Queen's-led projects receive $6.8 million from productivity and innovation fund

Queen's-led projects receive $6.8 million from productivity and innovation fund

December 12, 2013


By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer

Three innovative Queen’s-led projects to enhance the student learning experience and reduce administrative costs will receive a total of $6.8 million from the Government of Ontario’s Productivity and Innovation Fund. Two projects, one to enrich nursing education and another to reduce the costs of administrative information systems, are Queen’s-led partnerships with other institutions. The third project will support blended and active learning at Queen’s.

“The Productivity and Innovation Fund provides a valuable opportunity for Queen’s to make strategic investments that enhance our students’ learning experience and improve the productivity of our operations,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “In particular, a Queen’s-led partnership will enhance nursing educational programs through new clinical simulations, ultimately resulting in better outcomes for patients and families.”

Nearly $5.8 million will go to a Queen’s-led partnership between 13 of Ontario’s university nursing programs, in collaboration with four colleges, to redesign upper year clinical courses and develop new clinical simulations. Jennifer Medves, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Director of the School of Nursing, says these new simulations will prepare nurses to provide high quality, safe care in situations they do not frequently encounter in their education.

“The simulations will focus on complex scenarios not often encountered during nursing education because of the infrequency of some of the events. A number of them will address the specific needs of vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly and aboriginal peoples,” says Dr. Medves. “This enhanced experiential learning will better prepare registered nurses and lead to better safety outcomes for patients.”

$500,000 was awarded in support of Queen’s active learning initiatives, and will be used to redesign high-enrolment first year courses to take advantage of blended learning strategies. Students in these courses will see some course content delivered online, freeing up class time for active learning activities such as collaboration in small groups. The funds will also support the purchase of equipment for the newly renovated active learning classrooms in Ellis Hall.

The third project funded is a Queen’s-led partnership between eight universities and colleges that will study opportunities for reducing the costs associated with administrative information systems for finance, students and human resources. The project will receive $560,000 and will look for cost savings through increased collaboration between institutions which use the PeopleSoft suite of applications.

The Productivity and Innovation Fund is a one-time, $45-million initiative of the Government of Ontario to support innovation and enhance the learning experience at Ontario’s universities and colleges. In addition to the three Queen’s-led projects, the university is a partner in 10 others that received support through the fund.