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Orientation changes encourage inclusivity

Several recommendations of the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group have been completed in time for Orientation 2018.

[Queen's University Orientation students]
The Undergraduate Orientation Review was a recommendation of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report, and was launched last August. The working group's final report was issued in Spring of 2017. (Photo by Garrett Elliot)

First-year students participating in Orientation Week activities this fall will benefit from a number of changes designed to make the experience more inclusive. These changes stem from a report which focused on creating a more welcoming orientation experience for new students.

“Our campus is at its best when everyone is engaged, respected, and feels valued – and creating that environment starts with events like undergraduate orientation,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “We continue to work with our AMS and faculty partners to implement these important recommendations, and we look forward to hearing from students about their experiences with orientation this fall.”

The Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group issued its report this past spring. It made 20 recommendations to be completed by the university and the Alma Mater Society (AMS) by fall of 2019. Forming this working group was a recommendation of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI).

A number of recommendations are currently underway, including the development of equity, diversity, and inclusivity training modules for orientation leaders; the implementation of an all-student event during orientation; more formalized collaborations between the Division of Student Affairs and the AMS; updates to the Orientation website; and the formation of a Deans Working Group.

“It is so important that our new students start their University experience knowing that we are all excited to have them as members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities and that they belong here,” says Corinna Fitzgerald, Assistant Dean (Student Life and Learning), Student Affairs. “We have been really encouraged by the collaborative spirit from all campus and community partners including the AMS, faculty groups and administrators, in this year’s planning.”  

Additional recommendations will be fulfilled following the completion of Orientation Week 2018, such as enhancements to a survey to better analyze whether the orientation experience met key organizational goals.

“Our student-run Orientation Week is an amazing opportunity for upper-years to engage with incoming students to provide them with a positive introduction to Queen’s,” says Munro Watters, Vice-Principal, University Affairs with the Alma Mater Society. “We want to continue doing all that we can to provide an inclusive environment for our new students and are very excited to see what we can accomplish in collaboration with the University!”

The schedule for Orientation Week 2018 is also changing to accommodate the introduction of a fall-term break. Following Residence Move-in Day on Saturday, Sept. 1, University Orientation activities will be held on Sunday, Sept. 2. Faculty Orientation will take place September 3, 4, and 5. Undergraduate fall term classes will start on Thursday, Sept. 6 and 7, followed by more Faculty Orientation activities on Saturday, Sept. 8. University Orientation will continue on Sunday, Sept. 9. 

To see the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group final report, visit the Principal’s website.

For more information on Orientation Week 2018, visit queensu.ca/orientation.