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Community weighs in on undergraduate orientation

The Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group hosted two public town halls, and has been meeting with key stakeholders. 

Dozens of students, faculty, and staff turned up to two recent public town halls to discuss how to make undergraduate orientation more welcoming and inclusive for new students. 

The town halls were announced in October as part of the ongoing review of undergraduate orientation. They were organized by the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group and led by its chair Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion).  

“These consultations provided us with some valuable insights as we seek ways to ensure that orientation is safe, accessible, responsible, inclusive, and builds a sense of community,” says Dr. Shearer. “On behalf of the working group, I want to thank everyone who took the time to attend and provide their feedback, and those who continue to provide feedback in the coming months.” 

These public town halls were one aspect of the review process. The working group has also met with several other groups across the campus community, and continues to solicit input through their webpage and the orientation.review@queensu.ca email address. 

The town hall sessions featured three questions: 

  1. What do you believe is the most important thing Queen’s should do to create a welcoming and inclusive orientation for new undergraduate students? 

  1. In what ways is Queen’s orientation inclusive and accessible for those of different abilities, races, gender and gender identities, religion, sexes and sexual identities, and/or socio-economic statuses? In what ways can we do better? 

  1. Ideally, how should orientation prepare new undergraduate students for their time at Queen’s, both academic and non-academic? 

In response, the attendees, most of whom were students, focused in on the costs of participating in and organizing orientation, the need to enhance coordination across all student societies and other units or organizations that plan orientation activities, creating opportunities for inclusion of all students, and better preparing new students for academic success. 

The Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group’s report is due to the Principal on March 1, 2018.