DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH STUDIES - STRATEGIC PLAN 2018-2023
This strategic plan seeks to articulate the common vision and mission of the Department of French Studies. It also summarizes the goals we will be pursuing for the next five years in terms of sustainability and internationalization and the opportunities pertaining to equity, diversity and inclusion allowed by the current faculty renewal both in our unit and in Queen’s as a whole.
French Studies is a research-based department where students learn French and immerse themselves in the diversity of francophone cultures through literature.
The Department of French Studies’ mission is to conduct innovative research in the field of arts and humanities while maintaining a high-quality student learning experience. Two attributes that constitute the backbones of the department in both teaching and research are critical thinking and diversity. Critical thinking starts when one considers a question from multiple perspectives, which could be class, culture, gender, race and sex-based, and questions its own assumptions. Similar to Martha C. Nussbaum who advocates for “moral capabilities” in Poetic Justice, we believe our ever-changing world needs now more than ever a literary imagination that will underscore democratic values and build empathy toward the marginalized members of our societies. Taken seriously, this “moral capabilities” produces informed and empathic citizens with the necessary tools to both imagine and act against forms of inequality rooted in difference. Our mission, as such, is to enhance students’ awareness of diversity through critical reading of French and Francophone literatures, all while improving their proficiency in French. Through our commitments to the diversification of our curriculum content and our faculty, we aim to attract increasingly diverse student cohorts that more adequately reflect Canadian society as a whole.
Existing research by tenured members of our unit spans a variety of disciplines and methodologies. This research includes the interdisciplinary field of Medical Humanities on socio-cultural and inter-generational approaches to aging and dying; the French Renaissance and the history of books; autobiographical trends in the twentieth century French novel and theater; environmental ethics and activism in Indigenous film and literature; the emergence of nationalism in post-revolutionary Haiti through an appropriation of “Indigeneity”; the emerging field of a sociology of publishing and the relations between democracy and contemporary French and Francophone literatures. In addition, a collaborative project between French Studies, LLCU, First Nation University and UBC linguists, is working to design computational algorithms that support the development of publicly accessible, annotated web-based language resources for Algonquian and Iroquoian languages.
We have two key priorities for the next few years: the development of Digital Humanities projects and initiatives in the department through collaborations with other units and the creation of a joint graduate program in Transcultural and Linguistics Studies with the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLCU).
French Studies is the only unit within Queen’s to operate in a language other than English on a daily basis, hence offering through this linguistic diversity a French-speaking environment to our students. As such, we offer them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a range of French language contexts through the unit’s various activities (lectures, committees, summer camp and social events), while at the same time preparing them for a bilingual professional life.
Experiential learning is an important part of the department’s teaching. As such we offer students opportunities to immerse themselves in Francophone environments through the Explore or Ontario / Rhones-Alpes programs. Given that a majority of our students aim to become FSL teachers, we have designed coursework that offers them professional experiences and opportunities to develop their skills and build their capacity for decision-making. During their final year, students majoring in French Studies take a capstone literature seminar during which they are also responsible for the organization of a final conference, at which they present a research project developed over the course of the year. As another opportunity for experiential learning, fourth year students in Continuing Education with French as a teachable can also apply for a teaching practicum, which requires them to facilitate tutorial sessions for our first-year core course and to submit a reflective paper on their teaching experience as well as a research paper on second language acquisition methods.
Queen's University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory. In acknowledging this fact, the Department of French Studies seeks to actively promote and pursue collaborations with Indigenous communities in both research and teaching, to offer courses in Francophone Indigenous literature and to include Indigenous knowledge in its current curriculum, such as Québec literature courses.
Our commitment to community unfolds in three areas: equity, diversity and inclusion; the Kingston community as a whole and its Francophone community; internationalization.
The department promotes equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects. As the designated steward of the Michener Visitors Funds, designed to bring distinguished Francophone Canadians to Queen’s, we wish to use this important fund to promote diversity, prioritizing Indigenous artists and writers. In order to reflect our commitment towards an inclusive unit, in the coming year we propose to change the name of the department to a more inclusive one.
As a French Studies department in Kingston, we think it is essential to build collaborations with the Francophone community in the area. Through the Queen’s French Camp, we provide a familiar summer environment for Francophone families, while at the same time offering Anglophone families an opportunity to immerse their children in French language and culture. We are also setting up collaborative events with the Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario - Conseil régional des Mille-Îles (ACFO Mille-Îles).
Finally, in line with one of the Queen’s Strategic Framework pillars, the Department seeks to accelerate internationalization activities, through both teaching and research collaborations.
In order to accomplish these goals, the Department of French Studies commits to the following:
- Adding an acknowledgement of territory to our website and to the beginning of events hosted by The French Department
- Having our job opening postings further scrutinized by the Equity Office to ensure that these postings do not inadvertently contain language, criteria or procedures that could discourage qualified racial minorities from applying
- Creating a sub-committee tasked with studying successful efforts undertaken by other university hiring committees to increase racialized minorities, making recommendations to departmental appointments committees, and ensuring the implementation of one or more of these recommendations
- Changing the name of the department to reflect our commitment to inclusivity by 2020
- Expanding our community-based collaborations to include the Kingston-based Centre culturel Frontenac as well as local francophone high schools