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Academic Plan

The Academic Plan

Academic Plan (700 KB)
Released November 2011

Our Vision for Queen’s

Queen’s University is the Canadian research-intensive university with a transformative student learning experience.

The University’s proud history with its strong tradition of leading research, teaching excellence, and student engagement as well as its beautiful campus, relatively small and close-knit community, and its breadth of co-curricular opportunities for students facilitate a transformative learning environment within a research-intensive environment.

Since its early days, Queen’s has developed leaders in government, industry, health care, education, research and many other important sectors of society. The Academic Plan builds on these strengths to guide Queen’sin the 21st century.

Our Academic Mission

We regard Queen’s as a university that is both student-centred and research-intensive. Its mission is thus defined by two central activities: learning and discovery. To ensure that these two activities work together learning must proceed in the same way that research progresses: through the guided struggle with a question, a problem, a relationship, or a task.

In this report we are primarily concerned with teaching and learning. What has become clear to us is that the research-intensive nature of the university must inform and enrich its teaching and learning enterprise. We use the term “active or inquiry-based learning” to describe the curriculum structure that emerges from this design. The teacher teaches by posing research challenges; the student learns in the same way a researcher conducts research.

Some elements of the student learning experience will lead to the development of specialized forms of knowledge; others will be more general with a wider range of application. Our students will gain expertise in one or two particular disciplines, but they will also acquire an understanding of their place in a culturally, economically, and politically diverse world, and be empowered to participate in it in an informed and creative manner.

Above all they will experience the joy of discovery.

The Four Pillars of the Academy

Universities all over the world are facing challenges related to resource constraints and the changing nature of students and faculty. Our own response to these requires creative revisioning of the academic mission. To this end, the Queen's Academic Plan identifies four core pillars of the academy:

  1. The Student Learning Experience
  2. Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity
  3. Reaching Beyond: Globalism, Diversity and Inclusion at Queen's
  4. Health Wellness and Community


Recent academic planning activiteis began in January 2010 when Principal Woolf released his vision document, Where Next? (PDF, 1.4 MB), in which he suggested a number of possible directions for Queen's and asked some general questions.

In the months after the release of that document, faculties and units across the university were invited to respond to the questions the principal posed. He invited a number of faculty members (known together as the Academic Writing Team) to listen to the views and ideas of faculty, students, staff and alumni, and identify themes that resonate, ultimately submitting a report they called Imagining the Future (PDF, 800 KB). Their ideas became the material for discussion at two community town halls held in September 2010.

Later in September 2010, the final report of the Academic Writing Team was tabled at Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Academic Development (SCAD).

On November 25, 2010, Senate decided that a Senate Task Force, made up of faculty members, staff and students, would finalize an academic plan. The group consulted broadly with the community at large and with targeted groups, and also invited comments via a dedicated website. They used the Educational Equity Guidelines for incorporating diversity and equity into the academic planning exercise.

Queen's Academic Plan was officially approved by the University Senate in November 2011.