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Leading by example

Sam McKegney (English Language and Literature) and Louise Winn (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) have been recognized by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) for their work with graduate students.

Awarded for the first time last year, the “Featured Graduate Coordinators of the Year” initiative is aimed at highlighting the best practices among graduate coordinators.  

“Graduate Coordinators are on the front lines of providing crucial supports to students and supervisors. The School of Graduate Studies launched the Graduate Coordinators of the Year initiative in 2015 to feature excellent initiatives that could inspire colleagues across the disciplines,” says Kim McAuley, Associate Dean, SGS. “Louise Winn and Sam McKegney have set great examples by developing new programs and promoting a supportive community for graduate students and their faculty supervisors.”

Sam McKegney

[Sam McKegney]
Sam McKegney

Specializing in the study of Indigenous and Canadian literatures, Dr. McKegney says he feels very fortunate to oversee graduate studies at Queen’s in the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. He points out that while he is involved in a number of graduate-related initiatives, the acting head of the Department of English Language and Literature regularly utilizes a collaborative approach.

He is currently involved in the development of the MPhil degree in English Literature – a two-year Master’s Level degree with direct entry into the doctoral program. He is also overseeing two experiential learning components for graduate programs. The first – the Literary Internship –provides master’s students with work experience that is directly related to literary studies, including Kingston WritersFest, the Strathy Language Unit, and McGill-Queen’s University Press.  The second – the Publishing Practicum –takes students through the revision and submission stages of scholarly publishing with the goal of achieving a publishable piece by the end of the student’s first year of doctoral study.

In receiving the award, Dr. McKegney provides the following advice for incoming graduate coordinators:

“Be personally invested in the wellbeing and successes of your grad students, but do not take their struggles personally. Try to focus on developing solutions to concerns that arise without bearing the burden of responsibility for things beyond your control.

Louise Winn

[Louise Winn]
Louise Winn

As the Associate Head - Graduate Studies for the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Dr. Winn is responsible for overseeing all aspects of graduate administration from admission to degree completion for more than 100 graduate students.

She also helped launch a new initiative offering a combined program  (BScH/MSc) that sees students in the fourth year of an honours program to take up to two courses in the department at the graduate level, allowing them to enter the graduate program with advanced standing.

Recently, Dr. Winn has developed a proposal in collaboration with the School of Computing for interdisciplinary graduate programs in biomedical informatics that include a diploma and professional master’s. She has also developed a proposal in collaboration with the offices of Postgraduate and Undergraduate Medical Education for graduate programs in medical sciences that include a diploma and professional master’s.

Dr. Winn also serves on a CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship selection committee.

In receiving the award, Dr. Winn provides the following advice for incoming graduate coordinators:

“I have a standing weekly meeting with the program assistants, which I have found to be extremely helpful for keeping well-informed and in touch with of all of issues that need attention. Nurture this relationship as it will serve you well."