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Student entrepreneurs get innovative

Hasina Daya (Artsci'14) provides an update on her team’s start-up business, Cellblock Brewery, during a 3-2-1 meeting that is held weekly as part of the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative. University Communications

This article is published in the Aug. 12 edition of the Gazette. Pick up your copy of the newspaper at one of the many locations around campus.

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette editor

Friday mornings throughout the summer there is a group of students who gather in Beamish-Munro Hall. Divided into teams, they take their turn at the front of Room 313 and provide a progress report on their projects.

This is a 3-2-1 meeting. They have three slides, two minutes for presentation and one minute for questions.

These are young entrepreneurs and they are taking part in the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative (QSII).
Run by the Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC), the program brings together students from a number of faculties, as well as St. Lawrence College, with a range of backgrounds. Their goal, however, is the same – to plan and create a product and then make it market-ready.

From a device providing digital video in boreholes deep in the earth to a microbrewery drawing upon Kingston’s a prison town heritage to an electronic device cleaner for hospitals, the projects are imaginative and diverse.

QIC itself was established in 2012 as a collaboration between Queen’s School of Business and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. The aim, along with that of QSII, is to build on the university’s strengths “in cultivating ideas and fueling discoveries.”

It is clear within a few presentations at the 3-2-1 meeting that those goals are being met.

Leading the way at the QSII are Jim McLellan, QIC’s Academic Director, professor and head of Chemical Engineering and Engineering Chemistry, Greg Bavington, QIC’s Executive Director, and Alix Murphy, QSII Co-ordinator. University Communications

Leading the way at the QSII are the trio of Greg Bavington, QIC’s Executive Director, Jim McLellan, QIC’s Academic Director, professor and head of Chemical Engineering and Engineering Chemistry, and Alix Murphy, QSII Co-ordinator. The 16-week paid internship program, now in its third year, is aimed at advancing innovation and entrepreneurship and each summer has a fresh crop of bright minds, eager to see their ideas come to fruition.

While there are similar programs at other schools, QSII differentiates itself in the breadth of programming and that it is a pan-university effort. Instead of belonging to a particular faculty the QIC reports to the Provost. There is tangible support from all the major faculties and even the Alma Mater Society.
In a short time, the team has seen a lot of progress.

“I’d say we’ve leap-frogged most of them,” says Mr. Bavington when comparing QSII to similar programs in Canada. “We don’t have the track record, we don’t have the scale but I’d say our programming is exceptional and at the leading edge.”

For example, Mr. Bavington and Dr. McLellan recently attended a symposium in Massachusetts where the organizers offered a list of around 20 best practices for on-campus incubation. QSII had already implemented all of them on its own.

One is that the teams are formed by the students themselves, rather than being pre-selected by the directors. The reason for this is simple: while there may be some hurt feelings and awkward moments for the students, it mirrors what really happens in the private sector.

That’s experiential learning and that is key to the program. It is not an academic certificate course and isn’t run as such. The projects really are start-ups and there are no grades.

The teams do not work in isolation either. While there is plenty of competition, with a $30,000 first prize on the line to help grow the team’s business, there also is a massive amount of collaboration. The weekly meetings are an example. Not only are the teams giving a progress report, they are turning to their peers for ideas, support, and perhaps most importantly, constructive criticism. Teams and individuals are held to account.

“They enjoy problem solving and they enjoy brainstorming and they enjoy critical thinking and they enjoy creativity,” Dr. McLellan says. “And where you will see that is in these 3-2-1 presentations where each venture will say ‘here is what we have done, here is our timeline and here are some of the obstacles.’ They just sort of put it out there and they get feedback. Everyone understands that it is time for a constructive but potentially critical feedback.”

Now with the third group of students working on projects, the team is confident in saying that there is a large amount of interest in such a program and that Queen’s students are showing that they are self-starters and bring a strong mix of initiative, creativity and critical thinking to the table. Yet, they aren’t perfect, Mr. Bavington says.

“One of the things that I’ve learned personally is that I am absolutely convinced not only is there a lot of pent-up demand, there’s a lot of talent in these young people” he says. “They’ve got a ton of talent, they’re nice kids, they’re well-intentioned kids, they’re bright, eager, highly motivated, they’re organized and they’re fun. But one of the weaknesses that they have is that they have failed very rarely in their lives.”

Many of the students have been the top of their class throughout their education. The QSII program will challenge them like never before and by the time the program is over there are plenty of students who realize that entrepreneurship is not for them.

However, they will have gained much.

“Some of the important qualities for entrepreneurship are thinking on your feet, being able to say something succinctly, take an idea, figure out what you don’t know, what you don’t know and being able to go dig and figure out what you need to know,” Dr. McLellan says. “Those are all sorts of critical thought qualities you want in students anyway.”

High demand for Queen's programs outpaces Ontario university trend

By Communications Staff,

The number of students choosing Queen’s University is outpacing the provincial trend, reflecting strong demand for Queen’s undergraduate education and quality programs.

According to data recently released by the Ontario University Application Centre, the number of confirmations—students who have accepted Queen’s offer of admission—is up 11 per cent for the 2014 academic year. That compares to an overall decline of 1.3 per cent across Ontario universities. Queen’s continues to have one of Canada’s highest entering averages at 88.4 per cent.

“Top students choose Queen’s not only because of its world-class academic programs, but also because we offer a welcoming community where faculty and staff do everything they can to ensure our students succeed,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Thanks are due to our recruitment staff, faculty and alumni who talked to prospective students about our outstanding living and learning environment and the benefits of a Queen’s education.”

Queen’s is highly regarded for its student learning experience, performing very well in the National Survey of Student Engagement’s (NSSE) key benchmarks, including enriching educational experience and level of academic challenge. 86 per cent of senior-year Queen’s students surveyed by NSSE report their entire educational experience as “excellent” or “good”, which puts Queen’s among the top institutions in Ontario.

“Queen’s offers a unique value proposition to prospective students,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “We have all of the benefits of a mid-sized, residential university focused on an exceptional undergraduate education, within the context of a research-intensive institution where innovation happens on a daily basis.”

The growing interest in Queen’s extends beyond Canada’s borders, with international students expected to make up 6.3 per cent of the 2014 incoming class.

Policy Studies attracts Ontario's chief economist

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Ontario’s chief economist Patrick Deutscher is set to join Queen’s School of Policy Studies this fall as the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Amethyst Fellow.

Patrick Deutscher will share his public policy and economics expertise with Queen's School of Policy Studies faculty and students beginning this fall.

“Dr. Deutscher brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position that will make him an invaluable resource for faculty and students,” says Kim Nossal, Director, Queen’s School of Policy Studies. “His linkages to economic and policy networks are a tremendous asset that will support the school’s engagement with external professional public policy communities.”

Dr. Deutscher has served in his current role since 2006. He is also the assistant deputy minister in the Office of Economic Policy at the Ministry of Finance. He is responsible for industrial and finance policy, labour and demographic analysis, and macroeconomic and revenue forecasting and analysis.

"Ontario faces big economic and social challenges. There are also tremendous opportunities. I am looking forward to working with students who will be tackling these challenges and helping us seize these opportunities in their future careers," Dr. Deutscher says.

During his more than 30-year career at the federal and provincial levels, Dr. Deutscher has developed considerable expertise in the fields of economics and public policy. He holds an MA in economics from York University and a PhD in economics from the University of Toronto. He has taught macroeconomics at the university level and authored the first full study of R.G. Hawtrey, an influential figure in the development of macroeconomics in the 20th century.

The OPS Amethyst Fellowship, established in 2003, provides support for a senior OPS official to spend up to one year at Queen's School of Policy Studies. During that time, the Amethyst Fellow works with future policy leaders and raises the profile of the OPS as a centre of public policy excellence. The Amethyst Fellow teaches a course, participates as a guest speaker, and helps organize the annual Queen’s Master of Public Administration Capital Briefings program in Toronto, among other activities.

Dr. Deutscher will take over from current OPS Amethyst Fellow Nancy Austin in September.
 

Public policy prof to lead national group

Kathy Brock, a professor in the School of Policy Studies and the Department of Political Studies, was recently elected the first female president of the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA), the leading national organization representing the schools of public administration, policy and management across Canada and academics engaged in research and teaching on all facets of government.

In addition to her CAPPA commitments, Dr. Brock has also been working on her own research and commenting in the media about the recent provincial election. She took some time out from her busy schedule to discuss her appointment and the importance of public policy research with Senior Communications Officer Mark Kerr.

MK: Why did you want to serve as president of CAPPA?

Kathy Brock was interested in serving as president of the Canadian Association of Progams in Public Administration because the organization has evolved in recent years and become more involved in reaching out to all of the public policy schools in Canada.

KB: A number of public administration departments and schools have come online in the past few years. It’s a changing field. I was interested in the position because CAPPA has become a much more dynamic organization in the last five years and more involved in reaching out to all of the public policy schools across Canada.

CAPPA is looking at developing an accreditation process for schools, and I really believe in that. I think if we have an accreditation process, we will be more consistent with international standards. Accreditation increases both the acceptance of our research and work within government. It also says to the public policy and public administration community that our students are going to be strong whether they get placed at the national, provincial, Aboriginal level or internationally.

And it’s a great opportunity for the Queen’s School of Policy Studies. We are seen to be a leader in the field and this is taking that leadership very responsibly and working with others in a more collective way. Plus, the researchers, teachers and thinkers I am working with are excellent. They are a lot of fun to work with.

MK: What do you want to accomplish as president?

KB: Accreditation, for sure, as well as working with others to develop a number of national courses that all schools could implement. Those courses would ensure Canadian students have core competencies.
More generally, I would like to focus on the promotion of academic research in the public sector. I think we can harness the schools to do that. I am involved in a national survey and one of the things we have been seeing is that governments are not as inclined to turn to university researchers as they were in the past. They are more likely to go to the private sector – consulting firms, NGOs and non-profits.

MK: Why has there been a shift away from the use of academic research in the public sector?

KB: Honestly, I think it’s because we don’t do the translation of research well. When consultants or non-profits go in, they put research in a very practical context. Often they don’t do the theoretical and conceptual research as well as the academic community does, but they know how to present their results much more effectively and target it to the audience.

Governments are talking about evidence-based research all the time, and that’s one of the reasons we have to be a player in the field. Academic communities are where you get balanced, evidence-based research that can meet those needs.

The interview was condensed and edited for clarity.

QSB executive education in world's top 30

By Communications Staff,

Queen’s School of Business’ open enrollment executive education was recently ranked No. 28 in the world by the Financial Times. Six Canadian business schools were included in this year’s annual ranking of global executive education providers.

“Queen’s School of Business is not only the largest provider of executive education in Canada, we are also among the best,” said Salman Mufti, Associate Dean and Executive Director, Queen’s School of Business – Executive Education. “This accolade further strengthens our goal to be a top-10 ranked, global provider of executive education.”

The Financial Times executive education ranking is based on a wide range of criteria, from teaching methods and course design to follow up and repeat business. This is the 16th year the Financial Times has ranked global executive education. For more details, visit the Financial Times 2014 executive education ranking.
 

Queen's announces realignment of School of Policy Studies

Queen’s announced today a realignment of the School of Policy Studies (SPS), effective July 1, and the establishment of a new Policy Council to champion the enrichment of the school’s programs.

The changes will see the SPS director report to David Saunders, Dean of the Queen’s School of Business (QSB), while the Master of Industrial Relations (MIR) program will become part of the Faculty of Arts and Science. The SPS will remain a separate academic unit, and a separate budget unit within the Queen’s budget model.

“The SPS has a long history of preparing students for challenging careers in public service; this realignment is the first step in ensuring its programs keep pace with the evolving needs of the public sector,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “With more than a dozen other universities offering public administration programs, we must ensure that the SPS is able to maintain a leading position, consistent with Queen’s century-old reputation as a training ground for the nation’s policy makers.”

The realignment comes after an external review of the school identified ways in which its existing strengths could be enhanced by aligning SPS with a professional faculty like QSB.

In addition, a new Policy Council will be established to make recommendations around the enrichment of the school’s programs and broadening its collaborations with other faculties. The council will be chaired by the provost and will include deans from faculties where there is a policy interest and expertise, the director of the SPS, as well as external experts.

“The continued success of the SPS depends on both the excellence of its programs and its financial sustainability,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “This change in reporting structure and the creation of the Policy Council are first steps in the process of working together to ensure the future success of the school.”

Kim Nossal, Director of the School of Policy Studies and Stauffer-Dunning Chair of Policy Studies, says the change will help the school work more closely with other units.

“The SPS has always been a leading centre for advanced education, research, debate and interaction with the public service,” says Dr. Nossal. “I look forward to working with the new Policy Council, Dean Saunders and others from across the university so that we can continue that tradition. The new structure will allow us to enrich the student learning experience by tapping policy expertise across faculties, and to secure the future financial sustainability of the school.”

While the Industrial Relations Centre will move with the MIR program to the Faculty of Arts and Science, the other research units – including the Centre for International and Defence Policy, the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, and the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy – will remain within the school.

More about the School of Policy Studies

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