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[ACADEMIC PLAN]
[ACADEMIC PLAN]

Academic Plan

Reaching Beyond: Globalism, Diversity and Inclusion

Global Citizenship

As a research-intensive university with strong undergraduate and graduate programs and professional schools, Queen’s has a responsibility to provide learning and research programs that contribute to education for life in a global society.

A Queen’s education should impart to students an understanding of their place in a culturally, economically, and politically ever-changing world and empower them to participate in it in an informed and responsible manner. While Principal Woolf has suggested Energy and Environment, Global Human Health, and International Development as “possible institutional priorities,” Queen’s also needs to recognize the central role that research and teaching in the arts and humanities as well as language instruction have in making sense of human experience.

Humanities research, with its historical, interpretive, and analytical methods, poses questions about common assumptions, uncovers new meanings, and finds new ways to understand human interactions. The University needs to ensure that science and professional students understand the social implications of their work in a global world and that arts and humanities students have the basics in science and numeracy to understand and make responsible use of technology and global natural resources and environments.

Equity and Diversity

A Queen’s education should encourage appreciation of the diversity of cultures within Canada and the rest of the world, and foster respect for Indigenous Nations’ knowledge, languages, and cultures.

To ensure that academic planning provides the impetus for enhancing equity and inclusion, Queen’s needs to adopt an expanded definition of “communities,” taking into account Aboriginal communities, international communities, and the equity-seeking group members of Canadian society.

Diversity cuts across many lines:

  • race
  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • language
  • religion
  • (dis)ability
  • marital status
  • income
  • education
  • sexual orientation

The institutional obligation to ensure that Aboriginal students are able to access higher education is rooted in the Canadian settler-Aboriginal history and relationship and thus differs fundamentally from its responsibilities for other equity seeking groups in Canada.

Internationalization at Home

While Queen’s already has a strong program of international mobility to strengthen global awareness and has succeeded in increasing the numbers of international students on campus and of linkages abroad, the APTF has been advised that student mobility and international collaboration are not the only ways in which Queen’s must engage a changing world.

"Internationalization at Home”, as suggested by QUIC, adds another dimension to student mobility and the creation of linkages abroad: improving the international and intercultural dimension of the Queen’s campus proper through a curriculum rich in international and domestic content and developing the intercultural communication competencies of faculty, staff, and students.

Although internationalization and “Internationalization at Home” enhance diversity of ethnicity and race, it is important to keep in mind that Canada and the Queen’s community are already multi-racial and multi-ethnic and are composed of other minorities as well.

To quote from the Senate Educational Equity Committee (SEEC) Response to “Where Next?”:

If international partnerships are to be meaningful and students to be prepared for international experience, they must be informed by an educated appreciation and knowledge of other languages, histories, cultures and their contributions to a shared modernity and humanity that allows our students to learn from others as well as to teach or assist.

Global-mindedness is not just a prerequisite for meaningful internationalization; it is also its objective.

The Importance of Language Learning

At the beginning of the process, the APTF proposed a foreign language requirement for all undergraduate students. During our consultation we learned that such a requirement does not have sufficient undergraduate student and faculty support. We therefore decided not to pursue this issue any further.

However, we strongly recommend that Queen’s promote the importance of modern language learning, the learning of ancient languages such as Latin, Greek, and Biblical Hebrew, and the learning of Aboriginal languages.

All Canadian institutions of higher learning, particularly research-intensive universities, have the obligation to offer their students the opportunity to acquire knowledge in at least one language other than English and French.

Language learning is critical to inquiry-based learning in the humanities and social sciences, and it contributes essentially to internationalizing the campus. Most importantly, it enables students to contribute effectively to a culturally, economically, and politically ever changing world.

Diversification of Curricula and Integration of Indigenous Knowledge

Despite the efforts made by individual departments, programs, and schools to diversify their curricula and enhance inclusivity, Queen’s curricula continue to under-represent Africa, South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East/Islamic World, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

In addition, adequate representation of Indigenous issues in curricula across campus needs to be a major objective.

The University must take meaningful steps to raise consciousness of Indigenous issues across Canada and abroad.

To become a national and global leader, Queen’s needs to enter into an equal partnership with the Aboriginal Community, recognize Aboriginal history, culture, and ways of knowing as educational core competencies for all students, and make Queen’s a welcoming place where Indigenous values and knowledge are respected.

To integrate Indigenous knowledge meaningfully, the University needs to promote the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal students and to examine ways to increase their participation in degree programs and activities across campus.

Local Globalism

It is in this spirit that Queen’s also needs to foster local globalism, including responsible engagement and equal partnerships with the Queen’s, Kingston, and other communities in Ontario and in Canada.

To be able to participate internationally, students need to develop “local-mindedness” first. Innovative community and place-based learning, increased emphasis on Field Studies, and community volunteer opportunities will enhance the pro-diversity approach to teaching and learning.

Through engagements of these kinds, Queen’s students will learn much about cultural diversity while strengthening Queen’s relationship with its regional communities.