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Indigenous academics share knowledge at Matariki Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals first of its kind in Canada

Today’s business leaders are increasingly expected to be ready and willing to tackle the most pressing social needs from the environment to human rights, from poverty to civic engagement.

To meet this growing demand the Centre for Social Impact at the Smith School of Business is now offering a Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals to provide today’s business leaders with applicable skills while at the same time fostering professional networks. Led by the centre’s Director and Smith faculty, Tina Dacin, the certificate is the first of its kind in Canada that equips managers with best practice approaches to integrate social impact considerations into core business and organizational strategies.

"Certificate for Social Impact for Professionals"
A first in Canada, the Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals will provide business leaders with best practice approaches to integrate social impact considerations into core business and organizational strategies. (Supplied Photo) 

Since 2004, the Centre for Social Impact has offered students at Smith the Certificate in Social Impact, with more than 500 graduate and undergraduate students earning a certificate alongside their degree programs.

The newly-launched professional program is comprised of two two-day sessions –Social Finance Academy and Leading with Impact – with both hosted at Smith’s Toronto campus. To earn a full certificate, professionals must apply their learning to an independent or team project exploring issues of social impact specific to their workplace.

Joanna Reynolds, Associate Director, Centre for Social Impact, says that while business schools have historically produced great talent in traditional fields such as business development, business management, accounting and marketing, there is a growing expectation that aspects related to sustainable development goals such as climate action, and reducing inequalities, be included in a business education.

The Certificate for Social Impact program has forged such a path and now emerging skill sets are available for working professionals.

“This program and others we offer at the Centre for Social Impact support Smith students and working professionals to gain foresight into how changing social issues will impact their industry and society as a whole and provide them with new skills needed to affect change,” Ms. Reynolds says. “Additionally, gaining insight into how values apply to a changing business and community landscape is critical to navigating competing tensions and uncertain environments. These skills and new mindsets help to equip our graduates to be responsive and effective in their areas of expertise.”

The Social Finance Academy is being offered Nov. 23-24 and the Leading with Impact program is scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Registration is currently open.

Under the direction of Dr. Dacin, the Centre for Social Impact is also currently developing the Diversity and Inclusion Professional Series, to be first offered in Spring 2018.

The first session of the series will be the LGBTQ+ Professional Leadership Program.

“The Diversity and Inclusion Series is one way to address and support the diversity gap in senior leadership roles,” says Ms. Reynolds. “While society needs many ways of doing that, one is to build mentorship and peer relationships that support real change in leadership roles. That’s an exciting program for us.”

Subsequent offerings will focus on such topics as Women in Leadership, Indigenous Leadership, and programs for newcomer Canadians, Ms. Reynolds adds.

Other offerings from the Centre for Social Impact include the Social Innovation Bootcamp (Oct. 13-14 and March 9-10), for students to apply solutions to social issues that communities are grappling with  and the Social Impact Summit (Nov. 10-11), a conference program that brings together leading academics and practitioners  from across  Canada. This Summit offers panel discussions, skill building workshops and networking opportunities, for students across Queen’s campus to explore issues and topics in the area of social impact and responsible leadership.

Queen’s student venture victorious in Singapore

They travelled to the other side of the world to put their business plans to the test, and in the end the Spectra Plasmonics team came up victorious at the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition.

"Spectra Plasmonics Team Members"
The Spectra Plasmonics team is comprised of, from left: Yusuf Ahmed, Malcome Eade, Christian Baldwin, Tyler Whitney, Ryan Picard. (Photo by James McLellan)

As part of their winnings, the team will receive $125,000 in cash and tens of thousands of dollars in services, prizes, including legal, corporate and marketing support.

The competition was hosted by Singapore Management University and the Queen’s team was up against 35 other teams flown in specially for the competition.

The Spectra Plasmonics team is made up of Tyler Whitney (Comm’17, Artsci’18), Ryan Picard (Sc’17), Malcom Eade (Artsci’18), and Christian Baldwin (Sci'19) and Yusuf Ahmed (Sc’18). This past summer they took part in the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition at Queen’s where they developed a chemical sensor that can be used for food safety, forensics, and law enforcement. With state-of-the-art capability, this device saves time and money in detecting trace levels of harmful compounds in complex mixtures.

“The win by Spectra Plasmonics is a testament to the character and effort put in by the team, to our strong academic programming and the leading edge research underway at Queen’s, and to the resources we have in place at Queen’s to support student entrepreneurs,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. “Congratulations to the entire Spectra Plasmonics team, and the Queen’s researchers behind the chemical detection technology, on their outstanding accomplishment.”

This venture demonstrates the success of the Foundry Program, developed together by the Office of Partnerships and Innovation and the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre to provide the opportunity for researchers who have intellectual property with commercial potential to work with students who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship. Spectra Plasmonics is building a venture around some of the surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy intellectual property that Hannah Dies, Aris Docoslis, Carlos Escobedo and Josh Raveendran - all of the Chemical Engineering department - have been developing. 

Learn more about the team, their technology and their trip to Singapore, in this previous Gazette story. You can also meet Mr. Picard and Mr. Ahmed and learn more about their business in this short video.

Grad coordinators share their tips

Strong coordinators play an important role in the success of graduate students, and the School of Graduate Studies as a whole. Enhancing networking within graduate programs, bringing new scholars to study at Queen’s, and supporting graduate students with effective communication, advice, and tools are among some of the responsibilities of graduate coordinators. 

Annually, the School of Graduate Studies honours two outstanding coordinators for their contributions through the Featured Graduate Coordinators initiative. The 2017 Featured Graduate Coordinators are Joan Almost, Associate Professor and Associate Director (Graduate Nursing Programs); and Andrew Jainchill, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair (History). 

“On behalf of the School of Graduate Studies, congratulations and thanks go to Joan and Andrew for their dedication and passion as educators” says Kim McAuley, Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies “Their leadership has helped provide a supportive, positive environment for graduate students at Queen’s”. 

Learn more about Dr. Almost and Dr. Jainchill’s approach to graduate coordination, and their advice for new graduate coordinators: 

Joan Almost receives a token of appreciation for her efforts as a graduate coordinator.
Joan Almost receives a token of appreciation from Dean Brenda Brouwer for her efforts as a graduate coordinator. (University Communications)

Joan Almost 

“During my time as Associate Director (Graduate Nursing Programs), I have focused on enhancing the student experience and fostering a learning community in the graduate nursing programs. Highlights of my activities include the development of initiatives designed to advance networking among students and faculty, maximize recruitment strategies, clarify academic processes, and strengthen our already strong curriculum.   

I oversee five programs (including PhD, Master’s and Diploma) across three universities, and collaborate with a consortium of nine universities to deliver our professional Master’s program. One of my biggest learnings when I started this role was remembering all the subtle differences between programs, and understanding policies and procedures at multiple levels within the university. I have truly appreciated the opportunity to learn more about university administration and the chance to work with great colleagues across the university and within the school. I enjoy being part of a team and working with others who play key roles in running the program, especially the program assistants who are invaluable. The experience and knowledge I have learned while in this role has made me a better teacher, advisor and colleague.   

I offer the following advice to prospective Graduate Coordinators: first, attention to detail and knowledge of policies and procedures is essential. Know your academic processes, and follow them. Second, ask lots of questions to clarify situations and to understand policies and processes, even when you think you know the answer. And, finally, know that interpersonal aspects of the role are vital, especially with potential applicants, students, and colleagues.”   

 

Andrew Jainchill receives a token of appreciation from Associate Dean Marta Straznicky for his efforts as a graduate coordinator. (University Communications)

Andrew Jainchill 

“In my two years as grad coordinator, I've focused on maintaining History's already strong program while putting a lot of effort into admissions and recruitment. Credit is due to my predecessors, and to Cathy Dickison, for building a strong program and a strong department culture around admissions and recruitment.  

The major initiatives I've undertaken include a departmental grant-writing workshop to support students in their applications for external funding. This is meant to build on the one offered by the School of Graduate Studies. Additionally, we’ve revived the department's pattern I MA – a two-year, thesis-based masters of arts. This has proven to be more popular among students than we anticipated. Third, in conjunction with the department chair, we created department-funded research assistant positions to reward graduate coordinators with particularly heavy supervisory loads. 

My advice to new graduate coordinators: first, don't try to do everything at once. Choose a couple of projects each year and see them through. Second, remember that a large part of the grad coordinator's role is facilitating communication. Also acknowledge that being a graduate student is stressful. It's important to be supportive while also remaining clear about what can and can't be done. New coordinators should know that admissions and recruitment takes a ton of work on your part, but your colleagues also have to do their part. Finally, build a strong working relationship with the graduate assistant.” 

 

About Featured Graduate Coordinators 

The Featured Graduate Coordinator program is an initiative that began in 2015. The goal is to provide support and encourage best practices, especially for those faculty members new to the role of Graduate Coordinator. Coordinators are selected by the School of Graduate Studies, and the role is administrative. The School asks for their advice and tips for other Graduate Coordinators and shares this advice at its annual Graduate Coordinator Orientation meetings.  

Putting the Queen's in Queen's Park

  • Premier Kathleen Wynne, front, second from left, and Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala, front right, met with a delegation from Queen's University. Front, from left: AMS President Jennifer Li; Premier Wynne; Principal Daniel Woolf; Ms. Kiwala. Back, from left: AMS Vice-President (Operations) Chelsea Hollidge; AMS Vice-President (University Affairs) Palmer Lockridge; Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon; Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney; and Rector Cam Yung.
    Premier Kathleen Wynne, front, second from left, and Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala, front right, met with a delegation from Queen's University. Front, from left: AMS President Jennifer Li; Premier Wynne; Principal Daniel Woolf; Ms. Kiwala. Back, from left: AMS Vice-President (Operations) Chelsea Hollidge; AMS Vice-President (University Affairs) Palmer Lockridge; Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon; Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney; and Rector Cam Yung.
  • Principal Daniel Woolf speaks during a reception hosted by Queen's University at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, Sept. 11.
    Principal Daniel Woolf speaks during a reception hosted by Queen's University at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, Sept. 11.
  • Rector Cam Yung takes a moment with Sarah Letersky, former AMS vice-president (University Affairs), the special assistant to the Leader of the official opposition.
    Rector Cam Yung takes a moment with Sarah Letersky, former AMS vice-president (University Affairs), the special assistant to the Leader of the official opposition.
  • Marta Straznicky, Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, explains the chemical engineering Grad Map to two reception attendees.
    Marta Straznicky, Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, explains the chemical engineering Grad Map to two reception attendees.
  • Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon takes a moment with Paul Newcombe, executive assistant for MPP Lorne Coe, Critic for Advanced Education and Skills Development.
    Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon takes a moment with Paul Newcombe, executive assistant for MPP Lorne Coe, Critic for Advanced Education and Skills Development.

Queen's faculty, staff and students visited Queen's Park on Monday, Sept 11, for a full day of advocacy meetings and a reception with government officials.

The day began with a recognition in the Legislature by Sophie Kiwala, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. From the Members Gallery, the Queen's delegation sat in on the first Question Period of the fall session, before a quick meeting and photograph with Premier Kathleen Wynne (Artsci’77). Throughout the afternoon, the delegation met with various government and public sector officials, for a series of meetings on a range of topics – including access to post-secondary education, research and student experience.

After the Legislature adjourned for the day, MPPs and staff from all parties attended a reception that highlighted areas of excellence at Queen's. Researchers from a wide range of faculties mingled with elected officials, describing their leading-edge work in areas such as chemistry, physics and green energy. The signature Queen's student learning experience was on display as well, with career services highlighting efforts such as Major Maps and Grad Maps, which ensure students enter the workforce with the skills necessary for success. Past and present participants in the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition highlighted both the limitless innovation potential of Queen's students, as well as the supports in place to allow their ideas to become reality.

Faculty of Law marks six decades of leadership

The year 1957 marked a time of great change and growth for Queen’s University. The university was expanding under the leadership of Principal William Mackintosh, with his plan to add one thousand students during his 10-year principalship well underway. The home of what would become the Agnes Etherington Art Gallery had just been donated to Queen’s. And in a brick house on University Avenue, the Faculty of Law opened its doors to an initial class of 11 students: modest beginnings for what Queen's Law has become today, with a nationally leading Juris Doctor program, a full graduate program, and more recently undergraduate offerings.

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the Faculty of Law is hosting a special homecoming weekend which begins tonight with a welcome back reception at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. At this event, 13 Queen’s Law alumni from the class of 1967 will be inducted into the Tricolour Guard and presented with special medals by Dean Bill Flanagan.

  • From The Queen's Journal, dated February 2, 1957. "A New Law Faculty at Queen's?"
    From The Queen's Journal, dated February 2, 1957. "A New Law Faculty at Queen's?"
  • Later that same month, on February 19, 1957. "Queen's Law School Becomes Possibility"
    Later that same month, on February 19, 1957. "Queen's Law School Becomes Possibility"
  • Then finally, in October of 1957, "A Faculty Is Born. [Professor J.A. Corry is] Acting Dean"
    Then finally, in October of 1957, "A Faculty Is Born. [Professor J.A. Corry is] Acting Dean"

“Queen’s Faculty of Law has been training leaders in the Canadian legal system for six decades, and this weekend will be an excellent opportunity for us to reflect and celebrate with our alumni,” says Dean Flanagan. “At the same time, it will be an opportunity to talk about the next generation of law talent, how we attract them to Queen’s, and how we support them in attaining a high-quality legal education.”

On Saturday, alumni will have the opportunity to tour the Queen’s Law Clinics in downtown Kingston, attend a symposium honouring recently retired Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell (Law'76), and participate in an anniversary gala cocktail reception and dinner at Ban Righ Hall. Some 260 alumni will be taking part in the weekend festivities. Among the notable attendees, in addition to Mr. Cromwell: John McClatchy (Law’67) who established the MacLatchy Environmental Law Internship Fund and is celebrating his 50th reunion; Geraldine Tipper (Law'60), one of only two women from the first graduating class and a practicing lawyer to this day; prominent U.K. lawyer James Dorr (Law’87), who has recently joined the Dean’s Council and is travelling to celebrate his 30th reunion; Deborah Orida (Law’92), Managing Director and Head of Private Equity in Asia for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, who will be travelling from Hong Kong to celebrate her 25th reunion; and The Honourable J. David Wake (Law ’72), Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner and a former Ontario Court Justice.

Saturday will also mark the start of the QLAW60 fundraising campaign in support of student bursaries. The campaign will help students pursuing their JD offset the rising cost of post-secondary education.

“If students have the talent and the skills to succeed, we want to make sure that Queen’s doors are open to them,” adds Dean Flanagan. “We thank the many generous donors who contribute to our academic mission and the success of our learners.”

The QLAW60 campaign is already off to a good start. A graduate from the class of 1987 has pledged to match donations from his classmates up to $30,000. The full results of the campaign will be announced in May at the annual Celebrate Queen’s Law event in Toronto.

Learn more about the Queen’s Law Homecoming weekend.

The first Faculty of Law graduating class ('60), and the faculty. (Supplied Photo)

 

QICSI venture taking on the world

The SpectraPlasmonics team at the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition. L-R: Yusuf Ahmed, Malcome Eade, Christian Baldwin, Tyler Whitney, Ryan Picard.
The Spectra Plasmonics team at the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition. L-R: Yusuf Ahmed, Malcome Eade, Christian Baldwin, Tyler Whitney, Ryan Picard. (James McLellan)

Hot off their strong performance in the 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition, the guys behind Spectra Plasmonics are taking their show on the road. 

Hosted by Singapore Management University, the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition features 36 finalists vying for 15 prizes including cash and services. This year’s competition theme is “Smart Cities”, and entrants will be judged on four criteria: innovativeness of the business idea; commercial feasibility; the impact of the idea including market, societal impact, and sustainability; and capability to execute. 

It was Tyler Whitney (Comm’17, Arts’18) who first heard about the week-long Lee Kuan Yew competition through an exchange opportunity he had in Singapore during his Commerce program. Once Spectra Plasmonics had launched, as part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), he took the idea of submitting an application back to his teammates. Despite the 550 applications to the competition, including applications from ventures at prestigious American universities, Spectra Plasmonics was one of the lucky few accepted. So, Mr. Whitney, along with teammates Ryan Picard (Sci’17), Malcom Eade (Artsci’18), and Christian Baldwin (Sci'19) packed their bags and headed to Singapore, while team member Yusuf Ahmed (Eng'18) tends to the shop back home. 

“Spectra Plasmonics sells an enhancing piece of tech for a chemical detection device which allows for quicker, more accurate detection,” explains Mr. Whitney. “We first heard about the technology through the Office of Partnerships and Innovation when it was pitched to us during QICSI. The technology was invented here at Queen’s in the Chemical Engineering department by Hannah Dies (MSc’21, Meds’21), Dr. Aristides Docoslis, and Dr. Carlos Escobedo, and the product has garnered significant interest from governments and law enforcement agencies. We think this is an excellent fit with the competition theme because our product gives people that live in cities the tools they need to know more about their surroundings and adjust accordingly.” 

Once the technology was developed, the Queen's Office of Partnerships and Innovation began working with Dr. Docoslis and the research team to secure patent protection for the technology and seek opportunities to commercialize it. Ramzi Asfour, the office's Assistant Director for Commercial Development for applied science and information technologies, says the technology was a good fit for QICSI businesses because of its short product development cycle and the nearby access to NanoFabrication Kingston's facilities. 

“This technology has great potential for changing the way Raman Spectroscopy is currently used,” says Mr. Asfour. “It’s a simple, yet sophisticated technique for enabling cheaper yet highly sensitive chemical sensing in a number of applications where more expensive forms of testing are currently used. We are happy with the progress that Spectra Plasmonics has made to date and are looking forward to continuing to help them achieve long term success.”

To prepare for the competition, the team is tweaking their successful QICSI pitch based on the feedback they received, conducting additional research about the Asian market, and researching past winners. The four members who are making the trip headed over to Singapore a week early to meet with some connections, test their technology in the country, recoup from the jetlag, see a few sights, and meet up with some Queen’s alumni. 

“We are excited for the Spectra Plasmonics team and look forward to hearing the final results later this week,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre which organizes QICSI. “Their business unites students from many different faculties at Queen’s with technology developed here at the university, and it demonstrates the kind of collaborations we enable through our centre. Our students are equipped to start their businesses here and, as we’re seeing with Spectra Plasmonics, by the time they graduate the QICSI program they are leading companies which are garnering interest literally around the world.” 

During the week of the competition, the team will be meeting with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, participating in workshops, and readying for their moment in the sun. The thirty six competitors will be whittled down to six in a semi-final pitch competition. The top six ventures will then vie for a cut of $1 million in prizes. 

Stay tuned for an update regarding Spectra Plasmonics’ performance in the competition. For more information on the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition, please visit: www.smu.edu.sg/lky

Better training, better care

Residents hone their skills in a simulation lab. (Photo by Greg Black)

As many students and faculty enjoyed their summers and awaited the start of the new academic year, the Queen’s School of Medicine has been hard at work pioneering a new form of training for medical residents. This new approach, called competency-based medical education (CBME), represents a foundational change to the way doctors are trained.

While traditional training methods for residents emphasize time on the job, competency-based medical education focuses on the successful execution of skills. Residents are more closely monitored and assessed by faculty, and the residents will be promoted progress once they have demonstrated competency in a particular field. 

This summer, Queen’s became the first medical school in North America to launch competency-based medical education across all of its medical residency programs. This leadership position has attracted interest from around the world, prompting calls from a variety of medical schools and associations seeking more information about how competency-based medical education works and how Queen’s was able to deploy it so quickly. Many other medical schools will be converting their residency programs to a competency-based approach in the coming years through a multi-year project started by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2014 – but Queen’s, in consultation with the Royal College, designed and implemented an accelerated path.

“CBME represents the evolution of medical education, and our leadership in its implementation places Queen’s at the forefront of transformative change,” says Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. “As doctors ourselves, we want to ensure future doctors receive the best possible training and ensure their patients receive the best possible care. We recognized that this training model would increase transparency and accountability for our residents, and situate our school and our faculty members as Canadian and international leaders in medical education. Now that it is launched, we are in a position to help other schools make the same transition.”

With the new group of 130 residents now two months into their placement, the pace of work doesn’t slow down. Damon Dagnone, the faculty lead for competency-based medical education within the Postgraduate Medical Education department at Queen’s, likens the deployment to a race and says July was the “end of the first preparatory leg, and the beginning of the second leg of three". It will take five years before every program has a cohort complete their residencies and, along the way, there are plans to refine and enhance the program. For example, this fall, the School of Medicine hopes to bring allied health professionals such as nurses, social workers, and respiratory therapists into the assessment process across all residency programs.

Importantly, Queen’s has had some initial experience with CBME. The Family Medicine program pioneered a version of competency-based education called the Triple C curriculum – which is rooted in comprehensive education, continuity of patient care, and centred in family medicine.

Dr. Dagnone says while there were some initial worries about how to put the new model into practice across all specialty programs, the support structures and the IT systems have delivered as promised and, as a result, the faculty and residents have had a smooth transition to competency-based learning.

“There is a lot of pride within our team because of how well prepared we were for the launch, how well things have gone since July, and how residents and faculty have embraced this new concept,” says Dr. Dagnone. “We will continue to monitor and evaluate competency-based medical education in the years ahead to ensure it results in the improved patient, resident, and societal outcomes it was designed to achieve.”

Internal medicine resident Julia Tai, one of the new arrivals this July, says her skills have improved significantly since her arrival, which she attributes to the challenge of her newfound responsibility as a resident coupled with the regular feedback she has been receiving through CBME.

“I heard about competency-based medical education at Queen’s when I was interviewing for a residency position here, although it was hard to know exactly what it entailed until I started my residency in July,” says Dr. Tai. “There has been a lot of support for us in the transition to competency-based medical education. All of the faculty members have been extremely approachable and receptive of the new evaluation process. CBME has also allowed me to target specific skills most relevant to my chosen career path. For example, knowing that I want to become a palliative care specialist, one of my supervisors sought opportunities to evaluate me and provide feedback on specific skills related to the specialty."

There was some skepticism at first, externally and internally, about whether Queen’s could transition all of its specialty residency programs at once in two years. Dr. Reznick says the successful deployment demonstrates the importance of the system-wide approach adopted by the School of Medicine, which built an “excited and charged community of scholars”.

“I gave out my home number to our team so they could call if there were any issues but it never rang once, and even since the launch things have been incredibly smooth,” says Dr. Reznick. “Our success has proven the value of our model and, along the way, engaged the pride and the community spirit of our faculty members. I want to thank our team who has rolled up their sleeves and worked hard over the past two and a half years to ensure we were able to launch on time.”

The School of Medicine is hosting a competency-based medical education conference November 8 and 9, and those interested in learning more are welcome to attend or visit the School of Medicine’s website.

Get ready for Orientation Week 2017

The colourful Queen's shirts are here.

The residence rooms are ready.

Faculty and staff are returning from well-deserved summer vacations and settling in for another academic year.

And thanks to the hard work of hundreds of staff and volunteers, Orientation Week activities are set for the arrival of thousands of students over the weekend.

  • The Queen's Welcomes U event, held in the Athletic and Recreation Complex, is a highlight for many incoming students, kicking off a week of fun and discovery. (University Communications)
    The Queen's Welcomes U event, held in the Athletic and Recreation Complex, is a highlight for many incoming students, kicking off a week of fun and discovery. (University Communications)
  • Students gather outside the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) in preparation for a parade. (University Communications)
    Students gather outside the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) in preparation for a parade. (University Communications)
  • Students take part in an orientation information session, designed to help them get acquainted with Queen's and debrief from events. (University Communications)
    Students take part in an orientation information session, designed to help them get acquainted with Queen's and debrief from events. (University Communications)
  • Students fill Grant Hall for the tamming ceremony, one of the traditions of Orientation Week at Queen's, where undergraduates receive their hats. (University Communications)
    Students fill Grant Hall for the tamming ceremony, one of the traditions of Orientation Week at Queen's, where undergraduates receive their hats. (University Communications)
  • The annual Arts and Science Undergraduate Society sidewalk sale will be held Friday, Sept. 8 along University Avenue. (University Communications)
    The annual Arts and Science Undergraduate Society sidewalk sale will be held Friday, Sept. 8 along University Avenue. (University Communications)

Orientation Week 2017 kicks off Sunday, Sept. 3 with University Orientation, including Residence Move-in Day, and First Years Not in Residence Students (FYNIRS) Orientation from Sept. 3 to 5.

“Orientation Week is one way we welcome our newest students to Queen’s with activities that are educational, inclusive, and fun,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “University staff and student leaders work together for months to plan each day’s events with the goal of building community and engagement from the moment students arrive on campus. It is always an exciting time of year.”

The program starts Sunday night with the “Queen’s Welcomes U” event, where all first-year students will be formally welcomed by Principal Daniel Woolf before gathering around Nixon Field for social and sporting activities. Sunday also marks the start of the “UNI100” sessions, a series of community meetings which help students break the ice, get familiar with the residence environment, learn about important safety precautions and wellness services, and debrief from events.

The following morning, the students will attend a talk by Farrah Khan, co-chair of the Ontario Provincial Roundtable on Violence Against Women and coordinator of sexual violence education and support at Ryerson University. She will be speaking to the incoming class about the meaning and importance of consent and healthy relationships, as well as bystander intervention, as part of a broader effort to continue to foster a culture of consent on Queen’s campus.

Monday will also feature morning yoga, performances by the Existere social action student theatre group, a carnival, board games, and educational sessions designed to help students prepare themselves for the year ahead. The Alma Mater Society (AMS) will also be connecting with the new students to let them know about opportunities to get involved on campus. On Tuesday, the first-years can attend up to 10 different talks about campus services, and catch the Welcome Home Night festivities, which include club activities, an open mic session at Common Ground, and a dessert tour and casino night, all at the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC).

Wednesday marks the start of the faculty orientation activities, with Queen’s traditions such as the sidewalk sale and fundraising for Shinerama making a return. Charlotte Corelli (ConEd '18), coordinator of the Orientation Roundtable, says the faculty student societies are making a significant effort to integrate the importance of equity and diversity in the planning and running of all events.

“Hundreds of students have been planning to ensure that Orientation Week continues to grow and reach our increasingly diverse group of incoming students,” says Ms. Corelli. “We are looking forward to helping every member of the Class of 2021 feel welcome, safe and included during what is one of the most exciting times of the academic year.”

Over in the School of Graduate Studies, creative use of digital tools helped to introduce students to Queen’s more quickly this academic year. New initiatives in this year's orientation program include a Facebook Live video tour of campus hosted by current graduate students, and pre-orientation webinars for both domestic and international graduate students. On-campus orientation events begin Sept. 5 with a welcome and resource fair in the ARC. Over the following week, graduate students will participate in a teaching development day, a career planning session, and an introduction to the clubs on campus. Additionally, the students will get the chance to participate in a meet and greet with the dean and associate deans of Graduate Studies on Friday, Sept. 8.

For orientation details, visit www.queensu.ca/orientation

New faculty get set for new chapter

"New faculty at Queen's University listen to presentation during their orientation"
New faculty members at Queen's listen to a presentation during a special orientation day set up to introduce them to the reseources and opportunities available at the university. (University Communications)

A new city, new colleagues, new experiences, and new opportunities.

Incoming faculty members at Queen’s had their own orientation day on Thursday to help introduce them to the wide array of resources available at the university while also answering any questions they may have heading into the academic year.

Michael Doxtater arrives at the university as a Queen’s National Scholar. His research interest includes Indigenous knowledge recovery and organizational learning and he is cross-appointed to the departments of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and the Global Development Studies departments

“To be welcomed by the provost (Benoit-Antoine Bacon) and by other senior administration as you enter into the Queen’s community is something that impressed me,” he says. “I have worked in other institutions and it’s not always a very community welcoming environment. This is an important part of what Queen’s represents.”

The focus of the event, sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Faculty Recruitment and Support Program in the Faculty Relations Unit, is providing participants the information they need and fostering the connections to help them succeed in this latest step in their careers. The day also provides an opportunity to network with new colleagues.

“For new faculty members arriving at Queen’s orientation is vital because a new position is an investment in a future career, for both the new hire and the university,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “It is important to build a solid, welcoming foundation by providing our new colleagues with an overview of the resources available to them and where to go for more information when they need it.”

The orientation program focused on the three key areas of faculty members’ work: teaching, research, and service to the university community. Attendees also took part in a series of discussions with representatives from campus units, including Information and Technology Services, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Queen’s Library and University Research Services.

Already 36 new tenure-stream faculty members have been hired by Queen’s this year, closing in on the objective of 40 for the 2017-18 academic year.

With a commitment to faculty renewal, Queen’s has developed a plan that aims to hire 200 new faculty over the next five years. Once attrition is taken into account, the result will be an average of 10 net new hires per year. Included in this plan are 20 Queen’s National Scholars. This is close to double the hiring pace of the past six years. The twin goals of the program is to energize and enhance Queen’s research, and to diversify faculty by proactively seeking representation from equity seeking groups, notably women, racialized people, indigenous peoples and people with disabilities.

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