Dr Amitava Chowdhury

Advancing teaching and research

The Faculty of Arts and Science Pathways to Leadership Program is a new three-year pilot project launched in 2021-22.

The project consists of three special advisor appointments, one per year of the three years of the pilot and each appointment for one year in duration. Each appointment supports a faculty member in Arts and Science by providing them with an opportunity to realize a project, program, or initiative that advances the teaching and research mission of students, faculty members and staff across FAS.

“These new positions were designed to provide mentorship in administration and leadership to faculty members and, at the same time, to create an avenue through which programs and people across FAS can benefit from the innovative thinking of emerging leaders within our faculty,” says Dean Barbara Crow.

The first faculty member to be appointed is Amitava Chowdhury, Associate Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of History, and now the new Special Advisor to the Dean on Decolonization and Globalization. As Special Advisor to the Dean, Dr. Chowdhury advises on global and decolonization initiatives to ensure they are in accordance with the faculty's Strategic Plan.

This is a critical appointment with respect to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigenization (EDII) initiatives in the Faculty of Arts and Science as, explains Chowdhury, “it signals the global as an intrinsic part of EDII frameworks and initiatives.”

“The Special Advisor to the Dean position provides a wonderful opportunity to develop and implement new ideas on global and curricular initiatives to help shape the university of the future in a globalized world.”

Dr. Chowdhury’s current priorities are in the following five areas:

  • FAS Global Plan - This is a masterplan for a FAS Global Strategy. The concept of global is integral to any aspect of decolonizing the curriculum.
  • FAS First-year - Exploring ways of integrating EDII into the first-year curriculum through core courses and co-curricular initiatives.
  • Global Summer Institute - Mainly intersects with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the central role of EDII in some of the SDG measures.
  • Global Fellows Program - Incorporate epistemological issues associated with EDII into a new fellowship program.
  • Global Skills Opportunity - Provide study abroad and global experiential learning opportunities to under-represented and under-privileged groups.

Within his department, he is also the co-director of the Global History Initiative, a faculty and graduate research forum in global history.

The positions come with a one-term course release from teaching, working space, budget, administrative support, and mentorship by the Associate Deans in whose portfolios the project falls.

To provide additional support to faculty and staff members, FAS covers the cost of registration in the University’s inaugural Building Leadership @ Queen’s program. The innovative training program is aimed at defining and expanding leadership capacity at the university while also providing a diverse skillset for current and future leaders.

“As a recently tenured faculty member, you start to take on more leadership roles without necessarily having formal training,” says Stefanie Von Hlatky (Political Studies). “From day one, participating in the Building Leadership @ Queen’s creates a headspace that allows you to think about how to be a better leader, by developing coaching skills tailored to your team.

The program is offered in two streams – one for newly-tenured faculty and the other for senior administrators – with sessions delivered on a monthly basis.

For more information, please see Pathways to Leadership Program webpage.