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YEAR IN REVIEW: Top stories for 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, the Gazette takes a look back at the stories, events, and people at Queen’s who grabbed our attention over the past 12 months.

The year began with Queen’s continuing to celebrate its 175 anniversary and rounded out with a number of new programs working to make the university a stronger, more welcoming place for all.

Diversity and inclusivity

In response to concerns about diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s, an implementation committee was created by Principal Daniel Woolf in late 2016. After a process of consultation, review, and discussion, the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) submitted its final report on April 10, which included numerous recommendations for implementation, both in the short and long term.

UCARE membersOne of these recommendations was the creation of a new council tasked with ensuring there is a continuing and sustained conversation aimed at supporting anti-racism, diversity, inclusivity and equity on campus. The inaugural members of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) were announced in December and the meeting is scheduled for early 2018.

Also in April, Teri Shearer saw her title modified to Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), with expanded responsibilities, including championing equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the university’s mission.

In August, the university announced the establishment of a working group to review undergraduate orientation. Interested students, staff and faculty took part in a series of public town halls to discuss how to make undergraduate orientation more welcoming and inclusive for new students. 

The road to reconciliation

The final report and recommendations of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Task Force were unveiled during a special event on March 22 at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Principal Daniel Woolf also stated his commitment to the TRC recommendations in a special Senate meeting on March 7, where he acknowledged “Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous People.”

On Sept. 22, the university announced the appointment of Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) as the inaugural Director of Indigenous Initiatives. The creation of the office was a recommendation of the Queen’s TRC task force final report.

In the fall it was also announced that the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre would be expanded, doubling its current size to meet the growing enrolment of Aboriginal student as well as programming and community-building opportunities as recommended by the Queen’s TRC Task Force.

Welcome to Queen’s

The Faculty of Arts and Science welcomed Barbara Crow as dean while Kevin Deluzio was appointed dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Hugh Horton arrived at Herstmonceux Castle in his new role as vice-provost and executive director of the Bader International Study Centre (BISC).

The university also initiated a faculty renewal plan with the goal of hiring 200 new faculty members over a five-year period, with approximately 50 of these positions being net new hires.

Making an international impact

The university’s internationalization efforts continue and yielded some impressive results in 2017. In January a new partnership between Queen’s University and the University of Gondar in Ethiopia – supported by a 10-year, USD$24-million grant from The Mastercard Foundation – was unveiled.

Through the foundation’s Scholars Program, Queen’s and Gondar will collaborate to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa. In East Sussex, England, the BISC saw its largest-ever incoming class, with 139 first-year arrivals.

Innovation continued to make news, this time on the international front, as Spectra Plasmonics, a student-run startup created through the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), claimed top prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition in Singapore. For a second year in a row, Queen’s celebrated a Rhodes Scholar, as engineering graduate Iain Sander (Sc'17) received the prestigious scholarship.

Supporting the student learning experience

There is nothing more important at Queen’s than the student learning experience and the university made a number of announcements in support of this ongoing endeavour. At its Feb. 28 meeting, Senate approved a two-day fall term break that will first take effect in the 2018-19 academic year.

In July, Queen’s became the first medical school in North America to make the transition to competency-based medical education (CBME) in all 29 of its specialty programs for medical residents. Under the CBME model, residents are promoted to their next rotation once they have demonstrated competency in the clinical tasks and activities expected of them at each stage.

Construction at the Innovation and Wellness Centre continued and the site will be completely enclosed by the end of 2017. Providing expanded research and innovation spaces, a wellness centre, athletics and recreation facilities, the Queen’s University International Centre, and a new Exam Centre, the IWC is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.

There are many more accomplishments and stories from the Queen’s community, including many research accomplishments to share. Find out more at queensu.ca/gazette/.