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Student Learning Experience

Opening the door to open education resources

The Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group at Queen’s invites instructors to get involved in the development of open course materials.

A new call for proposals offers two ways to get involved:

  1. Review and compare an open textbook: compare an existing openly licensed, high-quality, peer-reviewed textbook with one you are currently using, and consider adopting or adapting it for your next course
  1. Create/author an open textbook: create a new open textbook for an upcoming course/program at Queen's, with cross campus support.

This initiative builds on the engagement and input from ongoing campus-wide conversations, such as the instructor discussion groups held in April that brought together people across all disciplines to share their ideas.

“We received lots of great input through our discussion groups, and we are pleased to begin putting those ideas in motion,” says Working Group Chair, Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian. “We have received some expressions of interest in our call for proposals already, and are looking forward to receiving even more”.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Oct. 16. If you have any questions or comments, please email: open.education@queensu.ca.

Prepared to learn

Peer Learning Assistants participate in a training workshop, preparing them to help their fellow students. (Supplied Photo)

Students looking to set themselves up for academic success have plenty of free help available on campus, and many are taking advantage of the available opportunities.

Student Academic Success Services (SASS), a department within Student Affairs, runs regular academic skills workshops to ensure both graduate and undergraduate learners are well prepared for their studies at Queen’s. Topics cover everything from “Academics 101: From High School to University” to sessions designed to prepare students in different faculties and schools to write their exams, says SASS Director Susan Korba.

“The first workshops we offer in the fall are all about the basic kinds of skills students need to be successful in their courses,” says Ms. Korba. “These sessions are focused on helping the students get off on the right foot, whether it is ensuring they understand professorial expectations, know how to take effective notes, or develop strategies to manage their time and their schedule.”

In total, more than 6,000 students participated in a SASS workshop last year. This is in addition to those who took advantage of SASS’s one-on-one writing and learning strategies support and those who took advantage of SASS’s wide range of online resources. While many students head down to Stauffer Library to participate in SASS-led sessions, the team also works with faculty members and with Residence dons to deliver the workshops directly to groups of students.

“We started an initiative a couple of years ago that allows us to host workshops for all of a department’s first-year students,” says Ms. Korba. “For example, we will present them with a workshop on writing skills to set them up for success in advance of their first paper, or once they have received the feedback from their first paper and need to prepare for their next one. The more we can support our students, the better the students will do in their writing, and the happier the students and the faculty will be.”

It is not just Queen’s staff leading these sessions. The workshops offered in Residence and through the Queen’s Learning Commons are led by upper-year students. These peer learning assistants volunteer their time to help their fellow students. SASS works with approximately 50 such students who enjoy the opportunity to give back and share their knowledge.

“When I was in first year, I found the academic transition from high school to university to be quite tough,” says Sunny Zheng (Artsci’18), one of the Peer Learning Assistant Team Leaders. “I attended some SASS workshops and they really helped reduce some of my academic anxiety. Now, I volunteer with SASS to help those first year students who feel what I felt, and it has been a really rewarding experience. I think our workshops are valuable because they help students become more efficient learners which is very important in university where students often feel that they have so much to do but so little time.”

So if your students want to take more effective notes, get the most out of their readings, avoid procrastination, or receive support in developing a thesis statement (to name a few offerings), visit sass.queensu.ca

Student leaders in academic excellence, initiative

  • Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, welcomes Queen's students receiving major admission awards during a ceremony Monday at Wallace Hall. (University Communications)
    Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, welcomes Queen's students receiving major admission awards during a ceremony Monday at Wallace Hall. (University Communications)
  • Parker Nann (Comm'18), a Chancellor's Scholarship recipient, speaks to first-year students about the opportunities available to them at Queen's. (University Communications)
    Parker Nann (Comm'18), a Chancellor's Scholarship recipient, speaks to first-year students about the opportunities available to them at Queen's. (University Communications)
  • Jena Hudson (Artsci’18), a Chernoff Family Award recipient, talks about the experience of coming from small-town New Brunswick to Queen's University. (University Communications)
    Jena Hudson (Artsci’18), a Chernoff Family Award recipient, talks about the experience of coming from small-town New Brunswick to Queen's University. (University Communications)
  • Gathered major admission award recipients and Queen's faculty members listen to Chancellor Jim Leech about his role at the university as well as the Queen's experience. (University Communications)
    Gathered major admission award recipients and Queen's faculty members listen to Chancellor Jim Leech about his role at the university as well as the Queen's experience. (University Communications)
  • Students receiving major admission awards at Queen's speak with their peers, faculty members and administrators during a special welcome event held Monday, Sept. 18 at Wallace Hall. (University Communications)
    Students receiving major admission awards at Queen's speak with their peers, faculty members and administrators during a special welcome event held Monday, Sept. 18 at Wallace Hall. (University Communications)

It is always valuable to receive advice from those who have walked the path before you.

On Monday, first-year Queen’s students receiving major admission awards heard from a pair of fourth-year students who are in the final stage of their undergraduate academic journey during a special reception at Wallace Hall.

Jena Hudson (Artsci’18), a Chernoff Family Award recipient, and Parker Nann (Comm’18), a Chancellor's Scholarship recipient, relayed their experiences to the new arrivals and called on them to accept the challenges they will face, connect with the community, and rely on the many supports available to them.

Currently, there are 254 entering and in-course major admission award recipients at Queen’s from Newfoundland to British Columbia to Nunavut, and across all faculties and departments.

The selection process is rigorous, with more than 200 faculty, including members of the Retirees Association at Queen’s, volunteering to evaluate the more than 1,200 submissions each year.  

“Major Admission Award recipients demonstrate academic excellence, outstanding leadership, creativity, and initiative,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “They are engaged on campus and the community, and we are very proud to recognize their accomplishments.”

The awards are supported by numerous donors. Many donors want to give back this way because they, too, received some form of support, recognition and encouragement when they were students. Their generosity has a significant impact within the Queen's community and the recipients of their awards. 

Visit the Student Awards website for information about the Major Admission Awards program.

Celebrating a unique international partnership

Representatives from the University of Gondar, Queen’s University and the Mastercard Foundation highlight US$24 million collaboration 

  • Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf, Kim Kerr, Deputy Director, Education and Learning, Mastercard Foundation and Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar exchange university flags to mark the partnership. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf, Kim Kerr, Deputy Director, Education and Learning, Mastercard Foundation and Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar exchange university flags to mark the partnership. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
  • PhD student Molalign Adugna, Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar, chat with Principal Daniel Woolf and Marcia Finlayson, Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director of School of Rehabilitation Therapy. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    PhD student Molalign Adugna, Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic, University of Gondar, chat with Principal Daniel Woolf and Marcia Finlayson, Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director of School of Rehabilitation Therapy. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
  • A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony was part of the celebration, featuring freshly roasted beans. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony was part of the celebration, featuring freshly roasted beans. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
  • Guests at the launch event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, also enjoyed Ethiopian bread and other traditional foods. (Photo by Stephen Wild)
    Guests at the launch event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, also enjoyed Ethiopian bread and other traditional foods. (Photo by Stephen Wild)

It takes plenty of behind the scenes work to get a 10-year, multi-million dollar program up and running. Over the past nine months, people at the University of Gondar and Queen’s University have been working closely with the Mastercard Foundation to put in place all the supports needed to launch the unique international academic and research program.

This week, representatives from all three organizations gathered in the Agnes Etherington Art Centre to celebrate accomplishments so far and to highlight the opportunities the

[Mastercard Scholars Foundation logo]

Learn more about The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

US$24 million partnership will bring. Its overarching aim is to create outstanding and inclusive educational opportunities for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. At the same time, Queen’s will be welcoming University of Gondar faculty members who are dedicated to pursuing their PhDs or Masters.

“I want to acknowledge the vision of the Mastercard Foundation and particularly commend their leadership for choosing a program with such great social purpose,” said Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “It is the beginning of a partnership and the beginning of an exchange of cultures and knowledge that will benefit all of us.”

Under the partnership, 450 African students will become Mastercard Scholars and receive a high quality education at the University of Gondar. In total, the University will provide 290 undergraduate and 160 master’s level degrees in multidisciplinary fields that will encompass health sciences, law, education, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences, taking special care to recruit young people with disabilities, as well as young people from conflict-affected countries.

The University of Gondar will also deliver an annual Summer Leadership Camp for Scholars across the program, as well as a robust, practicum-based experiential program focused on giving back to community, through service and leadership skill development in the field of community-based rehabilitation.

For its part, Queen’s will be providing 60 University of Gondar’s faculty members with an opportunity to study here -- 16 in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program and 44 in PhD programs in various disciplines across the university. All faculty members who will study at Queen’s will enhance their skills in innovative pedagogy and in topics related to disability and inclusion on the continent.

The project will also offer funding for collaborative research to be conducted jointly on disability, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), and inclusive education, with co-Principal Investigators from the University of Gondar and from Queen’s.

The University of Gondar and Queen’s University will also collaborate to develop Ethiopia’s first Undergraduate Occupational Therapy program and will create a CBR certificate program for Mastercard Scholars at the University of Gondar.

“Along with the Mastercard Foundation, I would also like to thank Queen’s University for being an exceptional partner in providing high-caliber expertise in the areas of faculty development, research, and community based rehabilitation,” said Asrat Atsedewoyin, Vice-President Academic at the University of Gondar. “Global partnerships such at this are crucial to realizing our ambition to change the world for the better.”

Also sharing their thoughts at the event, were the first two University of Gondar faculty members to arrive at Queen’s to begin work on their PhDs.

“From my experience in teaching and administration, I have observed there is a great need for inclusion, visibility and equal access to education and employment for students with disabilities in Ethiopia,” said Molalighn Adugna, PhD Student. “I am very excited to be one of the 60 faculty who will receive further training here at this remarkable institution in order to return and support the vision of the University of Gondar to serve the community.”

Both students arrived in June and will be here for the next two years, before heading back to UoG to complete their dissertations.

“When I complete my study, I will pass my knowledge, skills and experiences to the next generation through teaching, research and most importantly by serving my community through strengthening clinical care,” said Mulugeta Chala, PhD student. “I want to thank the Mastercard Foundation for realizing this need and creating the opportunity for African youth like me to learn and prosper.”

Worldwide, the Mastercard Foundation runs a network of 28 Scholars Programs that provide education and leadership development for nearly 35,000 bright, young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them.

“There are more than 80 million people across Africa who are living with disabilities and these young men and women deserve an inclusive education that’s designed to help them thrive, and professors and faculty that are committed to ensuring that they develop their skills,” said Kim Kerr, Deputy Director, Education and Learning, Mastercard Foundation. “The Mastercard Foundation played a role in bringing your institutions together based on common objectives, but your vision, commitment, and your passion for working together has truly exceeded all of our expectations.”

Over the coming weeks, the Gazette will continue its coverage of this partnership with a look at some of the experiences of students and faculty taking part in the program so far.

Visit Flickr to see more photos of the Mastercard celebration.

Creating a new LINQ to learning spaces

A new node in the Queen’s University Library network is about to be unveiled in Watson Hall.  

"Watson Hall"
Two former offices in Watson Hall been refurbished as a LINQ (Library Information Network at Queen’s), an innovative approach to providing additional collaborative study space in various locations on campus. (University Communications)

Two rooms, formerly offices, have been refurbished as a LINQ (Library Information Network at Queen’s), an innovative approach to providing additional collaborative study space in various locations on campus. The LINQ offers students smaller-scale inviting spaces that look and feel like the libraries they love, and includes a virtual display highlighting the library’s information resources, people and services to help with their research.

“In a LINQ, you can expect the same welcoming look and feel as other Queen’s University Library spaces. And as with all library locations, LINQs are open to any member of the Queen’s community in any discipline, and are designed to be inclusive, accessible, creative spaces,” says Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian.

The Watson Hall LINQ creates a new learning space with 21 seats, where students can study and work together on course-related projects in an inspiring library atmosphere, in a highly-visible location close to professors and teaching assistants, as well as residences and dining halls. This space has been developed in accordance with the strategies outlined in the Library and Archives Master Plan (LAMP) to achieve a high level learning experience. 

The Watson LINQ is made possible through the generous support of the Joseph S. Stauffer Foundation.

The Queen’s community is invited to drop by the LINQ in Watson Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 26 3:30-5 pm to preview this exciting new space, and enjoy some conversation and light refreshments.

Those interested in exploring the possibility of providing a LINQ in their space are invited to get in touch with the Office of the Vice-Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian. 

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.

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