Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Queen's University Queen's University
    Search Type

    Search form


    International collaboration looks at the future of teaching

    Participants in the first CANOPY meeting
    CANOPY, an international collaboration between the Queen's Faculty of Education and Nord University in Norway, held its first meeting Jan. 13-14 to discuss educational leadership. (Supplied Photo)

    The Faculty of Education at Queen’s University recently launched a new partnership with Norway’s Nord University, with a focus on better preparing the teachers of the future.

    Concurrent education students, faculty members, Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler, and Paul Valle, Superintendent of Schools with the York Region District School Board, met with counterparts from Nord University on Jan. 13-14 to discuss educational leadership.

    Rebecca Luce-Kapler speaks
    Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Queen's University, welcomes the members of the CANOPY partnership during the inaugural meeting. (Supplied photo)

    This collaboration is part of the Canada-Norway Pedagogy Partnership for Innovation and Inclusion in Education (CANOPY), a four-year partnership funded by the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU)’s NOTED program.

    This partnership aims to address, from a holistic and international perspective, the most pressing issues currently facing the education sector to better prepare the next generation of teachers. Connecting educational research, classroom experience, student mobility, and institutional management, CANOPY will develop global competencies in pedagogy, research, and training through international collaboration.

    Over the course of the two days, each member presented a half-hour session to learn about the similarities and differences between education in Norway and Canada.

    “Having education students, faculty members, people who work in school boards and senior administrators of the Faculty of Education from two different countries be part of the same group created a dynamic environment full of exciting possibilities for future collaborations and wonderful ideas that each of us will be taking away with us in our practice,” says Dr. Luce-Kapler.

    The group will meet again in Norway in May to further establish valuable relationships and research possibilities.

    Innovation and inclusion are the guiding principals of CANOPY, and the initiatives of each year of the project will focus on a different priority area:
    2020: Educational Leadership
    2021: Digital Innovation and Educational Technology
    2022: Indigenous Studies, Diversity, and Inclusion
    2023: Exceptional Learners

    To find out more about this exciting new partnership, please visit the CANOPY website

    Queen’s oncologist moving mountains to improve cancer care

    Dr. Bishal Gyawali is working to reduce the he challenges facing cancer patients in Nepal.

    Dr. Bishal Gyawali is working to reduce the he challenges facing cancer patients in Nepal.
    Dr. Bishal Gyawali, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, recently received a prestigious award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

    The Himalayan country of Nepal has a population of 33 million and yet there are less than 20 medical oncologists in the country to treat the rising rates of cancer among the Nepalese people. If you compare that to Canada, there is quite a difference. We have about 620 oncologists available to treat our population of 37.5 million.

    For a Nepalese cancer patient, this disparity means that access to care is not as simple as going to the local hospital each week for chemotherapy. There are only two public cancer centres in Nepal that offer treatment: one in Kathmandu and the other in Bharatpur. And in a country characterized by mountains and variable road conditions, those centres can be difficult to get to. Living expenses in Kathmandu are prohibitive, leaving some patients to travel more than 500 km to get 45 minutes of chemotherapy on a weekly basis.

    Dr. Bishal Gyawali, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, is acutely aware of the strain the lack of oncologists places on individuals and on the Nepalese healthcare system. After completing his speciality training in oncology in Japan, Dr. Gyawali – who was born in Nepal – returned home and spent six months working in a public hospital in Kathmandu.

    There, he witnessed the challenges facing cancer patients.

    “One of my young male patients was from the far western part of Nepal and he needed chemotherapy every two weeks,” he says. “It would take him more than 36 hours to come to Kathmandu for chemotherapy. This disrupted his job, on top of the cancer diagnosis and hassle of travel.”

    With the burden of childcare often falling to Nepalese women, they face particular challenges.

    “A woman from rural Nepal stayed in Kathmandu with her relatives for more than three months to complete her chemo. She had two little kids back home who needed her care, but she had to complete the chemo first,” Dr. Gyawali says. “A weekly commute was impossible.”

    But Dr. Gyawali sees a way forward.

    He has a plan to import an initiative that has been successful here in Canada to Nepal. It’s a training program for primary care doctors, which builds their capacity to deliver basic cancer treatment in rural settings. Here in Canada, this has dramatically increased the number of patients who can receive care close to home. Upon completion of the training, the Canadian physicians gain the designation of General Practice (GP) Oncology, and go on to provide rural cancer treatment.

    When Dr. Gyawali came up with the vision for this project, he lacked the resources to make it happen.

    “I had thought about doing this for a long time but had no money or ability to implement it,” he says.

    That changed last month when Dr. Gyawali received a prestigious award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) which will allow him to lay the groundwork for a training program modelled on the Canadian one.

    Nepal mountain scene
    For many people living in rural Nepal, travelling for oncology treatment is very difficult.

    The $50,000 award will be used to perform a needs assessment and to collaborate with Nepalese doctors to develop a training curriculum in basic oncology care. The training will be delivered to primary care doctors who practise outside the two main cancer centres in Nepal, thus increasing the capacity of GPs throughout the country. Ultimately this will make cancer care more accessible to patients, regardless of geography.

    In some cancers, chemotherapy needs to be administered once a week for 12 weeks. With that frequency, Dr. Bishesh Poudyal, Associate Professor and Chief, Civil Service Hospital in Kathmandu, agrees that a training program is much-needed.

    “If we can train GP oncologists, then patients can be treated locally and they don’t have to travel just to show bloodwork reports,” he says. “This will save lives and make treatment more affordable and efficient.”

    Dr. Bishal Gyawali joined Queen’s in March 2019. In addition to his appointment to the Department of Public Health Sciences, he is a clinical fellow in the Department of Oncology at Queen’s.

    What attracted him to the university was the global focus within the Department of Oncology under the leadership of department head, Dr. Scott Berry. He is thrilled to have Dr. Christopher Booth as a colleague, an oncologist who has worked extensively in India.  

    “The Queen’s Global Oncology team is made up of similar-minded people,” he says. “I am fortunate to have this career path.”

    As with our other Global Health initiatives in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Gyawali’s work is premised on building local capacity to address a specific need within a community. I am pleased that his work will be added to the slate of partnerships and projects that we have across the globe and I look forward to hearing about the impact that it has.

    This article was first published in the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean's Blog.

    New beginnings for new arrivals

    Queen's University International Centre helps welcome newly-arrived international students settle in ahead of start of term.

    International tour of campus
    Fiona McConnell-Radford, a fourth-year psychology student and Queen's tour guide, leads a group of international students through Mackintosh-Corry Hall. (University Communications)

    Newly-arrived international students have been getting an early look around Queen’s University as they prepare for the winter term.

    The Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) has been welcoming the new arrivals with its International Welcome and Orientation activities, including tours of campus and downtown, social events, and information sessions presented by QUIC leaders.

    On Jan. 2 and 3, QUIC offered guided tours, showing international  students how to make their way around campus and locate important resources, while also providing information about some of the main buildings and history of the university.

    Brazil’s Paola Dantonio took part in the QUIC tour and found it helpful in finding out more about campus.

    She arrives at Queen’s to pursue a PhD in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Studies.

    International students who have arrived for the winter term start a campus tour offered by QUIC at Mitchell Hall. (University Communications)

    “I came to Queen’s because of my supervisor, Dr. Lynne Postovit. I was in Edmonton at the University of Alberta with her for my master’s,” she explains. “This is her alma mater and she came back to Queen’s earlier this year as the head of the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Studies. I wanted to work with her and she told me a lot of good things about Queen’s such as the high quality of the students and she said it was a good university.”

    Located in Mitchell Hall, QUIC supports the student experience at Queen’s and hosts events throughout the year.

    Support activities for international students continue throughout the winter term in collaboration with various Division of Student Affairs and faculty units, including advising, information sessions, learning workshops, drop-in assistance, the QUIC English Conversation Program, and intercultural training.

    QUIC also hosts events such as a games night, a movie night and trips to help students make connections and gain a more Canadian experience.

    “Over the past few days, we have enjoyed welcoming new international students to Queen’s and welcoming back returning students,” says Amanda Gray, QUIC International Student Advisor. “ Campus can be pretty quiet over the winter break and it has been great to connect with returning students through our extended hours and social events.  We look forward to supporting new and returning students during the Winter 2020 Term.”

    Find out more about these events on the QUIC website.

    Highlighting the benefits of an international education

    [Students attend a workshop at QUIC]
    Students attend a workshop at Queen's University International Centre (QUIC).

    Every year, International Education Week brings together institutions, educators, and students from around the world to showcase the many benefits of an international education, including enhancing students’ global perspectives and broadening their academic experience.   

    This year, Student Academic Success Service (SASS) and the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) celebrated International Education Week (Nov.18-22) by launching a collaborative social media campaign designed to highlight the strengths that students who have studied abroad bring to Queen’s.

    Students were asked to answer a series of questions about their prior educational experience, what they’ve excelled at while studying at Queen’s, and how they value their international education. In their responses, which were featured on SASS’s and QUIC’s Facebook and Instagram pages, the four students profiled emphasized the value of international education and how it cultivates adaptability, encourages an understanding of diverse perspectives, and enhances openness to learning.

    Another benefit the students highlighted was the ability to understand the way that cultural context can influence academic study.

    “From my perspective, international education is the nexus of problems and solutions that arise when one tries to understand a specific research question in a cultural and historical context,” says Flavio Martins, a master’s student in Mechanical Engineering. “My work on clean energy resources in Canada has different consequences when compared to, for example, work on the same topic in the Netherlands, where this field of research is well developed. Study of the same topic in a developing country in which this technology is in its initial implementation stage and limited by socioeconomic issues, meanwhile, might have a different significance. International perspectives and interdisciplinarity helps students to develop different perspectives on the same topic.”

    Positive experiences

    The posts received a high level of engagement, with students sharing positive reactions and embracing the message that diverse educational experiences lead to success in Canadian universities.

    “Students come to Queen’s from all around the world, bringing incredible academic skills and knowledge that enrich our campus,” says Agnieszka Herra, Intercultural Academic Support Coordinator at SASS and QUIC. “This International Education Week campaign allowed the Queen’s community to hear directly from the students about the benefits of having educational experiences in various parts of the world. We hope to encourage conversations and bring awareness to the value of international education.”

    The SASS and QUIC International Education Week campaign is part of an effort across campus to highlight the strengths of students from all backgrounds. The campaign spans online resources and reinvented workshops, and dovetails with efforts to highlight the voices of students from intercultural contexts and amplify the strengths they bring to their studies at Queen’s.

    Queen’s Innovation Centre promotes design thinking in Vietnam

    DDQIC delivers design thinking workshop to students in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Students in Vietnam take part in design thinking workshop.

    On November 14, the team from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC), in conjunction with Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment, delivered a design thinking workshop to over 40 high-school students in Ho Chi Minh City.

    The event, which took place at the Canadian International School in Vietnam, gave participants the opportunity to learn about design thinking and experience a little taste of Queen’s.

    “I’d like to thank Queen’s University for conducting the Design Thinking Workshop at the Canadian International School Vietnam,” says Melissa O’Leary, Secondary Guidance Counsellor at the Canadian International School. “The scaffolded process led them to higher levels of thinking and problem solving - and many remarked that they surprised themselves in being able to develop a solution to a problem within a short time span.  They were engaged the entire time and it most definitely helped to build their confidence.”

    The DDQIC was established in 2012 as a startup, and it has since grown into a driver of innovation and entrepreneurship across Queen’s, Kingston, and beyond.

    The design thinking workshop, which was facilitated by Greg Bavington, Melanie Robb, Allison Yokom, and Chau Mai, gave students the tools and techniques to think differently, see new opportunities, and create innovative, high-impact solutions.

    “We were very impressed with how bright and motivated these students were throughout the workshop,” says Bavington, Executive Director of the DDQIC. “Activities like this really highlight what we are trying to do within the DDQIC.  We are a pan-university initiative, and our commitment is to support students from all academic disciplines and demonstrate how the tools of innovation and entrepreneurship can be applied to advancing an idea or developing a solution to a problem.”

    In the future, the DDQIC team hopes to present design thinking workshops in China as well as with their Pathways to Education partners in Toronto.

    To learn more, visit the Queen’s Innovation Centre website.

    Statement on Queen's students on exchange with universities in Hong Kong

    Queen’s University is very concerned by ongoing events and recent escalations in Hong Kong. We have been in contact with all 15 of our exchange students to confirm they are safe. The safety and wellbeing of our students is the highest priority for Queen’s.

    We have strongly recommended affected Queen’s students return to Canada for the remainder of the term, and have offered assistance to facilitate completion of courses, financial assistance for flight changes, and temporary accommodation in Kingston.

    Queen’s has partnerships with five universities in Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong (City University), Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

    Last week, some of Queen’s Hong Kong partner institutions cancelled or suspended courses and activities after violence spread to their campuses; others are seeing their services and/or campus safety compromised. In response, Queen's has initiated our emergency support program under the Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy (OCASP) and is working with International SOS to keep our students informed of the security services available to them.

    We are also in contact with our partner institutions in Hong Kong, other Canadian universities with students situated there, and Global Affairs Canada, as we actively monitor the situation.

    Decisions regarding the winter exchange program to Hong Kong are expected to be made shortly.

    International faculty and staff supports

    The Human Rights & Equity Office is holding discussion sessions about developing and strengthening supports for employees coming to Queen's from abroad.

    Staff and faculty participating in the first brainstorm meeting
    Queen's faculty and staff participating in a brainstorming session about supports for international employees.

    The Human Rights & Equity Office (HREO) recently invited international staff and faculty to engage in an initial conversation about what potential supports or groups could be created or strengthened to assist those moving from abroad for employment at Queen’s University.

    A group of international faculty and staff gathered on Sept. 30 for a brainstorming session facilitated by Queen's Human Rights Advisor Nilani Loganathan, who guided the group in an exercise to begin to identify gaps in services and programs, and suggest ways that could better support international employees.

    “I’m very pleased with the ideas brought forth by those who attended our first session,” says Loganathan. “We touched on a number of areas, including issues concerning relocating to Kingston, settling in at Queen’s, employment and education supports for families, and much more. We’re looking forward to continuing the conversation and collecting more feedback that will best inform our path forward.”

    Employees who identify as international staff and faculty will have additional opportunities to provide their input. The next session is to take place on Friday, Nov. 15 in Mackintosh-Corry Hall, B176 from 12pm – 1pm. Please email hrights@queensu.ca to confirm your attendance.

    Queen’s partners with international charity to provide new educational opportunities

    Queen’s University has signed a long-term agreement until 2033 with The Karta Initiative, which will enable talented, low-income youth from rural India to study at Queen’s.

    The Karta Initiative works to transform the futures of students from developing and emerging economies. The global initiative runs an on-the-ground access program for students in rural India – providing career exposure, skill development and community building – as well as powering Karta Connect, their online learning platform.

    “We look forward to welcoming Karta scholars to Queen’s and we are committed to supporting their success,'' says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “This partnership is part of our wide-ranging efforts to promote increased access to Queen’s for youth across Canada and around the world.”

    Karta scholars will be connected to staff in the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), who will provide information and guidance throughout their studies about programs and services, including peer mentoring, academic advising, experiential learning opportunities, and social activities.

    The Karta Initiative, in partnership with Queen’s, will support up to five academically-eligible Karta Scholars each year across a range of undergraduate programs. The first Karta Scholar will begin studying at Queen’s this fall.

    “Talent exists everywhere, but opportunity is not equally available,” says Karta Initiative Founder and Trustee Ranjita Rajan. “The Karta Initiative is pleased to be working with Queen’s University to advance our joint mission: bridging the divide between under-resourced youth and leading educational and professional opportunity. These Scholars are lodestars who impact and uplift entire communities.”

     The agreement will be in effect through to August 2033.

    Welcoming international students to campus

    [International students tour Queen's University campus]
    A group of international students tour the campus of Queen's University, guided by a Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) volunteer. 

    With the start of a new academic year fast approaching, the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) in Student Affairs is preparing to welcome over 1,400 international students to campus.

    In 2018-19, 11.9 per cent of the full-time undergraduate Queen’s student population and 27.2 per cent of the full-time graduate population were international students from more than 90 countries. In 2019-20, that is expected to increase slightly.

    As they arrive on campus QUIC is offering a variety of activities and resources to ensure that all new international and English as an Additional Language (EAL) students make a smooth and successful transition to Queen’s.

    “We are looking forward to welcoming our new international students to Queen’s. The QUIC team has put together an excellent orientation program for early arrivals to support international students with their transition to Kingston,” says Sultan Almajil, Director of QUIC. “Orientation is an opportunity for us to ensure that international students take full advantage of all that Queen’s has to offer, and it is also an opportunity to build relationships and learn about our students’ journey and their cultures.” 

    For those arriving early in Kingston, QUIC will be hosting a week of welcome sessions, Aug. 26-30, giving students the opportunity to visit QUIC, meet their peers, and discover useful resources – all before Orientation Week.

    From Aug. 26 to Sept. 13, QUIC will operate on extended hours: from 8:30 am-7:30 pm on weekdays and from 1-7:30 pm on weekends and Labour Day.

    International and EAL students can also take advantage of the many pre-arrival webinars available online. The webinars, which are a part of the Student Experience Office (SEO) Summer Webinar Series, provide useful information on topics from the Canadian education system to visas and study permits.

    QUIC’s Fall Orientation and Welcome Programming begins on Monday, Aug. 26 and continues until Saturday, Sept. 14, in collaboration with university orientation programs. Participants will have additional opportunities to tour campus, attend information sessions, and participate in games and movie nights at QUIC’s new space in Mitchell Hall, and a trip to Niagara Falls.

    “Coming to Queen’s University as an international student, I was filled with excitement but also a bit of trepidation on coping with the new environment, different culture and education system,” says Abirami Katlathy, a Master’s of Science student. “At QUIC, my social circle widened and I found myself getting more comfortable with my new life. It was like a second home where I met people from different backgrounds, engaged in quite a few enlightening conversations and spent time with my friends.”

    To learn more about QUIC’s Welcome and Orientation fall program and to register, visit the QUIC website.

    Chinese delegates and scholars visit Queen’s for collaborative research and training

    A series of summer meetings, workshops, and study opportunities strengthen knowledge-sharing relationship.

    Officials and scholars from China made Kingston their summer destination of choice this July – with a number of international training and partnership events taking place on the Queen’s campus.

    Representatives of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources attended a training program from July 7-20, organized by the Queen’s School of Urban and Regional Planning. A delegation from Shanghai’s Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office met with Queen’s faculty and staff to discuss their continued collaboration, and the Queen’s Department of Biology welcomed researchers from Shanghai’s Tongji University to the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) for their annual environment and sustainability workshop.

    “Queen’s is working to strengthen existing partnerships with China and to develop new opportunities with leading universities,” says Sandra den Otter, Associate Vice-Principal (Research & International). “The recent visits, programs, and workshops highlight the importance of collaborative research and training in several key areas, including the environment and public policy.”

    Members of Shanghai's Foreign Affairs Office visiting Queen's.
    Members of Shanghai's Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office visiting Queen's.

    Since 1995, Queen’s School of Urban and Rural Planning (SURP) has been hosting two yearly training programs for members of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources (formerly the Ministry of Land and Resources). One program sees up to 50 Chinese delegates partake in a two- or three-week training with presentations from SURP, Canadian federal and provincial representatives, and private sector speakers.

    The second program sees five to eight young members of the ministry complete a five-month internship program administered by Queen’s. After an on-campus orientation, SURP places each intern with partner organizations in government, and the non-profit and private sectors, to facilitate the sharing and exchange of knowledge, ideas, and practices. This program is supported by Natural Resources Canada; Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and the municipalities of Kingston and Hastings.

    From July 16-17, the Queen’s Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International) hosted a delegation from Shanghai’s Foreign Affairs Office, and discussed an ongoing relationship between the group and the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). Since 2001, Shanghai has sent staff to partake in 12-month Master’s Degree programs at Queen’s, within the Department of Political Studies and School of Policy Studies. The delegation and Queen’s groups expressed to continue this relationship and also discussed possible collaborations on professional short-term training in the future.

    Participants attend the Sino-Canada Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development workshop
    Participants attend the 5th annual Sino-Canada Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development workshop at Queen's.

    Between July 18-20, scholars from Tongji University visited Queen’s Department of Biology for the 5th Sino-Canada Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development workshop. Twenty Chinese participants, including scholars, post-doctoral students, PhD candidates and Master's candidates from Tongji; World Wildlife Fund representatives from their Shanghai programs office; Queen’s; and St. Lawrence River Institute. Among topics covered by the group was ongoing research comparing the Yangtze River and St. Lawrence River waterways and ecosystem health, as well as bilateral education and student exchange possibilities.

    These recent research and training programs build on Queen’s well-established engagement with China. 

    Queen’s was the first Canadian university to open an office in China (2007) and the Queen’s China Liaison Office continues to work closely with Queen’s faculty and staff to support current and new activities.

    Learn more about Queen’s University’s research, learning, and other collaborations with China.


    Subscribe to RSS - Internationalization