people on treadmillsPeople supported by Community Living Essex County get in twice-weekly physical activity at the Toldo Lancer Centre as part of the Adapted Physical Exercise (APEX) program created and run by professors and students from the Faculty of Human Kinetics.

Exercise program helps adults with disabilities stay active

The beaming smiles say it all.

People supported by Community Living Essex County radiate joy as they frequent the University of Windsor’s Toldo Lancer Centre. Under the supervision of human kinetics students working with them one-on-one, these men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities do cardio, weights, and sports — walking the track, working out in the gym, and shooting some hoops, playing badminton, or kicking around a soccer ball.

“They are so excited to come here. I cannot begin to express how much excitement there is,” said Cynthia Castellucci, a support worker to three men who use the centre. “This is good for them on so many levels.”

The program that brings Community Living Essex County to the Toldo Lancer Centre is offered by UWindsor’s Adaptive Physical Exercise Research Group, or APEX for short. Led by the Faculty of Human Kinetics professors Chad Sutherland and Sean Horton, the APEX program has been offered up to three times a year for as many as 12 weeks at a time.

Participants get much-needed exercise and social interaction — especially important after being on lockdown during the pandemic. Families of people in the program say their loved ones now want to exercise outside of APEX, can be more comfortable in new social situations, and no longer need certain medications thanks to the increased physical activity.

But the participants aren’t the only ones benefitting, said APEX co-ordinator Mikala Jones, a master’s student conducting research on the program. Jones has discovered student volunteers in the program have learned to look at the world through a more inclusive lens.

“I’m studying how being involved in APEX has changed their attitudes about working with people with disabilities,” Jones said. “I’ve had students tell me they’ve changed their career plans because of this program.”

Jones said, in her own case, she started university intent on becoming a physiotherapist. Thanks to APEX, she now wants to work with people with disabilities.

“This is the highlight of my week,” she said. “I love working with them.”

APEX began in 2010 with a telephone inquiry. Sutherland, who normally specializes in high performance sport, answered a message about what types of exercise would be good for adults with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The next thing he knew, he was developing a program and inviting people supported by Community Living Essex County to campus to take part.

“It began as offering a community service that wasn’t currently available, but it’s grown to be so much more than that,” Sutherland said.

Dr. Horton said the program has had a far-reaching effect.

“We now have more than 200 former student volunteers out in the community, with the experience and training to act as advocates for people with an intellectual disability,” he said.

Horton and Sutherland have built research into the program. Over the past decade, they have tested participants to assess their fitness levels before, during, and after completing the program, and have interviewed family members to gauge the impact of APEX.

They’ve developed an adaptive exercise manual available for download at no cost. It has been downloaded all across Canada and in more than a dozen countries. And they’ve produced a catalogue of videos showing how to properly perform exercises.

Both the manual and videos feature participants from Community Living Essex County in the demonstrations.

Horton and Sutherland apply for grants to keep APEX and its research going.

Current funding comes from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In the past, they’ve received grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Southern Network of Specialized Care.

Because the fitness program is tailored, participants can be in wheelchairs and have varying fitness levels and abilities.

Sutherland said one of the “critical aspects” of the program is that university students and members of the public using the Toldo Lancer Centre work out alongside the program’s participants.

“It is a truly inclusive environment.”

—Sarah Sacheli

students mucking about in Grand Marais drainDoctoral student Shayenna Nolan will discuss key findings in a study of the Grand Marais Drain on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

Webinar to highlight health of local streams

A presentation Tuesday, Nov. 22, will focus on understanding stream health in modern human-impacted landscapes.

Shayenna Nolan (BSc 2021), a PhD student in integrative biology and director of communications at the Healthy Headwaters Lab in the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, will deliver “Streams of the Anthropocene” over Zoom starting at 7 p.m.

Hosted by the Friends of Ojibway Prairie, the webinar will highlight key findings in a study of the Grand Marais Drain running through the Spring Garden Natural Area of the Ojibway Prairie Complex. Situated in the Windsor-Essex region of southwestern Ontario, the stream ecosystems in this study are impacted from both urbanized and agricultural land uses.

The Friends of Ojibway Prairie is a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting public awareness of the Ojibway Prairie Complex and its unique biological and historical importance. Members work closely with the City of Windsor and Ontario Parks to provide assistance with educational programs, special events, and restoration projects.

Interested guests can register to attend the webinar on the event listing and to be provided with the link.

Ocean Wise logoUWindsor food services has renewed its commitment to serving ecologically sustainable seafood.

Sustainable seafood makes cut on campus menus

Food outlets at the University of Windsor have renewed their commitment to serving ecologically sustainable seafood under the Ocean Wise Seafood program.

Ocean Wise Seafood is a non-profit conservation program that makes it easy for businesses and consumers to choose sustainable seafood for the long-term health of oceans, lakes, and rivers. Its standards for sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices include harvest levels that ensure healthy and resilient stocks and limiting negative impacts on habitats and non-target species.

As an official partner, the University of Windsor commits to labelling ecologically sustainable seafood products with the Ocean Wise symbol. The organization has in turn listed Food and Catering Services on its national map of participating suppliers.

“We are proud of our association with Ocean Wise,” says executive chef Paolo Vasapolli. “We are dedicated to providing food that is healthy for ecosystems as well as for diners, and renewing this partnership is a step on our continuing journey toward responsible stewardship of our planet.”

Melissa Carriere, Juliana SimonMelissa Carriere (BSW 2019, MSW 2021) and Juliana Simon (BSW 2021) of Trans Wellness Ontario discussed providing protective factors to diverse youth in schools during the social justice conference, Friday in the Faculty of Education.

Conference schools teacher candidates in social justice

Educators have a responsibility to the communities they serve, says teacher candidate Keith Trent-Rennick. That’s why he volunteered as one of the student organizers of the Vulnerability, Marginalization, and Education Conference, Friday in the Neal Education Building.

The event brought presenters from a number of organizations to speak with education majors on aspects of social justice, from poverty to the legal system, mental health to Indigeneity.

“We want to teach the whole child,” said Trent-Rennick. “More so than ever, issues of equity and diversity are important to bring to the classroom.”

Sydney Brouillard-Coyle (BMus 2022), a student of women’s and gender studies, presented on the topic “Queering Education: Building Safe Classrooms for 2SLGBTQIA+ Students” and appreciated the opportunity to speak with the future educators.

“The reality is queer and trans students face a lot of challenges in school,” Brouillard-Coyle says. “Finding an ally in a teacher can save lives and change lives.”

It’s an idea Trent-Rennick echoes.

“Social justice in the classroom is not a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching,” he says. “We need diverse voices to look to, to guide us in our careers.”

Calendar indicating 16th as paydayThe finance department has posted the schedule for December payrolls to its website.

Finance releases payroll schedule for December

The finance department has announced an accelerated schedule to process all December payrolls in advance of the holidays.

The compressed timelines will mean manual cheques will not be available, advises payroll manager Jessica Higgins. She asks that time cards be submitted by the deadlines to ensure individuals receive their remuneration.

Find details in the payroll memo.

GATA awards trophyNominations are open for GA/TA awards for educational practice and leadership.

Nominations invited for graduate and teaching assistant awards

The Centre for Teaching and Learning is calling for nominations for the GA/TA Awards for Educational Practice (up to two will be awarded) and the GA/TA Award for Educational Leadership (one award) recognizing contributions that graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants make to the University of Windsor’s learning environment.

The awards aim to:

  • recognize and honour exemplary graduate and teaching assistants who contribute to a positive, learning-centred environment at the University;
  • inspire GAs and TAs to recognize their potential for excellence in educational practice and leadership, and motivate them to transform that potential into reality; and
  • publicize examples of excellence in GA/TA educational practice and leadership that can inform the practices of all teachers, while contributing to student and faculty pride in teaching and learning at the University of Windsor.

The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. May 26, 2023. Find details on the nomination process on the CTL website. Direct questions and comments to learning specialist Laura Chittle at

Innovation Ambassadors logoInnovation Ambassadors will translate their research and clinical experience into products, services, programs, or processes addressing problems in health care.

Innovation ambassadors to address problems in health care

WE-Spark Health Institute is launching a community of innovators able to respond to problems within the local health-care system.

Made up of researchers and health-care workers from its five partner institutions, the Innovation Ambassadors will be involved in projects to translate their research and clinical experience into products, services, programs, or processes.

The program will offer webinars and networking events to identify and act upon regional health and health care problems, connect with a diverse audience of industry and community partners, and forge partnerships with other innovators in regional ecosystems across Canada and internationally.

Benefits of becoming an Innovation Ambassador include:

  • connecting with representatives from provincial, national, and international organizations with specialization in the life sciences and health-care sectors, such as funding, industry partnerships, and talent attraction;
  • showcasing your work to the regional community;
  • broadening your network through exposure to regional and cross border partners;
  • become a role model for the next generation of students interested in getting involved in health-care innovation; and
  • joining an exclusive networking group of Innovation Ambassadors, industry partners, and regional contacts.

Those interested in learning about becoming an Innovation Ambassador are invited to a virtual information session at noon Thursday, Nov. 24. Click here to register.

WE-Spark Health Institute is a partnership of the University of Windsor, Erie Shores HealthCare, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, St. Clair College, and Windsor Regional Hospital designed to take health care to the next level through research.