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Student Learning Experience

Development plans help increase graduate student confidence

A team from the Faculty of Arts and Science, Career Services, Student Academic Success Services, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and the School of Graduate Studies has completed a pilot program that brings Individual Development Plan (IDP) tools to graduate students.

“Participants in the pilot said the IDP improved their confidence in their employability following graduation, as well as helped to clarify their career options,” says Sharon Regan, Associate Dean (Graduate Students and Global Engagement) and Project Sponsor. “Students reported being motivated to seek out new and different opportunities and they also said they gained some perspective on their own skillsets and better understand what employers want and value.”

Supporting the Faculty of Arts and Science’s Strategic Plan's Initiative No. 50: Explore opportunities for developing Individual Development Plans for graduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, the content of the IDP is intended to provide direction, support, and tools to help graduate students:

  • set flexible career goals that align with their values, skills and interests, with awareness of job-market options and realities
  • identify skill strengths and gaps and make plans to build additional learning experiences into their graduate education
  • complete their degree and successfully transition to the next stage of their career.

“The IDP was a very beneficial addition to my coursework – particularly in the case of being a first-year PhD student,” says Spencer Huesken, a PhD student  in Sociology. “The obstacles this year both regarding COVID-19 and the general expectations of the program produced a lot of uncertainty. This was the main strength of the IDP for me – it allowed me to be self-reflective while ‘zooming out’ on my own interests, passions, and how to incorporate them holistically into the scope of my PhD work.”

The pilot program ran within the Faculty of Arts and Science from September 2019 until July 2020. Once completed, the findings of the program were handed off to the School of Graduate Studies to inform an institution-wide roll-out scheduled for Sept. 1, 2021.

“The information gathered during the pilot phase will be used to develop the addition of a graduate IDP as a permanent program and to support the broader Queen’s strategy by providing a scalable model and pilot data,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Career and Experiential Learning.

For more information visit the Individual Development Plan webpage.

Queen’s University Library introduces new eReserves system

On Monday, Aug. 23, Queen’s University Library will launch a new eReserves system called Course Reserves, for high-use course readings and materials selected by instructors for short-term use by students registered in courses at Queen’s.

Course Reserves replaces the previous system Ares, and offers better functionality for instructors, course developers, students, and the library. Course Reserves works seamlessly with both onQ and Omni.

For more information, visit the library's Course Reserves page.

Budding entrepreneurs make their big pitch

The 10th Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition provides participants the chance to win prizes totaling up to $100,000.

2021 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition

The Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition has been an opportunity for student and community entrepreneurs to pitch innovative start-ups for the last 10 years. Attracting a diverse group of students and members of the Kingston community across a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, the competition provides over 510 participants with the chance to take their ideas to the next level, with prizes and grants totaling $100,000.

Award winners for the 2021 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition
Seed Funding

Smart Biomedical - $30,000
Neuractas - $20,000
Remote Optometry - $20,000
Hya Bioplastics - $10,000
HemPad South Africa - $10,000
Altery - $5,000
Afiya Beauty - $5,000
BmDodo Branding Package Prize
Smart Biomedical - $10,000 in-kind branding strategy services
Remote Optometry - (Honourable mention – brand consulting meeting)
Afiya Beauty - (Honourable mention – brand consulting meeting)
Kawallet - (Honourable mention – brand consulting meeting)

The final competition, which will be held virtually on Thursday, Aug. 19 and is hosted by the Dunin-Deshpande Queens Innovation Centre (DDQIC), brings together 15 teams. Participants have seven minutes to pitch their business to judges, followed by a six-minute question-and-answer session. The finalists have already been through multiple rounds of competition, beginning with the application process, through to the qualifying pitches. Successful competitors have received professional coaching and feedback through practice pitches with DDQICs Global Network.

DDQIC builds change-makers by catalyzing their potential for creative problem-solving, and equipping them with translational skills that allow them to solve problems in the real world,” says Jim McLellan, Academic Director of DDQIC and professor of Chemical Engineering. “DDQICs mission is to develop the entrepreneurial mindset of participants through experiential learning opportunities like the pitch competition. The early stage start-ups in the competition may go on to be successful, but the real investment is being made in the competitors who will walk away with increased confidence and skills from pitching their own innovative solutions to problems, answering difficult questions, and building relationships with experienced professionals who can help them on their journey.”

The Queens Innovation Centre Summer Initiative provides emerging entrepreneurs with a space to develop their ideas and skills. Experienced professionals from a range of commercial and social sectors, many of whom are Queens alumni, volunteer to mentor students in the program.

The 15 teams competing this year come from DDQIC’s year-round programming (QyourVenture), the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative for early stage entrepreneurs, as well as recent regional and global initiatives. Six teams pitching health-focused start-ups are part of the Build2Scale Health program launched by DDQIC as part of the regional Health Innovation Kingston (HI YGK) project, anchored by the City of Kingston with regional partners. One team is supported by the Queens WE-CAN project empowering female entrepreneurs in the Kingston region.

Several teams competing are from the Jim Leech Mastercard Fellowship Foundation Program on Entrepreneurship for African students and recent graduates, launched this year by DDQIC. This program brings together entrepreneurs from many countries in Africa with regional entrepreneurs from Queen’s and the Kingston region.

The Summer Pitch Competition, like all of DDQICs programs, supports start-ups that are based in or affiliated with the Kingston community,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director and Special Advisor to the Provost, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “It is important to DDQIC to support the Kingston regional entrepreneurship community because of the positive impacts that entrepreneurs have on their communities, whether it be economic through local startup growth and job creation, or social and environmental, through the various problems and needs that entrepreneurs tend to address. Our programs provide important opportunities for Queens students, staff, and faculty, to interact and collaborate with citizens in the region. We are excited this year to have expanded our programming to add a focus on health innovation, and to be supporting the growth of young African entrepreneurs in their respective communities, while bringing together shared entrepreneurial experiences, anchored from Queen’s and Kingston.”

Bavington adds that the 2021 competition was a particularly special year, not only because it is the 10th anniversary, but also due to the recent recognition of Queen’s as an Entrepreneurial University by the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education.

The competition is a closed event, but the ceremony announcing the winners will be hosted online from 4-6 pm. During this time, guests will have the chance to visit the teams booths to learn more about the start-ups. Tickets are free, and to RSVP guests must go to the Hop In event and click join event.

DDQIC Summer Pitch Competition Finalists:

Vireine
Founded by: Qinxi Yan, Romeesa Bogati and Henry Lee
Vireine is an accurate digital fitting solution meant to help users understand their breasts, with a goal to find a bra that fits comfortably.

Actionable Nuggets
Founded by: Fakid Hossain, Flora Lin, Riley Doyle and Tyler Healey
Actionable Nuggets is a one-stop-shop for low prevalence, high demanding primary care, providing credible, concise and actionable information.

Coastr
Founded by: Ryan Protheroe, Aleks Jugovic, Alex Nainer, and Michael Taciuk
Coastr lets restaurant customers pay their bill through their phones so they wont have to wait for a server.

Remote Optometry
Founded by: Ryan Jobe and Alexander Jobe
Remote Optometry provides patients across the country with consistent, synchronous access to an eye doctor.

SELF
Founded by: Brandon Gusain and Aidan Gurung
SELF is an online training program that teaches sex trafficking prevention in schools and intervention in businesses through interactive modules.

S.H.E
Founded by: Sahana Nayaka, Dipti Rapte, Utkarsh Mall and Anuja Kure
S.H.E provides self-care provisions and income generating opportunities to underprivileged women from rural Indian villages to tackle mental health disorders.

Caddie Health
Founded by: Akshay Rajaram, Michael Judd and Aaron Waldt
Using AI-powered software, Caddie Health reduces administrative burdens on phsyicians.

Afiya Beauty
Founded by: Kaltum Hassan and Shamsa Hassan
Balancing scientific innovation with natures ability to heal, nourish and repair the skin, Afiya Beauty creates and formulates non-toxic and effective skincare products.

Neuractas
Founded by: Andrew Lingard
Neuractas is a company dedicated to developing high-impact therapeutics by collaborating with world experts for neurological indications of unmet needs.

Smart Biomedical
Founded by: Wiley Chung, Alex Chee and Sumesh Thomas
Smart Biomedical has developed a treatment for lung collapse, a potentially fatal condition that can occur either spontaneously or due to trauma, that will save lives and healthcare resources.

Hya Bioplastics
Founded by: Dennis Ssekimpi
Hya Bioplastics has developed an innovative and patent-pending process that re-engineers plant fibres to produce bioplastics, creating biodegradable packaging.

Kawallet
Founded by: Solomon Bwire
Kawallet enables children in boarding schools to store their money safely, and access more money from parents when in need with the aid of key holders.

HemPad South Africa
Founded by: Victor Xaba
HemPad South Africa is a for-profit social enterprise that tackles the problem of inequitable access to safe, high quality, sustainable and affordable sanitary products, especially for the low income and marginalized class.

Altery
Founded by: Titose Chembezi
Altery is a digital platform that offers alternative credit scoring to assist financial institutions to extend credit to the unbanked in Africa.

Christie's Crisps
Founded by: Christine Kamala
Christies Crisps offers quality, affordable potato crisps to consumers directly through local retail shops while being home-based, with one full time employee.

Queen’s students awarded national scholarships

Eight doctoral students earn prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships for exceptional scholarly achievement and leadership skills.

Collage of Vanier scholars
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients (clockwise from top left): Ryan Kirkpatrick, Emmanuelle LeBlanc, Isabelle Grenier-Pleau, Shannon Clarke, Stephanie Woolridge, Saskia de Wildt, Maram Assi, and Hannah Hunter.

Eight Queen’s students have earned Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), these scholarships recognize individuals who have demonstrated exceptional scholarly achievement and leadership skills in a variety of fields. Scholars receive $50,000 per year for three years of study and research.

“We are honoured and excited to host this year’s Vanier recipients, scholars who have left their mark on their respective fields by ascending to new heights of academic excellence and leadership achievement,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “Queen’s is delighted to play its part in supporting our Vanier scholars by providing them with new opportunities to refine their research skills, advance their academic and professional goals, and engage with our vast network of researchers spanning the globe. I look forward to getting to know our scholars and learning of their plans to continue working towards the betterment of society during their time with us and beyond.”

This year’s recipients span numerous specialties and departments. They include:

CIHR-Funded Projects:

Emmanuelle LeBlanc (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) - Developing glycan-based antiviral prophylactics to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections

Ryan Kirkpatrick (Neuroscience) - Detecting eating disorder biomarkers in youth via video-based eye tracking

Stephanie Woolridge (Psychology) - Improving diagnostic accuracy in early psychosis: Differentiating the neuropsychological profiles of cannabis-induced and primary psychotic disorders in a 12-month follow-up study

NSERC-Funded Projects:

Isabelle Grenier-Pleau (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) - Investigating the role of extracellular vesicles in hematopoietic stem cell maintenance

Maram Assi (Computing) - Developing an intelligent bug fix recommender system

SSHRC-Funded Projects:

Saskia de Wildt (Environmental Studies) - Exploring polar bear research as ethical space, practice, and process of engagement

Shannon Clarke (Geography and Planning) - New spaces, new subjectivities: Caribbean women in Canada and Black diasporic productions of space

Hannah Hunter (Geography and Planning) - Listening to birds at the end of the world: A historical geography of bird sound recording and a sound art project for human-avian futures

For more information about the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program, visit the website.

Academic Calendar goes digital

Students can use the digital Academic Calendar to view courses and degree plans, as well as deadlines, academic regulations, and policies.

Queen’s University is excited to announce the launch of its new digital Academic Calendar. The new calendar moves away from PDF files and provides an engaging, richly informative, and responsive student experience for course selection registration and degree planning. It also amalgamates into one place all of the calendars, previously published independently by the faculties and schools. Students use the calendar to view courses and degree plans, as well as deadlines, academic regulations, and policies.

“Courses are at the heart of every student’s academic experience,” says Jenn Stephenson, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Arts and Science. “This is where the new digital calendar will have a huge impact. Students will easily be able to look at their plan requirements and click on a core course and be taken directly to the course description. Students will be able to work backwards from their graduation requirements to easily identify what pre-requisite courses they will need for each academic year. Mapping your academic journey will be easy and transparent.”

Associate Dean Stephenson adds the calendar will also enable students to follow their passions by allowing students to search focus areas such as sustainability or poverty, including key terms that align with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Every course description that includes that word will pop up for the student to review.

“I am very excited about the potential of this new tool in allowing students to imagine their academic future and to forge their own paths,” Associate Dean Stephenson adds.

The project began in the Faculty of Arts and Science in Winter 2019 with the idea of helping students better understand their degree requirements, regulations, and course details. It quickly became apparent that a new tool would be required. After extensive consultations with other faculties and schools, the Office of the University Registrar and IT Services, Arts and Science found keen and willing partners, and, as the largest and most complex academic unit on campus, was tasked with leading the project on behalf of the University.

The new Academic Calendar supports the development of Queen’s digital infrastructure, and is a major milestone towards supporting the Faculty of Arts and Science’s Strategic Plan priorities of enriching the student experience and supporting our people.

“This is a key initiative outlined in the Faculty of Arts and Science Strategic Plan 2019-2024 that also demonstrates our collaborative spirit,” says Dean Barbara Crow. “We are excited the entire university has joined us on this journey to a more digital world that will enhance the experience of our students.”

Despite the challenges of working from home amidst a pandemic, Queen’s teams reached across silos to work together and unify around an enhanced student experience, explains Kevin O’Brien, Project Lead and Arts and Science’s Associate Director, Student Services (Registration, Admissions, and Service).

“Everyone’s collegiality and teamwork, despite the adversity of the pandemic and heavy workloads, is a testament to the Queen’s spirit and commitment to student success,” he says “The Faculty of Arts and Science took a leadership role in this project as a way to support our students and make their academic journey easier to navigate. Students are tech-savvy, and too busy to navigate multiple websites and documents to find out what they need for registration. I believe they should have an intuitive way to understand what’s expected of them when making decisions about their academic future. If it’s available on their smartphone – all the better.”

The launch is the first of a three-phase project. The second stage involves implementation of a web-based curriculum management solution.The third phase features the introduction of planning, advising and registration solutions, which will modernize class search and registration by providing students with tools and features to discover and plan their pathway to graduation.

Visit the new Academic Calendar at queensu.ca/academic-calendar.

Celebrating Queen’s spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation

Queen’s receives the Deshpande Symposium Award for The Entrepreneurial University for its curriculum innovation and student engagement.

Every Spring, the Deshpande Foundation hosts the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, which brings together academics, policy planners, practitioners, business incubators, and foundations to discuss best practices in integrating entrepreneurship throughout their college and university communities.

At this year’s virtual gathering, Queen’s University received the Deshpande Symposium Award for The Entrepreneurial University. This award celebrates an institution that demonstrates excellence in entrepreneurship-related curriculum innovation and student engagement.

"Entrepreneurship has become an important means by which we fulfill our obligations of positive societal impact, to the regional community in which it is embedded, and in global society," says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Queen’s was unanimously voted as the 2021 recipient of this honour for fostering a culture of innovation throughout its many curricular and extra-curricular offerings.

Curricular Offerings in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The university’s academic and curricular programs of study make entrepreneurship and innovation a priority at all levels. Undergraduate and graduate students across Queen’s are exposed to entrepreneurship and related topics in a broad range of sectors across disciplines. Some courses engage students in team-based venture projects in for-profits contexts, while others, like the Arts and Science "Dean’s Changemaker" courses ASCX200/300, give them opportunities to identify and pursue entrepreneurial solutions to pressing societal problems. The Dean’s Changemaker program supported 12 students in its pilot run and is expected to grow to 50 students per year.

Curricular delivery prioritizes interdisciplinarity. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity (CEIC), offered by the Dan School of Drama and Music, is taught not only by faculty from the Dan School but also from the Smith School of Business and the faculties of Arts and Science and Engineering and Applied Science. These pan-university partnerships persist even at senior levels of education and training. The blended format Master of Management of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MMIE), for example, is a joint collaboration between Business and Engineering and offers networking opportunities with other programs across campus. Since its inception five years ago, 420 students representing 25 countries globally have completed the program, which now accepts 114 students/cohort. MMIE participants have created 89 start-ups and scale-ups, collectively raising $750,000 and employing 112 people. By placing a strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity, Queen’s has been able to increase each individual unit’s capacity for providing immersive programming, thereby fostering development of entrepreneurial mindsets.

[Photo of the QICSI 2019 cohort at Mitchell Hall]
The 2019 Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) cohort at Mitchell Hall.

Co- and Extra-Curricular Offerings in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The university also offers numerous co- and extra-curricular opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation, many of which are provided and/or coordinated through the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) and Queen’s University’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI). DDQIC was founded in 2012, following a significant gift jointly provided by distinguished alumni Andrew Dunin, Sc ’83, MBA ‘87, and his wife Anne Dunin, ArtSci ‘83, and Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, PhD ‘79, and his wife Jaishree Deshpande. 

DDQIC collaborates with schools and faculties, assisting in the development and delivery of many co-curricular programs across campus. The centre runs the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), a 16-week full-time program in which participants complete a two-week boot camp and receive seed capital to found and build ventures. Since 2012, DDQIC has mentored 460 changemakers in QICSI and helped students launch and grow 200 ventures, 50% of which are still in operation, including Mosaic Manufacturing, CleanSlate UV, and RockMass Technologies. The part-time DDQIC QyourVenture program operates year-long and supports early stage start-ups by providing foundation and mentorship. Furthermore, DDQIC prioritizes innovators and leaders from underrepresented groups through its Konnect program for women entrepreneurs and the Jim Leech MasterCard Foundation Fellowship for young African entrepreneurs. 

QPI supports programming through workshops targeting thematic areas and groups (e.g. health, research-based graduate students) and in sector-targeted and IP/commercialization-advising roles. It provides an accelerator facility for growing ventures, complementing DDQIC’s QICSI, and offers linkages to other ecosystems, notably the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway in Health Innovation, Invest Ottawa, the Toronto-based Technology Innovation Accelerator Program, and L-Spark. Since 2014, QPI has supported 300 entrepreneurs and 150 ventures.

Student engagement extends beyond Queen’s as DDQIC, QPI, and their partner organizations deliver entrepreneurship-geared educational outreach programs, providing translational career and leadership skills to high school students in the Kingston area and globally.

The university received the award as part of a ceremony on June 10, 2021.  

Training Canada’s future health data workforce

With $1.6 million in funding, NSERC’s CREATE program is supporting the implementation of an experiential graduate training and research program in medical informatics at Queen’s.

[Photo of Parvin Mousavi]
Dr. Parvin Mousavi (Computing) is the Director of Queen's new CREATE Training Program in Medical Informatics.

Queen’s researcher Parvin Mousavi (Computing) and her co-investigators have been awarded $1.6 million in funding over six years as part of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program. The fund supports the training and mentoring of students and post-doctoral fellows in developing academic and industry skills in areas such as research, communications, and collaboration. The objective is to encourage collaborative and integrative approaches to addressing Canada’s research priorities while also fostering job readiness skills for trainees across sectors.

Leaders in their fields
This unique CREATE program is led by 11 leading research experts in computing, machine learning, medical and imaging informatics, data analytics, software systems, and surgery. In addition to Dr. Mousavi, they include Drs. Randy Ellis, Gabor Fichtinger, Ting Hu, John Rudan, Amber Simpson, David Pichora, Yuan Tian, Boris Zevin, and investigators at Western University, Drs. Aaron Fenster and Sarah Mattonen.

Dr. Mousavi’s CREATE grant will support a training program in medical informatics, preparing Canada’s workforce to handle the health data of tomorrow. Since 2017 at least 86 per cent of family physicians in Canada use Electronic Medical Records, generating vast digital health data at an exponential rate. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated on a global scale the significance of digital health data and its interpretation to decision-making at all levels of healthcare. In fact, the pandemic has led to an acceleration on the part of the federal and provincial governments in Canada to invest in digital-first health strategies and high-performance computing platforms. The CREATE program will aim to further leverage data-driven decision-making in current and future public health responses.

Canada is not alone in the rapid accumulation of digital health data. By 2050, the global markets for artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare and medical informatics are forecasted to grow to a combined $134 billion. Just to meet Canada’s immediate needs, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) predicts at least 120,000 skilled workers in computational sciences will be required by 2023 to support the health and biotechnology sector alone. Currently, most graduate computer science programs in Canada follow a course+thesis model where there is limited access to training and field experience in machine learning for healthcare informatics. With Dr. Mousavi’s leadership, Queen’s will be home to a unique CREATE program providing comprehensive training in medical informatics, experiential learning, and skills development to prepare students for careers in this rapidly developing sector. 

"We aim to solidify Canada’s competitive advantage in the global space through concerted efforts to train computer scientists with specialized multi-disciplinary experience in medical informatics and digital health, and engage diverse groups and experiences in our training," says Dr. Mousavi. "Our aim is to not just train students for jobs immediately after graduation but prepare them for success throughout their careers."

Dr. Mousavi and her co-investigators have collaboratively developed the NSERC CREATE training program in consultation with key industry and government stakeholders to augment the course+thesis model with opportunities for experiential learning, practicums, mentorship, and competency-based training to help students gain these critically needed skillsets. During the program, students will have training opportunities with extensive real-world clinical data through partnerships with the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Ontario Health Data Platform, and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group at Queen’s. The program also leverages partnerships with Western University and Kingston Health Sciences Centre, and collaborations with industry and academia including the Vector Institute alongside Queen’s-based research infrastructure and expertise at the Centre for Advanced Computing, the Human Mobility Research Centre, and KGH Research Institute.

The NSERC CREATE grant is just the beginning, with Dr. Mousavi and her co-investigators already planning for long-term sustainability of the program. Through the advancement of partnerships, establishment of courses and micro-credentials, and development of research projects and funding, they aim to continue the comprehensive training program following the grant and help build a hub of excellence in healthcare informatics and data analysis at Queen’s.

"Congratulations to Dr. Mousavi and her co-investigators on securing this competitive funding that advances connections between research and training opportunities," says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). "The program builds on an area of institutional interdisciplinary strength and will help position Canada to leverage heath data in decision- and policy-making."

For more information on projects and recruitment, visit the program website or email infoMedICREATE@cs.queensu.ca.

For more information on the CREATE program and training opportunities, visit the NSERC website

Queen's Skills Cards recognized as innovative practice

Graphic for best student program award at the Global Career Services Summit 2021

Queen’s students have many skills and strengths, but they may not always know how best to articulate them, especially as they prepare for job interviews.

To help students learn how to talk about themselves with confidence and clarity, Career Services, a unit in Student Affairs, developed the Queen’s Skills Cards, which have now received international recognition: at the Global Career Services Summit 2021, the Skills Cards received the Best Student Program Award.

The Skills Cards are a set of 44 cards describing skills that Queen’s students can develop during their studies, both in and out of class, that correlate with skills employers are looking for.

The Best Student Program Award recognizes practices that are designed to best serve students. The Global Career Services Summit recognized the Queen’s Skill Cards as a creative and easy-to-implement tool for lessening the skills awareness gap for students and recent graduates.

In addition to physical cards, and to ensure access to students and new alumni wherever they are located, there is a pdf version and the interactive Skills Cards Sorter.

The new online Skills Cards Sorter allows users to move cards into categories based on whether they find the skills draining or energizing, and whether they have higher or lower proficiency in that skill. Skill assessment helps students make more informed decisions about which careers they most want to pursue and improves their ability to pursue those roles with stronger resumes, cover letters, and interviews.  

These cards are another tool that assist students and new grads as they begin to navigate their careers and are free and available to everyone. Educators who wish to use them in classrooms may choose to read more about the project and contact Career Services Counsellors who will be happy to facilitate Skills Cards workshops.

Learn more on the Career Services website.

Celebrating the Class of 2021

Queen’s congratulates graduates on success in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Another academic year at Queen’s is now complete and more than 5,800 students have a big reason to celebrate, now that they have officially graduated. To help mark these achievements, the university is sharing a video message to offer congratulations to graduates and highlight their achievements and perseverance in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19.

“These have been unprecedented times, and very difficult times in which to bring an end to your course of study,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, in his remarks. “That you’ve done so in such circumstances is remarkable, and therefore all the more admirable and deserving of our congratulations.”

With strict public health measures still in place in Ontario, on-site convocation events have had to be postponed, with plans to offer in-person ceremonies later once guidelines permit. As vaccination programs continue across the country, and return to campus planning well underway, Queen’s is hopeful that ceremonies missed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic can be held.

“I’m so honoured to be able to offer you my most sincere congratulations on the completion of your degree at Queen’s,” says Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill, Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), who joined Principal Deane in the video. “It’s been a very challenging year, but you persevered and succeeded. You should be very proud of yourself for doing so.”

While opportunities to host future in-person ceremonies are explored, graduates can expect to receive their diplomas by mail in the coming weeks, and the names of conferred degree recipients are being shared online by the Office of the University Registrar marking their official graduation. Several faculties and schools are planning virtual events or gestures of recognition in the near term.

“I’m so pleased to celebrate the successful conclusion to your studies and recognize your earned degree, diploma or certificate,” Chancellor Jim Leech says, making the final congratulatory remarks in the video.  “You should be proud of your accomplishment and that you are now a full-fledged Queen’s alum.”

For more information on Spring 2021 graduation, please visit the office of the University Registrar's website.

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.

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