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

Student Learning Experience

Queen’s education professor wins prestigious NSERC Science Promotion Prize

Lynda Colgan adds national research outreach award to a list of recognition for career achievements.

Lynda Colgan
Lynda Colgane (Education) has been awarded the 2020 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Science Promotion Award for individual achievement.

A distinguished mentor, researcher, and educator at Queen’s University has just been awarded the 2020 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Science Promotion Award for individual achievement. The award honours people and groups that are inspirational in the way they promote science to the general public. They are an opportunity for Canada's science community to recognize, support and encourage outstanding science promoters. 

The common denominator in Lynda Colgan’s research and passion has been to dispel the myth that math and science are hard, dead subjects that only certain people can do successfully. Dr. Colgan uses intuitive approaches and strategies to help educators see mathematics through the eyes of children.  

“The math and science experience have changed drastically over the years. Today, so many things are paid for with a debit or credit card, and cashiers are told by registers what change to give back to customers, resulting in them not counting the change for customers. Part of it is that there are many things happening around them that makes children actually believe that they don’t ever have to use math.” says Dr. Colgan, professor of elementary mathematics and coordinator of the  Education Community Outreach Centre, Faculty of Education.  

To respond to this need, her approach has evolved and expanded to include outreach, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, resulting in projects and products that search for creative avenues to engage both students, parents, and educators. 

“What I try to do is encourage everyone – family members included – to become math mentors and role models who ‘do’ math naturally and for real purposes every day, everywhere. I do this by creating and disseminating simple ‘unplugged’ STEM crafts, games and experiments to encourage, facilitate, reinforce and/or review important skills and STEM concepts on the go’ – in the car, the backyard, the park, the grocery store,” says Dr. Colgan.  

One of these initiatives is the highly successful Science Rendezvous Kingston, which is a celebration of STEM subjects and discoveries, scientists, and researchers featuring demonstrations, experiments and exhibits to bring people of all ages – toddlers to retirees – from across south-eastern Ontario into the world of science. Participation in Science Rendezvous Kingston has grown each year, as its reputation swells, from 650 to over 5,000 attendees in 2019, making it the most-attended Science Rendezvous event in Canada.  

“What we’re hoping is that we inspire a little curiosity,” says Dr. Colgan. “That we inspire that little niggle, that helps the kids to say, ‘I want to know more about that, I want to read about that, I want to do that,’ and, basically, that will grow.” Dr. Colgan, along with the other Science Rendezvous coordinator, Kim Garrett, won the STEAM BIG Award from NSERC in 2019, for outstanding contribution to a Science Rendezvous event. 

Prior to her appointment at Queen’s in 1998, Dr. Colgan was an award-winning educator with the Scarborough Board of Education for 25 years. During that time, she taught or held leadership and administrative positions at every educational level – elementary (K-6), intermediate (7-8), secondary (9-13), and post-secondary in roles centred around the integration of computer technology and mathematics. Throughout her tenure, Dr. Colgan has developed pivotal resources for the mathematics curriculum across Canada, including textbooks, research monographs and teacher and parent resource guides. 

Dr. Colgan was also awarded funding for a three-year NSERC PromoScience grant for a project called Learning with Dinosaurs: A gateway to multidisciplinary STEM learning. That project, in collaboration with Peter May and Research Casting International, seeks to revitalize educational resources about dinosaurs by disseminating museum-quality artifacts and interactive guided curriculum to provide hands-on STEM activities to improve Canadian teachers’ knowledge and student interest in the multidisciplinary field of paleontology, which includes biology, zoology, geology, chemistry and physics. 

She is also the recipient of an NSERC Promo Science Supplement Grant for Science Literacy Week. It will go to support a virtual author in residence program and is set to take place this September. 

Helping students articulate their skills

New tool recognized nationally as innovative practice.

There is a lot of talk about a ‘skills gap,’ but ‘skills awareness gap’ may be more accurate.

Queen’s students acquire many skills — skills learned in class, developed in workplaces, sharpened in the lab, honed on the field, practiced on the stage, and demonstrated in their communities. But despite their numerous achievements, many students struggle to identify and explain those skills to potential employers.

To assist students in articulating their skills, Career Services has developed the Queen’s Skills Cards, an innovative card deck activity based on the Queen’s Learning Outcomes Framework and employer data on desired skills.

“The cards help students name and describe their skills, preparing them to approach the world of work with more confidence and a clearer sense of how different roles suit their strengths,” says Carli Fink, Career Counsellor in Career Services. “While they were created as a physical deck of cards for career counsellors to use in appointments and workshops, a virtual version is now online and accessible wherever students may be in this time of physical distancing and remote learning. Faculty and staff members may want to integrate them into their classes or activities, and we would be happy to consult with them on how the cards can be used.”

Students who worked with the cards in workshops and classes this winter, before the pandemic hit, found them very helpful:

“I don’t normally think about my skills, as much as my options after graduation,” said a fourth year Psychology student. “This activity helped me see that there are many options, and deciding which is the best fit is more about what I enjoy and what I am good at than the title of my degree.”

“The cards gave me a way to describe skills I already knew I had, but didn’t know how to explain to employers, particularly those outside of academia,” said a Global Development Studies graduate student.

“I came in here really anxious about writing my resume and applying for summer internships, but this gave me more confidence,” said a second-year international student in the School of Computing. “I realized that I do have some relevant experiences — even if they’re not all related to my major.”

Career Services, which is part of the Division of Students Affairs, has been recognized with the Excellence in Innovation: Student Engagement award from the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) for the Skills Cards.

CACEE also named Cathy Keates, Director of Queen’s Career Services and Experiential Learning, as the recipient of the 2020 Regional Recognition Award – Ontario, and JoAnne Metcalfe, formerly of Career Services and now with Corporate Relations in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, was recognized with a new member recognition award.

To learn more about the Skills Cards and how to help students by incorporating them into a class or other student activity, contact mycareer@queensu.ca.

Mentoring new students

Queen’s has expanded a peer program that helps set up first-year students for success.

Graphic for the Q Success program

This year’s incoming students will face the unprecedented challenge of adjusting to university life during a pandemic. To help students through this transition, Queen’s has doubled the size of Q Success, a popular mentorship program for first-year students, and added new group activities. With more trained upper-year peer mentors than ever before, Queen’s is working to help new students succeed academically and form bonds within the tricolour community.

“The Class of 2024 will begin their Queen’s education under unusual circumstances, so we have expanded the Q Success program to connect them to one another and provide ongoing supports to promote their successful transition to university life. Our energetic team of upper-year mentors will help welcome the incoming class into the tremendous community at Queen’s, and help them adapt academically,” says Gabriela Ludusan, Coordinator, Peer Programs in the Student Experience Office.

All the mentors in Q Success receive holistic training that includes intercultural awareness, health and wellness, learning strategies, resources and referrals, and how to engage students online.

Throughout the academic year, mentors connect weekly with their first-year mentees, one-on-one. During these sessions, mentors share strategies for accessing campus resources, adopting effective study habits, and taking care of personal wellness.

In addition to these one-on-one sessions, students in Q Success can also take part in new community-building group activities. Each mentor will have three mentees, and, once a month, mentors will hold group meetings with all their mentees to have conversations, play games, or take part in other group activities. There will also be monthly activities for all participants in Q Success. These virtual gatherings will provide students with opportunities to get to know their peers from across Queen’s.

Interest in online events among first-year students to date has been exceeding online capacity, resulting in the scheduling of additional sessions of activities like Trivia Night.

Recruiting additional mentors

Before COVID-19 changed operations at Queen’s, the Student Experience Office had recruited 64 upper-year students to serve as Q Success mentors. After March, the office recruited 71 more, for a total of 135. There are also seven senior mentors, who are all upper-year students with significant leadership experience. These senior mentors will help support the work of the mentors and organize programs within Q Success, such as the monthly activities for all participants.

“When the pandemic began and we started recruiting additional mentors, we received an extraordinary amount of interest from current undergraduates. They told us they recognized that incoming students may need extra help adjusting under these unique circumstances, and they stepped up and showed that they’re eager to support their new peers,” says Ludusan. “We now have a large and enthusiastic group of mentors who are all committed to building a welcoming and inclusive space for connection, community, and success.”

Registration for Q Success is now open to all first-year Queen’s students. The program begins later this month and runs through to April 2021. Students can register any time during the year, but are encouraged to start this summer to get the most of out of the program.

To learn more and to register, visit the Q Success website.

Queen's launches Indigenous Initiatives website

New site brings together campus-wide information and resources on Queen's University Indigenous research, initiatives, cultural services, and more.

Indigenous graduates

Campus community members can now learn about and engage with Queen’s University’s Indigenous research, initiatives, cultural services, and more on the newly-launched Office of Indigenous Initiatives website.

“It is important for reconciliation that Indigenous voices be incorporated into the work—the projects, research, and initiatives – that take place here at Queen’s,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation). “My hope is that we continue to approach this work with Ka’nikonhrí:yo (a good mind) and I believe that our new website serves as a great starting point to help individuals to better understand Indigenous values, and how our values relate to relationship building, research, methodologies, pedagogies, and knowledge.”

The site’s design is uniquely arranged to guide users through key themes and initiatives, including Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous Ways of Knowing, and Decolonizing and Indigenizing. It also showcases Indigenous ‘faces, spaces, and places’ at Queen’s, making it easier for Queen’s community members to connect with campus Elders, as well as Indigenous services for students and employees. Key pages on the site are also set to be translated into both the Kanyen’ke:ha (Mohawk) and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway) languages, as Queen’s University is situated on the land of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe.

The launch of the website also meets recommendation #11 of the university’s Yakwanastahentéha Aankenjigemi Extending the Rafters: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Final Report. The report – a set of 25 recommendations created to advance sustained institutional change – guides the university as it continues work to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities; cultivate deeper understanding of Indigenous histories, knowledge systems, and experiences; and nurture a campus that values and reflects Indigenous perspectives.

“I encourage anyone considering Queen’s University as a place of employment or a place of higher education, and those who are part of the community already, to visit our new website,” says Hill. “It provides a wealth of information for anyone looking to engage with our Indigenous research, initiatives, and cultural services, and I know it will lead us all to a better understanding of our shared path ahead.”

Visit the new Office of Indigenous Initiatives website.

Summer orientation from anywhere

Queen’s is preparing incoming students for university through online programming throughout July

An aerial view of campus.
Starting July 6, Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) helps introduce incoming students to Queen's. 

Incoming students won’t be able to visit the Queen’s campus for summer orientation this year, but they will still be able to start preparing themselves for university through the new online version of Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) starting July 6.

“We will miss welcoming our new students and their supports to campus in person, but we have approached this year as an opportunity to make our summer orientation resources more easily available than ever before. Now, all the benefits of SOAR will be accessible online to incoming students no matter where they live,” says Meg Ferriman, director of the Student Experience Office in Student Affairs. “Starting a university education can be a big adjustment, and the resources we have developed for SOAR are designed to set our incoming students up for success.”

Once it became clear that the Queen’s campus would remain closed over the summer due to the pandemic, the university pivoted to creating online summer orientation content. Offices across Queen’s are planning live events, as well as developing online weekly modules that will be hosted on OnQ, the Queen’s learning management system.

Videos and interactive elements, such as upper year student panels, will provide information and advice to help incoming students quickly adapt to life as a Queen’s student. Among a wide range of topics, the modules address what to expect from university courses, getting involved in clubs and student groups, and how to stay healthy during the academic term.

Building connections

SOAR has also been designed to introduce students to each other, to upper-year peers, and the Queen’s community. Using an online discussion board, students will start to build community and can ask questions to be answered by peer ambassadors, who are current undergraduates. Once a week, there will be live online events where incoming students can interact in small groups over Zoom and other platforms.

“We are looking forward to continuing to connect with the Class of 2024 online this summer at SOAR,” says Mikayla Sebesta, a Master of Arts (Gender Studies) student who is working at the Student Experience Office this summer. “We know their first year will be different and we want to do all we can to make sure they feel the strength of the Queen’s spirit and start building their new community from wherever they are!”

For many students, their parents, families, and other supports will play an active role in their transition to university. With this in mind, Queen’s has created resources specifically tailored to this group. These modules cover topics such as academic accommodations and resources, and they will help supports better understand how they can help students adjust to their new learning environment. As well, Student Affairs has introduced a monthly e-newsletter for parents, families and supporters.

To learn more about SOAR and how to access its online program starting July 6, visit the SOAR website.

Student job programs go remote amidst COVID-19

Undergraduate placements continue to be strong despite restrictions caused by the global pandemic.

A female student works on her laptop on a desk at her home.
Facing new challenges with COVID-19, students taking part in the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) are gaining valuable work experience through online opportunities. (Supplied photos)

Departments across Queen’s are continuing to offer meaningful student job and experiential learning opportunities, both on- and off-campus.

Typically, the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) gives students the opportunity to gain valuable summer work experience on campus. This year, most participating campus units have moved online, maintaining over 150 positions for undergraduate students.

Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) has hired eight SWEP students this year. They are currently helping the unit with outreach, data management, GIS and research projects, and serving as camp counsellors for QUBS’ virtual Eco-Adventure camp. These were intended to be in-person positions, however QUBS transitioned seven positions to remote work. Due to the nature of QUBS-led field research, one student was approved to live onsite at the station and continue these long-term monitoring research projects.

“It’s been truly rewarding to supervise and work alongside our SWEP students this summer,” says Sarah Oldenburger, Outreach and Teaching Coordinator at QUBS. “They have been fundamental in creating fun and engaging educational materials for children, youth, and community members during these uncertain times.”

For Joanne Rae (ConEd’21) – a Youth Environmental Educator and Eco-Adventure Camp Counsellor – the SWEP program has helped her develop professional skills during the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19.

“The beauty of this experience has been that, as a team, we were able to work together to understand each other's strengths and design an interactive, engaging virtual camp,” says Rae. “I am thrilled to be part of a team that has designed programming that allows campers to interact with each other and play interactive games, all while educating them on the ecological diversity within their own backyard.”=

To support students and staff as they transition into a new online working environment, Career Services has been offering Supervising Remotely and Working Remotely workshops. The next Supervising Remotely workshop will be held over Zoom on Wednesday, July 8 at 10am. To register, contact el.hub@queensu.ca.

Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP) is another option for students looking to gain work experience. The program offers paid, professionally supervised internships for undergraduate students who want to learn more about their industry of choice.

This year, 216 students have secured QUIP internships starting this summer, 28 more are already scheduled to start in September, and employers continue to post new opportunities.

Career Services will be hosting a QUIP information session for students who are interested in registering for the program. The session will be held on Thursday, June 25 at 12 pm EST over Zoom. Students can register through MyCareer.

To learn more about these and other programs, visit the Career Services website.

Welcoming the first Promise Scholars to Queen’s

The new program is designed to increase access to a Queen’s education. 

Photo of books with a diploma and mortarboard
Each of the five students attended local schools and will pursue a variety of academic programs at Queen's.

Among the members of the Class of 2024 are the first-ever Promise Scholars.

Announced in the fall of 2019, the Promise Scholars program is a comprehensive initiative designed to reduce financial barriers and increase access to Queen’s for local, self-identified first-generation students. The program provides dedicated financial, academic, and career supports to help students throughout their undergraduate degree.

“We are thrilled to welcome the first Promise Scholars to the Queen’s community. We have had great support from our area school boards, and we are confident that, with the supports we have in place, these students will thrive at Queen’s,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs.

The five first-year students attended Kingston secondary schools, including École secondaire publique Mille-Îles, Frontenac Secondary School, Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, and Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute. One participated in the Pathways to Education Kingston program, which offers support to designated students to help them successfully transition to post-secondary education, training, or employment.

“Promise Scholars is a life-changing initiative. It sees the promise that these incredibly bright, creative, and resilient students hold, and in turn provides the means of cultivating that potential through a world-class education and so much more,” says Holly Platz, Post-Secondary and Career Coach, Pathways to Education. “It has been truly joyful to support a Pathways youth through the application and follow-up process for Promise Scholars this year.”

The students will be pursuing a diverse range of academic programs. Two will concentrate in arts; one will study science; one will study commerce; and one will be studying concurrent education with a science focus. They were selected at random from among the eligible program applicants.

Breaking down barriers to education

The Promise Scholars program is designed to break down financial barriers that students from lower-income backgrounds face in accessing post-secondary education. Promise Scholars will be provided with financial support to graduate from a first-entry degree program with no student loans. Scholars will receive financial support for tuition, fees, books, and supplies, residence in their first year, and a living allowance for their second, third and fourth years of study. This support, in addition to OSAP grants, summer work experiences, and some student contribution, will ensure recipients can benefit from the full Queen’s undergraduate experience.

Throughout their time at Queen’s, the Promise Scholars will be connected to dedicated advisors who will provide one-on-one guidance on academics, financial planning, and career preparation. As they look ahead to their first year of university, the Promise Scholars will meet their advisors to prepare for all facets of life as a Queen’s student.

To learn more about the Promise Scholars program, visit the program’s website.

Queen’s is also currently aiming to raise $30 million for student aid across the university. To learn more and to contribute, see the Promise Campaign website.

QUBS celebrating 75th anniversary

Queen's University Biological Station launches video highlighting its role in fostering leading-edge research, experiential learning, science outreach, and biodiversity conservation.

It has been 75 years since the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) was established on Queen’s Point on Lake Opinicon. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the QUBS community of researchers and staff at the field station are set to celebrate.

Queen's University Biological Station seen from an aerial viewEach year the anniversary is celebrated with an in-person Open House, originally scheduled for Sunday, June 28, where professors and students interact with hundreds of visitors who can also tour the Lake Opinicon campus located just a 50-minute drive north of the university.

The 75th anniversary celebration will unfold virtually this year and kicks off this week with the release of a special five-minute promotional video highlighting the important role QUBS has served over the years in fostering leading-edge research, experiential learning, science outreach, and biodiversity conservation.

Five additional short films focused on researchers who use the unique resources offered by QUBS will be released throughout the summer and autumn. 

“Over the past 75 years QUBS has provided incredible opportunities for students to obtain hands-on experiences, including summer internships, undergraduate field courses, and graduate field research,” says Stephen Lougheed, Professor in the Department of Biology and the School of Environmental Studies and the Director at QUBS. “Developing strong field and science communication skills and a deep understanding of the ecology and evolution of the biodiversity of the Frontenac Arch are a few of the positive experiences that thousands of students have gained at the station.”

The QUBS team has been busy marking the milestone with a social media campaign using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The QUBS team of undergraduate summer interns and full-time staff is also facilitating many initiatives, including a remote virtual camp for youth in place of what would have been the 10th annual in-person summer day camp at Elbow Lake. Seminars from diverse speakers and community outreach talks are available online throughout the summer on the Official QUBS YouTube Channel

“The greatest issues facing humanity today center on the environment, including pollution, invasive species, emerging diseases, loss of habitat, global declines of biodiversity, and climate change. Exacerbating these are pronounced social, racial, and gender inequities, lack of diversity in many professions including the sciences, and lagging progress in reconciliation with Indigenous people,” says Dr. Lougheed, also the Baillie Family Chair in Conservation Biology. “In the next few decades, I would like to see QUBS at the forefront of all of these challenges, working to attract top-flight researchers from diverse backgrounds to Queen’s to offer tangible solutions.”

75 years in the making

From its founding in 1945, QUBS has had a dual mandate of teaching and research in biology and related sciences, while also engaging in active stewardship to conserve local terrestrial and aquatic environments, and biodiversity.

Today QUBS’ lands comprise more than 3,400 hectares, including nine small lakes plus extensive shoreline on Lake Opinicon and Hart Lake, and habitats ranging from abandoned pastures to mature second-growth forest.

The main facility at Lake Opinicon has 32 buildings, including the Raleigh J. Robertson Biodiversity Centre, a library and natural history collections, conference rooms, 12 laboratories for research, a workshop, and a variety of accommodations, ranging from one-person sleeping cabins to large cottages and dormitory space. The Biodiversity Centre includes a conference space/classroom, kitchen and dining room, administrative offices, a computer/GIS facility, and an interpretive area. Plans are being finalized for a two-story research and teaching building that will provide new lab spaces for aquatic research, teaching spaces, and offices.

The Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre campus has 14 core buildings including a large central pavilion and 10 hexagonal, two-bedroom cabins. Together, these buildings can accommodate groups of 30-40 people comfortably for meetings, small conferences and public outreach events. Elbow Lake is the outreach arm of QUBS, offering programs in environmental and conservation science and natural history to school groups and the public.

The QUBS staff hope that you will celebrate with them – virtually – through the new promotional video and its growing array of online resources.

Queen’s Law introduces Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law

Two-term, nine-course online program will be the only educational pathway for Canadians to become Regulated Immigration Consultants. 

The journey to reinvent the training and education of Canada’s immigration consultants has been a two-year path at Queen’s Law. It culminates with the launch of the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law. As of Aug. 1, this two-term, nine-course online program will be the only educational pathway for Canadians who want to become Regulated Immigration Consultants. 

Above and beyond a rethinking of how Canadian immigration consultants are educated and trained, it’s been a labour of love for Academic Director Sharry Aiken. And, in some respects, the culmination of her professional journey. 

“Before my appointment to Queen’s Law, I had worked in community development in Asia and Latin America, and in northern Ontario. I learned through that experience that community partnerships are key to success,” she says.

Today, Professor Aiken is one of Canada’s most respected experts in immigration and refugee law. For the past two years, however, the development of the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law has been one of her key focuses. 

“The national regulator had contacted us through a Queen’s Law graduate for our input on their education program,” she explains. “The regulator itself was in transition at the time, and under the leadership of its new CEO we opted to submit a bid in a competitive process to become the English-language provider of a completely revamped diploma program for immigration consultants.” 

That bid – buoyed by the Faculty of Law’s success in the creation and launch of its national online Certificate in Law program – was successful. The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council – the national regulatory body behind Canadian immigration consulting – announced the law school’s successful bid on May 1, 2019. Since that date, Aiken has been building the program with both internal and external experts involved in its construction. 

“Stakeholder engagement is pivotal to success – you need the support of the people whose lives your work affects to be effective,” she says – speaking to a core philosophy behind the program’s design and development. “Even before the ink dried on our successful bid for this project, I set about building a credible national advisory committee. It is representative of the regions of Canada, the kinds of work that consultants do, and gave practitioners and the legal community a direct channel in the development of the program – particularly important given concerns the bar has about the sector.”

The committee, she points, out, is not just window dressing, but a hard-working and vital part of the program’s development. “Members are very involved with regular meetings, direct input on program policy, and providing support in relation to the broad strokes of curriculum development. 

“As a past student, a sole practitioner, and an immigrant, I enjoyed sharing my perspectives and knowledge in the development of the program,” says Ivory Xi, a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant living in Victoria, B.C., and part of the National Advisory Committee. “Professor Aiken’s approach organized us into a national team, contributing to this program by bringing our diverse skills and experience into play.” 

Building a program to meet the diverse needs of immigration consultants required input not only from coast to coast, but from around the world. “As part of the process for submitting our bid to become the English-language provider of this program, we conducted an environmental scan of programs in Canada and similar jurisdictions such as Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain,” Professor Aiken says. “Some of these jurisdictions were well ahead of the curve with a more sophisticated approach to competency-based education. The existing diploma programs in those jurisdictions, as well as my own experience as an immigration and refugee lawyer, helped us identify gaps in Canada’s prior approach to training consultants.”

The result is a program that puts equal emphasis on practical skills and academic knowledge. “That equal focus is what distinguishes us from prior programs,” Aiken says. “Skills have to be equal components with content knowledge, and both have to be integrated, practised and assessed in the program, woven into every course and evaluated.”

So how does this weaving happen? Creating an online program that combines pedagogical excellence with input from advisors and program developers poses its own challenges. Fortunately for the law school, these are challenges it was poised to face. “Over the course of the past few years, Queen’s Law has invested in building a teaching and learning team composed of education experts, course developers, and multimedia designers,” says Laura Kinderman, Assistant Dean, Education Innovation and Online Programs at the law school. “We’re working to provide high-quality educational experiences for our students, blending traditional teaching with the latest pedagogical tools for online education.” 

The Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law is the third Queen’s Faculty of Law program to launch online in the last four years, continuing a pattern of growth in education that began under former Dean Bill Flanagan and continues under current Dean, Mark Walters. “Our online programs bring to bear the expertise of national and international legal academics,” Dean Walters says. “In addition to one of the country’s leading JD and graduate programs, we now have an array of online programs that provide legal education to people of all walks of life. Access to justice is a key value at Queen’s Law, and our online programs make it easier for all Canadians to access and understand the law.” 

Access to justice is a vital part of what Professor Aiken sees as the benefits of the program – and only a part of its many benefits. “We’re going to be building a cohort of competent, compassionate professionals poised to make a difference in the lives of their clients and our broader community. This program will be a flagship for Queen’s Law, in supporting the values that inform all our work at the law school,” she says. “I’m very excited to see the project at the cusp of its launch. 

“It’s been a challenging and rewarding process, but the greatest rewards will be hearing from our future students about their positive learning experiences, and I’m looking forward to that.” 

For more information and to apply, visit https://immigrationdiploma.queenslaw.ca/


Mentorship opportunity builds international partnership

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars program is currently recruiting supervisors for its incoming fall 2021 cohort.

Mastercard Foundation workshop participants from Queen's and the University of Gondar gather for a team photo in Ethiopia.
Participants gather for a team photo following an Occupational Therapy workshop hosted at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia as part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program. (Supplied photo)

In 2017, with the support of The Mastercard Foundation, Queen’s University and the University of Gondar (UoG) entered a partnership to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa. 

As part of the partnership, the UoG/Queen’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars program is designed to provide up to 60 of the African university’s faculty members the opportunity to pursue graduate training at Queen’s. Now in its fourth year, the program is currently recruiting Queensupervisors for the 2021 cohort of incoming PhD candidates from the University of Gondar.  

Funding for the program is part of a $24.2 million grant from The Mastercard Foundation. 

“Queen’s has been fortunate to benefit from the inclusion of UoG faculty members in our classrooms across campus: in the Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Law, and Engineering faculties,” says Heather Aldersey, Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and Scientific Director of the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation, which administers the program. “We would love to see this program continue to cut across disciplines to create a diverse cohort of experts on disability inclusion at the UoG. With only two remaining recruitment cycles for this project, I am hopeful that we can continue to make meaningful matches between applicants and potential supervisors.”  

A rewarding experience 

Faculty members who have supervised current and previous cohorts of Mastercard Foundation Scholars have found it to be a rewarding experience. Jordan Miller, Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and Associate Director of the Physical Therapy program at Queen’s, currently supervises two scholars and will welcome a third this fall. 

“I’ve learned as much from my students as they have from me, I’m sure,” says Dr. Miller. “Working with them has really opened my eyes to new avenues for research and they have enriched my life and research program in many ways.” 

Dr. Miller says that through his work with the Ethiopian students, he is building a hub of researchers with cross-cultural expertise in musculoskeletal conditions and pain. He explains that because this field has not been fully developed in Ethiopia, there is the opportunity to help Ethiopian clinicians and researchers avoid some of the mistakes that have been made in North America, such as reliance on imaging and medication for people with musculoskeletal conditions like back pain. 

Mulugeta Chala, one of the students currently working with Dr. Miller, is studying the lived experience of Ethiopians with low back pain and how healthcare providers can better understand patients and their experience and provide treatment primarily through self-management strategies. The end goal is to design health-care programs specifically for the Ethiopian context.  

Mr. Chala – already an established physiotherapist and educator at the University of Gondar – says he is pleased with the progress his project is making. 

“Dr. Miller is an amazing person and helpful supervisor who has always been easy to approach and work with,” says Mr. Chala. “He does not push you, but he will always ask questions that help you move forward. I am really happy with where I am at – he has really helped with designing the project and sticking to a workable timeline.” 

A unique opportunity 

Faculty supervisors may be from any field that would permit a PhD dissertation related to disability in Ethiopia (or Africa more broadly). Currently, Mastercard Foundation fellows are studying in fields as diverse as occupational therapy, engineering, kinesiology and health studies, law, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences at Queen’s. 

For more information about how to become a supervisor of a Mastercard Foundation Fellow, email Heather Aldersey at hma@queensu.ca. For more information on the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program visit the website. 


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