Mrs. Elaine Armstrong, QSoE Director:
Many thanks to the Principal for joining us today as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Queen’s School of English. I would like to welcome you all here today.
I’m pleased to be the current Director of QSoE, a position I have held since 2007. It is an exciting time—celebrating the 70th anniversary—and directing the school at a time when the internationalization of education is not only a major goal for Queen’s, but a worldwide ambition. Of course building competency in the English language plays a very important role in the current educational environment. The school has come a long way since its early days in the 1940s.
Today, we have a student population representing 15 different countries, and we have a variety of programs to help those students reach their language and education goals: English for Academic Purposes—language proficiency preparation for undergraduate/graduate programs; QBridge—conditional acceptance to undergraduate programs; Business Internship Program—for learning English in a Canadian business environment; Canadian English Experience—short-term English language and culture program; and CanMEDIC—Canadian clinical communication for international medical graduates. We work to support and provide resources to all faculties and departments, and we do a variety of tailored programs for the community and our international university partners.
We employ a wonderful team of administrative staff, instructional staff, and Queen’s University students, who work full and part-time to deliver our world-class programs, and we have a very strong relationship with the Queen’s community and the Kingston community—businesses and homestay hosts, who welcome our students every term. I would like to say thank you to all of the individuals who help to make our programs a success.
Students choose QSoE not only because of Queen’s reputation, but also because of the reputation of the Kingston community as a warm, welcoming and beautiful place to live.
QSoE is grateful for the ongoing support of the Queen’s University Office of the Principal, the Vice-Provost International and the Faculty of Arts and Science and the City of Kingston.
Message from Dr. Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor:
To the students, staff, instructors, and administration of Queen’s School of English:
Congratulations on this tremendous milestone in the School of English’s history. The School of English has always had a great deal to offer its students, of course, and for seventy years, has taught the English language and diverse aspects of Canadian culture to students from all over the world, with a committed staff, innovative programming, and a welcoming spirit of multiculturalism and internationalization. It is one of our earliest truly international ventures. But on this occasion, I look forward to imagining what Queen’s School of English can teach all of us in the Queen’s community as we become an increasingly international university ourselves.
We can look to Queen’s School of English as a model of how to create a genuinely inclusive environment for all students, regardless of their first language or their degree of post-public school skill in English. We can look to Queen’s School of English for its expertise in creating a warm and caring home away from home for people of any nation. And we can look to Queen’s School of English for a great deal of knowledge of what internationalization has meant, what it may mean now and what it might look like in the future. In short, we look to the School of English to learn of that which creates a global culture and to learn of that which a global culture creates.
I am delighted to thank, on behalf of the University and the thousands of students who have benefited from the terrific education they’ve received here over the past 70 years, the Queen’s School of English’s past and present staff, instructors, administration, volunteers, and participating Queen’s students for their dedication to the needs of international students. And I wish all here today a very happy School of English birthday.
Dr. Brenda Ravenscroft, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science:
The psycholinguist Frank Smith once said about language learning: "One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way."
The Queen's School of English has been facilitating the opening of doors for students for a remarkable 70 years. Through language learning and cultural immersion the School has guided students from other countries and societies, stimulating their acquisition of English, introducing them to Canadian culture - and providing them with a home.
But it's not just about what students from other cultures learn about the English language, Canadian society and the Kingston community, it's about the doors they open for the rest of us.
Having students from other countries on our campus enriches life for all of us, enhancing our appreciation of other cultures and raising our awareness of international issues. As the largest faculty on campus, the Faculty of Arts and Science derives perhaps the greatest benefit from the increased exposure to different cultures that the School of English students bring to the university.
The Faculty is proud of its long association with the School of English, and recognizes the excellent contribution the staff have made to the whole university both under previous directors and under Elaine's fearless leadership. “Fearless” because Elaine has not only seized new opportunities with enthusiasm, but has also taken an entrepreneurial approach, creating opportunities for the School and implementing innovations with the support of her dedicated staff.
The spirit of initiative is alive and well in 96 Albert Street - and long may the School of English continue to open doors for all of us.
I truly regret not being able to join you today as you celebrate 70 years of existence of Queen’s School of English. However, I wanted to share some thoughts with you and your team in writing. It is a momentous occasion that you celebrate, one that speaks to longevity that only quality can sustain. I don’t know which is the oldest language program in the country, but seven decades is no small feat, and I can only imagine the number of managers, administrators, and teaching staff that have contributed in large and small ways to the success of your program.
I stop to think of the number of students that have been guided and supported by your program on their way to academic and ultimately professional success. I wonder about each and every one of their stories, starting 70 years ago, and how they have helped to transform our world. Queen’s School of English has given to each of these students the gift of language, a gift that expands their outlook and deepens their learning in a way that nothing but language can.
In recent months I have come to realize how little most people outside our sector understand the nature of what we do. In order to explain it, I use the analogy that language is so intrinsic to human existence that it is like breathing – we don’t think about it, we take it for granted. And like breathing, because we do it automatically, we believe we know what it is. As professionals in the sector, we understand this is not true, and we set on the road to provide learners with the opportunity to expand their life experience. This road involves a constant exploration of language itself, of the methodology we use, of new and relevant curriculum and content, of ways to evaluate progress, and of all aspects of language teaching and learning. But it doesn’t stop there, does it? Our programs are not simply academic. They are also the single most important factor ensuring that international students integrate into our institutional environments, academic programs, and Canadian society.
It is obvious that Queen’s School of English has succeeded in supporting students advance in their careers, a feat that could not be sustained for 70 years without strong leadership and a commitment to quality. I remember meeting you on a trade mission to Chile, and your commitment to quality and willingness to explore. I have had the pleasure of working with you and some of your staff through different projects, and even to visit with a group of international education agencies. I am certain that I speak for the entire membership, and I know that I speak for our staff, when I express our admiration for your achievement and when I state that we are proud to count you as a member.
Congratulations on the 70th Anniversary. Our best wishes for even greater prosperity in the future. We are looking forward to working with you to further our relationship.