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Making a major decision

[Majors Night 2017]
First-year students in the Faculty of Arts and Science fill Grant Hall for Majors Night on March 1. The event is a partnership between Career Services, the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS), the Arts and Science Departmental Student Councils and the Faculty of Arts and Science. (Photo by Laura Wyatt)

For first-year Arts and Science students at Queen’s, it’s one of the biggest decisions they will make in undergrad: choosing a degree plan.

The third annual Majors Night, held March 1, was a major success, as Grant Hall was packed with over 1,300 students seeking out the best program for them.

“This event aims to provide as many touch points as possible to help first-year students make an informed decision,” says Miguel Hahn, Project Lead for Career Services.

Majors Night is a partnership among Career Services, the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS), the Arts and Science Departmental Student Councils and the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“Our 28 undergraduate departments were there, representing over 90 different degree plans,” says Lindsey Fair, Associate Director in the Faculty of Arts and Science. “Students had the opportunity to interact with upper-year peers, staff and faculty members to help them in making this significant decision. The Major Maps were also a popular item at the event and helped students see how their degree plans would align with everything else they do at Queen’s.”

First-year students say the event is very helpful.

“I got a lot of advice from upper-year students and staff about how to decide on a specific major,” says Derrick Wang. (ArtSci’20). “I also got some information about internships at Queen’s and exchange opportunities, which helped me create a clear plan for university life."

A new addition to this year’s event was the presence of the Experiential Learning and Employer Team of the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP). First-year students were able to interact with current interns, learn about what they are experiencing in their internships, and speak to program coordinators about opportunities to pursue their own hands-on work experiences in the future.

“This is the second year that students in Arts & Science have had the option of a 12-16 month internship, and we are seeing a lot of interest,” says Kristen Eppel, QUIP coordinator, Career Services.

“It was wonderful to talk to students who are thinking about taking advantage of this new opportunity.”

For more information about QUIP, visit careers.queensu.ca/quip

Celebrating undergraduate research

Inquiry@Queen’s (I@Q), an annual conference that promotes and showcases undergraduate research at Queen’s, is being held at the university on Thursday, March 9 and Friday, March 10.

All events are open to the Queen’s and Kingston communities as the conference celebrates the research achievements of a new generation of scholars as they present their research through presentations, posters and panel discussions at the Queen’s Learning Commons in Stauffer Library.

“We in the library are very pleased to be organizing and hosting this conference with our partners across the university,” says Jackie Druery, Inquiry@Queen’s co-chair and head Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian, Queen’s University Library.  “The Library is a community of learning and research and an integral part of the balanced academy where students engage with each other to ask critical questions and build new ideas.  The conference provides an opportunity for them to present those ideas in an interdisciplinary environment and to gain academic and professional skills at the same time.  That’s a key part of the discovery and research process”.

This year’s program includes 50 oral presentations and 26 poster presentations from undergraduate students across the disciplines, and the first undergraduate 3 Minute Thesis contest organized by the AMS. For the first time student researchers from outside Queen’s  will be participating – from University of Guelph, University of Toronto, Carleton University and Bridgewater State University (New York).

Thursday’s keynote features Murray Dee, Seth Barling and their students from Rideau Heights Public School, Kingston, showing us how they “Create a community of knowledge builders: a pedagogical approach to inquiry in a grade 3 and 6 classroom” and James Fraser, Professor, Department of Physics, 3M National Teaching Fellowship recipient, 2017 who will intrigue us with “Science fiction or science fact: can popular sci-fi movies motivate real research questions?”

All events are open to everyone. The full conference program is available online.


Expanding online offerings

Queen’s University has received approximately $1.2 million in funding from eCampusOntario to develop or redesign seven online programs through the New Program Development grant program.

eCampusOntario, which represents Ontario’s 45 colleges and universities, put out a call for proposals in July 2016 and received 174 submissions. A total of 61 submissions received funding totaling more than $21 million.

Of the seven successful proposals from Queen’s six were submitted by the Faculty of Arts and Science and one was submitted by the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The successful proposals cover a broad range of subjects including entrepreneurship and innovation, health leadership, and undergraduate research.

“Queen’s has a proven track record in securing funding to support the development of online learning,” John Pierce, Acting Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), says. “In this round alone, over 10 per cent of the 61 successful proposals were from Queen’s. Our successes are a direct result of the expertise and engagement that our faculty and staff bring to the development of these innovative, well-designed courses. Collectively, we remain committed to facilitating a transformative online learning experience for our students, and these new projects will contribute to that.”

Queen’s already has more than 160 courses available online, as well as five full degree programs. More information about online offerings is available on Queen’s online learning hub.

Ontario’s shared online course funding program was created to promote the development of online courses at universities and colleges and to give students greater flexibility as they pursue their degrees. 

The Queen’s online programs receiving grants from eCampusOntario are:

Doctor of Science - Rehabilitation and Health Leadership
Project will work to develop the new Doctor of Science in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership (DSc RHL) plus four courses within this program. The DSc (RHL) is a professional doctorate that will produce ‘leader scholars.’

Queen's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Certificate (QEIC)
Project is to develop a new fully online certificate program in innovation and entrepreneurship to be launched in Fall 2018. This will be a uniquely collaborative academic initiative that brings together participants from nine Queen’s faculties, schools, departments and service units to develop, design and deliver the program.

Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership
Project will develop three courses for the new online Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership (MEERL) to be launched in January 2017. MEERL is a part-time, course-based, graduate program introduced by the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s that: 1) Capitalizes on Queen’s widely recognized strengths in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Faculty of Law, the Smith School of Business, the School of Policy Studies and the Department of Economics; 2) Works with industry to deliver courses that take an interdisciplinary approach focused on resource-related decision-making; Can be leveraged by those working in natural resources, policy, and regulation.

Certificate in Employment Relations (CEMPR)
Project will redesign a certificate program in employment relations for fully online delivery, to be launched in Summer 2018. Project brings together two universities and participants from several Queen’s Faculties, Schools, Departments and Programs to develop, design and deliver the program.

Global Action and Engagement Certificate (GAEC)
Project will develop a new, fully online undergraduate Global Action and Engagement Certificate (GAEC), and three core courses, to launch in Fall 2018. The fully online delivery model will make this innovative program: 1) Accessible to learners across Ontario and Canada; 2) An ideal way to earn a recognized credential that demonstrates cross-cultural competencies, intellectual creativity, collaborative problem solving skills; 3) The standard for proficiencies to work/volunteer in complex global settings.

Certificate in Advanced Research Skills
Project will develop a new, fully online certificate program in advanced research skills, to be launched in Fall 2017. The fully online delivery model will make this innovative program accessible to learners from all disciplines in Ontario and across Canada. To our knowledge, it is the first interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary research skills certificate. This ground breaking course will: 1) Recognize the ability of the learner to construct her or his own learning; 2) Create opportunities for self-directed learning; 3) Be aligned with the pedagogical approach of inquiry-based learning.

French for Professionals Certificate
Project is to develop a new fully online undergraduate certificate in French for Professionals to be launched in Fall 2018. In Canada, new graduates, professionals and other job-seekers who can communicate effectively in French as a Second Language (FSL) are more likely to be successfully employed in bilingual workplaces (Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, 2016). Goal of this new certificate program is to enable learners of French as a Second Language to develop and enhance language skills to work in bilingual professional environments such as health care, government, law and other industries.

Interdisciplinary, innovative, and insightful

[Building Better Together]
A team of engineering and occupational therapy students display their project during the final poster event for the Building Better Together course. The course was created through the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s inaugural Educational Leadership Initiative grant. From left: Robert Diebel (OT), Isaac Freda (Engineering), Akram Ghoudi (Engineering), Katie Fisher (Engineering), Elizabeth Gibson Crowder (OT) and Robyn Bernick (OT). (Supplied photo)

A new course created through the Centre of Teaching and Learning’s first-ever Educational Leadership Initiative grant has helped foster collaboration between students in occupational therapy and engineering in creating assistive devices for actual end users.

The instructional team of Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) and Elizabeth Delarosa (Mechanical and Materials Engineering), and Catherine Donnelly (Rehabilitation Therapy) and Susanne Murphy (Rehabilitation Therapy), developed “Building Better Together: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching and Learning” with the aim of applying the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative’s framework to an academic environment.

Through the course, offered during the 2016 Fall Term, students from occupational therapy and engineering teamed up to create an assistive device for an end user. The teams had to interact and collaborate with each other as well as with a person in need of an assistive device.

The course re-created the interdisciplinary environment many of the students will see in their professional careers.

“I think one of the key elements of this that made it realistic is that we actually had end users there that could respond,” says Ms. Delarosa, a doctoral student in engineering who is also a registered occupational therapist, adding that similar courses often offer simulated end users and case studies. As a result feedback is limited as is the interaction seen in the clinical setting. “In this case we got the end users in the classroom and the students could ask them questions and they could be answered.”

Through earlier studies, the team found that occupational therapists were interested in being more involved with the design process and engineers wanted to be more involved in interacting with the end users. Building Better Together offered both sides the opportunity to collaborate throughout the process.

The results were innovative and insightful.

“One end user said that she was so surprised at how well the students were able to create something from what she said,” says Dr. Davies. “Another one said just from the dialogue or conversation they had with the OT students and the engineering students, they became blurred, they didn’t know who were the occupational therapy students and who were the engineering students. It was interesting to see the relationships that were built too. Not just with the OT and engineering students but in regards to how the users were feeling comfortable to share ‘This is what I need and this is what I want, and how are we going to do this kind of thing?’”

The course was developed to mirror the workplace and provide the students with experiences that can be applied in their future careers. It was also informative for the instructors.

“It was interesting to see it was somewhat structured but when the students and the users got together it kind of unfolded by itself as well,” Ms. Delarosa says. “Certainly the OT students are encouraged to utilize their interview skills and clinical skills, and the engineering students were drawing on their design focus, what might be functional and all that. Interaction developed over time on its own. They didn’t tell the end users what to do and they interacted differently, some quiet, some seeking more guidance and others wanting to be actively involved in the process.”

With the inaugural course complete the instructional team is excited by the results and is looking forward to building upon the foundation that has been created.

“We’ve learned a lot,” Dr. Davies says. “We’ve learned that it can be done. We’ve learned that it takes a lot of time to try to get everyone on a similar page. We realized that it is very important to both disciplines to be better informed about the other discipline.” 

The Educational Leadership Initiative is aimed at supporting Queen’s students, faculty, librarians and staff who want to forge a new educational path. It is one of three grant programs offered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning, along with the Educational Research Grants and Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grants.

“This project and those involved exemplify what the Educational Leadership Initiative is hoping to promote,” says Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning. “The educators created a guided learning environment that brings together students across programs to help design solutions to everyday challenges faced by people in the Kingston community. The educators involved are also researching aspects of the course, presenting this model at conferences and engaging colleagues in discussions around this approach.”

The deadline for submission for the 2017 Educational Leadership Initiative grant is June 27.

For more information visit the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.

Travelling north

Queen’s sociology student Justine Aman, Artsci’18, is headed to Iqaluit where she will join 30 fellow youth leaders from across Canada for the Arctic Youth Ambassador Caucus March 8-12.

The event, organized by Global Vision, aims to connect youth living in southern Canada with their peers in the north to learn about and find innovative solutions to the pressing issues facing those living in Canada’s Arctic.

Justine Aman, Artsci’18, will be traveling to Iqaluit, Nunavut for the Global Vision Arctic Youth Ambassador Caucus. The event, which runs March 8-12, brings together youth from Canada's north and south to begin a dialogue and work to find innovative solutions to some of the pressing challenges facing Canada's Arctic community. (University Communications)

Ms. Aman says she was inspired to get involved in the caucus by her own experiences living in northern Ontario – seeing how distance from major urban centres affected the community through population decline and lack of job opportunities. She hopes to gain new insight into the challenges faced by northern Canadians and help develop sustainable solutions.

“My whole approach going into the caucus will be to listen and absorb the feedback coming from our northern peers,” she says. “Coming from a southern community, I recognize that my interpretation of what they need may be completely different, so I want to listen and work with them to build off their first-hand experiences. Whatever the people on the ground identify as the issues they’re facing, I want to listen to that and consider how those of us in the south can help find a sustainable option to fix that.”

Ms. Aman and her fellow southern attendees – selected from students across Canada, ranging from Grade 9 to graduate students – will spend four days meeting with local students and community leaders. They will also meet with representatives of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.

The trip is intended to spark a dialogue between north and south, and help foster a dialogue between communities that otherwise may never interact in any meaningful way. Many of the students – Ms. Aman included – have already scheduled presentations with community groups on their return, to share what they have learned.

“We’re one country and yet we’re so disconnected,” says Ms. Aman, of the gulf between Canadians in the country’s north and south. “I think the greatest opportunity to arise out of this conference is the chance to start a conversation.”

Founded in 1991 by former Member of Parliament Terry Clifford, Global Vision has been working in the north since 2010 to facilitate north-south dialogue and to help strengthen northern youth’s capacity to become actively engaged as leaders in their own communities. For more information on Global Vision and the AYAC150 Team, please visit the website.

Inspired to create social change

  • The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) recently led a delegation of students to attend the Development Dialogue 2017 Conference in Hubballi, India. The social innovation conference is hosted by the foundation created by Gururaj and Jaishree Deshpande.
    The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) recently led a delegation of students to attend the Development Dialogue 2017 Conference in Hubballi, India. The social innovation conference is hosted by the foundation created by Gururaj and Jaishree Deshpande.
  • Queen’s students from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) delegation tour a food preparation facility during their visit to India in January
    Queen’s students from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) delegation tour a food preparation facility during their visit to India in January
  • The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) delegation got a first-hand look at a number of entrepreneurial projects currently underway in India.
    The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) delegation got a first-hand look at a number of entrepreneurial projects currently underway in India.

In late January, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) led a delegation of students from Queen’s University to attend the Development Dialogue 2017 Conference in Hubballi, India. 

The delegation consisted of student alumni of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) program, representatives from student-led conferences and members of the DDQIC executive. The conference, hosted by the Deshpande Foundation, not only allowed the group to have the opportunity to engage in panels regarding global entrepreneurship but the delegation also had the chance to visit the sites of a variety of NGOs and start-ups that are leading social innovation in the region.

Included amongst the delegates was Kerry Readwin, a Queen’s student and co-founder of Northsprout, a QICSI initiative that is developing a soil additive to improve water efficiency and increasing crop yields.

“The entrepreneurial drive I saw to create an impact in people’s day-to-day lives reminded me of the importance of staying true to the mission of your business endeavours,” says Ms. Readwin. “The network of people all over the world trying to make our world a better place is truly inspiring. I can’t wait to take what I have learned and use it to drive my own startup forward.”

This sentiment was also shared by another Queen’s delegate, Louisa Walch, co-chair of Enactus Queen’s, a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform and build a more sustainable future at both Queen’s and the broader community.

“The challenges we face in Canada are different than in India, but there are still many that exist. The Deshpande Foundation inspired me to think positively about the ability to make change happen, and to commit time on eradicating identified issues,” says Ms. Walch.

It is clear that the conference has motivated both young women to look beyond their immediate scope and advocate for ethical change to build sustainable initiatives and create social change within their communities.

For more information visit the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre website.

Opportunities for undergraduate research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit the USSRF program website.

Closure of Physical and Health Education program approved

Queen’s University Senate approved the closure of the Bachelor of Physical and Health Education (BPHE) programs during its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The vote completes a process that included two years of public consultation. Admission to the program was temporarily suspended in March 2016 as recommended by the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. A proposal for consideration of closure was brought before the Faculty Board at its Oct. 28, 2016 meeting and at its meeting on Jan. 2, 2017. The proposal was then brought before the Senate Committee on Academic Development on Feb. 8, 2017 and approved.

The reasons for the closure include:

  • The Physical Education and Kinesiology programs at Queen’s have considerable overlap in curricular content.
  • Declining interest in physical education programs throughout Canada, including a 15 per cent decrease in applications at Queen’s over the past five years, combined with a 35 per cent increase in applications to Kinesiology in the same time period.
  • Fewer opportunities for physical education teachers within the school system.
  • A lack of potential faculty members with doctoral degrees in physical education and pedagogy.

In light of the closure, the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies is currently exploring options to open the applied, placement-based physical education courses to students in the Kinesiology and Health Studies programs. Other curriculum changes will be minimal given the overlapping nature of courses offered across the Physical Education and Kinesiology programs.

Also being explored is the possible development of an undergraduate certificate program open to all Queen’s students based on the existing Exercise, Disability and Aging mini-stream offered by the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

The School of Kinesiology and Health Studies will also benefit from the arrival of new faculty members specializing in biomechanics/motor control and global health in the near future that will further strengthen their programs in the growing disciplines of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

Senate approves fall term break

Queen’s University will implement a two-day fall term break for students enrolled in the four direct-entry undergraduate programs. The break will take effect in the 2018-19 academic year.

Senate approved the recommendations of the Fall Term Break Task Force (FTBTF) at its Feb. 28 meeting. The two-day fall term break will occur on the Thursday and Friday of the seventh week of classes.

“The break will help alleviate the stress students often experience during this point in the fall term,” says Deputy Provost Teri Shearer, Chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force. “With the two-day break, we aim to minimize the impact on orientation activities and the pre-exam study period, which serve to smooth the transition to university and promote student success.”

The university will implement the break by:

  • Shifting residence move-in day to the Saturday of Labour Day weekend instead of Sunday;
  • Holding faculty-specific orientation on Sunday, Labour Day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday;
  • Holding classes on Thursday and Friday of that week; and,
  • Holding university/residence orientation on Saturday and Sunday (the weekend after Labour Day weekend).

The implementation of the break will not affect the number of instructional days.

Strong support for pre-exam study break, fall term break, and Orientation activities

Senate established FTBTF in April 2016 to develop recommendations for implementing a fall term break. In addition to extensive consultations with the Queen’s community from October-December 2016, the task force conducted an online survey, which garnered 7,251 completed responses.

When asked to identify their priorities:

  • 34.2 per cent of respondents ranked a fall-term break as most important
  • 33.6 per cent of respondents ranked pre-exam study days as most important
  • 30.1 per cent of respondents ranked Orientation activities as most important
  • 2.1 per cent of respondents ranked an increase in the number of instructional days as most important

When combining the respondents’ first and second priorities, 83.5 per cent ranked pre-exam study days as either most or second-most important, while 63.2 per cent of respondents placed a fall-term break among their top two priorities. 45.2 per cent of respondents stated that Orientation activities were among their top two priorities, and 8.1 per cent identified additional instructional days as most or second most important.

The survey results, in addition to written and oral comments received by the task force, indicated that the student body highly values a fall-term break, pre-exam study days, and Orientation activities, according to Dr. Shearer. “From there, the task force focused on identifying and developing a recommendation that would retain all three of the activities,” she says.

The full report from the FTBTF is posted on the University Secretariat website

So little time, so much information

New School of Graduate Studies event presents cutting-edge research PechaKucha Style

A new event at Queen’s University is challenging graduate students to think outside the box when it comes to presenting their research. The Big Data PechaKucha Research Showcase invites them to present their research in a compressed, fast-paced environment.

Big Data is a term for data sets so complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate to deal with them.

“The Big Data PechaKucha Research Showcase is an event that highlights a growing area of specialization at Queen’s” says Benda Brouwer (Vice Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies). “This an important area of research that spans several discipline areas as evidenced by our graduate student presenters. The style of presentation is out of the ordinary and is very engaging as well as informative. “

PechaKucha is a presentation style where researchers show 20 slides, each for 20 seconds. It was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein-Dytham Architecture in 2003 as a means of constraining the presentations given by architects, which would otherwise go on far too long. The presentation style keeps the presentations concise and fast-paced while disseminating the key points. It challenges the presenters to be selective about what they include and creative with the slides they present.

Included in this year’s Research Showcase are: Shadi Khalifa (School of Computing), Frederick Langshaw (Sociology), Debra Mackinnon, (Sociology), Steven Richardson (Sociology), Dan Gale (Centre for Neuroscience Studies) and Victoria Tolls (School of Computing). Some of the topics covered are using neuroimaging to understand how the human brain solves real-world tasks, using big data to enhance patient care in the ICU, and the privacy implications of wearable devices that collect data in the workplace, such as fitness trackers, smart watches, GPS or a heart rate monitor.

The PechaKucha Research Showcase is part of the year-long Big Data 175 celebration event being coordinated by the Surveillance Studies Centre. The series explores the 3Ds of Big Data: Define, Describe, Debate and examines the benefits and risks associated with Big Data in fields including health care, marketing, national security and beyond.

The Research Showcase is being held on Wednesday, March 1 at 6:30 pm at the University Club. For more information and to RSVP, visit the website.


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