Learning with our international partners

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Although it has been just over six months since we launched the Comprehensive International Plan for Queen’s University, I am happy to report that a recent trip to China and Hong Kong proved that we are making great strides in delivering on its goals. The delegation to these priority regions included (in addition to me) Provost Alan Harrison, Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International) and took place over one week in March.

Trips such as this one are crucial to the realization of our internationalization goals in many ways. There are measurable deliverables such as the signing or renewal of exchange agreements or 2 + 2 arrangements with our international partner institutions that help attract brilliant students from around the world to Queen’s and, relatedly, give our domestic students a diverse set of opportunities to study abroad. Continue Reading »

Hear, hear! Dr. Art McDonald recognized in the House of Commons

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Earlier this week, I had the honour of watching Dr. Art McDonald and his SNOLAB collaborators, seated in the Gallery, rise to be recognized in the House of Commons. It was another remarkable moment for Queen’s University and Canadian science, as it was when Dr. McDonald accepted his Nobel Prize in Stockholm this past December.

Their recognition was made, shortly after Question Period, by the Member of Parliament for Sudbury, Paul Lefebvre. His address to parliament follows:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to salute the fantastic achievements of Dr. Arthur McDonald, the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics. Dr. McDonald, a professor at Queen’s University, led a global team of over 270 researchers from 13 international institutions to the discovery that neutrinos can change identities, thereby confirming that particles have mass. This discovery upset the standard model of physics and changed our understanding of how the universe works. Continue Reading »

Mental Health: An Evergreen Priority at Queen’s

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As our campus evolves and strategic targets are reached, new priorities take the place of the old. In my six years as principal, I’ve seen ambitious goals come and go as they are met, but there is one priority that remains high on the list year after year: mental health.

Some might consider this a failure, but I believe the opposite is true. We have made far too many strides in improving awareness of the mental health-related challenges that are inherent in university life, and the resources that exist on our campus to help our students manage these challenges, for us to write it off as such. However, we know that we still have a long way to go in building the most responsive and supportive community that we can. On paper, we can set deadlines and targets, but in reality, this issue is complex, Continue Reading »

Nobel win reflects Canada’s potential for world-leading research

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The following op-ed was published in The Hill Times.

On Thursday, December 10, academics and dignitaries from around the world gathered in Stockholm for the annual Nobel Prize ceremony. Among this year’s laureates is Canadian Arthur B. McDonald, a professor emeritus at Queen’s University and co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics.

I was fortunate to attend the ceremony and, as I watched, I quite literally felt a thrill for my country equal to that which I experienced when the Blue Jays won two World Series.

Dr. McDonald is the first scientist at a Canadian university to win a Nobel since the mid-1990s. He earned his medal for the research done at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO). SNO, now known as SNOLAB, is the site for a series of highly complex experiments costing millions of dollars and conducted two kilometres underground in a working nickel mine near Sudbury, Continue Reading »

Remembering December 6, 1989

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Every year, I pause to remember the events of December 6, 1989. I look back at what was happening at Queen’s and around the world.

December 6 marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. This day marks the tragic anniversary of the murders of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal.

To bring our attention to the global aspect of this issue, December 6 also falls in the middle of the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which starts with the International Day Against Violence Against Women on November 25, and ends on Human Rights Day, December 10. This year’s theme marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and dedicates itself to ensure violence against women and girls is high on the public agenda.

I have been committed to leading the university in fostering a campus environment that is free from harassment, Continue Reading »