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William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

 

Agreement with Chinese Consulate will boost student mobility

Provost Benoit Antoine-Bacon and Consul General He Wei speak at the University Club
Provost Benoit Antoine-Bacon and Consul General He Wei speak at the University Club.

Queen's University has signed an exciting new agreement with The Education Office, Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto. This new Memorandum of Understanding will see up to 10 Queen’s students per year offered a China Scholarship Council scholarship which would allow them to complete part of their studies in China.

The MOU was signed Friday during a campus visit by Consul General He Wei. The agreement aims to promote student mobility at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, across all disciplines. The scholarship will specifically support Queen’s students who wish to further understand China, learn the Chinese language, or study at Chinese universities. The scholarship will be awarded annually to either five students for a full academic year, or 10 students for one term.

Signing the MOU on behalf of Queen’s was Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon.

“Increased cultural awareness, intellectual development, personal development, and career opportunities are only some of the benefit of International learning opportunities,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “This new agreement aligns with our Comprehensive International Plan by enhancing our relationship with China and growing our reputation as a truly international institution. We are pleased to partner with the Consulate General to open up this exciting opportunity for our students, and we look forward to the announcement of our first recipients this fall.”

In addition to the signing ceremony, Mr. He’s first ever visit to Queen’s included meetings with the Vice-Principal (Research), and with the Director of China Liaison Office, followed by a lunch hosted by the Provost. Topics of discussion included research collaboration, student mobility, faculty exchange, and non-academic student support services. The visit was a part of Mr. He’s introduction to Canada – he became China’s new Consul General in Toronto in April.

During the last academic year, 19 Queen’s students participated in an exchange with partners in China and 24 participated in the Canada Learning Initiative in China (CLIC) program, which provides students with fully funded study opportunities in China. Queen's is one of seven Canadian university members of the CLIC program, which was formed in partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE), the China Scholarship Council, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada, and a number of top Chinese universities.

To learn more about exchange opportunities for Queen’s students, visit the International Programs Office website.

Collaboration on sustainability and development continues to grow

  • Participants in the 3rd Sino-Canada Workshop for Environmental Sustainability and Development, including a delegation of faculty and graduate students from Tongji University, gather for a group photo in the Biosciences Complex at Queen's. (Supplied Photo)
    Participants in the 3rd Sino-Canada Workshop for Environmental Sustainability and Development, including a delegation of faculty and graduate students from Tongji University, gather for a group photo in the Biosciences Complex at Queen's. (Supplied Photo)
  • Stephen Lougheed (Biology), Director of the Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS) provides a tour of the facility for a delegation from Tongji University. (Supplied Photo)
    Stephen Lougheed (Biology), Director of the Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS) provides a tour of the facility for a delegation from Tongji University. (Supplied Photo)
  • Tongji University master's student Liu Jinling presents her research as part of the 3rd Sino-Canada Workshop for Environmental Sustainability and Development. (Supplied Photo)
    Tongji University master's student Liu Jinling presents her research as part of the 3rd Sino-Canada Workshop for Environmental Sustainability and Development. (Supplied Photo)
  • Interim Vice-Principal (Research) John Fisher welcomes Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson during the opening of the 3rd Sino-Canada Workshop for Environmental Sustainability and Development. (Supplied Photo)
    Interim Vice-Principal (Research) John Fisher welcomes Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson during the opening of the 3rd Sino-Canada Workshop for Environmental Sustainability and Development. (Supplied Photo)

A delegation of faculty and graduate students from Tongji University visited Queen’s on July 13-15 for the 3rd annual Sino-Canada Workshop on Environmental Sustainability and Development.

[Tri-Colour Globe]
Queen's in the World

The event, an initiative by the Department of Biology and School of Environmental Studies with their Chinese counterparts, featured presentations on current research projects and discussions for future collaboration opportunities. Also attending the workshop were government and industry representatives from China. Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO), Innovation Park and Queen’s Industry Partnerships hosted a very informative session at Innovation Park which showcased some of the water technologies that exist in the local economy.

Queen’s and Tongji have collaborated on various projects in recent years including the 2+2 Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, a long-standing Joint Biology Field Course that occurs in China and the Queen’s in alternating years, and the Sino-Canada Network for Environment and Sustainable Development.

Internationalization in 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. China is a region of focus within the plan. For more information on the Queen’s-China Connection and Queen’s international program overall, visit the International website.

Canada-India conference builds on common ground

A recent conference hosted by Queen’s University explored the intersection of the Canadian practice of mutual accommodation and India’s use of non-violent action in addressing societal issues.

"Father Nicholas Barla holds a statue as Mohawk elder Laurel Claus-Johnson looks on during the opening dinner"
Father Nicholas Barla, who traveled from India to take part in the Gathering on Common Ground: Building Harmony through Diversity in Canada and India conference, holds up a statue as Mohawk elder Laurel Claus-Johnson looks on during the opening dinner held at the University Club. (Supplied photo)

Gathering on Common Ground: Building Harmony through Diversity in Canada and India brought together approximately 60 people from a broad range of backgrounds, including students and faculty members, as well as representatives from the private and public sectors. Women and men were equally represented and half of attendees were from India or of Indian heritage.

Another key element was the participation of Indigenous people from both Canada and India.

The objective of the conference, explain co-organizers Hugh Helferty, former Executive-in-Residence at the Smith School of Business and current adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry, and Paul Schwartzentruber, Associate Member, Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity, was to build on the experiences in mutual accommodation and non-violent action to help develop innovative, effective approaches and solutions on an array of societal issues.

After opening the conference together on the first day, attendees were placed into workgroups of six to eight people representing a variety of backgrounds.

It was a great opportunity for participants to interconnect and learn from each other, says Dr. Helferty.

“I think the richness of the conversation came from that diversity. We structured the workshops to make sure that we had this mix. I think that helped a lot,” he says. “Mostly this was a group of complete strangers getting together and I really do think we made progress toward creating a community that is willing to take some further action on this. We asked people to work on these problems and come up with ideas about what possibly might be done. The next step is to further understand and develop these ideas, share that, and figure out what to do.”

The workshops approached four challenge areas that India and Canada have in common – Indigenous peoples; minorities – religious and ethnic; poverty and economic inequality and; gender-based struggles for justice.

“These are key themes in the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity”, says Margaret Moore (Political Studies), Director of the centre and a sponsor of the conference.

The result was the sharing of experiences from different viewpoints and the development of novel ideas to help address some of these issues.

“Hugh and I just sort of synchronized on the idea that this should be a working conference where people got into small groups and a very mixed, inter-cultural dialogue happens,” Mr. Schwartzentruber says. “That was, from my point of view, the real success of things, that we had a lively, vibrant debate across many tiers of society and across the countries. People who wouldn’t probably have talked to each other really got into the meaty issues with each other.”

Another commonality is that in 2017 Canada is marking 150 years since its founding while in 2019 India will be celebrating 150 years since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba. In line with this, a follow-up conference is proposed to be held in India in two years’ time.

The conference opened with two keynote addresses on the main themes: William A. Macdonald provided the background on mutual accommodation and Rajagopal PV discussed the role of non-violent social movements in building an inclusive society.

Through the many discussions attendees found that, despite their different histories and social structures, India and Canada have much in common, from the experiences of Indigenous peoples to a history of cooperation and collaboration.

“I think the overarching theme of the conference is this concept of the otherness of the other, of not trying to make the other the same, but to appreciate the otherness of the other,” says Jill Carr-Harris, a specialist on Indian development policies, nonviolence activist, and researcher on poverty reduction, and gender and education, who traveled from India to attend the conference. “One rich idea was to break the majority-minority idea because minorities, marginalized people, are defined by the mainstream, which allows the legitimization of two classes or many classes, different identities, where they are less powerful than the other. What one group decided to do was not talk about multiculturalism, because that is kind of tolerating divisions. So what they talked about is intercultural awareness instead.”

For more information about the conference, including the full program, visit the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity website.

A taste of Canadian culture and politics

"Australian students participating in Queen’s Political Studies Summer Institute hold a Canadian flag as they stand in front of Niagara Falls"
Students from Australian National University participating in Queen’s Political Studies Summer Institute (QPSSI) hold a Canadian flag as they visit Niagara Falls. (Supplied Photo)

An innovative program in Canada, Queen’s Political Studies Summer Institute (QPSSI) recently welcomed 10 students from Australian National University (ANU) to participate in a hands-on learning experience, studying the political landscape of Canada.

"Tri-Colour Globe"
Queen's In the World

The program, now in its second year, was developed by Jonathan Rose (Political Studies) and master’s student, Elisha Corbett.

“QPSSI is truly a unique experience because it is the first political studies institute in Canada. It’s also unique compared to other political studies institutes in North America in that its primary learning objective is a hands-on learning experience,” says Ms. Corbett.

The program, which ran this summer from June 30 to July 15, combined a lecture-style education with the benefits of interactive learning through field trips that complemented the material. The students learned about the Canadian political system before being taken on a parliamentary tour of Ottawa, and likewise were versed in Quebec nationalism before visiting Old Montreal. At the completion of the program, students return to their home institution with the equivalent of a Queen’s one term credit in Canadian Politics.

“After doing research on other summer institute programs in Canada, I realized they all lacked the fundamental component of experiencing Canada in a hands-on way,” says Ms. Corbett, “I felt compelled to create a program where Canada’s unique narrative and history could be learned without a textbook.”

The benefits of experiential learning in a cross-cultural capacity are not lost on the student participants.

“Because I have always lived in Australia, as much as I would like to say I’m well versed in the world, my world view is somewhat narrow,” says Kelvin Chen, a first-year political science and philosophy major from ANU and participant in this summer’s QPSSI program. “This program fit well into my university agenda in terms of being able to expand my world view along the lines of my academic and personal growth pursuits.”

“What attracted me most to this program was the cultural experience and knowing that a cross-cultural exchange is the best way to understand a new culture, through immersion,” adds Leah Huang, another ANU participant.

Of particular interest to the students was the first hand contact with Canada’s binational culture.

“As an Australian, it’s very interesting to me that both Canada and Australia are remnants of the British Commonwealth and so I was excited to draw the similarities of our cultures. What surprised me was the strength of the francophone culture in Canada. It was interesting to see the contrast of francophone and anglophone culture in one country. That was a bit of a culture shock,” says Mr. Chen.

“I understand Canada’s French and British colonial differences, but Canada has been federated for 150 years now, so the fact that Quebecers are so patriotic about their French heritage is very unique, I believe,” agrees Ms. Huang.

Ultimately, what Ms. Corbett and her team hope for the program is that the students come away with not just a credit, but a renewed idea of what Canada is and how Canadian politics work.

“I hope that the program challenges their preconceived notions of Canada,” says Emilio Frometa, a master’s student in Queen’s Industrial Relations and a QPSSI staff member. “Although Canada as a whole has its divides, we are blessed to be blanketed on the world stage by a narrative of Canada as a friendly peace-keeping nation. It’s important to really learn about and engage with the institutions of Canada as a unique country and not just a stereotype, and my hope is that the students form their own opinions about Canadian politics and Canada’s role in the world.”

More information on the institute and its programming, is available online.

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.

Global ambitions

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And your business. 

Greg Bavington speaks to an alumni audience in New York City about Queen’s Innovation programs including Principal Daniel Woolf, Julie Gordon-Woolf, and Julia Reid, President of the NY Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association. Over 50 alumni gathered to learn about Innovation at Queen’s and launch the New York Alumni node in the Innovation Alumni Network. (Supplied photo - credit: Dayvid Wolf Garcia)

That’s the concept behind the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre’s (DDQIC’s) Global Network program. The Global Network connects Queen’s graduates who are launching a business with a group of advisors and valuable connections in several large cities. The rapidly growing Global Network currently includes nodes in London, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Each node is guided by at least three volunteers who are well established in industries ranging from financial, regulatory, information technology, and other critical sectors.

“Knowing that the Canadian market makes up just 10 per cent of the overall North American market, we advise our student entrepreneurs to go international very quickly once their businesses are up and running,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. “In doing this, we recognized it would be helpful to support our student entrepreneurs with a soft landing wherever they go as they launch their businesses and transition out of the university. So, we have been working with our colleagues in Advancement and the International Office to establish these virtual nodes, comprised of alumni and influencers in key markets.”

Mr. Bavington believes the network could be expanded to a dozen nodes if the right contacts can be found in major markets, and he is currently seeking volunteers to be a part of the network’s inaugural Asia nodes. Oftentimes, these volunteers are Queen’s alumni.

“The Queen’s University Comprehensive International plan is premised on international collaboration, and our alumni base around the world is a key strength and differentiator,” says Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International). “The combination of student innovators and experienced alumni working together in different parts of the world in a global network is exciting, unique, and directly contributes to a transformative student learning experience.”

Ultimately, it is the volunteers who made the Global Network tick. Heather Christie (Artsci'09), CFA, is a Vice President with BlackRock's U.K. Retail London Discretionary Team, and chairs the London node. Ms. Christie says she was delighted to have the opportunity to spearhead the Global Network initiative in the U.K.

"It gives me the opportunity to stay connected to some of the absolutely brilliant businesses our students are cultivating at Queen's, but equally it gives me the opportunity to stay connected to Queen's alumni in the U.K. who have an interest in critiquing and helping to cultivate our next generation of Queen's grads to build enterprises that will truly make a difference in our global, social economy," says Ms. Christie

"The 20 members of our hub in the U.K. have been really impressed with the quality of enterprises that have come through the Innovation Centre at Queen’s and we are all really excited to see the next developments in all of them," adds Ms. Christie. "The level of passion and ingenuity from our students coming from all sorts of backgrounds has genuinely provided all of us with such inspiration and excitement about this next generation of talent coming out of Queen's."

As for the entrepreneurs, the value is immediately obvious. Esther Jiang, co-founder of alternative protein business Gryllies, noted many of the company's early customers have had some connection to Queen's. "It has been great for our business to connect with the different international nodes of the network," says Ms. Jiang. "Queen’s alumni are very keen to support each other and I have seen that firsthand. As we launched our product, it was important to have reach outside of our local area and the Queen’s network has let us do that effectively."

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre team is currently seeking alumni and other influencers who might wish to participate in future Global Network nodes. If you are interested in this opportunity, or if you know of someone who might be, contact Greg Bavington at bavingtg@queensu.ca.

For more information on the Global Network program, visit the DDQIC’s website.

Record number of first year students to study at the castle

  • For hundreds of Canadian students this upcoming academic year, this will be home - historic Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.
    For hundreds of Canadian students this upcoming academic year, this will be home - historic Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.
  • Imagine this as your classroom as you study history, arts, or science. The Bader International Study Centre is 'a unique and special place to study and work'.
    Imagine this as your classroom as you study history, arts, or science. The Bader International Study Centre is 'a unique and special place to study and work'.
  • Why learn about historic art through a screen when you can see it in person? Students on a field trip visit the Musée Guimet in Paris.
    Why learn about historic art through a screen when you can see it in person? Students on a field trip visit the Musée Guimet in Paris.

With a new school year soon to begin, there is a renewed sense of enthusiasm and pride for staff and faculty at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC). The incoming class for the 2017-18 academic year is 139 first-year Queen’s students – the largest yet – and, with new Vice Provost and Executive Director Hugh Horton having just started his term, the next year looks to be a significant one in the campus’ history.

“This is a unique and special place to study, and to work, and I am excited to be joining the team at the BISC,” says Dr. Horton. “My first priorities include building on our recent strong enrolment performance, expanding our partnerships locally and with the Kingston campus, and continuing to refine and enhance the unique and personal student experience we have established at this campus. I look forward to building on the progress which has been made in recent years.”

Next year will mark 25 years since Queen’s University alumni Alfred Bader (Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07) donated Herstmonceux Castle to Queen’s – now known as the Bader International Study Centre. Since then, the castle has undergone renovations, generated many new partnerships, and established itself as a significant and distinct member of the Canadian higher education landscape.

In addition to providing a home and educational campus to about 250 Canadian university students each year, the BISC is involved in a number of other business ventures year-round and additional revenue-generating plans are in the works to help offset the cost of operating the castle. For example, when not in use by students, the site serves as a centre for academic and business conferences, a venue for festivals, weddings, concerts, plays, workshops, and exhibitions, and as a bed-and-breakfast facility and a tourist attraction for visitors. It was recently named one of the top 10 castles in the UK for a family day out by The Guardian

“The BISC is a key part of Queen’s internationalization strategy, supporting the aims of our strategic framework,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “Our new programs have been very successful, both in terms of attracting excellent students, and in student outcomes.”

In recent years, programming at the BISC has expanded to include a first-year science program in 2015, and a concurrent education (arts) program in 2016. These two programs join the existing first-year arts program, and an international law program. All programs offer a unique educational experience: small class sizes and close contact with professors, an interdisciplinary and community-oriented environment, and the opportunity for experiential learning activities in an international setting, whether at the castle or in sites across Europe.

“The field studies offered while I was studying art history at the castle were truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and being lectured in front of the historic paintings I was studying were some of the most amazing academic experiences I have ever had,” Maddi Andrews (Artsci’19) said in a recent news article, reflecting on her experience learning about Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies” series.

To learn more about the BISC, visit queensu.ca/bisc.

International students offered taste of grad studies at Queen’s

Queen's in the World

Students from around the globe got a glimpse of life as a graduate student at Queen’s at a recent event held through the School of Graduate Studies (SGS).

Every summer, SGS invites students participating in the Mitacs Globalink international research internships to visit Queen’s and Kingston. During their day-long visit, the undergraduate students – who are spending the summer working on research projects at various Canadian universities (including Queen’s) – take a campus tour, meet with graduate students and professors from various fields, and take a trolley bus tour through Kingston.

“It’s an opportunity for them to learn about research opportunities at Queen’s and the advantages of studying and living in Kingston,” says Kim McAuley, Acting Vice-Provost and Dean, SGS.

Several international students visited Queen's last week, exploring graduate studies options, and touring campus and Kingston (with Kingston Trolley Tours, above). 

“The interns make personal connections with our faculty and current graduate students so they can envision studying as future master’s or PhD students at Queen’s. The interns see that current international graduate students are working on interesting research projects with talented professors. Globalink helps Queen’s attract top international graduate students with external funding from Mitacs.”

For Daniela Iribe Gonzalez, the Queen’s visit was a chance to explore Queen’s research program and see if it would be a good fit for her and her studies in geodetic engineering.

“I’d heard that Queen’s is really good at research. I enjoy the research and I want to do more,” says Ms. Iribe Gonzalez, a student from Mexico who is spending the summer on a Globalink internship at the University of Ottawa. While she hasn’t made any decisions on where she’ll apply to graduate school, she was impressed with what Queen’s offers. “People are very welcoming and the campus is beautiful,” she says.

Jiaqi Chen, from China, is currently a research intern at Queen’s, working with Professor Mark Daymond in Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He’s considering graduate studies in Canada, but has yet to make any firm application decisions.

“I’ve only been here about 10 days. The work I’m doing is different than I expected, but it’s interesting,” he says. “I find Kingston and Queen’s to be a quiet and beautiful place. Life is slower here than in China and the people are very nice. I’ve never been abroad before, and my English is not always great, but so far, I think everyone understands me and they have been helpful."

In total, Queen’s hosted seven Mitacs research interns and 13 undergraduate Globalink students from other universities at the event. Currently, seven Mitacs Graduate Research Fellows study at Queen’s, and this summer, the university is hosting nine undergraduate Globalink research interns. Many of them attended the event as well. More info about the organization’s internships and scholarships is available on their website.

Through existing and developing research collaborations, student mobility programs, and international activities at home, Queen’s continues to expand its global reach and offer students and researchers a diverse and enriching environment that pushes their thinking and offers them opportunities to create a lasting impact on their communities, and the world as a whole. Learn more on the International website.

 

 

Three students earn DAAD scholarships

For Parisa Abedi Khoozani (MSc’13), by receiving a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) she will be able to collaborate directly with her project partners at the University of Giessen while also gaining the opportunity to experience a new set of ideas and viewpoints.

[Parisa Abedy Khoozani]
Parisa Abedi Khoozani, a PhD student in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, is one of three award applicants from Queen’s to receive a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). (Supplied Photo)

Ms. Abedi Khoozani, a PhD student in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies is one of three award applicants from Queen’s to earn a prestigious study scholarship along with Soren Mellerup, a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry, and Julia Kostin (Artsci’15), who applied after completing her undergraduate degree and is currently pursuing her master’s in sustainable development at Leipzig University.

“Having this level of success, with three Queen’s applicants receiving DAAD scholarships in one year – it’s fantastic, and reflects the excellent caliber of our students,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “The competition is open to U.S. and Canadian citizens or permanent residents; in other words there’s a lot of competition. A successful applicant demonstrates not only academic excellence, but also leadership potential and a strong plan of study while in Germany. We’re thrilled with the outcome – it’s quite an achievement for these students and for Queen’s.” 

Through the 10-month scholarship Ms. Abedi Khoozani says she will be able to expand and strengthen her collaboration by being able to stay in Germany longer.

Her current research explores how the human brain combines information coming from different sources and how noise can affect this combination process. To expand her understanding, she is aiming to study the effect of noise during obstacle avoidance.

“For me I feel it’s a great opportunity to get more multidisciplinary ideas or different ways of looking at the data, as well as how to interpret it, how to make sense of the underlying mechanisms in the brain,” she says, adding that she will have access to leading researchers as well as various technologies that will allow her to do more advanced modelling. “Honestly, I am very excited because I have an opportunity that I have dreamed about, to have a chance to visit the university, further my research and collaborate with people.”

DAAD is a publicly funded independent organization of higher education institutions in Germany, offering research grants and study scholarships for students with at least a bachelor’s degree to either study or further their research in Germany.

An international learning experience

[Ajay Agarwal]
Ajay Agarwal (School of Urban and Regional Planning), centre, and a group of his students visit Auroville during the SURP 827 International Planning Project course trip to India. (Supplied Photo)

When students from the School of Urban and Regional Planning return to India this year, they will once again be gaining hands-on experience while working on a real planning project.

Queen's In the World

The students of the SURP 827 International Planning Project course will also be gaining valuable international experience, learning the intricacies of working in a new environment, in a cultural setting different from their own.

This experience is what has made the course so successful, explains Associate Professor Ajay Agarwal, who created and continues to deliver the course as it enters a fifth year.

For this work, Dr. Agarwal received the International Education Innovation Award, which recognizes excellence in the internationalization of curriculum in programs or courses. It is one of the six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards.

The opportunity to travel to India and work on a project with community members has been an important draw for the course and SURP, which was recently integrated into the Department of Geography and Planning, Dr. Agarwal says. Increasingly, planning firms are working on a global scale. While a head office may be located in a city like Toronto, the firm can be working on projects anywhere around the world.

“I personally think that for students who want to practice planning, the course widens their view of the world, because many of our students have always lived and worked in Canada,” he says. “Really, in a global setting, where firms from Canada do projects all over the world including planning projects, it is very important for these students to get outside their comfort zone and face the challenges of working in a foreign environment, which includes language, culture, customs, habits, everything. That gives them the confidence of being able to work on a project that has any magnitude of challenge.”

Through the course students learn to be adaptable and creative in finding solutions and to manage any adversity they may face.

Receiving the award has helped raise the profile of the course and SURP within the university and, on a personal level, has provided some “external validation” for the work he has done over the years, Dr. Agarwal adds.

Through the nomination process, Dr. Agarwal has received valuable feedback about the course from past students, many of whom are now working in international planning. All of those who responded said it was a positive experience and many added that the course has helped them within the job market. This positive reputation has resulted in a growing interest in the course.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say it has become one of the most popular courses we offer at SURP,” Dr. Agarwal says.  “Quite a few students now say that they chose Queen’s over other universities for this graduate program in planning because of that international experience that we offer.”

The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus. The awards are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The International Education Innovation Award honours the outstanding efforts of an individual or any combination of faculty, staff, and/or student team who contributes to the creation or revitalization of a course or program of international learning at Queen’s, in alignment with the Queen’s University Comprehensive International Plan (QUCIP).

Nominations for the 2017 award are currently being accepted. All nominations should be sent electronically in PDF form to inforef@queensu.ca no later than Tuesday, Aug. 1, by 4 pm. For more information about the award and the nomination form and process, visit the CTL website.

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