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International connections flow from research

[Queen's in the World]
Queen's in the World

Throughout his three-decade academic career, Andrew Pollard (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) has worked to establish networks that support international collaborations. Those efforts and his research contributions in the field of fluid dynamics have earned him a fellowship in the American Physical Society.

“The fluid dynamics research community in Canada is small. I have long held the view that reaching out to others around the world is the best way to keep the community and my research vibrant,” says Dr. Pollard, Queen’s Research Chair in Fluid Dynamics and Multi-scale Phenomena.

[Andrew Pollard]
Andrew Pollard (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) has received a fellowship from the American Physical Society. 

To foster those international collaborations, Dr. Pollard has hosted international conferences at Queen’s and elsewhere and visited laboratories around the world during his sabbaticals. He has also reached out to colleagues at other universities, which resulted in annual meetings of fluid dynamics researchers.

Making international connections offers additional benefits beyond advancing his research, according to Dr. Pollard.

“Our students get to see their work is just as good if not better than their peers around the world,” he explains. “And I have found that our graduate students go on to work at other universities often based on the contacts they have made while conducting research here at Queen’s.”

Dr. Pollard’s international work dates back to his graduate school days when he embarked on a PhD in England. During his doctoral work, he used both computers and experiments to understand turbulence and fluid mechanics problems. This synergistic approach has been a hallmark of Dr. Pollard’s research career ever since, which the American Physical Society fellowship celebrates.

“I take two approaches to the subject matter. As an engineer, I am focused on the application side, and I have been recognized as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for that work,” he says. “It’s really icing on the cake to receive the fellowship from the American Physical Society honoring my theoretical research into the intricacies of the flow physics of fluid dynamics and especially turbulence.”

Dr. Pollard accepted the fellowship at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics on Nov. 23 in San Francisco. 

QIC fostering entrepreneurship

Established in 2012 by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and Queen’s School of Business, Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC) provides a number of programs and resources to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship at the university. With Global Entrepreneurship Week being marked Nov. 17-23, Gazette Editor Andrew Carroll sat down with QIC executive director and Special Advisor to the Provost, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Greg Bavington and Alix Murphy, Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) co-ordinator, to talk about the work being done and what it means for the future of Queen’s and its students.

[Queen's Innovation Connector]
Leading the way at the Queen’s Innovation Connector are Greg Bavington, executive director of QIC and Special Advisor to the Provost, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Jim McLellan, QIC academic director, professor and head of Chemical Engineering and Engineering Chemistry, and Alix Murphy, Queen's Innovation Connection Summer Initiative co-ordinator. (University Communications)

Andrew Carroll: Innovation and entrepreneurship have become buzzwords in recent years in regard to the Canadian economy and education system. Why are they important?

Greg Bavington: There is certainly a risk as trends come and go in education but I think this is really a response to a more fundamental shift in the economy. It’s been going on for quite a while and the shift is pretty deeply embedded, which is a trend to smaller companies with much shorter lifespans because of the pace with which technology replaces them. Even in the bigger companies, Google and Apple come to mind, these are companies that have gotten big because they have been highly innovative and they were founded by entrepreneurs. So they are buzzwords but they are not fleeting. The words might get replaced but the concept is going to persist and that is smaller, more agile, shorter life expectancy companies.

Alix Murphy: Even those larger companies are looking for innovation more than ever now. The innovation gap is where people high up want this and that to happen but employees don’t necessarily have the skills or experience to look outside the box. So that’s the kind of training we’re providing now, not just us but universities in general are working toward innovative programming. It’s also so prevalent at the university level because it is such a hub of talent. You have young people, eager to learn, shaping the economy for the future, so why not start at this level?

AC: Some critics argue that entrepreneurship is either difficult or impossible to teach. What’s your view?

GB: This cuts right to the nature-nurture debate and I don’t know of a single example where the person doing the study concluded 100 per cent that it is all one and not the other. It just never comes out that way. So entrepreneurship, I think, like all other things, is both. It’s not 100 per cent nature and no nurture. Our students come to us, our community members, faculty members come to us, with varying amounts of it in their nature. But there are a whole lot of skills that you need to execute on it and that is the nurture part. QIC sees itself existing in no small part to delivering on that nurturing. How do you start a company? How do you tell if an idea is possibly the makings of a successful business or just a cool idea? How do you find out who will pay you for it? How do you find out how much it costs to deliver to your customers?

AM: Many students come to us with an entrepreneurial spirit but they really don’t have the technical skills. That’s where we come in to teach it. That’s nature and nurture.

AC: What differentiates QIC from other similar programs found at the post-secondary level?

GB: There are a number of things and a lot of them are very intentional. QIC, first of all, is reflective of the career experiences of the people involved, who have come to see the value in diversity in skills. Big successful companies are not built by individuals, they are built by teams. Also we understand and recognize the tremendous diversity of the academic programming at Queen’s, which of course drives a diversity of interests, aspirations and capabilities among the student body. The breadth of the QIC has to reflect both of those things and does. We have a tremendous breadth of programs with varying financial and emotional commitment but they are all basically open to all students.

Also, the level of support students get is, I think, exceptional. In the case of QICSI, which involves a more-than-full-time commitment for an entire summer, there is financial support so that it doesn’t become something only the wealthiest students can participate in. Also because we run this program pan-university, on the university main campus during the summer, the access we have to facilities is excellent. There are large companies that would kill to have the resources that we have in terms of our ability to support prototyping efforts, bio-labs, machine shops, makerspaces, electronic prototyping areas, welding facilities.

AC: To date with the QIC, what are the successes you have seen?

GB: I think one of our dramatic successes is the number of students we are impacting now. The amount of pent-up entrepreneurial energy at Queen’s, we’ve just cracked the valve open and it’s exploding, it’s a groundswell.  We started out lurking around the engineering faculty and Queen’s School of Business with 20 students in QICSI in the summer of 2012. QICSI is still there, it’s still important, with 40 students, but we touch thousands of students through all these other events and conferences that we do. That’s absolutely a success for us. Students who have gone through some of the more intensive programs, like QICSI, have benefitted tremendously in their careers, whether it is starting a successful company that’s keeping them employed, or if they have sold for a lot of money, or allowing a company to fail and moving on to a second one or being hired by another start-up because they have learned that they love that way of earning a living. We’ve seen all those things as outcomes and I consider all of them to be successful.

AC: What are the biggest lessons you have learned regarding innovation and entrepreneurship and how these apply to Queen’s?

AM: We’re still learning and as Greg says we are a start-up ourselves. It’s still a relatively new concept to introduce this kind of a program in a university.

GB: I’m proud of what the team at Queen’s has accomplished. I’m proud of our student body. Faculty and staff have jumped right into it, making resources available as well as their own time and expertise. I’m proud of what we have accomplished so far but we’re still new at it. We are a start-up. So far a successful start-up.

Diving deep to uncover history of rocks

[Noel James]
Noel James teaching carbonate sedimentology in Bermuda.

 

[Queen's in the World
Queen's in the World

As a PhD student, Noel James (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) saw a research opportunity to examine relatively young rocks, especially reef rocks, on and around the island of Barbados.

There was only one problem: he lacked a key skill required to understand reef rocks.

“I had never been a diver before. Literally, I learned to dive so I could work on my PhD in a semi-intelligent way,” he says.

Dr. James was hooked on scuba diving right away, which has allowed him to conduct extensive research on coral reefs, shallow seafloors and open shelves, the birthplace of many ancient limestones. From his original marine work in the Caribbean, Dr. James expanded his scope to innovative research on carbonate sedimentary rocks in the High Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, deserts in the Middle East and Australia’s Red Centre.

His contributions to the field earned him the Sorby Medal, the highest award of the International Association of Sedimentologists. The organization has only awarded the medal eight times over the past 40 years.

“It was a shock when I found out I’d won. I looked back at the previous medalists and they were my heroes. I thought, ‘what am I doing with this group of people?’” he says. “The other awards I have received have been profound but this one really affected me quite deeply because it’s worldwide.”

Dr. James, member of the Order of Canada, shares a connection with previous Sorby medalist Bob Ginsburg. After finishing his PhD, Dr. James worked with Dr. Ginsburg to establish a laboratory at the University of Miami. Their research focused on comparing ancient carbonate rocks such as limestone to modern seafloor sediments formed by the shells of dead calcareous organisms often using research submersibles to probe the deep zones of reef growth.

Dr. James carried on that style of research when he returned to Canada, examining rocks in locations across Canada while continuing his work on the modern seafloor. His passion for field work spills over into his teaching, where he infuses his undergraduate and graduate courses with his experiences. In addition he currently takes exceptional students to the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences each year to let them experience first-hand the complexities of reef growth.

“In a course like Geological Evolution of North America, I can tell the students what I found working in the Arctic on 3-billion-year-old rocks. I can use my own pictures and illustrations,” he says. “It’s nice to see them perk up when you are talking about what you have done. I hope in the back of their minds they are thinking, ‘maybe I can do that, too.’

Dr. James accepted the Sorby Medal at the 19th International Sedimentological Congress in Geneva.

Nobel laureate explores connection between arts and science

Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Prize laureate and Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus at Cornell University, delivered this year’s Alfred Bader Lecture on Oct. 30. Communications Officer Andrew Stokes spoke with Dr. Hoffmann about his lecture and lengthy career in the arts and sciences.

Andrew Stokes: Can you tell me a bit about the topic of your lecture?

Roald Hoffmann: The lecture was about the commonalities between the arts and sciences. English chemist and novelist CP Snow argued in the 1950s that there were two distinct cultures between artists and scientists and that the two were incapable of really communicating with each other. With that in mind I looked at examples from chemistry, poetry and painting to note the deep similarities they have.

Along with winning the 1981 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Dr. Roald Hoffmann has written poetry, plays and philosophy.

AS: Why did you pick this topic for the lecture?

RH: This topic is important to me as both an artist and a chemist, because I’m interested in the interface between the two. The arts penetrate to important questions that aren’t necessarily scientific but that nonetheless trouble us all. I picked this topic especially because of its connection to Alfred and Isabel Bader. I’ve known the Baders for nearly 40 years and I’m a great admirer of Alfred – this lecture is really for the two of them who are strong believers in the importance of both arts and science.

AS: Have the two of you worked together in chemistry?

RH: When we first met one another years ago, we took an instant liking to each other. We’ve never worked together professionally, but our shared love of paintings, music and chemistry has led to a long friendship between us. We’re also both European immigrants; Alfred came shortly before World War Two, while I’m a childhood survivor of the Holocaust and came to America in 1949.

AS: You’ve had a prodigious career in chemistry, but can you tell me about your work in the creative arts?

RH: Around midlife I started writing creatively. I began writing poetry, and now have four books of poetry in English and one in Spanish and Russian. I’ve also written essays, short fiction, philosophy and have now started writing plays. My creative writing allows me to express myself in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to do.

AS: How did a career in science affect your creative work?

RH: It’s had a very strong effect on my creative work. I write on some of the traditional topics, like nature, relationships and love, but I try to make use of the language of science. It isn’t easy, but I try. One of the plays I’ve written is about the discovery of oxygen and what it means to be a scientist. My work in the arts has affected my science too. When I write a chemistry paper, I try to bring an artistic sensibility to it. I’ve never tried opening a paper with a poem because I don’t think it would get past the gatekeepers, but stylistically I’ve tried to bring about a greater humanization of science writing. I think it’s worked well in that my papers are viewed by people as being a more complete image of the thing they discuss.

The Bader lecture, organized by Dr. Victor Snieckus and the Office of Advancement, is delivered in honour of Alfred Bader’s contributions to Queen’s University and the field of chemistry.

Ready for Movember

Queen's Engineering Movember
Daniel Kao, left, and Eric Kailly, are helping the Engineering Society of Queen’s University raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues through Movember Canada. (University Communications)

It’s that time of year again. It’s Movember, when those who can grow moustaches – and even those who can’t – work to raise funds and awareness about men’s health.

And Queen’s has a role to play with various groups taking part each year.

One of the main groups is the Engineering Society of Queen’s University, which once again is activating its membership for the month.

With a solid track record from previous campaigns, the society’s Movember committee this year is putting a greater emphasis on getting as many people involved as possible as well as raising awareness about men’s health issues, including prostate and testicular cancer and mental health.

“Our role is to encourage people through events, through motivation and free giveaways, we just want to liven up the spirit for Movember so that individuals and their friends, other students, maybe even professors and staff members, they will contribute to the Movember Foundation,” says Daniel Kao (Sci’17), one of the campaign coordinators along with Josh Burtney (Sci’16). “That’s the push this year.”

Throughout November, the group will be handing out leaflets and free giveaways, hosting special events as well as sales of special merchandise and tickets to an upcoming Kingston Frontenacs game.

It’s a role that the Engineering Society has filled before and continues to fill.

“The Engineering Society just wants to fill that niche and lead the campus just like they do with a lot of other initiatives,” says Mr. Kao.

However, as with so many initiatives, there are a lot of positives for participants as well. That isn’t lost on the committee.

“It’s just a great way to get students involved with fundraising. We are all engineers here but this is a totally different spin on things,” explains Mr. Kao. “We’re cooking burgers, spending time with people, selling merchandise, which isn’t engineering at all.”

And it’s not just about getting out of their circle of friends and classmates. Eric Kailly (Sci’17), the media coordinator for the campaign, also recognizes the real-life value of getting involved, beyond helping others.

“This opportunity with the Movember committee is my first experience to simulate a real job experience outside the classroom. Having meetings with other people, consulting people outside the school for equipment for these Movember events,” he says. “So it’s all a very new experience to me and it’s also a very worthwhile experience at the same time. It’s invaluable experience that we’re getting.”

This year’s campaign kicks off with a special “Shave-Off” event Friday afternoon at Clark Hall with participants starting with a clean slate before getting their facial hair going.

To find out more about events and the campaign go to Queen’s Eng Movember  on Facebook. To learn more about Movember go to Movember.com.

Connecting at Engineering & Technology Fair

  • [Engineering & Technology Fair]
    A group of Queen's students gather around a representative from Aviya.
  • [Engineering & Technology Fair]
    Grant Hall was abuzz with the sounds of students connecting with recruiters from a wide range of employers.
  • [Engineering & Technology Fair]
    A Queen's student speaks with a representative from Geo. A. Kelson Company at the Engineering & Technology Fair.
  • [Engineering & Technology Fair]
    Representatives from Aecon connect with Queen's students at the Engineering & Technology Fair.
  • [Engineering & Technology Fair]
    A Queen's student gets information about Alberici Constructors.

Crowds of Queen's University students filled Grant Hall on Tuesday to take in the Engineering & Technology Fair, which offered connections to close to 40 employers from a wide range of industries and sectors. The event, hosted by Career Services, continues Wednesday from 10:30 am-3:30 pm

Four new Canada Research Chairs for Queen's

Canada Research Chairs. Top row from left to right: Mark Daymond, Christopher Booth, Dylan Robinson. Bottom row from left to right: Jeffrey Masuda, David Murakami Wood, Tucker Carrington.

Four outstanding Queen’s professors have been named Canada Research Chairs, and two current Queen’s chairholders have had their positions renewed.

The Canada Research Chairs program invests approximately $265 million per year to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development. Chairholders are leading researchers in their areas and improve Canada’s depth of knowledge in the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

“Queen’s success in earning four new Canada Research Chairs and two renewals is indicative of our leadership in the research behind some of the most pressing matters in the world today,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “We’re very proud and fortunate to be able to support some of the world’s most accomplished and promising researchers.”

The university’s new chair recipients are Christopher Booth, Mark Daymond, Jeffrey Masuda and Dylan Robinson. Tucker Carrington and David Murakami Wood have had their appointments renewed.

Christopher Booth (Oncology) has been named the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Population Cancer Care. Dr. Booth is a medical oncologist with Kingston General Hospital, a clinician-scientist at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario and an associate professor at Queen’s. The focus of Dr. Booth’s research program is to evaluate the effectiveness of new therapies in the general population and the quality of care delivered to patients in routine clinical practice.

“Being awarded the Canada Research Chair in Population Cancer Care is a tremendous honour and will make a major contribution to our research program,” says Dr. Booth. “I am fortunate at Queen’s to work within the Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, which is a world-class research unit dedicated to the study of cancer care and outcomes in the ‘real world.’”

Mark Daymond (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) has been named the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mechanics of Materials. Dr. Daymond’s internationally recognized research focuses on the microscale interactions of collections of crystals or grains that compose many practical engineering materials and the processes that occur in these materials when they undergo changes in stress or temperature. His goal is to improve both component lifetime and performance.

Jeffrey Masuda (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) has been named the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health Equity. Dr. Masuda is a health geographer and specialist in participatory research in environmental health and in equity-focused knowledge translation.

“The Canada Research Chair program provides me with an amazing opportunity to increase the visibility of pressing environmental health inequities that Canadians face. As a Tier 2 Chair, my research program will be significantly accelerated,” says Dr. Masuda. “My aim in the next five years is to leverage the power of community-based research to uncover new pathways toward healthier environments for all Canadians, regardless of who they are or where they live.”

Dylan Robinson (Indigenous Studies) has been named the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts. Dr. Robinson’s current research on Indigenous art in public spaces focuses on three areas: sound art, social arts practices and artworks that use Indigenous languages. He is currently completing a book titled Songs Taken for Wonders: The Politics of Indigenous Art Music that examines the roles First Peoples play as performers, composers and artistic collaborators in the creation of art music in North America.

"I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to help develop Indigenous studies at Queen's in my new role as Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts. There is much exciting synergy between the kinds of interdisciplinary work happening across a number of programs at Queen's and my own work as a scholar and artist,” says Dr. Robinson. “I am greatly looking forward to working with the academic and Aboriginal communities to find ways to further expand the support for Indigenous arts research and artistic practice."

Tucker Carrington (Chemistry) has been named the returning Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Computational Quantum Dynamics. Dr. Carrington’s research focuses on understanding the motion of atoms. This includes the development and application of new methods of computing rate constants, vibrational and rotational-vibrational spectra, and photodissociation cross sections.

“I am pleased that the CRC was renewed and look forward to continuing to work with talented and hard-working students and postdocs at Queen's and contributing to the community of scholars at  the university,” says Dr. Carrington.

David Murakami Wood (Sociology) has been named the returning Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Surveillance Studies. Dr. Murakami Wood is spending the next five years working on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant-funded critical study on surveillance and ”smart city” initiatives in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

For more information on Canada Research Chairs, follow this link.

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program has stood at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development since 2000. The CRC program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Canadian universities both nominate Canada Research Chairs and administer their funds. For each Tier 1 chair, the university receives $200,000 annually for seven years and for each Tier 2 chair, the university receives $100,000 annually for five years.

Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions within Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in science, engineering and health. 

Two students named Schulich Leaders

Two outstanding Queen’s students, Elise Hewat of Kaslo, BC and Tayyaba Ashfaq Bhatti of Saskatoon, SK, are among the 2014 winners of the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships.

Created by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, the annual awards program is the largest undergraduate scholarship opportunity in Canada for students pursing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Two scholarship recipients are selected at each partnering university. One award for a student studying in engineering is valued at $80,000 and a second award valued at $60,000 is for other STEM areas of study. 

“Congratulations are due to Elise and Tayyaba for their remarkable accomplishments,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “They are among the 40 Schulich leaders selected across the country from more than 1,100 applications and it is a pleasure to have them both at Queen’s.”

Elise Hewat of Kaslo, BC.

Elise Hewat, a graduate of JV Humphries, Kaslo BC who is studying in the faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, says that she hopes to pursue a job in engineering and continue her studies at the graduate level.

“This award has opened up so many more opportunities for me and I am very excited to see where they take me,” Ms. Hewat says. “I hope to be able to make an impact on the world with whatever I do and this scholarship has given me an amazing opportunity to do just that.”

Tayyaba Ashfaq Bhatti, a graduate of Centennial Collegiate, Saskatoon SK who is studying in the Faculty of Arts and Science, says that the award means a less stressful first year and more time to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Tayyaba Ashfaq Bhatti of Saskatoon, SK

“This award has allowed me to attend the school of my dreams,” says Ms. Bhatti. “After I complete my honours degree, I would like to apply to medical school. My dream is to become a cardiologist and impact people’s lives in a positive manner.”

The nomination period for the 2015 Schulich Leader Scholarships competition is now open. High schools, secondary schools and CEGEP’s across Canada have until Feb. 2, 2015 to select their scholarship candidates. The student nominees then have until Feb. 23, 2015 to submit their application. Students will be considered on the basis of two of the following attributes: academic excellence, outstanding community service, business or entrepreneurial leadership, or financial need.

“Fostering leadership in STEM fields is vital to Canada’s economic prosperity,” said Seymour Schulich. “A scholarship of this size will motivate high school students from across the country to pursue their dream and in the process help to ensure our country’s competitive position.”

To learn more about the Schulich Leader Scholarships, visit their website.

Insights, advice and a song for Major Admission Awards

  • [Admission Awards - Abrams Brothers]
    John and James Abrams of The Abrams Brothers perform during the Major Admission Awards Reception held Monday, Sept 22 at Wallace Hall.
  • [Admission Awards - Abrams Brothers]
    John and James Abrams of The Abrams Brothers perform during the Major Admission Awards Reception.
  • [Admission Awards - Abrams Brothers]
    John and James Abrams stand alongside Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), during the Major Admission Awards Reception.
  • [Admission Awards - Haley Kawaja]
    Haley Kawaja, a Chernoff Family Award Scholar, speaks during the Major Admission Awards Reception as Ann Tierney and Alan Harrison look on.
  • [Admission Awards Reception]
    Donato Santeramo, Department Head for Languages, Literatures & Cultures, speaks to students at the Major Admission Awards Reception.
  • [Admission Awards - Ann Tierney]
    Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, emceees the Major Admission Awards Reception at Wallace Hall.
  • [Admission Awards Reception]
    Students and faculty members attend the Major Admission Awards Reception held Monday, Sept. 22 at Wallace Hall.

A pair of upper year students offered their advice and personal insights Monday evening as Queen’s recognized its major admission award recipients at a reception. 

Both John Abrams and Haley Kawaja are award recipients themselves but have taken very different paths in their education and lives.

Mr. Abrams, a Chancellor’s Scholar from Kingston, is in his third year majoring in Film and Media with a minor in English Language and Literature.

However, he is better known as half of The Abrams Brothers, a country music duo named Best New Artist at the 2012 Canadian Country Music Awards. He and his brother James performed a song for the gathered crowd at Wallace Hall.  

His message was that many people, past and present, may have the ability to study at the university level but may not have the means. It was a message he related through the stories of his grandparents and parents. His father, now a judge, studied law after a career in the RCMP. Mr. Abrams recalled going to his father’s classes at Queen’s when he was a mere three years old.

“Most importantly for me, I recognize that in my generation a lot of us have what I would consider a misplaced sense of entitlement,” he says. “I observe that and I try every day to remember that I am not necessarily entitled to this, that this is a wonderful privilege to be here at this institution, to have this scholarship. As a result I carry myself accordingly and try and work as hard as I can to live up to those expectations and responsibilities.”

Ms. Kawaja, a Chernoff Family Award Scholar from Cornerbrook, N.L., is a fourth-year biology student with a minor in English Language and Literature.

She too has not taken the conventional path in her education, having taken a year away from her studies to live in Kenya, where she developed an educational program for HIV prevention.

Her message was that it was okay to not know what you want, a pressure that many award recipients and Queen’s students may feel.

“I wanted to get across that your plans are always made by a less mature version of yourself,” she says. “You make a plan in high school for the next four years, then in four years your plan hasn’t accounted for everything you learn over that time. More than anything, (my message is) it’s okay to not know what you want and to change your plan.”

Currently, there are 251 entering and in-course award recipients at Queen’s, hailing from coast to coast and across all faculties and departments.  

“Major Admission Award recipients are those who are engaged within their high schools and/or communities, demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities, possess creativity and initiative, and excel academically.  They continue to demonstrate these attributes throughout their time here," says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, who emceed the event. “Each year, the selection committee has to work harder to make its decisions, because of the calibre of students who apply to Queen's.”

The awards are generously supported by numerous donors.  Many donors want to give back this way because they too received some form of support, recognition and encouragement when they were students. Their generosity has a significant impact within the Queen's community and the recipients of their awards.

The 2015-16 Major Admission Award application is now open for students applying to Queen's for the 2015-16 academic year. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1, 2014. Visit the Student Awards website for further information about our Major Admission Awards.

Principal Woolf announces his priorities for 2014-2015

At the beginning of each academic year it has been my practice to outline for the community, in broad strokes, the goals and priorities I intend to pursue over the course of the year. These goals are, unsurprisingly, aligned with the four strategic drivers identified in the Queen’s University Strategic Framework 2014-2019, a document that will guide the university’s decision making over the next five years.

Principal Daniel Woolf speaks with students during an event on campus. Strengthening the student learning experience is one of his goals for the 2014-15 academic year.

As I commence my second term as Principal my overarching goal remains unchanged-- to advance Queen’s as a university that uniquely combines quality and intensity of research with excellence in undergraduate and graduate education. The strategic drivers – the student learning experience, research prominence, financial sustainability and internationalization – directly support the success of Queen’s as a balanced academy.

It should be noted that the framework builds on and is fully aligned with The Third Juncture, a 10-year vision for Queen’s that I wrote in 2012, as well as a number of other recent planning documents including the Academic Plan (2011), the Strategic Research Plan (2012), the Teaching and Learning Action Plan (2014), and the Campus Master Plan.

In this context, my senior administrative colleagues and I are committed to:

1. Strengthening the student learning experience

A transformative learning experience is central to the Queen’s identity and to our vision as a university. Our academic plan outlines the centrality of developing our students’ fundamental academic skills while also providing them with learning opportunities that will help prepare them for the future. Goals related to this priority include:

  • Increasing the number of new opportunities for expanded credentials, as well as more opportunities for experiential and entrepreneurial learning, both on and off campus.
  • Further integrating technology into the delivery of course content where it enables improved learning.
  • Continuing to focus on strategies for teaching and learning based on student engagement and broad-based learning outcomes.

2. Strengthening our research prominence

Queen’s is recognized as one of Canada’s outstanding research institutions, but sustaining and enhancing our status means we must guide and support our research enterprise while resolutely pursuing funding. Goals related to this priority include:

  • Maintaining success rates in applications for Tri-Council funding.
  • Remaining among the country’s top three universities for faculty awards, honours and prizes, and election to major learned bodies such as the Royal Society of Canada.
  • Supporting the development and engagement of Queen’s faculty members as set out in the Senate-approved Strategic Research Plan.

3. Ensuring financial sustainability

To support teaching and research into the future, we will need stable and diverse revenue streams, particularly as government funding, per student, continues to fall. Goals related to this priority include:

  • Continuing strong revenue growth together with revenue diversification.
  • Meeting our $60 million annual fund raising target as part of the Initiative Campaign, while focusing on its overall achievement by 2016.
  • Pursuing long-term sustainability for our pension plan.

4. Raising our international profile

Two years ago I stated in The Third Juncture that as global competition among universities increases over the next decade, it will not be sufficient to be simply ‘known’ in one’s own country. Increasingly, the value of our students’ degrees will be tied to our international reputation, as will our ability to attract international students, who raise our profile and contribute a great deal to the academic environment. Goals related to this priority include:

  • Moving forward on multi-year plans to increase undergraduate international enrolment.
  • Maintaining our strong record in attracting international graduate students.
  • Supporting growth in international collaborations and partnerships.

5. Promoting and developing talent

We will need to ensure that we are able to acquire, develop and retain top quality faculty and staff to thrive as an institution. Our talent management strategy, which I initiated last year, will provide a strategic approach to ensure we have the right leaders in place and in the wings as we advance our academic mission and work to secure financial sustainability. Goals related to this priority include:

  • Continuing with succession planning efforts for academic and administrative leadership roles across the university.
  • Developing a competency model that will be used to identify necessary competencies when hiring, and for leadership development and performance dialogue discussions.
  • Refining our hiring practices.
  • Promoting discussion among the Deans around faculty renewal. 

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