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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.

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.

Designing Canada’s neurotech future

Join Queen’s researchers and representatives from industry, government, and NGOs as they collaborate to solve the technological, ethical, legal, and policy issues of the latest tech focused on our brains, neurotechnology.

[Photo of a MRI of a brain by Donald Brien]
Art of Research 2020 Winner: "The Wiring of the Brain" by Donald Brien (Centre for Neuroscience Studies)

As new technologies develop, designing them for human benefit can be a complex challenge. Neurotechnology, considered any tool used to measure, intervene on, or artificially stimulate brain function, is an emerging technology with extensive potential societal impact. It has already demonstrated advanced applications to help those with neurological disorders, while also attracting the eyes of Silicon Valley and those with interests in its surveillance and personal augmentation potential. However, getting the human benefit right requires collaboration between different disciplines, beyond computing and AI, to fully grasp the social, ethical, and legal impact this technology can have on our lives.

Researchers across faculties at Queen’s are bringing this conversation to the forefront with A Neurotech Future: Ethical, Legal and Policy Issues, an open online workshop on Thursday, April 22. It is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to explore the Future Challenge area “Humanity+,” “balancing risks and benefits in the emerging surveillance society.” Queen's experts from the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Surveillance Studies Centre, and Faculties of Law and Engineering and Applied Science with representatives from government, industry, and NGOs and co-sponsorship from the Ontario Brain Institute and the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, will mobilize their thought leadership with tech innovators and policymakers building and defining this new industry in Canada. Collaborations and learnings from the workshop will lead to a policy report on neurotech and surveillance and outcomes will be presented to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics.

Susan Boehnke (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience Studies) is the Lead Organizer of the event. Working with David Lyon (Surveillance Studies Centre) and Martha Bailey (Law), she explains why this was the right time for Queen’s researchers to facilitate this discussion.

“As neurotechnology becomes increasingly applied to novel use scenarios, it is imperative that we develop laws and policies to protect privacy, to guard against misuse of technologies for surveillance, and ensure that the benefits of a neurotech future are distributed in an equitable and democratic way,” says Dr. Boehnke. “Queen’s University is uniquely positioned to engage in cross-disciplinary research and to develop the innovative training programs that will support the growth of this industry and position Canada as a leader. Researchers at Queen’s are already exploring the scientific, technical, legal, ethical, and policy issues related to the use of neurotechnologies. Our hope is that this conference will act as a catalyst to facilitate more cross-disciplinary collaboration.”

In working through the now and future societal implications of neurotechnology, students have an important role in this workshop and its outcomes. Graduate students from the Centre for Neuroscience Studies and the Surveillance Studies Centre will collaborate with students from Merlin Neurotech (a chapter of NeuroTechX) and the Neuroscience and Policy Society in a working group to support interdisciplinary collaboration. Their contributions will help inform a new curriculum for a graduate-level course in Neuroethics open to students across the university. Insights from the workshop may also inform the development of a unique certificate or post-graduate diploma in neurotech, guided by neuroethics, and geared to business, computer science, and engineering students without a neuroscience background eager to enter the industry.

Highlights from the public workshop will include a morning keynote on the Canadian Brain Research Strategy from Judy Illes, Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia and Director of Neuroethics Canada. An afternoon keynote will be delivered by John Weigelt, National Technology Officer at Microsoft, on lessons from responsible AI informing successful collaborations in policy and regulation. Panels will focus on current and future innovations in neurotech, surveillance and data privacy, and implications for the legal system, as well as perspectives from industry and government.

The Thursday, April 22 event is free and open to the public with registration and full schedule available on Eventbrite. Those interested in the working group sessions on Friday, April 23 are encouraged to contact the organizers.

Queen's announces next Dean of Smith School of Business

Dr. Wanda Costen has been appointed to the role for a five-year term, beginning July 1, 2021.

Dr. Wanda Costen
Dr. Wanda Costen (Supplied Photo)

Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane is pleased to announce the appointment of Wanda Costen as Dean, Smith School of Business for a five-year term effective July 1, 2021. This appointment follows a comprehensive search process chaired by Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green on behalf of the Principal that included representation and input from faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

“Dr. Costen’s appointment is an incredibly important one for the university and we are excited to welcome her to Queen’s,” says Principal Deane. “She possesses a depth and breadth of experience which includes both academic and leadership skills that will be transformative as the Smith School of Business continues to develop and enhance its reputation for business education.”

Dr. Costen brings a unique combination of experience in academia – as a Dean, senior administrator, researcher, and professor– with both a private and public sector management career. At a time when the university is embarking upon a new strategic direction focussed on its impact on the community at a local, national and international level, Dr. Costen is the embodiment of the university’s commitment to foster human talent through the cultivation of the mind and creative spirit and in doing so, create a better world. A profound goal of Queen’s and of the Smith School of Business is to prepare our students to become change makers, inspiring them with bold ambitions for a brighter future.

“Post-secondary education is essential for improving society,” says Dr. Costen. “I believe business education has a responsibility to develop talent with the capabilities and desire to address social problems, while creating economic sustainability in their communities. Our role is to create learning experiences that challenge students’ world views, biases, and beliefs to develop open-minded, courageous leaders willing to take risks for the greater good.”

Dr. Costen is currently the Dean, School of Business, at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta and previously held a senior academic leadership role at North Arizona University, and academic roles at University of Tennessee, University of Nevada, and Washington State University. Dr. Costen earned her PhD in Sociology from Washington State University and an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University. She completed her undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point, in only the seventh West Point class with women. In 2013/14 she was a Fulbright Scholar with the University of the West Indies – Mona, in Kingston, Jamaica.

Dr. Costen’s research interests encompass women and leadership, strategic human resources, racial and gender inequality in organizations, managing diversity, and ethnic minority student experiences. She has consulted on equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization issues in both the public and private sectors working with Aon, ATB, TD Bank, and several municipalities. Her teaching expertise includes strategy, leadership and ethics, human resource management, organizational behaviour, employment law, and diversity. In her current role as Dean, she has leveraged her experience as a trailblazer to assist other academics, implementing a new faculty search process to reduce bias in hiring while enhancing equity and yielding highly qualified candidates. Dr. Costen established a Seed Grant Fund inspiring junior faculty through support for scholarly productivity and collaborative student-engaged research.

“After interviewing a broad range of interested candidates, Dr. Costen’s leadership skills and passion for business education and research stood out. She also has a track record of fostering funding and partnerships while building cross-campus and community collaborations,” says Provost Green.

Prior to her academic career, Dr. Costen held leadership and management roles with companies including Aramark Services, Pepsi-Cola and Greyhound Lines. She served as a Platoon Leader in the United States Army based in Frankfurt, West Germany. Dr. Costen grew up in a military family and relocated around the world during her childhood.

The Principal and the Provost offer their most sincere thanks to Brenda Brouwer for her exceptional tenure as Interim Dean at Smith and extend their gratitude to the Principal’s Advisory Committee members for their dedication and service to the university.

Smith shares EDII Strategy and Action Plan

Smith School of Business at Queen's University releases framework for improving equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization.

Smith School of Business EDII Strategy and Action Plan cover art.
Smith School of Business’ EDII Strategy and Action Plan aligns with broader efforts taking place across the university in support of Queen's Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism.

This week, Smith School of Business at Queen’s University released its EDII Strategy and Action Plan – a detailed framework designed to stimulate meaningful and lasting change in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization at the institution. Its development builds on prior anti-oppression initiatives and is a continuation of efforts by students, staff, faculty, and alumni who have courageously and devotedly pressed the advancement of anti-racism and anti-oppression on campus. There was significant internal and external consultation as the plan was developed.

“The work ahead of us is both challenging and vitally important,” says Brenda Brouwer, Interim Dean at Smith. “We must eliminate forms of discrimination that have perpetuated inequities in our environment, curricula, research, and administrative operations, and we must change attitudes that have disadvantaged many. Access, equity, and inclusion are essential to our school’s future and to position our students to succeed as global citizens, role models, and leaders.”

Commitments detailed in the plan fall under six core areas: responsible conduct; accessible and inclusive student experience; teaching and learning; support, resources, and capacity; research and thought leadership; and community. Each area entails specific actions that will help cultivate a vibrant, safe, and welcoming academic and work environment in which students, faculty, and staff are empowered to thrive.

The plan prioritizes accountability and includes targets and performance measurements that align with the goals and assess Smith’s progress toward achieving them. Updates on progress will be shared with the campus community, and the action plan will continue to evolve as a ‘living document’ incorporating initiatives that build on the framework and maintain momentum toward a cultural shift.

“We are answerable to the community for the commitments we make,” says Dean Brouwer. “It is through the efforts of many and support of all that we will deliver on the plans”

Smith’s EDII Strategy and Action Plan aligns with broader efforts taking place across the university in support of the Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism made by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane and senior administrators in 2020.

Learn more about equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization at Smith School of Business and read their EDII Strategy and Action Plan in its entirety.

Why employees hesitate to speak up at work – and how to encourage them

The Conversation: Studies consistently show that many employees are reluctant to speak up at work, and are even hardwired to remain silent.

Employees are often reluctant to speak up at work. But if they make efforts to research their ideas and ensure they benefit the organization, it benefits both workers and employers. (Unsplash)

 

Imagine this: You notice a problem that might be disastrous for your company’s reputation, or you have an idea that can save thousands of dollars.

You want to say something but you’re not sure if you should. You’re afraid it might not go over well and not sure it will make a difference. You want to speak up, but you’re uncertain about how to voice your ideas in such a way that people will actually listen.

You’re not alone. Studies consistently show that employees are reluctant to speak up, and are even hardwired to remain silent, with 50 per cent of employees keeping quiet at work. Why is this the case, and how can we help people voice their opinions at work more effectively?

Speak up or zip it?

Employee voice — speaking up with ideas, concerns, opinions or information — is vital for organizational performance and innovation. On the flip side, silence is at the root of many well-known organizational disasters.

For example, Canada’s Phoenix pay system debacle, which has already cost the federal government $1.5 billion, was attributed to a culture that “does not reward those who share negative news.” Employees who sounded alarms were told they weren’t being “team players.”

Employee voice is the antidote to this culture of silence, but it’s not easy to encourage. Employees withhold voice because they think it will not be heard or fear it may backfire by embarrassing their managers or damaging their own reputations. These reservations are reasonable.

Although speaking up is generally linked with positive career outcomes, it can lead to lower social status at the office and lessened performance ratings in some circumstances.

Employees’ proactive personalities and managers’ demonstrated openness are both relevant to overcoming these reservations. Although we can’t change someone’s personality, leaders can create more welcoming environments that support and encourage voice.

Encouraging workers to voice opinions

For example, employees are more likely to speak up when they believe their leader encourages and solicits their opinions. By contrast, when leaders punish employees who dare to speak up with concerns or ideas, such as by publicly reprimanding them, voice dwindles quickly.

Pointing out others’ mistakes or sharing ideas that go against common practice can “rock the boat.” So how can employees still find ways to speak up effectively and have their ideas actually heard, despite these risks?

A woman smiles in an office setting.
Why don’t employees speak up? Often it’s because managers don’t encourage it. Healthy, happy workplaces encourage workers to voice their opinions. (You X Ventures/Unsplash)

Our research sought to answer this question by focusing on the quality of the messages that employees express. We first unpacked the meaning of what we call high-quality voice, uncovering the key ways that employees can improve their messages to gain greater recognition. We investigated these ideas with five studies involving nearly 1,500 participants.

We identified four critical features of employee voice attempts that make them higher-quality:

  1. They have a strong rationale. Their ideas and opinions are logical and based on evidence. Employees should do their homework first and build a compelling case for their ideas by showing they’ve put a lot of thought into them. They shouldn’t speak up if they haven’t gathered information or reflected on the reason behind implementing their ideas first.

  2. They have a high feasibility. Their ideas are practical and have the potential to be implemented. Employees should consider whether their organizations can realistically take action on their suggestions, such as by accounting for time or resource constraints and offering details on how to enact them. Employees shouldn’t ignore the realities and difficulties leaders face in actually doing something with their ideas and concerns.

  3. They have a strong organizational focus. Their opinions are critical to the success of the organization or team, not just personally beneficial to the employee. Workers should emphasize the collective benefits of their voice and link it with the organization’s visions, mission, and/or goals, such as by explaining how it will help the organization overall. They shouldn’t focus on issues that only affect themselves, otherwise it comes across as self-interested.

  4. They have a high novelty. Employees are innovative and account for new perspectives or viewpoints. They should consider whether their organization has tried (or considered) this idea before and clarify what makes it particularly unique, such as by contrasting it from typical conventions or opinions. They shouldn’t just repeat old ideas or approach the situation with the same frame of mind.

    Tips on voice quality are seen in a graph
    Voice quality tips. (Author), 

Putting effort into better ‘voicing’

Putting energy into developing higher-quality voice messages takes effort, but our research shows that it pays off. Employees who regularly presented higher-quality voice were regarded as more worthy of promotion and better all-round performers in their jobs.

These positive outcomes were evaluated from both peers and managers. And these findings held up regardless of how often employees spoke up, whether the evaluator liked them or viewed them as competent. Basically, speaking up with higher-quality messages predicted job performance and promotability above and beyond all of these other factors.

So is there a downside to speaking up? Yes, if you don’t put the time and energy into making your input high-quality.

When people spoke up often with low-quality ideas, their peers reported that they were worse performers and less promotable. So speaking up can backfire if employees consume all of the airtime by frequently expressing low-quality ideas that offer little help to anyone.

The lesson? It’s worthwhile to speak up and share your ideas and concerns — and it may help your career — but if you do so, ensure that you do your homework first, reflect on the feasibility of implementation, connect the benefits to the organization and/or its employees and consider what makes it particularly novel.

How leaders can help

What can organizational leaders do to help employees voice their opinions more effectively? When asking for input, prompt with some questions. For example:

  • What is the logic for this idea and is there evidence to support it?

  • How might we actually implement it and overcome barriers?

  • How does this fit within the organization’s priorities and/or help other employees?

  • What is new about this idea that we haven’t tried before?

These questions can produce higher quality ideas that will benefit employees, leaders and organizations alike.

Ultimately, increasing the quality of employee feedback and opinions will help them be heard. It will also result in ideas that are more likely to be implemented and improve work conditions and performance for the entire organization.The Conversation

________________________________________________________

Kyle Brykman, Assistant Professor of Management, University of Windsor and Jana Raver, E. Marie Shantz Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

2020: The Year in Research

A look back at the major initiatives, the funding and awards garnered, and how a community mobilized to respond to and combat COVID-19.

In recent years, we have taken a moment each December to highlight some of the research that has captured our attention over the previous 12 months.

2020 was not a normal year. It challenged us, tested us, and saw our research community pivot in creative and unexpected ways to respond to the global crisis. Through all of this, research prominence remained a key driver for Queen’s and our researchers continued to make national and international headlines for their discoveries and award-winning scholarship.

Join us as we review some of the highlights of 2020.

[Photo of Hailey Poole dispensing hand sanitizer]
A team of Queen’s researchers from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering along with GreenCentre Canada partnered with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Tri-Art Manufacturing (Kingston) to develop hand sanitizer, producing up to 300 litres of product per week to help meet the needs of Kingston hospitals.

COVID-19 Response: Mobilizing as a Community to Confront COVID-19

In the early days of the pandemic, Queen’s researchers across disciplines were active in offering commentary and fact-based analysis on COVID-19-related issues – from understanding if DNA is key to whether you get COVID and helping to diagnose unusual symptoms related to COVID stress to suggesting 5-min workouts you can do at home. Many of these analyses were carried on national and international news platforms, demonstrating the critical contribution that researchers and academics can make to informing the conversation.

When news of PPE and ventilator shortages and test wait times hit international media, research and student groups across campus leveraged their skills to come up with innovative solutions. Here are a few examples:

  • A team of researchers from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, along with GreenCentre Canada, partnered with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Tri-Art Manufacturing (Kingston) to make 300 litres of hand sanitizer per week to help meet the needs of Kingston hospitals
  • Researchers from Queen’s University and KHSC partnered with Public Health Ontario Laboratories and Hamilton Health Sciences Center to develop an in-house COVID test that can provide results in 24 hours
  • Faculty and students at the Human Mobility Research Centre and Ingenuity Labs joined forces with KHSC health professionals to take on the Code Life Ventilator Challenge, a global call to design a low-cost and easy-to-manufacture ventilator that can be created and deployed anywhere around the world
  • Queen’s Noble Laureate, Dr. Arthur B. McDonald, led the Canadian arm of the Mechanical Ventilator Milano project, which aimed to create an easy-to-build ventilator that can help treat COVID-19 patients. In May, the Government of Canada announced an agreement with Vexos to produce 10,000 Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM) units and in September the ventilators received Health Canada approval
(Photo by Matthew Manor / Kingston Health Sciences Centre)
Queen’s University and Kingston Health Sciences Centres (KHSC) partnered with Public Health Ontario Laboratories and Hamilton Health Sciences Center to develop an in-house test for COVID-19 that can be completed in large volumes and provide results in 24 hours. (Photo by Matthew Manor / Kingston Health Sciences Centre)

The Vice-Principal (Research) Portfolio also quickly mobilized to offer Rapid Response funding, which was awarded to advance 20 research projects supporting medical and social coronavirus-related solutions. Queen’s researchers also partnered with industry to transform pandemic decision-making and healthcare through two Digital Technology Supercluster projects, Looking Glass and Project ACTT, focused on predictive modelling and cancer testing and treatment. The projects received over $4 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster’s COVID-19 program.

Funding Future Research

Queen’s continued to attract leading researchers and competitive funding and awards through a number of national and international programs.

[Rendering of the MVM Ventilator]
A team of Canadian physicists, led by Queen’s Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, is part of an international effort to design the MVM Ventilator. With support from Canadian philanthropists and Queen's alumni the project was able to progress, leading to an order of 10,000 units from the Government of Canada.

Hundreds of grants for new projects and research infrastructure were secured through CHIR, SSHRC, NSERC and CFI, Canada’s national funding agencies. Seven multidisciplinary Queen’s research projects received $1.7 million in support from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2019 Exploration competition, a program that fosters discovery and innovation by encouraging Canadian researchers to explore, take risks, and work with partners across disciplines and borders. Additionally, The Canadian Cancer Trials Group, SNOLAB, and Canada’s National Design Network, all of which are Queen’s-affiliated research facilities, saw a funding increase of over $60 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Sciences Initiatives fund. The Institute for Sustainable Finance received a boost of $5 million from Canada’s big banks to support ISF’s mission of aligning mainstream financial markets with Canada’s transition to a lower carbon economy.

The university welcomed and appointed seven new and two renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC) in two rounds (September and December 2020) of CRC competition announced this year. One of the country’s highest research honours, Queen’s is now home to over 50 Canada Research Chairs. Queen’s also welcomed seven promising new researchers through the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars and Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship programs.

Recognizing Research Leadership

2020 saw Queen’s researchers win some of Canada’s top awards and honours for research excellence and the university continues to rank second in Canada for awards per faculty member (2021 Maclean’s University Rankings).

[Photo of Leach’s storm petrel chick by Sabina Wilhelm]
Queen's researchers, from graduate students to Canada Research Chairs, continue to make an impact on our understanding of the world. (Photo by Sabina Wilhelm

Queen’s had a successful year earning fellowships within Canada’s national academies. Nancy van Deusen and Cathleen Crudden were elected to the Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, while Amy Latimer-Cheung and Awet Weldemichael were named members of the organization’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Health research leaders Janet Dancey, Marcia Finlayson, and Graeme Smith were inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and Michael Cunningham and Jean Hutchinson were elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

While our researchers were recognized with dozens of honours throughout the year, below are a few highlights: David Lyon secured Canada’s Molson Prize for pioneering the field of surveillance studies. Education researcher Lynda Colgan received the NSERC Science Promo Prize for her efforts in promoting science to the general public. Heather Castleden was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa to engage with Native Hawaiians about their leadership in renewable energy projects. A lauded steward of the environment, John Smol received Canada’s Massey Medal for his lifetime of work in studying environmental stressors. The first Indigenous midwife in Canada to earn a doctoral degree, health researcher Karen Lawford was named one of this year’s 12 outstanding Indigenous leaders and received the Indspire Award for Health.

Internally, researchers were honoured with the university’s Prizes for Excellence in Research (Yan-Fei-Liu, Michael Cunningham, and Gabor Fichtinger) and the Distinguished University Professor (Audrey Kobayashi, David Bakhurst, Julian Barling, Glenville Jones, John Smol, Kathleen Lahey) title.

Major Initiatives

The Discover Research@Queen’s campaign was launched to build engagement with the Research@Queen’s website and encouraged 1000s of key external stakeholders to learn more about the research happening at the University. Our community continued to mobilize their research through fact-based analysis on The Conversation Canada’s news platform. In 2020, 79 Queen’s researchers published 85 articles that garnered over 1.9 million views.

[Illustration of the scales of justice by Gary Neill]
Queen's University researchers Samuel Dahan and Xiaodan Zhu are using AI to level the legal playing field for Canadians, including those affected by COVID-19 unemployment.

This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Art of Research photo contest with over 100 faculty, staff, students, and alumni submitting engaging and thought-provoking research images. Ten category and special prizes were awarded.

The WE-Can (Women Entrepreneurs Canada) program through Queen’s Partnership and Innovation (QPI) celebrated one year of supporting women entrepreneurs in Kingston and the surrounding area, through programs such as Compass North and LEAD.  The QPI team also marked one year at its new downtown Kingston location, the Seaway Coworking building, which allows easy access for the community and partners.

To support researchers thinking outside of the box to solve some of humanity’s most complex problems, the Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio launched the Wicked Ideas competition to fund high risk, high reward projects with interdisciplinary teams that are not easily supported through traditional funding opportunities. Twelve projects received funding in round one and researchers can now apply for round two.


Congratulations to the Queen’s research community for their resilience and successes this year. We look forward to seeing what new research and opportunities 2021 will bring. To learn more about research at the university, visit the Research@Queen’s website, and for information about research promotion, contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives.

[Art of Photo by Hayden Wainwright]
2020 Art of Research Photo Contest Winner: Hayden Wainwright (MSc Biology), Nature's van Gogh (Category: Out in the Field)

Internal funding for global impact

The Wicked Ideas research competition is now open for applications with notice of intent due Jan. 6.

The Vice-Principal (Research) is offering close to $2 million in funding for Queen’s researchers who are thinking outside of the box to solve some of humanity’s most complex problems.

[Wicked Ideas Graphic]

The Wicked Ideas Competition is open for its second year as an initiative to fund high risk, high reward projects with interdisciplinary teams that are not easily supported through traditional funding opportunities. The goal is to provide Queen’s researchers with the initial support to collaborate and apply their expertise towards wicked problems, issues so complex and dependent on so many factors that it is hard to grasp what exactly the problem is or how to tackle it. This year the initiative supported innovative approaches to cleantech, Lyme disease, and microplastics.

The Competition

This year’s competition will have two application streams. A minimum of 10 teams will be funded through the Interdisciplinary Stream where team members will be from multiple disciplines. The Discipline Specific Stream will fund a maximum of five teams where members can be from within a given discipline. The competition is open to all Queen’s faculty members, and teams can also leverage the expertise of students, post-doctoral fellows, and community members, to name a few, as members. Up to 15 teams successful in the first phase of the competition will be awarded $75,000.

To compete for the second phase of funding, teams will be invited to pitch their projects to an adjudication panel made up of researchers, community members, industry, and other partners. Up to five successful teams from this round will receive an additional $150,000. Projects can concentrate on local, national, or global challenges and should focus on novel approaches (high risk) and disruptive or transformative thinking (high reward). Participating teams will also be asked about their potential knowledge mobilization outcomes and how this research could impact the community or lead to further partnerships for implementation and collaboration.

"The first Wicked Ideas competition supported exciting projects that are addressing complex issues in creative and innovative ways with the potential to lead to additional funding through the government’s New Frontiers in Research program," says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). "I very much look forward to the response of the research community to this year’s opportunity."

Notice of Intent

Notice of Intent applications are due Jan. 6, 2021. For more information on the initiative and how to submit your project, see the Vice-Principal (Research) Office.

Three Queen’s community members appointed to Order of Canada

Two Queen’s University graduate students and an alumnus have been appointed to the Order of Canada.

Governor General Julie Payette announced 114 appointments to the Order of Canada on Friday, Nov. 27, including Michele Leering, a lawyer and the executive director of the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre who is currently pursuing a PhD in the Faculty of Law, and Tessa Virtue, an Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater and student at Smith School of Business.

Michele Leering
Michele Leering

Leering is being recognized for “her dedication to helping underprivileged and marginalized populations gain access to legal services and the justice system.”

“Being nominated for this award is an honour because it recognizes the value of the community-based justice work being carried out by the staff of Ontario’s community legal clinics and our efforts to ensure equal access to justice, human rights, legal literacy, and the ‘legal health’ of people living on a low income,” Leering says.

Her PhD thesis documents the imperatives for legal education reform, specifically the contribution of reflective practice as a professional learning theory of benefit to legal educators, law students, and legal practitioners. Her research compares approaches in Canadian and Australian law schools in traditional law and experiential learning courses.

Virtue is one of the most-decorated Canadian skaters of all-time and is being appointed for “her unparalleled excellence in ice dancing and for inspiring the next generation of Canadian figure skaters.” Along with her ice dance partner Scott Moir, who is also being appointed, she captured the gold medal at the 2010 and 2018 Winter Olympics, as well as the silver medal in 2014. The duo are also three-time world champions (2010, 2012, 2017).

Tessa Virtue
Tessa Virtue

“Feeling all wrapped up in emotion … Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big. I am humbled by this honour,” Virtue posted to her Twitter account.

At Queen’s she is pursuing an Executive MBA through Game Plan, which includes a partnership between the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Smith School of Business. Through this strategic partnership Team Canada athletes are able to further their education and build their business skills after years of competitive sport. 

Also appointed to the Order of Canada is alumnus Anthony Olmsted Hendrie (Arts’60), a lawyer from Ottawa who has spent 60 years volunteering and donating to many charities and non-profits. At Queen’s, he established the Anthony O. Hendrie Bursary to support students from the Georgian Triangle area of Southern Ontario.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967. Queen’s alumnus and Member of Parliament John Matheson (Arts’40, LLD’80) was a driving force in its development. He said the Tricolour Society at Queen’s served as a model for the Order of Canada.

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