Leading scholars to speak at AWELL conference

Two top scholars will deliver keynote remarks at the 3rd Academic Writing and English Language Learners conference (AWELL) held at Saint Mary’s this fall.

The two-day conference is designed for faculty, instructors, and writing centre professionals who teach and tutor ELL students. The goal of the conference is to provide tools and approaches that may be used directly in classrooms and tutoring sessions.

”Dr. Suresh Canagarajah is a highly honoured scholar and speaker who we are very fortunate to have as a keynote,” says Brian Hotson, Director, Academic Learning Services at the Studio for Teaching and Learning. ”And Dr. Bell is a leading scholar in her field of digital academic writing.”

Please see below for the speaker bios, call for proposals and additional information about the conference.


Suresh Canagarajah
Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics, English, and Asian Studies


Dr. Canagarajah, named as one of the top 50 scholars who have shaped the field of TESOL by TESOL International, is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor in the Departments of Applied Linguistics and English at Pennsylvania State University, as well as the Director of the Migration Studies Project.

Among many other awards, Dr. Canagarajah is a recipient of the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award by the American Association of Applied Linguistics; the Mina P. Shaughnessy Award (2015) by the Modern Language Association for the Outstanding Scholarly Book in the Fields of Language, Culture, Literacy, or Literature for his book Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (2013); Best Book Award (2016) from the American Association of Applied Linguistics for Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (2013). He is the author of more than 10 books and dozens of book chapters, academic articles, and other publications, both in English and Tamil. His book, Critical Academic Writing and Multilingual Students (2002), is required reading in the field of academic writing and multilingual instruction.

Stephanie Bell
Writing Centre Director, York University


Dr. Bell is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Director of the Writing Centre at York University.

She has delivered multiple presentations on digital writing and production at conferences for the International Writing Centres Association, Canadian Writing Centres Association, and Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing. She is a board member of the Canadian Writing Centres Association. Her digital student production forum, Scratch Media, features podcasts and other media produced through her writing courses. A co-authored monograph proposal, “Bring a hard copy to your appointment”: Tooled-up, networked, multimodal writing at the Writing Centre, is in submission to with Inkshed Publications.


We want to provide an open forum to all those interested in any area of additional language studies and academic writing, including digital writing pedagogies, multiliteracies, plurilingualism, and intercultural writing supports. Questions for consideration may include, but are not limited to:

·        Pedagogy and practice for multilingual classrooms

·        ELL pedagogy relating to globalized students

·        Learning community writing practice

·        Technology in writing practice relating to ELLs

·        Multimodal and digital approaches to ELL writing instruction and practice

·        Considerations of general teaching and learning practice to ELLs.

Proposals Submission Details here...

Two-day registration ($175.00).

Saint Mary's University faculty or staff ($100.00).

Student or writing tutor ($75.00).

For more information, please contact Brian Hotson, Director, Academic Learning Services brian.hotson@smu.ca

Fraiser's research leads to northern Scotland

Dr. Frasier creating a sample from a whalebone.

Dr. Frasier creating a sample from a whalebone.

Dr. Brenna Fraiser’s work analyzing DNA from pre-historic whalebones recently led her to Northern Isles of Scotland.

Dr. Fraiser is a professor and course coordinator with the Forensic Sciences program at Saint Mary’s. In June, she and fellow researcher Vicki Szabo from Western Carolina University traveled to University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Archaeology Institute, to examine the institute’s collection of whalebone artefacts and extract DNA samples.

The research is part of a large project which is investigating the use of whale bone in Western Atlantic society over the last 1000 years.

See the full story here:

Drs. Daphne Rixon and Dr. Fiona Duguid receive grant for co-operative sector research

Above (l-r) : Dr. Daphne Rixon, Dr. Fiona Duguid

Above (l-r) : Dr. Daphne Rixon, Dr. Fiona Duguid

Dr. Daphne Rixon, Executive Director and Dr. Fiona Duguid, Research Fellow, Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives (CEARC) have been awarded a Partnership Engage Grant of $24,900 to work with Co-operatives Mutuals Canada (CMC) on research that identifies SDGs beneficial in measuring co-operative performance.

Given the increased interest in the SDGs globally and in Canada, and their growing importance regarding building resilience, stability, peace, and public security, the co-operative sector is ripe for understanding their role and improving their contributions to these global goals.

Key here is the need for empirical, standardized data that can be reported by each co-operative to their members, as well as aggregated into a national dataset describing the co-operative sector as a whole. These data points can then be reported to the Federal government to support its’ measurement and reporting of the SDGs on the global stage.

After decades of work with the United Nations, 193 countries, including Canada, adopted The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. Since the signing, there has been a growing need and interest in how to measure and report on the SDGs. The Canadian co-operative sector does not have a mechanism to design, measure and report on the sector’s SDG impact. This Partnership Engage Grant (PEG) aims to answer the following: how is the Canadian co-operative sector contributing to Canada’s measurement and reporting on SDGs’ impact?

This project is comprised of online discussion boards, a survey, focus groups and through participatory action research ensures not only the central role of the community partner, CMC, in decision-making and intellectual leadership, but also ensures the development of practical, timely and beneficial SDG indictors that can be used by the co-operative sector.

Total funding for the project is $56,900 which includes $24,900 from SSHRC as well as in-kind funding of $15,000 from CEARC, $15,000 from CMC and $2,000 from IRECUS, University de Sherbrooke.

Dr. Rixon is responsible for overall management of the project, Dr. Fiona Duguid, CEARC Research Fellow is the Research Lead and Daniel P. Brunette, Director of Advocacy and Partnerships, CMC is the partner representative.

For more information about this project, please contact Daphne Rixon: daphne.rixon@smu.ca or Fiona Duguid: fduguid@gmail.com.

Francophone women in Atlantic Canada the focus of magazine edited by SMU professor

With field schools to lead, research to conduct and conferences to organize, summer is a hectic season for many Saint Mary’s professors, including Dr. Rohini Bannerjee of the Department of Modern Languages & Classics.

Dr. Bannerjee was delighted to serve as guest editor for the 15th edition of Understorey Magazine, which  launched six years ago as a project of the Second Story Women’s Centre in Lunenburg and is now published in partnership with the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice. A member of the editorial advisory board, Bannerjee enjoyed diving into the subject matter for this edition, ‘Femmes francophones du Canada atlantique’.

“Thanks to a strong foundation in French at Sacred Heart School of Halifax and a certain affinity for interculturality, I learned the French language in Nova Scotia with enthusiasm,” she explains in her editorial. Born in a Punjabi-Hindi-Urduphone immigrant family, she went “beyond the barriers imposed on and by” herself to pursue her graduate studies in French. At Saint Mary’s, she is Associate Professor of Francophone Literature and Culture of the Indian Ocean, and is also a Faculty member of the Asian Studies program, the Joint MA Women and Gender Studies program (SMU-MSVU) and, starting this fall, will also be teaching in the International Development Studies program.   

She was thrilled to include non-fiction pieces by several SMU voices in the magazine, including two of her former students:

·   French Professor Dre. Sophie Beaulé “gives life to the notion of elsewhere”;

·   Sonja Williams (BA’15) of Cheticamp, now working with the federal Department of Canadian Heritage in Halifax, explains how her Acadian pride is never in question even after taking her husband’s English surname after marriage; and

·   Eve Julia Powell (BA’13), a Newfoundlander who is now a French Immersion teacher in Saint John, NB, explains how the language became her passion and destiny after her English parents enrolled her in French immersion school as a youngster.     

Available to read online, Understorey has a mandate "to sustain a relevant, accessible and aesthetically beautiful venue that empowers women (defined inclusively) through self-expression and contributes to the diversity and vitality of Canadian literature and visual art."

Submissions are welcome for the next two editions, from emerging and established writers and artists who identify as women or non-binary. First up is ‘Diverse Stories of Women on Stage’ (deadline July 15), then ‘Re Nature: Writing on a World under Threat’ (deadline Sept. 30). See the submission guidelines.

Other highlights from Bannerjee’s busy summer:

·   She celebrated the 50th anniversary of official bilingualism in Canada on June 19 at Government House, during the Lieutenant Governor’s annual garden party.

·  The mother of three boys, she was a featured guest June 26 on the CBC Maritime Noon phone-in show, discussing the realities of everyday racism when you’re raising children of colour. Her recent article in Eco Parent magazine provided a starting point.

·   She is co-organizer of an international Francophone literature and linguistics conference coming up July 11-13 in Balaclava, Mauritius, titled ‘Résistance, Résilience, Réactualisation’, co-sponsored by Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie and the University of Mauritius.

·   Also in July, she will teach a graduate seminar class at the University of Mumbai, thanks to a Faculty Mobility Grant from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, which promotes academic and cultural exchanges between India and Canada.

·  Winding up a period of sabbatical, she’s preparing to teach several new SMU courses this fall and winter, such as Voices of the Francophone South Pacific; Migration and Displacement of the Indian Ocean; and one at the Halifax Central Library that will be open to the public, Oral Traditions in the Francophone World

Follow her updates on Twitter at @RohiniBannerjee.



Congrats to our Summer Undergraduate Research award winners!

Saint Mary’s is running four different Summer Research Award programs for undergraduate students this year. Congratulations to the following students and their supervising professors!

2019 First Year Undergraduate Summer Research Award winners:

  • Hajar Abdessamie            (Marketing - with Prof. Matthew Boland)

  • Tanaka Akiyama                 (Engineering - with Prof. Adel Merabet)

  • Emma Edwards                   (Criminology - with Prof. Rachael Collins)

  • Ayusha Pradhananga        (Computing Science - with Prof. Jiju Poovvancheri)

  • Nathan Robichaud             (History / Atlantic Canada Studies - with Prof. Blake Brown)

  • Mehak Tekchandani          (Psychology - with Prof. Veronica Stinson)


2019 SSHRC Explore Undergraduate Summer Research Award winners:

  • Justyn Henley                      (Psychology - with Prof. Marc Patry)

  • Stephen Hennessey           (Marketing - with Prof. Ethan Pancer)

  • Emily Nolan                         (Archaeology - with Prof. Myles McCallum)

  • Le Khoi Anh (Ayden) Pham     (Psychology - with Prof. Lucie Kocum)

  • Chenping (Jason) Yi           (Accounting - with Prof. Mohamed Drira)

2019 NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award winners:

  • Stephanie Amrieh             (Chemistry - with Prof. Christa Brosseau)

  • Kennedy Brittain                (Chemistry - with Prof. Danielle Tokarz)

  • Lyndsey Burrell                   (Environmental Science - with Prof. Jeremy Lundholm)

  • Rachel Corney                     (Biology - with Prof. Laura Weir)

  • Carter Cunningham           (Biology - with Prof. Genlou Sun)

  • Lindsay Donovan                (Biology - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Sebastien Garand               (Physics - with Prof. Rituparna Kanungo)

  • Jacob Hoare                         (Chemistry - with Prof. Robert Singer)

  • Jacob Hollett                       (Physics - with Rituparna Kanungo)

  • Jennifer Kolwich                 (Biology & Chemistry - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Piper Langdon                     (Biology - with Prof. Susan Bjornson)

  • Lindsay MacDonald           (Biology - with Prof. Anne Dalziel)

  • Kathleen Maiti McGrath  (Astrophysics - with Prof. Luigi Gallo)

  • Brooke McKenzie               (Engineering  - with Prof. Adel Merabet)

  • Kaleigh McLeod                  (Biology & Chemitsry - with Prof.’s Christa Brosseau & Clarissa Sit)

  • Cameron Power                 (Physics / Environmental Science - with Prof. Aldona Wiacek)

  • Katherine Purvis                 (Biology - with Prof. Danielle Tokarz)

  • Terrell Roulston                  (Biology - with Prof. Jeremy Lundholm)

  • Owen Sharpe                      (Mathematics & Computing Science - with Prof. Mitja Mastnak)

  • Connor Tannahill                (Mathematics & Computing Science - with Prof. Paul Muir)

  • Sophia Waddell                  (Astrophysics - with Prof. Luigi Gallo)

  • Conor Waterfield               (Physics - with Prof. Rituparna Kanungo)


2019 Dean of Science Summer Research Award winners: 

  • Nicola Augustin                  (Biology & Chemistry - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Prashansa Kooshna           (Biology & Chemistry - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Jennaecia Lewis                  (Psychology - with Prof. Jason Ivanoff)

  • Jennifer McArthur             (Psychology - with Prof. Meg Ternes)

  • Bivash Pandey                     (Computing Science - with Prof. Jiju Poovvancheri)


Award-winning work from 3 Arts profs

Publications by Saint Mary’s professors have been generating national and international attention throughout the spring season.

Along with the 2019 O. Henry Prize for Dr. Alexander MacLeod’s short story “Lagomorph”, here are some other titles earning kudos and great reviews, just in time for the summer reading season.


National award for exploring identity through tourism promotion  


Dr. Nicole Neatby admits she’s “an annoying tourist to travel with” because she likes to stop an analyze tourism ads along the way.

“My friends will say, ‘let’s just travel and enjoy. That’s the detrimental effect of studying certain topics,” jokes the History professor, who also teaches in the Atlantic Canada Studies Program. 

She is fresh back from Vancouver, where the Canadian History Association just presented her with its 2019 Clio award for her new book, From Old Quebec to La Belle Province: Tourism Promotion, Travel Writing, and National Identities: 1920-1967. (McGill-Queen’s University Press). The award recognizes exceptional contributions to regional history; she received the Clio for the Quebec region.

The book has also inspired a new “History of Tourism” course Dr. Neatby will teach this winter, which will be of interest to students in Arts and Business students at Saint Mary’s. 

“I didn’t set out to write a history of tourism in Quebec,” explains Neatby. “What I was really interested in was how people remember their past. What do they think is significant about their past, what do they see as important?”

Quebec’s tourism ads from earlier in the 20th century focused on the province’s rich history, and Neatby was fascinated to see how this shifted: “Nations are like people, they want to put their best foot forward and say this is what is attractive or unique about me. And Quebeckers changed their minds. Toward Expo 1967, they wanted to say ‘we are a modern society, really cutting edge on so many fronts,’ which was a very different image.”

For her next project, Neatby is casting a similar eye on tourism and culture promotion in Halifax. One chapter will look at American jazz musicians who performed here during the Prohibition years, and what sort of reception and promotion they received.

More immediately, she’s soon heading to Scotland for a vacation, and expects to pay keen attention to the tourism ads. “I have a 13-yr old niece who will be travelling with me and I’m very aware that I might bore her to tears,” she says with a grin.


Provincial award for short creative non-fiction


Congratulations are in order for Dr. Ariel Watson, a creative writing professor with the Department of English Language & Literature. On May 9, the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia announced winners of its annual Nova Writes competition for unpublished manuscripts. Dr. Watson’s manuscript “Beasts of Myth” won H. R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize.

The citation from judge Marjorie Simmins: “The author has written a resonant and complex story, with themes of multi-generational family ties and interactions, looming death, the reshapings of personal histories, the romantic pulls of times gone by, and the essence and changing composition of memory, as connected to a time, and its people.”



Honourable mention for a ‘monumental and masterful work’  

Kudos also to Dr. Blake Brown of the History department and Atlantic Canada Studies Program. His book A History of Law in Canada, Vol 1: Beginnings to 1866 , co-edited with Philip Girard and Jim Phillips, received an honourable mention for the W. Wesley Pue Book Prize from the Canadian Law & Society Association, for best book on a social legal subject. See the June 5 announcement on the Canadian Legal History Blog.

It is “a monumental and masterful work,” the judges said in their citation. “It fills a gap in Canadian scholarship by providing a comprehensive, well-written and informative account of the history of law in Canada. Its 900 pages of text and footnotes reflect an astonishing range of knowledge. It breaks new ground in its sweep and scale, and its interweaving of the history of the three pillars of Canadian law: common law, civil law and Indigenous legal orders. It will be a classic for many years, a guide and inspiration to Canadian legal historians for generations to come."

 The book was published in 2018 by the Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, and Dr. Brown is currently working with his co-editors on the second volume.

"Invaluable collection" of North Atlantic right whale DNA finds home at Saint Mary's

A right whale entangled in fishing rope.

A right whale entangled in fishing rope.

Dr. Tim Frasier’s lab will now house a “scientifically invaluable collection” of North Atlantic right whale DNA, comprised of about 420 samples collected over decades.

Frasier is an Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s (Biology and the Forensic Science Program) and has been conducting genetic analyses on the North Atlantic right whale since 1999, when he began his graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Brad White (then at McMaster University, now at Trent University). 

White, who had a forensic wildlife DNA lab at Trent Univeristy, recently retired and donated the entire collection to Frasier’s lab, which will work to add to the collection to help more quickly identify the critically endangered whales.

With only about 417 right whales left in the world and low reproductive rates, the species is critically endangered. The plight of the whales captured significant attention from media, government and the scientific community in 2017, when at least 15 whales died in North Atlantic waters.

Read the full story:


Chemistry students take 4 awards at ChemCon 2019

Many of the students from the Chemistry Department participated at the Science Atlantic Chemcon 2019 student conference that was held at Acadia University May 24-26. This year, Saint Mary’s walked away with four awards!

Congratulations to our students (pictured above, l-r):

  •  Gaius St. Marie (Brosseau group) - CIC Award for the Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation in Analytical Chemistry

  •  Jennifer Kolwich (Sit group) - CIC Award for the Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation in Biological or Medicinal Chemistry

  • Ariana Joseph (Tokarz group) - CIC Award for the Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation in Analytical Chemistry

  • Kaleigh McLeod (Brosseau group) - Science Atlantic Science Communication Award

Dr. Ellen Farrell releases research findings on Atlantic entrepreneurial ecosystem

Global relationships key to healthy startup community says new research

A major research project from Saint Mary’s University suggests Atlantic Canadian startup businesses need to look further afield for innovation, information and funding.

A three-year, $210,000 research project exploring the startup community in Atlantic Canada has delivered its final report. The research shows that while the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is highly interconnected, companies can achieve greater benefit by reaching out globally for information on technology and product solutions. By relying more on “weak ties” or relationships outside of the Atlantic region or Canada, the Atlantic entrepreneurial ecosystem can improve innovation and results. The research also suggests firms explore venture capital availability outside of the Atlantic region.

Dr. Ellen Farrell

Dr. Ellen Farrell

“Our study looked at the “knowledge-seeking behaviours” of startups. We found that the Atlantic region is highly connected. One great opportunity lies in encouraging startups to extend their global reach for product and technology information, taking advantage of “weak ties” such as acquaintances, because this can help develop new innovations,” said Dr. Ellen Farrell. “As it is, the world is beating a path to our door to purchase our Atlantic Canadian equity,” she says, citing examples like the purchase of Atlantic businesses Radian 6 and Go Instant by Salesforce, and Quintiles IMS’s recent acquisition of STI Technologies.

The report points to more work to be done by mature firms to support growing businesses. A call to action in the report offers a long list of suggestions for ways these firms can support startups, including testing prototypes, lending talent or equipment, and providing an entry introduction into an industry network of contacts.

“Saint Mary’s University is dedicated to fostering both the foundational and community-engaged research efforts of our professors. This project of Dr. Farrell and her team is an excellent example of research that supports our community and directly impacts the health of our region’s economy,” says Saint Mary’s University Associate Vice-President Research, Dr. Adam Sarty.

“This applied research has already helped inform start-up founders, policy makers and other members of the ecosystem it describes. Dr. Farrell’s work complements her teaching in entrepreneurship, and is key in building a culture of innovation with an entrepreneurial approach to both business development and general problem solving.”

A team led by Dr. Ellen Farrell, a management professor at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, conducted the research, which was based on a study Dr. Farrell undertook in 2014. The team was comprised of eleven researchers plus graduate and undergraduate students from six universities across the region. Federal funding to support the project came from ACOA’s Atlantic Policy Research Initiative.

Dr. Erin Cameron's research featured in NY Times

Dr. Erin Cameron: Researching invasive earthworms in boreal forests

Dr. Erin Cameron: Researching invasive earthworms in boreal forests

Dr. Erin Cameron is a new faculty member in the Environmental Science department at Saint Mary’s. She completed her PhD at the University of Alberta before doing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Helsinki in Finland. 

Dr. Cameron’s published work on earthworms (Modelling interacting effects of invasive earthworms and wildfire on forest floor carbon storage in the boreal forest” and “Spatial patterns and spread of exotic earthworms at local scales) was was recently mentioned in a New York Times article on why earthworms have climate scientists worried; Dr. Cameron will be travelling to the Yukon in July to do more research on this topic. 

Her research examines effects of global change (climate change, invasive species, habitat loss) on species distributions, community composition, and ecosystem functioning. She is especially interested in earthworminvasions, aboveground-belowground interactions, and soil biodiversity. She uses a combination of field observations, experiments, citizen science, molecular approaches, data synthesis, and modelling to assess global change impacts across spatial and temporal scales.

 Click here to read the full story in the New York Times:  ‘Earthworm Dilemma’ Has Climate Scientists Racing to Keep Up: Worms are wriggling into Earth’s northernmost forests, creating major unknowns for climate-change models.

— Submitted by Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science


Using Data from Stats Can: Free webinars in the Patrick Power Library


“Are families living in major metropolitan areas wealthier? To what extent do families living in cities with higher housing prices carry more debt? Do millennials carry more debt than previous generations of young Canadians?”

These questions (and others like them) can be answered with data from Statistics Canada, which offers a wealth of free data and analysis tools that you can use to make informed business and research decisions.

The trick is in knowing what they are and how to use them. The Patrick Power Library is screening four webinars by StatsCan over the coming weeks in the Library Classroom (LI135).

The first, held Wednesday May 29 at 2pm, demonstrated the new Consumer Price Index (CPI) Data Visualization Tool, which you can find at https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/71-607-x/71-607-x2018016-eng.htm

Next Tuesday, June 4, learn about the Business Register - its history, how it is maintained and how it is used by internal and external users.

On Wednesday, June 5, join us for a “Spotlight on Debt and Wealth for Canadian families”, which will examine differences in indebtedness and wealth among higher and lower income families across Canada from 1999 to 2016.

This webinar will use data to look at questions like: Are Canadian seniors more likely to carry mortgage and consumer debt than before? How much more debt are they carrying? How have wealth and debt evolved among immigrant families? And how does this differ from Canadian-born families? 

Finally, on Thursday June 13, we’ll watch “A Portrait of Canadian Youth”, which creates “a comprehensive statistical picture of Canada's youth based on a broad range of information from across Statistics Canada.” The goal is to use data to “illustrate the advantages, as well as the pressures and challenges, that today's youth are facing relative to other generations”.

All faculty, students, and community members are invited to come, listen, learn and discuss. You can find out more about these webinars, or sign up to watch them individually at https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/services/webinars

MSc and PhD candidates identify fossilized footprint of a new species

Olivia King

Olivia King

Saint Mary’s MSc candidate Olivia King and PhD student Matt Stimson have published a paper in the international journal Ichnos about their research on the identification of the fossilized footprints of a new species.

The news was shared by the New Brunswick Museum., where King is Geology & Paleontology summer research assistant and Matt Stimson the Assistant Curator of Geology and Paleontology.

The two collaborated with Dr. Spencer Lucas, Curator of Paleonotology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Albuquerque, New Mexico on the paper. 

Matt Stimson

Matt Stimson

“This is an important paper in that it sheds new light on the biodiversity of an important fossil site using footprints rather than the body fossils of the animals that made them,” said the release issued by the New Brunswick Museum.

Learn more, and access the paper at this link.

Research into the effects of low interest rates on Canadian loan markets receives grant

Dr. Mohammad Rahaman, Canada Research Chair in International Finance & Competitiveness and a professor with the Sobey School of Business

Dr. Mohammad Rahaman, Canada Research Chair in International Finance & Competitiveness and a professor with the Sobey School of Business

The work of a Saint Mary’s University researcher into the effects of low interest rates on the syndicated loan market in North American has received a boost.

Mohammad Rahaman, Canada Research Chair in International Finance & Competitiveness and a professor with the Sobey School of Business, is receiving a $40,000 research grant from the Canadian Securities Institute Research Foundation.

Rahaman’s research focuses primarily on understanding how access to intermediated capital such as bank loans can be a source of power and efficiency for industrial firms in a competitive global market place. He is currently investigating the effects of the unprecedented and prolonged low interest rates by central banks following the global financial crisis.

His research also touches on how financing through syndicated loans influences investment, innovation, and internationalization among North American industrial firms. A syndicated loan is a loan provided by a group of lenders and set up and administered by one or more commercial or investment banks.

“This is one of the most coveted research grant awarded by industry practitioners in Finance in Canada, and I am honoured to be its recipient,” said Rahaman. “No other finance faculty member in the Maritimes has received this grant, which speaks to a recognition of the importance that the Sobey School of Business has in our region and the quality of research underway at the school.”

The Canadian Securities Institute Research Foundation encourages and supports grounded research on the Canadian Capital Markets.

“The Canadian Securities Research Foundation is actively supporting research into interest rate risk, especially the drivers and impact of the current low interest rate environment,” said Heather-Anne Irwin, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are thrilled to be supporting Professor Rahaman in his work, as we strive to bridge the gap between theory and practice.”

Dr. Roby Austin, Astronomy & Physics to win Father William A. Stewart award


Dr. Roby Austin, Professor of Astronomy & Physics, has been recognized by her current and former students and colleagues with the Father William A. Stewart Medal for Excellence in Teaching for her dedicated teaching approach and empowerment of women in science.  

Since joining Saint Mary’s in 2004, Dr. Austin has served on the Saint Mary’s Academic Senate and curriculum committees for Senate and the Faculty of Science. The classes she teaches range from first year physics courses to graduate level courses, and she has supervised both BSc Honours and MSc students. Her focus as a teacher is to create a classroom environment which encourages students to work with and understand the material. Alumni commend her for her accommodating and respectful approach with her students.

An accomplished researcher, Dr. Austin has published more than 20 papers and received more than $4 million in research grants. She is committed to continuous learning, and is a member of the Division of Physics Education of the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Forum on Education of the American Physical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. Students recognize her dedication to learning and improving teaching methods in the classroom.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Austin volunteers her time with Techsploration and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Atlantic. These organizations create opportunities for girls and young women to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and empower them to consider a career in STEM.

The Medal for Excellence in Teaching is named for the late Father William A. Stewart, a Professor of Philosophy and administrator at Saint Mary’s University from 1950-1982. Father Stewart was known for his inclusivity, approachability, innovative teaching methods, and service to the University. The Medal is awarded by the Saint Mary’s University Alumni Association in partnership with the Faculty Union.  

Dr. Christine Panasian co-authors popular textbook


Dr. Christine Panasian is a co-author of the new 9th Canadian edition of the Investments textbook, a book that is one of the most popular books in business schools. 

Published by MGraw-Hill, the textbook is “recognized as the market leading text for investment courses” and focuses on “the intuition and insights that will be useful to students and practitioners throughout their careers as new ideas and challenges emerge from the financial marketplace”.  

Says Dr. Panasian, "I am really proud of the accomplishment, in particular to see the name of the Sobey School and Saint Mary's University next to University of Toronto and Concordia University." 

Dr. Tony Charles presents Earth Day lecture


Tony Charles, professor in the School of the Environment, presented an Earth Day Public Lecture on Climate Change in a World of Inequity.

“Climate change is one of the most massive challenges of our time, but it doesn’t affect everyone equally,” said Dr. Charles. “In fact, even the ways we respond to climate change can have unfair impacts.”

The talk examined who is most affected by climate change, who wins and loses in our climate responses – and what to do about the inequities.

The presentation reflected the results of a collaboration between the United Nations and Saint Mary's University which produced guidance to countries around the world on how to deal together with poverty, food security, and climate change.

Related links:
Dr. Tony Charles sits down with CTV's Bruce Frisko to discuss how climate change affects everyone differently

Retail, Innovation, Strategy & Excellence (RISE) Program a success

The David Sobey Centre’s annual RISE (Retail, Innovation, Strategy & Excellence) Program took place last week from April 7th-12th. The program is designed for Retail Executives to give them the tools, skills and insights to stay ahead of the curve, help them be leaders and to build a culture of innovation within their companies.

This year brought fifteen participants from across Canada from companies including Sobeys, NSLC, LCBO, Kent, Parts for Trucks, Bishop’s Cellar and MacQuarries Pharmasave. The mix of contrasting retailers and their sectors made for many dynamic in class discussions which lead to new ideas and created an engaging learning environment. Over the course of six days, many new and valuable networks/friendships were built through the various collaboration projects and social events that were part of the program.

Program instructors and topics:

· Dr. Ramesh Venkat - Digital Retailing and Customer Experience

· Dr. David Weiss - Creating a Culture of Innovation

· Kevin Kelloway - Transformational Leadership in Retail

· Brynn Leard - Data Driven Retail Decision Making

· Kena Paranjape - Retail Landscape and Strategic Thinking

· Ramy Nassar - Value Proposition and Innovation Mode

Saint Mary’s Expands Cross-Border Education Ties with China

Students in business programs at Guangzhou College, South China University of Technology (GCU) will have added opportunities to transfer to Saint Mary’s after two years and complete their degree at the Sobey School of Business.

A senior delegation from GCU was on campus this week to sign an enhanced Transfer Credit Agreement, paving the way for closer ties with one of China’s most renowned independent colleges. Executive Vice-President Zhixin Zeng, Vice-President Ying Lin, Dean of the International Business School and Director of the International Office Liguang Wu and International Office Program Coordinator Huijing Huang held a series of meetings with their counterparts at Saint Mary’s on Monday, April 15.

Mr. Zeng suggested that GCU’s visit to campus reflected the growing ties between the two universities, while Mr. Lin commented that the new Transfer Credit Agreement opened the door to exciting new possibilities for international cooperation between the two institutions.

Celebrating a Longstanding Partnership

In the years since the signing of an initial MOU in 2011, designed to foster academic and educational cooperation between Guangzhou College and Saint Mary’s, around 60 students have come to campus – some to complete their third and fourth years of their degree as part of the 2+2 agreement with the Sobey School of Business, others to take the Master of Finance Program. Many of the 25 students currently enrolled at Saint Mary’s enjoyed a dinner on Sunday hosted by their alma mater in China to celebrate the arrival of the delegation to Halifax.

Meeting with the delegation on Monday, Dr Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s, said that the University was committed to building on the strong foundation of academic partnership between the two universities. This week’s visit, he said, was also an important affirmation of people-to-people connections between Canada and China. As “Canada’s International University”, Saint Mary’s is proud to be recognized as a national leader in building bridges between the two countries, he said.

Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology is a large primarily undergraduate institution with more than 21,000 full-time students who can choose from 35 programs offered through 14 schools. Its 283-acre campus is located just outside Guangzhou city in China’s Pearl River Delta, home to more than 120 million people a major centre of technology and innovation.

Submitted by Jonathan Shaw, Studio for Teaching and Learning

Call for Proposals: Academic Writing and English Language Learners Conference


The 3rd Academic Writing and English Language Learners (AWELL) conference that will be held on November 1 -2, 2019 at Saint Mary’s has issued a Call for Proposals open to all academic fields and disciplines.

AWELL is a two-day conference designed for faculty, language instructors, composition instructors, and writing centre professionals who teach and tutor ELL students.

The conference aims to provide tools and approaches in a workshop format that may be used directly in classrooms and tutoring sessions.

We want to provide an open forum to all those interested in any area of additional language studies and academic writing, including digital writing pedagogies, multiliteracies, plurilingualism, and intercultural writing supports.

Questions for consideration may include, but are not limited to:

·        Pedagogy and practice for multilingual classrooms

·        ELL pedagogy relating to globalized students

·        Learning community writing practice

·        Technology in writing practice relating to ELLs

·        Multimodal and digital approaches to ELL writing instruction and practice

·        Considerations of general teaching and learning practice to ELLs 

Successful submissions will include immediate and practical applications with pedagogical and theoretical foundations that conference attendees can use within their academic communities. The deadline to submit proposals is July 8, 2019.

To register, or for more information including proposal submission requirements, please visit https://smustudio.squarespace.com/awell-conference

University research projects with big industry impact

The Office of Innovation and Community Engagement at Saint Mary’s is a small office that delivers a big impact.

A recently-released progress report highlights a few projects that Saint Mary’s faculty members have been working on in collaboration with industry partners, including:

  • Dr. Jason Rhinelander’s partnership with LED Roadway Lighting has allowed him to lend his expertise in artificial intelligence and object recognition to evaluate the accuracy of an adaptive radar-based sensor platform for pedestrian and vehicle recognition at streetlight intersections.

  • RetailDeep uses innovative facial recognition software to enhance the shopping experience in stores, collect data from clients, and pinpoint opportunities to innovate within the retail space.

  • A partnership between Coloursmith Labs and Saint Mary’s researcher Dr. Danielle Tokarz has led to a breakthrough in treatment for colour blindness. Along with her team, Dr. Tokarz helped the startup company refine the focus of their research efforts and identify the appropriate nanoparticles and gels for the lenses. 

“Our office also takes pride in pairing faculty members with industry, helping to facilitate solutions to local companies’ problems using academic expertise, said Kevin Buchan, Director of the Office of Innovation and Community Engagement. “It’s also a great opportunity for students, the next generation of researchers, to work on applied projects in their fields.”

“We’re encouraged by the success we’ve had so far, and we look forward to doing more of these innovative projects,” said Buchan.  

 Click here to read the progress report, featuring researchers from all faculties at Saint Mary’s, and their partners, click here.


The Office of Innovation and Community Engagement (OICE) facilitates research relationships between Saint Mary’s University and companies, government departments, and community organizations. OICE is the initial point of contact for faculty members and external partners wishing to collaborate. The office assists with finding suitable expertise, contract development, and advises on funding opportunities.

Submitted by Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science.