New website to help international visitors
A new website launched this month will be an invaluable tool for international academic visitors to Queen's and the faculty and staff who invite them to campus.
The new site will prove very helpful, says Monica Stewart, co-ordinator of the Faculty Recruitment and Support Program. Many faculties and departments invite academic visitors to give guest lectures, teach elements of a course, collaborate in research projects, and other activities. Until now, there has been no single resource at Queen's to guide faculty and staff through the process of inviting international visitors.
The website provides information on everything from ensuring a smooth entry to Canada for academics and their families, finding housing in Kingston, health coverage and weather trends in the area. For hosting departments, the site provides immigration information and advice on how to structure letters of invitation.
The site supports Queen's strategic goal to “deepen the university's international engagement,” says Barbara Yates, manager of International Programs and Initiatives in the Office of the Vice-Principal (Academic). International visitors are an important component of this strategy, in exposing students to a variety of perspectives and opinion.
An international visitor himself, Queen's-China Liaison Officer Zhiyao Zhang says the new site will be a very useful and convenient tool for departments.
“If a faculty member has not previously invited a visitor, it can be very challenging, and it can be very intimidating for the visitor to plan an international visit,” says Dr. Zhang. “This website brings all the necessary resources together.”
Now that the material is online, it will be easier to keep current as immigration regulations change, and as visitors provide feedback on what they need for a successful visit, says Ms. Stewart.
The Faculty Recruitment and Support Program and the Office of the Vice-Principal (Academic) – International Initiatives led the project, in consultation with the Office of the Principal, the Department of Marketing and Communications and the Queen's University International Centre.