The Department of Mining Engineering is a small, but active unit, offering what the External Consultants and the Review Team point out is a Mining Engineering program and education that rank among the top three in Canada, as well as among the ten global leaders in the field. The Review Team notes "the Department has made and continues to make significant contributions to contemporary mining science, technology and engineering practice. Departmental strengths include excellent faculty and staff, first class infrastructure and laboratories, an impressive cohort of students, and international stature."
The state of this Department is very much linked to the health of the mining industry. This fact underscores the need for ongoing discussions and broad consultation on future prospects for the Department. The IARC agrees with the recommendation that the Department must, as a priority, develop strategic and operational plans. Moreover, the planning process should include consideration of the potential for increasing cooperative endeavours and linkages both internally and externally, as well as a review of the curriculum, and an examination of the balance between the teaching and research activities of faculty members in the Department. The Department has already indicated that it expects to submit an integrated and comprehensive strategic development plan to the Faculty in the fall of 2001.
The reviewers report that there are concerns within the Department regarding space. The IARC notes that the institution must balance the need for the efficient allocation of teaching space for all units across the university, with the expressed need of individual units to maintain a sense of community among their own students, faculty and staff. The Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) has struck a committee that will address these university-wide issues of space.
A number of other challenges facing the department were identified in the reports. With low enrolment being an issue in the undergraduate and graduate programs, it was recommended that recruitment efforts be intensified, and in the case of the graduate program, that funding levels be reviewed. The Department continues to have a problem attracting female students and faculty members. It is acknowledged that the dearth of women in this field is a problem that goes beyond Queen's, but the Department should attempt to develop recruitment strategies that will bring more women into the discipline at all levels.
Follow-up on these recommendations and issues will take place in the annual staffing and budget strategy meetings between the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and the Vice-Principal (Academic).
N.B. One member of the Internal Academic Review Committee declared a conflict and did not participate in the preparation of this Report.