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Touching down in YGK

Looking beyond COVID-19, graduate students and city officials are teaming up to investigate ways to improve air travel to Kingston.

Plane landing gear (Pexels)
Smith School of Business masters students are collecting survey to assess air travel preferences. (Photo by Joël Super from Pexels)

Each year, thousands of people from over 100 countries visit Kingston for leisure, business, and education, but their ability to do so is limited by existing service offerings through major urban hubs, like Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Recently, senior students from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University have partnered with local government and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation to make travelling to Kingston easier, faster, and more affordable.

“Our aim is to gather market intelligence during this COVID-19 time to improve air transportation supporting the community and local economy,” says Shelley Hirstwood, Business Development Officer at Kingston Economic Development. “Working toward this goal with Smith graduate students, particularly at this juncture when the global pandemic has placed extreme challenges upon all of us, will ensure local travel, tourism, and business can recover and optimize opportunities for future growth.”

Comprised of four Master of International Business (MIB) students, the team is operating as part of Smith Business Consulting (SBC), a student-run management consulting firm that partners with businesses, start-ups, non-profits, and government to provide high-impact, cost-effective advice.

“We are excited to support the Kingston community in growing its connections to the region, the country, and the world,” says Despoina Dasiou, who is collaborating with her peers Karanveer Cheema, Andrew Boughner, and Indiwarjeet Hundal on the project. “Uncovering more about travelers’ needs and price sensitivity will help us to generate recommendations that can improve access to the city.”

In line with the city’s completed runway expansion project and recent renovations of the airport terminal, the SBC team has created a survey to assess traveler behavior patterns, price sensitivities, and service preferences further. All Queen’s students, Kingston residents, and those traveling between Kingston and Ottawa or Toronto are invited to fill it out.

“From insights gathered though this exercise, we will gain a better understanding of what ingredients go into an exceptional travel experience,” says Cheema.

The potential benefits of improved air access for future travelers – particularly students set to attend one of Kingston’s post-secondary institutions, like Queen’s – are numerous, but SBC Director Charlie Mignault goes further – citing the effort to understand access to Kingston as an invaluable education opportunity for the student consultants he mentors right now.

“Projects like this are fantastic opportunities for our students to gain hands-on, industry-facing experience before graduating,” he says. “Furthermore, they find the work enriching because they are able to see the impact they can make on their clients’ missions. The project with Kingston Economic Development, for instance, could provide invaluable insight into air travel that can help Kingston grow and prosper.”

Learn more about Smith Business Consulting and fill out the survey.

Smith’s Executive Education ranked 27th in the world by Financial Times

The Financial Times has ranked Queen’s Executive Education open enrollment programs from Smith School of Business at Queen’s University among the top 30 in the world in its latest ranking of executive education.

The FT Executive Education ranking, based primarily on ratings provided by program participants, assesses the performance of the world’s top business schools on a range of criteria, including course design, faculty, teaching methods, and facilities.

Smith’s open enrollment executive education programs placed 27 out of 75 ranked programs from business schools around the world, up from the school’s ranking of 31 in 2018.

Smith received strong ratings for its teaching methods and materials, quality of faculty, and its success in helping participants learn new skills. 

“It’s an honour to be recognized for quality by our most important stakeholders – our clients,” says David Sculthorpe, Executive Director, Queen’s Executive Education at Smith School of Business. “We are committed to delivering programs that have an impact and help leaders prepare for tomorrow. In the rapidly changing world of business, we leveraged Smith’s state-of-the-art remote teaching platform, used for more than a decade in our executive MBA programs, to quickly pivot to remote delivery for both our open and custom programs.”

Read the full results of the FT’s 2020 Executive Education ranking and learn more about the breadth of Smith’s executive education programs offered in remote learning formats.

Smith School of Business receives prestigious operations research and analytics teaching award

INFORMS, the leading international association for professionals in operations research and analytics, has awarded Smith School of Business at Queen’s University the 2020 UPS George D. Smith Prize. The award recognizes excellence in preparing students to become practitioners of operations research and analytics.

Smith submitted its world-class analytics ecosystem to the competition, which it has been building over the last decade. In 2013 the school launched its first degree program in management analytics, designed in response to a growing demand for managers who could interpret valuable business insights from data. Since then Smith has enriched its management analytics area with corporate and industry partnerships, including the Scotiabank Centre for Customer Analytics, established at Smith, and the Vector Institute. 

“We are honoured to receive the George D. Smith Prize from INFORMS. It’s a tribute to our global leadership in teaching the management of data analytics and AI, and a strong recognition of our faculty research and exceptional industry partnerships,” says Brenda Brouwer, Dean of Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Following the success of its Master of Management Analytics (MMA) program, Smith continued to graduate technically skilled managers with two more programs designed for working professionals: North America’s first management degree in artificial intelligence (MMAI) and a new analytics program delivered globally (GMMA). 

“What is unique at Smith is that analytics is included in not just one or two dedicated programs, but rather it is integrated throughout an entire ecosystem of connected, mutually reinforcing programs,” says Anton Ovchinnikov, Distinguished Professor of Management Analytics and a Scotiabank Scholar for Customer Analytics, who led the submission for Smith. 

A key component of the ecosystem’s success is interdisciplinary collaboration. Together with with Professor Samuel Dahan’s team at Queen’s Faculty of Law, Smith recently launched the Conflict Analytics Lab, which aims to advance global knowledge of how artificial intelligence intersects with the legal industry, specifically disputes and resolution. 

The Smith team has also created a suite of executive education programs, including a Trusted Data and AI course developed in conjunction with IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization, to ensure the ethical and responsible use of advanced analytics technologies.

“It would not have been possible to grow Smith’s analytics and AI ecosystem without the incredible support and early buy-in from the faculty at Smith, the school’s advisory board, former dean David Saunders and, of course, our amazing alumni who help us move from strength to strength by mentoring – and hiring – our students,” says Yuri Levin, executive director, analytics and AI, at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University.

Queen’s launches AI-enhanced tools for those affected by pandemic layoffs

MyOpenCourt, a project of the Conflict Analytics Lab at the Faculty of Law and Smith School of Business, helps out-of-work Canadians to understand their legal rights and options.

MyOpenCourt, a project of the Conflict Analytics Lab at the Faculty of Law and Smith School of Business,
MyOpenCourt currently features two free and simple-to-use web-based tools that harness artificial intelligence and data science technologies. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, millions of Canadians are out of work and facing uncertainty about returning. These circumstances can put workers, particularly those in ‘gig economy’ jobs, in situations where their legal rights are unclear. 

MyOpenCourt, a project of the Conflict Analytics Lab at Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law and Smith School of Business, will now help these workers understand their rights – and options. 

“Most Canadian workers cannot afford an employment lawyer, or live in areas with few skilled employment law experts,” says Samuel Dahan, Director of the Conflict Analytics Lab and a professor in the Faculty of Law with a cross-appointment to Smith. “Since COVID-19’s arrival in Canada, we have seen nearly 2 million jobs lost with terminations and layoffs across many different sectors, and decided to launch our tools to help Canadians who have lost work.”

MyOpenCourt currently features two free and simple-to-use web-based tools that harness artificial intelligence and data science technologies. Both are available at the project site at myopencourt.org

The “Am I an employee or contractor?” application can determine the likelihood that a work arrangement is an employment relationship or that of a contractor through a fast, anonymous questionnaire.

Workers who believe they have been wrongfully dismissed can use the “How much severance am I entitled to?” tool to calculate reasonable notice for dismissal.

“These tools are as valuable for employers as they are for workers,” Professor Dahan says. “Navigating employer-contractor relationships is challenging, and severance is difficult to calculate. We hope to provide both workers and employers with ways to avoid pitfalls and find equitable solutions to the challenges created by the pandemic.” 

Powerful AI technology lies behind both tools. Working from thousands of Canadian employment law cases, MyOpenCourt can make predictions that can offer guidance to workers in these uncertain situations. While these applications cannot take the place of a lawyer, they can help users understand if they have a case before contacting one.

Should a user discover they have a case, MyOpenCourt will automatically connect the user to a partner law firm at no cost. 

The MyOpenCourt tools have been developed by students and researchers at Queen’s Law, the Smith Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence, Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and partners like McGill University and institutions based in the U.S. and Europe. Professor Maxime Cohen of McGill and Professor Jonathan Touboul of Brandeis University provided data science expertise, helping to translate the case data into predictions.

“We are thrilled that the Conflict Analytics Lab has been able to launch this platform, at a time when these tools will be able to help many Canadians,” says Yuri Levin, Executive Director of the Analytics and AI ecosystem at Smith and an instrumental player in the creation of the Conflict Analytics Lab.

 MyOpenCourt reasonable notice calculator cannot currently be used to generate case outcomes for Québec-based users.

To learn more about the work of the Conflict Analytics Lab, visit conflictanalytics.queenslaw.ca

About Conflict Analytics Lab

The Conflict Analytics Lab (CAL) strives to build a fairer future by improving access to justice.

We are experts in applying artificial intelligence to help resolve conflicts in a transparent, consistent, and innovative manner all over the world.

Housed at Queen’s University, the CAL combines academics, technology experts, and the legal industry to revolutionize the way we approach conflicts and better serve those who cannot afford traditional justice. 

Principal announces 2020 Distinguished University Professors

Six faculty members receive Queen’s University’s top research-related honour.

 

Six faculty members receive Queen’s University’s top research-related honour
The 2020 Distinguished University Professors are, clockwise from top left: David Bakhurst (Philosophy); Audrey Kobayashi (Geography), Julian Barling (Smith School of Business); Glenville Jones (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences); Kathleen Lahey (Law);John Smol (Biology).

Queen’s University has announced the latest recipients of the Distinguished University Professor designation, the university’s highest research-related honour.

Now in its second year, the Distinguished University Professor Program recognizes professors for exhibiting an outstanding and sustained research record, teaching excellence, and significant and lasting contributions to Queen’s, Canada, and the world.

“There is world-class research and teaching being conducted every day at Queen’s and this seems all the more imperative with the challenges we currently face with COVID-19,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s. “Each recipient exemplifies excellence in their field and it is my great pleasure to designate these six accomplished faculty members as Distinguished University Professors.”

The 2020 Distinguished University Professors are:

  • David Bakhurst, Department of Philosophy
  • Julian Barling, Smith School of Business
  • Glenville Jones, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
  • Audrey Kobayashi, Department of Geography
  • Kathleen Lahey, Faculty of Law
  • John Smol, Department of Biology

The Distinguished University Professor Program was made official by the university’s Senate in 2017-18. Each year, the program’s advisory committee invites nominations from the campus community, reviews the submissions, and makes recommendations to the principal, who then determines the recipients.

“Assessing the submissions for this program provides an invaluable opportunity to see just how our faculty members are having an impact in the classroom and through their research,” adds Principal Deane.

Each recipient will soon add an honorific name to their title, to be selected from a list of Senate approved names.

Visit the Principal’s website to learn more about the Distinguished University Professors Program, its advisory committee, and selection of honorific names.

The inaugural list of recipients, announced last year, included nine faculty members.

Queen’s remembers John Gordon

The Queen’s community is remembering John R.M. Gordon, a professor emeritus and former dean of the Smith School of Business, who died Monday, April 27. He was 85.

John R. M. Gordon
John R. M. Gordon

Dr. Gordon led Smith School of Business from 1978 to 1988, during which time he revived Smith’s Advisory Council, made up of CEOs and top leaders from business and government to advise the school. He also laid the groundwork for what would become the Executive MBA programs. 

He made relationships with the wider business community a priority (seeing it as a win-win for business and education) and encouraged students inside the classroom and beyond. Two longstanding institutions run by the Commerce Society started under Gordon: QBET (Queen’s Conference on the Business Environment Today) and ICBC (the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition).

A lifelong believer in the power of education, Gordon insisted that he continue to teach a regular Commerce and MBA class while he served as dean. In a 1987 interview, he explained why: “First, I enjoy teaching. Second, it’s like being out on the factory floor. If you’re running a company and never go out on the factory floor, then you really don’t know what your organization is all about. Students can give you a good indication of what is going on in the school, because they are its lifeblood.”

After graduating from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, he went to work for the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. An interest in teaching then took him to Royal Military College in Kingston as a lecturer.

While teaching at RMC full-time, he also pursued his MBA part-time at Smith.

After earning his MBA, he headed to MIT in Boston for his PhD. Then it was on to Western University to teach. By the early 1970s, Gordon was in Switzerland teaching at IMEDE (now called IMD). He helped to establish that school’s MBA program.

Returning to Smith in 1975, Dr. Gordon became a favourite among students and a mentor and inspiration to his peers.

After stepping down as dean, Dr. Gordon continued to teach at Smith and do research. He was named a professor emeritus and inducted intomith  the Faculty Hall of Fame at Smith. Gordon retired in 2005 but continued to teach for several years after.

In retirement, he stayed involved in the Kingston business community. He and a group of friends started an organization called RELIKS (Retired Executives Living in Kingston) to champion and mentor local entrepreneurs. And he conceived the Kingston Ventures Study Tour to expose students to business opportunities in Kingston.

A reception in commemoration for John Gordon will be held at a later date. 

In memory of John Gordon, donations can be made to the Dean’s Innovation Fund at Smith School of Business.

A full obituary is available on the Smith School of Business website.

A quick economic recovery is unlikely

As countries get ready to re-open their economies, history and current economic models suggest those looking for a quick rebound will be disappointed.

A man floolws the stock market with a phone and computer.
Economists are using models to try to determine what short- and long-term impacts the coronavirus pandemic will have on the global economy. (Unsplash / Jason Briscoe)

Predictions about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the world’s economy arrive almost daily. How can we make sense of them in the midst of this economic storm? After all, research shows that economic forecasts made during events such as SARS are often wildly inaccurate.

To calibrate current forecasts — such as the International Monetary Fund’s prediction of a 6.2 per cent decline in Gross Domestic Product for Canada — I’ve looked at the history of similar worldwide economic shocks, studied macroeconomics models and reviewed nearly 75 studies to better understand what might happen in a post-pandemic world.

The economic effects of 1918-20 flu

The influenza outbreak of 1918-20 killed at least 40 million people, or approximately two per cent of the world’s population. In Canada alone, at least 50,000 deaths were attributed to the flu, approaching the number of Canadian deaths in the First World War. Solid data about GDP did not exist for that era, so economic historians have to recreate economic measurements based on the data that was collected.

The most thorough study focuses on how the influenza pandemic 100 years ago affected Sweden. The Swedish study took advantage of the fact that the country kept very detailed data on causes of death, as well as having a history of accurate economic record-keeping dating back to the 1800s.

Sweden was a neutral country in the First World War, so unlike other Western nations, the war had limited impact on the country’s economy. The fatality rate from the flu in Sweden was comparable to most Western nations and its economy was similar to other developed countries.

The study of Sweden’s flu experience a century ago suggests there could be permanent negative long-term economic effects from the current pandemic. There was a decline in income from capital sources such as interest, dividends and rents of five per cent that lasted at least until 1929. This was a permanent decline not recovered once the flu pandemic passed.

Swedish poor never recovered

There was also an increase in absolute poverty for those Swedes at the bottom of the economic pyramid: enrolment in government-run “poorhouses” in higher flu-incidence regions jumped 11 per cent and did not decline over the next decade. There was some good news: while employment income was reduced during the crisis, it quickly rebounded to predicted normal levels.

A recent study attempts to measure the effects of the influenza on 1918-21 GDP. Harvard economist Robert Barro and his colleagues painstakingly put together a set of economic data that attempts to recreate what GDP in 42 countries would have been.

They have found that the flu was responsible for an additional six per cent decline in global GDP. The study concludes that the effects were reversed by 1921. This estimate of the flu’s historical GDP effects is strikingly similar to the IMF’s current prediction of six per cent reduction in GDP for Western economies as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Modelling economic effects of a pandemic

Beyond economic history, we can look at macroeconomic models of the global, regional or national economies that run scenarios about pandemic economic shocks.

One scenario by British economists and health science academics is particularly apt in light of COVID-19.

Their scenario models virus incidence and fatality rates close to the current best estimates and includes strong and early social distancing measures such as school closures and work-from-home arrangements that we see today in many countries fighting the pandemic.

Their model estimates a 21 per cent decline in U.K. GDP in the first full quarter of the pandemic, with a 4.45 per cent decline in GDP for first year. The model also suggests the time frame to economic recovery is about two years. The current IMF projection for the U.K. is a 6.5 per cent decline in annual GDP.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a major shock to the global economy. Across all the studies I reviewed, the conclusion of a significant decline in GDP in the order of 4.5 to six per cent with full recovery within two years seems to be well justified.

The economic history of the influenza pandemic 100 years ago suggests early easing of social distancing measures and the inability to develop an effective vaccine contributed to second and third flu waves. These waves might have greater effects on the modern service-based economy of Western nations than they did on the more agrarian economy of 100 years ago.

Economic history serves as a potential warning that the economy could get much worse if these measures are ignored.

It’s important to remember that GDP is a marker of a nation’s overall economic health. On an individual level, the effects may be more far-reaching and painful. There are financial and professional losses that may never be recovered.

The 1918-20 flu offers an important history lesson for the world’s current economic outlook: there may be significant declines in the returns to capital in the next decade, as well as relative increases in poverty for the neediest in our society.The Conversation

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Steven E. Salterio, Stephen JR Smith Chair of Accounting and Auditng, Professor of Business, Smith School of Business, Queen's University

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

Time to work on your company’s reset strategy

With the reopening of the economy on the horizon, companies must be ready to emerge from the crisis and seize their opportunities.

Reset button
Even though there is no solid timeline on reopening the economy, companies should plan ahead.

Some provinces and states have announced preliminary plans to ease restrictions and reopen their economies. While we may not all agree on when this should happen, at least from a business perspective it is good news. Regardless of when “reset” gets pressed in your organization, now is the time to determine what your next steps will look like. Don’t wait for permission before you start planning.

Politicians are using terms like “gradual”, “measured” and “safe” to describe their approach to removing coronavirus restrictions. Such language, we can anticipate, will have a number of operational implications. Conditions could include: 

  • Gatherings and groups larger than 30 (or pick a number) will remain prohibited, including crowds at sporting events, concerts and festivals.
  • Restaurants, salons and barbers may open to half of normal capacity, keeping in mind the above restriction on crowd sizes.
  • Stores will open, but with restrictions on the number of people permitted entry at one time.
  • Airlines, trains, buses and other transit may require passengers to wear masks (such restrictions already exist in some cases), while operating half-full or at partial capacity.

The sudden swell in activity may also lead to shortages as supply chains restart. Anticipate continued limits to masks and cleaning supplies, some food products and other materials. That retailers and others have done as well as they have managing inventories over the past two months without significant shortages is remarkable. It is a testament to preparation and crisis-management planning.

In the meantime, remember my colleague John Moore’s favourite line, that “cash is king”. Can you renegotiate your lease or find a less expensive or smaller footprint? Do you have inventory you can clear out? Consider a shoe retailer that has been deeply discounting its existing inventory by 50 per cent or more. This may result in some customers “buying ahead” and therefore not needing shoes later. The upside for the shoe retailer, however, is that it’s freeing up cash. Plus, people are buying shoes from this store now, rather than from another retailer later on.

All phasers on reset

With all that in mind, what might Reset Phase One look like for your organization? Think about what your processes will look like with a limited work crew. After all, you may not be able to afford to bring everyone back. Or the crowd-size restrictions noted above may limit your number of employees. If you are limited in the number of customers you can permit entry, can you speed processes up without significantly diminishing service, and thus optimize sales? I don’t think people will want to linger in the near term regardless, so they may appreciate the faster service.  

Consider the breadth of your offering as well. McDonald’s and Tim Hortons have shrunk their menus for takeout purposes during the pandemic (long overdue, people have heard me argue). What would your menu or service offering look like if you cut it in half? Look at your historical data showing what people buy most of and most often. Ask yourself, will we continue to have access to the materials and supplies necessary for that refined menu?

Retailers may also open by department, rather than the whole store. A home improvement store might start with the garden centre, patio furniture and outdoor building supplies. Other goods will remain available through a quickly improving online order and pickup system.

University semesters are essentially wrapped up at this point, with the spring/summer semester starting in May, and continuing a distance education model through the summer. Public schools, however, may consider bringing students back in alternating half-sized groups for the final month of classes. This would certainly be complicated. But it would give educators the opportunity to focus on some of their most important content for a short period, provide parents a break at home, and offer a huge morale boost for students getting to wrap up the year in person.

Some questions and thought starters as you map out Phase One of your comeback: 

  • Who will our first customers be? Will we focus on our historical “best” customers or members-only in certain operations? Or do we allow pent-up demand and marketing efforts to draw the general public?
  • Would a “welcome back” event be meaningful for people who have supported us in the past, and allow us to warm up through a soft opening?
  • Which employees will we call back first, given the customers or product line we want to focus on first?
  • Do we have inventory or access to the right supplies for that initial market?
  • Are our processes designed to support the Phase One opening?

Opportunity knocks

Individually, a crisis often provides opportunities to press “reset” in our careers as well. The pandemic may have emphasized the need to accelerate a plan we have had already, or highlighted a problem we didn’t know we had.

Challenges and needs have emerged in all operations, and organization may not have the expertise or resources to fill those needs. A friend and former teammate, John McDougall, used to say to me, ‘Give me your biggest problem!’  I often did, and he delivered, even when it was outside his role. Speak up and step up — there are some huge opportunities out there right now.

Crises create gaps and voids within organizations and the market as a whole. Those who fill those gaps will position themselves for growth and perhaps redefine that space. 

This article was first published by Smith Business Insight.

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Barry Cross is an assistant professor and Distinguished Faculty Fellow of Operations Strategy at Smith School of Business and bestselling author of Simple: Killing Complexity for a Lean and Agile Organization.

Helping local organizations navigate economic hardship

Smith School of Business partners with City of Kingston to support area businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Downtown Kingston
The Kingston Region Business Support Network is set to provide local organizations with assistance to navigate economic challenges posed by COVID-19.

Smith School of Business at Queen’s University is joining forces with the City of Kingston and Kingston Economic Development to provide student and faculty resources to help local businesses, not-for-profits, and social enterprises navigate and survive the impact of COVID-19.

“Our local businesses and not-for-profits are integral to the character of Kingston and the truth is they are struggling right now,” says Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson. “They need every resource we can muster as a community, and so I’m very proud to see this program come together and so quickly. I believe this will serve as an incredible resource for our community.”

Under the banner of the Kingston Region Business Support Network, the effort offers free services, including student time and skills, and community classroom learning sessions with faculty on topics designed for local business needs.

“We are grateful to be a part of the Kingston community and are ready to help local organizations as they cope with the extraordinary impact of COVID-19,” says Brenda Brouwer, Dean, Smith School of Business. “These are our neighbours, friends, employers of our students, and the businesses, stores, and services we rely on day-to-day. We want to contribute what we can to help them through this difficult time.”

Tapping into Student Resources

Through a matching platform, interested businesses can tap into the time, expertise, and skills of Smith students, which can range from research, strategic planning, and digital development, to sales, marketing, design thinking, and applying for grants. Once registered, businesses are contacted by a student consultant to confirm specific needs and to match with appropriate resources.

Participating students come from across Smith’s programs, from undergraduate to professional masters and graduate level research programs, and bring a diverse range of skills and experience suited to assisting businesses small and large. Each student consultant is supported by a Smith faculty member.

Confronting COVID-19 Read more articles in this series

“Kingston is tremendously blessed to have the wealth of talent and expertise within our post-secondary institutions at Queen’s and St. Lawrence College,” says Donna Gillespie, Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Economic Development. “During these incredibly challenging business times, leveraging these assets and supporting our business community together is paramount to address immediate needs and how we, as a community can support and prepare businesses for the path to recovery.”

Community classrooms with experts

As part of Kingston Region Business Support Effort, Smith School of Business faculty and instructors will also host free webinars designed specifically for regional businesses to help tackle their day-to-day challenges.

The initial online Community Classroom Learning Sessions will take place on April 22 and April 29. Peter Gallant, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Strategy, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship will lead the first webinar entitled Cashflow During Coronavirus: Strategy and Tactics for Business Survival and Recovery in the Age of COVID-19. The second, entitled Anticipating the New Normal: Critical Changes to Plan Today will be led by Ken Wong, Associate Professor and Distinguished Professor of Marketing.

Registration for these sessions and information about future sessions can be found on the website. Planned topics will include negotiation with banks and creditors, and innovating and pivoting.

“The efforts being made by people and organizations across the Kingston region to respond to the challenges brought on by COVID-19 are inspiring,” says Patrick Deane, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “I am especially proud of our faculty, staff, and students who have been engaged on healthcare’s front lines, assisting local businesses, and contributing crucial research and development expertise to help our community through this difficult period.” 

Making the most of the summer

Queen’s online course offerings are proving to be very popular with students facing summers disrupted by COVID-19.

Photo of a person using a laptop.
Faculties at Queen's are seeing an increased demand for their popular online summer courses.

COVID-19 has abruptly changed summer plans for many students across Queen’s, as many employment and internship opportunities have been put on hold. To help students make the most of this unexpected gap, the university is ready to connect students with a host of popular online courses and programs around campus.

Arts and Science Online (ASO) has the largest enrolment out of the units offering online degree credit courses at Queen’s. It’s aiming to become even more accessible to students through measures like increasing enrolment caps for popular classes, extending the application deadline and start date for summer courses, and by expediting the application process for prospective students and visiting students from other universities, such as allowing them to submit unofficial transcripts to support their applications. To support the larger class sizes this summer, ASO will also be hiring an additional 40 graduate students as teaching assistants.

“From last year, there is already a 25 per cent increase in course enrolments in Arts and Science Online. We understand that many students suddenly need to find new plans for their summer, and we are working hard to make accommodations while maintaining the high level of education that we are known for. Whether students are looking to earn credits toward their degree or explore an interest, ASO has something for them,” says Bev King, Assistant Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Arts and Science.

Arts and Science Online has a long track record of offering innovative online education. Students in ASO can take courses in a wide variety of disciplines, including art history, drama, astronomy, computing, and psychology. Courses in ASO are taught by Queen’s faculty members who often teach in-person courses on similar topics. Their courses are open to Queen’s on-campus and distance students, and students from other higher-education institutions who apply.

Launching careers remotely

The Smith School of Business has also been making their programs more accessible for students facing a summer of physical distancing. Notably, they have adjusted their popular Graduate Diploma in Business (GDB) program so that it is now delivered remotely.

The GDB course is designed for recent graduates from any discipline and gives them a chance to build business skills that can help launch their careers. Credits earned in the program can also be transferred to a Smith MBA program, and completion of the program could qualify students for entry into other Master’s programs at Smith. Throughout the program, students also work with dedicated career coaches who provide mentorship and build important professional skills, such as communication, resiliency, and emotional intelligence.

“This is the seventh year for Smith’s Graduate Diploma in Business. In four intensive months over the summer, students gain a deeper confidence in all areas of business through ten masters level courses plus professional coaching, communications skills, training in high performance teams, career planning, and more so they stand out as a great job candidate,” said Jim Hamilton, Distinguished Faculty Fellow of Sales Management, and Director Graduate Diploma in Business at Smith. “We are excited this summer to deliver the program fully remotely using our teaching studio technology and virtual support. It will be a completely immersive and engaging experience that a student can do from anywhere.”

Health Sciences online

Like ASO, the online Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) program is already seeing growing demand for its courses this summer. Compared to 2019, enrolments are already up 71 per cent. Queen’s undergraduates are driving most of this increase, but there are also many students from other institutions requesting to enroll.

To accommodate more students, the BHSc is adding more courses. Originally, the program planned to offer 18 courses, which was already an increase over the 15 offered in 2019. But now they will be adding 3 to 5 more courses on top of the 18. The preferences of students are being considered as the BHSc plans for this expansion. They have asked for feedback from students about which courses they are most interested in taking, and they have received over 100 responses so far.

“Seven years ago, the Faculty of Health Sciences made significant investments to develop state-of-the-art, fully online courses that would become the foundation of the Bachelor of Health Sciences program. The result is that we can now offer a diverse array of courses online, enabling us to respond to the student demand because of this COVID-19 pandemic. We are very pleased to be able to help the students out,” says Michael Adams, Director, Bachelor of Health Sciences.

The BHSc is designed for undergraduates who are interested in pursuing the health professions, and it offers online courses on a wide range of topics, including infectious diseases, pharmacology, physiology, and global health. This academic year, it launched an on-campus version of the program, which received over 4,000 applications for its first cohort.

Queen’s Faculty of Law

Having seen several years of steady growth for the Certificate in Law, the law school is continuing to see increases in enrolment in both individual courses and the Certificate program itself as the summer nears. Queen’s students represent about 60% of students in the program, but off-campus students, both undergraduates and lifelong learners, are a growing cohort for the program. Law 201, Introduction to Canadian Law, is a perennially popular course, but speciality courses such as Aboriginal Law and Intellectual Property are rapidly accruing interest and enrolments as May nears. 

“We have increased our caps for most courses, hiring more teaching assistants from our Juris Doctor and graduate students,” says Hugo Choquette, Academic Director of the Certificate in Law program. “We are continuing to invest in course renewals and improvements for the courses, and the quality of the courses are reflected in their growth both on- and off-campus. We’ve also extended our program enrolment deadline for Queen’s students by a week, to April 27, to accommodate this higher level interest.”

The Faculty’s online Graduate Diploma in Legal Services Management is also seeing growing interest among legal professionals with a series of courses to train legal professionals in business skills ranging from financial literacy to project management. One of its summer courses, LSM 840 – Working With Teams and Managing People – has proven especially relevant in the current context.

“The COVID-19 epidemic has, among other things, highlighted how important leadership and management skills are to weathering a crisis,” says Shai Dubey, Academic Director of the Graduate Diploma in Legal Services Management. “We’re reaching out to small and mid-sized law firms with a series of tools, created by the course developers, to help them with remote team management and mentoring, and seeing a strong positive response and interest in this course, as well as the other courses in the program.”

Exploring online programs

For more information about Arts and Science Online, visit the ASO website.  Learn more about the Graduate Diploma in Business on the program’s website, or find out about other programs that Smith delivers remotely on the school’s website. The website for the BHSc has information about both the online and on-campus versions of the program. 

If you are interested in summer online courses in other academic areas, see the website of the relevant faculty or school to learn more about their programs.

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