At an orientation event two years ago, the newest Queen’s professors and researchers learned they had a common friend in Monica Stewart. One of them turned to her and said, “I thought I was the only person you were helping.”
Ms Stewart tells the story to illustrate the personalized service she provides as the faculty recruitment and support program coordinator.
“Tailoring the services to each new faculty member makes the most sense. We could come at people with checklists, but I think they need that personal support,” she says.
Ms Stewart gives prospective faculty members and their families an idea of what it’s like to live in Kingston, even before they arrive. She discusses topics such as real estate, immigration, and the school system.
She helps faculty members relocate to Kingston if they choose Queen’s. She suggests real estate agents, mortgage brokers and other professional service providers. The faculty members quickly build new support systems, allowing them to concentrate on their work at the University, thanks to Ms Stewart.
New faculty members have specific needs, but there are some common difficulties. Their spouses or partners often must find new jobs in Kingston. Ms Stewart connects spouses and partners with employers in their field. She also informs new faculty members about the various cultural communities in Kingston, some of which may be small and less visible.
Ms Stewart enjoys using her connections to ensure a smooth transition for new faculty members.
“I find it very satisfying helping them when they are at their most vulnerable to a variety of bureaucratic and red tape disasters,” she says.
She makes a point of enjoying Kingston’s attractions herself and volunteering in the community. She chairs Kingston Employment and Youth Services, serves on the board of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, and sits on the Kingston Immigration Partnership council.
“You can be more genuine in how you get things across to people if you have experienced them yourself,” she says.
Queen’s officially welcomes its new faculty members at the orientation program on August 26.