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Updated: 9 min 47 sec ago

Goodman expands CPA Ontario accreditation to master’s program

Thu, 2019-08-22 13:41

MEDIA RELEASE: 22 August 2019 – R00133

Brock University’s Goodman School of Business has expanded its CPA accreditation to the Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc).

Goodman’s MPAcc is designed for international students who are looking to pursue the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation in Ontario. The program offers tailored content that provides pathways to the designation and sets international students up for success as they pursue their accounting careers in Ontario.

“The Goodman School of Business continues to strengthen relationships with CPA Ontario, as well as other partners in our community,” said Dean Andrew Gaudes. “This expansion of our existing accreditation is yet another example of our ongoing commitment to provide students from around the world access to the highest standard of business education.”

Brock President Gervan Fearon, a CPA himself, said the designation is evidence of the “outstanding accounting and business education,” available at the University.

“This expanded accreditation from CPA Ontario is a key step forward for the Goodman School of Business and the programs it offers,” he said. “As a University, we’re committed to providing professional and innovative academic programming that sets our students up for success in their careers.”

The expansion of the CPA accreditation to the MPAcc program followed a rigorous review process to ensure the educational components will meet the requirements of the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). Going forward, students who are admitted and successfully complete the MPAcc program will be exempt from CPA PEP Core 1 and Core 2 modules and will receive advanced standing to enter at the CPA PEP elective modules. Brock now has four CPA Ontario-designated programs.

“As an educator, one of CPA Ontario’s core mandates is to provide pathways to the profession for aspiring accountants from around the world,” said Jacqui Mulligan, Interim Vice-President, Student Services at CPA Ontario. “Goodman’s Master of Professional Accounting program will help to propel the careers of international students wishing to pursue the CPA designation.”

“I am very proud of our school being able to expand the CPA Ontario accreditation to our MPAcc program,” Gaudes said. “This accomplishment is the result of effective collaboration among staff and faculty, and a strong relationship with CPA Ontario, enabling us to fulfil the personal and professional aspirations of our students.”

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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Steel Blade Classic ready to shine at Meridian Centre

Tue, 2019-08-20 15:13

MEDIA RELEASE: 20 August 2019 – R00132

The Brock Badgers are once again set to hit the ice for the legendary Steel Blade Classic in downtown St. Catharines Friday, Sept. 13.

The 21st annual event returns to the Meridian Centre as the Badgers men’s hockey team takes on the Guelph Gryphons in a 7 p.m. start.

One of the most celebrated and anticipated events of the year for Brock University students, the Steel Blade Classic, which typically sells out annually, brought together more than 5,000 fans for an exceptional experience last year.

“The Steel Blade hockey game is an electric event and should not be missed,” said Associate Director of Brock Sports Emily Allan. “Our fans continue to show why they are the most dedicated fans in the province, arriving to the arena decked out in amazing Brock spirit. For our student-athletes, playing in front of a home crowd like this is an experience they’ll never forget. We owe it to our coaches, athletes, staff and fans for helping to create such an amazing show.”

The Brock men’s hockey team is shaping up to be a force in the OUA this season. The team has a robust 2019-20 recruiting class of former major junior hockey players bringing their elite talent to the Badgers. Brock’s lineup features unprecedented depth, as leading scorers Ryan Burton and Ayden MacDonald return, alongside a productive sophomore core of Tyler Rollo and all-star defenceman Connor Walters.

“The atmosphere with the students is incredible,” said head coach Marty Williamson. “It’s loudest I’ve ever heard the Meridian Centre. It feels like a playoff game with that kind of crowd, which is great for the players and also good for the coaches to evaluate their players.”

Non-student tickets for the Steel Blade Classic go on sale Monday, Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. on ticketmaster.ca. New this year, these tickets allow the community and alumni to watch the game from the upper Club Level of the Meridian Centre. Prices are $30 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.

Pre-sale tickets for students are now on sale as part of the $45 Experience Package, a bundle created in partnership with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and other on-campus partners. General admission student tickets without the Experience Package will go on sale Sept. 3 for $25. For each ticket sold, $1 will be donated to the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) Food First program.

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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St. Catharines Terry Fox Run returns to Brock University

Mon, 2019-08-19 15:04

Media Release: 19 August 2019 – R00131

When participants in this year’s St. Catharines Terry Fox Run want to know where their fundraising dollars are going, they won’t have to look far.

For the second time in three years, the St. Catharines edition of the event will be held at Brock University, where important cancer-related research funded by the Terry Fox Foundation is taking place.

Similar to 2017, Brock will host the fundraising event because of high water levels and a major construction project, which have both impacted the run’s normal home at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie.

This year’s Terry Fox Run will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15 starting at 10 a.m., with registration beginning at 9 a.m. The run will again be followed by a free barbecue and tours of the science labs in which cancer research funded by the Terry Fox Foundation is carried out by Brock University faculty members and students.

The updated five-kilometre route can be walked, run or wheeled. Parking will be free for the event, and there’s no registration fee. While there is no fundraising minimums, the goal this year is to top the $52,000 that was raised in 2018, when about 500 people took part. Among the new fundraising initiatives this year is a high school challenge where the top fundraising high school team from St. Catharines will win a bowling or laser tag party at Parkway Social.

Registration for the run is available on the Terry Fox Foundation website, where you can join as an individual, create your own team or join the Brock University team.

The community is also invited to the kick-off event for this year’s Terry Fox Run on Thursday, Aug. 22, when the Terry Fox flag will be raised in front of St. Catharines city hall at 9:30 a.m. with Mayor Walter Sendzik and this year’s run captain, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines Chris Bittle.

2019 Terry Fox Run events schedule

Aug. 20, 22 and 24 – Booth set up at St. Catharines Farmers’ Market

Thursday, Aug. 22 – Flag raising at St. Catharines city hall

Thursday, Aug. 22 – Fundraiser at Lock Street Brewery Pen Centre Beirgarten

Monday, Sept. 2 – Volunteers collecting donations at Merritton Labour Day Parade

Thursday, Sept. 5 – Dine for Terry event at Jack Astor’s

Sunday, Sept. 15 – Terry Fox Run at Brock University

For more information, contact Doug Harvey from the St. Catharines Terry Fox Committee at 416-722-5282 or dharvey@galaxybroadband.ca

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, 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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Record crowd for Triggs Lecture Series

Thu, 2019-08-15 14:15

MEDIA RELEASE: 15 August 2019 – R00130

It was an opportunity to talk about key issues in the wine industry in two provinces.

The Triggs International Premium Vinifera Lecture Series, held every two years and organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), took place over two days last week in Ontario’s Niagara region and again on Tuesday, Aug. 13 and Wednesday, Aug. 14 in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.

More than 200 grape growers and wine industry professionals attended over the four days to discuss disease pressures and attend a lecture with Vaughn Bell, Senior Scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research.

“Hosting an international viticulture expert in key winemaking regions in Ontario and British Columbia allows our growers and winemakers to collaboratively discuss strategies to further advance and grow the industry on a national level,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “Vaughn shared a wealth of knowledge about vineyard health and insect vector management strategies taking place at home and abroad.”

Bell said he was honoured to be selected as the featured speaker and said it was clear the researchers, and the specialized equipment and technology at their disposal, have made many positive advances toward helping the wine sector achieve economic sustainability goals.

“I was impressed with the spirit of co-operation that exists between CCOVI and the wine sector,” said Bell. “From my experience in New Zealand, positive collaborations inevitably deliver the best results in the shortest possible timelines to those with a financial stake in the wine sector.”

Bell visited three vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake on the first day of the series, discussing vineyard health and disease pressures. The next day, he summarized the discussions held during the vineyard tours in a public lecture at Brock’s Pond Inlet.

After his stop in Ontario, he headed to B.C. for the second leg of the series.

“The level of awareness around the interaction between vineyard disease and the insects that spread it has developed significantly since my last visit in February 2018,” Bell said. “That’s all credit to your sector leaders and those funded by the sector to bring about positive change.”

To ensure the national lecture series continues to be held in two key wine-producing regions, BASF Canada, a company that provides crop protection products, again sponsored the event.

“BASF is pleased to be able to continue our support of the Triggs Lecture Series and to give it its national scope,” said Tom Clarke, Horticultural Specialist at BASF Canada for the Niagara region. “It is important for all of us to work together and I think the discussions between Dr. Bell and the growers who attended were very productive when it comes to further developing our industry.”

Launched in 2004, with a generous donation from Donald and Elaine Triggs, the lecture series was created to provide industry stakeholders, researchers and students access to the most current developments in the field of viticulture.

The lecture series is further supported by the Grape Growers of Ontario, Lakeview Vineyard Equipment, VineTech Canada, British Columbia Wine Grape Council, Summerland Research and Development Innovation Centre, and the following wineries: Henry of Pelham Family Estate, Andrew Peller Ltd., Tinhorn Creek, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery and Mission Hill Family Estate.

For anyone unable to attend, the Ontario and B.C. public lecture slides, as well as a video of the Ontario public lecture, are available on CCOVI’s website.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Britt Dixon, Communications Officer, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University bdixon@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4471

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

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#VanLife culture: Brock student researches what drives the nomadic lifestyle

Wed, 2019-08-14 14:50

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 August 2019 – R00129

Stephanie Murray has turned #VanLife into #GradLife.

The St. Catharines native recently wrapped up her master’s thesis at Brock University studying the modern phenomenon of people choosing to live on the road.

Inspired by impossibly picturesque Instagram photos, the trend is seeing more and more people selling or storing their possessions, buying a camper van or retired school bus and hitting the road. They sleep for free in Walmart parking lots or wherever they can discreetly park their vehicles and see the world without the pull of monthly bills.

For Murray, the seeds of a nomadic lifestyle were planted more than a decade ago when she lost a high-paying job and had to go on welfare.

“It wasn’t even enough to cover my rent,” she said, looking back. “One day I looked out at the railroad tracks and thought, ‘what if I just hopped a train and rode it to wherever it’s going?’”

Ten months spent in South Korea during her undergrad at Brock fuelled the desire to be mobile even further.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Human Geography in 2016, Murray started a Master of Geography that fall. With funding from Brock and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, she purchased a used 2003 Ford cargo van on Kijiji, which she converted into a camper van named Lola.

Her master’s research involved a two-month trip to the U.S. in the summer of 2017, living out of the van and interviewing other nomads on what attracted them to the lifestyle. It was the first research of its kind.

“I knew there was a gap in academia that I could fill,” said Murray, whose final research thesis is titled Defining Freedom: An Ethnographic Study with American Vanlifers. “But if I wanted to truly study this culture, I needed to be able to live and move like they did.”

The people Murray met were as diverse as the types of vehicles they drove.

“One of the couples I spoke to worked remotely in IT, another couple ran a blog and one of the other vanlifers was making money from a book he’d written. They’re a pretty talented bunch,” she said.

Murray was out to discover their motivation for giving up conventional lives and choosing this mobile lifestyle.

“Our society is oriented towards people who stay in one place, and van nomads help to call that way of thinking into question.
“I have encountered so much kindness on the road,” she said. “People have welcomed me into their homes and helped me with my van, with no expectation of anything in return. And while the vanlifers I interviewed took up this lifestyle for a variety of reasons, they were united by a desire to choose their own path, rather than the one that’s handed down to them.”

Murray discovered that van life is about slow mobility and choosing scenic roads over direct routes such as interstate highways.

“I asked what the difference is between tourism and this and they said their schedules aren’t based on hotels or finding places to eat,” she said. “Their travel is more open and less structured than tourists.”

Murray’s faculty supervisor and the graduate program director of Geography at Brock, David Butz, believed Murray’s research was novel and important, given today’s mobile society. He said Murray becoming a van nomad herself was pivotal.

“This strategy — and life choice — gives her research an unusually strong experiential and autobiographical component, which is rare in ‘mobilities’ research, and which adds to the distinctiveness and potential significance of her findings,” said Butz. “We also felt Stephanie’s unusual project, while logistically complicated, was worth supporting.”

Murray is grateful for the backing she received from Brock.

“This research changed the course of my life, and it showed me that it’s possible to turn your passion into a groundbreaking research project,” said Murray, who still calls Lola home.

She has discovered that the romanticism of the #VanLife culture, which many only see through Instagram, isn’t always the reality of life on the road.

“It does appear a lot more idyllic than it is,” she said. “A few of the vanlifers I interviewed talked about how Instagram makes it look so perfect. But if you look past that perfect photo, they’re often saying things like ‘my van broke down today, but look at the view.’”

Her research also taught her that a nomadic lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

“It takes a particular mindset to live in a van. People like their routines, they like to be comfortable,” she said. “There are times living in a van that you really call this way of living into question. But being in this community, it helps you realize you’re not crazy. It’s so reassuring to know this is a viable way of life.”

With her master’s thesis successfully defended, Murray will graduate in the fall, but she’s not done with van life just yet.

Knowing how expensive it can be to fix her own vehicle, Murray has enrolled in a diesel mechanic course at Fanshawe College for the fall.

“I’ve been debating upgrading to a small school bus,” she said. “I just can’t picture a life where I don’t have the option of picking up and going.”

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, Niagara Folk Arts partner to help newcomers

Tue, 2019-08-13 14:24

MEDIA RELEASE: 13 August 2019 – R00128

Niagara Folk Arts Executive Director Emily Kovacs’ story of immigrating to Canada in the 1980s is a familiar one to Brock University President Gervan Fearon.

Kovacs arrived from Romania in 1988, struggled in Niagara in her first two years, and then discovered the services offered by what was then known as the Folk Arts Council of St. Catharines. With the organization’s support, she enrolled at Brock University, graduating with a degree in Psychology in 1998.

Fast forward two decades and Kovacs joined Fearon, who himself immigrated to Canada as a young man, in signing a formal agreement Tuesday, Aug. 13 that will see the two organizations working together to improve the well-being of newcomers to Canada in the Niagara region.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed at the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre’s Robertson Hall in St. Catharines strengthens a partnership based on a mutual goal of helping those new to Canada through research, outreach and support services.

Fearon said supporting newcomers helps them achieve their own dreams of becoming engaged members of society and helps build strong and inclusive communities that benefit all Canadians.

“Brock has a role to play in helping to develop the knowledge and skill sets that will enable individuals to become contributors to and champions of their new home,” he said. “We are pleased to partner with Niagara Folk Arts to help the community embrace new members and welcome new friends and neighbours.”

First launched in 1970, Niagara Folk Arts is a charitable not-for-profit organization with a mandate to support and assist the ethno-cultural and newcomer community in Niagara through a broad range of programs and services.

“As a newcomer on my journey settling in Canada, receiving service at Niagara Folk Arts and then connecting with Brock were both amazing experiences,” she said. “Tying these two amazing organizations together through this formalized partnership will continue to open doors to newcomers like me and many others to achieve our best selves. That is what both our organizations represent.”

Folk Arts has collaborated with Brock on many projects over the years, from research participation to having Brock students complete experiential education placements at the Centre. Brock also hosts a Newcomer and Community Basketball Game each March that provides mentorship and friendship through the annual friendly matchup at the University.

Helping out with Niagara Folk Arts’ Mentorship Program has and will continue to be a meaningful aspect of the partnership. Among the faculty and staff who have volunteered to work with new community members is Fearon, who started helping out in the program shortly after he arrived at Brock.

“I know how important it is for newcomers to be helped and supported,” said Fearon, who was born in the United Kingdom to Jamaican parents and moved to Canada at a young age. “Canada offered the opportunity to pursue our family’s educational aspirations and the possibility of making a contribution to the betterment of all members of Canadian society. We were fortunate to have been supported and welcomed years ago and more recently when we moved to the Niagara region.”

Some of the collaborative projects being planned for the future include enhancing Brock student engagement within Niagara Folk Arts through new volunteer opportunities and awareness building, as well as the two organizations working together to provide support to newcomers looking to upgrade or begin their post-secondary studies.

“It is a great strategic opportunity to partner with Brock University,” Kovacs said. “At Folk Arts, we are an inclusive centre for excellence that encompasses both theory and practice supporting newcomers in their journey to settle in 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

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Funding helps researchers land state-of-the-art equipment

Mon, 2019-08-12 14:37

MEDIA RELEASE: 12 August 2019 – R00127

Beneath the waters off the southeast coast of Sicily lies a shipwreck that tells scintillating tales of ancient Mediterranean commerce, culture and connectiveness.

The so-called ‘Church Wreck’ that dates back to the sixth-century AD transported marble components of a late antique church as its primary cargo.

During their seven years of study at Marzamemi, Italy, Brock University Associate Professor of Classics Elizabeth Greene and collaborators from Stanford University, Suor Orsola Benincasa University, and the Soprintendenza del Mare in Sicily have also found ceramic containers that were likely filled with wine or olive oil, the sailors’ own dining wares, and nails from a surprisingly lightly built vessel.

“These indicate the interdependence of high-end official shipments and everyday private commerce,” says Greene.

Greene and her colleagues are eager to share their research findings with a broad audience in a vivid, interactive and engaging way, linking the church wreck to other maritime activities such as naval warfare, fishing and migration.

They will now be able to do so thanks to funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF).

Greene is among three Brock researchers being awarded more than $455,000 from the fund, which helps “exceptional researchers at universities across the country conduct leading-edge research by giving them the tools and equipment they need to become leaders in their field.”

Brock University Professor of Chemistry Georgii Nikonov and Professor of Physics Fereidoon Razavi also received funding.

Associate Vice-President, Research Michelle McGinn lauds the JELF, saying that such support is foundational for Brock and other universities “to pursue work that makes a difference in society.

“This work cannot happen without substantial investment in infrastructure,” she says. “I’m excited that this funding places state-of-the-art equipment into the hands of our researchers and scholars as they contribute greater knowledge and insights into their fields.”

The new equipment also means enhanced experiential learning opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, says McGinn.

Among the equipment and software Greene will be purchasing is a 3D laser scanner for recording, reconstructing and displaying ancient and historic watercraft. This and other equipment will shed light on “contemporary issues of human connectivity,” says Greene.

“Guided by new advances in technology for 3D documentation, our innovative approach to heritage situates archaeological exploration of the past as a means of gaining perspective into present and future experiences of the people who cross the Mediterranean and the seas that divide and bridge our global society,” says Greene.

With his funding, Nikonov will be replacing a key part of Brock’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer.

“NMR spectroscopy is the main physico-chemical technique for characterizing a wide spectrum of organic, biological and inorganic objects,” says Nikonov, noting that the current console, which is to be replaced, is outdated and obsolete.

“The new, replacement console and its accompanying software will support Brock’s current and future research endeavours in chemistry, physics, biochemistry, biotechnology and biology,” he says.

With his funding, Razavi will be purchasing a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), “a fundamental piece of infrastructure that every research-intensive university should own because it is of such widespread use in all areas of science,” he says.

The SEM is an “essential tool” that examines the micro-structure of materials and the elemental composition of compounds. Razavi says the microscope is used in physics, health and life sciences research.

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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Today’s youth tackle adult-sized problems, say Brock profs

Mon, 2019-08-12 10:35

MEDIA RELEASE: 12 August 2019 – R00126

With the United Nations marking Monday, Aug. 12 as International Youth Day, two Brock University professors say today’s youth are taking matters into their own hands to solve the world’s problems.

“Young people seem to be changing the world,” said Shauna Pomerantz, Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies (CHYS). “I don’t recall living through a time where young people have been so vocal, active and heard.”

The United Nations established International Youth Day to celebrate and encourage youth around the world. This year’s theme — transforming education — highlights efforts, including efforts by youth themselves, to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive.

According to Pomerantz and her CHYS colleague, Professor Rebecca Raby, a key to transforming education would be to acknowledge inequality and confront ideology that values independence and self-reliance above compassion and community.

“Tackling things such as gender inequality, racism, heterosexism and environmental degradation in schools would contribute to the notion that we are an interconnected community of people who need to support and help each other,” said Pomerantz. “And that can only benefit everyone in the end by creating more support systems, by helping people do well, by helping people achieve satisfying careers and goals.”

The complexities of academic success, in particular when it comes to ‘smart girls,’ has been one focus for Raby and Pomerantz. Their research points to the importance of school culture in nurturing student success “for diverse young people, including LGBTQ kids and new immigrants who face particular challenges right now,” said Raby.

“It’s not the case that we’re post-racism, post-classism and post-sexism,” she said. “It doesn’t do anybody any favours to pretend these issues don’t exist.”

When it comes to gender diversity, “broadening what is acceptable in the school is a gateway to endless possibilities,” said Pomerantz. “That’s what transformation in education can mean — not just changing curriculum, hiring excellent teachers or creating policies, but at the social level broadening what is possible in all directions.”

Raby and Pomerantz agreed that, while “great work” is currently being done in many schools, there remains lots of work to do.

When they wrote Smart Girls: Success, School, and the Myth of Post-Feminism, Hillary Clinton looked poised to become the president of the U.S., a sign for many that gender equality had been achieved.

Instead, the election of Donald Trump “confirmed for many girls and women that gender inequality continues to exist and needs confrontation,” Raby said.

The 2017 book investigated how self-identified smart girls managed their academic and extra-curricular achievements while dealing with stress, perfectionism, race and class issues, and sexism. Barely two-and-a-half years later, the authors wonder how different the focus of that book would be if they were writing it now.

“I think the smart girl today would probably talk about political engagement of some kind,” Pomerantz says. “There would be a broader awareness of the need for activism and the need to be heard.”

Adults often fail to recognize the extent of young people’s involvement or their right to a voice in the present, said Raby.

Amplified by social media, young people are making their voices heard now.

“This seems to me to be the largest shift I have seen,” said Pomerantz, pointing to the many “incredible student-led activist movements” around the world, including standing up against sexism, gun violence, the climate crisis, cuts to education and environmental degradation.

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 to partner with Niagara Folk Arts

Thu, 2019-08-08 15:56

MEDIA RELEASE: 8 August 2019 – R00125

Brock University is set to formalize a partnership aimed at helping newcomers to Niagara through research, outreach and support services.

The University will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre in St. Catharines on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

First launched in 1970 as the Folk Arts Council of St. Catharines, Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre is a charitable not-for-profit organization with a mandate to support and assist the ethno-cultural and newcomer community in Niagara through a broad range of programs and services.

The MOU will solidify a partnership between the two organizations, which have collaborated together on numerous projects over the years. Both Brock and Niagara Folk Arts aim to address localized newcomer challenges as well as larger issues of equity, diversity and inclusion through a mix of academic and community-based approaches.

 

What: Collaboration announcement and MOU signing

When: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 11 a.m.

Where: Robertson Hall, Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, 85 Church Street, St. Catharines

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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New Canadians from around the world will get their citizenship at Brock ceremony

Fri, 2019-08-02 15:39

MEDIA RELEASE: 2 August 2019 – R00124

Community members are invited to attend as 25 people, each having taken their own unique journey, become Canadian citizens during a ceremony at Brock University’s main campus next week.

Hosted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the event takes place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7 in the Goodman School of Business Atrium.

The citizenship candidates, who come from eight different countries, will celebrate alongside their families, supporters and local dignitaries. Citizenship Judge and Brock Professor Emeritus Dorothy Griffiths, who is also a Brock alumna (BA ’73), will preside over the ceremony.

After the Oath of Citizenship is completed, a reception for the new Canadians and their guests will be held in the atrium.

What: Canadian citizenship ceremony

When: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m.

Where: Goodman School of Business Atrium, Brock University

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Maryanne Firth, Writer/Editor, Brock University maryanne.firth@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 289-241-8288

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Shoreline photos sought for Brock climate change study

Fri, 2019-08-02 15:37

MEDIA RELEASE: 2 August 2019 – R00123

Two years after storms and high water hammered the Town of Lincoln with flash floods and washed out roads, communities in the Great Lakes region continue to deal with record-breaking water levels.

This year, many of Lake Huron’s renowned beaches are reduced to shoreline footpaths. Commercial docks in the Thousand Islands are swamped and unusable. Residences along Lake Erie are threatened by eroding bluffs and shorelines.

In Niagara region, Brock University researcher Meredith DeCock is working to determine just how much the Town of Lincoln’s Lake Ontario shoreline has changed, and what role climate change is playing in it.

But first, the Sustainability and Society master’s student needs help from the Niagara community.

DeCock is calling on the public to submit photos of the shoreline and surrounding area that will be used to recreate the coast through time and identify what caused its greatest impacts.

The study was made possible by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, which she received last month from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Seventeen Brock graduate students were awarded $670,000 in SSHRC funding in July, along with 14 of the University’s researchers who received $1.3 million.

For DeCock’s study, photos from any year that show any segment of the Lincoln shoreline, its surrounding environment and development, as well as destruction due to high water levels, are needed. Submissions will be accepted until Sept. 30.

In addition to community submissions, DeCock is using historical aerial photographs and GIS software to calculate the shoreline’s physical changes over time. Photos throughout the years will help her determine which windows of time have seen the greatest change.

She will then look at how specific climatic and non-climatic factors could have influenced these changes.

“I’m interested in learning what may be responsible for the most significant changes to the shoreline,” DeCock said. “Is it climate or environmental change, or significant development in the area like the construction of the Queen Elizabeth Way?”

Working alongside her supervisor, Brock Biological Sciences Professor Liette Vasseur, and in conjunction with the Town of Lincoln, DeCock is part of a larger project funded by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) that is working with six coastal communities along the St. Lawrence Seaway to examine how they can deal with the impacts of climate change.

“Meredith’s project fits wonderfully well with the spirit of the larger project of ecosystem-based adaptation for the Town of Lincoln,” Vasseur said. “We really hope this community-based approach can help people link their environment to the changes that are happening. Such a tool can have great potential for communicating with communities.”

DeCock plans to make the results of her research accessible to the public through an interactive web application that will also be used as a communication tool for the larger MEOPAR project.

“Studying the history of the shoreline is very important, but if we don’t use our findings to impact the future, then we are missing a huge opportunity,” she said. “I hope that by making the information available, we can positively impact future climate change adaptation decision-making.”

DeCock is also working with her MEOPAR project partners to create blog posts that will share information on the group’s efforts and climate change in general with the community. These posts will be available on Brock’s UNESCO Chair website in the coming weeks.

She is thankful for the SSHRC funding that made her study possible.

“Sustainability science is solution oriented,” she said. “To have the federal government support my research elevates the importance of what I am doing. Climate change is a globally urgent topic and to know that our government sees it as a priority helps me to know I am doing something important with my research.”

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Maryanne Firth, Writer/Editor, Brock University maryanne.firth@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 289-241-8288

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Career launcher: This fall, every Brock program will have an experiential option

Wed, 2019-07-31 14:43

MEDIA RELEASE: 31 July 2019 – R00121

Brock University graduates continue to enjoy employment rates that outpace the Ontario average.

Data from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities show that, six months after graduating, Brock grads have an employment rate of more than 90 per cent. Two years after graduating, the rate is more than 96 per cent. In both time frames, Brock’s numbers are above the average for all Ontario universities.

A key factor behind this career success is Brock’s emphasis on giving students a taste of the workplace through experiential education.

And, this fall, Brock will reach a new milestone when it offers experiential education opportunities in 100 per cent of its academic programs — more than 1.5 million hours dedicated to experiential learning in 1,039 different course sections.

Sandy Howe, Brock’s Associate Director of Experiential Education, said the ongoing development of programming prepares students to take meaningful steps in their careers, both during their studies and immediately after graduating.

“Experiential learning is huge for career outcomes, employment and personal development,” said Howe. “We are seeing a shift in post-secondary studies driving directly towards careers. Our programs help to clarify the path for success while offering real opportunities to set students on their way.”

Some of the diverse experiential learning opportunities available to Brock students include volunteering with rescue dogs for a Sociology course, travelling to northern Ontario to collect rock samples for an Earth Science course and planning outdoor learning activities for elementary school students in a Child and Youth Studies course.

In addition to benefiting students, experiential programming also allows for the growth of faculty members, Howe said.

“It offers faculty the chance to expand their CVs and pursue unique funding opportunities while also exploring diverse ways of teaching and learning both in and out of the classroom,” she said.

Cara Krezek, Director of Co-op, Career and Experiential Education at Brock, said the development reflects an ongoing commitment of numerous partners within the University to create the best possible learning environment for students.

“When we came together to operationalize experiential learning at Brock in 2015, we wanted to be a leader in the field. This achievement shows that we have realized that vision,” she said. “Ensuring students have access to experiences that complement their learning, and understanding how that learning is relevant to their future careers are key outcomes we wanted to achieve.”

As the offerings continue to grow, Krezek and Brock’s Co-op, Career and Experiential Education team are developing ways for students to more easily keep tabs on their course and work term experiences, as well as career outcomes. The group is preparing to launch a University-wide experience record through CareerZone, Brock’s online portal for career opportunities including job postings and experiential offerings.

While these developments are taking place, the team is also actively working with other post-secondary institutions to spread Brock’s knowledge of experiential education.

“We just launched a tool kit with Georgian College and Niagara College, where we are contributing to open resources and we are freely sharing information and strategies,” said Krezek. “What we started championing four years ago is now happening across Canada.”

To learn more about Brock’s Experiential Education opportunities, visit the University’s Co-op, Career and Experiential Education website.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Maryanne Firth, Writer/Editor, Brock University maryanne.firth@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 289-241-8288

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The power of friendship worth celebrating, says Brock prof

Mon, 2019-07-29 13:16

MEDIA RELEASE: 29 July 2019 – R00121

Bullies are often seen as powerful, but Brock Associate Professor of Psychology Andrew Dane sees greater strength in being a good friend.

“There’s tremendous social power in developing good close friendships,” Dane said in advance of International Day of Friendship on Tuesday, July 30. “The thing about friendship is that it’s for mutual benefit. It’s about sticking together, loyalty, reciprocity, prosocial behaviour and helping one another, and there’s a lot of strength in that.”

On International Day of Friendship, the United Nations invites individuals and organizations around the world to celebrate friendship according to their own cultures and circumstances.

Reflecting on the pending celebration, Dane said research has shown that the attachment relationship between an infant and parent is crucial to building a child’s lifelong capacity to develop healthy relationships, including friendships.

“Being there consistently is probably the most important thing parents can do,” he said. “By being available and sensitive in responding to the child’s needs, parents demonstrate that, when you need help, you can ask people and they will support you, they will understand you and they will make you feel better.”

The parent-child dynamic provides a template for future relationships, Dane said. People who are securely attached are more open to intimacy and trust, and they expect kindness and support from others.

“Everybody needs help and support,” Dane said. “Friends can be that resource for you when you need it.”

But it’s not just about companionship. Having friends can also offer a measure of protection.

Bullies use coercive, aggressive and purposeful behaviour to get what they want, he said, and they tend to pick on vulnerable people to show they’re tough and strong.

“But, people who have friends are less likely to be victimized because they have people there to stick up for them.”

Dane said friends are crucial in terms of mental health, too.

“That social support protects people against developing things like depression, for example, or post-traumatic stress disorder after a trauma.”

The power of friendship extends beyond our personal lives. According to the UN, teaching children to live together in peace and harmony can contribute to international peace and co-operation.

It’s a notion Dane agrees with.

“What I say about bullying versus prosocial behaviour and friendship applies at a political level,” he said. “There are parallels when it comes to relationships between leaders and countries.”

Unfortunately, U.S. President Donald Trump has inflicted “lasting damage to trust and co-operation” by backing out of several major international agreements, he said.

Dane acknowledged there is a risk in putting your trust in someone who could take advantage of you. But, he said, “it’s also a strength because, through those relationships, you can achieve a lot of your goals in a way where everybody benefits instead of a selfish way where people go along with you because they’re afraid or intimidated.”

Seen through the lens of evolutionary psychology, bullying has its benefits, Dane said. Bullies tend to have more sex partners, giving them more chances to pass on their genes — but those benefits come at a cost.

The dominance they achieve in the short term comes at the expense of co-operative long-term relationships, both at the individual and the societal level. Although they are popular, bullies are not well liked.

In contrast, “co-operation, friendships and prosocial behaviour are all about building relationships. The payoffs are not as obvious but they’re more long term,” he said.

“We’re much better off as individuals and as a society if people recognize the importance and work toward building those healthy prosocial relationships, including friendships and romantic relationships,” Dane said. “That’s the antidote to bullying, I think.”

“Friendship is a better way to achieve one’s goals and to have social harmony and peace. It’s how you achieve an egalitarian society.”

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Maryanne Firth, Writer/Editor, Brock University maryanne.firth@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 289-241-8288

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Public tours to be held at downtown excavation site of historic Shickluna Shipyard

Fri, 2019-07-26 13:30

MEDIA RELEASE: 26 July 2019 – R00120

Through thick, heavy mud and clay, the search began last week for remnants of lost local maritime history.

Excavation of the 19th century Shickluna Shipyard got underway Thursday, July 18, with Brock University students getting a taste of life on a dig site.

Archaeologist Kimberly Monk, Adjunct Professor with the Department of History, is leading an archaeological field school at the site in downtown St. Catharines for both Brock students and community members.

“We’ve had an exciting first week,” Monk said. “Students have had a week of training in archaeological methods, both in the classroom and the lab, where they’ve learned about the process of archaeology, about historical materials and why they’re important, and how to process and identify artifacts in the lab.”

Students began excavation in an area believed to have been the site of houses used by the shipyard’s labourers.

“We think this big six-by-three-metre space is likely overlapping on some structural components of a small workers’ village that was up here on the slope and closely associated with the Shickluna Shipyard, likely for its own labourers and skilled workers,” said research assistant Michael Obie, who oversees the excavation crew.

The team will be looking for evidence of structures and the livelihoods of the inhabitants, as well as possible evidence of maritime culture.

“While it’s really mucky up there with clay and mud, that heightens the chances of us finding some interesting things that would otherwise be decomposed, like leather, basketry, textiles and wooden components of structures,” Obie said.

Waterlogged conditions can prevent or delay the decomposition of some organic materials that would otherwise break down quickly.

The excavation process is slow and muddy. Students excavate the area one thin layer of earth at a time. Each shovelful of soil is then manually worked through a screen to sieve out any possible artifact fragments. These are then bagged with an identification number that connects the artifact to a specific location, allowing the team to reconstruct the site and how it was used when they analyze the objects back in the lab.

Health and safety is taken seriously on site, with crew members wearing long pants to prevent tick bites and steel-toed safety footwear.

“It’s pretty messy up there, which is a hassle for excavation, but we have a good crew,” Obie said.

The team is made up of 10 students taking HIST 3M60 Field School in Local Historical Archaeology as well as several community volunteers.

“When I go to school, when I study, I’m always interested in what I’m learning and how it applies to what I want to do,” said student Colin Mackenzie, who is working on his undergraduate degree in History at Brock. “I think archaeology is one of those opportunities to better yourself as a student and learn about the process. But in this particular case, it’s a way to give back to the community and help uncover a bit of our past.”

The public is encouraged to follow the excavations on Instagram and Facebook for regular updates and behind-the-scenes photos of the archaeological work. For safety reasons, people are advised to avoid the area while excavation is underway.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to catch a glimpse of the project in action.

“We are eager to reach the community with our work,” Monk said. “We look forward to inviting the public on site to see first-hand the archaeological work we are doing.”

Public tours will be held Saturday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 18. Further information will be provided on the project’s social media channels.

The project is supported by Brock, McMaster and Trent universities and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It has also received in-kind support from community sponsors Telephone Clinic, Rankin Construction, Andritz Hydro, Modern Corporation, Niagara Storage on Site, Calhoun, and Wood PLC.

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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