The Canada First Research Excellence Fund will invest $1.5 billion over 10 years into research excellence.

Federal budget brings good news for research

Budget day is always an interesting one when you work as a university administrator. Sometimes we have a sense of what to expect. At other times, however, we get some surprises. Budget 2014 brought some very good news, not all of it anticipated, regarding research funding for the post-secondary sector.

The increases to the granting council budgets, and an increase in the Indirect Costs of Research program, and support for ‘Big Science’ initiatives such as TRIUMF, of which Queen’s is a participant are certainly welcome and important investments. The new Canada First Research Excellence Fund that will invest $1.5 billion over 10 years into research excellence really moves the yard stick and is key to our global leadership. Universities will see the first installment of $50 million in 2015-16, growing to $200 million in 2018-19 and beyond. The investment acknowledges the important role our faculty, students and staff play in advancing knowledge and contributing to the kinds of groundbreaking discoveries that benefit all Canadians. Continue Reading »

This comic book, "I'm a Chemical Engineering" was produced by Aboriginal Access to Engineering at Queen's. It was distributed to schools in First Nations communities.

Welcome news regarding First Nations education

On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo made a very promising announcement regarding a new plan to transform First Nations education. This landmark agreement should lead to significant investments in First Nations education for students in kindergarten through to grade 12.

I was heartened to hear the news. The unequal access to resources is a pressing issue for this country’s First Nations people, and is one that by association impacts all Canadians.

Author and professor Irshad Manji succinctly describes education as “the unleashing of the permission to ask questions.” Recognizing the value of education – and vowing to make a flawed system better – is one of the most effective things we can do to improve lives. Forgive the cliché, but education really does open up a world of possibility. It allows individuals and communities alike to rewrite the future with a different rulebook. Continue Reading »

Student Ramona Neferu addresses the audience at the Principal's Community Breakfast.

A mid-November update

It’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through November – but here we are, with the last of the fall leaves clinging to the trees, and a wintry chill in the air. I’m sure you will all agree that this is a busy time of year. I feel as if the wheels that were put in motion at the beginning of the term are now spinning furiously and won’t slow down again until the holiday season (which will be upon us in no time!). I wanted to bring you a few updates about what has been keeping me busy, both on and off campus, in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, I had the great pleasure of hosting my annual Principal’s Community Breakfast. Held this year at the Ambassador Hotel and Conference Centre, the event is an opportunity for me to acknowledge and strengthen the bonds between Queen’s and the greater Kingston community. Continue Reading »

Counting our students

In April, I blogged about the importance of counting Queen’s students in Kingston’s electoral boundaries. That blog was in response to an ongoing debate about postsecondary students, and whether they are considered Kingston residents.

Since then, the Alma Mater Society, a Queen’s law student and the Sydenham District Association challenged Kingston City Council’s decision to modify electoral boundaries in a way that does not represent the student population.

This process culminated in an Ontario Municipal Board appeal, and I have learned that the OMB ruled on the side of our students and their co-appellants. This decision is undoubtedly the result of much effort on the part of our students, as well as others.

As I said in the aforementioned blog post, we consider Queen’s students to be members not only of the Queen’s community but also of the Kingston community. We actively encourage them to get involved in the city in which they live, Continue Reading »

Homecoming 2013: Email to the Queen’s community

The following is an email I sent to Queen’s staff, faculty and students on October 3:

Dear Queen’s community,

As you know, this weekend will mark the first Queen’s Homecoming in five years. As I said last year when I announced Homecoming’s reinstatement, the decision to bring the event back wasn’t one that was made lightly. We all remember why it was cancelled, and no one wants to see those incidents repeated.

We all have a role to play in ensuring this year’s Homecoming is a safe and successful event that is respectful of Queen’s, our alumni, and the Kingston community. Our consultation with a variety of stakeholders – Kingston police, city officials, Kingston Fire & Rescue, students and alumni – has been with this common goal in mind.

While I have been encouraged by the reduction in street parties and other unsafe activities in recent years, Continue Reading »