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[ACADEMIC PLAN]
[ACADEMIC PLAN]

Academic Plan

Health, Wellness and Community

The first requisite for students to develop fundamental academic skills, disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, and a capacity for global citizenship is a safe, supportive, inclusive, and engaging community. Without an environment that fosters inclusive community values, students, staff, and faculty will never be able to perform to the best of their abilities, will not take proper advantage of the academic experiences available in the University, and cannot contribute their own unique perspectives and innovation to Queen’s.

Safety

A university campus should combine the safety of a home with the stimulation of a learning community. It should be a space where students always feel safe, whether to study or relax on their own, or to interact with others. It should be a space where ideas, controversial or otherwise, can be discussed without fear of censorship or reprisal. This encompasses not only the campus but also the classroom, residences, and the surrounding areas where students, faculty, and staff interact. Queen’s must make every effort to eliminate all discrimination, violence, and harassment on campus.

Health & Support

Queen’s campus must also provide the support, formal and otherwise, that students need outside of the classroom. The tragic loss of three students last academic year has brought this urgent need to the forefront of our entire community’s awareness. The response within the Queen’s community has been laudable. Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS), has done its very best to ensure that, despite budget constraints, counseling and community outreach remain vibrant. This includes working toensure that counseling wait times are kept low and continuing to find ways to ensure that students are aware of and make use of counseling services before problems become severe. We must build on this strength. Queen’s should be a place where no one ever loses all hope or resorts to extreme actions because they believe there is no other choice. Ensuring this requires a combination of formal and informal measures, including consistent and compassionate policies for students with disabilities that have negatively affected their academic records.

Diversity, Inclusivity, and Social Justice

Various sorts of planning projects at Queen’s have sought to identify “the Queen’s experience” and expand upon what makes Queen’s unique or special. But it is also necessary to address the aspects of Queen’s identity that may work against inclusivity. Much work, such as the report of the Diversity and Equity Task Force, initiatives by Student Services, as well as the work of the equity groups of the AMS and SGPS, has been done in recent years to investigate the ways in which Queen’s culture and community has excluded particular groups and individuals. It is essential—as an institution devoted to creating responsible global citizens—that Queen’s be a community from which all can benefit and to which all can contribute. No member of the Queen’s community should feel excluded from the university or alienated on its campus. This should include a particular focus on the inclusion of Indigenous students and groups on campus, a group that has expressed particular feelings of exclusion and invisibility.

Women Working in Academe

A number of inequities continue to affect the academic success and health of women faculty and that of their (female) students at Canadian universities and at Queen’s. While women’s representation in Canadian academe has been increasing over the last few decades, the increase has not been uniform at all ranks of appointment and across all fields of instruction. Women are also underrepresented in academic leadership positions. In addition, women’s median salaries remain below those of their male colleagues. The careers of women academics are also affected by the fact that the dominant university culture continues to be male defined. Women have to negotiate a framework of traditional assumptions on which the university is built, and they often do not receive recognition for what Joan Eveline has called “glue work”: “face-to-face collaboration in everyday workplace practices, much of it tacit and often informal, [which] involves skills of co-operation, facilitation and nurture, usually thought of as feminine”. This includes mentoring and counseling of students.

The Importance of Non-Academic Staff

Our non-academic staff members perform vital roles in ensuring the smooth operations of the institution. Their work is often behind the scenes, but it is essential for effective communication between different layers of the University. In addition they are often the main point of contact for our students, both for academic and non-academic matters. In order to draw effectively on this experience and expertise, the University must make sure that they are active participants in implementing the Academic Plan and all important Queen’s initiatives. We believe that Queen’s would benefit from the creation of a strategic Human Resources plan that addresses issues such as workforce planning, career development, succession management, and training.

Post-doctoral fellows

Post-doctoral fellows are a highly talented fourth tier in the university staff hierarchy and over the past 10 years have become increasingly important components of a university’s research and even its teaching enterprise. Queen’s must continue to search for ways to bring them to campus and integrate them more formally into the university structure