About Saint Mary's

Community Activities

The Saint Mary’s community always holds numerous events and discussions through the year.  Many are open to the community, and some are internal — organizers come from all parts of campus.  We’re proud to foster an intellectual and educational atmosphere where people are free to discuss challenging ideas.

Here are some of this year’s events and activities that relate to the President’s Report.  While some of them are directly in response to the report, most were conducted as a regular part of our community’s activities.

2015 Campus Safety Survey Report

A research team consisting of faculty from Saint Mary’s University Department of Psychology, the Department of Management, Sobey School of Business, and students from the PhD program in Industrial Organizational Psychology responded to the Report’s call for research. Their project is the Saint Mary’s University Campus Safety Survey.

The researchers developed an anonymous survey to assess the health and safety climate of the University community. The survey is modelled after the University of Montana’s annual ‘Safe Campus Survey.’ The survey was distributed in the winter of 2015, and approximately 500 students completed the survey.

Overall, the research shows that the majority of students feel safe on campus, and also in Halifax. The sense of safety on campus is somewhat stronger than the sense of safety in the city. The results suggest that experiences of sexual violence seem to be rare among Saint Mary’s students. However, the results suggest that there appears to be a lack of knowledge about sexual violence and what students can do to prevent it.

Read the 2015 Campus Safety Report.

Bystander Training

Difficult Behaviors at Work: Peer Strategies for Positive Engagement

The goal of this workshop was to explore the nature of inappropriate, aggressive behavior in the university workplace, and to identify and practise effective responses for bystanders who witness such behavior by the people with whom they work, be they colleagues, subordinates or bosses. This workshop was presented by Loraleigh Keashly, Ph.D. an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Wayne State University, Detroit. The workshop was offered to faculty, staff and senior administrators in December 2014.

Difficult Conversations: Equity at Work?

On October 10, 2014, CISC hosted a seminar on the topic of equity at Saint Mary’s University. With the new language in the Collective Agreement around equity (10.4), how can we begin to implement policies that can address the gaps in our workforce? Have we even been able to identify those gaps accurately? To what extent have we been able to meet our new obligations?

As with previous workshops, the format was a moderated discussion aimed at identifying challenges and opportunities with a view to contributing to the ongoing shaping of equity policy at Saint Mary’s University.

Date: October 10, 2014 at 12 pm
Location: SB260

Enquiries: cisc@smu.ca

PCR Action Team - Presentation by Dr. Esther E. Enns
June 13, 2015
Sobey School of Business

Dr. Esther E. Enns has made this presentation a number of times:

  • February 13, Human Resources Committee of the Board of Governors
  • February 19, Service Centre Staff Meeting
  • April 23, Student Services Staff Meeting
  • April 23, Faculty of Science Full Council Meeting
  • May 1, Faculty of Arts Support Staff Meeting – Service Excellence
  • May 5, Arts Executive Orientation Sub-Committee Meeting
  • May 20, Athletics Staff Meeting
  • June 13, Sobey School of Business Full Council Meeting

Orientation Subcommittee Meetings

Action Team Meetings

Action Team Meeting

Presentation by El Jones – Poet Laureate of Halifax
Speaking Power: Speaking Back to Violence
October, 2013

El Jones

Panti Bliss: Homophobia in the Irish Media

In April, Rory O’Neil, Irish business owner, and public figure, came to Saint Mary’s and shared his experiences with homophobia and leading cultural change.

Rape Culture Workshop

A two-day workshop devoted to discussion about rape culture.

Difficult Conversations

A workshop about difficult pedagogy.  How to teach difficult subjects in the classroom?

Educators create spaces within classrooms to explore topics that may invoke negative reactions from our students, ranging from discomfort to considerable distress and anger.

Professors can be confronted with student reactions that they deem unacceptable, or find highly challenging.

How do we encourage students to engage with difficult and sometimes painful questions while respecting those for whom the subject is a lived experience? How do we marry tolerance to critique?

Jackson Katz: Men, Women, Sex and Violence

In cooperation with the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services (link), Jackson Katz gave a dynamic presentation to students about creating a caring, responsive society with healthy and respectful relationships.

Loraleigh Keashly, In the presence of others: The how and why of bystanding

After presenting at the Psychology Department in March, Loraleigh is continuing her collaboration with Saint Mary’s as we develop our Bystanders’ education.


From June 8-12, Dr. J. Colin Dodds, president of Saint Mary's, attended and spoke at an Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) conference in Halifax aimed at taking action to improve students’ well-being and educational success.

The AUCC’s October 2013 meeting provided an opportunity for university presidents to share perspectives on recent campus events that received negative media attention and public feedback.

The AUCC has  formed a Task Force on Orientation comprised of a group of executive heads and senior university leaders who have volunteered to take part:

  • Dr. Robert Campbell, President, Mount Allison University (Chair)
  • Louise Cowin, Vice President (Atudents), The University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Colin Dodds, President, Saint Mary’s University
  • Dr. Thomas Harris, Vice President (Advancement), Queen’s University
  • Dr. John Smith, Associate Vice President (Student Affairs), University of Regina
  • Dr. Kelley Castle, Dean (Students), Victoria University

Nova Scotia Criminal Justice Association Session

In May, 2014 Saint Mary's University, in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Criminal Justice Association, hosted a session 'The Hypersexualization of Youth Culture and Its Implications for Criminal Justice and Society.' Dr. Dodds gave the Welcome address.