Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Student Learning Experience

A teaching and learning innovator

[Richard Ascough]
Richard Ascough, Director of the School of Religion, has won three teaching awards in less than a year, including, most recently, the D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. (University Communications) 

It has been a banner year for Richard Ascough in terms of teaching awards.

First, the director of the School of Religion received the Fall 2016 Frank Knox Teaching Award from the Alma Mater Society (AMS) for RELS 321 – Greek and Roman Religions, a course he taught in the fall semester. He then received an Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).

Now, he has received a third prize: the D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Many studies have shown that developing innovative teaching and learning methods helps increase engagement and interaction for students. But as Dr. Ascough explains, “The challenge is always how do you get a humanities course, especially one focused on antiquity, to be interactive and problem based,” he says. “I came up with assignments that get students working at their group tables, get them interacting with each other in a smaller group, and then in some form in the larger classroom.”

One assignment had students debate which goddess is better, Cybele or Isis, after conducting research through pre-class readings and online resources. Another assignment had students recreate an initiation ritual for each of the seven grades in the cult of Mithras. Very little is known about the rituals. But that’s not the point, Dr. Ascough says.

“Who knows, one of them may have got it right!,” he says. “It’s more about the process of how the rituals form and what do rituals do. We debrief about that afterward. It’s the skill of how do you use disparate archeological and literary data to create and present a hypothesis.”

In winning the award Dr. Ascough will be attending the STLHE annual conference being held June 20-23 in Halifax along with a two-year membership. It’s an exciting prospect as he has long been involved in pedagogy, published on the subject and run workshops. He’s also sure that the opportunities will provide great experience as he takes on a new role at the university.

“Professionally I am becoming associate dean (teaching and learning) in the Faculty of Arts and Science as of July 1,” he says. “So to have affirmation about some of the innovative things I’ve tried as I am stepping into a role where I may be able to help facilitate this with others is very important.”

In nominating him for the various awards, students praised his ability to integrate lecture material, class discussions, and in-class assignments to create an engaging environment where they are able to learn from the instructor as well as each other. Other students added that they appreciated that he is always willing to make time for them.

That engagement is a key to long-lasting learning, Dr. Ascough explains.

“When students are excited about what they are doing then they are more engaged and by engaging more I think the learning is able to go more deep with them, particularly with the skills they are learning in my class: analysis of data, being able to formulate arguments and then articulating those arguments. That to me is what engaged learning does.”

On top of the recent recognition, Dr. Ascough has also received Queen’s top two university-wide teaching awards – the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching (2000) and the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award (2009). 

Not your typical history classes

Steven Maynard’s courses in Canadian history are “not your typical history classes.”

Instead of relying on textbooks or readings regarding the past, with students handing in a paper or writing an exam, Mr. Maynard develops a project based around a particular segment of Canadian history that requires students to research, create and present.

[Steven Maynard]
Steven Maynard and his students from HIST 312 attend the opening of the exhibition The Taste of the Library that they created and curated earlier this year  in the Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections located in Douglas Library. (Supplied Photo)  

“The approach I use is called the history of the present. That means a couple of different things but one of them is making the connections between the past and the present,” he explains. “A lot of students, even history students, understand the past as a kind of antiquarian project. It might be interesting to them but not necessarily have a lot of immediate application. So with this idea of the history of the present, I’m trying to get them to think of ways in which you might use the past to answer questions students have about the present.”

For example, as Queen’s devised its policy on sexual violence over the past several years, Mr. Maynard’s students conducted research in archival records to investigate the university’s previous efforts to grapple with the issue.

More recently, students in Mr. Maynard’s HIST 312 Canadian Social History course were tasked with exploring interesting themes in regards to food and what stories cookbooks tell. As with all of his courses, an emphasis is placed on students honing skills in seminar presentation, historiographical critique, and primary historical research.

For HIST 312 this meant digging deep into the cookbooks collection found in the Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections located in Douglas Library. To complete the course, the students created and curated an exhibit highlighting their research called The Taste of the Library.

“The projects I come up with are almost always about making a link with a current issue but even if they’re not doing that I try to design a project where the students present their work in public,” Mr. Maynard explains, adding that he is always trying to answer the question of ‘What can I do with a history degree?’ “I think it’s incumbent upon those of us who teach history to have an answer and one of the answers is to get students to think about ways their research can have a public life rather than just writing a term paper. Presenting your research in public, explaining your work to a live audience or to the media, these are portable skills.”

For encouraging students to use primary sources and engage critically with those resources in his courses. Mr. Maynard was the 2016 recipient of the Promoting Student Inquiry Teaching Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards.

The award is sponsored and coordinated by Queen’s University Library. Queen’s Archives, which is part of Queen’s University Library, is where most of the primary sources used in Mr. Maynard’s courses are found.

“It’s an incredible resource and they are always really helpful when I come along with a new idea,” he says, adding that he does the advance work and then works with an archivist. Students then conduct much of their research through Queen’s Archives.

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 Promoting Student Inquiry Teaching recognizes innovative instructional design which enables active student engagement in learning.

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

Film student lands Cannes internship

Queen's in the World

Among the gossip and celebrities and champagne on the French Riviera, Diana Zhao might catch herself to smile into the flash of a paparazzo’s camera when she’s not busy at work this month.

“It’s a great networking opportunity, especially compared to other festivals because it’s more exclusive – Cannes is by invitation only,” says Ms. Zhao (Artsci’17), a political science and film and media student who is participating in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival as a marketing intern for the two weeks of its run in May.

The annual festival is held in the city of Cannes, in the south of France, and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It’s an important showcase for international, but especially European, films, and draws hundreds of celebrities associated with cinema, including famous actors and directors.

Diana Zhao (Artsci'17), a political science and film and media student, is working at the Cannes Film Festival as a marketing intern. (Supplied photo)

Asked whether she’s excited to meet such Academy Award-winning luminaries as Sofia Coppola and Leonardo DiCaprio, who are expected at the event this year, Ms. Zhao humbly concedes, “It’s a great opportunity to meet people in the industry.”

Ms. Zhao has been interested in film since high school, when she attended an arts intensive school, but she also thought about going into journalism. Fortunately, her time at Queen’s allowed her the opportunity to explore different avenues of education and career development.

“Queen’s lets you try out different courses in first year, so I felt like I had an extra year to decide what to do,” she says. Ms. Zhao says she was more inclined to journalism and writing than acting, but was unsure whether the film industry offered such opportunities for people like her. “Before being exposed to the industry, I thought if you want to be in film you have to be either an actor or director. I didn’t know there were actually so many career options.”

In particular, FILM450, a special topics course designed this year by instructor Alex Jansen around “The Business of Media,” was a formative experience for Ms. Zhao and opened her eyes to the many ways she could get involved in the film industry, as well as to how she could apply her skills.

Among the course’s many lessons, Ms. Zhao says “it taught me how to network, how to break into the industry, how to contact someone from the industry, and how to write a profile.” One beneficial assignment required tapping into the Queen’s alumni network and contacting two recent graduates of the film program, both of whom had a similar educational background to hers and are now successfully working in advertising and PR companies.

Leaping into festival work

The jump from FILM450 to the Cannes Film Festival is shorter than might be expected. Ms. Zhao’s résumé already includes an internship as a marketing assistant with the Kingston Canadian Film Festival in 2016, in which position she designed promotional material, managed social media platforms, and handled communications with sponsors and film producers.

While still enrolled in the course, she heard about opportunities to get involved with major film festivals from a few other former Queen’s film students, and filed an early application to the Creative Mind Group, a U.S.-based foundation that is dedicated to developing the next generation of film and television professionals and building their networks. They connect students and young professionals like Ms. Zhao to entertainment festivals and markets all over the world. At Cannes, she has been assigned a variety of administrative duties, which will include greeting clients as they arrive and running such errands as delivering premier tickets to clients before shows begin.

Ms. Zhao, who spent a semester studying at Tsinghua University in China during her degree, is also gearing up for her involvement with an entrepreneurial start-up this summer through the Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) program and is also preparing for her master’s of management degree at UBC, which she will begin in September.

“I’m interested in working in PR, marketing, and working with distribution companies. After talking to industry professionals for FILM450, it’s definitely an industry I’m interested in. Once I get my MA in management, I’ll be ready to enter.”



Public policy commission submits interim report

The Principal’s Commission on the Future of Public Policy at Queen’s University has submitted its interim report to Principal Daniel Woolf.

“I would like to thank members of the commission for their diligent work to this point in the process,” Principal Woolf says. “The interim report offers an in-depth look at the current state of public policy in Canada, and the opportunities and challenges Queen’s faces in this field. I look forward to the commission continuing its work over the next several months and receiving its specific recommendations later this year.”

For more than a century, public policy studies have played an important role at Queen’s, with many alumni serving as a great source of institutional strength in the public sphere. The public policy landscape has shifted in recent years, though, with future policy leaders facing new learning requirements. Furthermore, the public policy education landscape is now more crowded, with 29 schools of public policy across Canada.

Principal Woolf established the commission on September 2016 to determine how this historically strong area could be reinvigorated, both within the School of Policy Studies and in other externally facing academic units at Queen’s. Chaired by Michael Horgan, MA’79, the commission is examining how Queen’s can modernize its approach to public policy in light of changes in public policy-making and public service, as well as new learning requirements for policy leaders.

At the outset, we had a sense that the public policy landscape is evolving. Through broad consultations, we gained a better understanding of just how rapid these changes are occurring.
— Michael Horgan, Chair, Principal's Commission on the Future of Public Policy at Queen's University 

After its initial meeting in October 2016, the commission conducted broad consultations to review the evolving landscape of public policy in Canada, with a particular focus on the relationship and interaction of academic institutions and the public sector.

The commission organized a number of formal consultation sessions with alumni, public sector leaders in Toronto and Ottawa, and Queen’s faculty, adjunct professors and fellows, staff, and students in Kingston. The commission conducted one-on-one and group meetings and telephone conversations, in addition to inviting submissions based on discussion questions it posted on its website.

“At the outset, we had a sense that the public policy landscape is evolving. Through broad consultations, we gained a better understanding of just how rapid these changes are occurring,” Mr. Hogan says. “Through the summer and fall, we will analyse the implications of these changes for Queen’s in order to put forth recommendations that will allow the university to respond effectively and strategically to this new environment.”

Visit the commission’s website to read the interim report and learn more about its work and membership. While the consultation phase has concluded, additional feedback and comments can still be sent to future.publicpolicy@queensu.ca.

Building a community

Last year, Anna-Maria Moubayed attended Data Day at Queen’s looking for a solution for her research findings. Now, a year later, she has transitioned from attendee to panelist.

[Data Day 2017]
Anna-Maria Moubayed conducts field research at Cathédrale Notre-Dame et Saint-Paul, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, France. (Photo by Meaghan Whitehead)

Ms. Moubayed is a PhD candidate in art history who specializes in medieval art history and architecture, and she is returning to Data Day to discuss her research data management journey. Ms. Moubayed has conducted extensive field research in Europe, mostly France, focusing largely on Romanesque and Gothic sculptures of Eve, luxury, and sirens.  

Ms. Moubayed says her experience at Data Day has been invaluable.

“Through Data Day and the guidance of Francine Berish, Geospatial Data Librarian, my research took a major upgrade in the digital humanities approach,” she says. “I was finally able to display and analyze my findings as I initially planned to do – with a database, an interactive map, and a statistical approach. Data Day showed me the possibilities of the collaborative and multidisciplinary character of the digital humanities.” 

Ms. Moubayed will be speaking about her digital humanities research philosophy.

“I wish to inspire other Queen’s graduate students and scholars, as I was inspired at last year’s Data Day,” she says.

Data Day is an opportunity for researchers to come together to learn from one another and start a conversation that continues beyond the event.

“Together with our academic partners, the library continues to explore and evolve strategies for how best to support our research community in all scholarly communications,” Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian says. “The goal is to broaden the impact of Queen’s research locally, nationally and globally. We want to engage the Queen’s academic community in discussion of the pressing issues and opportunities of this evolving landscape of information access and collaborative technology-based initiatives, within our local context.”

Data Day takes place on May 11, from 9 am to 1 pm, and includes lunch. The program features presentations and panels on national initiatives and local services for managing, linking and promoting research data. The keynote speaker is Jeremy Geelen, from SSHRC, who will discuss tri-agency policies on data management. For more details, see the Data Day website

From breaking ground to a groundbreaking building

As he provides an update on the Innovation and Wellness Centre, John Witjes can’t help but get excited about the finished product. 

“Seeing a state-of-the-art facility rise from a building built in the 1930s and the 1970s will be really impressive,” says the associate vice-principal (facilities). “Connecting the old and the new is something that Queen’s does well – just look at Goodes Hall and the Isabel – and the Innovation and Wellness Centre is going to be another great example of that.”

[Foundation rising at IWC]
After the demolition work, crews started forming and pouring columns, foundation, and shear walls for the new Innovation and Wellness Centre. (Submitted photo) 

Construction work began on the project in September 2016, thanks to investments from Queen’s, the federal and provincial governments, and numerous benefactors. When students return to campus in September 2018, they will have full access to expanded research and innovation spaces, a wellness centre, athletics and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre.

Within the next couple of weeks, the Queen’s community will notice a shift in the project. Demolition is nearly complete, and the new structure will start to rise out of the ground. Crews have poured footings and foundations and the structural steel will arrive on the construction site next week.

“It will be very exciting to watch this incredible building truly start to take shape,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “The steel structure will soon rise into view, and soon after we will start to fit in the state of the art research, innovation and student wellness spaces that make this project so important for the future of Queen’s.”

Mr. Witjes says crews have managed to stay on schedule while overcoming certain challenges that arise from retrofitting an existing building instead of constructing something brand new. 

“You will always find unexpected things that you have to react to or design around,” Mr. Witjes says. “It’s particularly challenging with this project because there are essentially two buildings: the 1930s building and the 1970s addition.”

The project team is also taking great care to preserve the heritage components of the original structure. The limestone façade facing Union Street will remain, and Queen’s will reinstate the original windows.

[Front facade of IWC]
The new Innovation and Wellness Centre will include the original limestone façade. Queen’s will also reinstate the original windows. (Submitted photo)

While the heritage aspects on the outside will remain, the inside will have a completely new look and feel. From Union Street, visitors will enter into an expansive space with skylights and glass on all sides. The Bews Gymnasium that used to be at the front of the building will be relocated underneath the Ross Gym.

“Whereas the old building was very compartmentalized and disconnected, the new building will be much more open. We are introducing intersecting spaces where people will come into contact with each other as they travel from one area of the building to the other,” Mr. Witjes says.

The building will be enclosed by the end of the fall, with crews continuing to work inside through the winter. Mr. Witjes says he appreciates the Queen’s community’s co-operation and understanding as the university constructs a major capital project in the heart of campus.

“We realize it is disruptive, but I think the facility is going to be amazing and people are going to be impressed by the end result,” he says. “With so many key components of the Queen’s student learning experience coming together in this space, it’s nice to see this happening to a building that is in the centre of campus. It’s going to be really exciting.”

Follow the construction live on this webcam

[Innovation and Wellness Centre]
An architectural rendering of the Innovation and Wellness Centre, showing the blend of the old building and the new structure. The centre will include expanded research and innovation spaces, a wellness centre, athletics and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre.


Connecting through Experiential Learning Hub

[Chelsea Elliott]
Chelsea Elliott, Manager, Experiential Learning and Partner Relations, leads and manages the Experiential Learning Hub, a new initiative dedicated to developing learning that goes beyond the classroom. (University Relations) 

At the nexus between theory and practice, experiential learning might seem like the newest buzzword. In fact, it’s already exercised to great success all around us, through curriculum-based learning in internships and placements, as well as by co-curriculum-based strategies such as community service learning programs.

“While university education provides the opportunity for profound learning and personal transformation, great experiential learning deepens this and enables students to clearly articulate their transformation,” says Chelsea Elliott, Manager, Experiential Learning and Partner Relations. “It empowers them to own their learning and have the skill to speak to their development when pursuing future endeavours, whether it be grad school, a job, or other opportunities.”

Through Career Services in the Division of Student Affairs, Ms. Elliott leads and manages the Experiential Learning Hub (EL Hub), a new initiative dedicated to developing learning that goes beyond the classroom. In 2015, the Provost's Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning (PACTL) established an Experiential Learning Working Group (ELWG) to lead discussions and develop a strategy around Experiential Learning; the creation of an EL Hub is one of the recommendations to come out of their report. The EL Hub website helps faculty members design curricula in accordance with experiential learning principles and techniques, providing tools and consultation services. Further, there are resources for employers and partners to recruit Queen’s students.

The purpose of the EL hub is to facilitate and advise.

“We are available for consultation as faculty, administrators and partners look to add or grow experiential learning activities,” says Ms. Elliott. “If a faculty member or partner is interested in creating and/or expanding an experiential learning opportunity, such as a practicum or internship, then the EL Hub can connect them with experts who are already working with partners and facilitate that coordination. We want to ensure that students get the most of their experience, and that community and employer partners also receive an outstanding Queen’s experience.”

When Abbie Rolf Von Den Baumen, a chemical engineering student, was finishing her final year at Queen’s, she expressed to Ms. Elliott the great benefits gained from her experiential learning experiences in a year-long internship through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP). Ms. Rolf Von Den Baumen worked at Devon Energy in Calgary as a Development Engineering Intern, discovering the wide applicability of her academic skills and grasping ways to articulate the advantages of her education to future employers.

“I didn’t fully realize all the skills I learned in class until I was out at my internship and got a chance to apply them and then reflect on them. I wowed my boss,” says Ms. Rolf Von Den Baumen. “When I came back to school, I felt even more connected to the things I learned in class. It made me want to get even more involved.”

Ms. Elliott has worked for 18 years at Queen’s and derives great personal satisfaction and professional success in linking students with employers for hands-on experience.

“One of my passions is developing teams and students, being a part of that transformative learning, and connecting them with partners,” she says. “With a project management and strategic development background, I like to find ways to make communication and process happen more efficiently and effectively, so when I heard about an opportunity to manage the development of an EL Hub in Student Affairs and work with partners, I was energized.”

She is now leading the charge to support connecting learners with direct experience and reflect on the skills gained during their experience to relate that deeper knowledge and perspective back to their classroom work. And, she’s no stranger to seeing the positive effects of experiential learning in action.

“I instruct an experiential learning course in design, analytical problem solving, team building, and professional communication in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science,” she says. “Students complete projects for industrial, community and campus partners, which provide rich learning opportunities. From shaping this course I have learned how to prepare and support students, how to work with employer partners, and how to design the course to facilitate student learning and success. I have also developed an appreciation for the complexity in administration behind the scenes. There is a rich landscape of existing knowledge at Queen’s: the EL Hub is here to connect you to that network.”

Ms. Elliott will be speaking about experiential learning and the EL Hub at the Showcase of Teaching and Learning at Queen’s on May 3, MacDonald Hall, Room 001. More information and registration details are available on the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.

Career Services will also host an event on June 27 to celebrate the launch of the Experiential Learning Hub. RSVP to el.hub@queensu.ca or on the website.

'Impressive' showing for Career Services

[Career Services staff]
The Queen's Career Services team at an event held earlier this spring. The staff, student staff, and volunteers help deliver a comprehensive range of career development programs and services for Queen's students. (Submitted photo)

Queen’s University boasts one of the most “impressive” models of career services among Canadian universities and colleges, according to a recent national study.

Commissioned by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling, the study looked at institutions’ commitment to support the career development of their students. To earn an “impressive” designation, universities and colleges had to show that they:

  • Proactively deliver services
  • Collaborate extensively with campus stakeholders
  • Regularly evaluate services and measure outcomes

“This recognition illustrates the importance Queen’s places on comprehensive career development programs and services for our students,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “We have an amazing team in Career Services that works collaboratively with student groups, faculty, alumni, and employers to help students explore and plan their career and further education goals as a critical part of their student experience.”

Sixty-seven universities and colleges responded to the online survey, with 24 respondents scoring above average on the criteria. Of that 24, seven exemplified the impressive model, with Queen’s receiving the second-highest ranking overall.

[Students at a job fair hosted by Career Services]
Career Services works with numerous stakeholders to deliver workshops and services, including job and career fairs. (Photo by Lars Hagberg)

“The study highlights Queen’s significant investments in student career development,” says Cathy Keates, Director, Career Services. “In addition to offering direct services to students in our office, we work with instructors, units, and faculties across the university to deliver workshops, innovative services, and expand experiential learning opportunities for students. With our partners, we want to provide students with the tools they need to articulate how their Queen’s education and experience prepares them for their future endeavours.”

A key focus for the university is the continued development of experiential and work-integrated learning, with the goal of helping students recognize the important skills they develop through a variety of curricular and co-curricular experiential learning opportunities, and how these skills prepare them for life after graduation. Queen’s initiatives align with the Ontario government’s Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy.

Mapping the career path together

Queen’s Career Services has received high marks for several of its collaborative projects. In 2014, Career Services and the Alma Mater Society co-founded It All Adds Up, a career health campaign aimed at giving students confidence that the skills they are developing at university will give them a solid foundation for their future careers. It All Adds Up has expanded to 43 other university and college career centres across Canada.

Career Services has also worked with partners across campus to develop Major Maps and Grad Maps, program-specific resources that offer undergraduate and graduate students advice on academics, research, and career opportunities all in one document.

The maps received the 2015  Excellence in Innovation Award (Student Engagement) from the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE). The maps project is also a finalist for the 2017 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Award for Career Services Excellence. NACE, which has more than 3,000 member institutions across the United States and Canada, will announce the award recipient in June.

The university has also launched the online Experiential Learning Hub, a “front door” to experiential learning that supports efficient cross-institutional planning and delivery of experiential learning, and provides advising for program development, collaboration, and sharing of resources through a central contact.

Visit the Queen’s Career Services website for more information about all of its programs and services. 

Partnership boosts undergraduate research

A partnership between the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) and the Faculty of Arts and Science is providing the financial support to promote and expand undergraduate research.

The partnership has resulted in the creation of the Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Fund (ASURF) with the aim of fostering a community of undergraduate scholars and promoting greater investment towards undergraduate research.

The Arts and Science Undergraduate Society and Faculty of Arts and Science are partnering to provide financial support to promote and expand undergraduate research. (SUpplied Photo)

Each year for the next three years ASUS will contribute approximately $30,000 toward the fund through an opt-out student fee of $3.75, while the faculty will contribute $10,000 annually.

Undergraduate research is important because it provides an opportunity to expand the depth and breadth of the student experience, explains ASUS President Darrean Baga, adding that the fund will help improve the process for students and strengthen another pillar of the undergraduate experience.

“Undergraduate research allows students to apply the theories and concepts they have learned in the classroom in the real world, where the processes and results can be messy, unexpected, and complicated. As such, undergraduate research provides students with tangible skills outside of the classroom while at the same time part of the experiential learning process,” he says. “Moreover, undergraduate research is a great gateway for students to think about graduate school and how to further their education.”

Queen’s offers opportunities for undergraduate research through such programs as the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships (USSRF) and the new fund will help build upon the increasing interest.

“The momentum that is building for undergraduate research is amazing,” Vicki Remenda, Associate Dean (Academic). “We are happy to have collaborated with ASUS to begin to highlight the research that is going on at the undergraduate level here at Queen’s.”

The Faculty of Arts and Science and ASUS have also partnered to launch the Undergraduate Research Hub, a website featuring the work of undergraduate researchers, where it can be viewed by peers, potential supervisors, and graduate school admissions committees.

“The undergraduate research website is a very valuable tool for professors in the Faculty of Arts and Science to aid in graduate student recruitment,” says Sharon Regan, Acting Associate Dean (Graduate Students and Research). “The new features highlighting undergraduate researchers will only make this a more powerful and useful outlet for our faculty and students.”

Anyone interested in having their research, or that of their student, included in the Undergraduate Research Hub can contact ASUS.

Creating diverse, modern learning spaces

Renovations to develop diverse and modern learning spaces will soon begin in Mackintosh-Corry Hall.

The revitalization of the southern wing of the building – home to the Department of Geography and Planning – marks the second year of Queen’s multi-year commitment to improving teaching and learning environments on campus. The university is investing $1 million per year for three years to upgrade centrally-booked classrooms and other learning spaces.

[Mackintosh-Corry Hall - south wing]
The south wing of Mackintosh-Corry Hall will undergo renovations, including the development of two active learning classrooms and a renewed student street. (University Communications)

A focus of the Mackintosh-Corry Hall project is to provide a more diverse range of learning opportunities by creating two new active learning classrooms, renewing other classrooms, as well as enlarging the hallways and creating informal learning spaces, says Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning).

“We’re basically renovating part of the wing with a recognition that there really aren’t many informal learning spaces in this building, which is a major classroom complex where these types of spaces really are needed,” he says. “We also need more flexible and active learning classrooms and we are doing this by consolidating classrooms that were less used and configured in traditional ways and reworking them to provide more active learning.”

The two new 49-seat active learning classrooms will be constructed in Rooms D201 and D205. A temporary partition between the rooms can be removed to create a 98-seat classroom as well, Mr. Wolf explains. Other classrooms will undergo more minor renovations while the hallways will be widened and informal study areas will be created.

The focus of the multi-year commitment, Mr. Wolf says, is on renewing large classrooms and increasing the proportion of active learning and flexible classrooms.

“The commitment has really given us a tremendous start for what we need to do for our classrooms, to make sure that the classrooms enable the diversity of pedagogies that are being used and are in demand across all disciplines,” he says “We will continue to need lecture spaces and we also need other kinds of spaces. The goal of this project is to renew the classroom database while at the same time making sure that the classroom spaces and technologies provide the diverse contexts that our students need to learn the diverse things they are learning.”

Another important aspect of the overall project is to make learning spaces across campus more accessible.

“A key part of a good learning environment is a fully accessible learning environment,” Mr. Wolf points out. “That includes the technology, layout, stairs and ramps and lighting and good air.”

In the initiative’s first year, major renovations were conducted at Duncan McArthur Hall, including the main auditorium where new lighting, seating and presentation technologies were introduced.

Other classroom projects have taken place in Walter Light Hall, Theological Hall, Kingston Hall and Ellis Hall, where the first three active learning classrooms were introduced in 2014.

More information about active learning classrooms at Queen’s is available online


Subscribe to RSS - Student Learning Experience