, such a law is a potential red flag for a larger problem.

“Given that we have negative aging attitudes embedded within our society already,” says O’Connor, “is this law just perpetuating these stereotypes and making older adults feel like they aren’t able to contribute to the jury?”

She notes that there has been no research on how people perceive this law and that “there is no justification provided for why older adults can opt out, and there’s no reason to explain why some areas uphold this law and others do not.”

To address these and other questions, O’Connor and her supervisor, Associate Professor of Psychology Angela Evans, set out to explore perceptions of older adults’ involvement in jury duty and how this may be shaped by the opt-out law.

The researchers constructed a questionnaire for younger and older adult participants to assess their willingness and capability to serve on jury duty, their perceptions of older adults’ capability to serve, and what participants thought of the so-called ‘opt-out’ law.

Prior to completing the questionnaire, the researchers informed half of the older adult group about the law. The other half of older adults were not told about the law until the end of the questionnaire.

The results, published last month in the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, confirmed some of O’Connor’s and Evans’ theories.

“One of the important messages of the study is that, overwhelmingly, both older and younger participants said they thought this law was in place because of older adults’ declining capabilities,” says O’Connor.

She notes that only 10 per cent of older adult participants thought the law was in place because it benefitted older adults.

Interestingly, knowing about the law in advance didn’t alter older adults’ perceptions of themselves as being effective jurors, but it did bring about more negative attitudes towards older adult jurors as a whole.

Other findings of the study “Perceptions of older adult jurors: the influence of aging stereotypes and jury laws” include:

  • 67 per cent of older adults indicated they would want to serve on a jury within the next year — a rate significantly higher than younger adults
  • Both age groups rated themselves as fairly capable to serve
  • Only 37 per cent of older adults agreed there should be a maximum age threshold for jurors, as compared to 70 per cent of younger adults who agreed with the threshold
  • Younger adults provided significantly lower capability ratings for older adult jurors compared to older adults, mainly based on beliefs that older adults suffered from poor health and hold ‘biased’ beliefs

Evans says the results suggest the potential for intergenerational conflict among jurors if younger adults perceive older adults to be less capable.

“Aging stereotypes can have real consequences for older adults, so it is possible that these negative attitudes may prevent older adult jurors from feeling confident and valued during jury deliberations,” says Evans.

Regarding the opt-out law, the researchers suggest it may be beneficial for jurisdictions to explain the reasons behind allowing older adults to be excused from jury duty so as “to prevent citizens from assuming the law is in place because of older adults’ limited capacity to serve as jurors,” says the study. This can be an interesting next step in this line of research.

O’Connor says she hopes the research results will challenge stereotypes of older adult jurors, motivate the court system “to foster more positive relationships between different age groups” and be the start of a wider inquiry into reform of the opt-out law.

“Older adults are a very important and valuable group of citizens within our population,” she says. “It’s a shame if either this law or negative aging attitudes are impeding their ability to contribute to a jury, which can be a very important civic responsibility.”

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970 

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio. 

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Draft executive order for U.S. federal architecture alarms Brock experts

Thu, 2020-02-20 09:52

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 February 2020 – R0032

Architecture is more than just appealing buildings — it’s a form of communication and a manifestation of cultural aspirations, say two Brock University experts.

Under a draft executive order published by the Chicago Sun Times, U.S. President Donald Trump could mandate that new or renovated American federal buildings be built in his preferred neoclassical style.

“My immediate reaction is one of alarm,” says Katharine von Stackelberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Classics. “Mandating an official architectural style is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes. Architecture is a living process that must be responsive and adaptive to its historical context if it’s to have any meaning to us now or any value in the future.”

The draft order, titled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” received condemnation from groups such as the American Institute of Architects for abandoning the 1962 Guiding Principles for Architecture and banning Brutalist or Deconstructivist styles.

Neoclassical architecture was popular in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is easily recognized by its use of features found in ancient Greek and Roman architecture, such as columns, arches, friezes, symmetry and geometrical forms. The style was used for stately homes, monuments, and public and commercial buildings.

“The notion that architecture can imprint or bestow an ideology has served any number of regimes, the most notorious being the Nazi era, and its preference for a form of a severe classicism and the authoritarianism that follows,” says Derek Knight, Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Art.

“Such ideas have also permeated the European colonial powers in Africa, Asia and, indeed, North America, where traits of exploitation, power and hegemony are manifest in the buildings they have left behind.”

The United States’ Founding Fathers consciously used neo-classical architecture to distance themselves from British control and focus on the legacy of Athenian democracy and Roman republicanism, says von Stackelberg.

“By proposing a return to neoclassical style, the Trump administration is positioning Trump as a new Founding Father,” says von Stackelberg. “What’s really interesting though is that in the unlikely event that this proposal is adopted, he may find that neoclassicism no longer means what he thinks it does.”

The neoclassical style developed new meanings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a result of education reforms, journalism and mass-produced art, says von Stackleberg, whose edited volume, Housing the New Romans: Architectural Reception and Classical Style in the Roman World (Oxford, 2017; co-edited with E. Macaulay-Lewis) traces this shift in the meaning.

“Neoclassical style came to represent femininity, domestic leisure and hybrid ‘foreignness’ when access to classics became available to previously marginalized groups such as women, working-class families and immigrants.”

While the idea for the executive order takes its lead from the Capitol Building and the perception that republican virtue is manifested in neoclassical facades, it does have broader meanings.

“The notion of a national architecture is fraught with undertones of manifest destiny, misconstrued ideas around lost utopias, and an idealism that is retrograde,” says Knight.

Katharine von Stackelberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Classics and Derek Knight, Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Art, are available for media interviews on the topic.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

Michelle Pressé, Brock University Communications, mpresse@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 905-246-1963

Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock Universityddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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REMINDER: Brock to open new innovation space Feb. 21

Thu, 2020-02-13 11:21

MEDIA RELEASE: 13 February 2020 – R0031

A dynamic new space that will bring together Brock University students, faculty and staff to collaborate with each other and the community will officially open next week.

Brock will host a grand opening for the Brock LINC — which stands for Learn, Innovate, Network, Collaborate — on Friday, Feb. 21 in the newly renovated main entrance at the base of Schmon Tower.

The grand opening event will include tours of the two-level Brock LINC space, as well as remarks from representatives of the University and various levels of government.

Also being recognized during the event is the completion of Brock’s District Energy Efficiency Project (DEEP), which involved a significant upgrade and modernization of the University’s co-generation facility that provides a reliable and energy-efficient source of electricity, cooling and heating on campus.

What: Grand Opening of Brock LINC

When: Friday, Feb. 21, 3 p.m.

Where: Rankin Family Pavilion at Brock University

Media and the community are invited to attend the ribbon-cutting celebration to officially open the space.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Funding announced for Brock boxing program supporting youth survivors of family violence

Wed, 2020-02-12 15:19

MEDIA RELEASE: 12 February 2020 – R0030

Youth affected by family violence in two Canadian cities will benefit from Brock University’s expanded Shape Your Life (SYL) non-contact boxing program thanks to funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

A $320,000 contribution will allow SYL, which has worked with more than 1,800 female-identified survivors of violence in Toronto since its inception in 2007, to extend its support services to youth aged 13 to 18 affected by family violence in the both the Niagara region and Edmonton, Alta.

“I’m really excited for the next phase of Shape Your Life, which will provide us with the opportunity to leave a legacy in the communities we are collaborating with,” said Professor of Kinesiology Cathy van Ingen, who has been a driving force in ensuring the success and sustainability of the program since its inception.

The funding was part of more than $1.3 million for projects using positive parenting and sport to help prevent child maltreatment and support young survivors of family violence announced Wednesday by Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey and St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health.

“Gender-based and family violence can have an impact on every aspect of a survivor’s life, from physical and mental health, to housing and financial security,” said Minister Hajdu. “I am proud to announce the Government of Canada’s support for this project, which is using evidence-based and innovative approaches to support survivors of family violence.”

The new SYL project aims to reach 200 youth survivors of violence and to train 20 coaches and program leaders in collaboration with three community-based agencies that support under-serviced youth, including youth in foster care.

“I am very excited for Brock University’s next collaboration that will support youth in Niagara and Edmonton by providing an opportunity to achieve positive health outcomes through Shape Your Life,” van Ingen said. “As we are increasing capacity amongst coaches to better serve young people who have experienced trauma and violence, we hope to leave a sustainable legacy of trained individuals who can continue this much needed-work long after the completion of this project.”

As part of this project, a SYL trauma and violence informed Coach Training Program will be developed and adapted to meet the needs of the youth supported by the collaborating agencies. The training will engage boxing coaches who may be less experienced with trauma and violence informed approaches.

“It’s important to realize that while we teach non-contact boxing, it is very different and far more advanced than a boxercise class,” van Ingen said. “This coach training approach will build a pool of trauma-informed boxing instructors to deliver, in partnership with community-based youth organizations in Niagara and Mountain Plains Family Services and Pathways Family Services in Edmonton, the SYL youth programming.”

The Brock-based team overseeing and implementing this project with van Ingen includes Associate Professor of Kinesiology Kimberley Gammage, who is the co-investigator and will oversee research data collection to evaluate the effectiveness of the program; SYL Head Coach and five-time national boxing champion Melinda Watpool, who will oversee the training and development of youth coaches; and post-doctoral Research Fellow Amanda De Lisio (BEd ’08, BPhEd ’08), who will oversee the research on mental and physical health outcomes, as well as evaluate the coaches’ training and the experiences of the youth participants.

“Today’s announcement from the Public Health Agency of Canada will enable our professors to further support programming and research that is known to have significant positive mental and physical health outcomes for Shape Your Life participants,” said Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Dean Peter Tiidus. “I am very proud this intervention will be a catalyst for supporting marginalized youth in Niagara and Edmonton.”

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio. 

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Brock set to host U SPORTS Wrestling National Championships

Tue, 2020-02-11 15:28

MEDIA RELEASE: 11 February 2020 – R0029

The Brock Badgers wrestling team will be aiming for its seventh-straight national title as it hosts the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships at Brock University Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22.

Both the men’s and women’s teams head into the championships ranked No. 1 in the country, having recently won their fifth and sixth-consecutive provincial titles, respectively, in dominating fashion.

“We look forward to competing for a national championship in our home gym,” said Head Coach Marty Calder, whose team previously hosted the U SPORTS championships in 2016. “Our athletes love the big moments. We hope to capitalize on the opportunity.”

The Badgers’ wrestling dynasty has collected 28 national wrestling championships. The men’s team has won 19 national banners — including 10-straight from 1998 to 2008 — and are aiming for their seventh-consecutive title. The women’s team has collected nine U SPORTS banners and are in the hunt for their ninth-straight title.

Despite the extensive accolades, Associate Director of Brock Sports Emily Allan says the student-athletes have remained humble.

“As successful as the teams have historically been, winning a national championship is never a given,” she said. “Being the top team puts a target on your back, but our team never rests. They never take their success for granted because they know someone is always trying to knock them from the top.”

Allan said Calder’s program instills an impeccable work ethic on the student-athletes.

“They work hard on and off the mat, both athletically and academically,” she said. “When they come to Brock, they know they’re expected to be at their best and they know they’ll be supported to do so.”

The Badgers wrestling program has momentum going into the National Championships with many athletes competing at the Canadian Wrestling Trials in Niagara Falls last December and recently capturing the Ontario Athletics University wrestling banners in Guelph.

The U SPORTS Wrestling Championships get underway Friday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. in Bob Davis Gymnasium and resume Saturday, Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. The bronze medal matches start at noon with the gold medal round to start at 2 p.m.

Tickets for the event are available on brocku.universitytickets.com

The event will also be streamed live online at USPORTS.Live in both English and French. Visit the website for subscription options.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Stephen Leithwood, Communications Officer, Brock Sports/Ancillary Services sleithwood@brocku.ca 905-688-5550 ext. 4752

* Dan Dakin, Manager, Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Local MPs to announce Brock funding to prevent gender-based and family violence

Tue, 2020-02-11 14:04

MEDIA RELEASE: 11 February 2020 – R0028

Members of the media and the Niagara community are invited to Brock University on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. for an announcement about the Government of Canada’s support of the Shape Your Life (SYL) boxing program for youth affected by family violence in two Canadian cities.

On behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Health, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines Chris Bittle and Niagara Centre Member of Parliament Vance Badawey will announce federal support for the program aimed at helping to prevent gender-based and family violence.

Shape Your Life, which has worked with more than 1,800 female-identified survivors of violence in Toronto since its inception in 2007, will extend its support services to youth aged 13 to 18 affected by family violence in both the Niagara region and in Edmonton, Alta. thanks to funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The Brock-based team overseeing and implementing this project includes Professor of Kinesiology and SYL co-founder Cathy van Ingen and Associate Professor of Kinesiology Kimberley Gammage.

 

What: Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada Funding Announcement

Who: St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle and Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey

When: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Where: Scotiabank Atrium, Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex, Brock University

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Classics prof reflects on legacy of Spartacus

Mon, 2020-02-10 16:49

MEDIA RELEASE: 10 February 2020 – R0027

Of all the films he appeared in, Kirk Douglas, who passed away last week at the age of 103, was perhaps best known for his starring role in the 1960 film Spartacus.

Although Douglas was a controversial figure — including serious sexual misconduct allegations that came to light later in his life — Spartacus is seen as an important film that dealt with significant contemporary issues.

“The film was pivotal to 20th century history of confronting injustice and oppression,” says Katharine von Stackelberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Classics at Brock. “People keep thinking slavery is just something that belongs to the past, but as I emphasize in the slavery module of my introduction to Roman civilization course, slavery is very much a present and ongoing issue.”

The study of Classics and ancient history encourages students to engage with current social justice issues, she says.

A 2017 UN report on slavery estimates that 40 million people worldwide are commodified and trafficked as forced labour and forced sex workers.

Spartacus is based on real historical events. The Third Servile War was the last in a series of slave revolts in the Roman Republic. Begun in 73 BCE by a group of seventy escaped slave gladiators, the revolt swelled to 120,000 men, women and children over two years. After it was crushed by Roman military forces under Crassus in 71 BC, more than 6,000 of the slaves were crucified along the Appian Way, leading from Rome to southern Italy.

Howard Fast wrote the novel on which the film is based while in jail for refusing to testify before the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC). The film parallels American history and the civil rights movement, including the fight to end segregation and promoting the equality of African-Americans.

Spartacus was an enormously controversial film,” says von Stackelberg. “The book on which it was based was banned during the McCarthy era because the resistance of slaves to masters was understood to promote Communism.”

The movie’s climatic scene, where each recaptured slave claims to be Spartacus and thereby share his fate, dramatized the solidarity of those who were blacklisted as Communist sympathizers because they refused to implicate others.

“The film protested against HUAC censorship and oppression by employing artists, writers, actors and technicians who had been blacklisted for many years,” says von Stackelberg. “It was credited with effectively ending the Hollywood blacklist and has been recognized as providing social commentary on the Civil Rights Movement in its treatment of women, African-Americans, and same-sex relationships. “The actual Spartacan uprising was also followed by a period of increasingly progressive legislation in the Roman Empire, so Ancient History is closer to the present than we think,” says von Stackelberg.

Katharine von Stackelberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Classics at Brock University, is available for interviews.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio. 

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Brock chemist partners with startup to develop new copper production method

Thu, 2020-02-06 15:09

MEDIA RELEASE: 6 February 2020 – R0026

Brock University Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Ian Brindle can still remember witnessing a mesmerizing experiment that’s often conducted in high school chemistry classes.

The experiment involves putting an iron nail into a solution of copper sulphate and then watching dark, reddish-brown patches of copper metal adhering onto the nail.

While it’s an exciting way to grow copper, the fun stops when students are faced with scraping the copper off the nail. Not only is it tough work, but the copper becomes contaminated with iron in the process.

Fast forward a few decades, where Brindle points to a vat containing a copper-covered iron bar immersed in a leached copper solution. He picks up the bar, but instead of scraping the copper from the iron, Brindle merely wipes it off. The shiny, high-purity copper crystals fall from the iron effortlessly, like tender meat off a bone.

The copper in the solution came from an abandoned Ontario mine that has only tiny deposits of the element tucked away in many layers of rock.

Brindle has partnered with Destiny Copper Inc., a resident company in the Goodman School of Business’ Goodman Group-Venture Development in the Brock LINC, to develop new methods of producing copper. These methods have the potential to revolutionize the copper mining industry in Canada and beyond because they are simple and mobile.

“We’ve had interest from South America, Mexico and the U.S.,” says Dave Cousins, co-founder of Destiny Copper.

“We’ve already got Swiss copper traders that are willing to buy as much as we can produce, so the demand is there,” adds co-owner Greg Hanna.

The aim of Destiny Copper’s work is to offer a new way of extracting copper from small deposits of copper ore (crushed rock and other deposits) that most large-scale mining companies would consider to be too small to process using conventional methods.

The first step involves extracting and dissolving copper from rocks in which the mineral is contained. The company collects ore from the surface layer of test sites in several Ontario mines that are old or abandoned, which is then brought to the lab, where water and chemicals are filtered through the material to leach the copper out.

The leached liquid is a copper sulphate solution that Hanna affectionately calls “blue juice.” Once an additive is added and comes into contact with iron, it produces the granular copper.

The provisionally patented ‘granular copper process’ is what differentiates Destiny Copper from other copper processes.

“The discrete crystals don’t stick to the iron, so you can easily separate the copper once it’s produced from the iron,” says Brindle. “That gives you the opportunity of purifying the copper further into big sheets that weigh 125 kilograms, which can be sold on the international market.”

The game changer, says Hanna, is that this method uses virtually no electricity and requires far less equipment than conventional methods. Normally, sophisticated extraction equipment would be needed to remove the copper from the iron.

“It’s a far greener process than the current copper extraction technologies, which require huge amounts of electricity,” he says. “It’s the cleanest form of mining there could be.”

Hanna notes that as green technologies such as electric vehicles, solar and wind power generation gain traction, copper will be in even greater demand.

“These technologies take up to 12 times the amount of copper when compared to fossil fuel electricity generation,” he says.

Destiny Copper’s modular process makes it ideal to set up operations directly on site, a huge advantage for mines that contain small copper deposits not worthwhile for large mining companies, says Brindle.

“You’ve got high-value copper essentially marooned in the environment and nobody is going to spend the money to extract that copper using conventional techniques, so you’ve got to come up with something novel,” he says. “Because of the simplicity of the technology, you can load all of the equipment you need on the back of a flatbed truck; when the copper is mined out, you put everything back on the truck and go to the next place.”

The company is now working on additional funding to further refine the equipment needed for mobile operations.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Brock teams up with Toronto Blue Jays to develop future sport leaders

Wed, 2020-02-05 09:40

MEDIA RELEASE: 5 February 2020 – R0025

For Evan Gwartz, working for the Toronto Blue Jays means being a part of a learning culture that encourages professional and leadership development.

“Our motto is, ‘Get better every day,’” says Gwartz (BSM ’15, MA ’17). “Our leaders always encourage us to contribute and share ideas.”

Gwartz, who is the Co-ordinator, Client Services — Executive Suites for the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, is returning to campus Thursday, Feb. 6 for the eighth annual Department of Sport Management (SPMA) Alumni Day.

“It is very empowering to work in such a respectful environment and I look forward to being able to share and connect with Brock Sport Management students,” he says.

Representing the Toronto Blue Jays Leadership Development Program (LDP) in collaboration with the department’s Student Council, Gwartz will provide students with the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work on a Blue Jays project through the second annual SPMA student case competition that is a part of the Alumni Day agenda.

It’s an opportunity for SPMA students to pitch proposed solutions to a real-world problem, showcasing what they’ve learned in the classroom and tips they’ve picked up while working in the field.

This year’s competition gives students three days to develop a solution to a scenario presented by the Toronto Blue Jays LDP, a 12-month opportunity for top talent to develop their professional skill set, including leadership skills, while contributing to shaping the Blue Jays culture.

“The intent of this case competition scenario is to create an environment where students experience working on a project that participants of the Blue Jays LDP would be a part of,” Gwartz says. “Everyone who works at Rogers Centre contributes to solving problems and achieving our business goals, and for an afternoon these competitors will too.”

The top teams will be selected for a 10- to 15-minute presentation about their case analysis to a panel of judges comprised of Blue Jays staff and Sport Management faculty and alumni.

“I value our organization’s learning culture,” says Gwartz. “Our leaders share with us and encourage us to contribute. Even if something doesn’t click, they still want to hear from us. This competition connects with our program and is really about the process, learning and thinking critically about organizational issues.”

While a master’s student at Brock, Gwartz focused his research on organizational leadership and management of purpose and core values in a professional sport organization.

“I have studied how leaders can create a special type of culture,” he says. “After I completed my master’s at Brock University, I was accepted into the Toronto Blue Jays LDP. As soon as I interviewed for the program, I recognized the Jays had the culture I was looking for.”

Gwartz, who grew up St. Catharines, says he’s excited about returning to campus.

“I am most looking forward to connecting with the students who remind me of my own creative ambitions and energy,” says Gwartz. “They have a fresh perspective and I work in a department where if a great idea comes up, we will take it and develop it if it will help our business. I feel very grateful to be fulfilling my aspiration of working in professional sports and am excited to promote these opportunities with students who may have similar dreams.”

The winning team will receive a prize package which includes a unique Blue Jays experience, including tickets to a Blue Jays game, a personal tour of the Rogers Centre led by Gwartz and the chance to be on the field during pre-game batting practice.

More information on SPMA Alumni Day and a full schedule of panelists is available on the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences website.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Participants needed for study on robotic rehab for multiple sclerosis

Mon, 2020-02-03 15:58

MEDIA RELEASE: 3 February 2020 – R0024

Kailynn Mannella’s dream is that one day every rehabilitation centre will have a robot delivering treatment to people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other conditions where the loss of limb function can severely impact daily life.

But not just any robot will do.

The Brock University master’s student is particularly keen about her lab’s ‘wristbot,’ a made-to-order haptic device used to study arm and wrist biomechanics and motor control.

The only one of its kind in a Canadian university, Brock University’s wristbot can be used as a therapy tool to strengthen forearm muscles and improve neural control of the hand.

Mannella wants to know if and how the wristbot could be an effective rehabilitation strategy for people living with MS and is calling for participants to get involved in this research.

“We’re looking for anyone living with multiple sclerosis with any level of the disease, who is experiencing some sort of disability with their upper arm,” she says.

Participants in the study undergo three, 35-minute sessions each week for six weeks. During the sessions, participants will be asked to trace an image with their hand using the wristbot. It is similar to a video game, but the robot adapts to the individual’s performance, providing assistance when needed.

“We’re trying to get as many people involved in the study as we can,” says Mannella. “If people are in remission, we’ll still accept them.”

The research team will evaluate biomechanical and functional changes throughout the weeks of training. These include wrist and grip strength, muscle activation and co-ordination.

Rehabilitation robotics is becoming a widely studied and adopted form of therapy. It allows for delivery of a high dosage of exercise that can lead to strengthening and overall improvement in upper limb function.

“The goal of the research is to improve hand functionality through the creation of a progressive training program — through the use of a robotic device — that would strengthen the forearm and wrist of people living with MS,” says Mannella.

Mannella’s supervisor is Associate Professor of Kinesiology Michael Holmes, Canada Research Chair in Neuromuscular Mechanics and Ergonomics. He examines how the brain and nervous system generates muscle activity to coordinate complex hand movements.

“To date, our work has focused on understanding hand and upper extremity function in healthy individuals,” says Holmes. “I always envisioned the wristbot would one day be used in populations with neurological impairments and Kailynn has been the driving force behind this happening. Her passion to improve the lives of people living with MS has led to this very important work.”

The focus on MS is particularly relevant for Canadians. A 2018 Statistics Canada report says the prevalence of MS among Canadians may be one of the highest in the world.

Participants of all ages are needed, and travel and parking costs will be reimbursed.

Those wishing to participate in the study should contact Kailynn Mannella at km14ta@brocku.ca

The wristbot used in the study was built by the Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences research team at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). Resembling a joystick, the wristbot allows Holmes’ team to examine how the forearm muscles control the hand, especially when encountering resistance and sudden, unexpected disturbances

This research, and the wristbot, are part of Holmes’ Neuromechanics and Ergonomics Lab. Funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the lab features more than $150,000 in state-of-the-art biomechanics, neurophysiology and ergonomics equipment including motion capture cameras, robotics, brain stimulation and electromyography.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Expert Advisory: Super Bowl LIV a win for gender equity and diversity

Mon, 2020-02-03 09:50

MEDIA RELEASE: 3 February 2020 – R0023

When it comes to the Super Bowl, what happens before the game, in the commercials and at half-time is almost as important as who comes out on top.

Brock University Professors Julie Stevens and Michael Naraine were watching the game closely on Sunday, Feb. 2 and called it an important step forward for multiple reasons.

Stevens, Associate Professor of Sport Management and Director of Brock’s Centre for Sport Capacity, believes it was the most positive Super Bowl when it comes to gender equity.

“There was a strategic and intentional inclusion of women,” she says. “There were many interesting gender-equity angles.”

Stevens says a perfect example came early on when the NFL Next 100 pre-game spot was used to promote women such as American women’s soccer player and two-time Olympic gold medalist Carli Lloyd, who also later appeared in an ad for deodorant brand Secret. There were many young girls among the youth who ran onto the field before kickoff and the presence of Chicago Bears owner Virginia McCaskey, handing the game football to an eager and enthusiastic youth.

“Outside the game, the commercials included bold statements by brands such as Tide, who included a Wonder Woman appearance, and Olay, whose ‘Make space for women’ sent a strong and positive message about supporting women in STEM,’” Stevens says.

Although she didn’t win a Super Bowl title Sunday, the presence of San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers — both on the sidelines and in a high-profile TV spot — was also a big step forward, says Stevens.

“Being a woman and an assistant coach in a hyper-masculine environment like the NFL means you’ve proven yourself through skill and expertise,” she says. “It means your competence as a coach is seen and respected.”

Assistant Professor of Sport Management Michael Naraine was watching the Canadian Super Bowl broadcast Sunday and said there were still compelling TV spots despite the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada confirming simultaneous substitutions to show Canadian ads over American.

“We saw increased star power from Skip the Dishes and Bubly with Jon Hamm and Michael Buble,” Naraine says. “And we saw some not so-good-ads that were uninspiring and didn’t connect with the Canadian consumer looking for the wit, celebrity and shock value that is expected from Super Bowl ads.”

Naraine was also impressed with the half-time show, which he called a “great display of Hispanic and Latino/Latina American culture with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez crushing it.”

“The half-time show has become a massive point of attachment for both male and female consumers, particularly millennials who are reliving late 90s and early 2000 hits from J-Lo and Shakira,” Naraine says. “Music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify will see increased traffic for the songs they performed and radio stations will follow suit. It’s an indication of the kind of bump this high-profile appearance yields.”

Naraine also pointed out the NFL’s 100 All-Time List, which wrapped up a full season of celebrating the league’s 100th season.

“The NFL has also done a great job celebrating its past and present,” he says. “The All-Time List included significant Black athletes like Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Lawrence Taylor and others. It was also interesting to see OJ Simpson make the list — one of the most polarizing athletes of all time.”

Brock University Sport Management Professors Julie Stevens and Michael Naraine are available for interviews in person, over the phone or from Brock’s broadcast studio.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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EXPERT ADVISORY: Super Bowl reignites debate over ‘Chiefs’ name

Fri, 2020-01-31 15:24

MEDIA RELEASE: 31 January 2020 – R0022

When the Kansas City Chiefs kick off against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 2, conversation will be about more than just plays on the field.

When a professional sports team makes it to a championship game, public conversations about mascotting get re-opened by mainstream media, anti-mascot activists and the general ‘pop’ public, says Jason Black, a Fulbright Research Chair in Transnational Studies at Brock University.

“These moments allow us to spotlight the coloniality of Indigenous names, images and rituals used as mascots and to reveal, in the midst of increased attention, the ways in which such logics of colonialism continue to do harm,” Black says.

In addition to their controversial name, the Kansas City Chiefs use an arrowhead as a logo, which many see as a weaponized stereotype. Their fans, like those of the Atlanta Braves and Florida State University Seminoles often engage in a tomahawk chop.

“Interestingly, the Chiefs’ stadium is called Arrowhead and reservation imagery can be found around the facility, thus mocking the land to which many Indigenous people were moved as they were displaced by the U.S. Indian Removal Act (1830) and Allotment Act (1887).”

Black says key sport moments help bring the mascot issue to the forefront.

“These cases reignite discussion about mascotting as a colonial practice and the retirement of mascots names, visuals and performances as a decolonial antidote,” he says.

Black has written extensively on Indigenous and activist issues and is currently researching Indigenous mascots in Canadian sport culture. He is the co-author with Andrew C. Billings of Mascot Nation: The Controversy over Native American Representations in Sports.

Jason Black, Fulbright Research Chair in Transnational Studies with he Centre for Canadian Studies at Brock University and Professor and Chair of the Department of Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is available for media interviews.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Brock expert says World Athletics ban won’t stop technology being integrated into shoes

Fri, 2020-01-31 12:50

MEDIA RELEASE: 31 January 2020 – R0021

With World Athletics announcing more stringent regulations on Friday, Jan. 31 for running shoes ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, a Brock University expert says a ban on new shoe technology will do little to slow the implementation of new and sometimes controversial developments by major shoe companies.

Though Nike’s Vaporfly shoes have escaped the ban, Brock University Assistant Professor of Sport Management Michael Naraine says they remain under the microscope. Athletes wearing Vaporfly shoes took 31 of 36 top-three finishes in major marathons last year. The Nike AlphaFly, which was worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he ran the first sub-two hour marathon in October, was banned by World Athletics Friday.

“The Vaporfly and AlphaFly represent a key innovation in the running space for Nike, and those innovations do not happen overnight,” Naraine says. “There is considerable concern and skepticism in the athletics world that these shoes provide an unfair advantage to the runner. However, Nike is not the only company working on such innovations in this space.”

As the ban is only a temporary one, Naraine says it will do little to stop ongoing development from Nike and its rivals.

“By not allowing new shoes into competition for 2020, World Athletics has ensured that all stakeholders are on the same page.” he says. “But you will see more and more of this technology implemented post-Tokyo as the Asics, Brooks and Mizunos of the world catch up to the worldwide leader in running shoe innovation. This is just the beginning in athletics, and we’re going to see more technology integrated into the shoes we wear in other sports, such as sprinting, soccer and basketball.”

Michael Naraine, an expert in sport business intelligence and Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Brock University, is available for interviews. 

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

 * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Brock’s CCOVI highlighted by Canada Foundation for Innovation

Fri, 2020-01-31 12:49

MEDIA RELEASE: 30 January 2020 – R0020

Innovations from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) are being recognized for giving Ontario winemakers a more competitive edge.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) launched its Research is my business partner campaign on Monday, Jan. 27 detailing how its investment in academic research institutes such as CCOVI, is helping businesses. The relationship between CCOVI and Fielding Estate Winery in Beamsville was an example given, with CCOVI helping the winery grow its sparkling wine sales by 30 per cent.

Richie Roberts (BSc ’04), who has worked as winemaker at Fielding Estate for 12 years, calls himself a proud Brock University graduate.

“The time I spent at CCOVI was an integral part of my future career in the wine industry,” said Roberts. “Having different sites that are monitored through the Harvest Monitoring Program, the analytical services they have at Brock are really valuable.”

Fizz Club, a sparkling wine network that provides sparkling winemakers with the unique opportunity to compare notes and exchanges ideas, taste wines, hear about new research and visit sparkling wine regions, along with the Vine Alert program, a grapevine management and monitoring system for cold hardiness and injury, are some of the ways CCOVI is boosting the Ontario wine industry.

CCOVI Senior Scientist Belinda Kemp says in addition to the research winery at the Institute, CCOVI is also equipped with world-class equipment that was purchased from the CFI fund.

“The reputation of Ontario wines has grown so much over the past 10 years,” said Kemp. “We’ve got a very good reputation for innovative techniques during winemaking. We also have some amazing equipment that’s been purchased from the CFI fund that’s been fundamental in allowing us to pursue this project from the winemaking side and also the science side.”

“Being recognized on a national scale reinforces the groundbreaking research we do at CCOVI,” said Director Debbie Inglis. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which has also allowed us to play a key role in cultivating the success of the Ontario wine industry and contribute to the industry across Canada.”

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Grand opening set for Brock LINC innovation space

Fri, 2020-01-31 12:46

MEDIA RELEASE: 30 January 2020 – R0019

Brock University will celebrate the completion of two major projects on campus next month.

On Friday, Feb. 21, the University will host the official opening for the Brock LINC, the new two-level collaborative innovation space at the base of Schmon Tower.

Opening Brock LINC, which stands for Learn, Innovate, Network, Collaborate, is another step in advancing the University’s priorities of enhancing the life and vitality of the Niagara region and beyond, offering a transformational and accessible academic and university experience, and building research capacity across the University.

It will provide the Brock community with the space to experience and experiment with entrepreneurship and will add a strategic asset within Niagara’s innovation ecosystem that supports a greater number of research and development partnerships between Brock and Niagara’s businesses and social organizations.

Also being celebrated on Friday, Feb. 21 is the completion of Brock’s District Energy Efficiency Project (DEEP). This included an upgrade and modernization of the University’s co-generation facility, which provides a reliable and energy-efficient source of electricity, cooling and heating on campus.

What: Grand Opening of Brock LINC

When: Friday, Feb. 21, 3 p.m.

Where: Rankin Family Pavilion at Brock University

Media and the community are invited to attend the ribbon-cutting celebration to officially open the space.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Is your child a picky eater? Brock researchers could use your help

Fri, 2020-01-31 12:44

MEDIA RELEASE: 28 January 2020 – R0018

It’s a common scene at the dinner table: parents begging and pleading children to “please just eat the broccoli,” or anything else on the plate that isn’t a hot dog or mac and cheese.

What do parents do? While it’s crucial for children to get their nutrition from the food they eat, if they refuse to eat that food, the options seem limited.

Brock University master’s student Laura Tardi and her supervisor, Associate Professor of Applied Disability Studies Kimberley Zonneveld, are aiming to change that.

They’re comparing the effectiveness of two versions of a non-intrusive mealtime strategy designed to get children and youth who are picky eaters to expand their food range.

The team is seeking research participants to help.

“We’re currently looking for picky eaters between the ages of two and 17 years old who do eat a wide variety of foods, but their parents are hoping to get them to eat a couple of more foods,” says Tardi.

Typically, these ‘more foods’ tend to be fruits and vegetables, she says.

Research on picky eaters to date has tended to focus on one of several strategies to get kids to eat a wider range of foods. Tardi and Zonneveld are comparing versions of a particular procedure to see if one works best.

The procedure is called the High Probability Instructional Sequence. It consists of presenting someone with several instructions they are likely to comply with followed by an instruction they are less likely to comply with.

“Prior research has found different versions of this procedure to effectively increase the range of food children will eat,” says Zonneveld. “However, what remains unknown is which version of this procedure works best — and quickest. That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

In one condition, children will be presented with three bites their favourite foods followed by one bite of the target food (something they don’t typically eat, such as broccoli).

In the other condition, children will be presented with an empty spoon three times followed by a spoonful of the target food. In both cases, the children will receive verbal praise after completing each step.

Parents will fill out surveys beforehand to identify their children’s favourite and least favourite foods and the foods that parents want their children to eat.

“If they’re eating three bites of a preferred food, are they more likely to eat the target food?” says Tardi. “Does that contrast significantly with three bites of an empty spoon followed by the target food?”

“If both methods are found to be equally effective, it may be best to present a few bites of an empty spoon rather than a few bites of the child’s favourite food to get the ball rolling before presenting the target food because children’s favourite foods, like candy and chips, tend to be less healthy,” says Zonneveld.

Determining the best way to get kids to eat foods that they normally would refuse could be a breakthrough for parents, serving as an effective, non-intrusive treatment for picky eaters, says Tardi.

The stakes in doing so are very high.

“There are a lot of problems associated with picky eating,” says Tardi. “Vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies could result in stunted growth, among other problems.”

Zonneveld also notes that “it can be quite stressful for parents of picky eaters, so finding an easy and effective solution to help the whole family at mealtime is the ultimate goal of this study.”

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, parents identify 25 to 35 per cent of toddlers and preschoolers as being picky eaters. That number doubles in children with autism. A 2019 study found that picky eating and other unusual eating behaviours were present in 70 per cent of children with autism.

Zonneveld says that the vast majority of picky eating research has focused on children experiencing developmental disabilities.

“We are expanding this scope of this research to include children with and without a developmental disability to extend the literature and to provide solutions for all families,” says Zonneveld.

To enroll in the study, parents should contact Tardi at lt17dj@brocku.ca or Zonneveld at kzonneveld@brocku.ca

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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New professional development program trains Niagara mental health leaders

Fri, 2020-01-31 12:38

MEDIA RELEASE: 27 January 2020 – R0017

A custom-designed program for Niagara’s mental health leaders is set to see its first round of graduates this week.

The partnership between Pathstone Mental Health and Brock University’s Goodman School of Business has seen 27 Pathstone employees complete a 12-week professional development program that focused on key aspects of strategic planning, change management, leadership, performance management, communication and teamwork in the context of the mental health sector.

Developed by Goodman Group’s Professional Development Office, the Healthcare Business Management Certificate was specially curated to support Pathstone’s unique needs.

“We were proud to develop and deliver this program that takes a transdisciplinary approach to management development and supports the wonderful work that Pathstone is doing in our community,” said Goodman Group Director Abdul Rahimi.

The program builds on the partnership between Brock and Pathstone established last year with a memorandum of understanding between the two. For Pathstone CEO Shaun Baylis, the program reflects the organization’s collaborative and consensus-building approach to leadership.

“It’s important that you cultivate leadership development for successful planning to ensure that we are following our guiding principles to create a centre of excellence,” he said.

The program’s graduation ceremony will take place Wednesday, Jan. 29 on Bell Let’s Talk Day at Pathstone’s Branscombe Mental Health Centre in St. Catharines.

Bill Helmeczi, Pathstone Director of Strategic Planning, Standards and Practices, said the program helped develop competencies in an engaging and interesting way.

“Our agency and programming are excellent; however, our core belief in continuous quality improvement has helped us to discover, create and implement innovative practices and solutions that better support the families and individuals we serve,” he said. “This training is an excellent example of this commitment. Goodman Group worked with us to flesh out a curriculum that would provide a level of management insight and expertise to meet this need.”

This certificate is just one example of the professional development programs Goodman Group offers the Niagara community. In addition to creating custom professional development based on organizational needs, the group runs a number of programs open to the public. Upcoming courses include the Non-Profit Leadership Certificate and Wine Business Management Certificate.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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