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Faculty of Education, Chinese institution partner on new dual degree

A delegation from South China Normal University visited Queen's in early May and met with several Queen's representatives, including Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies (fourth from right) and Don Klinger, Associate Dean, Online Grad, Undergraduate Studies, in the Faculty of Education (third from left). (Supplied photo)

Queen’s will welcome this fall the first group of students from South China Normal University (SCNU) participating in a dual-degree program offered by Queen’s Faculty of Education and SCNU’s School of Foreign Studies.

Queen's in the World

The dual degree is a three-year program that gives SCNU and Queen’s Master of Education students the chance to study at both institutions, gaining valuable international experience and diverse teaching and learning opportunities.

“We are excited to be embarking on this partnership with SCNU, one of the most highly ranked teacher education programs in China. The dual-degree program builds on the strengths from each existing graduate program,” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean, Faculty of Education. “Bringing international students to our campus and sending our students abroad supports the goals of our international strategic plan to enhance our international mobility through the development of new international academic programs and diversifying our student mobility programming. This partnership also opens up the possibility for research collaborations.”

Students spend their first year focusing on course work at their home institution, second year doing course work at the partner institution, and third year, which includes thesis and internship completion, at the institution of their choice, either SCNU or Queen’s. The first group of Queen’s M.Ed. students enrolled in the dual degree will begin their second year at SCNU in September 2018.

South China Normal University, located in Guangzhou, China, was founded in 1933 and is now one of the three top teacher education universities in China. A university with comprehensive programming in fields such as economics, business management, law, literature, philosophy, history, science and engineering, SCNU is particularly strong in education, pedagogy, and psychology, making it an excellent partner for the dual-degree program.

The Queen’s-SCNU dual degree program was initiated in 2016. Dr. Luce-Kapler, along with Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies, visited SCNU last fall, and a delegation from SCNU visited Queen’s to discuss the partnership further in both December 2016 and May 2017.

Queen’s Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon will visit SCNU next week during travels to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Qingdao. The provost will also travel to Hong Kong this weekend, along with Principal Daniel Woolf and other senior leaders, for a 175th anniversary celebration and re-convocation ceremony for alumni in the Asia-Pacific region.

Internationalization is one of the four pillars of the Queen’s University Strategic Framework 2014–2019. The Comprehensive International Plan was launched in August 2015 to help the university build on its international strengths and direct future internationalization efforts. The plan’s goals include strengthening Queen’s international research engagement and creating more opportunities for student mobility through academic exchange and study-abroad programs. The plan also aims to attract high-quality international students to Queen’s and to increase international educational opportunities on Queen’s campus. Learn more on the International website.

 

Having some scientific fun

  • Members of the Queen's Genetically Engineered Machine (QGEM) put on one of the more than 60 displays that were available at Science Rendezvous.
    Members of the Queen's Genetically Engineered Machine (QGEM) put on one of the more than 60 displays that were available at Science Rendezvous.
  • A group of children take part in one of the many experiments that were on display during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.
    A group of children take part in one of the many experiments that were on display during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.
  • Families were able to meet and speak with scientists and students during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous on Saturday, May 13
    Families were able to meet and speak with scientists and students during the 10th annual Science Rendezvous on Saturday, May 13

It was a day of scientific learning and family fun as Science Rendezvous once again filled the Rogers K-Rock Centre on Saturday, May 13.

Thousands of attendees at the 10tjh annual event had the chance to meet and talk to scientists, engage in scientific experiments and learn about the excitement and possibilities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Among the more than 60 family-oriented activities were a Math Midway, building a kaleidoscope, exploring space inside a pop-up planetarium, and Canada's first Green Chemistry Magic Show

Demonstrations and experiments were put on by researchers and students from Queen’s University, as well as from the Royal Military College of Canada, St. Lawrence College and a number of community science groups.

 

A chance to give back

[ESS Supplies Drive]
Education Students' Society members, from left, Amber O'Reilly, Allie Minuk, Alisha Esteves, Christopher Suppa and Angie Allen, hold some of the supplies collected by their fellow students and members of the Faculty of Education. The supplies have been donated to four elementary schools in Kingston. (University Communications)

Looking to give back to the schools and teachers they worked with during their practicums, the Education Students' Society recently held a school supply drive.

ESS members collected books, art supplies, pencils, pens and more to donate to four local schools, explains Allie Minuk, Concurrent Education Representative on the ESS.

With the support of the Faculty of Education’s practicum office, the ESS selected Kingston community schools that have high needs, including a growing population of Syrian refugees and their families.

“We really see firsthand the lack of resources some schools in our community have while teachers take us into their classrooms, expecting nothing in return,” Ms. Minuk says. “They take their time and they teach us, shape us, molding us as educators and we see them day after day reach into their own pockets and wallets for supplies. That’s a life we are all about to begin.”

The drive was timed with the conclusion of studies for the concurrent education program with the hope that extra supplies might be found as students move out. The drive will pick up once again in June as consecutive education students complete their studies. Faculty members and staff also contributed to the drive.

The drive was geared toward specific requests from the participating schools, Ms. Minuk says. Skipping ropes were donated to one school that does not have a gym, while another requested art supplies. Another asked for books and more than 200 were collected.

Spectacular science

Annual Science Rendezvous lights the sparks of curiosity.

From its humble beginnings on West Campus, Science Rendezvous now boasts hundreds of exhibits and thousands of visitors. What hasn’t changed is its focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Our purpose is to excite learners of all ages by showcasing the many interesting and important places that STEM education may lead,” says Science Rendezvous founder and coordinator Lynda Colgan (Education). “It is a privilege and pleasure to be able to host this gigantic science party.”

Each year Science Rendezvous features something new and different and this year is no exception. Making its debut this year is an inflatable planetarium, a dome that lets visitors watch the constellations and experience the night sky. Adding to the excitement will be a chance to fly a historic Sopwith Camel biplane in one of two flight simulator on loan from the Museum of Aviation and Space.

“We are remembering the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the First World War and honouring the 1,500 Queen’s students that participated in the First World War,” says Dr. Colgan. “It’s a unique opportunity to fly a historic plane.”

Visitors are also invited to meet Brock Fenton, Canada’s “batman” and world-recognized authority on bats to learn about bat evolution, their specialized biology and unique behavior. Dr. Fenton will also talk about protecting bats and their natural habitats.

The Queen’s 175th anniversary is also being marked at this year’s Science Rendezvous. Mathematician and artist George Hart will be on hand to create a unique geometric sculpture. The work is inspired by work at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLab) and celebrates the contributions of Nobel Laurate and Queen’s professor Art McDonald.

“The public can assemble and disassemble the sculpture in the morning but the afternoon commemorative sculpture will be limited to faculty, graduate students, local artists (including curator of the Agnes Etherington) and educators,” says Dr. Colgan. “Then it will rest in a place of honour in Stirling Hall.”

Other events of note include the Green Chemistry Magic Show with Phil Jessop and the Queen’s Chemistry Graduate Student Society, the Queen’s University Baja SAE Design Team, the Kingston Police Force Canine Unit, the Germ Tent from the Museum of Healthcare and chance to build a kaleidoscope.

For information and a Science Rendezvous Kingston 2017 schedule visit the Facebook page.

A discussion of religion

Queen’s University Faculty of Education hosts multi-faith panel.

The horrific shooting at the mosque in Montreal earlier this year touched many people around the world, including Queen’s University professor Ted Christou (Education).

“The day of the shootings, the event made me think about people practicing their own religion and what an incident like that means to society,” Dr. Christou says. “I wanted to do something impactful, something that made it okay to talk about religion without any fear.”

With a heavy heart, Dr. Christou decided to organize a panel discussion featuring a variety of faiths. In the wake of the tragedy, Dr. Christou approached University Chaplain Kate Johnson about putting together a multi-faith panel and hosting a discussion on religion. The event is being hosted by Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler and the Faculty of Education.

“We live in a precarious world in which the ideas of hope and faith are not often discussed within our communities, especially with recent global events,” Dr. Christou says. “This evening is important for the public at large and will help us think about our responsibilities as a faculty.”

Included on the panel are:

  • Dr. Mohamed M. Bayoumi, a professor emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Queen’s. He is a founding member of the Islamic Society of Kingston and has volunteered as its president. He has been working to build bridges between the Muslim and Kingston communities.
  • Rev. Lisa Chisholm-Smith, an ordained Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada. Ms. Chisholm-Smith recently returned to Kingston and currently serves as campus minister and children and youth minister at St James Anglican Church.
  • Laurel Klaus-Johnson, a Mohawk of the Bear clan. As a grandmother on the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council, she assists with the spiritual lives of Indigenous peoples in this territory.
  • Gregory Nacu, a professional software developer. He has been practicing Wicca for 20 yearsand helped organize and lead the Pagan community in Kingston from 2001-2010, during which time he led rituals and taught many classes on Wicca.
  • Rabbi Karen Soria graduated from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1981. Since then, she has served as a rabbi in the United States, Australia, Canada, and in the Canadian Armed Forces, and has worked as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy.

The discussion will be held in the auditorium at Duncan McArthur Hall on Wednesday, April 19 starting at 5 pm. The evening will begin with opening remarks made by Ms. Johnson, followed by the multi-faith panel, question period, and a reception with light refreshments.

For more information, please visit the website.

Up against the clock

Graduate students shine in final round of Queen’s 3MT competition.

The pressure was on as 11 graduate students took to the stage in the Dupuis Hall Auditorium to compete in the final round of the Queen’s Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on Thursday, March 30.

Using only one static slide and no props, the students had to present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges.

Neuroscience master's candidate Victoria Donovan delivered a presentation on how the brain responds to trauma. Ms. Donovan won the overall and People's Choice awards and will move on to represent Queen's at the Ontario 3MT.

“Queen’s 3MT is a much-anticipated annual event on campus,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “Our students put in hours of preparation for their three minutes in front of the judges. The competition helps students hone communication skills – such as making their research accessible and it’s a great way to celebrate the innovative and thought-provoking research our graduate students are conducting across campus.”

A panel of judges, consisting of Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, communications consultant Robert A Wood, CBC reporter JC Kenny, and Denise Cumming, CEO of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, graded the competitors on clarity, audience engagement and presentation skills. A long-time supporter of the 3MT competition, CKWS Television host Bill Welychka served as the emcee for the event.

“I have promoted the event on CKWS-TV the past two years and it seems like the coolest thing ever,” said Mr. Welychka. “I love that 3MT combines distilling a complicated subject down to a three minute verbal presentation with dramatic elements, public speaking and engaging the audience. Not an easy undertaking to say the least.”

Victoria Donovan, a master's candidate in neuroscience was named winner and people's choice for her presentation, Lie low, stay alive. Her research is looking at the evolutionary response to traumatic brain injury. Early results provide evidence that high brain shutdown is an evolved reply to trauma – providing clues as to future treatments.

“I've been at Queen's for six and a half years now and have enjoyed every minute of it,” she says. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to represent the university at the provincial championship.”

Ms. Donovan will move on to represent Queen’s at the Ontario 3MT finals on April 12 in Waterloo. The national 3MT winner will be decided through an online vote on videos of the regional champions, conducted on the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies website.

“Competing in the 3MT was one of the highlights of my Masters studies,” says Anastasia Savrova, MSc’17, winner of the 2016 Queen’s 3MT competition. “It was encouraging to hear people were so excited about my research, and this experience has really pushed me to pursue more opportunities where I can get the public more involved in academic research.”

For more information on the Queen’s 3MT competition, or to see video of the finalists' presentations, please visit the website.

TRC report brings communities together to change course

  • Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

At a special reception Tuesday night to mark the unveiling of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Task Force final report and recommendations, Principal Daniel Woolf told the crowd of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local Indigenous community members that, “Today, our communities come together to change course.”

“By taking steps to ensure that Indigenous histories are shared, by recognizing that we can all benefit from Indigenous knowledge, and by creating culturally validating learning environments, we can begin to reduce barriers to education and create a more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse university,” said Principal Woolf.

The special event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the TRC report represent a significant milestone for Queen’s and the local Indigenous communities, signalling a broad and sustained effort to build and improve relations, and to effect meaningful institutional change. The recommendations in the report span everything from hiring practices and programming, to research, community outreach, and the creation of Indigenous cultural spaces on campus. (More detailed list of recommendations below.)

Principal Woolf reiterated his commitment to fulfilling the recommendations in the task force’s final report, and to illustrate that commitment, he announced that the university will be creating an Office of Indigenous Initiatives in the coming months – an announcement met by a loud round of applause from the audience.

“This is just one of the task force’s many recommendations that I am committed to implementing across campus, and because I believe that we are stronger together, I welcome the rest of the Queen’s community to join me in that commitment,” he said.

Principal Woolf also stated his commitment to the TRC recommendations in a special Senate meeting on March 7, where he acknowledged “Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous People.”

‘We are making history’

Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members, Tuesday’s event was hosted by TRC Task Force co-chairs Mark Green and Jill Scott and showcased the importance of ceremony – with a traditional Mohawk opening presented by lecturer Nathan Brinklow, presentations by Elder Marlene Brant Castellano and student Lauren Winkler, an Anishinaabe Honour Song performed by the Four Directions Women Singers, and to end the evening, a Haudenosaunee Round Dance, led by performers from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, that brought guests together in a huge circle, hands linked.

“Ceremony reminds us that what we do today is important, impacting the relationships and responsibilities that we carry forward, and woven into our memory as a community,” said Dr. Brant Castellano, a member of the task force, Queen’s alumna, and pioneer and champion of Indigenous rights and education.

“We are making history,” Dr. Brant continued. “In creating the task force, Queen’s has stepped up to ask of itself: What can we do to advance reconciliation? … The task force has brought together voices from the Queen’s community saying: We can do this. We have a responsibility to do this. The report is presented to the principal, who speaks on behalf of the university. In this ceremony, all who are present become witnesses to Queen’s acknowledgement of past errors and commitment to walk together with Indigenous Peoples and others of good mind to restore and maintain a relationship of peace, friendship, and respect.”

“I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through"
​~ Lauren Winkler

Lauren Winkler, student and president of the Queen’s Native Student Association, as well as deputy commissioner of Indigenous affairs for the Alma Mater Society and member of the TRC Task Force, spoke about the experiences of Indigenous students and the challenges and racist encounters they face on Queen’s campus.

"Our education system has failed and is failing to educate our students at the cost of Indigenous students. The university recognizes this – it’s one of the truths in our truth and reconciliation process," said Ms. Winkler, who went on to thank Principal Woolf for his acknowledgements of the history of mistreatment of the Indigenous community and Queen’s role in perpetuating the mistreatment.

"I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through," said Ms. Winkler.

The TRC Task Force’s final report, which includes reproductions of artwork included in the Indigenous art collection at the Agnes, outlines recommendations and timelines for implementation – in particular, the formation of an implementation team that will work with faculties, schools, and shared service units to expedite recommendations. The task force asks for five-year plans from the faculties, schools, and other units to be completed by fall 2017.


Celebrating research in education

  • Liying Cheng, Acting Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Faculty of Education, hosts the first Celebration of Scholarly Activity at the Education Library in Duncan McArthur Hall.
    Liying Cheng, Acting Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Faculty of Education, hosts the first Celebration of Scholarly Activity at the Education Library in Duncan McArthur Hall.
  • Lynda Colgan (Education), right, talks about the projects she is working on after receiving two Ministry of Education grants and a KNAER Secretariat grant, as Amanda Cooper (Education) looks on.
    Lynda Colgan (Education), right, talks about the projects she is working on after receiving two Ministry of Education grants and a KNAER Secretariat grant, as Amanda Cooper (Education) looks on.
  • Richard Reeve (Education) co-edited the book “Design as Scholarship: Case Studies from the Learning Sciences” and was recognized by the Faculty of Education at the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.
    Richard Reeve (Education) co-edited the book “Design as Scholarship: Case Studies from the Learning Sciences” and was recognized by the Faculty of Education at the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.
  • Rosa Bruno-Jofre received a SSHRC Connection Grant for the project “Educationalization of social and moral problems in the western world and the educationalization of the world: historical dimensions through time and space.”
    Rosa Bruno-Jofre received a SSHRC Connection Grant for the project “Educationalization of social and moral problems in the western world and the educationalization of the world: historical dimensions through time and space.”
  • Ben Bolden (Education), recipient of the 2016 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing for his composition Tread Softly, talks about his research during the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.
    Ben Bolden (Education), recipient of the 2016 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing for his composition Tread Softly, talks about his research during the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.

Research at the Faculty of Education was highlighted recently through the inaugural Celebration of Scholarly Activity.

At the event, six faculty members were recognized for their achievements and had the opportunity to share their experiences and research with their colleagues.

Similar events have been held in the past but were not focused on the range of award- and grant-winning research that is being done by faculty members. The Celebration of Scholarly Activity offered the opportunity for faculty members to share their insights as well as hear about the work being accomplished by colleagues.

“We’re emphasizing partnerships, working together, building community. Through these kinds of recognitions, we can build a strong research culture within a faculty that also encourages collaborations and attracts external partnerships,” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean, Faculty of Education. “This event is a chance to celebrate accomplishments and let people know what’s happening in the Faculty of Education and that research and teaching are priorities for us.”

Recognizing the research component is vital not only for the Faculty of Education but for the Queen’s and surrounding communities as well, adds John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).

“We know we have a transformational educational experience at Queen’s and embedded alongside and within is the research of educators – that may be in choral music, it could be in how to enhance math education,” Dr. Fisher says. “They contribute to the social fabric of our community and have a huge impact in different areas of the city and in education and methods to enhance education of children as well as in the discovery of methods to better communicate education.”

Those recognized were:

Ben Bolden – recipient of the 2016 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing for his composition Tread Softly; and a new chairholder of the Faculty of Education’s UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning.

Rosa Bruno-Jofre – recipient of a SSHRC Connection Grant for the project “Educationalization of social and moral problems in the western world and the educationalization of the world: historical dimensions through time and space”; and ASPP Publication Grant for the work “Catholic Education in the Wake of Vatican II.”

Liying Cheng – authored the book “Assessment in the Language Classroom - Teachers Supporting Student Learning” (2017)

Lynda Colgan – recipient of a Ministry of Education grant for the project “Building parent engagement: A project to support the implementation of Ontario's Renewed Mathematics Strategy”; Ministry of Education and the KNAER Secretariat grant for the project “Mathematics Knowledge Network: The Fields Institute.”

Amanda Cooper – co-recipient of SSHRC Partnership Development Grant for the project “CITED: Partnered knowledge mobilization between researchers and media organizations.”

Richard Reeve – co-edited the book “Design as Scholarship: Case Studies from the Learning Sciences” (2016).

Opportunities for undergraduate research

Each year, the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship (USSRF) provides students at Queen’s the opportunity to gain some valuable experience that will help them in their continuing studies and into their career.

Through the program, undergraduate students in social sciences, humanities, business and education are able to further develop their research skills under the guidance of a faculty researcher.

[USSRF]
Students who took part in the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship (USSRF) explain their research during a poster display at Stauffer Library. (University Communications)

Conor Hannigan (Artsci’17) took part in the USSRF program in 2016 and recommends it for any undergraduate student.

“The USSRF program is an exceptional opportunity for any undergraduate interested in continuing on to graduate studies or eventually academia, to develop research skills,” he says. “Not only is it useful for developing skills, but it has the potential to both broaden and deepen the student's research opportunities and activities. For example, the research I conducted through the USSRF has led me on to an undergraduate thesis as well as upcoming participation in the Inquiry@Queen's undergraduate research conference.”

He adds that the program is also an excellent way for students to build a strong relationship with a Queen’s faculty member. By working with David Haglund (Political Studies), Mr. Hannigan says he gained a greater understanding of how academic research is conducted as well as how to design and conduct research projects.

“Having a faculty member who has continued to act as a mentor for me following the USSRF work has motivated me to work harder and achieve more in my studies,” he says. “The program provides students with the opportunity to engage in research they are genuinely interested in by virtue of designing a project with a supervisor. This, of course, has both instrumental and intrinsic value.”

The USSRF program was established in 2011and is intended to provide students with meaningful opportunities to engage in discovery-based learning and to develop research and presentation skills.

The deadline for applications is March 10, at 4 pm. Up to 19 fellowships of $6,000 each will be offered to students whose projects take place on Queen’s campus and up to three fellowships of $5,000 each will be offered to students whose projects take place at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, England.

For more information, visit the USSRF program website.

Welcome first results

[Bachelor of Education]
Students taking part in the four-semester Bachelor of Education program fill the lecture hall at Duncan McArthur Hall during the opening day in 2015. The program graduated its first class this past August. (Photo by Greg Black)

Starting in 2015, Bachelor of Education programs across Ontario were required to expand from two semesters to four. With the change, the Queen’s Faculty of Education decided on a format that differed from other universities. Instead of following the traditional path of two terms per academic year with a summer break, the faculty created a program of four consecutive terms for those pursuing a B.Ed. after completing an undergraduate degree. 

The first cohort of teacher candidates in this revised Consecutive program graduated in August 2016 and the feedback from the graduates, as well as school recruiters, has been very encouraging, says Don Klinger, Acting Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies.

“We are getting very positive comments from schools who hire our teachers. They are very impressed by the students from our program – their maturity and their depth of thought, their understanding of educational issues and their desire to become teachers,” he says. 

The main reason, Dr. Klinger explains, is that committing to 16 more months of studies after completing a four-year undergraduate program takes a significant amount of dedication. 

One of the strengths of the four-term program is that teacher candidates have a greater amount of learning opportunities. What the faculty has found, Dr. Klinger says, is that the students are now able to diversify their teaching toolbox. As one example, the faculty now provides new courses such as Indigenous Education.

“Students just loved that course. The structure was extremely popular and gave students a new perspective and they never would have got that in the previous program,” Dr. Klinger says. “We are expanding their horizons. We are trying hard not to use the program just to go into more depth of the same things but to give them new experiences and new things to look at. They do get depth but they also get new ideas and perspectives.”

For Francesca Pang (BFA’15, Ed’16), the expanded learning opportunities were very valuable.

“I think the strength of the new program is the earlier graduation time and inclusion of more courses and practicum time. As an Intermediate/Secondary teacher candidate, I found the additional classes, such as Grade 7/8, Transitions and the Indigenous Education courses, to be very relevant and helpful,” says Ms. Pang, the Education Coordinator for Varley Art Gallery of Markham.

As with any program, there always is room for improvement. Currently, a task force involving students, faculty and staff members is looking at further revisions.'One issue is that students are finding they have little downtime. Also, with no summer breaks students have less time to work during their studies.

“Currently, we’re looking at ways to maximize breaks here and there for students throughout the program so they are not feeling overwhelmed,” Dr. Klinger says. “We’re also finding ways to increase our support services to help students both financially and their well-being throughout the program.” 

On the infrastructure side, Duncan McArthur Hall is feeling the strain. An older building, it was not designed as a year-round facility and this has put a greater pressure on systems such as air conditioning. However, the nicer weather has also allowed for a new learning environment with an opportunity to create an outdoor classroom.

“Overall, the first time through the four-term program has been a positive and valuable learning experience,” Dr. Klinger says.

Applications to the program have increased, he adds, and Queen’s has no problem meeting its enrollment targets. 

“I think that speaks to the viability of the model that we’ve chosen,” he says. “Most of the students who come here are not local. We are not a commuter campus. You have to make a choice to come here. So I think this model is a sounder model for us because it reduces financial constraints in terms of housing and gets the graduates to the job market sooner, more than eight months before their peers at other universities. And students entering Concurrent Education right out of high school will similarly benefit from this new program.”

To learn more about the Bachelor of Education program visit the Faculty of Education website.

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