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Combating misinformation and fake news

Two upcoming workshops with The Conversation Canada will highlight how Queen’s researchers can help bridge the gap between academia and the public

The Conversation Canada and Queen's University workshops

As we enter the third year of a global pandemic, we are facing what the World Health Organization calls an infodemic – too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak. In this scenario, the importance of fact-based, expert commentary has never been clearer, and not only in relation to COVID-19: research-informed analysis is a powerful tool in supporting critical thinking and daily decision-making related to climate change, health, politics, technology, the economy, and many other topics.

The Conversation and Queen’s

The Conversation, an online news platform created in Australia in 2011, aims to combat misinformation by paring academic experts with experienced journalists to write informed content that can be shared and repurposed by media outlets worldwide.  Following its success in Australia, regional editions began appearing worldwide and, in 2017, The Conversation Canada launched with support from some of the country’s top universities, including Queen’s, and Canada’s research funding agencies.

As a founding member of The Conversation Canada, the Queen’s research community has embraced the platform as a unique tool for sharing their research expertise and engaging with the media. Over 240 Queen’s researchers have published more than 380 articles that have garnered over 7 million views via The Conversation Canada’s website. Through the platform’s Creative Commons Licensing and newswire access, 100s of major media outlets, including The National Post, CNN, TIME, The Washington Post, The Weather Network, Today’s Parent and Scientific American, have republished these pieces.

From cryptocurrencies to extinct bird species, Queen’s researchers have written on a variety of timely and timeless topics. Some of our most-read articles looked at the rising popularity of spirituality without religion, the negative effects of salting icy roads on aquatic ecosystems, a study of depression in adults with autism, wine consumption and cardiovascular health, and COVID-19 tests and terminology. Each of these articles have reached over 127,000 readers.

“Key to our research promotion and thought leadership strategy, The Conversation is a powerful tool for community engagement, bolstering the efforts of our researchers to share their expertise and build profile,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “We have seen participation from every faculty, and Queen’s continues to show leadership in contributing to the platform among Canadian peers.”

The workshops: How to write for The Conversation

The Conversation Canada and Queen’s University Workshops*
Wednesday, March 9, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Tuesday, March 22, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Limited spaces. Click to register.
* The workshops will be held via Zoom.

On March 9 and 22, Queen’s will welcome Scott White, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, for two workshops targeted to faculty and graduate students interested in writing for the platform. The virtual, hour-long program will highlight the changing media landscape, the role of The Conversation and researchers as credible news sources, and how to craft the perfect pitch. Participants can bring pitch ideas to the workshops to receive real-time editorial feedback.

Queen’s is always looking to add to its roster of authors taking part in The Conversation. Researchers interested in learning more about the platform are encouraged to register for the March workshops or contact researchcommunications@queensu.ca. 

Visualizing impact with the Art of Research

The Art of Research photo contest has been reimagined to highlight research that aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals.

[Collage of past winners of the Art of Research photo contest]

 

The Queen’s Art of Research photo contest is returning for its sixth year with a new focus. The 2022 contest has been reimagined through the lens of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal call to action and framework for social impact. This change also aligns with the mission and vision of the new Queen’s Strategy and our participation in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which measure an institution's impact on society, based on their success in delivering on strategies that advance the SDGs. Queen’s ranked first in Canada and fifth in the world in the 2021 Impact Rankings. Photo submissions will be accepted from Feb. 28 to April 13, 2022. 

SDG Action and Awareness Week
As a new member of the University Global Coalition, Queen’s is participating in the 2022 Sustainable Development Goals Action and Awareness Week and highlighting the contributions of the Queen’s community to social impact within and beyond the local community. Learn more.

For the past five years, the Art of Research has been an opportunity for Queen’s researchers to share their work through compelling visuals and engage the public in seeing their research in new ways. In aligning this year’s contest with the UN SDGs, we celebrate the impact of Queen’s research in advancing these important global goals.

“The Art of Research showcases the diversity of Queen’s research in a creative and innovative way,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “By aligning the contest with the SDGs, we can further demonstrate the impact of our research in addressing the challenges of society at home and around the world. I encourage members of our research community to participate.”

Eligibility and prizes

Hosted by Queen’s University Relations, the photo contest is open to Queen’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Research depicted in the submissions must have been completed at Queen’s or while the submitter was affiliated with the university. More information about contest rules can be found on the Research@Queen’s website.

Five new SDG-themed categories will be offered this year. These, along with the popular People's Choice Vote, add up to a total of six prizes of $250 each for the top submission in each category. Photos from the contest are highlighted across university research promotion initiatives.

2022 categories:

Good health and well-being

Research that advances our understanding and the improvement of human health and supports the well-being of all global citizens.

Inspired by SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), and 3 (Good Health and Well-Being)

Climate action

Research that seeks to protect our planet’s natural resources, including water, biodiversity, and climate for future generations.

Inspired by SDGs 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 13 (Climate Action), 14 (Life Below Water), and 15 (Life on Land)

Creative and sustainable communities

Research that helps us to understand our past and present to help build resilient, sustainably-focused, and creative communities.

Inspired by SDGs 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions)

Partnerships for inclusivity

Research that promotes just and inclusive societies through partnerships and community-based research.

Inspired by SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and 10 (Reduced Inequalities)

Innovation for global impact

Discovery- and curiosity-based research and innovations that addresses wicked, complex global challenges.

Inspired by SDGs 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals)

People’s choice

Determined by an online vote by members of the Queen’s community.

The contest closes on April 13. To submit an entry and explore winning images from previous contests, visit the Research@Queen’s website.

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

On Feb. 11 Queen's is encouraging the campus community to share their passion for STEM to celebrate and inspire present and future women in STEM disciplines.

[International Day of Women & Girls in Science]

On Feb. 11, Queen’s is recognizing the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science by encouraging the campus community to share their passion for STEM and showcase their research by tagging Queen's on Twitter @queensu and Instagram @queensuniversity.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of the international recognition day, which promotes full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. According to UNESCO’s Science Report, only 33 per cent of researchers globally are women. International Day of Women and Girls in Science is meant to celebrate and inspire present and future women in STEM disciplines.

Showcase your research and follow Queen's University on Twitter and Instagram as we share and highlight some of our researchers and their contributions to groundbreaking STEM research.


“Love Under the Microscope.” Dalila Villalobos, Pathology Researcher. Submitted to the Art of Research.
Art of Research Photo: Love Under the Microscope by Dalila Villalobos, Pathology Researcher
As pathologists in training, we are constantly reminded that both human cellular responses and the most deadly medical conditions can be unexpectedly beautiful under the microscope. We are trained to be detail oriented and to understand disease in all its forms because abnormalities will only present to the eye that knows what to look for. This photo captures a normal prostatic gland with its characteristic double layer and irregular branching. The moment we diagnose a benign condition in a patient that is anxiously awaiting results is always rewarding. But, if, on top of that, we see heart-shape glands, it is inspiration.

 

Announcing the first Education Leaders in Residence

Queen’s University has appointed three faculty members as the inaugural Education Leaders in Residence (ELIR). The ELIR program was announced in September 2021 to support the development of high-impact teaching and learning practices by providing Queen’s faculty members with protected time and funds to develop and implement campus-wide initiatives.

Each ELIR will dedicate approximately 20 per cent of their time to the program and receive a teaching and learning development fund of $15,000 over two years. The Education Leaders will consult broadly to develop and implement actionable and innovative teaching and learning projects with clearly stated outcomes.

“The Education Leaders in Residence program supports the university’s strategic goals to advance highly effective pedagogies and reconceive educational programs,” says Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green. “I look forward to seeing the implementation of these interdisciplinary teaching and learning projects that will benefit students and instructors across campus.”

ELIR applications were sought to develop teaching and learning initiatives in three priority areas, including interdisciplinarity practices, mental health and the teaching and learning environment, and anti-racism and intersectional pedagogies. These areas were chosen to align with the values outlined in Queen’s Strategy, including nurturing the well-being of our community, advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization, and supporting interdisciplinary learning and research.

The 2022 Education Leaders in Residence are:

Dr. Michelle Searle, Faculty of Education

Dr. Searle is an Assistant Professor of Educational Evaluation and their research focuses on increasing the value of program evaluation through collaborative approaches and innovative forms of knowledge dissemination that enhance capacity within organizations.  As an ELIR, Dr. Searle will develop a university-wide opportunity for students to engage in experiential learning and community-based research. The initiative will partner students with community organizations to systematically examine the organization’s programs and practices, allowing students to build their interdisciplinary skills as evaluators and researchers, while having a positive impact in their local communities.

Dr. Mala Joneja, Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr. Joneja is an Associate Professor and the Division Chair for the Division of Rheumatology at Queen’s. As an ELIR, she will work to create resources to integrate anti-racist pedagogies into teaching and learning at Queen’s. Dr. Joneja will collaborate with students, staff, and faculty from across the university to identify opportunities and challenges to the integration of anti-racist pedagogy and develop resources to connect anti-racist pedagogy to traditional learning theories at Queen’s.

Dr. Lee Airton, Faculty of Education

Dr. Airton is an Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Education and their research focuses on gender-expansive pedagogies and gender diversity inclusion. In their role as an ELIR, Dr. Airton will work to develop campus-wide resources to make Queen’s classroom experiences more accessible to transgender and/or gender non-conforming students. This work will include developing resources for gender diversity curriculum integration, growing and facilitating a community of practice on gender-friendly post-secondary teaching, and creating a professional development series for Queen’s faculty members.

Instructors honoured for championing student mental health

More than two dozen Queen’s instructors have been nominated as Classroom Champions for Mental Health.

Seated students are seen from the back of a classroom
A total of 28 Queen’s instructors have been nominated by students and teaching assistants as the inaugural Classroom Champions for Mental Health. 

An instructor’s work does not simply conclude at the end of a lecture. The journey to a successful session – or term for that matter ­– often requires a holistic approach. An approach that includes a key element: championing mental health.

The Student Mental Health Network is honouring Queen’s educators working to support and advance the mental wellbeing of those in their classrooms. These instructors have been named Classroom Champions for Mental Health.

A total of 28 instructors were nominated by students and teaching assistants for this honour. Those who submitted nominations shared stories of the positive impacts instructors made on the mental health of students.

“Mental health determines everything we do in life. Even when thinking that you are doing fantastic, this still involves mental health,” says Daphne Brouwer, a professor in the Department of Philosophy. “And when not doing so great, it can take over your life in ways that is hard to talk about. Mental health is, however, never an individual thing, and the only way to improve it is by sharing it. It is for this reason that mental health should be recognized more, accepted more, and worked on more. Not only for us as students and educators, but also for us as human beings that are trying to stay alive. One day after another.”

The Student Mental Health Network is a caucus of student and staff leaders working to advance student mental health. The project aligns with the objectives and values outlined in Queen’s Campus Wellbeing Framework and Queen’s Strategy, including promoting a culture of health and well-being across campus.

Classroom Champions for Mental Health is co-led by the Campus Wellness Project’s undergraduate student intern, a position partially funded by Bell Let’s Talk and coordinated through Student Affairs.

“The Classroom Champions for Mental Health project showcases educators who have made a significant contribution to student mental health,” says Linda Cheng, QUIP student intern, Project Coordinator of the Campus Wellness Project, and Co-Lead of the Student Mental Health Network. “The student submissions and insights on how these educators view and approach mental health, really show how a small action can create a large impact. For example, taking a couple of minutes before class to ask how everyone is doing or telling students they’re available to talk and/or listen.”

Elizabeth Baisley, a professor in the Department of Political Science, focuses on three areas to help their students. First is making sure students have a manageable workload; Second, classes are designed by using the principals of universal design for learning. Built into the curriculum is the assumption every student will experience some form of an accommodation need; and final, Dr. Baisley reduces the stigma that comes with mental health issues through regular conversations with the class.

“To me, mental health is about the parts of health that tend to be ignored by focusing solely on physical health. This includes emotional, psychological, social, and sometimes even spiritual wellbeing,” Dr. Baisley says.

Educators who are nominated as Classroom Champions will be profiled on the Campus Wellbeing site and social media (Instagram: @campuswellbeingproject) during Mental Health Promotion Week (Jan. 24-28). Students will have the opportunity to nominate additional Classroom Champions later this term.

Jodi Basch, an instructor and PhD student in the Faculty of Education, provides students with resources to support their own mental health. Additionally, Basch empowers students to share those tips with their peers.

“Just as we have a physical immune system, it is important to recognize that we also have a psychological immune system,” Basch says. “It is important to be kind to ourselves through the challenges that we will all inevitably face and allow our psychological immune system to do its job. Some days it may feel as if we have more reserve than others and other days it may feel like any challenge will push us over the edge. If we discover what we need on both the good and the bad days, it will be easier to live both presently and authentically.

The next round of Champions for Mental Health will open this spring, and will be open for students to nominate staff and instructors.

For more information and resources on mental health efforts at Queen’s, please visit the Wellbeing Resources page on the Campus Wellness Project site.

On-campus academic activities cancelled today due to weather

Only essential areas on campus are operating. 

Due to COVID-19, Queen’s university has already been operating with most academic and operational activities occurring remotely. 

As the result of the current and forecasted weather conditions, the few remaining on-campus academic activities are cancelled. In addition, the university will only operate with a reduced level of service.  This means:

  • Instructors with classes on campus/in-person will determine whether they will continue remote or cancel the class.  Instructors will provide further details.
  • Remote classes will continue as scheduled.
  • Employees working remotely should continue to do so.
  • Employees that are scheduled to come to campus should work remotely if possible. 
  • Only essential areas should be operational on campus. Managers of these areas should determine the level of staffing that is needed to keep these operations functioning. 

More details on the University’s inclement weather process and a list of essential areas can be found on the Inclement Weather webpage

If you are required to travel to campus, please allow extra time and proceed with caution.

2021: The Year in Research

A review of the major initiatives, the funding and awards garnered, and the research that made headlines over the last twelve months.

Each year, we take a moment in December to reflect on the accomplishments of our community in advancing research that helps us tackle some of the world’s most pressing questions and societal challenges.

[Photo of three researchers working in a lab]

While 2021 offered glimmers of hope in moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it also tested and challenged our research community in myriad other ways. In balance, this year also saw Queen’s rank 1st in Canada and 5th in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which provided a testament to the impact of the university’s research and scholarship in advancing social impact and sustainability within and beyond our local community.

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 2021.

Recognizing research leadership

In 2021, Queen’s welcomed Nancy Ross as the new Vice-Principal (Research). Dr. Ross, an accomplished research administrator and renowned expert in population health, joined the university in August and succeeded Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse, who had been interim in the role since 2018.

[Photo of Dr. Nancy Ross]
Dr. Nancy Ross began her five-year term as Vice-Principal (Research) on August 1, 2021.

This year saw Queen’s researchers win some of Canada’s top awards and honours for research excellence and the university ranked third in Canada for awards per faculty member (2022 Maclean’s University Rankings).

Our international expertise in cancer research and cancer clinical trials was cemented with Elizabeth Eisenhauer’s receipt of the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science, and Joe Pater receiving the inaugural Canadian Cancer Society Lifetime Contribution Prize.

Praveen Jain was honoured with the prestigious IEEE Medal in Power Engineering, the highest international award in the field of electrical power, and world-renowned philosopher Will Kymlicka’s contributions to the humanities were recognized with the RSC Pierre Chauveau medal.

Queen’s also had a successful year earning fellowships within Canada’s national academies. Sari van Anders, Heather Castleden, and Karen Lawford were named members of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists  and professor emeritus John Berry was named a Fellow. Health administrators and research leaders Jane Philpott, Kieran Moore, Doug Munoz, and John Muscedere were inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and Kim McAuley, Mark Diederichs, Mark F. Green, and Ugo Piomelli were elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Research that made headlines around the world

An exoskeleton designed by Queen's engineering researchers Michael Shepertycky, Qingguo Li, and Yan-Fei Liu that improves walking efficiency was featured in the leading academic journal Science and international media outlets, including the New York Times.

Health expert Christopher Mueller developed mDETECT, a cancer detection test that provides a real-time response to chemotherapy and early detection of relapse, while researchers Amber Simpson and Farhana Zulkernine applied AI and natural language processing techniques to CT scans, to predict cancer spread.

The much-anticipated UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) dominated headlines around the world and Queen’s environmental experts Kyla Tienhaara and John Smol shared their hopes for conference outcomes. On the ground at COP26, Ryan Riordan of the Institute for Sustainable Finance provided key takeaways and next steps for global governments. In the Canadian arctic, Queen’s researchers, the Government of Nunavut, and Indigenous community partners worked together to develop an innovative approach to studying the impact of climate change by monitoring the health and movements of polar bears.

[Photo of polar bears in the Artic]
BEARWATCH, a project led by Queen's researchers in partnership with local communities, governments, and other university collaborators, received funding from Genome Canada's Large-Scale Applied Research Project competition and the Ontario Genomics Institute to develop a non-invasive method for tracking polar bear health in the Canadian Artic.

New research by Chris Spencer showed that the mid-Proterozoic period, about 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago, dubbed as the “boring billon” was actually a time of great mountain-building events. Researchers at the Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research joined the cast from The Curse of Oak Island to hunt for gold and silver treasure sediments in the water collected from boreholes on a Nova Scotia isle.

[Photo of highly deformed rocks from the Sperrgebiet region of Southern Namibia by Christopher Spencer]
A geologist exploring 1-billion-year-old and highly deformed rocks from the Sperrgebiet region of southern Namibia. These rocks experienced significant deformation and extreme metamorphism during a continental collision over a billion years ago. (Photo by Christopher Spencer)

Funding future research

In 2021, Queen’s continued to attract competitive funding and awards, through a number of national and international programs. Hundreds of grants for new projects and research infrastructure were secured through CHIR, SSHRC, NSERC, and CFI, Canada’s national funding agencies, and other partners.

Here are a few examples:

  • More than $10 million was secured by Queen’s researchers through CFI’s Innovation Fund for infrastructure that will help to combat climate change, treat cancer, and understand the fabric of the universe
  • Over $6 million was awarded to Queen’s researchers through NSERC’s Alliance Grants to collaborate with industry partners in areas such as computing, wireless communications, and nuclear power
  • Eight doctoral students earned prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships for exceptional scholarly achievement and leadership skills
  • Over 125 Queen’s researchers across disciplines received support from SSHRC, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and NSERC as part of a bundled funding announcement under the banner of “Supporting BIG Ideas”
  • Queen’s researchers received over $11.5M funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for projects addressing human health issues from cancer and pain to healthy aging
  • With $1.6 million in funding, NSERC’s CREATE program supported the implementation of an experiential graduate training and research program in medical informatics, led by Parvin Mousavi at Queen’s
  • A multidisciplinary team of Queen’s researchers received $7.9 million from Genome Canada for a new project exploring a microbial platform for breaking down and valorizing waste plastic, which can then be repurposed to produce recycled products
  • Cathy Crudden received the largest NSERC Discovery Grant in Canada (valued at $605k over five years) for her breakthrough work in novel organic coatings

[Photo of a researcher reviewing a sample on a desktop]

Mobilizing our knowledge

This year, we were again challenged to find creative ways to engage with our audiences and mobilize expertise. Research and alumni experts joined forces to provide insight into our post-pandemic future, through the Road to Recovery virtual event series. These events, moderated by multimedia journalist and Queen’s alumnus Elamin Abdelmahmoud, reached over 1000 attendees.  

Science Rendezvous Kingston celebrated its milestone 10th anniversary and marked it with a series of virtual events and the development of an interactive, virtual Exploratorium with no geographical limitations to participation. Audiences also had the opportunity to experience, in-person and virtually, artistic interpretations of the elusive dark matter. The exhibition and residency project, Drift: Art and Dark Matter, generated by Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the McDonald Institute, and SNOLAB, brought together artists and scientists in the quest to understand the invisible substance that comprises about 80 per cent of the universe.

[osèfa Ntjam, Organic Nebula (detail), 2019, carpet, photomontage. Collection of the artist.]
Josèfa Ntjam, Organic Nebula (detail), 2019, carpet, photomontage. Collection of the artist.

The WE-Can (Women Entrepreneurs Canada) program led by Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI) celebrated supporting over 800 women from underrepresented groups and sectors regionally in achieving their entrepreneurial goals and pivoting their programs to an online format. This year’s virtual Indigenous Research Collaboration Day incorporated the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals in highlighting the importance of collaboration in research with Indigenous communities.

Hundreds of Queen’s researchers provided expert commentary to the media in 2021, and our community continued to mobilize their research and expertise through fact-based analysis on The Conversation Canada’s news platform. In 2021, 77 Queen’s graduate students and faculty published 74 articles that garnered over 1.5 million reads.


Congratulations to the Queen’s research community for their resilience and successes this year. We look forward to seeing what new research and opportunities 2022 will bring. For more information about research at the university, visit the Research@Queen’s website.

Major renovation announced for Duncan McArthur Hall

  • The newly-unveiled design for the expansion of Duncan McArthur Hall includes a seven-story addition at the southeast corner of the existing building. (Supplied image)
    The newly-unveiled design for the expansion of Duncan McArthur Hall includes a seven-story addition at the southeast corner of the existing building. (Supplied image)
  • The current view of Duncan McArthur Hall on West Campus, located at Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and Union Street,
    The current view of Duncan McArthur Hall on West Campus, located at Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and Union Street,

Queen’s is undertaking a significant redevelopment of Duncan McArthur Hall, located on its West Campus.

The redevelopment and expansion of Duncan McArthur Hall’s ‘A’ wing, will see a substantial addition to the building, and provide increased classroom, research, study, administration, and social spaces for both the Faculty of Education and elements of the Faculty of Heath Sciences.

The project will target Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, and incorporate sustainable technologies to minimize greenhouse gases in support of the sustainability goals set out in the Queen’s Climate Action Plan. This will include a geothermal energy system to provide heat and cooling to the new building.

“This project will enable Queen’s to address the expansion needs of the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, while improving the student experience at Duncan McArthur Hall and continuing to make progress on our sustainability targets,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “I’m also excited about the opportunity for collaboration as we bring elements of Queen’s Health Sciences to West Campus.”

The project will expand the ground floor of the “A” wing of Duncan McArthur Hall, creating four 50-person classrooms, plus two additional 100-person classrooms. This utilizes the undeveloped area under the current building overhang. Additional classroom renovations (A243 and 343) and the existing main entrance – known as student street – will also take place.

The proposed seven story addition at the southeast corner of the existing building will accommodate classrooms, break-out and study facilities on the first and second floors. The upper floors will provide administrative offices for both faculties.

“This redevelopment project will create space to accommodate our growing faculty, optimize offices to reflect new practices in workflow processes, support students with collaborative learning spaces, and develop 21st century teaching spaces that reflect the design of contemporary schools,” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education. “Providing new modern spaces, study space for graduate students, and sufficient research spaces for the faculty’s research groups will enrich the university’s reputation and appeal to students and the community.”

“Queen’s Health Sciences is thrilled to be a partner on this project,” says Jane Philpott, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. “As we drive forward with our new strategic vision for radical collaboration, this redevelopment will create much needed space for the activities that are critical to our operations.”

The construction of the proposed seven story building is the first phase of the project, and is targeted to start in the summer of 2022 with the tower targeted for occupancy late in 2023. Renovations and expansion of the existing ‘A’ wing would then occur through to 2024.

The Faculty of Education began work on the project in 2019 with the completion of a feasibility study conducted to determine the best way to incorporate new office, study, and teaching space in Duncan McArthur Hall.  Queen’s Health Sciences joined the project in 2020 to accommodate their growing need for administrative space.

Duncan McArthur Hall is located on the West Campus of Queen’s University. The campus was purchased by Queen's in 1969.

Duncan McArthur Hall was built between 1969 and 1971 with funding from the Ontario government. It houses the Queen’s Faculty of Education, the Queen’s School of English, Continuing Teacher Education, and the Education Library.

For more information on the Duncan McArthur Hall project, visit the project website.

Making fall break permanent

Queen’s will provide a week away from classes each fall term going forward to help the university community rest and focus on health and wellbeing. 

Photograph of Queen's pole pennant in front of Grant Hall.
The fall term break will go into effect for the 2022-23 academic year and will be a week away from classes beginning on the Thanksgiving holiday each October. (University Communications)

Fall break will now be a permanent fixture on the Queen’s academic calendar following a vote by the Senate on Nov. 30. The Senate made this decision based on the recommendation of the Fall Term Break Task Force, which conducted broad consultation with members of the Queen’s community and received just under 8,000 responses to the fall term break survey that was open in October.

“We had a fantastic response rate to our survey from students, faculty, and staff, and we found overwhelming support for making fall term break a permanent part of the academic calendar going forward,” says William Nelson, Co-Chair of the Fall Term Break Task Force and Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Arts and Science. “Students in particular let us know that a fall break is beneficial for their mental health, as it allows them to relax, rest, catch up on work, and, in some cases, visit friends and family back home. Queen’s has listened to this feedback and is pleased to take action in support of our community’s health and wellness.”

The fall term break will go into effect for the 2022-23 academic year and will be a week away from classes beginning on the Thanksgiving holiday each October. To accommodate this new schedule, classes in the fall term will now begin on the Tuesday after Labour Day. The consultation process found that faculty, staff, and students believe this is the least disruptive way to alter the academic calendar. Student Affairs programming will continue during fall breaks for students who remain in Kingston.

“Mental health is an important issue for many students, and an annual fall term break will be an excellent opportunity for them to focus on wellbeing while resting and regrouping for the rest of the semester,” says Ryan Sieg, Vice President (University Affairs), Queen’s Alma Mater Society and member of the Fall Term Break Task Force. “This change will align us with many other universities who have found a fall term break beneficial for their communities.”

In addition to the survey, members of the task force held consultation meetings in faculties, schools, and units across Queen’s. The task force also reviewed the fall term break policies of a selection of other Canadian universities and found that most offered a fall term break in 2021. Following recommendations from the Report of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health, Queen’s introduced the fall term break in 2018 as a three-year pilot. The Senate Committee on Academic Development and Procedures (SCADP) created the Fall Term Break Task Force this fall to provide a comprehensive recommendation on the future of the break. Prior to approval from Senate, the task force’s recommendation was approved by SCADP on Nov. 10.

Learn more about the Fall Term Break Task Force on the Queen’s Secretariat website.

Celebrating fall 2021 graduates

Queen’s is recognizing the accomplishments and perseverance of this fall’s graduating students.

Graduation is the culmination of the months and years of effort Queen’s students put into completing their programs, and the tricolour community is celebrating the more than 2,000 students who are reaching this milestone this fall. While in-person convocation ceremonies have been postponed due to COVID-19, Queen’s is congratulating graduates with a video message that also recognizes their perseverance throughout the pandemic.

“If you’re graduating this year, a good portion of your program has been spent under circumstances that have been truly unprecedented,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane in the video. “Your graduating is a tribute to your determination, your creativity, your hard work, and your flexibility. You have both my admiration and warmest congratulations.”

When it is safe to do so, Queen’s plans to resume in-person convocation ceremonies and intends to invite graduates from the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 back to campus to mark their graduation.

“It’s regrettable that we cannot gather together in person this fall to celebrate your hard-earned degree, your diploma, or your certificate. However, I’m pleased to have this opportunity to offer my sincere congratulations as you officially complete your studies,” says Chancellor Murray Sinclair in the graduation video. “I do hope that before too long we will all be able to mark this important achievement together as a community.”

The university officially conferred degrees for fall graduates on November 1, and it is preparing diploma packages to send by mail in the coming weeks. A full list of graduating students has been shared online by the Office of the University Registrar. Some faculties and schools are also recognizing their graduates through a virtual event or other online methods in the near term.

“I truly hope that you have enjoyed your time at Queen’s and trust that you are taking away with you some wonderful memories and friends who will be with you for the remainder of your lives,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) in her remarks for the video. “My hope is that going forward you will feel confident in your future as you lead the way to positive change for generations to come.”

For more information fall 2021 graduation, visit the Office of the University Registrar website.

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