2017 Antigonight: Art After Dark Festival

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of The Beacon.

The eighth annual Antigonight: Art After Dark Festival took place between September 1 and 16, 2017. The Beacon spoke to ceramist and sculptor Fenn Martin: a co-founder of the festival and the 2017 artistic director. Until taking a position last fall with NSCAD University, Fenn Martin worked part-time as an Instructor with the StFX Art Department.

Martin described the festival’s relationship with the StFXAUT. Members of the StFX Art Department Faculty were essential to the festival getting off the ground. Faculty representatives, some of whom served on the board of directors of Antigonish Culture Alive (formerly GAPACC — Guysborough Antigonish Pictou Arts and Culture Council), were among those who identified the need for Antigonish to have an open, accessible nighttime art festival. Antigonight: Art After Dark was launched and it continues to grow.

In addition to helping to create the festival, StFXAUT members have been integral to its ongoing success. Art Department personnel have led projects. Music Department Faculty have performed at a number of festivals. Education Department Faculty and students have demonstrated projects. A 2012 project “One Giant Leap for Art” was a collaboration between the Physics Department and the Art Department, Librarians, Writing Centre staff, and StFX students have been featured as artists.

Julia Walker, Laura Stinson, and Noella Murphy’s project “Shear Ingenuity, A Road Less Gravelled”
photo credit: Philip Girvan

The collaboration continued throughout this year’s festival: Pamela Johnson, Program Teaching Staff with the Coady International Institute’s International Centre for Women’s Leadership, exhibited “Take(n) Space” a multimedia installation at the People’s Place Library on Friday, September 8. Abena Amoako-Tuffour, the International Student Engagement Coordinator with the StFX Department of Internationalization, read selections from her upcoming book, The Way We Hold On, at the Waffle Bus Stop on Saturday, September 16. “Print Prospects”, which featured the work of various Faculty Members, took place that evening in the StFX Art Department’s printmaking and painting studios. “One Minute Memories”, the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association’s video installation took place on the StFX Art Gallery Lawn. (more…)

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StFX World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Society

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of The Beacon.

Dr. Mary Oxner, StFXAUT President, presents a cheque for $4,573 to WUSC Society members (left to right):
Jordan MacDonald, Farhiyo Salah, and Izaak MacMullin
photo credit: Susan MacKay

The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is, according to their website, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education, employment, and empowerment opportunities for youth around the world”. WUSC has local committees across Canada including the StFX WUSC Society.

The StFX WUSC Society’s Facebook page explains that:

[t]he Student Refugee Program is a sponsorship program through which support is given to a student registered by the United Nations as a refugee to pursue post-secondary studies in Canada. For twelve consecutive years, StFX has admitted one student each year to the sponsorship program. The students that have been welcomed to StFX represent displacement due to civil war, persecution and genocide in regions such as Sudan, Rwanda, the DRC, and Ethiopia.

One of the WUSC priorities identified on their website is “[e]nsuring that youth have access to quality education”. This past fall the StFXAUT contributed $4,573 to the StFX WUSC Society to assist with this goal. StFXAUT funds will cover a second year refugee student’s meal plan fees. The Beacon had the opportunity last fall to speak with StFX WUSC Society President Isaak MacMullin and Vice President Jordan MacDonald to learn more about the committee and the work that they do on campus. (more…)

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Unionversity: CUPE Local 1636

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of The Beacon.

Over the next several issues The Beacon will highlight work performed and challenges faced by the non-academic Unions working at StFX University. This article profiles CUPE Local 1636. CUPE Local 1636 represents StFX Safety and Security Services employees (currently 12 full-time employees and 4 casuals). Last Fall The Beacon met with former CUPE Local 1636 President John Gormley and former Vice-President Dane Hiltz. Both Gormley and Hiltz were quick to emphasize that their “biggest issue is, and always has been, just the amount of time it takes to get things settled”.

For some time they have been trying to engage university Administration concerning risk assessment. “We asked the University what they consider our role to be for the University and they don’t know. They can’t give us a defined explanation of what specifically our exact role is here,” said Hiltz. This indecisiveness surrounding what Gormley termed as “procedures for our responses for certain situations” impacts the safety of Safety and Security Services personnel.

Gormley and Hiltz emphasized that: “We want to do it together. We’re discussing it. We don’t want to be more or less told what we require. We want the risk assessment to determine what it is. So we don’t want to push for something we don’t need, but also we don’t want to not have what we need”. (more…)

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Alumna Shout-out: Rita Campbell

This interview, conducted by StFXAUT President Mary Oxner, appears in the Winter 2018 edition of The Beacon.

The Beacon regularly features interviews with StFX University Alumni on the topic of their relationships with StFXAUT Members who challenged, inspired, or helped in some way. This issue’s interview is with Rita Campbell (BSc, Math Honours, ‘78).

The Beacon: During your time at X was there a particular Professor, Librarian, Lab Instructor, Coady Program Staff Member, Nurse Educator, Extension Program Staff Member, or Learning Skills Instructor that helped you, inspired you, or was a mentor to you?

Rita: This is one of the most difficult questions to answer because there are so many people that I could list. There are awesome people at StFX. I know that sounds trite. If I have to pick … my librarian colleagues.

The Beacon: You retired in 2016. What is something that has strikingly changed since your retirement? Is there anything that has hardly changed at all?

Rita: StFX has changed drastically in the past 35 years. Much of the campus itself has improved. Sadly, I feel something has been lost over the years: a comradery and sense of common purpose between the Administration and rest of campus. There is so much stress now. The last few years I worked in the library were extremely stressful.  (more…)

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Winter 2018 President’s Message

This message, published in the Winter 2018 edition of The Beacon, was written by StFXAUT President Mary Oxner

Dear Members,

Last year, 2017, may be characterized as a year of disruption as we teach out of newly reclaimed and repurposed spaces. The disruption in physical space is however temporary and we look forward to new learning spaces for many of our Members and our students.

The disruption however is not the obvious hole in the ground beside the Nicholson Tower. The disruption is an academic disruption characterized by the decline in enrollment across all faculties, the cancellation of low enrollment courses, the lack of resources to support departmental infrastructure, the persistent lack of resources to support research dissemination, the looming $3 M deficit for this fiscal year alone, the threat of automated scheduling and the unexpected announcement couched in campus restructuring of paid parking on campus.

As the term will soon come to an end, we are mindful that like the physical space disruption the academic disruption also needs to be temporary!

All the best for a successful and productive 2018.

Mary O.
StFXAUT President

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Some of the Upcoming Key Dates in the 4th Collective Agreement

March 31st:

  • Transition of Tenured Assistant Professors: Applicants are required to meet with their Dean prior to applying for associate under this program. Applicants may request to have a representative of the StFXAUT present at this meeting. The purpose of this meeting will be to assist faculty in preparing their application and, if needed, to receive coaching and assistance from the Dean to help invigorate their research program. Potential applicants should meet with their Dean no later than March 31, 2017.  (Letter of Understanding #2:  Transition of Tenured Assistant Professors;4)

April 10th:

  • On the basis of the evidence submitted to, and collected by, the Outstanding Teaching Awards Committee, the Committee shall select the recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Awards by April 10. (Article 2.7.1 University Research/Publication/Teaching Awards:4.8.1)


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Not equality, equity

This article by Rhonda Semple appears in the Winter 2017 edition of The Beacon

Even though I committed to writing this piece for the Beacon ages ago, and even though I care deeply about the subject of equity, it has taken me a long time to finally sit down to write. My research and teaching are deeply embedded in concerns over equity and, to be frank, my experience in those areas likely informs my reticence. On the one hand, as a historian of belief, my interests in decolonizing empires is a little radical for mission history. On the other hand, as a historian of religion, I’m a little suspect in feminist circles. In a similar manner, this will likely be too reductive for some colleagues and too complex for others. I will claim experience in being a woman although I’m neither expert at that nor can I claim expertise as a person in the many ‘equity seeking’ groups that contribute to an academic community.

I have, however, seen the CAUT studies that led our national union to state that “many academic staff face discrimination and harassment in their jobs. Women, Aboriginal persons and visible and ethnic minorities are under-represented, particularly amongst the most senior academic ranks. Academic staff with disabilities face significant hurdles. Lesbian, gay and bisexual academic staff often feel they must hide their sexuality out of fear of damaging their careers and transgender and transsexual academic staff face significant discrimination based on their gender identities” (https://www.caut.ca/issues-and-campaigns/equity). And I have heard about my female colleagues catcalled on campus and have had students, year on year, tell me about being racially harassed by their peers. I was sexually harassed by a gang of male students outside my house in the fall – threatened with anal rape on my own street because apparently that’s what a woman needs to shut her up. (more…)

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StFXAUT Sponsorship Application

The next deadline to submit the StFXAUT Sponsorship Application Form is Saturday, April 1st.  The StFXAUT invites sponsorship requests from organizations committed to education, labour, social justice, and community development.

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Professional Development Fund

Remember to access your Professional Development Fund (PDF)…
Article 1.22 of the Collective Agreement entitles each member to an expense account, against which you can claim for reimbursement of
PD-related expenses:
PDF Information
PDF Expense Claim Form

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NSTU Rally – February 15, 2017

StFXAUT Members (left to right): President Mary Oxner, former President Peter McInnis, and Executive Member Wendy Panagopoulos

StFXAUT President Mary Oxner, former President Peter McInnis, and Executive Member Wendy Panagopoulos participated in a local rally in support of the members of the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union (NSTU), held on Wednesday February 15th. Rally supporters gathered behind the 5 to a $1 and marched to Antigonish MLA Randy Delorey’s Office on Main Street. Approximately 50 members from the NSTU, AUT, and the community participated in the rally.

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