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

Student Learning Experience

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.


Working together to support the community

Teams of PhD students work together to address key issues facing the Kingston and Queen's communities through the PhD-Community Initiative.

PhD-Community Initiative
Queen's PhD students Nancy Fynn-Sackey helps present her team's project as part of the annual PhD-Community Initiative, hosted by the School of Graduate Studies. 

When Queen’s University and the City of Kingston work together, good things happen.

With both communities facing the new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual PhD-Community Initiative pivoted to address key issues while at the same time fostering ties between Queen’s and the city with a focus on collaboration, community, and creativity.

Through the program, four teams of doctoral students worked with the City of Kingston on a series of projects related to the priorities of the Mayor’s Kingston Economic Recovery Team (KERT), while addressing the big question: How do we increase the community resilience that is required to support economic and social recovery post-COVID-19?

Participants came from across the university with a wide range of research areas and expertise and were formed into interdisciplinary teams.

“Our students have continuously demonstrated the talent, energy, and enthusiasm needed to fuel positive change by applying the skills and knowledge gained in graduate studies to addressing challenges beyond the academic arena,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “At the same time they are giving back to the community in meaningful ways that will have long-lasting effects.”

Starting in September, the teams met on a weekly basis and have been supported by a mentor, most of whom are retired faculty members. Joined by Mayor Bryan Paterson, the program culminated on Monday, April 19 as each of the teams made their final presentations for their projects to a broad audience from within Queen’s and the wider Kingston community. The capstone event was hosted virtually and the presentations will be available online.

“The Queen’s PhD-Community Initiative has been an important annual opportunity for both students and community organizations to connect and create impact in our community,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson. “With the pandemic, the need is even greater for our community to come together to support each other, particularly those in social and economic distress. The four PhD teams collaborating with our Economic Recovery Working Groups have made significant contributions to advancing recovery and resilience in Kingston. I look forward to continuing to build strong relationships with graduate students at Queen’s.”

In fact, the Queen's PhD-Community Initiative's success bolstered Queen's successful submission to Times Higher Education's Impact Rankings, in which the university ranked 1st in Canada and 5th in the world for progress toward the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Supporting the community

For the participating doctoral students, the initiative not only provides an opportunity to support the community that is their home but also to learn new skills and apply the ones they have developed at Queen’s, while also making new connections within the university and city.

In addition to supporting the community, making valuable connections, and learning new skills, the students participating in the PhD-Community Initiative also complete several workshops designed to enhance their abilities and improve their project outcomes.

Some students have enjoyed their experience so much that they have participated in the program twice. Hannah Ascough, a PhD candidate in Global Development Studies, participated last year as a student and signed up again this year as a co-mentor, and learning new skills around leadership and managing teams.

“I initially involved myself in the program to connect and learn from students in other disciplines, and hear their perspectives on research, school and community engagement,” she says. “The PhD-Community Initiative certainly fostered these rich, lasting friendships; however, my experience was also rewarded by the connections our team made with our community partners. Through our project, I learned firsthand how creative interdisciplinary research is, and saw how it can be mobilized to make positive, long-lasting change. I have loved all my experiences with the initiative, and recommend it for anyone looking to engage with other graduate students, and give back to their community.”

For more information about the PhD-Community Initiative program, visit the Expanding Horizons website.


PhD United (Resilient Kingston) 
The aim of Resilient Kingston is to encourage and study resilience during the pandemic by offering members of the community a chance to connect with one another and share their experiences and perspectives in online focus groups. Participants discussed their perceptions of Kingston’s response to COVID-19, as well as topics related to making and maintaining social connections, adapting both personally and professionally, becoming more aware of privilege, and finding ways to safely engage with the community and its institutions during the pandemic.

TRIADS (Training and Reskilling Individuals through Actionable Deliverables that are Sustainable)
The TRIADS group’s goal is to empower the Kingston arts and creative community through upskilling opportunities post COVID-19. The group conducted a literature search and conducted interviews with local artists and faculty to determine the needs of the Kingston arts community. The recommendation for the city is an entrepreneurial program containing mentorship, continuous engagement, and experiential learning.

KOG (Kingston Outreach Group)
The pandemic is an excellent opportunity for PhD students to give back to the Kingston community. The KOG team focused on finding ways to better understand and support individuals who are working and yet still living in poverty. 

C5 (Community COVID Concerns Communicated Consciously)
Through a survey completed by more than 2,000 people in the Kingston area, the C5 team investigated consumer habits and associated perceptions of risk during the pandemic and pre-pandemic. It is hoped that the findings will help Kingston businesses (and the city) to better understand the concerns of the community and provide responsive services and support. 

A recording of the event will be available soon on the School of Graduate Studies’ YouTube page.

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.

Challenging students to make change

The Faculty of Arts and Science's inaugural Dean’s Changemaker Challenge awards $10,000 in seed money to student-created children’s book series.

Emily Talas sits on the deck of her home.
Third-year Con-Ed student Emily Talas is the winner of the first-ever Dean’s Changemaker Challenge, created by Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science Barbara Crow. (Submitted Photo)

A children’s book series that focuses on mental health topics and provides a resource for teachers to facilitate discussions surrounding mental health within their classrooms is the winner of the Faculty of Arts and Science's first-ever Dean’s Changemaker Challenge final pitch competition, hosted by Dean Barbara Crow.

Letsbloom, created by Emily Talas, a third-year Con-Ed student majoring in Health Studies and completing a certificate in Commerce, claimed the top prize of $10,000 in seed money after being selected by a panel of expert judges during the final pitch competition. The mission of Letsbloom is to equip children with the proper tools and resources necessary to navigate their mental health in a post-COVID world.

Talas, the founder and executive director of the Queen’s Bloom Club, says she has wanted to be an “inventor” from an early age, adding she never thought it was a realistic dream, nor did she think it was an attainable profession until she discovered the ASCX 200/300 courses that comprise the challenge. The two ASCX courses were offered for the first time in the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms. Students learned to identify real-world challenges and opportunities, worked collaboratively to develop solutions, and used startup business strategies to establish ventures to make the change they want to see happen.

“I am extremely excited and grateful to have been selected as the winner of the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge,” she says. “This course has truly opened my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship and has allowed me to create solutions for issues that I am extremely passionate about. I am forever grateful that Dean Crow has offered this opportunity to me and many other students as it has allowed me to further my passion for social entrepreneurship while acquiring the skills needed to continue my entrepreneurial journey.”

New initiative

The Dean’s Changemaker Challenge is a new initiative this year for undergraduate students across the Faculty of Arts and Science, designed to help them create meaningful change by learning to start and launch an entrepreneurial venture.

To support student success in the challenge, as well as career development, the teams were mentored by Arts and Science alumni who are successful entrepreneurs in fields such as fashion, entertainment, journalism, social enterprises, global telecommunications, finance, employment relations, human resources, law and legal support, technology, software, sales, distribution, operations and more. These experts supported the student teams as they prepared to showcase their ventures and compete for investment at the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge pitch competition.

To conclude the pilot, the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge final pitch competition for ASCX 300 was held virtually and showcased the three ventures that were developed throughout the academic year.

“The first-ever Dean’s Changemaker Challenge brought out the best in our undergraduate students and I am incredibly proud of them, as well as our faculty, staff, and alumni mentors who supported them in taking it,” says Dean Crow. “A major pillar of our faculty’s strategic plan is enhancing the student experience and the challenge was one of the 50 initiatives listed in it. It was designed to support the success of our undergraduates in becoming changemakers, as well as to provide skills and experience that helps them stand out after graduation. The skills learned through the challenge go beyond the university – students gain in-demand proficiencies including leadership, project management, and entrepreneurship.”

Learn more about the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge.

Providing physiotherapy services to the Kingston community

Local partnership provides students from the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation with a learning opportunity while also helping patients manage their conditions.

School of Rehabilitation Therapy students hold up signs on the partners for Rehabilitation Services at the Health Hub
School of Rehabilitation Therapy students Ashaun Anand, Cierra Hutchison, and Aurora MacKenzie hold up signs for the the partners involved in the Rehabilitation Services at the Health Hub. (Supplied photo)

Rehabilitation professionals help people stay healthy and maintain physical function. However, there are many people who would benefit from rehabilitation services that are unable to do so due to a number of reasons including a lack of funding or transportation barriers.

Musculoskeletal disorders, like arthritis and low back pain, are among the leading contributors to years lived with disability worldwide and are some of the conditions that benefit the most from physiotherapy services.

Looking to address the problem of unmet rehabilitation needs within the Kingston community, the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy (SRT) partnered with the Maple Family Health Team and Kingston Community Health Centre to launch Rehabilitation Services at the Health Hub – providing rehabilitation services for those who are unable to access care elsewhere. Since its launch in January, the program has provided care for more than 80 patients while also providing an opportunity for SRT students to complete their placements in a new setting focused on the needs of the community. Discussions are underway to add services for other health conditions and occupational therapy services in the near future. 

The Health Hub is supported by three to five students from the Queen’s Master of Science in Physical Therapy program at a time. Over the course of the program, these students must complete five six-week clinical placements. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, placement availability was limited and additional barriers to attending rehabilitation services were introduced. The idea for the Health Hub came out of the need for a creative solution to this shortage.

Typically, student placements follow a traditional model where each supervisor is assigned to work with a single student. The Health Hub explores a more novel opportunity in which three students work with one supervisor. This model fosters a more collaborative approach to their learning and to the care being delivered.

“We had been looking to try out a new model where there were three or four students doing their placement together,” says Randy Booth, Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education for Physical Therapy in the SRT. “COVID-19 created the perfect opportunity – and motivation – to really innovate.”

The Health Hub’s major focus is educating and empowering patients, who may not have the coverage or financial means to pay for rehabilitation services, to manage their conditions. While many physiotherapy clinics may see patients for several shorter appointments, the Health Hub aims to have patients in for no more than three to five appointments. The longer appointment times allow practitioners to focus on developing and promoting patient independence and to pursue exercise as part of an overall self-management process tailored to their goals and daily routines.

Read More: Queen’s medical students helping with Kingston’s vaccination rollout
The strategy has received overwhelmingly positive feedback with 96 per cent of surveyed patients expressing satisfaction with their experience. The same proportion of patients say that with the longer appointments they had enough time to discuss their health issues and that they could better manage their conditions moving forward.

Members of the SRT approached Maple Family Health Team and Kingston Community Health Centre with the idea of using the Health Hub to test out the model. Both were eager to support the initiative.

“Without our partners we would not have had the space or the funding to operate this clinic. They are also referring a steady stream of patients to work with our students,” Dr. Booth says. “Our partners understand the importance of providing these services to individuals to who have not had easy access in the past. All of us at Queen’s are tremendously grateful for the work that they do to support the clinic. It allows us to have a huge impact on the lives of so many individuals.”


Halle Pawson, a first-year Physical Therapy student, says that the Health Hub placement provides a great learning opportunity. During her placement, Pawson was involved with every aspect of the physiotherapy process, including assessing and diagnosing patients, providing physiotherapy, and educating patients on how to manage their conditions. She says that her time at the Health Hub taught her a lot about treating patients and the factors that can influence their recovery.

“It was eye opening to me how much more there is to physical health disorders beyond just the physical aspect,” she says. “In order to tailor treatment to a patient you have to understand the kinds of activities they engage in, the setting that they work in, the amount of free time they have and so much more. For example, if a patient is a single parent, then you have to adjust your strategy to account for the limited amount of time they have to themselves. I’ve also learned a lot about patient’s mental health, how it can affect a person’s physical health disorder, and the other way around.

“A lot of people come in with chronic pain that they’ve been experiencing for years and they are convinced that it’s going to be with them for the rest of their life. At Health Hub we really tried to focus on the idea that you can get better, and I noticed firsthand the difference that changing one’s mindset can have on patient’s recovery.”

Looking forward, Dr. Booth is hoping that the lessons being learned at the Health Hub can help the clinic expand and host a more multidisciplinary team of students in the future. 

“It would be really cool if we brought in a healthcare team of students,” Dr. Booth says. “I could see a model where you have a physiotherapy student, an occupational therapy student, a nurse practitioner, and a medical student or family medicine resident and they are all able to learn about each other’s roles in an inter-professional environment. We are seeing such positive results with the Health Hub right now and I can’t wait to see where this initiative goes from here.”

Showcasing undergraduate research

Inquiry@Queen’s, Canada’s longest-running multidisciplinary undergraduate conference, offers students the chance to present, discuss, and analyze their research projects.

[I@Q Inquiry@Queen's - Make an Impact]

For undergraduate students, research can be an exciting opportunity to explore a new area of interest and expand their resume for post-graduate studies or employment. Recently, students had the chance to showcase their research skills and projects at Inquiry@Queen’s, the longest-running multidisciplinary undergraduate conference in Canada. For 15 years, Inquiry@Queen's has encouraged undergraduates across disciplines to present and share their research with the wider community. It has also been an opportunity to foster interdisciplinary discussions, build presentation skills, and bring students together from not only Queen’s but other universities for an enriching co-curricular initiative.

Conference co-chairs, Vicki Remenda, Professor of Geological Sciences & Geological Engineering and Cory Laverty, Research Librarian, see the motivation behind a conference for undergraduates as a natural extension of Queen’s research mission.

The main goal of the conference is to give students a chance to share their interests and passions in a public forum and bring their learning to an audience of peers and supporters, Dr. Remenda says. It’s a natural extension of a university that prides itself on the quality of undergraduate education and its scholarship and research.

The co-chairs believe that a focus on curiosity based-learning and research at all levels is key to addressing global issues and societal challenges.

Inquiry can be viewed as an inclusive approach to learning when it opens the door to individual interests, experiences, and backgrounds, Dr. Laverty says. Students are interrogating issues that are currently under scrutiny in Canada and around the world, including a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion that crosses all disciplines.

CFRC's The Scoop

Participant Hailey Scott, presenter of Psychological Trauma’s in Participatory Theatre, joined CFRC radio station on March 29 to discuss her experience at the conference and her research project. Listen here.

This year’s conference featured 10 interdisciplinary sessions covering topics from health to community and reducing inequality. Held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19, the conference spanned two days in March and featured both paper and poster presentations via Zoom to an audience of 220 attendees. A new feature of this year’s conference was the opportunity for top-scored presenters to be featured as part of a podcast series, The Scoop, hosted by CFRC Queen’s campus radio station.

Other Queen’s collaborations came from staff and faculty across the university through facilitation, session moderation, and research sponsorship. Jennifer Kennedy, Professor of Art History & Art Conservation, delivered the keynote presentation titled Past Pedagogies and the Post-Pandemic Future: What Can We Learn from Learning this Year?, and Principal Patrick Deane offered closing remarks that reflected on how inquiry sparks our inner passions and can lead to a lifetime of learning.

With the success of this year’s online format, in addition to in-person presentations, a virtual component may be incorporated in future conferences to expand reach and participation and to be more inclusive of international viewers, students from other universities, and family members watching from afar.

Dr. Remenda and Dr. Laverty believe that Inquiry@Queen’s remains one of the most important undergraduate conferences because of the spotlight it places on research within the community.

Profiling undergraduate research is crucial for a 21st-century education where knowledge is constantly changing, and critical thinking skills are needed to assess currency, relevance, authority, and purpose, she says.

To learn more about this year’s conference and other Inquiry initiatives, visit the Inquiry@Queen’s website.

Queen’s medical students helping with Kingston’s vaccination rollout

More than 200 of Queen’s medical students have answered the call for assistance and have begun volunteering with Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Queen's medical student Tania Yavorska prepares to vaccinate a patient
Queen's medical student Tania Yavorska prepares to vaccinate a patient at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (Photo by Matthew Manor / KHSC)

Canada’s vaccination rollout is picking up across the country and within the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington region. This rapidly increasing rollout has sparked the beginning of the largest immunization campaign in Canadian history, and in order for it to run smoothly healthcare professionals across the country are being called upon to administer the delivery. As Kingston has begun to receive an increasing supply of the vaccine over the last several weeks, more than 200 of Queen’s medical students have answered the call for assistance and have begun volunteering with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). Every day the site, which is primarily staffed by these students, vaccinates hundreds of frontline workers, health care professionals, and senior community members. 

Tony Li, who is in his second year of medical school and is president of the Aesculapian Society, has been involved with the vaccination rollout for the last three weeks. The opportunity was borne from a medical school graduate who approached Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Jane Philpott asking for assistance.  

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, students in the Faculty of Health Sciences have been looking for ways to support the community, and they have led many fantastic initiatives. A few weeks ago, a QMed grad, Dr. Elaine Ma, reached out to ask if the medical students would be available to help support with the rollout,” says Dean Philpott. “Our students are so eager to contribute, I was not surprised when I reached out to the Aesculapian Society and received a resounding ‘yes!’”  

Initially upper-year medical students were engaged in the vaccination clinic, but the campaign grew so quickly that all four years of medical students have had the opportunity to be involved. 

Each day at KHSC there are two four-hour shifts where medical students take part in all aspects of the vaccination process. This includes screening patients, tracking information, administering the vaccine and monitoring for adverse effects. Li describes the process as an assembly line and notes how impressed he is with its efficiency. 

“It’s a non-stop process and the four hours just fly by,” he says. “Each medical student can administer upwards of 40 to 80 vaccines in a single shift.” 

Right now, Li and his classmates are vaccinating healthcare workers, but moving forward, as the KFL&A region looks to expand its community rollout, Queen’s students will play a critical role in serving the wider community.

The School of Nursing has already created a unique placement which has allowed a student to be involved in the rollout in long-term care facilities in Kingston. Various teams, including upper-year nursing and medical students, have also been involved in the delivery of the vaccinations to priority communities, many located in the geographic north, through the Operation Remote Immunity initiative. 

As the rollout ramps up, so will the ways in which students from across health professional programs in the Faculty of Health Sciences participate. 

“I’ve been working with KFL&A Public Health,” Li says. “We built scenarios for the community rollout of a vaccine and worked out various roles for medical students, nursing students and other healthcare professionals in the faculty so that we can do our part to assist with the vaccination distribution and implementation plan. It’s exciting to know that our involvement can continue to grow.” 

While participating in the administration of the immunization campaign has served a functional role for the hospitals and community members, this experience has also provided an excellent learning opportunity for those involved. In addition to developing technical skills, the students are also practicing interacting with patients and to working effectively on inter-professional teams.  

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most people would go through medical school without having the experience of administering vaccines at a large-scale like we have,” Li says. “In just a few days, each medical student has already given over 100 vaccines. This will now be something that we will all be comfortable with moving forward in our training. On top of that we’re strengthening valuable clinical skills such as how to approach patients and communicate with them. There are so many benefits all around, and we’re all just so proud to be a part of it and give back to the community.”

Celebrating teaching awards together

For the first time, the Teaching Awards Celebration will bring together award recipients from across the university.

Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Teaching and Learning) John Pierce host the 2019 Principal's Teaching and Learning Awards at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre .
In 2019, Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Teaching and Learning) John Pierce hosted the 2019 Principal's Teaching and Learning Awards at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Queen's University / Bernard Clark)

Each year, teaching awards at Queen’s University are conferred to educators and staff who have excelled in fostering innovative, interesting, and inclusive learning environments.

In particular, the past year has been particularly challenging for the university’s instructors as the majority of programs and courses had to be switched to remote formats in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a time when collaboration is more important than ever, this year’s Teaching Awards Celebration will bring together recipients from the various teaching awards that are given out by sponsors including the Principal, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), School of Graduate Studies, Queen’s University Alumni Association, as well as the Alma Mater Society (AMS) and the Society for Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS).

It marks the first time in Queen’s 23-year history of the teaching awards that the event will be a truly university-wide sponsored celebration. The event will be hosted online due to COVID-19 restrictions, on Wednesday, March 24, starting at 4:30 pm.

“This year, we combine our efforts as staff, administrators, undergraduate students, graduate students/teaching fellows, and alumni to confer all the university-wide teaching awards together and to celebrate the remarkable efforts and achievements in a teaching and learning environment like no other,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “While this will be a virtual celebration, we all look forward to the day when we can celebrate together in person.”

Celebrate together

The celebration will stream via "Live Premiere" on the Office of the Principal’s YouTube channel at 4:30 pm on March 24, and will remain available afterwards for those unable to attend.

Members of the Queen’s community are encouraged to join the YouTube broadcast while it is streaming, and share the link with any colleagues, family, or friends who might be interested. No registration is required.

The Live Chat function will be enabled to allow attendees to join the celebration of teaching conversation, and to congratulate the award recipients. These congratulations will remain in the comments on the video, after the broadcast.

During the celebration of the university-wide awards, faculty and departmental teaching award recipients will also be honoured and will be listed in the program and at the end of the ceremony.  A teaching awards directory is available on the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.


AMS Awards

Christopher Knapper Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance
• 2019-20 Richard Patenaude, Department of Political Studies
• Fall 2020 Josh Zacks, Department of Chemical Engineering

Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award
• 2019-20 Bhavin Shastri, Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy
• 2019-20 Carolyn Smart, Department of English Language and Literature
• Fall 2020  Matthias Spitzmuller, Smith School of Business

Frank Knox Award
• 2019-20 Stéphanie Martel, Department of Political Studies
• Fall 2020 Stephanie Lind, Dan School of Drama and Music

Society of Graduate and Professional Students Awards

SGPS Teaching Assistant/Teaching Fellow Award
• 2019-20 Taylor J. Smith, School of Computing

SGPS John G. Freeman Faculty Excellence Award
• 2019-20 Shobhana Xavier, School of Religion

Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards

Indigenous Education Award (sponsored by the Centre for Teaching and Learning)
• 2020 Lindsay Morcom, Faculty of Education
• 2020 Melanie Howard, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
• 2021 Armand Ruffo, Department of English Language and Literature

Michael Condra Outstanding Student Service Award (sponsored by the Office of Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs)
• 2020 Joan Jones, Housing and Ancillary Services
• 2021 Lisa Webb, Student Affairs, Ban Righ Centre

Promoting Student Inquiry Award (sponsored by the Queen’s Library)
• 2020 Una D’Elia, Art History and Art Conservation
• 2021 Asha Varadharajan, Department of English Language and Literature

Educational Technology Award (sponsored by Information Technology Services)
• 2020 Ryan Martin, Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy
• 2021 Christian Muise, School of Computing
• 2021 Mohammad Auais, School of Rehabilitation Therapy (Team)
• 2021 Nancy Dalgarno, Office of Professional Development & Educational Scholarship (Team)
• 2021 Julie Cameron, School of Rehabilitation Therapy (Team)
• 2021 Jennifer Turnnidge, Office of Professional Development & Educational Scholarship (Team)
• 2021 Lucie Pelland, School of Rehabilitation Therapy (Team)
• 2021 Klodiana Kolomitro, Office of Professional Development & Educational Scholarship (Team)

International Education Innovation Award (sponsored by Office of the Vice-Provost (International))
• 2021 Isabelle Brent, Bader International Study Centre
• 2020 Jennifer Hosek, Languages, Literatures and Cultures

School of Graduate Studies

Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision
• 2020 Liying Cheng, Faculty of Education
• 2020 Mark Stephen Diederichs, Department of Geological Sciences & Geological Engineering

Queen’s University Alumni Association

Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance
• 2019 Holly Ogden, Faculty of Education
• 2020 Anne Petitjean, Department of Chemistry

Office of the Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning)

Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award
• 2020 Wendy Powley, School of Computing
Wendy Powley is an associate professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science’s School of Computing, where she has taught for more than years. In her work at Queen’s (which has also included teaching with the Faculty of Education and Arts and Science Online), she has consistently demonstrated excellence in instruction and innovation, leadership, collaboration, and the linking of research with teaching. In courses spanning the undergraduate experience, Powley has deeply impacted student learning with thoughtful course designs, substantial curricular development, and important program coordination. She serves as a department leader in teaching with numerous service roles and mentorship of colleagues, both before and during the shift to remote teaching prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also demonstrated a commitment to equity through her work encouraging women in computing in professional and community organizations alike. Powley’s commitment to teaching and learning is an inspiration to students, faculty, and staff at Queen’s and beyond

• 2021 Claire Davies, Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Claire Davies is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Since coming to Queen’s in 2015, she has consistently fostered a supportive environment for undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning, emphasizing interdisciplinary, experiential, and project-based learning. Dr. Davies has demonstrated a commitment to accessibility, inclusion, and connecting research and teaching through courses that leverage academic resources and her own Building and Designing Assistive Technology Lab to meet assistive technology needs in the community. Through numerous research studies on her blended and active learning teaching strategies, Dr. Davies has deeply impacted student learning at Queen’s and beyond. It is clear that in teaching, research, and service at Queen’s and in her professional discipline, Dr. Davies achieves her own goal of leading by example.

(Note: Any 2020-21 award recipients who were not chosen in time to be part of this ceremony, will be invited to next year’s event.)

Other celebration contributors:
In addition to the conferring of the above awards, there will be special contributions to the 2021 Teaching Awards Celebration by:
• Kanonhsyonne Jan Hill, Director, Office of Indigenous Issues
• Wendy Powley, 2020 Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award Recipient
• Claire Davies, 2021 Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award Recipient
• Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

Queen's Library expands bookable study space available on campus

Queen’s Library is expanding the bookable study space on campus by adding 78 spaces in Douglas Library. Starting March 8, the number of hours students can book study spaces per month will increase as well, from 60 to 80 hours. 

The new spaces in Douglas Library are in addition to the 276 spaces available at Stauffer Library and the 13 spaces at the Education Library. Four spaces are also available in the Adaptive Technology Centre in Stauffer Library for students registered with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS). An additional 72 spaces are available in Mackintosh-Corry Hall. 

Students can reserve study spaces through an advanced booking system on the Library website. These spaces are set up to ensure physical distancing can be maintained while students are studying. 

When checking into a bookable study space, students must provide confirmation to onsite security that they have completed a COVID-19 self-assessment using the Queen’s University SeQure App.

Learn more and book a study space on the Library website.


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