Queen’s global engagement training for students wins national award


Queen’s global engagement training for students wins national award

Learning module supported by Canada’s Global Skills Opportunity Innovation Fund recognized for contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion in international education.

By Communications Staff

February 13, 2024


Stephanie Simpson, Erin Clow, and Sandra den Otter

Stephanie Simpson, Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion); Erin Clow, former HREO Associate Director of Education and Learning; and Sandra den Otter, Vice-Provost (Global Engagement) pictured with the CBIE Excellence Award for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Queen’s innovative Decolonizing Global Engagement training module that equips Queen’s students studying, volunteering, or working abroad with skills to critically engage with complex global and intersectional inequities, has won a national award. 

Recognized with the Canadian Bureau for International Excellence (CBIE) Excellence Award for its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Award, the module assists students in reflecting on the colonial histories of international engagement and in building new knowledge and skills around cultural humility that better equip them to engage as truly global citizens. 

“The recognition received by the Decolonizing Global Engagement training highlights the importance and the critical need for a program like this,” says Stephanie Simpson, Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion). “Queen’s is committed to developing and sending learners into the world who embody qualities like civility, equity, and respect. We are proud of the role this module is playing in prompting critical engagement and supporting responsible global citizenship.”

Developed by the university’s Human Rights and Equity Office (HREO), in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII) and with support of the Vice-Provost (Global Engagement) unit, the module is now a mandatory part of pre-departure training for all Queen’s undergraduates participating in programs abroad. 

Its central innovation is its emphasis on students’ understanding their own positionality the set of social, political, and identity factors that shape one’s perspectives, biases, and understanding in preparation to engage with people and cultures across the world.

“From the outset, the goal of this project was ambitious: to create an asynchronous module for students taking part in a global engagement opportunity that fosters introspective consideration and growth,” says Erin Clow, HREO’s former Associate Director of Education and Learning, who worked closely on the project. “Through a series of interactive exercises, learners are asked to reflect on their own positionality, while also considering the complex topics of colonialism, white saviourism, Eurocentric learning, and cultural humility.”

The module was created in 2021 with the support of funds from Canada’s Global Skills Opportunity program, a federal initiative that aims to provide postsecondary students with invaluable international study and work experiences, strengthening their global skills and competencies. The CBIE award highlights making noteworthy contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion in international education.

Decolonizing Global Engagement is the first of several initiatives being supported by Global Skills Opportunity funds under the Queen’s banner Momentum for Mobility: Global Pathways for Inclusion. These initiatives, funded between 2021–2025, seek to enable Queen's undergraduate students especially Indigenous students, low-income students, and those with disabilities to receive financial support for in-person mobility experiences. Established Queen’s study abroad programs that be may eligible for Global Skills Opportunity funding are encouraged to reach out for an assessment.

Student mobility is among the core aims of Queen’s Global Engagement Strategic Plan, alongside other major points of advance including growing international partnerships and collaborations, increasing global research engagements, and bolstering equity, inclusion, diversity, and Indigenization.

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