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William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

 

Mentorship opportunity builds international partnership

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars program is currently recruiting supervisors for its incoming fall 2021 cohort.

Mastercard Foundation workshop participants from Queen's and the University of Gondar gather for a team photo in Ethiopia.
Participants gather for a team photo following an Occupational Therapy workshop hosted at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia as part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program. (Supplied photo)

In 2017, with the support of The Mastercard Foundation, Queen’s University and the University of Gondar (UoG) entered a partnership to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa. 

As part of the partnership, the UoG/Queen’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars program is designed to provide up to 60 of the African university’s faculty members the opportunity to pursue graduate training at Queen’s. Now in its fourth year, the program is currently recruiting Queensupervisors for the 2021 cohort of incoming PhD candidates from the University of Gondar.  

Funding for the program is part of a $24.2 million grant from The Mastercard Foundation. 

“Queen’s has been fortunate to benefit from the inclusion of UoG faculty members in our classrooms across campus: in the Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Law, and Engineering faculties,” says Heather Aldersey, Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and Scientific Director of the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation, which administers the program. “We would love to see this program continue to cut across disciplines to create a diverse cohort of experts on disability inclusion at the UoG. With only two remaining recruitment cycles for this project, I am hopeful that we can continue to make meaningful matches between applicants and potential supervisors.”  

A rewarding experience 

Faculty members who have supervised current and previous cohorts of Mastercard Foundation Scholars have found it to be a rewarding experience. Jordan Miller, Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and Associate Director of the Physical Therapy program at Queen’s, currently supervises two scholars and will welcome a third this fall. 

“I’ve learned as much from my students as they have from me, I’m sure,” says Dr. Miller. “Working with them has really opened my eyes to new avenues for research and they have enriched my life and research program in many ways.” 

Dr. Miller says that through his work with the Ethiopian students, he is building a hub of researchers with cross-cultural expertise in musculoskeletal conditions and pain. He explains that because this field has not been fully developed in Ethiopia, there is the opportunity to help Ethiopian clinicians and researchers avoid some of the mistakes that have been made in North America, such as reliance on imaging and medication for people with musculoskeletal conditions like back pain. 

Mulugeta Chala, one of the students currently working with Dr. Miller, is studying the lived experience of Ethiopians with low back pain and how healthcare providers can better understand patients and their experience and provide treatment primarily through self-management strategies. The end goal is to design health-care programs specifically for the Ethiopian context.  

Mr. Chala – already an established physiotherapist and educator at the University of Gondar – says he is pleased with the progress his project is making. 

“Dr. Miller is an amazing person and helpful supervisor who has always been easy to approach and work with,” says Mr. Chala. “He does not push you, but he will always ask questions that help you move forward. I am really happy with where I am at – he has really helped with designing the project and sticking to a workable timeline.” 

A unique opportunity 

Faculty supervisors may be from any field that would permit a PhD dissertation related to disability in Ethiopia (or Africa more broadly). Currently, Mastercard Foundation fellows are studying in fields as diverse as occupational therapy, engineering, kinesiology and health studies, law, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences at Queen’s. 

For more information about how to become a supervisor of a Mastercard Foundation Fellow, email Heather Aldersey at hma@queensu.ca. For more information on the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program visit the website. 

Easy-to-build ventilators

A team of Canadian physicists, led by Queen’s Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, is part of an international effort to design a ventilator to help in the treatment of COVID-19.

Arthur McDonald
Nobel Laureate Art McDonald and other Queen’s physics researchers are working as part of an international team developing a ventilator that can be certified and manufactured with off-the-shelf parts. (University Communications)

A team of Canadian physicists, including Nobel Laureate Art McDonald and other Queen’s physics researchers, are part of an international team working to develop a robust, easy-to-manufacture ventilator that can be certified and manufactured with off-the-shelf parts from established supply chains.

Nobel Prize
Queen’s Professor Emeritus, Dr. Art McDonald was co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery that neutrinos, essential building blocks of the Universe, have mass. He is partnering with the nation’s leading particle and nuclear physics laboratories, SNOLAB, TRIUMF and Canadian National Laboratories, to lead the Canadian arm of the Mechanical Ventilator Milano project.

The ventilator design leverages the collaborators’ collective expertise in the design of gas-handling and electronic control systems used in the search for dark matter, the mysterious substance which makes up more than 80 per cent of the universe. The original design and prototypes were led by Dr. Cristiano Galbiati, a Princeton professor and collaborator on Italy’s DarkSide (Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration) experiment in response to that country’s desperate need for ventilators.

Now a multi-national project, the Mechanical Ventilator Milano collaboration aims to design, develop, build and certify a simple mechanical ventilator system that provides a controlled supply of oxygen and air to COVID-19-stricken patients.  Importantly, the mechanical, control, and display systems are constructed from readily available parts, aiding rapid manufacture that can be adopted in different countries.

“The goal is to develop a ventilator model to meet current needs that can be constructed quickly and reliably in Canada and in other countries,” says Dr. Art McDonald, Professor Emeritus (Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy) at Queen’s University and 2015 Nobel Laureate. “This project is an example of how we can harness the capacity and talent of the Canadian nuclear and particle physics community at SNOLAB, TRIUMF, and the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to help combat COVID-19 with our international partners.”

With Dr. McDonald, the Canadian partners, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, SNOLAB and TRIUMF, have joined an international group of researchers from Italy, the EU and US, working: to develop a common international standard for the machine, modify the design in collaboration with medical clinicians, test the viability of the device in medical environments, secure certifications through national health agencies, and partner with governments and manufacturers to support mass production.

Today, in his daily media briefing, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, highlighted the project as one of the key examples of how Canadian researchers are working together to provide effective and creative solutions to supply shortages in the COVID-19 pandemic.  The project was also recently highlighted in a Globe and Mail article, Nobel Laureate leads push for simple made-in-Canada ventilator.

The project continues to evolve. The Gazette will continue to follow this project and keep the Queen’s community updated on progress and further developments. Please visit the Mechanical Ventilator Milano website for more information.

Ventilator design
The Mechanical Ventilator Milano collaboration aims to design, develop, build and certify a simple mechanical ventilator system that provides a controlled supply of oxygen and air to COVID-19 patients.

 

Queen’s experts rise to the challenge

More Confronting COVID-19 Stories

How the university's researchers are sharing their expertise to help us understand and cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Empty interview room with microphones
Queen's researchers are sharing their expertise during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering commentary and analysis. (Unsplash / Austin Distel)

As the world grapples with the uncertainties surrounding a global pandemic, we seek to understand more about the virus, its spread, and social and economic impacts. We also search for strategies for how we, as individuals and communities, can cope and be resilient in these challenging times.

However, as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, so does exposure to a virulent combination of misinformation, disinformation, and amateur analysis. In this time of crisis, fact-based and research-informed commentary is necessary, highlighting the critical contribution that researchers and academics can make to informing the conversation

Since the coronavirus pandemic became an increasingly global concern in January, Queen’s researchers across disciplines have been active in offering commentary and analysis on COVID-19-related issues –  from understanding symptoms and spread of the virus to the impact the pandemic is having on Canadian oil prices and the global economy.

“At Queen’s, we have a wealth of leading research expertise that can be applied to how we understand the coronavirus and evaluate impacts of the crisis economically, socially, and politically,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “Key to our research promotion strategy and integral to our media relations approach during this time is to help our researchers share their expertise through the national and international media.”

Mobilizing research: Confronting COVID-19

As part of the Confronting COVID-19 series in the Gazette, as well as in an effort to build prominence for our researchers as media experts, the university’s Integrated Communications team is working daily across our research community to develop COVID-19-related stories.

The team also shares with media a growing list of Queen’s experts who are ready to comment on COVID-19 related issues.  Many of these experts have been featured at the local, national and international level, reaching millions through traditional and social platforms.

Highlights in the last few weeks include: Sharry Aiken (Law) commenting in the National Post on how Immigration slowdown could add to the economy's woes as coronavirus pressures mount, Duncan Hunter (Public Health Sciences) reflecting in the Globe and Mail on how Canadian governments have employed an earlier and more coordinated response to COVID-19 compared to the U.S., and Anne Ellis (Medicine) speaking to CTV News about why having asthma under control helps people  handle COVID-19.

Leading The Conversation

The Conversation logoQueen’s researchers are also taking advantage of the university’s relationship with The Conversation, to provide expert commentary on the crisis. This news platform, which has 10 international editions, including Canada, sources content from the academic research community and delivers it directly to the public and media through Creative Commons Licensing. The Conversation is currently seeing unprecedented engagement with their sites and content.

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, producing more than 225 articles with 3.5 million reads over the last two years.

Recently, Roberta Lamb (Education and Music) and Robbie MacKay (Dan School of Drama and Music) provided an analysis of how music played and shared during isolation demonstrates how the arts connect us and builds community.  In his 7 tips we can learn from hockey, Stephen Archer (Medicine) outlined how lessons learned from Canada’s favourite game can offer wisdom during the pandemic.

PhD candidate Korey Pasch (Political Studies) looked at how coronavirus is fueling mistrust, fear, and racism, similar to experiences with other diseases, such as Ebola and SARS viruses. The Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment, Kyla Tienhaara (School of Environmental Studies) provided commentary on the need for governments to consider a full green stimulus to combating the ecological crisis that is pending.

Call-to-action for researchers

“Canadians and global citizens are looking for answers and advice that is fact-based and that they can trust,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This is where the Queen’s research community can take a leadership role. Across disciplines, we have research expertise that can be mobilized and applied.”

The University Relations team is looking for research experts who can help us to understand the virus, its spread and its variable impacts. If you are interested in becoming a media expert or in writing for The Conversation Canada, please contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives at knoxm@queensu.ca or Anne Craig, Media Relations Officer, at anne.craig@queensu.ca.

Queen’s celebrates swearing-in of 65 new Canadians

New Canadians and Black History Month feted during community roundtable and formal ceremony hosted by Queen’s and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

  • After taking their oath of citizenship, new Canadians were congratulated by Judge Marie Senécal-Tremblay, Queen's Elder-in-Residence Wendy Phillips, Principal Patrick Deane, Associate Vice-Principal Stephanie Simpson, and ICC Managing Director Amy Matchen.
    After taking their oath of citizenship, new Canadians were congratulated by Judge Marie Senécal-Tremblay, Queen's Elder-in-Residence Wendy Phillips, Principal Patrick Deane, Associate Vice-Principal Stephanie Simpson, and ICC Managing Director Amy Matchen.
  • New Canadians crossed the stage to sign and receive their certificates of citizenship.
    New Canadians crossed the stage to sign and receive their certificates of citizenship.
  • New Canadian citizens share stories from the roundtable discussion with the larger group.
    New Canadian citizens share stories from the roundtable discussion with the larger group.
  • Even the youngest new citizens shared their stories about coming to Canada.
    Even the youngest new citizens shared their stories about coming to Canada.
  • Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion), spoke to the audience about Black History Month and the many accomplishments and experiences of Black Canadians from around the world.
    Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion), spoke to the audience about Black History Month and the many accomplishments and experiences of Black Canadians from around the world.

Canada welcomed dozens of new citizens during a moving celebration held at Queen’s Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Organized by the university in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), the event welcomed 65 local citizenship candidates from 24 countries, their families, and members of the university and Kingston communities to mark the occasion and to join in enriching conversation about what it means to be, and become, Canadian.

“I want to congratulate you all and thank you for the opportunity to be with you in this celebration,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “I join with you in a feeling of great excitement and anticipation of what the future will bring to all of you, and to all of us as Canadians.”

Billed as an enhanced citizenship ceremony by the ICC – which partners to host 75 such events across the country each year – the celebration included a roundtable community discussion with citizenship candidates and Queen’s students, staff, and faculty, as well as the formal citizenship ceremony, and a special reception for new Canadians and their invitees.

“It is wonderful to hold this event on a university campus, because I think there is no greater force for the formation of a good, just, and equitable society than education and the personal development that comes with it,” says Principal Deane.

Co-founded and co-chaired by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and essayist and novelist John Ralston Saul, the ICC seeks to inspire inclusion and create opportunities to connect and encourage active citizenship through efforts like enhanced citizenship ceremonies.

Championing Black history

Each enhanced citizenship ceremony adopts a special theme through which celebrations and roundtable discussions can take on deeper and meaningful dimensions for the community. The Feb. 26 event at Queen’s marked Black History Month, providing community members, including new Canadians, an opportunity to recognize, reflect, and champion the experiences, achievements, and contributions of Black community members and families.

“The abilities and talents of people from all over the world are vital to our growth as a country and our sense of who we are as a community,” says Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion), who joined the lively roundtable discussions. “It is such a pleasure to hear people speak about their journeys from so many different places as we also celebrated Black History Month and reflected on the journeys and experiences of people of African descent.”

Citizenship Judge Marie Senécal-Tremblay, who presided over the oath of citizenship ceremony, further recognized Black History Month during her opening remarks. She drew special attention to the lives and careers of Jean Augustine, the first Black member of Canada’s Parliament; and of renowned Queen’s donor and alumni Robert Sutherland, who was not only the first Black university student and graduate but also the first Black lawyer in British North America.

“We are pleased to partner with Queen’s University to recognize Black History Month at this special citizenship ceremony,” says Amy Matchen, Managing Director of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. “Today, we celebrate new citizens who come from all corners of the globe, and the contributions of Black Canadians to this country that we all call home."

For more on the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and enhanced citizenship ceremonies, visit the ICC website.

International collaboration looks at the future of teaching

Participants in the first CANOPY meeting
CANOPY, an international collaboration between the Queen's Faculty of Education and Nord University in Norway, held its first meeting Jan. 13-14 to discuss educational leadership. (Supplied Photo)

The Faculty of Education at Queen’s University recently launched a new partnership with Norway’s Nord University, with a focus on better preparing the teachers of the future.

Concurrent education students, faculty members, Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler, and Paul Valle, Superintendent of Schools with the York Region District School Board, met with counterparts from Nord University on Jan. 13-14 to discuss educational leadership.

Rebecca Luce-Kapler speaks
Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Queen's University, welcomes the members of the CANOPY partnership during the inaugural meeting. (Supplied photo)

This collaboration is part of the Canada-Norway Pedagogy Partnership for Innovation and Inclusion in Education (CANOPY), a four-year partnership funded by the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU)’s NOTED program.

This partnership aims to address, from a holistic and international perspective, the most pressing issues currently facing the education sector to better prepare the next generation of teachers. Connecting educational research, classroom experience, student mobility, and institutional management, CANOPY will develop global competencies in pedagogy, research, and training through international collaboration.

Over the course of the two days, each member presented a half-hour session to learn about the similarities and differences between education in Norway and Canada.

“Having education students, faculty members, people who work in school boards and senior administrators of the Faculty of Education from two different countries be part of the same group created a dynamic environment full of exciting possibilities for future collaborations and wonderful ideas that each of us will be taking away with us in our practice,” says Dr. Luce-Kapler.

The group will meet again in Norway in May to further establish valuable relationships and research possibilities.

Innovation and inclusion are the guiding principals of CANOPY, and the initiatives of each year of the project will focus on a different priority area:
2020: Educational Leadership
2021: Digital Innovation and Educational Technology
2022: Indigenous Studies, Diversity, and Inclusion
2023: Exceptional Learners

To find out more about this exciting new partnership, please visit the CANOPY website

Queen’s oncologist moving mountains to improve cancer care

Dr. Bishal Gyawali is working to reduce the he challenges facing cancer patients in Nepal.

Dr. Bishal Gyawali is working to reduce the he challenges facing cancer patients in Nepal.
Dr. Bishal Gyawali, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, recently received a prestigious award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The Himalayan country of Nepal has a population of 33 million and yet there are less than 20 medical oncologists in the country to treat the rising rates of cancer among the Nepalese people. If you compare that to Canada, there is quite a difference. We have about 620 oncologists available to treat our population of 37.5 million.

For a Nepalese cancer patient, this disparity means that access to care is not as simple as going to the local hospital each week for chemotherapy. There are only two public cancer centres in Nepal that offer treatment: one in Kathmandu and the other in Bharatpur. And in a country characterized by mountains and variable road conditions, those centres can be difficult to get to. Living expenses in Kathmandu are prohibitive, leaving some patients to travel more than 500 km to get 45 minutes of chemotherapy on a weekly basis.

Dr. Bishal Gyawali, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, is acutely aware of the strain the lack of oncologists places on individuals and on the Nepalese healthcare system. After completing his speciality training in oncology in Japan, Dr. Gyawali – who was born in Nepal – returned home and spent six months working in a public hospital in Kathmandu.

There, he witnessed the challenges facing cancer patients.

“One of my young male patients was from the far western part of Nepal and he needed chemotherapy every two weeks,” he says. “It would take him more than 36 hours to come to Kathmandu for chemotherapy. This disrupted his job, on top of the cancer diagnosis and hassle of travel.”

With the burden of childcare often falling to Nepalese women, they face particular challenges.

“A woman from rural Nepal stayed in Kathmandu with her relatives for more than three months to complete her chemo. She had two little kids back home who needed her care, but she had to complete the chemo first,” Dr. Gyawali says. “A weekly commute was impossible.”

But Dr. Gyawali sees a way forward.

He has a plan to import an initiative that has been successful here in Canada to Nepal. It’s a training program for primary care doctors, which builds their capacity to deliver basic cancer treatment in rural settings. Here in Canada, this has dramatically increased the number of patients who can receive care close to home. Upon completion of the training, the Canadian physicians gain the designation of General Practice (GP) Oncology, and go on to provide rural cancer treatment.

When Dr. Gyawali came up with the vision for this project, he lacked the resources to make it happen.

“I had thought about doing this for a long time but had no money or ability to implement it,” he says.

That changed last month when Dr. Gyawali received a prestigious award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) which will allow him to lay the groundwork for a training program modelled on the Canadian one.

Nepal mountain scene
For many people living in rural Nepal, travelling for oncology treatment is very difficult.

The $50,000 award will be used to perform a needs assessment and to collaborate with Nepalese doctors to develop a training curriculum in basic oncology care. The training will be delivered to primary care doctors who practise outside the two main cancer centres in Nepal, thus increasing the capacity of GPs throughout the country. Ultimately this will make cancer care more accessible to patients, regardless of geography.

In some cancers, chemotherapy needs to be administered once a week for 12 weeks. With that frequency, Dr. Bishesh Poudyal, Associate Professor and Chief, Civil Service Hospital in Kathmandu, agrees that a training program is much-needed.

“If we can train GP oncologists, then patients can be treated locally and they don’t have to travel just to show bloodwork reports,” he says. “This will save lives and make treatment more affordable and efficient.”

Dr. Bishal Gyawali joined Queen’s in March 2019. In addition to his appointment to the Department of Public Health Sciences, he is a clinical fellow in the Department of Oncology at Queen’s.

What attracted him to the university was the global focus within the Department of Oncology under the leadership of department head, Dr. Scott Berry. He is thrilled to have Dr. Christopher Booth as a colleague, an oncologist who has worked extensively in India.  

“The Queen’s Global Oncology team is made up of similar-minded people,” he says. “I am fortunate to have this career path.”

As with our other Global Health initiatives in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Gyawali’s work is premised on building local capacity to address a specific need within a community. I am pleased that his work will be added to the slate of partnerships and projects that we have across the globe and I look forward to hearing about the impact that it has.

This article was first published in the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean's Blog.

New beginnings for new arrivals

Queen's University International Centre helps welcome newly-arrived international students settle in ahead of start of term.

International tour of campus
Fiona McConnell-Radford, a fourth-year psychology student and Queen's tour guide, leads a group of international students through Mackintosh-Corry Hall. (University Communications)

Newly-arrived international students have been getting an early look around Queen’s University as they prepare for the winter term.

The Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) has been welcoming the new arrivals with its International Welcome and Orientation activities, including tours of campus and downtown, social events, and information sessions presented by QUIC leaders.

On Jan. 2 and 3, QUIC offered guided tours, showing international  students how to make their way around campus and locate important resources, while also providing information about some of the main buildings and history of the university.

Brazil’s Paola Dantonio took part in the QUIC tour and found it helpful in finding out more about campus.

She arrives at Queen’s to pursue a PhD in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Studies.

International students who have arrived for the winter term start a campus tour offered by QUIC at Mitchell Hall. (University Communications)

“I came to Queen’s because of my supervisor, Dr. Lynne Postovit. I was in Edmonton at the University of Alberta with her for my master’s,” she explains. “This is her alma mater and she came back to Queen’s earlier this year as the head of the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Studies. I wanted to work with her and she told me a lot of good things about Queen’s such as the high quality of the students and she said it was a good university.”

Located in Mitchell Hall, QUIC supports the student experience at Queen’s and hosts events throughout the year.

Support activities for international students continue throughout the winter term in collaboration with various Division of Student Affairs and faculty units, including advising, information sessions, learning workshops, drop-in assistance, the QUIC English Conversation Program, and intercultural training.

QUIC also hosts events such as a games night, a movie night and trips to help students make connections and gain a more Canadian experience.

“Over the past few days, we have enjoyed welcoming new international students to Queen’s and welcoming back returning students,” says Amanda Gray, QUIC International Student Advisor. “ Campus can be pretty quiet over the winter break and it has been great to connect with returning students through our extended hours and social events.  We look forward to supporting new and returning students during the Winter 2020 Term.”

Find out more about these events on the QUIC website.

Highlighting the benefits of an international education

[Students attend a workshop at QUIC]
Students attend a workshop at Queen's University International Centre (QUIC).

Every year, International Education Week brings together institutions, educators, and students from around the world to showcase the many benefits of an international education, including enhancing students’ global perspectives and broadening their academic experience.   

This year, Student Academic Success Service (SASS) and the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) celebrated International Education Week (Nov.18-22) by launching a collaborative social media campaign designed to highlight the strengths that students who have studied abroad bring to Queen’s.

Students were asked to answer a series of questions about their prior educational experience, what they’ve excelled at while studying at Queen’s, and how they value their international education. In their responses, which were featured on SASS’s and QUIC’s Facebook and Instagram pages, the four students profiled emphasized the value of international education and how it cultivates adaptability, encourages an understanding of diverse perspectives, and enhances openness to learning.

Another benefit the students highlighted was the ability to understand the way that cultural context can influence academic study.

“From my perspective, international education is the nexus of problems and solutions that arise when one tries to understand a specific research question in a cultural and historical context,” says Flavio Martins, a master’s student in Mechanical Engineering. “My work on clean energy resources in Canada has different consequences when compared to, for example, work on the same topic in the Netherlands, where this field of research is well developed. Study of the same topic in a developing country in which this technology is in its initial implementation stage and limited by socioeconomic issues, meanwhile, might have a different significance. International perspectives and interdisciplinarity helps students to develop different perspectives on the same topic.”

Positive experiences

The posts received a high level of engagement, with students sharing positive reactions and embracing the message that diverse educational experiences lead to success in Canadian universities.

“Students come to Queen’s from all around the world, bringing incredible academic skills and knowledge that enrich our campus,” says Agnieszka Herra, Intercultural Academic Support Coordinator at SASS and QUIC. “This International Education Week campaign allowed the Queen’s community to hear directly from the students about the benefits of having educational experiences in various parts of the world. We hope to encourage conversations and bring awareness to the value of international education.”

The SASS and QUIC International Education Week campaign is part of an effort across campus to highlight the strengths of students from all backgrounds. The campaign spans online resources and reinvented workshops, and dovetails with efforts to highlight the voices of students from intercultural contexts and amplify the strengths they bring to their studies at Queen’s.

Queen’s Innovation Centre promotes design thinking in Vietnam

DDQIC delivers design thinking workshop to students in Ho Chi Minh City.

Students in Vietnam take part in design thinking workshop.

On November 14, the team from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC), in conjunction with Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment, delivered a design thinking workshop to over 40 high-school students in Ho Chi Minh City.

The event, which took place at the Canadian International School in Vietnam, gave participants the opportunity to learn about design thinking and experience a little taste of Queen’s.

“I’d like to thank Queen’s University for conducting the Design Thinking Workshop at the Canadian International School Vietnam,” says Melissa O’Leary, Secondary Guidance Counsellor at the Canadian International School. “The scaffolded process led them to higher levels of thinking and problem solving - and many remarked that they surprised themselves in being able to develop a solution to a problem within a short time span.  They were engaged the entire time and it most definitely helped to build their confidence.”

The DDQIC was established in 2012 as a startup, and it has since grown into a driver of innovation and entrepreneurship across Queen’s, Kingston, and beyond.

The design thinking workshop, which was facilitated by Greg Bavington, Melanie Robb, Allison Yokom, and Chau Mai, gave students the tools and techniques to think differently, see new opportunities, and create innovative, high-impact solutions.

“We were very impressed with how bright and motivated these students were throughout the workshop,” says Bavington, Executive Director of the DDQIC. “Activities like this really highlight what we are trying to do within the DDQIC.  We are a pan-university initiative, and our commitment is to support students from all academic disciplines and demonstrate how the tools of innovation and entrepreneurship can be applied to advancing an idea or developing a solution to a problem.”

In the future, the DDQIC team hopes to present design thinking workshops in China as well as with their Pathways to Education partners in Toronto.

To learn more, visit the Queen’s Innovation Centre website.

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