Category BU news
 

Ideas on advancing human rights are Up for Debate at Bishop’s – Maple League universities compete for Jane Blaikie Cup

Students from Maple League Universities are gathering at Bishop’s University which is hosting the seventh annual Up for Debate week-end, to take part in a variety of debating activities, discussions and lectures on the theme of advancing human rights, and to benefit from a unique learning experience among peers from similar universities.

“Four similar Canadian liberal arts universities, Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison, and St. Francis Xavier, have formed the Maple League because they believe that by collaborating rather than competing, they can offer students a richer and more relevant learning experience,” explains Dr. Jessica Riddell, of Bishop’s English Department and Executive Director of the Maple League. “The Maple League vision is to build critical thinkers and leaders through the delivery of an extraordinary 21st century liberal education.”

The theme this year is advancing human rights. The Up for Debate activities showcase many of the values of the Maple League such as collaborating to create new ways of learning, encouraging student collaboration in learning, as well as community engagement and global citizenship – both inside the classroom and beyond.

The Up for Debate week-end is a highlight of Maple League collaboration, during which students from Acadia, Mount Allison, and St. Francis Xavier Universities gather at Bishop’s for a week-end of debate competition for the Jane Blaikie Cup, Business School Case competition, TEDxUBishops talks and Donald Lecture by featured speaker Sally Armstrong, O.C.

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The “grandmother effect”: a crucial role in demographic evolution – Collaboration between Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop’s

From a biological perspective, menopause in women is puzzling: in comparison to what is observed in other species, it occurs much earlier, and long before the end of women’s life expectancy. This led researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop’s University to wonder if the relatively early end of reproductive capacity for women might present advantages with regard to gene transmission, by helping their daughters to establish larger families.

Their findings, which are published today in the prestigious Current Biology scientific journal, constitute new supporting evidence to the “grandmother hypothesis.”

By studying the exceptionally well-detailed demographic data available on the first French settlers in Québec between 1608 and 1799, first author Sacha Engelhardt – a postdoctoral fellow at the Université de Sherbrooke, whose work was co-supervised by Dr. Fanie Pelletier, Canada Research Chair (CRC) on Evolutionary Demography and Conservation at the Université de Sherbrooke, and Dr. Patrick Bergeron, of Bishop’s University’s Biology Department – found that having a grandmother living close to her daughters was statistically associated with more grandchildren being born, and with an increased likelihood that those grandchildren would reach maturity.

“Research results suggest grandmothers played a critical role in Québec’s preindustrial population,” Dr. Engelhardt explains. “We were very interested in looking at the geographical effect on humans’ life events, such as the age of first reproduction, how many children were born and how many children reached the age of 15, for instance.”

“In our study, women whose mothers were alive had more children, and more of those children lived to the age of 15,” explains Dr. Bergeron. “Interestingly, the “grandmother effect” decreased as the grandmother-daughter geographic distances increased, suggesting that the potential for help may be related to geographic proximity.”

“The results show that daughters with geographically close living mothers on average were able to have two more children, and that the number of children still alive by the age of 15 increased by about one on average, compared to families where the maternal grandmother had passed away,” Dr. Pelletier explains. “This is a significant evolutionary advantage, especially considering that in parts of that period, sometimes up to about a third of children born did not survive their first year.”

To access the vast amount of data on which their conclusions are based, researchers collaborated with Dr. Alain Gagnon and Dr. Lisa Dillon, of the Université de Montréal’s Programme de recherche en démographie historique to access the vast amounts of data used to reach their conclusions. The study also benefited from using the Mammouth supercomputer of the Université de Sherbrooke’s Centre for Scientific Computing to analyze the data.

The research benefited from the financial support of the Fonds de recherche nature et technologie du Québec (FQRNT), the CRC on Evolutionary Demography and Conservation the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRCC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

About the Université de Sherbrooke

The Université de Sherbrooke is at the core of one of the three major research centres in Québec. Recognized for its sense of innovation, UdeS is a top-tier partner for national and regional governments to favour social, cultural and economic development. It also stands out through the rapid growth of its research activities in recent years, its successful technology transfers, as well as its entrepreneurial and open innovation initiatives in partnership with industrial and social actors.

About Bishop’s University

Founded in 1843, and located in Sherbrooke, Québec, Bishop’s University is a predominantly residential, undergraduate university. Our primary concern is offering students a quality education in the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business and education. The residential aspect of our small size (2,400 full-time students) encourages students to develop close relationships among themselves and with their professors, and to immerse themselves in the complete Bishop’s experience.

Dr. Patrick Bergeron
Dr. Patrick Bergeron, of Bishop’s University’s Biology Department

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Donald Lecture Series: Sally Armstrong O.C., award-winning journalist and human rights activist

Known as “The War Correspondent for the World’s Women”, Sally Armstrong is the next guest speaker of the 2018-19 Donald Lecture Series.

A four-time recipient of the Amnesty International Canada media award, as well as other awards such as the National Magazine Awards Foundation’s Gold Award and the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters’ Author’s Award, Ms. Armstrong also was a member of the UN’s International Women’s Commission.

Donald Lecture Series conferences are free and public events that everyone is welcome to attend. Parking on Bishop’s campus is free on the night of the conference.

WHO:  Sally Armstrong, O.C., Journalist and Human Rights Activist

WHAT:  Donald Lecture Series Conference

WHERE:  Centennial Theatre, Bishop’s University, 2600 College Street, Sherbrooke, QC

WHEN:  Friday, February 8, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:
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olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca

What Happened to Sherman Peabody documentary premiere – Based on student research into ultimate fate of WWII pilot

The premiere of the film What Happened to Sherman Peabody, which presents the result of historical research completed by Bishop’s University students about the fate of a Bishop’s student during World War II, will take place on January 23, in the context of Bishop’s University’s 175th anniversary.

The film premiere will take place in Bandeen Hall at 7:30 p.m., and will be followed by a question and answer discussion between the audience, surviving family members of Sherman Peabody, as well as students involved in the historical research and documentary film project. The premiere is a free public event, and anyone can attend at no cost. Parking on the Bishop’s campus is free on the evening of the premiere.

WHAT:  Premiere of the documentary film What Happened to Sherman Peabody

WHERE:  Bandeen Hall (Bishop’s University, 2600 College Street, Sherbrooke, QC)

WHEN:  Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:
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olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca

“I want to change the world”: how (and why) do young people make lasting contributions to society? – Dr. Heather Lawford’s Canada Research Chair on Youth Development

What steers one young person to a life of beneficiary service to a community and another to engage in terrorism, presumably to defend a set of beliefs? Both paths represent very different legacies that young people are leaving for the future, an idea that researchers refer to as generativity.

“We know very little about the developmental course of generativity before midlife,” explains Dr. Heather Lawford, Bishop’s University’s new Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Youth Development. “There is a need to engage and motivate youth to behave as responsible and contributing citizens, and this research is particularly relevant to that end. Youth who have already connected to their generative motivations often enjoy a significant advantage as they prepare for adulthood.”

Dr. Lawford’s research examines the developmental roots of generativity in the first youth-centred study of its kind. Her work includes an in-depth study of young people who are exemplary in their actions to leave a lasting benefit to society. She is also developing the first measure of generativity in youth. Her research will contribute to an overall knowledge base of how youth express and deepen their commitment to generativity, enhance our capacity to understand generativity across the lifespan, and inform our efforts to facilitate generative development.

Dr. Lawford’s Youth Development CRC grant is comprised of the standard $ 500,000 over five years, with an additional $ 20,000 per year, and complements her existing research funding of $ 88,443 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Insight Grant, for a total of $ 688,443 in funding.

“The future of research and science in Canada will be led by the next generation of talent. That’s why it is so important that we support our early-career researchers today,” says the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport and Member of Parliament for Etobicoke North. “There’s no better place than Canada to be a scientist. That’s why Canada Research Chairs from diverse backgrounds choose to come to Canada to pursue their ambitious research goals, build their teams and maintain Canada’s position as a global leader in research excellence.”

“By investing in youth, we are investing in the future. That’s why our government has elaborated Canada’s first Youth Strategy, explains the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and Member of Parliament for Compton – Stanstead. “Today, we are supporting the scientific community’s research in a new direction: generativity in youth.”

“Through this CRC, Dr. Lawford’s groundbreaking research on what motivates young people to make an impact on society is rightly recognized for its academic and societal significance, as well as its undeniable academic value,” indicates Bishop’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Michael Goldbloom. “As with Bishop’s other CRCs – Dr. Matthew Peros’ CRC on Climate and Environmental Change, and Dr. Jason Rowe’s CRC on Exoplanet Astrophysics – it embodies the type of University we are: these outstanding researchers choose Bishop’s because they also love to teach, and our students benefit greatly as a result.”

Dr. Lawford’s new CRC on Youth Development is another illustration of Bishop’s University’s commitment to academic excellence, which is grounded in the university’s deeply-held values such as the search for truth and the discovery, transmission and mobilization of knowledge through research and scholarship, as well as striving to encourage outstanding teaching and research.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:
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olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca

New Canada Research Chair on Youth Development at Bishop’s – Additional support for Dr. Heather Lawford’s research on generativity

Dr. Heather Lawford’s research into the ways in which youth are able to reach their full potential and make meaningful contributions to their community will now be supported through a Canada Research Chair.

The official announcement of Dr. Lawford’s Canada Research Chair on Youth Development will take place in presence of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development.

WHO:
The Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister of International Development

The Hon. Kirsty Duncan
Minister of Science and Sport

Dr. Heather Lawford
Canada Research Chair on Youth Development
Department of Psychology, Bishop’s University

WHAT:
Announcement of Canada Research Chair On Youth Development

WHERE:
Centennial Theatre Lobby
Bishop’s University
2600 College Street
Sherbrooke, QC

WHEN:
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
8:30 a.m.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Olivier Bouffard
Director of Communications
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olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca

Extinct Sloth Remains in Underwater Caves Tell Ice Age Stories – Paleomission: In Search of the Ancient Sloth

Sid the Sloth of the Ice Age animated movie series made prehistoric sloths famous; a new exhibition at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke (MNS2) offers visitors new insights and raises questions about the role ancient climate change and human activity may have played in deciding their fate.

Paleomission: In Search of the Ancient Sloth is based on research by Dr Matthew Peros, Bishop’s University’s Canada Research Chair on Climate and Environmental Change, and presents findings of the remains of two extinct species of sloths found in an underwater cave in Cuba.

“At the end of the last ice age, 11,000 years ago, vast glaciers extended across North America, and sea levels were much lower,” Dr Peros explains. “Sloth remains were found in underwater caves in Cuba that were above the water line before those species of sloths became extinct. Diving into underwater caves to study the remains was an extremely challenging aspect of this research project, which again raises the question of the respective roles of climate change and human activity as important factors in the extinction of many megafauna species during that period, such as mammoths, mastodons, and giant sloths. The Caribbean is of particular interest in this regard, as the extinction of species appears to have occurred much later than on the North American mainland.”

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between Bishop’s University, the MNS2, the National Museum of Natural History in Cuba, the National Geographic Society, and the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie du Québec. The exhibition will be on display at the MNS2 starting on December 20, and is an excellent outing idea to entertain visiting family and friends over the holiday period.

Visitors to the Paleomission exhibition at the MNS2 will learn about the effects of climate change at the end of the most recent glacial period. The exhibition is another illustration of Bishop’s University’s academic excellence in action through research conducted by outstanding faculty, as well as fascinating knowledge mobilization opportunities for the wider public to benefit from academic research.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Olivier Bouffard
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olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca

Paleomission: In Search of the Ancient Sloth – New exhibition featuring research of Bishop’s Dr. Matthew Peros

A new exhibition at the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke (MNS2) will launch just in time for entertaining visiting friends and relatives over the Holidays.

The Paleomission: In Search of the Ancient Sloth exhibition is based on research by Dr. Matthew Peros, Bishop’s University Canada Research Chair on Climate and Environmental change, and presents findings on extinct species of prehistoric sloths’ remains in underwater caves in Cuba.

WHO:
Dr. Matthew Peros
Bishop’s University Canada Research Chair
Climate and Environmental Change

Esther Pérez Lorenzo
Director, National Museum of Natural History
Havana, Cuba

Joao Gabriel Martinez López, M. Sc.
Project Co-Director, National Museum of Natural History
Havana, Cuba

Miguel Pereira Sosa
Expedition Chief Diver

WHAT:
Inauguration of the new exhibition
Paleomission: In Search of the Ancient Sloth

WHERE:
Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke
225 Frontenac Street
Sherbrooke, QC

WHEN:
Thursday, December 20, 2018
4:00 p.m.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Olivier Bouffard
Director of Communications
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olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca

Festival of Lessons and Carols at St. Mark’s Chapel

St. Mark’s Chapel Choir to perform as Holiday Season nears.

The St. Mark’s Chapel Choir, under the Direction of Sarah Heath, and featuring organist Pamela Gill Eby, Erika DeLuca on piano, Nicolas Leblanc on trumpet, and Rev. Jesse Dymond on guitar will hold the Festival of Lessons and Carols at Bishop’s St. Mark’s Chapel on December 8 and 9.

Free-will offering will be collected for local charities. Parking is free on Bishop’s campus on week-ends.

WHO:
St. Mark’s Chapel Choir
Sarah Heath, Director
Pamela Gill Eby, Organ
Erika DeLuca, Piano
Nicolas Leblanc, Trumpet
Rev. Jesse Dymond, Guitar

WHAT:
Lessons and Carols Festival

WHERE:
St. Mark’s Chapel
Bishop’s University
2600 College Street
Sherbrooke, QC

WHEN:
Saturday, December 8, 2018
7:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 9, 2018
4:00 p.m.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Olivier Bouffard
Director of Communications
819-822-9600 ext. 2840
olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca

eTick.ca expands to Ontario and New Brunswick – Public Health Agency of Canada grant of $ 477,149 for citizen science

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), through the Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund, has granted Bishop’s University’s Biology Professor Dr. Jade Savage $ 477,149 to expand the reach of the fully bilingual eTick.ca tick-monitoring platform beyond Quebec to Ontario and New Brunswick.

“The eTick.ca platform is a citizen science project that greatly expands capabilities for the geographical coverage of tick monitoring, in addition to directly providing a public health service to the general population in a timely manner,” explains Dr. Savage. “By providing a platform through which citizens can submit ticks they have found for identification, the eTick.ca platform allows the monitoring of tick distribution changes and real time mapping of the presence of various species of ticks on the territory covered, which will now include Ontario and New Brunswick in addition to Quebec.”

“The increase in the number of Lyme disease cases reported across several regions in Canada, including the Estrie region, is quite preoccupying. The grant of over 477 000$ from the Public Health Agency of Canada to Jane Savage, professor within the Biology Department at Bishop’s University, will allow for the extension of her eTick.ca platform and monitoring website to provinces neighboring Quebec,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead and Minister of International Development.

In Eastern Canada, only one species of ticks can transmit Lyme disease. Through the eTick.ca platform, members of the public can rely on expert identification within 24 hours of the type of tick they find, whether on animals or on humans, which allows them to know whether the tick they have found can transmit Lyme disease or not and to obtain information and advice specific to the species found. This identification is not meant to provide medical advice regarding Lyme disease infections for persons who have found a tick, but can inform members of the public of whether additional inquiries with health care professionals are warranted depending on the species of tick found.

Moreover, members of the public can consult the real time tick-reporting map to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of different species of ticks in specific regions and territories, to track yearly changes in tick population distribution and to better evaluate the risks associated with the presence of ticks able to transmit Lyme disease in a given area.

The eTick.ca platform began as a pilot project launched by Dr. Savage in 2014 in partnership with the Laboratoire de santé publique du Québec and the PHAC.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Olivier Bouffard
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olivier.bouffard@ubishops.ca