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

Student Learning Experience

Schulich Leader Scholarships awarded to 10 Queen’s students

Ten future leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math are attending Queen’s this fall, thanks to Canada’s most prestigious STEM scholarships.

Schulich Leader Scholarships, worth up to $100,000, was launched in 2012 by Canadian businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich as a way to help the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded technology innovators.

“With 100 outstanding students selected in Canada this year, it is all but guaranteed that this group will represent the best and brightest Canada has to offer,” says Schulich. “These future leaders will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale. With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars, and entrepreneurial ventures.”

Last year, four Schulich Leaders came to Queen’s, but the increase to 100 scholarships across Canada this year helped boost the eligible number at Queen’s to 10. Queen’s has awarded 36 Schulich Leader Scholarships since the program started in 2012.

The 10 Schulich Leaders attending Queen’s this fall are:

  • Catie Austin, Brantford, Ont., School of Computing
  • Rabab Azeem, Barrie, Ont., Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Emma Davison, Goderich, Ont., Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Abdellah Ghassel, Kingston, Ont., Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Sharaf Khan, Scarborough, Ont., School of Computing
  • Liyi Ma, Guelph, Ont., Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Shashank Ojha, East York, Ont., Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Emanuel Piccininni, Nobleton, Ont., Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Nazanin Soghrati, Richard Hill, Ont., Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Dajung Yoon, Drayton, Ont., School of Computing

“Queen’s and the Schulich Foundation share the goal of developing innovators and leaders who aspire to change not only Canada, but the world,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “Thank you to the Schulich Foundation for providing students from across the country with this opportunity. We are honoured these 10 talented students have chosen to continue their studies at Queen’s.”  

Starting first-year with confidence

Queen’s is providing free online tutorials to help incoming students adjust to university.

A young woman writes as she looks at a laptop
Incoming students at Queen's have been able to take advantage of a number of extra supports being offered to help them get ready for their university career. (Unsplash / J. Kelly Brito)

For many incoming university students, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the end of their high school education and has also moved the beginning of their post-secondary education to remote delivery. Given all the rapid changes over the past several months, students have been taking advantage of extra supports Queen’s is offering to help them get ready for their university career.

July’s online Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) provided opportunities for new students to meet each other, ask questions of upper-year peers and staff, and get advice and information from videos and interactive modules about preparing for university life.  

This month, faculties and schools have been offering a series of free online tutorials to help bridge the academic gap between high school and university. SOAR Studies includes general approaches to university-level courses and content specific to each faculty and school, offering something for any new student looking to prepare for their first semester.

“Recognizing the challenges that high school students have faced this year, we are investing in each student’s success with faculty-tailored SOAR Studies to ensure we help ease the transition to university and provide the support students need,” says Lori Garnier, Executive Director of the Commerce program at Smith School of Business.

In addition, and aiming to help all incoming and returning Queen’s students adjust to remote learning, Student Academic Success Services (SASS) in Student Affairs has created Academics 101. This series of seven interactive tutorials helps students develop the academic and writing skills to succeed in distance learning in fall 2020 and throughout their time at Queen’s. Along the way, they will discover how to build connections with peers, teaching assistants, faculty, and support resources while studying remotely.

“We wanted to create something that would ease the academic transition for students and introduce them to academic expectations at Queen’s, that they can engage with at their own pace — no matter their time zone and regardless of their familiarity with the concepts featured,” says Susan Korba, Director of SASS.

Academics 101 concludes by showing students how to make a plan for their first six weeks at Queen’s. Students will leave the series with a clear sense of their strengths, an array of study strategies and methods to use in the fall, and a renewed sense of confidence. Students can log on any time during the summer or throughout the school year and complete the tutorials at their own pace. The entire series will take an average of three to four hours.

New students can also register for Setting Yourself Up for Success (SYUS), a six-week online course created by Queen’s Regional Assessment and Resource Centre (RARC) in partnership with Queen’s Student Accessibility Services. It helps students understand what’s ahead, what resources are available, and includes information for students with disabilities or mental health conditions about how to ensure they have equitable access to their education. To register, visit the RARC website.

Faculty and School SOAR Studies

SOAR Studies features tutorials tailored for students entering specific faculties, schools and programs. The Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS), and the commerce, health sciences, and nursing undergraduate programs all have developed free, non-credit, online tutorials.

FAS has developed a three-week mini course: Learning and Working in a Digital World. This course helps incoming students understand what to expect from first-year university courses. It also introduces them to some of the digital tools they will use as undergraduates while giving them an opportunity to engage with other new first-year students. The one-term, for-credit version of this course, ASCX 101: Learning and Working in a Digital World, is being offered this fall.

Students entering the Commerce Program at Smith School of Business will be able to learn the ins and outs of the program through the First-Year Commerce Onboarding Portal. In addition to program policies and procedures, system tutorials and helpful resources, the portal provides incoming students with access to optional, non-credit preparatory courses in calculus and financial accounting to help prepare them for academics. Commerce students can monitor the onboarding portal or their Queen’s email for content release announcements.

For students entering FEAS, QEng Prep helps students review key math, physics, and chemistry concepts, and is entirely self-directed, letting students learn at their own pace. Students start by taking a diagnostic quiz to identify which core topics they may need to brush up on. They then access online modules that cover all key information in a variety of formats, followed by self-check quizzes to solidify their learning.

The undergraduate nursing program is providing reviews of chemistry and biology material. Students can access these reviews along with other resources through OnQ.

Students entering the Bachelor of Health Sciences have access to recorded Quick Fire Q&As with their first-year professors where they can learn more about the expectations and format of their courses. As well, there are Virtual Meet & Greet sessions on Zoom, where students have the opportunity to meet staff and faculty members in a casual setting and get to know the people behind the email addresses.

Learn more

To learn more about all the different programs and to find out how to access the course materials, visit the SOAR Studies website.

Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition winners announced

The winning pitches of the ninth Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) have been announced with seven teams receiving funding.

This year’s edition moved online and hosted its biggest-ever cohort with more than 170 participants from around the globe and 42 teams taking part in QICSI and the newly-launched SpreadInnovation (COVID-19 innovation) challenge.

By introducing the SpreadInnovation Challenge stream, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) stepped up to provide opportunities for students and community members who had lost opportunities due to the pandemic. Specifically geared toward COVID-19, participants were tasked with building a solution for one of the pressing challenges facing our healthcare systems, livelihoods, economies, and communities. Teams were provided more than 100 days of free online training, mentorship and support from the QICSI program.

The Final Pitch Competition

After 16 weeks of hard work, 11 teams from the QICSI and the SpreadInnovation Challenge QICSI competed alongside two regional ventures in the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition.

The virtual format of the final pitch competition allowed DDQIC to invite a judging panel of esteemed Queen’s University alumni hailing from the Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Kingston innovation ecosystems. The judging panel was comprised of Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande (Sc’79), founder and chairman of Sparta Group LLC and founder of the Deshpande Foundation; Lauren Long (ArtSci’11), senior software engineer at Google; Anton Toutov (ArtSci’11), founder and chief science officer at Fuzionaire; and Brian Dodo (Sc;’16), founder and principal designer at BmDodo Strategic Design.

Bino Books, founded by Andena Xhiku (Comm’21), Danielle Baxter (ArtSci’19), Sydney Terry (ArtSci’20), Jessica Dassanayake (Comp’20), won the Grand Prize of $20,000, and received $10,000 in additional funding.


Learn more about all the finalists and their projects.

Team of students assisting instructors with technology issues

With move to remote teaching and learning, Student Educational Technology Assistants are in place to provide extra tech support.

Student Educational Technology Assistants
A team of six Student Educational Technology Assistants are ready to help Queen's University instructors during the transition to remote teaching and learning. Clockwise from top left are: Peter Van Diggelen, Cleon Aristo, Cal Graham, Kierra Whetstone, Janelle Lee, and Nolan Breault.


Queen’s University has created a teaching technology ‘rapid response team’ to help instructors as they continue to transition their courses to a remote teaching and learning model.

The team of six Student Educational Technology Assistants , all current Queen’s undergraduate students, are set up and ready to assist faculty members who may need extra support, from setting up an onQ course and using Turnitin, to creating groups on Teams or Zoom and adding captions and editing lectures videos  through Camtasia, Stream, and Ensemble, and much more.

The initiative, an investment in supporting instructors, is a collaboration between the Offices of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) and the Principal, and is administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning. The service is offered across the university and supplements the technical support already offered in the faculties, as well as the work of the Centre for Teaching and Learning over the summer to prepare instructors.

The students have now completed their training and are working full-time until the start of the academic year. Each team member will be available 10 hours a week during the Fall and Winter terms.

“This initiative meets a need that was quickly identified during the initial transition to remote teaching and learning in March and was recognized as a need across the university,” says John Pierce, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “There is a growing reliance on technology in instruction and these new technologies have become a part of the everyday operations of the university. As a result, we have to adjust to support that heavier reliance on technology to convey the curriculum.”

The spread of COVID-19 and subsequent closures of in-class sessions earlier this year was an unprecedented challenge, Dr. Pierce adds. In analyzing the initial response areas of improvement were identified and the university is responding.

Organizers decided to go with a student team for a number of reasons, including that they can provide an important perspective in the remote teaching and learning model. The university is also committed to providing jobs for students during a difficult employment environment given the current situation.. The Centre for Teaching and Learning received 179 applications for the six positions.

There is also an internship for another current student through the Queen’s University Internship Program. It’s an opportunity to gain valuable work experience for all involved.

“Another important aspect is that many students adapt well to technologies and therefore are very flexible and adaptive in their learning to a changing situation,” he says. “In addition, this experience allows them to develop transferable skills, that are relevant to education but that are transferable outside the academic environment.”

To get assistance from a Student Educational Technology Assistant, contact the Centre for Teaching and Learning. The request form is available on the right side of the page, by clicking the first red arrow.

Taking the big pitch online

Due to COVID-19, this year's Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition Startup Showcase is being offered virtually on Thursday Aug. 20 from 4-6 pm, with 13 teams reaching the final stage.

To be successful, entrepreneurs must be able to face and overcome any challenge thrown their way.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that with the new realities created by COVID-19 that the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition has adapted to these challenges and has attracted a record number of participants.

This year’s edition has moved online and features its biggest-ever cohort with more than 170 participants and 42 teams taking part in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), the newly-launched Spread Innovation (COVID-19 innovation) challenge, and the Regional Pitch Competition programs.

“The pandemic hit us right in the middle of our final preparations for QICSI. We knew that a lot of students and community members had lost their employment opportunities and were feeling tremendous anxiety and uncertainty about their futures,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of DDQIC and Special Advisor to the Provost, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “We wanted to step up to provide opportunities for them, and we decided to do so by giving them training and support to tackle a Covid-related challenge in their own way – which is also a great way to manage anxiety.”

The Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), now in its ninth year, brings together teams of aspiring entrepreneurs to develop an idea, hone their skills, and refine their business plans. Since kicking off in May, participants have received guidance and support from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre as well as special guest mentors, including an additional 57 alumni mentors who joined this year’s program. These alumni are experienced professionals and entrepreneurs from around the globe and many industries, who volunteer their time to coach students.

The SpreadInnovation Challenge stream is specifically geared toward COVID-19, with participants tasked with building a solution for one of the pressing challenges facing our healthcare systems, livelihoods, economies, and communities. Teams were provided more than 100 days of free online training, mentorship and support from the QICSI program.

“One of the particularly positive aspects of the SpreadInnovation program is how much it resonated with people – Queen’s students, people from the region, and beyond. There was a networking effect well beyond Queen’s, where students would connect and form teams with friends who are going to other universities, and community members from other places signed up too,” says Jim McLellan, Academic Director of DDQIC and a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. “There is a tremendous pool of good will and desire to help, and the response rate and participation in SpreadInnovation was an important reminder of how we can all help. While running in virtual mode presented its challenges, it also made it possible to work with a diverse range of participants. How cool is it to be sitting on your back deck, watching pitches on Zoom on a Saturday evening, with participants from coast to coast, the U.S., and Africa. A global community.”

This year’s Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition Startup Showcase is being offered virtually on Thursday Aug. 20 from 4-6 pm, with 13 teams reaching the final stage. Interested guests will be able to interact with the teams as well as peruse virtual booths and watch mini pitches for each of the ventures.

The event will wrap up with an awards announcement where the top ventures will be awarded prizes from a pool of $80,000 (recent change), including a grand prize of approximately $30,000 in seed funding to advance their venture.

Anyone looking to take part in the virtual showcase can register at https://hopin.to/events/ddqic-2020-summer-pitch-competition to access an itinerary and detailed instructions on how to participate in the virtual showcase.


MyCareBuddy SpreadInnovation Challenge
Ebere Okwonko (University of Nigeria Class of 2017)
Mycarebuddy is an online platform that provides mental health care and consultation to Nigerians, with the alternative of more flexible language choices, via a web application.

Afino – Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative
James Quinn (Comm’20), Glen Creaser (Sc’20), Devin Alldrit (Sc’20), Javier Sanchez Morada (Sc’20)
Built for remote and hybrid teams, Afino provides managers with the tools and insights needed to build a strong culture that keeps employees engaged and connected.

PoliTraQRegional Pitch Competition
Chris Moffatt Armes (Research Analyst, Government and Institutional Relations at Queen’s University)
PoliTraQ helps government relations professionals manage their advocacy data – so they can spend less time on reporting and compliance, and more time engaging with stakeholders.

Bino Books Spread Innovation Challenge
Andena Xhiku (Comm’21), Sydney Terry (ArtSci’20), Danielle Baxter (ArtSci’19), Jessica Dassanayake (Comp’20)
BinoBooks is a customizable literacy platform that helps parents teach hard-to-explain topics (like COVID-19) to their children from pre-K to grade 2.

Swivel – Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative
Hatem Dawaghreh (Sc’20), Emma Landry (Comp’20), Kurri Reich (MASc’20), Alexandra Bradley (Comm’20), Emily Johnstone (Comm’20)
Swivel is a platform connecting students and startups across Canada over virtual coffee chats. Our mission is to facilitate conversations between these two groups to unlock career opportunities.

Diveri – Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative
Julia Kerr (Sc’20), Kara Lawrie (ArtSci’ 20), Abdulrazzak Fallaha (MMIE’20)
Diveri is a sustainable enterprise that diverts pre-consumer textiles from landfill by transforming them into fashionable, reusable face masks and accessories.

The Youth Transit Project SpreadInnovation Challenge
Daniel Hendry (Kingston resident), Jadon Hook (SLC alumni, Laurentian Class of 2022), Jega Vanderpandian (SLC Class of 2021)
The Youth Transit Project is a social enterprise that uses learning from the “Kingston Model” to help build long-term transit ridership and avoid the “transit death spiral” post COVID-19 across mid-sized North American cities.

Safai SpreadInnovation Challenge
Rashi Ramchandani (ArtSci’23), Kapil Ramchandani (U of T Class of 2022)
Safai is an online web and app-based platform that aims to educate and connect users to reliable information about improved precautionary measures implemented by businesses.

Promovere – Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative
Christian Soriano (ArtSci’20), Scott Gingrich (Comm’20), Emily Di Monte (Sc’21), Amy Evans (ArtSci’20), Connor Finless (Comm’20)
Promovere is a career success platform that aims to increase employee engagement, retention, and growth through personalized career pathing, microlearning, and mentorship.

Waive the Wait – Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative
Shreyansh Anand (Comp’21), Daniel Oh (Comp’21), Anne Liu (Comp’21), Yifei Yin (Comp’21), Salman Sohani (Comm’21)
Waive the Wait provides software solutions that help better the patient experience at medical institutions all the while increasing efficiencies and reducing work for their receptionists.

Soap for 237 Spread Innovation Challenge
Lesley Sikapa (U of T Class of 2021), Patience Fakembe (U of T Class of 2021), Providence Mapingire (U of T Class of 2022)
#SoapFor237 #SavonPour237 addresses misinformation around COVID-19 in Cameroon through soap distribution to households in collaboration with neighbourhood leaders.

ISOVID SpreadInnovation Challenge
Christopher Rapos (Sci’22), Meera Mahadeo (ArtSci’21), Lindsay Jevons (Hamilton resident)
ISOVID is designing an isolation unit to protect frontline workers such as paramedics from COVID-19.

Hover.directRegional Pitch Competition
Cameron Rowe (MMIE’21), Claire Marshall (University of Ottawa Class of 2021), Kishan Patel (Dalhousie University Class of 2020)
Drones can not only save lives through the data they collect but can also save business’ money. Hover created a UAV eLearning platform, teaching pilots how to pass the difficult licensing tests.

Process adjustments support smoother start to the year

Queen’s is helping students by extending deadlines for tuition payments and enrolment decisions. 

Photo of flowers with Grant Hall in the background
Payment deadlines and fall course drop dates have been extended among other adjustments to help students during the fall 2020 term.

As COVID-19 has made many aspects of life uncertain, Queen’s is helping students by making tuition and fee payments, award disbursements, and course registration processes more flexible. These changes include extended payment deadlines and fall course drop dates.

“We know the ongoing pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety for our students; we hope these steps will make their transition a bit easier as they settle into their studies, which will include remote learning for most of our students,” says Stuart Pinchin, University Registrar (Interim).

Several policies on tuition and fee payments have been adjusted for the fall semester. The tuition and fee payment date has been extended a month, from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30. The university is also currently withholding monthly interest fees on unpaid balances, as well as waiving late fees on overdue accounts.

Adjustments to enrolment processes

Students will also have more time to drop courses without penalty. Queen’s has extended the drop date for fall courses to week eight to give students additional time to settle into the term and to adjust to the remote delivery of most courses.

Withdrawal and readmission processes for graduate students are also being temporarily revised. These changes will help those who were unable to work on degree requirements over the summer term due to the pandemic. More information can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website.

Student awards and bursaries

Queen’s will be maintaining all entrance bursaries and in-program awards that take living expenses into account. Students will be able to receive these funds even if they are living at home. The university will also distribute all financial awards per term, instead of annually, which aims to smooth the flow of funding support to student accounts each semester.

Students with demonstrated financial need are encouraged to apply now for OSAP and other government student financial assistance. More information can be found on the Student Awards website.

Students with demonstrated need of financial assistance are also encouraged to apply to the Queen’s General Bursary, which provides a non-repayable grant.

For more information on all the process changes and adjustments, see the Office of the University Registrar’s website.

Encouraging ‘on-campus’ student hiring

Career Services supports departments in creating positions within the remote environment. 

Hiring Students Toolkit
The new website contains a toolkit for departments, including tips, resources, and workshops.

A hallmark of the Queen's experience is co-curricular engagement, in particular student participation in formal on-campus positions, such as paid part-time employment, peer and other volunteer roles, involvement in research activities, and roles in student organizations.

Despite the impacts of COVID-19, there will still be a vibrant landscape of opportunities for students this coming year.

To help departments maintain and grow the number of student co-curricular positions at Queen’s, Career Services recently launched the Hiring Students Toolkit website. This new cross-institutional initiative was identified as a priority by a planning committee, including faculty/school and student representatives, that was struck this spring as part of the university’s response to the pandemic.

Part of the institutional commitment to upholding our strong student experience, this new cross-institutional initiative was identified as a priority.

“A primarily remote fall term does not mean that student roles are not possible,” says Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green. “Student positions are an essential part of the Queen’s experience. I encourage all departments to create roles for the upcoming year, where possible, and I thank all units that have adjusted existing roles to provide these valuable opportunities for our students this spring and summer.”

The new website contains a toolkit for departments, including tips, resources, and workshops on how to: create a student role, recruit a student, tips with onboarding and supervision. Departments are encouraged to make student roles remote when possible.

“Working at Queen’s this year has been nothing short of amazing. I experienced many opportunities that helped me grow both personally and professionally – and got great work experience that was also rewarding,” says Veronica Sewilski, who is currently working remotely as a student assistant for Orientation & Transition at the Student Experience Office in Student Affairs. “It was valuable to see the challenges when switching to remote and learn how to do it successfully. This job also helped me discover the large number of opportunities that are available for me after I graduate.”

“We know that remote positions are attractive to students, and there is already evidence of their effectiveness,” says Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney. “This summer, departments quickly pivoted their Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) positions, most of them to remote work.”

There is still time to create new roles for this fall/winter. To find out more about how your unit can support building student opportunities “on-campus” visit the Hiring Students Toolkit website.

You can also attend the Hiring Students Toolkit webinar, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 1-2 pm. Email el.hub@queensu.ca today to register.

Smith launches Canada’s first Master of Financial Innovation and Technology

​New program addresses a gap in formal education in a quickly-evolving industry.

Master of Financial Innovation and Technology

Smith School of Business at Queen’s University has launched the Master of Financial Innovation and Technology program, the first program of its kind in Canada designed to address the significant gap in financial technology education.  

Technology is transforming the financial sector on multiple fronts – including the management of vast amounts of data and customer intelligence, mobile as a dominant payment channel, the impact of non-traditional fintech providers, and block chain currency – at an explosive rate. According to the latest EY Global Fintech Adoption Index, consumer adoption of fintech services has increased by 64 per cent since 2017. Further, a PwC global fintech report found that 28 per cent of the banking and payments sector, and 22 per cent of the insurance, asset and wealth management sector were considered at disruptive risk due to technology. 

Designed for professionals already employed, the first Master of Financial Innovation and Technology (MFIT) program will begin in November (pending approval by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance) and will be delivered in evening and weekend sessions so students can earn a world-class degree without taking a break from their careers. Graduates will receive training in finance, data science and machine learning technologies that will equip them for success in the constantly evolving industry of finance. Applications are now being accepted. Learn more at smithqueens.com/mfit.

“Until now, employers hiring in the financial technology sector have had to choose between candidates who specialize in either finance or technology; it’s been a challenge to find talent with strengths in both who understand how one impacts the other, including the opportunities and risks,” says Ryan Riordan, Director of the New MFIT program, as well as Distinguished Professor of Finance and Director of Research at the Institute for Sustainable Finance. “With the launch of this new program, we’ve created a unique educational path that bridges both sectors and equips graduates to succeed in a quickly evolving marketplace.”

MFIT will expand Smith’s program offerings for students who focus on finance but also want a professional footing in the industry’s ongoing digital transformation, or for technology specialists who want to build their career in the finance sector. The new program will be supported by Smith School of Business faculty with active research agendas in financial innovation, analytics and financial technology.  

Before developing the MFIT program, Smith School of Business surveyed more than 2,500 alumni of its existing finance and analytics masters programs to better understand the demands of today’s job landscape. Eighty-five per cent identified a need for a program like the MFIT.  

“Smith has a strong history of recognizing the changing needs of business in Canada and around the world, and quickly developing programs to help fill the talent pipeline with qualified candidates,” says Brenda Brouwer, Dean of Smith School of Business. “The new MFIT program is the latest of our new programs that address the changes taking place in how business is done including the Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence in 2018 and the Global Master of Management in Analytics last year.”  

The new MFIT program will take 12 months to complete and will consist of 12 courses delivered through a mix of remote and in-person sessions. Courses will be offered one evening per week and on alternating weekends to allow for the demands of a fulltime career. Classes, collaboration and course work will be managed online through the Queen’s Learning Management System, Brightspace. 

Provost's update on 2021 winter term

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green shares an update about academic planning for first-year undergraduate students.

As some of Queen’s incoming students are making decisions about their residence offers, several faculties and schools have worked to finalize their plans for first-year undergraduate programs in the 2021 winter term.

In developing their plans, the faculties and schools followed the following principles:

  • Supporting academic excellence and academic integrity in all courses, programs, and degrees
  • Promoting and protecting equity, diversity, inclusivity, and Indigeneity in all aspects of the educational experience
  • Providing equitable access to educational materials for all students
  • Ensuring that the individual academic accommodation needs of students are met
  • Seeking cooperation between different units and faculties, and being mindful that a decision made in one part of the institution will have consequences elsewhere
  • Supporting the progression and retention of students through academic program requirements

The faculty and school proposals were reviewed by the Academic Operations Group and the Senior Leadership Team. All plans are in alignment with current Public Health guidelines; however, these plans may change as requirements evolve between now and January.

With some exceptions, most first-year lectures will be delivered remotely. Other on-campus academic activities will vary somewhat across programs. The decision to hold some academic activities on-campus was determined based on the need for students to access specialized facilities, such as labs, and to ensure all students can progress in their studies and meet the academic requirements of their programs.

Regardless of the course delivery format, the university is committed to ensuring all students receive an equitable and robust learning experience. Programs and services to support academic success continue to be available to all students, including academic advising, library services, and wellness support.

Information on residence operations for the 2021 winter term will be available in early fall, and plans for upper-year students are in development. We appreciate your patience as we take the time to ensure our planning aligns with Public Health guidelines.

Detailed information on winter term academic programming for first-year students will be shared with students directly by their faculty, once their plans are finalized. 

- Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green

Reducing barriers to medical education

The Queen’s School of Medicine is increasing efforts to recruit Black and Indigenous students.

Photo of the Queen's School of Medicine building
This change to the QuARMS pathway is part of the work that the Faculty of Health Sciences is doing to make health professions education more accessible to historically underrepresented groups.

Queen’s University is working to reduce systemic barriers to medical education by allocating 10 of its 100 seats in each class of its MD program to Black and Indigenous students, starting with the 2020-2021 undergraduate application cycle. These 10 seats will be made available through the Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) pathway, which was launched in 2012.

“Queen’s recognizes that Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians have been historically underrepresented in the medical profession, and that standard medical admissions practices have imposed barriers to these groups. With this new approach to the QuARMS pathway, we are hoping to reach individuals who may not have considered Queen’s or the medical profession otherwise,” says Jane Philpott, Dean, Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences. “Our faculty aims to become a leader in Canada in cultural safety, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and anti-oppression in health professions education. There is a large body of work to be done and this is one important step toward making a Queen’s health professions education more accessible.”

The only pathway of its kind in Canada, QuARMS recruits 10 students from across Canada each year to attend the Queen’s School of Medicine on an accelerated track. These students spend two years as undergraduates at Queen’s. Then, rather than take qualifying examinations such as the MCAT, which are part of the standard admissions process, they enter the four-year MD program in the Queen’s School of Medicine, provided they meet the pre-determined entrance criteria for QuARMS students.

Previously, QuARMS had been open to all graduating high-school students. Now these seats will be reserved for Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians. These seats are in addition to the four seats in the MD program that are designated, through the standard admissions process, for Indigenous students each year.

“When QuARMS was launched, it was designed both to attract exceptional students to Queen’s and as a pathway for students who face financial, systemic or social barriers to entering medicine through the traditional medical school application process. This change to the pathway is very much in keeping with its original vision of bringing students from underrepresented groups to Queen’s,” says Hugh MacDonald, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Queen’s School of Medicine. “In order to further reduce barriers, we are also actively exploring options to provide financial support to QuARMS students.”

The QuARMS pathway enables students to use their two years as undergraduates to focus on taking a broad range of courses before they transition into medical school in their third year at Queen’s.

“QuARMS students often become a tight-knit group and there are already mentorship structures in place to facilitate a smooth transition. We believe that the pathway is well-equipped to provide the community and support that students from underrepresented groups might look for in medical school,” says Dr. MacDonald.

The current cohort of medical students helped to inform discussions that led to this decision through a report written by the Aesculapian Society, the student government for the School of Medicine.

“Our students deserve credit for raising issues regarding diversity and inclusion with the administration and advocating for change,” says Dr. MacDonald. “Our admissions committee is listening to our students and will continue to identify changes to the standard admissions process that will reduce barriers.”

This decision is one part of the ongoing work the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) has underway to reduce barriers to education. Dean Philpott has recently announced that she is forming the Dean’s Action Table on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This table will be comprised of students, staff, and faculty from all three schools in FHS: the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. The table will develop and implement a comprehensive suite of reforms across FHS in areas such as recruitment, mentorship and support, and curriculum.

To learn more, see the QuARMS website.



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