Julia Harrison , DPhil
2010/11 was a year that marked several important milestones for the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies. We started the academic year by welcoming fifteen new students into the program—four PhD students, and eleven MAs. Our new students come from a wide range of national and international universities, with diverse backgrounds including Geography, Social Work, Drama, English Literature, Politics, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Indigenous Studies, and Education. Just prior to the start of term a very successful three-day PhD retreat held at the Windy Pine property for the new and returning doctoral students. The event was enormously successful as those coming into the program had a chance to get to know each other and many of those who had preceded them. Conversations about the realities of being a TA , what it takes to survive as graduate student, and the scope and breadth of research being undertaken by doctoral students animated our time spent together. It was emphatically agreed that the event should become an annual one in the Frost Centre calendar for doctoral students.
October marked a major milestone in the Frost Centre as Winnie Janzen, who had been the entire administrative support system in the Frost Centre, retired after thirty-four years at Trent. A celebration of her many contributions to Trent and to the Frost Centre in particular were acknowledged with a Traill College tradition Winnie loved—an afternoon ‘high tea’. The Senior Common Room was filled to overflowing as the announcement was made of the Winnie Janzen Bursary, an award to be given to an outstanding Frost Centre student each year, supported by an endowment that was generously and enthusiastically supported by Frost Centre faculty, students, and alumni. Winnie left us knowing how much we appreciated all that she had contributed to Frost Centre faculty and students over the years of her dedicated service. Her accomplishments were formally acknowledged when she was awarded the Eminent Service Award for Staff at Convocation in June. We were left in good hands as Winnie tutored our new Administrative Assistant, Cathy Schoel, before she left. Cathy came to us from the Registrar’s Office and has made a very smooth transition into her new position. We all owe Cathy a huge thank-you for soothing our jitters about Winnie’s departure and for the skills, professionalism, and warm heart that she has demonstrated since she moved to the Frost Centre.
This year the Frost Centre had the honour to preside over the successful defence of one PhD dissertation, several doctoral comprehensive exams and proposal defences, ten MA thesis exams, and the completion of four MA Major Research Papers. Our students were active in national and international conferences and workshops, and took leadership and presentation roles in the Trent Graduate Students Association and the Symons Seminar Series on Graduate Research. The Frost Centre continued to contribute to the intellectual and cultural life of Trent by offering support to a wide range of talks, performances, and events across the university throughout the year.
The second Roberta Bondar Fellow, Dr. Scott Heyes, an Australian landscape architect and cultural geographer whose research is based in northern Quebec, became a fast friend of many affiliated with the Frost Centre this year. During his tenure he taught a half course in ERS and gave two stimulating public lectures, one of which was in The North at Trent 2010 Lecture Series that the Frost Centre ran last fall. In addition to Scott’s talk on sea ice, the series featured Dr. Sherrill Grace, the 2010/11 Ashley fellow, who gave a talk titled “Standing on Guard: The Canadian North in the 21st Century,” and Shelagh Grant, a Frost Centre Research Associate, spoke about her internationally acclaimed book, Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America. In December, graduate students working in the north from both the Frost Centre and Environmental Studies completed the lecture series with a very successful symposium about their work. Additionally, the Frost Centre welcomed Dr. Susan Ashley as a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research focuses on processes of ‘museum-making’ and its role in ‘new’ Canadians’ understandings of citizenship, identity, and heritage.
I want to express my sincere thanks to all of those who worked on the various Frost Centre committees, and in particular to the diligence of those who worked on the Frost Centre Board. This year we created a new position on the Frost Centre Board, Ethics Liaison. Professor Gillian Balfour helped to design the position and generously agreed to be its inaugural appointee. The Frost Centre Ethics Liaison has the responsibility of reviewing all Frost Centre student applications to Trent’s Research Ethics Board prior to their submission to assist with their timely approval, as well as offer guidance as needed on ethics and research in the Frost Centre. The board also approved the first Governance and Operating Policy for the Frost Centre this year, which attempted to capture much of the generous spirit and support of faculty and students that has nurtured the centre throughout its history.
In May we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Joint Trent-Carleton PhD Program in Canadian Studies. The organizing committee was comprised of myself, many of the Trent doctoral students, Cathy Schoel, and Jessica Ellison. The symposium was titled Continuing the Conversations: Celebrating Ten Years of the Canadian Studies PhD Program. Dr. Thomas King provided a provocative and engaging keynote address, followed the next day by presentations by graduates and current students from both Trent and Carleton, and roundtable discussions and commentaries from Trent and Carleton faculty, students, graduates, and invited faculty from across the country about future directions in Canadian Studies. The evening concluded with a presentation by DodoLab titled Icons of Canada. Very well attended, the symposium was a fitting celebration to mark this important anniversary and accomplishment. Thank you to all who contributed to the celebration in so many ways.
I invite you to read this issue of the Frost Report to learn of the many accomplishments and activities of those associated with the Frost Centre over the past twelve months. It is a privilege and pleasure to be Director of such a vibrant centre. Thanks to everyone who makes it so!