Teaching and learning for impact

Teaching and learning for impact

Recent strategic initiatives highlight impact of teaching and learning combined with research integration.

February 23, 2023


With the winter term underway, new teaching and learning initiatives are advancing goals emphasized in the Queen’s Strategy. By integrating research with student learning, and engaging the community in transformative educational experiences, teaching and learning for impact has become a vital part of Queen’s.

The Principal’s Undergraduate Research Leaders (PURL) and the Principal’s Impact Courses are two enriching opportunities available for students and faculty to explore research interests, expand understanding and experience, and to learn and teach with purpose.

“Unique and exciting opportunities at Queen’s are shining a light on academic excellence and at the same time strengthening the education, growth, and impact of our students,” says Klodiana Kolomitro, Special Advisor to the Principal, Strategic Development. “These are curricular and co-curricular programs that bring together diverse disciplines and perspectives, and highlight relationality and impact in teaching and learning. By intentionally weaving these areas, we are better preparing students to have their own impact on the world and shape the future.”  

The co-curricular Principal’s Undergraduate Research Leaders (PURL) program facilitates research experiences for students. Students accepted into the program take on a leadership role in supporting student-led research initiatives and engaging in knowledge mobilization. They advise peers, increase awareness, and collect and analyse data on student involvement in research. PURL students can be invited to speak in a course or at an event about getting involved in research.

Fifty-five students submitted applications and six were recently selected to participate in the inaugural cohort (January – May 2023) representing various faculties and levels of study: Hayley Galsworthy (Sc’25), Sylvie Garabedian (Com’25, Artsci’25), Melody Garas (Artsci’24), Sanchit Kaushal (BHSc’24), Lisa Lavalle (Meds’26), and Victoria Yu (ConEd’23).

PURL students may mentor recipients of student research programs such as the Undergraduate Summer Student Research Fellowship (USSRF) and the Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) that are set to significantly expand in 2023 with the additional funds provided by the Office of the Vice-Principal Research and new federal funding for Black Scholars.

The curricular Principal’s Impact Courses initiative is designed to push the boundaries of teaching and learning and to promote inquiry-based learning and research so students can explore and answer some of humanity’s essential questions and chart a path, via research, to new knowledge.

Ten ‘wicked idea’ courses were selected in 2022 with funds granted for their development.

In one, RELS 301/3.0 Themes in Religion Studies - Religion, Culture, and Death, in its first iteration this term, students develop research projects that explore how human beings attempt to live with the dead and to share space with those no longer alive.

“By urging students to delve into historical and cultural trends surrounding death, they are able to examine how people around the globe are connecting with their communities and continuing on,” says Richard Ascough, School of Religion, who proposed, developed, and is teaching the course. “By really digging into death and the complex, multi-layered resiliency that exists often amongst tragedy, students are participating in multifaceted research projects and are becoming better equipped to face future challenges.”  

The Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor invites imaginative proposals for the 2023 round of Impact Courses that directly support the Queen’s Strategy, enhance student learning for impact, promote inquiry-based learning, and strengthen local and global community connections. Proposals should address one or more of these areas, integrate I-EDIAA principles and practices, and focus on the world’s most significant and urgent challenges while demonstrating the benefits to bringing together different disciplines, sectors and approaches, and foster reciprocal and respectful relationships among students, faculty and/or the community.

“These courses are part of Queen’s long-term commitment to transform curricula and enhance the student learning experience,” says Principal Patrick Deane. “They are extraordinary opportunities for faculty to ‘dream big’ and propose courses that rise to meet our global challenges, aligning with Queen’s vision for the future and in support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.”  

The deadline for proposals is April 10, 2023, and an information session is scheduled for March 2, 2023.

Learn more about the Principal’s Undergraduate Research Leaders (PURL) program and Principal’s Impact Courses on the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor’s website.