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Professor Emeritus Andrea Bear Nicholas Receives Canadian Studies Network Best Article Prize

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, December 7, 2016
professor emeritus at St. Thomas University has been recognized for her scholarly work on colonialism and has been lauded for bringing new insights into the artistic aspect of colonial history.
Professor Andrea Bear Nicholas has been awarded the 2016 Canadian Studies Network Prize for the Best Article Published in the Journal of Canadian Studies. Her article, “The Role of Colonial Artists in the Dispossession and Displacement of the Maliseet: 1790’s-1850’s,” is the first to win the national award.
The adjudication committee for the prize noted that Bear Nicholas “provides a compelling case study of the marginalization of First Nations people, using the medium of colonial art and European depiction. Bear Nicholas argues that the process involved in settler imperialism and aesthetic Romanticism ignored the impoverishment and desperation of the Maliseets and thus contributed to their near extinction by the 1850’s.”
“Thoroughly researched, the article takes a wide scope, and it examines a range of often neglected illustrations. Analyzing background figures by costume and canoe shapes, the author provides a subtle interpretation of the art pieces. Bear Nicholas presents her work with passion and insight. The reproduction of the vivid iconography adds further to the appeal of this article. Bear Nicholas exemplifies the potential of critical art historical perspectives in shedding new light on Canadian colonial history.”
In the article, Nicholas writes that “whether or not the blindness of earlier artists in New Brunswick was witting, and whether or not their works were used as propaganda, their failure to render the reality of Indigenous poverty, disease, and suffering accurately still served as a kind of pictorial colonialism, forever obscuring the view and enabling settler imperialism to continue operating unimpeded, even into the present.”
She notes that the lens of colonial artists tended “to present [Maliseets] as relatively well off and as picturesque curiosities. Petitions and other written records from the era tell a starkly different story.” Her essay suggests that “artistic misrepresentations of reality may have contributed not only to ongoing dispossession and displacement, but also to the near-extinction of the Maliseet population in New Brunswick by the mid-1800s.”
Bear Nicholas, a member of the Maliseet First Nation, held the Endowed Chair in Native Studies at St. Thomas University from 1993 to 2013 was named Professor Emeritus in 2014.
While at STU she developed courses on the Maliseet language, Native education and history, as well as a University College Entrance Program and a Native Language Immersion Teaching Certificate. With Maliseet language instructor Darryl Nicholas, she has also edited a large collection of Maliseet stories and recently published the first book in that series. 
She currently coordinates an Adult Immersion Program in the Maliseet First Nation at St. Mary's and has recently been appointed to work with the Province on developing a Maliseet language immersion program.
The article can be found in the Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 49, no. 2 at

“A Dream Come True” - Fine Arts Professor Martin Kutnowski Tours Americas with the Saint John String Quartet

PUBLISHED DATE: Friday, December 2, 2016
STU Fine Arts Professor Martin Kutnowski spent four weeks touring the Americas with the Saint John String Quartet this summer.

The musicians teamed up for the special tour, which included a dozen concerts and a similar number of masterclasses in Canada, Ecuador, Argentina, and Colombia.

“Being the ‘in-house’ composer for a world-class, longstanding chamber group such as the Saint John String Quartet was really a dream come true for me,” Dr. Kutnowski said. “The rehearsals alone were a fantastic experience, because they allowed me to try things out and change them as we were preparing for the tour. And then the tour itself was a very intense, exciting time, because we were able to interact with so many audiences in so many different venues, and our artistic dialogue as a quintet kept getting more and more sophisticated.”

"It’s rare to work so closely with a composer" said David Adams, violinist with the Saint John String Quartet. "The Quartet is always looking for ways to connect with our New Brunswick home and it is this approach that creates interest and a special relationship with our audiences while on tour. Partnering with Martin not only created a strong New Brunswick brand but we also gained an expert mentor required for a successful Latin American tour. Martin led the Quartet with great precision both logistically and musically through a wondrous new world, one that we hope to visit again in the near future."

The program comprised works for piano quintet, for string quartet, for string orchestra, and for violin and orchestra.

All the arrangements for piano quintet (approximately 70 minutes of music) were written specifically for this tour, including the world premiere of a piece commissioned by the quartet, a project supported by Arts New Brunswick. The repertoire of the tour also included Kutnowski’s Peter Emberley’s Dream, recently nominated as Best Classical Composition of the Year by the East Coast Music Awards.

During the tour, the musicians spent time teaching in masterclasses and workshops, often for children and youth.

“Teaching for several hours in the mornings and afternoons, and then performing in the evenings, was wonderful,” Kutnowski recalled.

“It often happens that during a tour there is only enough time to go from one venue to the next, and one does not get to know much about the people in the audience. But during this trip we were able to spend a lot of time with many talented emerging musicians, rehearsing together, trying their compositions, learning who they are and sharing what we know. For string players, it could not get any better than being coached by David, Danielle, Chris, and Sonja, who are top performers, and the students and their local teachers certainly realized about it. This aspect of the tour gave a much more profound, fulfilling meaning to the entire experience.”

Watch the video showcasing the tour here:

Dr. Matthew Hayes Named Canada Research Chair in Global and International Studies — Research Will Examine North-South Transnational Migration and Global Inequalities

PUBLISHED DATE: Friday, December 2, 2016
A young scholar whose work sheds light on the roots of global inequality and how contemporary processes are recasting and reproducing disparities of wealth has been appointed a Canada Research Chair at St. Thomas University.
Matthew Hayes, a professor in the Department of Sociology, will be examining north-south transnational migration and global inequalities in his new role as the Canada Research Chair in Global and International Studies.  The announcement was made at the University of Toronto today by the Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science.
“Professor Hayes is a creative researcher who is a recognized expert on lifestyle migration and transnationalism. With an already impressive publication record and a network of international research collaborators, he is at the ideal stage in his career to be a Canada Research Chair,” said Dawn Russell, St. Thomas University president and vice-chancellor.
“This appointment is also reflective of many other positive developments. Over recent years, STU has internationalized and globalized its curriculum. We boast a critical mass of scholars involved in international, transnational, postcolonial and global research that focuses on every region of the world addressing topics such as conflict resolution, cultural hybridity, migration, minority communities, and trade. It is another dimension of our strong liberal arts curriculum,” she added.
As the Canada Research Chair in Global and International Studies, Hayes will examine the effects of north-south transnationalism, with a focus on how northern migrants and local communities experience north-south migration.
Hayes explained that over the last two decades, an increasing number of citizens from countries in the global north have relocated permanently or semi-permanently to areas in the global south, especially in Latin America, North Africa and Southeast Asia. While many are retirees, some are working-age adults motivated by the lower cost of living. 
Hayes’s research has so far mostly been located in southern Ecuador, which has become a popular tourist and lifestyle migration destination.  He has conducted qualitative interviews there with North Americans who have relocated, mostly since 2008, concentrating on how they adjust to living in a different cultural environment and what impacts they have on receiving communities.
“These newcomers have important effects on receiving communities. Often, North American migrants talk of the beneficial impact they have, but they also act as transnational gentrifiers, bidding up the prices of real estate, and changing the uses and meaning of space within cities or in rural areas. Studying these migrations and their effects provides a unique ethnographic window into globalization and persistent global inequalities,” he said.
“North American migrants to Ecuador often relocate because of economic insecurity here in Canada or the United States—many of them are economic migrants.  Migration also enables them to experiment with new forms of aging, and to live out desires to build new lives in different cultures.  These are possibilities that are not open to all migrants, as exhibited by the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean region, or in the forced detention and abuse of migrants in offshore concentration camps run by Australia.”
Hayes believes that his research will be useful for thinking more deeply about global inequalities, and the meanings that North Americans and West Europeans give to their migrations. 
“Often, they don’t think of themselves as migrants at all,” he said. “Many of the advantages North Americans have in Ecuador, including that things seem inexpensive, stem from colonial social relations of domination and subordination that also call attention to the inequalities between local elites and working people. People justify these and other inequalities in a variety of ways, and my work also pays close attention to those justifications.”
Hayes grew up in Dalhousie, New Brunswick and holds a PhD in sociology from York University in Toronto.  He joined the faculty at St. Thomas in 2009. He has authored several peer-reviewed journal articles or book chapters in highly respected, international venues. He has published in three languages, English, French, and Spanish, and his research networks have been aided by his ability to speak and work in two others, Italian and Portuguese.
“Growing up in Dalhousie, NB, a bilingual community, made it a lot easier to learn other languages, and this has helped me collaborate with other scholars whether they speak English or not,” he said.
Hayes is the fifth Canada Research Chair named at the university since 2005. Currently, Professor Tony Tremblay is the Canada Research Chair in New Brunswick Studies and Professor Clive Baldwin is the Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies. 

Program Spotlight: Sociology

PUBLISHED DATE: Monday, November 28, 2016
Understanding our social lives, communities, and global processes  

By studying Sociology at St. Thomas, you will learn how your social background—social class, gender ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, or nationality—affects your experiences and opportunities.

You will learn to analyze social issues such as unemployment, crime, sexual harassment, gender in popular culture, and inequality between the 1% and the 99%.
Social Justice Focus

You will look at a variety of overlapping forms of inequality and discover ways to eliminate or reduce social problems and the troubles they create.

Experiential Assignments

You will present projects, work in teams or participate in field work assignments. Your assignments will explore current events, popular culture, and public issues.

Skill Development

You will develop practical research skills that will be an advantage in the job market, or for designing research projects at the graduate level.

Topics in Sociology  
  • Health care
  • Family
  • The economy
  • Education
  • Canadian society
  • Globalization
  • Culture
  • Media
  • Migration and refugees
  • Gender and sexuality
Major in Sociology 
You may complete a Major (36 credit hours) or a Minor (18 credit hours) in Sociology. If you are exceptionally dedicated to Sociology, you may apply to Honours.
Honours in Sociology 
If you are accepted into the Honours program, your advanced studies will give you the opportunity to engage in independent sociological research under the supervision of a faculty member.
Sample Classes 
  • Inequality in Society
  • Sociology of Aging
  • Race and Ethnic Relations
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Sociology of Sport
  • Sociology of Gender
  • Sociology of Health
  • Social Movements
  • Sociology of Communications
  • Women and Education
  • Sociology of the Law
  • Sociology of the Body
  • Sociology of Music
  • Sociology of Work
After Graduation

After your studies in Sociology, you will be prepared to pursue careers such as social work, market research, non-profit organizations, policy analysis, government, and public relations. You may choose to use your degree in fields such as health care, international aid, human resources, publishing, urban planning, and others that consider the various aspects of human societies at the local, national, and international levels.

St. Thomas Students Add Harvard to their Resumes through HBX CORe Program

PUBLISHED DATE: Monday, November 14, 2016
At St. Thomas, you have the incredible opportunity to complete a Credential of Readiness (CORe) through the university’s partnership with HBX of the Harvard Business School—something Yaxuan Wu and Jiachen Qian knew would help their resumes stand out.

As the only Canadian partner of the program, St. Thomas students are able to pursue a multi-week, intensive program of online courses on the fundamentals of business. CORe introduces the language and concepts of business by teaching essential concepts students need to begin a career in business.

Created by Harvard Business School professors, courses focus on business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting. The program gives students credit towards their Bachelor of Arts.

Wu and Qian each decided to pursue the program after hearing about it from a friend who completed it last year.

Wu is in her third year and studies Psychology and Communications and Public Policy. She took the courses because she wanted to couple her liberal arts degree with business.

“This program not only teaches business theory, but also relates it to real-world examples. It’s a case-based learning program, so we applied what we were learning to what real companies were doing,” she said.

Wu said adding Harvard to her resume is amazing, but being able to do so while attending a small liberal arts college was the ideal way for her to do it.

“St. Thomas is a small campus, where professors are approachable, everything is accessible, and people are understanding and helpful,” she said. “I cannot imagine being anywhere else.”

Qian is in her fourth year, studying Communications and Public Policy, Science and Technology Studies, and Business.

She said the program taught her about time management and the importance of team work.

“Peer help was my favourite part of the program,” she said.

When Qian graduates, she hopes to work with organizations to promote business between Canada and China. 

She said the program exposed her to how large, well-known companies like Amazon and Apple do business.

Like Wu, Qian said being able to pursue this opportunity while attending a small, liberal arts university was ideal.

Future STUdents: Tour campus and post a photo for a chance to win a t-toque

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, November 10, 2016
Are you planning to tour St. Thomas University to be a TOMMIE FOR A DAY?

If so, read on to learn about your chance to get your very own t-toque. 
  1. Visit St. Thomas and take a campus tour.

  2. Take a photo of yourself somewhere on campus while you’re here. 

  3. Share that photo on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter using these two hashtags:
    #tommieforaday #StThomasU
That’s it! If you're a selected winner, we'll send you a t-toque in the mail so you can stay warm and show off your Tommie pride as a future STUdent. 

Questions? Ask your tour ambassador, an admissions counsellor, or email or call us any time at or 1-877-788-4443


Jamaica to Canada for St. Thomas University: Husoni Raymond’s Experience

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Husoni Raymond is a first-year student from Jamaica studying Criminology and Criminal Justice and Political Science
One year ago, Husoni Raymond was at a college fair in his home country, Jamaica, when he met an admissions counsellor from St. Thomas University in Canada, a small university, promising big opportunities.
Fast forward one year: Raymond’s on campus as a first-year STUdent.
Raymond is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Political Science. He has this to say about his experience at St. Thomas.
What interested you about St. Thomas?
I instantly fell in love with STU. I liked the idea of a small university that offered opportunities such as the chance to study abroad and participate in internships that fit your major. St. Thomas also shares my passion for social inclusion and promotes community engagement, which I believe molds students into respectable and moral individuals who give back. Finally, STU is known for excellence in liberal arts, and I see that degree as the ideal way to pursue law school.

What was is it like to arrive on campus?

Everyone has been so friendly—it’s common practice here to keep the door open for the person behind you! When I first arrived, I was mesmerized by the views on campus; I would spend time every day staring in admiration. The international student community here is very close, and the Canadian students are very warm and friendly, which has all made the transition to living in Canada easier for me.  

What are classes like?

Classes at STU are great. They’re small, so I have the opportunity to build personal relationships with my professors. I appreciate that professors has office hours which give me a chance to ask questions in personal to better understand course content. Some of the courses are a bit challenging, but once you learn to manage your time and set goals for yourself, you’ll be able to succeed.

What about outside of class?

Most students are involved in clubs and societies. Already, I am the vice-president external for my house committee, which makes me a part of the Students’ Union. This position gives me the opportunity to represent my residence and advocate for issues that affect the members of my house and the student population at large.

I’m also a member of the Pre-Law Society, which provides insight into the field of law by bringing in various speakers. We also do LSAT prep, mock debates, and—my favorite—watch movies!

Being involved at STU gives me the opportunity to meet and interact with students from all year levels and build connections that will last a lifetime.

What would you say to someone considering STU for themselves?

I recommend STU, because it provides a well-rounded education. You’ll gain knowledge and insight from various disciplines, even separate from your major.
If you’re an international student like I am, the small size of the university will help you transition to living in another country. It will be your home away from home!

Finally, the professors are highly qualified and very personable, so if you want to earn a quality education from a university that genuinely cares about the well-being of students, St. Thomas is the place for you.

Diversity Unites Us: STU Recognized for Inclusive Community

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Dr. Christina Szurlej, Felomena Deogratsias, BA ’18, and Dr. Erin Fredericks, BA '06 presented at Anglophone School District East's Respect and Diversity Conference
STU student Felomena Deogratsias, BA ’18, is no stranger to racism and discrimination.
There was the time she was told to leave the swimming pool during a school field trip because they thought her dark skin would “dirty the water.” Or the time a stranger yelled at her because she didn’t look “Canadian” enough. Or the time she was told that it was a “historical fact” that black people were more dangerous than white people.
Today, Deogratsias chooses to use her voice to raise awareness and help others understand the danger of discrimination.
Deogratsias and STU Human Rights professor Dr. Christina Szurlej recently presented at Anglophone School District East’s Respect and Diversity Conference. They spoke about recognizing stereotypes, prejudices, and racism in the context of preventing and addressing intercultural conflict.
She shared her personal experiences with more than 200 middle school and high school students, their educators, school administrators and community members at the event, which was organized by the school district in partnership with St.
Thomas University.
“Being part of this conference was a healing process for me,” Deogratsias said. “It was therapeutic because I got to tell people about how they can do things differently so tomorrow isn’t a repeat of the past.”
Szurlej told the participants that they shouldn’t be afraid of differences. Instead, she said, we should acknowledge that the commonalities linking us through our humanity far outweigh subtle differences.
“We all want to be understood, maintain a sense of belonging, and contribute to a greater purpose. Judging others based on perceived group membership, rather than individual merit, replaces facts and knowledge with unsubstantiated, inaccurate assumptions harmful to the targeted group,” Szurlej said.
“I think about what an awful place our world would be if we were all the same. Diversity should be embraced and celebrated as a source of enrichment and beauty in our everyday lives.”
Deogratsias, Szurlej, and other members of the STU community presented on issues ranging from mental health, the importance of safer spaces in schools for the LGBTQ community, and intercultural conflict resolution.
“St. Thomas is a close-knit community,” Deogratsias said. “It’s a very liberal environment. And so we are the best people to really engage in this type of thing and also give a perspective on how things can be different. It’s a school that embraces diversity, embraces differences.”
John Tingley, BA ’88, the subject coordinator for positive learning and working environment for Anglophone School District East, organized the Respect and Diversity Conference. He said the conference opened up an important dialogue between the presenters, students, and educators.
“Our communities are always changing and social conversations are evolving. Our schools reflect that change,” he explained.
“High school students in 2016 are experiencing the world differently than high school students five years ago. The easy access to 24-hour live streaming of the world and all that it offers places us – as educators – in a unique position. Our students are leaders and have a 21st century perspective on these topics. This conference recognized that perspective and gave voice to topics that need to be discussed in the wider community context.”
He said the school district invited St. Thomas to participate because the university has a reputation for being an inclusive community that embraces diversity.
“When we scanned professional literature and researched best practices, many times faculty members at STU were cited or referenced. Especially Dr. Erin Fredericks with regards to safer spaces and LGBTQ issues and Dr. Christina Szurlej with human rights. So, we did not have to seek out expertise beyond our country or province; we found that expertise at STU.”
To create safe spaces in schools, allies need to understand and empathize with what LGBTQ youth are facing – and usually that means having to come to terms with your own privilege, said Dr. Erin Fredericks, BA ’06.
The Sociology professor and the university’s LGBTQIA+ Resource Advisor spoke to the conference participants about how to become an ally and how to create a safe space in their schools.
“Sometimes when we talk about diversity, we talk about loving each other. But when we talk about being an ally it’s not just about love. It’s about power,” she explained.
“The most important thing you can do as an ally is not spend a ton of time memorizing facts about the queer community but recognize who you are and what your privileges are in society.
“Maybe you don’t have to worry about whether there will be a bathroom you can use when you are in a public space. Maybe you don’t need to worry that someone will misuse your pronoun. Maybe you don’t need to go through life worried that someone will ask you about your partner and you’ll have to make the decision about whether it’s safe to come out.”
But these are the sorts of issues that some members of the LGBTQ community face every day.
Statistics show that a lot of LGBTQ youth are experiencing marginalization in high school, Fredericks added. So what she spoke about at the conference wasn’t new or surprising information for the students in the room, but she said it’s important that the students hear their experiences told and validated by someone with privilege to their educators.
Fredericks invited student Al Cusack, BA’18, to present with her. Cusack is a non-binary trans student at STU and knows firsthand the importance of having a support system that includes well-informed allies on campus. That’s why Cusack spearheaded the Queer and Allied People’s Society at STU, which has quickly become one of the most active groups on campus.
“Even if people don’t participate in Q&A, they know that they are welcome,” they said. “They know they are accepted. They know there is a place to go if they need to be advocated for and if they need a community that understands where they are coming from.”
Cusack said giving high school students advice on how to create safe spaces in their schools is important.
“They are the ones who have the power to advocate for themselves and for people in their community. Especially with high school students, they have a collective power. They are not as used to conformity yet. They can collaborate. They are a force for good if you teach them how to build safer spaces.”
Renée Comeau, BA ’15, BEd ’16, used to spend two hours every day working out at the gym without a break.
“That’s not healthy,” the education student told the conference participants. “In my case, I later found out I had an anxiety problem that fueled this energy to work out. I felt like my sense of control was gone and this was a way of taking control of my life.”
Comeau had been dealing with occasional depression and anxiety since she was in high school, but she didn’t know it was a problem until she had a severe panic attack one day. She made an appointment with a psychologist who diagnosed her with an anxiety disorder and helped her recover with the help of natural coping methods and medication.
“There is a stigma around medication. ‘You’re not strong enough to do this on your own.’ Well no, I’m not. I need the help of something. And that’s ok… with the medication and self-care every day, I feel mentally balanced and mentally well.”
Today, Comeau speaks about her struggles and her eventual recovery to help others recognize warning signs in their own lives and to normalize mental illness.
She started a blog ( so others struggling with mental illness know that they’re not alone. She also became a mental health advocate and speaks at conferences and events to help educate others.
She said she’s not surprised members of the STU community were invited to speak about mental health support, adding that the Student Services department does a great job supporting mental health on campus.
The university provides counselling services. It also regularly hosts self-care events, workshops and engages students through social media around mental health topics. It plans de-stress events during hectic times of the academic year, and supports students in managing the stress they may be facing as a result of pressures in their lives (whether those are academic, personal, financial or otherwise).
It also equips student leaders (like peer mentors and residence advisors), faculty and staff with resources on how to support students in distress or in crisis.
Comeau hopes that talking about mental illness and removing stigma surrounding it will help students she spoke to understand when they need help.
If the participants will remember one message from her talk, it’s that it’s OK to not be OK. But that there are resources available to help them recover.
“Be a glow stick,” she told them. “Sometimes you need to break before you glow.”

This story appeared in the spring/summer issue of Connections, STU's alumni magazine. To see the full issue, please click HERE.