Centre for Teaching and Learning

Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Teaching and Learning

Principal's Dream Courses

Principal's Dream Courses Logo2018 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Deadline Extended: Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The selection committee welcomes creative and imaginative proposals to be considered for the Principal’s Dream Courses initiative – those courses you would develop if only you had the resources and support needed to make it happen.

The purpose of this exciting course redesign program is to enhance already-existing undergraduate courses in a way that encourages undergraduate research and inquiry as key approaches to learning. Funds will be awarded for the development of sustainable, semester-long courses that directly support both the overall academic mission of Queen’s University and the strategic goals related to enhancement of the learning experience of its students. 

Awards provide up to $15,000 in one-time funding to develop the course of your dreams. Funds must be used to support at least two iterations of the courses selected for funding, though sustainable approaches that extend beyond the one-time funding are preferred. Monies may be earmarked for additional TA support, experiential/field learning events, invited experts, course materials, technology or other supports for active and inquiry-based learning. 

In this call, up to three courses will be selected to receive funding for delivery in the 2018/19 academic year.

Successful applicants will be provided with educational development support from the Centre for Teaching and Learning and will be asked to participate in a showcase event celebrating the Principal's Dream Courses.

Proposals are invited for courses that address at least one of the identified themes:

  1. Sustainability: understood in a broad context that includes ecological, social, cultural, financial, professional and personal sustainability
  2. Indigenous identities: exploring themes of indigeneity, nationally or globally
  3. Diversity of Perspectives. Investigating themes that enhance access to a diversity of perspectives related to racism, diversity and inclusion.


Proposals are encouraged from all departments and units at Queen’s which offer semester-long undergraduate courses that count toward an undergraduate degree.

Proposal Content

Proposals must address points 1-6 on the form provided up to a maximum of five (5) pages.  Submission Form (Word, 64KB)

  1. Applicant's name, appointment, and Department affiliation. Proposals from a team of applicants should identify one person as the primary contact.
  2. Proposed course name, course code, description and intended learning outcomes
  3. Statement of the ways in which the proposed course relates to one (or more) of the themes identified (see above)
  4. Statement of the ways in which the course will support the academic mission of the University and enhance students’ engagement in research and inquiry and students’ overall learning experience.
  5. Preliminary plans for evidencing the success of the course in supporting student engagement and inquiry
  6. A detailed budget that outlines expenditures for at least two iterations of the course.


  1. A letter of support from the applicant/primary contact's Dean. Where possible, the letter should include a statement of commitment to the proposed course and an indication of expected enrolment. (This letter is in addition to the 5 page maximum).

Selection Criteria

  1. Do the proposed course description and learning outcomes align with the intentions of Principal’s Dream Course program of supporting research and inquiry as key features of undergraduate learning?     
  2. Is the proposed course clearly reflective of one of the three themes?
  3. Does the course support the University’s mission and enhance the student learning experience through research and inquiry?
  4. Is there strong departmental support for the course? How accessible will the course be to the general student population in the program in which the course is offered?
  5. Is the proposed budget directly related to enhancing active inquiry learning and the overall quality of the student learning experience? Do budget allocations support the sustainability of the course for at least two iterations?  

Selection Process

The Principal’s Dream Course program is sponsored through the Office of the Principal and administered through the Centre for Teaching and Learning. Two faculty members, and one representative each from the Office of the Principal, Office of the Vice-Principal (Research), and the Alma Mater Society will form the selection committee. A representative from the Centre for Teaching and Learning will serve as chair without voting privileges.

Deadline for Submissions Extended: Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Proposals must be submitted electronically as a PDF to the Centre for Teaching and Learning to ctl@queensu.ca.

The 2017 Principal’s Dream Course recipients are:

GPHY 3XX: Indigenous Perspectives on the Environment and Health
Dr. Heather Castleden, Associate Professor, Geography and Planning & Public Health Sciences

This course explores issues concerning Indigenous peoples’ interconnected relationships with the environment and health. In addition to those relationships, we will also explore relationships between Indigenous and Settler peoples as existing within broad socio-political contexts. Central to the development of an understanding of Indigenous knowledge of environment and health, Indigenous voices must be at the forefront of this learning process. The best approach to studying this topic then is to move beyond the Western-style learning in a classroom to a more experiential learning style. As such, this course is largely a traveling Field School (80%) with some portion being spent in class (20%). Throughout, we will review key Canadian legal cases affecting land use, resource access, management, planning, and environmental protection; we will also explore Indigenous worldviews on health and the interplay human health has with environmental stability. Key to our focus will be the interconnectedness of environment and health; that is, how the health of the land, water, and air is intimately tied to Indigenous health and well-being. In-class content will include readings, discussions, films, and/or guest speakers.

ENGL 218/003 Introduction to Indigenous Literature in Canada
Dr. Heather Macfarlane, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of English

This course will demonstrate the capacity of literature to confront expectations about Indigenous cultures and experience. Using an inquiry-based approach, we will examine Indigenous novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit and First Nations authors. While a desire for answers can re-inscribe existing expectations, questions resist fixed perspectives and facilitate change; this course will thus be framed by inquiry. Classes will begin and end with a question, and students will master the art of inquiry by engaging in profound critical thinking about the literature they are studying. Class visits by renowned Indigenous authors and thinkers will open avenues for meaningful engagement, and demonstrate the importance of literature and aesthetics to educate and mobilize. We will study the themes, aesthetics, and politics of the texts, using a combination of culturally specific and pan-Indigenous approaches. In order to develop a broader understanding of the powerful anti-colonial sentiment at the core of Indigenous cultural production, we will also consider the texts in the light of Indigenous authored criticism. We will examine textual and theoretical approaches to topics such as colonialism and resistance, storytelling and orality, traditional and contemporary stories, land and language, residential schools and “reconciliation,” sexuality and gender, spirituality, community and nationhood. We will also consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of identity.

ASO ASTR 101 Astronomy I: The Solar System
Dr. David Hanes, Professor, Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy; and Keren Akiva, Instructional Designer, Arts and Science Online

A non‐mathematical introduction to the science of astronomy for non‐specialist students. Topics to be covered include the fundamentals of astronomy; the historical development of our understanding of the Earth, Moon, and Solar System, with particular attention to the interpretations associated with various indigenous cultures; an introduction to the tools and techniques of modern observational astronomy; the nature of the Sun; the origin of our Solar System; the sustainability and fragility of life on Earth; space exploration of Mars, Jupiter, and other planets; the discovery and nature of planets around other stars; and the search for extraterrestrial life.