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Queen's University

Principal Woolf’s Report to the University Senate

September 17, 2013

Speaking notes

Check against delivery

In addition to his written report, Principal Woolf provided the following updates:

Welcome back to you all after the summer.  I hope that you all had a chance to recuperate from a busy and productive year and that our academic colleagues were able to devote time to their research during this break from classes.

Unfortunately, Provost Harrison will not be with us today as he is recovering from emergency surgery following a cycling accident over the weekend.  Should any questions arise from his written report, I will direct those to members of his team who are in attendance as appropriate.

Delegation to Israel and the West Bank

  • In early July I had the opportunity to travel to Israel and the West Bank with a number of other Canadian university executive heads. 
  • During the mission, President Elizabeth Cannon from the University of Calgary and I, on behalf of the AUCC, and Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, on behalf of the equivalent body, the Association of University Heads, signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen academic ties between Israel and Canada.
  • While at Tel Aviv University I had the opportunity to participate in the formal announcement of a new partnership between Queen’s Faculty of Law and the Buchmann Faculty of Law at TAU.  The three-year joint endeavour will include an annual faculty exchange, an annual public lecture, a conference, and dedicated support for collaborative faculty research projects. The new initiatives are possible thanks to the generous support of Jeremy Freedman (LLB ’82), on behalf of the Jeremy and Judith Freedman Family Foundation – a wonderful example of philanthropic support for the academy. 
  • We also visited Birzeit University in the West Bank and are currently looking at ways of building on the memorandum of understanding that I signed during my visit with the Ontario delegation in 2010.

Honours and Awards

As has been my practice I would like to draw Senate’s attention to some of the honours and awards that have been received by members of our community since last we met.  The list is lengthy given the summer hiatus.

  • At the last Senate meeting I reported that civil engineering professor Kerry Rowe was one of only four Canadians to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society this year.  Another honour was bestowed on him recently when the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) named the R. Kerry Rowe Lecture in his honour.  Professor Rowe delivered the inaugural lecture to his colleagues at the quadrennial conference of the group in Paris last month. 

This year, an unprecedented number of Queen’s professors have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada.  The new fellows are:

  • Gauvin Bailey whose research has enriched understanding of the global diffusion of Renaissance and Baroque Art with his foundational work on the hybrid cultures of Latin America and Asia.
  • Nicholas Bala who is a family law scholar and international expert on children and parents involved in the justice system.
  • Praveen Jain, professor of electrical and computer engineering whose most significant work is concerned with the advancement of high frequency power conversion technology for its use in space, telecommunications, computer and induction melting industries.
  • Philip Jessop, professor of chemistry, who has pioneered a new field in chemical engineering and invented the first “switchable solvents.” His revolutionary contributions have resulted in technologies that address human needs while reducing environmental impact. 
  • David Lillicrap, an internationally-renowned researcher in pathology and molecular medicine, whose work focuses on the genetic basis of hemophilia and von Willebrand disease (VWD). His research has led to innovative strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of the world’s most commonly-inherited bleeding diseases.
  • Professor F.P. Lock in the Department of English is a leading authority on 18th century British literature, politics, and ideas. Lock’s work is hailed for its sophisticated rhetorical and intellectual analysis, and for its attention to historical and cultural contexts.
  • Carlos Prado, a professor of philosophy, has made substantial contributions to contemporary philosophy and to applied ethics. Professor Prado’s publications on suicide in dire medical circumstances have enlarged the debate about suicide to include its rationality as well as its ethical justification.

They join the ranks of those who have been recognized by their peers for outstanding contributions to the natural and social sciences, the arts and humanities and will be recognized at an award banquet in Banff in November of this year.

I would also like to draw Senate’s attention to Dr. Art Macdonald’s recent award of the biennial Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize from the European Physical Society for his work on solar neutrinos carried out at SNOLAB.

Biology and environmental studies professor John Smol was honoured twice over the summer.  In July he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and he was also awarded the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation. 

Finally, I am very pleased to report that sociology professor David Lyon was recently inducted as an academician into the Academy of Social Sciences in the UK. This year the learned society named 51 academics and practitioners – Dr. Lyon was the only Canadian.

Board/Senate Retreat

I am looking forward to our second Board/Senate Retreat since making the commitment last year to make this an annual event.  The focus this year is on Strategic Enrolment, an issue of paramount importance to the University’s future as the University develops its long-term enrolment plan which is anticipated to come to Senate in March, 2014.

The consultation process will also include Town Halls as mandated by Senate at the last meeting and will be a major component of the University Council meeting later in October.

Finally, I would like to draw Senate’s attention to the report of the Board/Senate Retreat Planning Group, provided for information later in the agenda.  David Bakhurst who chairs that group will be on hand to answer any questions that senators may have.

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