Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor

[Principal and Vice Chancellor]
[Principal and Vice Chancellor]

June 2015: summer update to staff 

Dear staff colleagues,

I hope that you are finally getting a chance to catch your breath after what has been a very busy and productive academic year. Working together, we have made great strides: from formally opening the award-winning Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts last September (if you haven’t yet taken in a concert, I hope you will consider doing so next season), to establishing a new, downtown location for our legal clinics in January. This year we forged new international relationships, made important advances in research, and watched Queen’s students excel in our classrooms, on our playing fields and beyond. We welcomed visitors including Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Tricia Marwick to campus, and awarded honorary degrees to accomplished individuals like journalist Lyse Doucet, mental health champion Eric Windeler, and musician Jim Cuddy, among others, over the course of 21 (!) convocation ceremonies (special thanks to all of you who played a role in helping those many ceremonies run so smoothly!). I hope you feel as proud as I do about all that we have managed to accomplish.

It is exciting to know that the number of high-quality first-year students who want to come to Queen’s continues to increase, even while intake numbers at other universities remain unchanged (this September, we anticipate welcoming 4,422 students into the undergraduate class of 2019). And upon graduation, our students continue to thrive. The 2013 Ontario University Graduate Survey (OUGS), which is conducted for Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, shows that six months after graduation, 92 per cent of graduates from Queen’s undergraduate programs are working, compared with an 87 per cent average across the rest of the province. I know that your efforts and the ongoing support that you give our students are tremendously valuable. 

As you will know, supporting the health and wellness of our students while they are part of our community is of the utmost importance to me.  That is why I am pleased to report that earlier this month, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Working Group released their final report, which includes a draft standalone sexual assault policy. I want to thank the staff, students and faculty who worked diligently through the winter term to expedite this report. I am confident that the group’s recommendations will help us to create a safer campus environment for everyone. 

And while the issue of divestment has been making headlines across the country in recent weeks, it has also been on our minds here at Queen’s. In November, I received an Expression of Concern from the student group Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC). That prompted me to strike an advisory committee to look at whether the university should divest its pooled endowment fund and pooled investment fund from companies that engage in fossil fuel extraction and distribution. That committee is now seeking input from the Queen’s community until September 15. Please visit their webpage for more information about how to weigh in with your thoughts.

Finally, I recently heard someone remark that Queen’s was not unlike a city within a city, with a population of people working in a variety of different occupations and on different schedules, but all towards a common civic good. As university employees, I know that we don’t always get as many opportunities as we might like to mingle. I hope, however, that you will be able to join your colleagues and me tomorrow, June 23, for our annual Queen’s Summer Barbecue, which will be held on Agnes Benidickson Field from 11:30 until 1:30pm. I look forward to seeing you there.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the summer season. Thanks again for all that you do for Queen’s.

Sincerely,

Daniel Woolf
Principal and Vice-Chancellor