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Principal outlines priorities for 2017-18

The Principal has outlined his major priorities for Queen’s University in 2017-18. In this interview with the Queen’s Gazette, Daniel Woolf previews what’s to come this year.

 

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, including drafting documents such as the Strategic Framework and the Comprehensive International Plan, ensuring sustainable enrolment growth, improving town-gown relations, and working on our talent management.

My current goals are based on a three-year rolling plan, which includes short-term and long-term priorities. The 2017-18 underlying themes are primarily: catalyzing change, which relates to faculty renewal and research prominence; respecting our community, which includes diversity and inclusion as well as encouraging safe and respectful behavior; and an infrastructure strategy, which will look at the question of how we eliminate $300 million worth of deferred maintenance in the next ten to twelve years and, of course, how we will pay for it.

The faculty renewal effort underpins many of these priorities. It will support our commitment to equity and inclusion, enhance our teaching and learning by ensuring students receive mentorship from faculty with diverse backgrounds and experience, and will help us attract promising early- and mid-career faculty who demonstrate exceptional promise as researchers.

Achieving these goals will put us in a position to reach for much greater success in research and innovation. This should lead us, five to ten years down the road, to an enhanced reputation as one of the most distinctive universities in the country in terms of the quality of its teaching, the quality of its students and faculty, the quality of its research, and its ability to innovate.

 

Looking ahead to the fifth year of our planned faculty renewal efforts, what difference will we see in the Queen’s of 2021-2022?

You will see nearly a quarter of the entire faculty complement turn over between new hires, retirements, and other departures. We will have a number of younger faculty out of recent PhD programs with somewhat different approaches to pedagogy, community relations, and interdisciplinarity. You will also be seeing some mid-career and senior appointments in designated fields to firm up areas of established excellence and promising emerging subjects. Hiring these 200 new faculty is a strategic investment that will lead us into the future.

These new faculty will want to come here because we will be one of Canada’s leading research intensive and teaching universities. They will want to be here because we are a place that recognizes innovation. They will be drawn by the good quality of life, the vibrant culture, and the affordability of living in Kingston. And they will have the chance to teach outstanding students in an environment where there is a great care for health and wellbeing, and in a place where we have made some thoughtful and strategic choices in terms of our research excellence.

The two primary lenses we are using to guide our hiring decisions are research excellence – the few areas at Queen’s that have the capacity to be really world-leading – and diversity and equity, where we know that we have some work to do.

We cannot aspire to be a world leader in every single subject and every single discipline. We have the capacity to make some choices to pursue areas – particle physics is an obvious one, but not the only one – where we can rank in the top 100 or higher. Making such choices does not disadvantage or diminish other areas. A rising tide lifts all boats.

The Provost and I will be taking advice from the Deans and the incoming Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) in terms of what are the most promising areas. I say ‘areas’ rather than necessarily ‘departments’ or ‘disciplines’ since some will be multidisciplinary. We will also be appealing to our alumni, who recognize the importance of hiring and retaining the best and brightest, for support for endowed chairs and professorships to support our hiring plans.

 

Why are our research reputation and graduate student experience so important?

For Queen’s to be where we need to be five to ten years from now, we need to raise our game on research and graduate education.

We have an outstanding reputation as an undergraduate institution. We are one of the lead providers of a baccalaureate education, inside and outside the classroom. But it is important, if we are to be a truly balanced academy, that we are equally recognized for our research. It is not just an add-on – it is as big a part as the teaching and support for our faculty members.

Student engagement scores are solid on the undergraduate side. We have a little work to do on graduate engagement scores, and the Deans are looking closely at how we can improve those. It’s something we need to see some movement on in the next few years.

The graduate piece is really important because graduate students contribute enormously to the university. On the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) side of the house, they work on research projects that are very much connected with supervisor’s research programme. They are a big part of the engine that drives research. On the non-STEM side, where that model occurs sometimes but is less common, they contribute to the intellectual life of the humanities and social sciences departments. Even in my current job I still supervise one or two graduate students. They keep me on my toes intellectually. And graduate students also enhance our teaching as TAs and Teaching Fellows.

 

What do you hope to achieve by implementing the international strategy, and what impact will this have on Queen’s reputation?

Our international recognition has begun to improve through the great success our admissions and international teams have had in bringing people in. If you tell the world about us, they will actually come. Students who come here and return home build our reputation further.

Reputation is important. Apart from attracting fantastic students, it also has an impact on our ability to form international partnerships and secure international research funding. There is an awful lot of research money available in Europe and Asia, for example, which we could be accessing if we had more collaborative partnerships. We want to build on strategic partnerships with institutions we see as equal or better, opening up exchanges for students, creating opportunities for our faculty to have overseas sabbaticals and for faculty to come here on their sabbatical, and build more international research collaborations.

At the same time, there is also funding to be had in industry partnerships. That, in turn, helps the city and our country. All of this is part of a virtuous circle which will further enhance our reputation.

As I suggested above, interdisciplinarity is important. To solve the problems of the world, physicists have to work with chemists, biologists have to work with environmental engineers and, frankly, all of them need the advice of the social sciences, arts, and humanities. Looking ahead in the next few years, I would like to see us move in a bolder direction to organize interdisciplinary entities that bring together people from different departments and faculties.

 

What do employees need to know and be aware of as far as Queen’s financial competitiveness?

We have come a long way. We would not be hiring 200 faculty over the next five years if we had not got our financial house in order, and achieving this has very much been a collective effort.

On the staff side, Physical Plant Services has been managing our energy costs, saving us a good deal of money over the years. Advancement has been remarkably successful in getting donors to invest and I want to thank them for their hard work. Every dollar into the endowment produces 3.5 cents for particular things we need each year. When you have a large endowment, as we now do, that’s a significant chunk of money.

We have staff in research services and the faculties who work with faculty members and students generating scholarships and operating grants, and those who develop new programs which have brought in additional revenue to the university. Senate has been exceptionally busy in recent years overseeing the development of new programs and exercising its academic oversight of their quality.

And we have a very engaged board of trustees and committees with a lot of financial acuity and experience, and they have helped manage risk and given us a sound financial strategy.

There is still some work to do. We are getting close to resolving some of our long-standing pension issues, which remain a major financial threat. We have significant deferred maintenance challenges to address in the next few years, and it is not only our oldest buildings which need work. We are making progress, as you can see with the number of cranes, trucks, and workers around. Our Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) is developing a strategic asset management plan so we can identify which buildings are the most urgent for refresh or outright replacement. We have also benefitted from strong returns on our investments and a continued increase in student enrolment, though we must remain cautious and continue to address some of our financial risks.

 

What are the growth areas for Queen’s reputation, and how do we get there?

Interim Vice-Principal (Research) John Fisher is leading our strategic research plan renewal process, and Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer is leading the academic plan renewal. Both of these processes should be resolved later this year, pending approval by Senate, and those, in turn, will inform our next iteration of the strategic framework in 2019.

We need to develop a more pan-university approach to some of the things we do. As I suggested above, it’s essential that we bring social sciences, humanities, and arts into some of our more well-known areas of strength. Among other things, they are going to be enormously important in our future digital strategy.

There remain some health and wellness challenges, especially around alcohol consumption, where student leaders have been working with us, and with community members, to encourage safe drinking. University Council has a number of Special Purpose committees looking into matters of importance such as alcohol consumption on and off campus. And we need to remain vigilant on the issue of sexual violence, which is often related to abuse of alcohol.

Finally, we must consider what we can do to become a leader in policy innovation once again. I am expecting, in the next month or so, a report on the future of public policy at Queen’s. I think it will give us some very interesting guidance on directions we might take, and the larger issue of Queen’s in the Canadian and larger international public policy sphere. This obviously involves the School of Policy Studies but I think it can involve so many more of our faculty and students around the university.

First Queen’s Remembers plinth unveiled

  • Principal Daniel Woolf speaks at the unveiling of the first Queen's Remembers plinth. These monuments are designed to help staff and faculty, students, and other visitors to the campus form a more complete picture of the history of Queen’s. (University Communications)
    Principal Daniel Woolf speaks at the unveiling of the first Queen's Remembers plinth. These monuments are designed to help staff and faculty, students, and other visitors to the campus form a more complete picture of the history of Queen’s. (University Communications)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf and Director of Indigenous Initiatives Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) unveil a plinth honouring the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples, upon whose traditional lands Queen’s is built. (University Communications)
    Principal Daniel Woolf and Director of Indigenous Initiatives Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) unveil a plinth honouring the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples, upon whose traditional lands Queen’s is built. (University Communications)
  • Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair, Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, talks about the significance of the plinth that was unveiled on Monday, Oct. 13. (University Communications)
    Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair, Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, talks about the significance of the plinth that was unveiled on Monday, Oct. 13. (University Communications)
  • The plinth, which includes a concrete base and a six page book, is the first in a series of monuments to be unveiled across campus as part of the “Queen’s Remembers” initiative. (University Communications)
    The plinth, which includes a concrete base and a six page book, is the first in a series of monuments to be unveiled across campus as part of the “Queen’s Remembers” initiative. (University Communications)

Visitors to Queen’s University now have a new resource to educate them about the traditional inhabitants of what we know today as the Kingston area.

On Monday afternoon, Principal Daniel Woolf and senior executives; Indigenous leaders including Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) and Marlene Brant Castellano; and members of the Queen’s, Kingston, and local Indigenous communities gathered to unveil a plinth dedicated to the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples. The plinth, which includes a concrete base and a six page book, is the first in a series of monuments to be unveiled across campus as part of the “Queen’s Remembers” initiative led by Principal Woolf.

“This is a heartfelt recognition that, before these limestone buildings were here and before the first class sat, these were the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples,” says Principal Woolf. “For too long, our country’s misrepresentation of history and mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples has been hidden from view, only to perpetuate and contribute to their suffering. To move forward in healing, we must again acknowledge Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous people.”

As part of today’s launch, a Queen’s Encyclopedia page has been launched regarding the Queen’s Remembers initiative.

Please stay tuned for news about future Queen’s Remembers plinths to be unveiled in the coming months.

Queen’s Remembers initiative launches

The Indigenous Plinth will be unveiled on McGibbon Walk on October 16. (University Communications)
The first Queen's Remembers plinth, dedicated to the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples upon whose traditional lands Queen’s was built, will be unveiled on McGibbon Walk on October 16. (University Communications)

Following the university's 175th Anniversary, Queen’s is reflecting upon its history in a project to commemorate those who have made a significant and noteworthy contribution to the university. A series of informative plinths will be unveiled across campus over the coming months, as part of the new “Queen’s Remembers” initiative.

“On the conclusion of a successful year of celebrating our legacy, we have a chance to reflect on those whose contributions have helped to shape that history and, in so doing, to raise awareness in our community of these groups and individuals,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

The planning for the Queen’s Remembers initiative was led by Principal Woolf in collaboration with the facilities and campus planning teams, University Relations, and those with specific ties to the topics being commemorated.

The first of the plinths will honour the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples, upon whose traditional lands Queen’s was built. The plinth will feature a six-page weatherproof book, in both English and French, which highlights the history and the culture of the indigenous community of Queen’s, includes some information about Indigenous initiatives at Queen’s University, and celebrates some of Queen’s most prominent Indigenous graduates. It also includes a recognition, written in English, French, Mohawk, and Ojibway, that Queen’s sits on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee.

This first plinth will be unveiled and dedicated at a ceremony on Monday, Oct. 16 beginning at 2 pm. All are welcome to attend. More information can be found on the university events calendar.

Information about future plinths will be shared as they are installed.

Chancellor announces bursary for Indigenous students

Chancellor Jim Leech at the Major Admissions Awards
Chancellor Jim Leech at the Major Admissions Awards. (University Communications)

It was a conversation that challenged Chancellor Jim Leech (MBA’73), and made him wonder what he could personally do to help.

Approximately a year and a half ago, then-Governor General David Johnston convened a first-ever gathering of all Canadian university chancellors. One of the topics of conversation at that meeting: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the responsibilities of universities and of those in leadership positions to help.

That call to action built on what Chancellor Leech had been hearing and seeing for himself since he started his three-terms as chancellor in 2014. He had participated in a breakfast at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, attended some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force sessions, took part in a blanket exercise with the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, and got to know then-Director of Four Directions Janice Hill.

“All of those things came together and I started thinking about what I could do to mark the end of my first term,” says Chancellor Leech. “We know that for all students unplanned events happen, such as family issues or community issues, which may cause a student to drop out. If we’ve got someone who’s come here and worked two or three years, it’s a shame that they might have to drop out for financial reasons.”

So, working with Advancement and Four Directions, the chancellor set out to establish a bursary for Indigenous students. The $15,000 need-based bursary is “awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need to Aboriginal students in any year of any faculty or school at Queen’s University.” Recipients may be full- or part-time students.

“I remember when I was a student having friends who were towards the end of the year starting to get short on cash and a few hundred dollars might have made the difference between staying in school and dropping out,” says Chancellor Leech. “The objective of this bursary will be to attract more students and give more students opportunities so that we have more graduates who can contribute to society in their communities, acting as role models in our Canadian society and economy.”

The creation of this bursary fund aligns with the recommendations of Queen’s University’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Report. It will assist Indigenous students in fully participating in the academic and extra-curricular life of the university and will promote inclusion, retention, and success.

“I am very pleased and honored that the chancellor chose this for his contribution,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of Indigenous Initiatives. “It is a pretty significant signal from the chancellor, and it is consistent with his efforts, dating back to the beginning of his term, to reach out to the Indigenous community. It is also very much filling a need – we have a lot of entrance scholarships but not a lot for those who are more senior students.”

Applications are to be made via SOLUS to the Office of the University Registrar, Student Awards by Oct. 31, 2017. Please visit www.queensu.ca/studentawards for information on Student Awards at Queen’s. 

Orange Shirt Day returns to Queen’s

An orange shirt made of paper, similar to the one that was taken from Phyllis Webstad, which the ATEP students made to mark Orange Shirt Day. (Supplied Photo)
An orange shirt made of paper, similar to the one that was taken from Phyllis Webstad, which students made to mark Orange Shirt Day. (Supplied Photo)

Phyllis Webstad was just six years old, living on a reserve in British Columbia, when she was sent to a residential school for a year. Phyllis and her mother bought a brand new orange shirt for Phyllis to wear to her first day of school. On Phyllis’ first day at St. Joseph Mission, that brand new orange shirt was taken away from her. She would never see the shirt again, and it would come to symbolize the feelings of worthlessness and insignificance that the school instilled in her and all of its students.

Ms. Webstad survived the school and, some 40 years later, shared her story as part of a commemoration that marked the legacy of St. Joseph Mission in Williams Lake, B.C. From that story came a new initiative marking the legacy of residential schools in Canada – Orange Shirt Day. With a tagline of “Every Child Matters”, the day of remembrance has now spread across the country and a class of Aboriginal Teacher Education Program teacher candidates along with First Nation, Metis & Inuit Studies students have once again brought the event to Queen’s and to Kingston.

“The purpose of the event is to honour all of the children who attended Residential schools, both the survivors and those who did not,” says teacher candidate Krista McNamara, one of the organizers of Orange Shirt Day at Queen’s. “While the final Residential school closed in 1996, the trauma from the system has not ceased to impact our respective communities. We hope our fellow teacher candidates will take this opportunity to extend on their learning, and seek to learn about the ways in which our respective communities educated ourselves before residential school, during the residential school era, and the ways in which we are educating ourselves now.”

Two students staff the Orange Shirt Day booth in Duncan McArthur Hall. (Supplied Photo)
Two students staff the Orange Shirt Day booth in Duncan McArthur Hall. (Supplied Photo)

Ms. McNamara and her classmates set out to spark a dialogue and reflect on the legacy of those schools. On Thursday, the class set up a table in the student street of Duncan McArthur Hall and booked a screening of the film “We Were Children” for the afternoon.

“I have family on both sides that attended residential school and my family still has lasting intergenerational affects from the system so I have been aware of this history my whole life,” says Dawn Martin, another organizer and teacher candidate. “My mother has been very vocal about the abuses she has faced from the intergenerational trauma and I have been trying to address and educate people on this subject for some time. I think the conversation of reconciliation is an important topic, and addressing Indigenous history and the Indigenous experience needs to be a part of mainstream Canadian history.”

The formal date of Orange Shirt Day is September 30, and it is set to coincide with the approximate date when Indigenous children would be taken from their families to attend residential schools. To learn more about Orange Shirt Day, visit the initiative’s website.

First Director of Indigenous Initiatives appointed

Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) participates in a special Senate meeting marking the 175th anniversary of the first Queen's Senate meeting.

Queen’s University announced today the appointment of Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) as the inaugural Director of Indigenous Initiatives. The creation of this office was a recommendation of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Final Report. This office will facilitate and coordinate university-wide initiatives in support of the Task Force’s other recommendations.

“I congratulate Jan on this new role, and I look forward to the opportunities for growth and reconciliation we are setting in motion,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This appointment recognizes her deep and long-standing commitment to promoting Indigenous cultures and traditions, including her efforts at Queen’s. Her student-centred approach and passion for teaching and learning are an example to us all.”

As Director of Indigenous Initiatives, reporting to the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), Ms. Hill will promote an understanding of the histories and perspectives of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, with a particular focus on the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee, on whose traditional lands Queen’s University sits. She will also focus on relationship building, knowledge sharing, guiding and supporting faculties looking to incorporate Indigenous histories and perspectives into curriculum, and support researchers engaging with Indigenous peoples and communities. She begins in her new position on October 2.

“It is indeed an honour to be appointed to this role which will allow me to continue working on many projects I am sincerely and deeply invested in,” says Ms. Hill. “The work of conciliation within Queen’s and with the broader communities, both Indigenous and Settler, is large and challenging but potentially very meaningful undertaking for all involved. I truly believe that relationship building is at the crux of this work and has been the heart of all of the significant efforts that have already taken place to Indigenize our campus and community here at Queen’s.”

Ms. Hill has served as the Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre at Queen’s since 2010, with the centre experiencing significant growth under her leadership. In addition to supporting Indigenous students, she has worked to increase visibility and awareness of Indigenous histories, languages, and cultures across campus, and strengthened the university’s relationships with Indigenous communities.

“This is exciting and important new role, and I very much look forward to working with the incumbent,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice Principal (Academic). “The Director of Indigenous Initiatives will serve as an important voice on campus, helping to further build reciprocal and respectful relationships with our local Indigenous communities and coordinating our sustained progress on all ongoing and future Indigenous initiatives.”

Along with her work at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, Ms. Hill has been actively involved in facilitating Indigenous initiatives throughout the university, including coordinating the revitalization of the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, supporting the development of the Indigenous Studies Minor, and serving as an integral member of Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force. Ms. Hill is deeply engaged in Indigenous education through many different provincial and national organizations.

A member of the Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation, Ms. Hill began her academic career as an adjunct faculty member in the Faculty of Education and went on to help establish the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP), serving as academic co-director for the program in 1997-98. Ms. Hill is in the process of completing her Master of Arts in Gender Studies at Queen’s, and previously completed her bachelor of education through Queen’s. You can learn more about Ms. Hill from this Gazette profile.

The search for a new permanent Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre will begin in the near future.

Indigenous academics share knowledge at Matariki Conference

Matariki participants were educated on the Noongar history of the Swan River area with Noongar Elder Walter McGuire. (Supplied Photo)

A group from Queen’s University travelled to Australia this summer to learn about a topic close to their hearts. Ana Mejicano Greenberg (Artsci’18), Jenna O'Connor (M.Ed’18), and Katrina Brown Akootchook (M.Ed’18), along with Professor Lindsay Morcom from the Faculty of Education, participated in the Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP) in July. The 10-day program was hosted by the University of Western Australia, a member of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU), and focused on sharing the knowledge, history, and customs of Indigenous Peoples.

L-R: Jenna O'Connor, Prof. Lindsay Morcom, Katrina Brown Akootchook, and Ana Mejicano Greenberg at a Matariki Network event in Australia. (Supplied Photo)

“My time in Australia impacted me both personally and professionally,” says Ms. Mejicano Greenberg. “I have taken many courses on Indigenous Studies at Queen’s, but this provided the opportunity to learn more about indigeneity in other contexts and use that knowledge to delve into my own history. It inspired me to learn more about my Indigenous lineage and the Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala.”

The packed program included opportunities to learn about local wildlife and eat traditional foods, experience Australian history through the eyes of its Indigenous Peoples, and explore the city of Perth, among other activities. The four Queen’s representatives were joined by students and faculty members from other MNU institutions in New Zealand, the U.S., and the U.K. For Ms. Mejicano Greenberg, the chance to meet the other participants and learn about their backgrounds stood out as a highlight.

“It was the relationships which provided some of the greatest value,” she says. “The program offered ten days of intense and amazing intellectual and spiritual stimulation, and the opportunities for introspection and reflection were very important. I enjoyed every session.”

Katrina Brown Akootchook is introduced to local culture hands-on as she meets a koala during the trip to Australia. (Supplied Photo)
Katrina Brown Akootchook is introduced to local culture hands-on as she meets a koala during the trip to Australia. (Supplied Photo)

The program was guided by a number of experts, including academics and museum curators. What made this program special, Dr. Morcom explains, was that these academics were educated in Indigenous Studies; they taught classes about Indigenous knowledge and cultures; and they had Indigenous heritage themselves. 

Jenna O'Connor tours an art gallery in Australia as part of the Matariki Network Indigenous Student Mobility program. (Supplied Photo)
Jenna O'Connor tours an art gallery in Australia as part of the Matariki Network Indigenous Student Mobility program. (Supplied Photo)

“They were knowledge keepers, elders, and professors, and it was interesting to see the way these people engaged western academia but in an Indigenous way, with their knowledge held in the same esteem,” says Dr. Morcom. “It was a privilege to learn from them, and to continue the conversation with my fellow faculty members around the dinner table and hear about their research. The most striking thing for me was the similarity of experience, of culture, and of philosophy across these many different groups, and this has inspired me to engage in broader international Indigenous research in the future.”

Queen’s is a member of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU),an international group of like-minded universities, each of which is amongst the most historic in its own country and recognized as a premier place of advanced learning. The network aims to create opportunities for collaboration in research and education for its seven international members.

The Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP) is hosted annually, and will take place at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire in 2018. Applications for this funded opportunity will open in winter 2018. Queen’s 2017 MISMP applicants were assessed by a selection committee of faculty members engaged in Indigenous Studies; the MISMP faculty advisor; and representatives from the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Science, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and the International Programs Office. Shortlisted candidates were interviewed prior to final selection.

To learn more about international opportunities available at Queen’s visit the international page of the Queen’s website and the MNU website.

Indigenous art to appear in Law atrium

The Faculty of Law.

The call has gone out seeking a piece of Indigenous artwork to reside in the Faculty of Law which will be used to welcome students, instructors, guests, and community members visiting the Faculty of Law.

“Queen’s University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “By honouring this traditional territory, we acknowledge the territory’s significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived, and continue to live, upon it. Having a work of art that reflects Indigenous culture and values in the entrance to our school will be one of many ways we honour this traditional territory and embrace Indigenous engagement in all that we do the Faculty of Law.”

Indigenous artists are being invited to apply to design, fabricate, and install a permanent artwork for the Gowling WLG Atrium of the Faculty of Law. The aim of this project is to create a welcoming space for Indigenous peoples in the Faculty of Law, and to help promote awareness around historical and contemporary issues relevant to Indigenous peoples and law.

The school’s atrium is a high-traffic hub visible from all floors of the building as well as the street. “The location is very exciting for us,” says Chantal Rousseau, Manager of International Programs and the project’s coordinator. “All students go through here, all faculty go through here, as well as visitors. It is a crossroads for the law school and will have a lot of meaning and resonance.”

The project is part of a greater initiative to increase the visibility of Indigenous art and culture and the recognition of Indigenous territory in spaces across the Queen’s University campus. The installation of this piece of art will represent part of the Faculty’s response to Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the final report of Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Task Force – specifically the recommendation to ‘increase the presence of Indigenous cultures on campus’. A 12-person committee, representing all the Faculty’s major stakeholders and including seven Indigenous members, is overseeing the project.

“I am very pleased with the Indigenous art project initiative coming out of the Dean's office,” says committee member Jason Mercredi (Law’18), a Student Senator for the law school, and a member of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Task Force. “This is a small but meaningful gesture of good faith towards reconciliation. This project also confirms Indigenous belonging within the law school community, which is particularly important in the study of colonial law.”

Interested artists can view the public art call. The artwork selected will be installed for unveiling in Fall 2018.

Queen’s National Scholar wins prestigious Trudeau Fellowship

Norman Vorano giving a lecture.
Dr. Vorano discusses the North Baffin Drawings with guests at Queen's Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Queen’s National Scholar Norman Vorano has been named as one of only five recipients of a prestigious Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship – one of the most competitive awards available to humanities and social science scholars in Canada.

Dr. Vorano, assistant professor in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation and curator of Indigenous art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, was recognized for his work with Indigenous communities in the Canadian Arctic to record, understand, and share Inuit art history. Through innovative public outreach, his career-long efforts have sought to transcend cultural and generational boundaries so Indigenous voices are central in shaping how their history is shared.

Dr. Norman Vorano
Dr. Norman Vorano

“I am truly honoured to receive this fellowship from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation,” says Dr. Vorano. “I am also humbled by the task ahead, to continue to build a collaborative research network of individuals and communities across the North who share in the belief that our public museums, schools, and universities can do more to promote cross-cultural understanding, empathy, reconciliation, and community health.”

This unique recognition speaks to the nationally important collections curated by Dr. Vorano and heightens awareness of Indigenous art in Canada.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Vorano on being named a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellow,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This major award speaks to the quality and significance of his contributions to arts and culture in our country. His collaborative work with Northern communities to preserve and share these collections stands as a shining example of how history can and should be written to reflect the experiences of all Canadians.”

In 2017, Dr. Vorano debuted a travelling exhibition of Inuit sketches originally collected by Terry Ryan, an arts advisor in Cape Dorset who journeyed to three North Baffin communities in 1964 and invited people to use pencil and paper to record their traditional knowledge before encroaching Southern influences transformed their way of life.

The exhibition featured a selection of sketches created around Clyde River, Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet alongside video and audio commentary that Dr. Vorano collected from some of those very same artists, their descendants and communities more than 50 years after the drawings were made.

Dr. Vorano in Clyde River, Nunavut. (Aug. 2015)

“Showcasing this collection, particularly in Northern venues, has been a vital first step in reconnecting communities in Nunavut with this vast and profoundly important record of their heritage,” says Dr. Vorano, who will use the $225,000 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship to fund the second phase of the project. “The next step is to work with the communities to build a culturally-appropriate reciprocal network that links this collection, and possibly other Arctic collections from museums around the world, to their communities of origin.

The creation of this ‘Arctic Cultural Heritage Research Network’ (ACHRN) is premised on the understanding that access to cultural heritage promotes health and well-being. The ultimate goal of this digital platform is to provide all Inuit, including educators and heritage workers in Nunavut, access to heritage collections stored in southern museums – collections from which they are largely alienated.

Every year, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation awards up to five fellowships to individuals recognized for their productivity, their commitment to communicating their findings to the public and their ability to devise innovative solutions to some of the major issues facing Canada and the world.

Fostering intercultural skills and knowledge

"Students take part in a KAIROS blanket exercise"
Students take part in a KAIROS Blanket Exercise in the main gym of the Athletics and Recreation Centre. (University Communications)

The Division of Student Affairs is launching an Intercultural Awareness Certificate for staff, faculty and students to promote an inclusive campus community, and respectful interactions among individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. 

Delivered in partnership by staff of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), the five-session program combines and builds on existing education and training, including the expansion of Indigenous cultural content.

“This program aligns with recommendations of the TRC Task Force and the report of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “This certificate will raise awareness of Indigenous culture, build intercultural competence, and help participants develop life skills that support their success in diverse environments, including campuses, workplaces and communities.”

The five workshops cover topics including concepts of intercultural learning, the cultural self, dimensions of culture, the Intercultural Development Continuum, Indigenous rights history through the KAIROS Blanket Exercise and Cultural Safety training, that explores the diversity of Indigenous communities and people, self-identification, terminology, stereotypes and the creation of empathic relationships.

“We know that in-depth cultural exploration helps build awareness, support and collaborative approaches to problem-solving and community-building,” says Janice Hill, Director, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. “This program is one way that campus partners are continuing to work together to make progress on the important issues and calls to action outlined in recent reports and echoed by our community members.”

Participation surveys will guide the continual assessment of the program. Sessions will be held on weekdays and on weekends to support access to the program.

“We are excited to launch this program,” says Jyoti Kotecha, QUIC Director. “We have seen increasing numbers of faculty, staff and students participating in various sessions on intercultural competence and education. This certificate brings everything together with the goal of helping our community members develop skills and knowledge that promotes inclusion across our campus and in society at large.”

Consistent with the TRC Task Force and the PICRDI report, the Division of Student Affairs is also expanding recruitment activities focusing on under-represented student populations, enhancing peer mentor and transition programs, and creating a new position that will coordinate initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Workshops are repeated in the Fall and Winter terms. The full schedule is available online. Reserve a spot by emailing quic.training@queensu.ca. Participants are asked to complete the online training Tools for Success in an Intercultural World before registering for the certificate workshops.

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