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Learn how Queen's is planning for our safe return to campus.


William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.


Queen’s to train next generation of Egyptian technology leaders

A signing ceremony of the new agreement between Queen’s and Egypt took place on Sept. 15.

Queen's University and Egypt enter an international partnership
Dr. Amr S. Talaat, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, speaks with Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane who attended the signing ceremony virtually on Sept. 15, 2021.

Queen’s University has entered into an international partnership with the Government of Egypt to train their next generation of experts in the field of artificial intelligence and data science. 

Beginning in January 2022, up to 100 Egyptian students will participate remotely in the Queen’s School of Computing’s Master of Data Science and Machine Learning. Their participation in this 12-month program is part of the Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) led by the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology — which aims to empower the next generation of Egyptian engineering and computer science graduates.

The master’s program addresses the growing demand for graduates with a data science and machine learning background from leading technology firms, healthcare companies, automobile manufacturers, research labs and government agencies. Some of the educational outcomes for graduates of this Queen’s program include developing a rigorous understanding of fundamental concepts in Data Science and Machine Learning, and designing, evaluating, and refining data-driven solutions, processes, and infrastructure for effective problem solving. This partnership with Queen’s will assist Egypt in their efforts towards building nationwide capacity in modern technologies.

We are proud to welcome Queen’s University on board of the ambitious Digital Egypt Builders Initiative. Queen’s University is among the top universities in Canada. I am confident our Egyptian Students will benefit from this exceptional opportunity offered by the Egyptian Government, setting the path for the new generations to become the driving force of technological innovation in Egypt, says Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Ambassador of Egypt to Canada.

The collaboration reinforces Queen’s commitments to equitable global engagement through sustainable development, civic impact and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships across the globe. Queen’s was recently recognized by THE Impact Rankings for the university’s societal impact based on advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This partnership is a continuation of this commitment and the university’s goal to produce and support graduates who will go on to find solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

“Queen’s is pleased to support this new partnership with Egypt, supporting postsecondary education and preparing students to be leaders in their communities,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University. “With the signing of this agreement, Queen’s and the Ministry will be partners in equipping young people with the technological skills needed for success in the 21st century.”

A signing ceremony of the new agreement, with the Ambassador of Canada to Egypt and the Ambassador of Egypt to Canada as guests, took place on Sept. 15 in Egypt. Representatives from Queen’s University attended remotely including Principal Deane, Sandra den Otter (Vice-Provost, International), Mark Green (Provost and Vice-Principal, Academic), Hossam Hassanein (Director of the School of Computing), Fahim Quadir (Vice Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies), Barbara Crow (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science), Sharon Regan (Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science), and Tom Collier (Coordinator, International Agreements and Partnerships).

Queen’s to join universities around the world in signing Magna Charta Universitatum 2020

Free virtual conference explores university values and responsibilities.

Principal Patrick Deane signs the Magna Charta Universitatum during an event hosted at McMaster University on Oct. 17. (Supplied photo)
Principal Patrick Deane speaks at a signing event for the Magna Charta Universitatum, hosted at McMaster University on Oct. 17, 2019. (Supplied photo)

On June 16 and 17, Principal Patrick Deane will join other global university leaders in a virtual forum to celebrate the launch and signing of the new Magna Charta Universitatum (MCU) 2020. The signing event will happen during a two-day online conference examining ways in which the values and responsibilities laid out in the MCU 2020 address challenges and pressures facing universities today.  

The MCU 2020 is a declaration and affirmation of the fundamental principles upon which the mission of universities world-wide should be based. It underlines the key principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy as set out in the original 1988 document, but has been expanded to reflect the global nature of universities today and their responsibilities to the communities they serve to benefit humanity and contribute to sustainability. By signing the MCU 2020, universities are united by these principles and responsibilities and help strengthen the role of universities in the preservation of the planet and in promoting health, prosperity, and enlightenment around the world.

“Universities exist to serve the public good, a notion which the original document supported, though somewhat less explicitly. Furthermore, that document was very much focused on issues facing European universities. In the new declaration, the fundamental principles of independence, the necessary connection between teaching and research, and free enquiry remain; but greater focus on diversity, inclusion, community engagement, access to education and sustainable development reflects the current environment in which universities around the world operate,” says Principal Deane, who was a member of the committee that drafted the MCU 2020.

Principal Deane will take on the role as President of the Governing Council of the Magna Charta Observatory (MCO) on June 14 and is the first university leader from the Americas to lead the organization. The MCO is the global guardian and foundation that works to promote and defend the principles laid out in the MCU and MCU 2020.

In addition to offering an opportunity to witness the signing ceremony – a ‘once in a generation’ event – the virtual conference is focused on the theme of, “University values and responsibilities: responding to the challenges of the future.” Conference speakers will offer global perspectives on the obligations and obstacles facing universities today and how the MCU 2020 responds to them. Of interest to all university leaders, professionals, academics and students across the globe (whether their institution has signed the MCU 2020 or not), the conference will enable attendees to learn from each other, and celebrate universities and their impact in the world.

Registration for this event is free and open now.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the new MCU 2020 was planned to be launched in-person at the annual anniversary signing event at the University of Bologna in Italy. Due to continuing travel restrictions and public health requirements related to the pandemic, the MCO decided to launch the new MCU 2020 through a virtual platform.

Speaker spotlight

The conference will feature a number of global higher education leaders, including Principal Patrick Deane who will speak about the new MCU 2020 and how it can benefit universities and societies. Of particular interest will be Michael Ignatieff’s presentation as president of the Central European University, which was forced to relocate its operations from Budapest to Vienna in 2018 as a result of political conflict between its founder, George Soros, and the Hungarian President, Victor Orbán. That universities should function free from state coercion and influence is of course one of the key principles of the MCU.

Here is a look at just some of the speakers and their topics:

Principal Deane unveils university’s strategic framework

Queen’s convenes working groups to advance operational priorities.

Queen's Strategic Framework written on a blue banner, Mitchell Hall photograph in the background.
Newly established working groups will work over the coming months to define goals in support the Strategic Framework.

Following a comprehensive, year-long consultation with the campus community led by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, the university’s Board of Trustees has approved Queen’s new strategic framework. Developed out of consultations with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and stakeholders in Canada and abroad, the new strategy defines the mission, vision and values of Queen’s and identifies six strategic goals aimed at positioning Queen’s as a university committed to societal impact and positive change.

“More than a year ago, I began a comprehensive consultation process to better understand who we are as a university and why we are,” says Principal Deane, who met with several thousand Queen’s community stakeholders as part of The Conversation. “From that frank, thoughtful, and at times unflinchingly critical process emerged the components of a positive, forward-looking strategy for our institution – one that will make explicit that Queen’s is a university for the future.”

Principal Deane has established six working groups to advance the strategy in its next stage of implementation. Each working group corresponds with one of six strategic goals articulated in the framework, which include aiming to increase the university’s research impact; advancing the student learning experience; growing the interdependence between research and teaching; strengthening the university’s global engagement; deepening the university’s relationship with the local, regional, and national communities; and improving Queen’s organizational culture.

“Queen’s new strategy leads with an important vision statement that declares we are a community,” says Principal Deane. “In that spirit, I very much look forward to convening the working groups and, with their assistance, identifying ways by which we can realize our fullest potential as an institution.”

Each working group is led by a faculty champion and includes additional representatives from faculty, university senate, staff, and students. Chairs include Parvin Mousavi, Erik Knutsen, Ram Murty, Sandra den Otter, and Elaine Power. Ellie Sadinsky, a staff member, will co-chair the working group on organizational culture with a faculty member. The working groups will meet over June and July and are tasked with developing two or three operational priorities to align with the strategic goals. The groups will engage the community through public consultation and online feedback before finalizing their goals, which are to be presented to a steering committee, chaired by Principal Deane, in early August.

The steering committee – comprised of the chairs of the working groups, the senior leadership team, and the deans – will then combine the operational priorities into a plan to enable implementation of the new strategy in the early fall. Central to the realization of the strategy will be the university’s recent commitment to advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals; a commitment for which Queen’s was recently recognized as a national and global leader.

Learn more about the working groups, their composition, and mandates.

Advancing international research collaborations

CIMVHR will be participating in NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme to expand research supporting the successful transition and reintegration of military service personnel to civilian life.

Master Corporal Tina Fahie, a member of the Military Police Unit deployed on Operation IMPACT, poses for a photo on September 25, 2020. Credit: Sailor Third Class Melissa Gonzalez
Master Corporal Tina Fahie, a member of the Military Police Unit deployed on Operation IMPACT. (Credit: Sailor Third Class Melissa Gonzalez).

Transitioning out of service is a major turning point in the lives of military personnel. While many have successful experiences, a significant amount face challenging obstacles. In understanding the factors that contribute to a failed military-to-civilian transition (MCT) most of the research has focused on men, leaving a gap in addressing the unique needs of women, particularly around mental health.

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has recognized the importance of supporting women’s successful MCT as a high-level priority within its member and partner nations. This focus has led to a collaboration with the Queen’s-based Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), a leader in MCT research over the past decade, through NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. Joined by the Women’s Information Consultative Centre (WICC), researchers, veterans, and policy leaders will participate in a series of consultations and a workshop throughout the year with the purpose of applying a gender lens to MCT research. Focusing on the experiences of women from Ukraine, Canada, and the United States, the goal is to convene leading experts from these countries to translate existing research to policy opportunities and define priorities for new research to advance successful MCT for women.

A launch event marking the start of the collaboration happened on May 19 and reflected the significance and strategic importance of this issue for NATO and the participating lead countries. Representatives delivering remarks included David van Weel, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO, Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security, and Dr. Kateryna Levchenko, Vice-Chair of Gender Equality Commission of Council of Europe and Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy of Ukraine.

“Many of our institutions have long thought that being ‘gender neutral’ or ‘gender blind’ was the fair thing to do, and that in fact treating everyone the same was a way of demonstrating respect and fairness,” says Ambassador O’Neill. “Notably, security forces have long prided themselves on treating everyone the same, and this extended to their supports for the eventual military to civilian transition. But the same treatment often does not result in the same outcomes; people have different experiences and different needs. This research will bring needed attention to the range of needs of diverse women veterans and enable governments to better support women through this critical milestone in their careers and lives.”

  • Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security delivered a welcome address from Canada at the recent NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop launching the collaboration.
    Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security delivered a welcome address from Canada at the recent NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop launching the collaboration.
  • Dr. David Pedlar of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) and Ms. Olena Suslova of the Women's Information Consultative Centre (WICC) are co-directors of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Project.
    Dr. David Pedlar of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) and Ms. Olena Suslova of the Women's Information Consultative Centre (WICC) are co-directors of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Project.
  • Attendees of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop included representatives from NATO, government, and participating research institutions, including Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse.
    Attendees of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop included representatives from NATO, government, and participating research institutions, including Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse.

CIMVHR’s participation in the SPS Programme lays a foundation for significant development and application in MCT research. Contributing to NATO’s core goals for more than six decades, the SPS Programme is one of the largest and most important partnership programmes addressing 21st-century security challenges bringing together member and partner nations for high impact. At this stage in MCT research, it is already understood that women can experience unique challenges with their mental health, specifically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), employment and income, sense of purpose, and reintegration into civilian society and workplace culture in their transition from military service. Furthering this research within the common transition domains of study, such as health, finances, social integration, life skills, housing, and physical, cultural, and social environments, will not only improve the experiences of women but also reveal the support needed specific to sex and gender for successful MCT for all military personnel.

“Working together through the SPS Programme will hopefully serve as a catalyst to not only significantly advance MCT research but lead to further efforts to support NATO’s strategic objectives,” says David Pedlar, Scientific Director, CIMVHR. “This research will also help meet the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and provide support to Canada’s military service personnel to ensure a continued sense of purpose and good well-being for them and their families when they transition to civilians. Transition is the key point to get that right.”

Over the course of the year, CIMVHR and WICC will facilitate consultations, an advanced research workshop, and develop a report advancing the subject matter area and identifying immediate knowledge for practice. A potential outcome by 2022 will be the establishment of collaborations or linkages amongst the participating nations on several NATO multi-year projects with the goal of advancing science and progress for women.

For more information about CIMVHR, a hub of 46 Canadian universities, including founders Queen’s University and the Royal Military College, and 14 Global Affiliates with a network of researchers from across Canada, visit their website.

What are the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings?

Looking at the social impacts post-secondary institutions are creating locally and abroad.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship efforts.

Over 1,000 institutions based around the globe were assessed in this year's rankings, and you can view their performance toward each of the 17 SDGs on the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings website. Find out how universities are moving toward eradicating poverty and hunger, increasing health and wellbeing, achieving gender equality, advancing climate action and clean energy, stimulating economic growth and innovation, and improving education. You can also explore Queen's University's Times Higher Education profile.


Queen’s ranks first in Canada and fifth in the world in global impact rankings

Times Higher Education 2021 Impact Rankings illustrate Queen’s role in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Queen's ranks first in Canada and fifth in the world in global impact rankings

Today, the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings revealed that Queen’s University has placed first in Canada and fifth in the world in its global ranking of universities that are advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within and beyond their local communities. The rankings measured more than 1,200 post-secondary institutions and focused on the impact made in 17 categories measuring sustainability.

Established in 2019, THE Impact Rankings assess a university’s societal impact based on the UN’s SDGs, a set of goals outlining a universal call to action to protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. Using carefully calibrated indicators across four broad areas – research, outreach, teaching, and stewardship – THE Impact Rankings are a recognition of those who are working today to build a better tomorrow.

“At Queen’s we believe our community – our people – will help solve the world’s most significant and urgent challenges through our intellectual curiosity, passion to achieve, and commitment to collaboration,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “We are humbled to be recognized in this way for the impact we’re having in our local and global communities, but we recognize how much still needs to be done. We are, however, pleased to know we are on the right track, and have our eyes set even more firmly on the future.”

Queen's University’s community of students, researchers, staff, and alumni all contribute to making a positive impact as measured by the UN’s 17 SDG criteria. THE Impact Rankings acknowledged Queen’s as:

  • 1st worldwide for SDG 1 ‘No Poverty,’ and SDG 16 ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’. This was exemplified by Promise Scholars, a program designed to reduce financial barriers and increase access to Queen’s for local, first-generation students. The university also helps the next generation of policy makers through programs and research led by the School of Policy Studies, in addition to significant collaboration with all levels of government.
  • A leader in advancing programs that promote equal access, equity, and diversity, because of initiatives like: the Queen’s Equity Locator App, a map of accessible and gender neutral spaces, and specialized pathway programs for Indigenous and Black students.
  • Queen’s supports air, land and water ecosystems through initiatives such as Queen’s Climate Action Plan, which is committed to climate neutrality by 2040;  the Queen’s University Biological Station, one of Canada’s premier scientific field stations; and the Beaty Water Research Centre, which fosters interdisciplinary research and outreach in water governance, sustainability, and protection.

Queen’s scored highly across a number of SDGs, including in SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities), and SDG 15 (Life on Land), where Queen’s placed in the top 10 worldwide. For both SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), Queen's ranks first in the world.

These impressive results reflect the cross-university collaboration and partnership of over 70 units across faculties, portfolios, and departments that contributed to or were represented in the evidence.

“Canada’s universities are actively demonstrating the fundamental role they will play in helping solve some of the world’s greatest challenges as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” says Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education. “In a year that has seen record levels of participation in the Impact Rankings, with 1,240 universities from 98 countries and regions, it is wonderful to see the success of Queen’s University in helping to ensure a sustainable future for global society.”

Other highlights from the more than 600 pieces of evidence submitted illustrate Queen’s contributions to an inclusive, diverse, and sustainable future, including:

“Building on this track record of sustainability, while accelerating development and partnerships at home and abroad, Queen’s will stay focused on developing the leaders of tomorrow to advance global initiatives and make a lasting imprint on our communities,” says Principal Deane, who wrote on how the SDGs can help inform and shape the future of the global academy.

Transforming the global academy

Principal Patrick Deane on how the SDGs are helping break down silos, provoke dialogue, and unite us all in a common global purpose.

[Photo of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane]
Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen's University

As a member of the international group tasked with updating the Magna Charta Universitatum – the declaration of university freedoms and principles that was first signed in Bologna in 1988 – I am struck by the extent to which the intervening three decades have altered the global consensus about the nature and function of universities. Where the original document spoke eloquently to the fundamental values of the academy, the new Magna Charta Universitatum 2020 reaffirms those values but also expands upon their social function and utility. I would summarise the shift this way: we have moved from an understanding of universities as defined primarily by their ability to transcend historical contingency to a more complicated view, which asserts that timeless principles such as academic freedom and institutional autonomy are the platform from which the academy must engage with history.

If the situation in Europe and around the world in 1988 made it important to speak up for the freedoms without which teaching and research would be impoverished, by 2020 it had become equally important to speak of the responsibilities incumbent on institutions by virtue of the privileges accorded to them. The reality of rapid climate change has brought urgency and authority to this new view of universities, as have parallel trends in the social, cultural, and political climate, and “education for sustainable development” has emerged as the increasingly dominant model for global higher education – one which fuses the concerns of environment, society, and economy.  

Recent columns in Times Higher Education have admirably described the diverse ways in which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been intrinsic to this reorientation of the global academy: as a rallying point for students and staff, as an accountability framework, and as a global language for political action, for example. Here at Queen’s University, the SDGs have been an important frame for our current planning process, and in all of those ways have influenced the manner in which we understand and wish to articulate our mission.

At one point in the process, an influential and valued friend of the university expressed some irritation to me about the way in which the SDGs had come to dominate and disrupt the university’s normally untroubled and inwardly-focused dialogue with itself about mission and values. “And in any case,” came the throwaway dismissal, “there’s nothing original or new about aligning with the SDGs.” Of course, that is true in 2021, but is it relevant? If a university is able to maximise its global impact, does the inherent originality or novelty of its planning parameters matter? In such exchanges – still occurring, I’m certain, on campuses everywhere – we can see that the changing consensus about which I wrote at the start is not yet complete.

It seems to me, in fact, that much of the value of the SDGs as an organising framework for universities resides in their not being proprietary or “original” to one institution, or to an exclusive group of institutions. It has often been pointed out that they now provide a shared language which helps universities in diverse geographical, political, and socio-economic locations understand and build upon the commonality of their work in both teaching and research. Adoption of the SDGs, however variously that is done from institution to institution, is turning the “global academy” from a rhetorical to a real construct, and I can’t imagine why it would be in the interests of any university to hold itself aloof from that transformation. Having watched our planning process unfold at Queen’s over the last two years, I can confirm that what the SDGs do at the global level, they do also at the level of the individual institution, providing a common language that provokes and sustains dialogue – not only between disciplines, but between the academic and non-academic parts of the operation.

I want to end by commenting on the excitement generated when siloes are broken open and when people and units understand how they are united with others in a common purpose and in service to the greater good. To cultivate that understanding has been the primary objective of planning at Queen’s for the last two years, and preparing our first submission to the Impact Rankings has been an intrinsic part of that process of learning and self-discovery. Naturally, we are delighted and excited by where we find ourselves in the rankings, but we are energised in a more profound way by the knowledge of what synergies and collaborations exist or appear possible both within our university and in the global academy.

The first 16 SDGs point to the areas in which we want to have impact. The 17th tells us what the whole project is really all about: acting in community for the communal good.

This op-ed was originally published in the Times Higher Education supplement.  

Queen’s community comes together to illustrate social impact

THE Impact Rankings submission measures the university’s overall contribution to global sustainability.

[Graphic image with a "Q" of the Queen's community]

Times Higher Education (THE), the organization best known for its World University Rankings, sees universities as representing the greatest hope of solving the most urgent global challenges. In 2019, they moved to create the Impact Rankings – an inclusive evaluation of post-secondary institutions’ commitments to positive social and economic impact measured against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year, out of more than 1,200 participating institutions worldwide, Queen’s placed first in Canada and fifth globally in the 2021 Impact Rankings. It is the first time Queen’s has participated in this ranking exercise, and our performance is a result of the campus community’s united effort to create a comprehensive submission package for Impact Rankings adjudicators.

THE Impact Rankings

While many traditional ranking processes are designed with research-intensive universities in mind, the Impact Rankings are open to any institution teaching at the undergraduate or post-graduate level. Using the SDGs as a means of gauging a university’s performance, THE developed a methodology involving 105 metrics and 220 measurements, carefully calibrated to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons between institutions across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach, and teaching.

“The Impact Rankings are unlike any other ranking. They offer a global platform to acknowledge and celebrate the partnerships integral to advancing international initiatives, developing the leaders of tomorrow, and working towards an inclusive, diverse, and sustainable future,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations) and co-chair of the Queen’s Impact Rankings Steering Committee. “On behalf of the Steering Committee, thank you to the community for your support and collaboration in advancing this initiative.”

In their submissions, universities must demonstrate progress toward meeting at least three SDGs, as well as toward SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals. THE evaluates each institution’s submission, drawing on the quantitative and qualitative data provided, as well as bibliometric research datasets provided by Elsevier, a data and analytics company.

The Queen’s Submission – A Community Effort

“Participating in the Impact Rankings requires self-reflection. We are asked to contemplate our current impact and think about what we want to achieve for the future,” says Sandra den Otter, Vice-Provost (International) and co-chair of the Queen's Impact Rankings Steering Committee. “These results testify to the work we have done together. I hope this is a moment for recognizing the progress we have made, and to furthering our aspirations as a university and as members of a global community committed to change.”

To lead its submission process, Queen’s established a Steering Committee, Project Team, and Working Group, comprised of leadership, staff, and faculty from across the university. This team set about gathering over 600 unique pieces of evidence, representing the efforts of over 70 departments and portfolios. Queen’s chose to submit evidence in support of all 17 SDGs – a decision that led to top-100 rankings in 14 of 17 SDGs, including top-10 in three categories (Zero Hunger, Sustainable Cities, and Life on Land) and being ranked first – globally – for SDG 1: No Poverty and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. 

Metrics and measurements were unique for each SDG, with each goal requiring a specific combination of quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative evidence integrated research bibliometric data and key words that measured number of publications, co-authors, and field-weighted citations. Other quantitative measurements looked at water consumption per capita, energy and food waste measurements, university expenditure on arts and culture, the number of first-generation university students, and number of employees from equity-seeking groups.

Qualitative evidence spanned institutional policies and individual courses, to the missions of research centres and institutes, community volunteer initiatives, and strategic plans, all demonstrating how we are advancing the SDGs. Metrics often required evidence of local, national, and global-reaching initiatives to illustrate full impact.

More than 400 internal links pointing to Queen’s websites were supplied as publicly accessible evidence of Queen’s research, outreach, teaching, and stewardship efforts. Additionally, nearly 100 external links were included in the submission, each reflecting the university’s extensive partnerships: internally with student-led clubs, locally with Sustainable Kingston and United Way KFL&A, nationally with the Government of Canada, and globally with the Matariki Network of Universities.

Learn more about Queen’s performance in the Times Higher Education 2021 Impact Rankings.

What are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals?

Universities draw upon global framework to boost social impact of learning, research, and outreach.

[Graphic image: "Q" Sustainable Development Goals]

For universities, research and teaching excellence have traditionally been the key measures of success, however the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings provide a new and complementary opportunity to look at the social impacts post-secondary institutions are creating locally and abroad. At the heart of these rankings are the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are a set of 17 wide-ranging goals adopted in 2015 by UN member states – including Canada – as central to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They cover an array of objectives including, but not limited to, eradicating poverty and hunger, increasing health and wellbeing, achieving gender equality, advancing climate action and clean energy, stimulating economic growth and innovation, and improving education. While distinct, the goals are interdependent. True progress requires committed action on each and every one.

In reflection of its UN commitment, Canada has asked every segment of society to contribute to advancing the SDGs, calling for leadership, engagement, accountability, and investment on all fronts. The country’s post-secondary institutions are uniquely positioned to help accelerate this progress in all categories.

The THE Impact Rankings measure a school’s performance against the SDGs. This year, Queen’s, in its first-ever submission to THE Impact Rankings, demonstrated notable progress on all 17 SDGs, including on the eradication of poverty and hunger, improvement of local urban sustainability and ecosystems, and promotion of peace and inclusivity. Queen’s placed first in Canada and fifth in the world in these global rankings.

More broadly, a concerted, strategic approach to advancing the SDGs aligns all participating universities in Canada and abroad toward a common vision. As Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane writes: “[The SDGs] provide a shared language which helps universities in diverse geographical, political, and socio-economic locations understand and build upon the commonality of their work in both teaching and research.”

The SDGs also align with Queen’s emerging strategic framework which, through Principal Deane’s ongoing consultations with the university community, underscores Queen’s efforts to champion equity, diversity, inclusivity, and Indigeneity, as well as grow local, national, and international partnerships that increase the impact of its education, research, and social contributions.

Visit the United Nations website to learn more about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and read about Queen’s stand-out performance in the Times Higher Education 2021 Impact Rankings.


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