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Committing to global impact

Queen’s is participating in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings focused on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Image of Earth seen from space.
Principal Deane is committing Queen's to the Sustainable Development Goals to promote the wellbeing of people and the survival of the planet.

Universities are communities of teaching and learning, but they are also some of the world’s most powerful engines for driving positive social impact. With this in mind, and as outlined in Principal Patrick Deane’s Report on the Conversation, Queen’s is embracing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) laid out by the United Nations (UN) in its strategic efforts to articulate a global purpose. These 17 goals were adopted by the UN in 2015 and provide a framework for creating a sustainable future and addressing global challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change by 2030.

To measure its progress toward these goals, Principal Deane has committed Queen’s to take part in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings. THE launched these rankings in 2019 to show how the sector is working toward the SDGs and addressing today’s most pressing challenges. For the 2020 Impact Rankings, THE received submissions from over 850 institutions around the world, including 19 from Canada.

“As we determine the new strategic framework for our university and our future, we need to consider social impact as one of our top priorities. By aligning our emerging vision with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we will be able to develop a clear sense of social purpose for Queen’s that emphasizes the wellbeing of people and the survival of the planet,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Taking part in the 2021 Impact Rankings demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our institution is focused on the UN SDGs – the hallmarks of which are community, sustainability, equity and internationalization efforts – all integral to our current and future state.”

How the rankings work

When submitting to the Impact Rankings, universities must demonstrate the ways in which they are working toward meeting at least four of the SDGs. THE then evaluates each institution’s submission based on metrics and indicators associated with each SDG, drawing on the data provided by the institution as well as bibliometric datasets provided by Elsevier, a data and analytics company. In their assessments, THE considers several different aspects of the mission of higher education, including research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship.

While other THE rankings are designed with research-intensive universities in mind, the Impact Rankings are open to any institute teaching at the undergraduate and postgraduate level around the world.

The Queen’s submission process

To complete its submission, Queen’s has established a Project Team and Working Group comprised of staff and faculty from units across the university, who are responsible for gathering data and evidence and preparing the submission. The process is overseen by a Steering Committee, which meets quarterly and is made up of members of the senior leadership and decanal teams.

Queen’s will be submitting data on all 17 SDGs. As with all institutions, THE will determine Queen’s ranking based on the 3 SDGs it scores highest in, as well as on SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals. Work is well under way, and the submission is due on Nov. 30.

Learn more about the THE University Impact Rankings on their website, where you can also find the 2020 rankings.

For more on the SDGs, see the UN website.