The future is interdisciplinary

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(This was originally published in The Hill Times on November 3, 2017 and carried by Universities Canada)

Given the complexity of social, political, environmental, economic and technological challenges facing the world, interdisciplinary research is very quickly becoming something no country can do without.

In the past 20 years, interdisciplinary research—studies involving researchers from multiple academic disciplines—has gone from ‘nice to have’ to ‘need to have.’ Today, given the complexity of social, political, environmental, economic and technological challenges facing the world, it is very quickly becoming something no country can do without.

Canada has the skills, talent and capacity to be an international leader in research and innovation. Seizing that opportunity will require concerted effort and unequivocal government support for interdisciplinary as well as traditional discipline-based research. This was recognized by last spring’s federally commissioned Fundamental Science Review, Continue Reading »

Cultural Appropriations Have Lasting Harm

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It has come to my attention that plans are underway to organize a party known as “Beerfest” at an off-campus house. The history of this “annual” event is not a proud one; already numerous students who feel upset, scared and unsafe have contacted me to express their concerns.

Last year, participants wore costumes that consisted of unacceptable cultural appropriations, and through their actions alienated groups on campus or otherwise caused members of our community to feel belittled or uncomfortable.

It is clear from the language used by the organizers that they have failed to appreciate the lasting harm and the negative impacts this specific event had on others – particularly on racialized members of our community. The evident lack of empathy and judgement of the organizers (and any participants) is alarming and disappointing.

Clearly, some students fail to appreciate that our society has changed and progressed; Continue Reading »

Priorities for 2017-18

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How do your priorities advance the university’s mission and build the Queen’s of the future that you have envisioned and spoken about?

We are collectively building the Queen’s of the future every day. It’s a place of great traditions, and many of those traditions still survive from my time as a student. Yet no institution survives by staying in the same place. We need to adapt and change. We have made huge progress in the last few years, and I think our trajectory is simply going to continue upward.

My first priority as Principal was to put our financial and governance house in order, develop a culture of planning, and introduce a new budget model – which has been done thanks to the hard work of the Deans and our former Provost. The last few years have been focused on putting in place the conditions for future success, Continue Reading »

Keep Homecoming Safe and Respectful

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With Homecoming only days away, I invite you to participate in one of the many inclusive activities intended for the enjoyment of alumni and students alike. I also ask you to join me in encouraging everyone to demonstrate safe, respectful behaviour and good judgement throughout the weekend. Homecoming is a special event for Queen’s – it holds a unique place in the hearts of Queen’s students and alumni – and we all want this year’s Homecoming to be a success.

Please take time this weekend to welcome and help honour our returning alumni. Perhaps ask them to share some of their stories and memories that will have brought them back to campus. Join in activities such as Gaels games, tours, open houses, panels, and the ReUnion Street festival; these are all great opportunities for students to meet and greet returning members of the Queen’s family, Continue Reading »

Culture, Heritage, and Dialogue: My Experience in Canada’s North

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Guest author Justine Aman (ArtSci’18) writes about her experience with Global Vision’s Arctic Youth Ambassador Caucus in Iqaluit. Her trip was sponsored in part by the Principal’s Student Initiatives Fund.

With exams looming and the end of the semester imminent, it is with a grateful and slightly stressed out heart that I am writing about an incredible experience I had the opportunity to partake in. For a week this past March, I took part in Global Vision’s Arctic Youth Ambassador Caucus in Iqaluit, Nunavut, a mission which brings together 50 Canadian youth leaders (25 from the North and 25 from Southern Canada). Global Vision (GV) is a national not-for-profit charitable organization, founded in 1991 by former Member of Parliament, Terry Clifford. GV has organized this Caucus every year since 2010 with the purpose of fostering a dialogue on the unique issues faced by Canada’s North. Continue Reading »