Queen's University

School of English dips into its 70-year past

A photo from the archives shows a few of the School of English's early students. Most of the initial students at the school were French-speakers from convents and monasteries in Quebec.

The Queen’s School of English (QSoE) is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and staff want to share the story of its unique past with the wider campus community.

“This 70th anniversary is a really great time for us to tell everyone at Queen’s what we do – what we’ve been doing for a really long time,” says Karen Burkett, Special Programs and Research Coordinator, QSoE. “It’s also a time for us to reflect, think about where we came from and who we are now, and a time for us to celebrate our community and international connections.”

Ms Burkett researched the school in the Queen’s Archives, charting its path from a summer school in 1942 to its present structure as a renowned year-round English instruction school. In the early days, most of the school’s students were French-speakers from convents and monasteries in Quebec.

Over time, the school drew fewer members of the laity and more staff from companies, such as Thetford Mines in Quebec. In the ’60s, it began attracting international students and the school’s focus started to shift away from domestic students to groups from around the world looking to immerse themselves in English language and Canadian culture.

“We’ve evolved, grown and changed,” says Jenny Bourne, Senior Program Coordinator, QSoE. “Our biggest program now is the English for Academic Purposes course but we also lend support throughout campus, offering pre-programs for medical students, a Business Internship Program, and tailored programs for individuals and groups.”

QSoE attracts students from Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, along with a few from Canada. On average, about 100 students take courses at QSoE per term.

QSoE will host an open house October 4 from 11 am to 3 pm in the QSoE office, 96 Albert St. Each room of the office will have a different theme exploring various aspects of the school’s history and programming. The school will also host a brown bag lunch session to celebrate its anniversary on October 22 in Kingston Hall.

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Last updated at 3:57 pm EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
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