Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form


Community-based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program expands to full-time model

The Faculty of Education is now offering its community-based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) on a new full-time model that will provide teacher candidates with greater skills and knowledge to teach in the primary-junior level at First Nations or Ontario provincial schools, as well as the opportunity to obtain a transitional certificate.

Community-based ATEP graduation
Peter Chin, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, for the Faculty of Education, stands with a group of graduates from the community-based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP). 

Beginning in May 2018, teacher candidates attend classes at Queen’s for one summer session and at Kenjgewin Teg on Manitoulin Island for two fall terms, two winter terms and one summer term. Experientially-based, the program also offers supervised teaching placements in First Nations and provincial school settings.

Under the new model, teacher candidates in the program can choose between two study concentrations: Aboriginal Language Teacher, which prepares them to teach an Aboriginal language; or Northern Teacher, which prepares them to work in a rural or remote setting.

The application period is currently open. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2018.

Class scheduling is designed to accommodate teacher candidates who work or have other responsibilities and must continue to live in their home communities. The program begins with orientation and extended weekend classes offered at Kenjgewin Teg located at M’Chigeeng First Nation. Spring classes and a three-week practicum in a First Nation or provincial school are followed by a short summer session on campus at Queen’s in July. Students return to Kenjgewin Teg for fall and winter classes in Year One and Year Two. Classes are offered over extended weekend sessions held about once a month and some course content is offered online. The program concludes with a community-based summer session to be offered on Manitoulin Island in the summer of 2020.

Through the new program, following an assessment during their first practicum and successful completion of summer session courses, teacher candidates may apply toreceive a transitional teaching certificate issued by the OCT. This will allow teacher candidates who are currently working in a classroom teaching position to fulfill practicum requirements while continuing their teaching job.

“The new model enhances access to this program by allowing teacher candidates to spend the majority of their time in the communities,” says Peter Chin, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies. “The introduction of the transitional certificate is an important feature of the program, because many teacher candidates can continue their teaching jobs and apply the teaching time towards their practicum requirement. While most of the program is delivered in their community, the teacher candidates engage in the Queen’s community during their first semester on campus and through the virtual learning.”

Many of the community-based ATEP’s courses will be taught by professors of Aboriginal ancestry, and learning opportunities include the application of Aboriginal perspectives to theory and practice, problem solving with peers, and review of Aboriginal and other curriculum resources in conjunction with provincial curriculum guidelines.

For ATEP Coordinator Lindsay Morcom, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education, introducing the Indigenous language teacher stream is particularly exciting as it responds directly to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

“Graduates from our program will be OCT-qualified teachers with the language knowledge and teaching skill to provide students in the Manitoulin-North Shore region and beyond with access in school to the Anishinaabemowin language, either through language classes or immersion education,” she says. “They will also be able to support the policy of the United Chiefs and Council of Mnidoo Mnising to offer all services, including education, in the Anishinaabemowin language by 2030.  We are working closely with our partners in the Manitoulin-North Shore region to ensure that the program is culturally and linguistically accurate and appropriate and reflects local goals for education and self-determination as we develop the curriculum for this exciting new educational opportunity.

For applicants of Aboriginal ancestry, the community-based ATEP can be entered with Grade 12 or equivalent (Diploma in Education), or can be entered with an undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Education).  Applicants who are non-Aboriginal are also encouraged to apply, but must hold an undergraduate degree before beginning the program.

For more information, visit the ATEP Community-Based webpage.

Canada’s first Inuk heart surgeon

"Donna May Kimmaliardjuk"
On her way to becoming Canada's first Inuk heart surgeon, Donna May Kimmaliardjuk (Artsci'11) began her studies in Life Sciences at Queen's University. 

Donna May Kimmaliardjuk (Artsci’11) is completely comfortable doing open-heart surgery every day as a resident at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Being a role model is something the 28-year-old Queen’s Life Sciences grad finds a little more challenging.

Dr. Kimmaliardjuk is Canada’s first Inuk heart surgeon.

The distinction has put her in the spotlight and brought pride to the people in her community of Chesterfield, Nunavut. She has been profiled by national media outlets and recently received an Indspire Award (formerly called the National Aboriginal Achievement Award).

Dr. Kimmaliardjuk is trying to embrace the spotlight but admits the idea of people looking up to her will take some time to get used to. Being regarded as a pioneer among her community while still in the formative years of her career as a heart surgeon can be a difficult position, but she has remained grateful and humble about her accomplishments.

“(Being a role model) is something I am growing into, but I am very honoured by it,” she says. “I am happy to share my story and to be a part of celebrating all Indigenous accomplishments in all different areas of life.”

She was born in Winnipeg and then lived in Nunavut for only a few months as a baby before her family moved to Ottawa, where Dr. Kimmaliardjuk grew up. But many family members still live in the community, so the North remains a big part of her life and culture. After graduating from Queen’s, she went to medical school at the University of Calgary before moving back to Ottawa to do her residency.

She describes her Queen’s experience as “very happy.” The four years she spent in Kingston were formative and she was very involved in campus life. She was president of the Queen’s Native Student Association for two years and also served as the undergraduate representative to the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University.

“The Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre had a big role in my life at Queen’s – a much bigger role than I ever thought when I first went there. I met such amazing women that I now consider family, role models and mentors who helped shape me into who I am today,” Dr. Kimmaliardjuk says. “Queen’s Life Sciences was the perfect program for me. It prepared me and exposed me to what to expect at medical school.”

While it may be surprising to some that Dr. Kimmaliardjuk is the first Inuk heart surgeon, she notes that modern western civilization was slow to come to the North. People were focused on living off the land, not thinking about traveling thousands of kilometres south to get a university degree. Even today, many barriers to higher education remain for people in the North – such as socioeconomic as well as the culture shock of living in a big city.

“To put it in perspective, my mother’s parents were literally born in igloos. So that is only two generations ago,” Dr. Kimmaliardjuk says. “It is pretty remarkable that we went from people living off the land to me working in a major hospital doing open-heart surgery every day.”

This article was first published on the Queen's Alumni website.

Learning about Indigenous law

Students, faculty, and staff in the Faculty of Law visited the only court “for Indigenous People and by Indigenous People” in Canada to broaden their perspective.

Students, faculty, and staff in the Faculty of Law recently visited Akwesasne Mohawk Territory to learn more about the reserve’s unique court system and gain a broader perspective on how the law works in Indigenous communities.

“We wanted to ensure that the Queen’s community is fully engaged and, as responsible citizens, doing what we can to learn about both Indigenous law and culture,” says Heather Cole (Artsci’91, Law’96, MPA’00), event founder and Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Law. “I think everyone involved learned a great deal. We will continue to work with our Indigenous partners and hope to make this workshop an annual event.”

The day-long workshop began with an opening thanksgiving address, and an orientation to the community. Following the introduction, a number of speakers shone a light on how dispute resolution is handled in the territory, gave an overview of the history of the court, spoke about treaties and the drafting of laws, and took questions.

“Akwesasne is not representative of every First Nations community but, as students at law and as law educators, it is important for us all to understand that there are functioning legal systems in Canada outside of the mainstream Western paradigm,” says Kayla Stephenson (Law’18), another event organizer.

The group from the Faculty of Law, on location in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. (Supplied Photo)
The group from the Faculty of Law, on location in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. On the far right is Kayla Stephenson (Law'18). (Supplied Photo)

Akwesasne Mohawk Territory was selected as the location for this workshop for a few reasons. The community is in close proximity to Queen’s, and the region straddles modern-day New York, Ontario, and Québec which adds to its complexity as a legal jurisdiction. Among First Nations communities, Akwesasne also stands out, according to Ms. Stephenson, because of its “intricate and long-standing” legal system – a system she became familiar with both because of her personal interest, and because of her summer spent working in the community for the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Akwesasne is the first and only Indigenous community in Canada to have established a court “for Indigenous people and by Indigenous people.” The court enforces 32 civil laws, while criminal matters remain the jurisdiction of the province or the federal government.

The event wasn’t about teaching the group how to practise law in the Akwesasne reserve, but rather to educate them about Indigenous legal principles which are expected to become more important to Canada’s legal landscape in the future. “The participants were humbled to see how intricate the system is and how long the legal structure has been upheld. They were blown away at how it functions independent of any outside support,” says Ms. Stephenson.

The workshop is one of several steps the Faculty of Law is taking to incorporate Indigenous perspectives into their work, aligning with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Final Report. The Faculty is also exploring different projects with other neighbouring Indigenous communities aimed at both fostering understanding and supporting the communities.

“Our law school is committed to creating an inclusive community that is supportive of all students, and Indigenous students are an integral part of our community,” says Ms. Cole.

To learn more about Indigenous initiatives within the Queen’s Faculty of Law, please visit the Faculty’s website.

A growing ‘home away from home’ for Indigenous students

Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre set to double in size.

144 and 146 Barrie Street. The Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre is currently housed in 146 Barrie and will be expanding next door in 2018. (University Communications)
144 and 146 Barrie Street. The Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre is currently housed in 146 Barrie and will be expanding next door in 2018. (University Communications)

Queen’s Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre is doubling in size.

The design process for the expansion of the centre, which will involve the house next door to its 146 Barrie St. location, is now underway. Renovations to both 146 and 144 Barrie are expected to begin in the new year.

“As enrolment among Indigenous students increases at Queen’s, we recognize that Four Directions has outgrown its space,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean (Student Affairs). “In line with recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Task Force, we are excited to be creating a new, larger ‘home away from home’ for students, with more amenities and staff, as well as programming and community-building opportunities.”

The university has engaged Two Row Architect, a firm based in Six Nations that has worked on many post-secondary campuses. Consultations with students, staff, faculty, and community members took place over the summer, to identify values, goals, and aspirations for the new facility. These include learning, inclusivity, the presence of craft, the importance of food, connection to the earth, and the integration of natural materials, natural light, and views.

The current plan is for one building to be used for gatherings and activities, including feasts and cultural programming, while the other will be offices, where students will meet one-on-one with staff, and student study spaces including a first-floor library.

“We want to create more spaces for all of our students to gather, connect, and learn,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), the university’s inaugural Director of Indigenous Initiatives, who served as Director of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre for the past seven years. “Expanding the centre is an important part of the reconciliation work underway at Queen’s. It will help us continue to build relationships across campus and in the local community, and increase the visibility and awareness of Indigenous cultures, knowledge, teachings and supports.”

The $600,000 project is being primarily funded by the Division of Student Affairs. The federal government is also contributing through an Enabling Accessibility Fund grant for upgrades that will make both buildings more accessible. During construction, the centre will remain open while work is done on the second building. Operations will then temporarily move to the new building, as the current centre is renovated.

Learn more about the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.

Read about the recommendations of the university’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force

Students accessing Indigenous self-identification mechanism

More than 100 students with Indigenous ancestry have chosen to self-identify to the university within the first few months of the launch of a new mechanism in the SOLUS student information system.

"Four Directions Aboriginal Students Centre Welcome Back Barbecue"
The annual Welcome Back Barbecue held in September at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre was attended by students, faculty, staff and community members. (Photo by Candice Pinto)

Self-identifying provides students with the opportunity to become part of the Aboriginal community at Queen’s, practice and/or learn more about their culture, and access resources like tutoring services, scholarships, cultural workshops, and on-campus Elders.

Some students choose to self-identify to the university during the application process, but until now, that has been the only time they can formally do so. This voluntary and confidential mechanism, comprising five questions, also gives Indigenous students the opportunity to consent to being contacted by an Indigenous student services staff member. To date, almost 60 students have requested outreach.

Vanessa McCourt, Aboriginal Advisor at Four Directions, says she is connecting with students from several faculties and schools.

“We’re seeing a lot more graduate and professional students self-identifying who we otherwise may not have known about,” says Ms. McCourt. “Many students, especially graduate students, may have had to leave an Indigenous community at their previous school, and come to Queen’s without a connection or way to form those communities here. By self-identifying, and receiving resources like the Four Directions E-Newsletter, students are able to foster those new relationships here at Queen’s. I am also in touch with some distance students who are accessing services and supports.”

The mechanism is being promoted across campus through posters, the distribution of bookmarks and brochures, on social media and an on-line hub of information. A new video and poster series also launched this month. In the video, Indigenous students and recent grads talk about why they choose to self-identify.

“I’ve never not self-identified. It has made me more comfortable with myself,” says Taylor Bluhm (NSc’18). “It’s nice to talk to people who are going through the same things as you are. If I ever have a question about absolutely anything, Four Directions is always there to help answer my questions.”  

“I wouldn’t have gotten involved with so many things if I didn’t self-identify,” adds Thomas Dymond (Meds’20). “Students unions, different projects, and ultimately jobs, that all came from getting involved, getting to know people, and being a part of a community.”

The mechanism was developed with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development’s Targeted Initiatives Fund. This month, Ms. McCourt and Paul Pearsall, Associate University Registrar (Student Information Systems), are presenting at a national post-secondary systems conference about the mechanism, its development, and the results to date.

The text used for the mechanism was developed by a student-led project team, and included a campus-wide consultation with students, faculty members, staff and other institutions to come up with a set of optional questions that aims to encourage self-identification. The application was designed and implemented by the Enterprise Solutions Peoplesoft team in the Office of the University Registrar. 

To learn more about Indigenous self-identification at Queen’s, visit queensu.ca/fdasc/self-identify

A focus on Indigenous research collaboration

Queen’s Adjunct Professor Alex McComber (DSc’16) delivers a lecture about Indigenous research collaboration. (University Communications)

Several recommendations within the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force final report challenged researchers across the university to ensure they are engaging Indigenous communities in culturally appropriate and respectful ways.

To help share the perspectives of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and build competency at Queen’s, the School of Graduate Studies, the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University (ACQU), and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre hosted a three-hour session about “Research Collaboration with Indigenous Communities”. More than 80 faculty and students attended the workshop, which included a keynote address and panel presentations by masters student Jon Aarssen; PhD candidate Natasha Stirrett; Heather Castleden, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities; and Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University. The event concluded with a talking circle which included all participants.

“This event is one way our School is responding to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report at Queen’s, a number of which speak to how we engage in research with Indigenous communities,” said Marta Straznicky, Associate Dean in the School of Graduate Studies and one of the event organizers. “The strong attendance at this workshop is a testament to the need for this type of information.”

This presentation was the realization of months of effort by the School of Graduate Studies to better educate its students on how to engage Indigenous communities in research – being ever mindful of the adage “nothing about us without us”. The workshop idea originated this summer, when the School of Graduate Studies and the ACQU established a Committee on Indigenous Research Collaboration. The committee includes representation from the ACQU, the School of Graduate Studies, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and other faculty members and students.

The workshop represents phase one of a longer-term plan to help broaden access by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities and organizations to the research resources of the university, appropriate to community needs and priorities. The School is also seeking to promote and develop the skills and intercultural competencies of graduate students and faculty for community-engaged research with, and by, Indigenous Peoples. Moving forward, The School of Graduate Studies will aim to provide students and faculty with the knowledge to build strong, mutually respectful, and durable research collaborations between Queen’s University and Indigenous communities, added Dr. Straznicky.

As an example of a successful research collaboration, Queen’s Adjunct Professor Alex McComber (DSc’16) gave a keynote address about a project within the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory aimed at supporting health promotion and diabetes prevention in local schools. This major and long-term effort united the local community and Montréal-based researchers. Dr. McComber said the approach of those original researchers, who incorporated community feedback and Indigenous ways of knowing into their work, resulted in a balanced relationship and served as a positive model for this type of research.

“Sometimes students come in with an idea, and when we hear the idea we think, ‘Well, that’s interesting but the way that they’re talking about it is never going to work,’ so we sit with the student and talk with them,” he said, reflecting on researchers approaching the Kahnawà:ke community leaders. “I remember the last time we told a student this she almost started to cry, thinking her idea was no good, and I said ‘No, the idea is awesome! But we need to help you understand [community participatory research]’. When she came back around, she understood what we were wanting her to learn, and how she could contribute back to the community.”

Dr. McComber noted, in the past, researchers would fly into Indigenous communities, gather information, and leave without contacting the community again; the next time the information would be seen was when a report was published. He suggested aspiring researchers should instead make the goal of their work to create new knowledge in collaboration with Indigenous communities and to build relationships that bring about understanding on both sides.

“As up and coming researchers…you have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth,” Dr. McComber said in closing. “Come in with respect, and be open to being challenged and doing things differently.”

The session was part of an annual two-day Indigenous Research Symposium organized by the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. In addition to the Friday workshop, the symposium explored the themes of this year’s Queen’s Read title, The Break, from an Indigenous perspective.

A call to end corporal punishment

Community forum creates document calling for an end to physical punishment by parents.

A new Christian Theological Statement issued last Friday calls on the federal government to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The statement was written and issued by a group of scholars, policy makers, Christian church leaders and general public who recently met at Queen’s University in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action #6 in regards to physical punishment by parents to correct a child’s behavior.

"Children's health painting"Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a legal defense for the use of physical punishment by parents and people standing in the place of parents.

“Because the TRC’s Call to Action #6 is to repeal the law that allows for the corporal punishment of children, I thought that maybe if we got Indigenous leaders, public health researchers, church leaders, Christian theologians and other stakeholders in the same room, we could address this in a multidimensional way, which would be more powerful than working on it on our own,” says co-organizer Valerie Michaelson (Public Health Sciences and School of Religion). “What happened was remarkable, and every participant embraced the urgency of responding to this call to action. This is by far the most important project I’ve ever been involved in.”

William Morrow (School of Religion) addressed the concern of some Christian groups who see repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code as one that compromises their interpretation of the Bible.

“The history of scriptural interpretation shows that even quite conservative communities have the means for moving past the literal implications of certain biblical passages when the circumstances warrant,” says Dr. Morrow. “The major issue is to convince them of the sizeable dangers that accompany the corporal punishment of children, no matter how mild.”

The result of this was the gathering last week and the creation of the statement which include six recommendations:

  1. We call upon Christian churches to petition our government to ensure the full protection of children, including the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
  2. We call upon Christian churches to recognize the deep societal wounds that remain as a result of colonialism, and to actively address the on-going, disproportionate physical, spiritual and emotional harm experienced by Indigenous children and youth.
  3. We call upon Christian churches to increase awareness in our communities of the impact of violence, including physical punishment, in homes, families, institutions and communities.
  4. We call upon all Christian churches to endorse the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth.
  5. We call upon all leaders and educators in Christian communities to be active in the protection of children.
  6. We call upon all Christians to work together in continuing to develop healthy, effective and non-violent approaches to discipline in raising children and youth.

“This statement is a major moment for the churches,” says Right Reverend Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada. “Advocating reconciliation and child protection, the statement makes a progressive and positive contribution to both.  In that, it is prophetic and urgent.”

The statement also acknowledged the damage caused to First Nations, Inuit and Metis children by residential schools.

“Corporal punishment was a primary means of control and source of suffering in the Indian Residential Schools,” says Joan Durrant (University of Manitoba). “It was used to silence children, destroy their languages, and enforce their submission to many indignities and acts of violence.  At this forum, a group of Christian leaders, theologians, and other members of Christian communities responded to the TRC’s Call to Action #6 by proclaiming their support for the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code.”

For more information or to read the paper, visit the website.

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.


Subscribe to RSS - aboriginal