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Rankings season in full swing

September means back to class for university students and it also means international rankings season is in full swing, with the three most-watched rankings released this time of year.

“Queen’s has not chosen an easy path when it comes to international rankings,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “While most universities focus either on research or teaching, Queen’s believes in a balanced academy and strives to excel at both. Delivering a transformative student learning experience in a research-intensive environment is our defining strength, but it does not necessarily help us in international rankings.”

"Queen’s has not chosen an easy path...delivering a transformative student learning experience in a research-intensive environment is our defining strength, but it does not necessarily help us in international rankings."

– Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

The Shanghai Jiao Tong academic ranking of world universities (ARWU) was released on August 15 and Queen’s maintained its position within the 201-300 range of the world’s top universities. The QS world university rankings were announced September 16 and saw Queen’s move up two positions to 187th globally. The Times Higher Education (THE) world university rankings will be published on October 1.

Every ranking uses a different methodology and Queen’s performs well in some and less well in others. Some rankings, such as QS, rely heavily on global reputational surveys and others, such as ARWU and THE place a heavy emphasis on research output.

“Fluctuations in the international rankings are to be expected and Queen’s may go up or down a few positions from year to year.  The rankings do indicate that Queen’s continues to punch above its weight when it comes to research, but no major ranking captures all of Queen’s strengths, in particular the quality of its student learning experience,” says Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International).

Expanding the university’s international reach is a strategic priority for Queen’s and a key driver in its strategic framework. Ms. O’Brien says that the university’s success internationally will be built upon its strength domestically. “The university will continue to leverage our strength as a balanced academy to attract international students and to build on our research prominence around the globe.”

Queen’s renewed international recruitment efforts are already showing results, with international students making up five per cent of this year’s incoming class

Uncovering Herstmonceux Castle's history

For the past seven years, Scott McLean has been analyzing the archaeology of the Herstmonceux Castle estate in East Sussex, England. A new excavation program at the estate aims to uncover the ways medieval peoples adapted when the region went through climate change.

Members of the excavation team worked this summer at a site called Mota Piece.

“Through combined excavations, archival research and environmental analysis we are hoping to reconstruct a better understanding of what the Herstmonceux Castle estate was like during the medieval period,” says Scott McLean, an associate professor of history at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC). “With the information we gather, we hope to learn more about how the owners coped with the fierce storms and rising sea levels that constituted this period of climate change.”

The Herstmonceux estate occupies 600 acres of land adjacent to the Pevensey Levels, an ecologically sensitive region that was repeatedly flooded starting in the 13th century when the world entered a period of global cooling known as the Little Ice Age.

Dr. McLean’s research scope has expanded with the excavation program that draws in collaborators from Queen’s University and the University of Waterloo. The program, which has received a $200,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, will also place a strong focus on training students in archeology, archival research and public history research.

“The Herstmonceux Estate excavation provides an excellent opportunity for fruitful collaboration between experts at the BISC, Queen’s and the University of Waterloo,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “Participating in and observing operations at the archaeological sites also represents a unique hands-on learning opportunity for students studying at the BISC.” 

After their first summer of excavation, the team has turned up evidence of an early manor house on the edge of Pevensey Levels. The researchers have also uncovered approximately 100 previously unknown medieval documents related to the castle and estate.

 Excavations at Herstmonceux Estate are planned to continue until 2017.

Queen's, Stuttgart to develop dual master's program

KINGSTON, ON – Queen’s University and the University of Stuttgart, Germany, have agreed to work together on the development of a dual master’s program in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering and physics. The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to begin the process.

Queen's Provost Alan Harrison and Univeristy of Stuttgart Rector Wolfram Ressel sign a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a dual master's program.

“International research experience can be a significant benefit for many graduate students, both academically and in terms of setting them apart in the job market,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Signing this MOU is an important step in advancing our existing relationship with the University of Stuttgart and providing a valuable international opportunity for Queen’s students.”

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Alan Harrison signed the MOU on behalf of Principal Woolf, and Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart, was at Queen’s to sign on behalf of his institution.

“The MOU provides an optimal framework for the graduate students of both institutions. International exchange and sharing of knowledge is important for the young scientists,” says Wolfram Ressel, “The memorandum promotes a sustainable relationship between the University of Stuttgart and Queen´s University.”

The University of Stuttgart was founded in 1829 and today has an international reputation for excellence in a range of disciplines, including the physical sciences, engineering, and mobile and information technology.  Around 26,500 students are enrolled in the courses of the university offered by 150 institutes in 10 different faculties. Queen’s has a long standing relationship with Stuttgart, both as a frequent research collaborator and as an exchange partner.

“International research experience can be a significant benefit for many graduate students, both academically and in terms of setting them apart in the job market,”

– Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

“A growing number of Queen’s faculty members collaborate with colleagues overseas, including those at Stuttgart, on significant research projects. This MOU will lead to further opportunities to share expertise through our graduate students,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research), who hosted Rector Ressel and the Stuttgart delegation. “The next step will involve both institutions working out the specific details of the academic program over the coming months.”           

Founded in 1841, Queen's University is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities, renowned for fundamental advances in health care, the environment, materials and energy, as well as its contributions to public policy, economics, law and culture. Queen’s attracts students from across Canada and from more than 90 countries around the world.

Queen's-China links continue to grow

[Zhiyao Zhang]
Zhiyao Zhang, China Liaison Officer for Queen's, discusses his role as a bridge between Chinese students looking to study abroad and the university. University Communications


As Queen’s continues to advance its activities in China, Senior Communications Officer Craig Leroux  sat down with China Liaison Officer Zhiyao Zhang, who was recently on campus. Dr. Zhang recently received a Governor General’s Medallion for his work promoting Canadian education ties in China.

Craig Leroux: You have been Queen’s China Liaison Officer since 2007. What does that role entail?

Zhiyao Zhang: My job is to act as a bridge between Queen’s and China, helping our faculties build academic partnerships and research collaborations, as well as supporting recruitment initiatives and alumni relations. China is one of Queen’s priority areas internationally and so I’m also working closely with Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal, International, to develop a China strategy that will support the comprehensive international plan that is currently in development.

CL: Queen’s has been very active in China recently, in terms of recruitment, academic programs and research. Are there any projects you would like to highlight?

ZZ: There is a lot of activity on many fronts. The Queen’s School of Business has a new Master of Finance program with Renmin University, and Queen’s recently signed a training agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources. We are also working to finalize a joint two-plus-two degree program, in environmental science and biology, with Tongji University in Shanghai. Students would do two years of their degree at Tongji and two years at Queen’s. It will be our first international two-plus-two program and we are working to finalize the details. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is also exploring new joint programs and other initiatives with Chinese institutions.

CL: You mentioned one of your jobs is to promote research collaborations in China. Is there growing interest at Queen’s in research on China?

I’ve been seeing more and more Queen’s faculty members interested in working in China. It provides a wonderful laboratory for any field of research, simply because of its population size and its stage of development and growth. There are many issues and questions for researchers to study and there is much interest in China in collaborations with Canadian researchers.

We have been working to help build platforms for research collaboration, such as the Sino-Canada Network for Environment and Sustainable Development, a research partnership with Tongji and involving other Chinese institutions, including Fudan University, also in Shanghai.

CL: Queen’s also offers many exchange opportunities in China. Do you see those experiences as valuable for students?

ZZ: Yes, absolutely. Even a short time abroad has an eye-opening and inspirational value for students. A good example is Queen’s Semester in Shanghai program, coordinated by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, in partnership with Fudan. Queen’s students study at Fudan and, new this year, the program becomes a true exchange with 12 Chinese students coming to study at Queen’s.

CL: China is currently the largest source of international undergraduate students for Queen’s. Do you see Queen’s continuing to be an attractive destination for students?

Canada remains a favoured destination for parents and students and the trend of sending students overseas is not slowing, it’s growing as the number of families that can afford it also grows. I think Queen’s offers something special to Chinese students – an exceptional undergraduate education where our faculty members are very accessible to students. I think the relationships Queen’s has built with top institutions in China will continue to grow and have a positive effect on our reputation and our ability to attract top students.

This article is published in the Sept. 9 edition of the Gazette. Pick up your copy of the newspaper at one of the many locations around campus. Follow us on Twitter at @queensuGazette.

Queen's grad finalist for British art award

By Communications staff

A Queen'™s University graduate is in the running for one of Britain's most prestigious art awards.

Ciara Phillips (Artsci'00) is one of four artists who made the shortlist for the Turner Prize earlier this year.

Ciara Phillips is the first Canadian-born artist to make the short list for the Turner Prize. Photo Tate Britain

Currently living in Glasgow, Scotland, Ms. Phillips received a Bachelor of Fine Art at Queen'™s before earning a Master of Fine Art in 2004 at the Glasgow School of Art.

Ms. Phillips, the first Canadian-born finalist in the award'™s 30-year history, is nominated for her exhibition Workshop at The Showroom in London, where she turned the gallery into a print workshop, bringing in other artists designers and even local women'™s groups to make prints with her.

Her work often involves a range of media including screenprints, photos, textiles and wall paintings.

The Turner Prize is awarded annually to an artist under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition or presentation of his or her work in the previous year. None of the four artists are "˜big names"™ in the art world, which falls in line with the award'™s aim of promoting "œpublic discussion of new developments in contemporary British art."

A special exhibition featuring the work of the nominees will be held at Tate Britain from Sept. 30 to Jan. 4. The winner of the £25,000 prize will be announced Dec. 1. Each of the other nominees will receive £5,000.

Also making the shortlist are Duncan Campbell; James Richards; and Tris Vonna-Michell.

Emerging researchers earn national support

Three doctoral candidates and a researcher recently received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships while a researcher received a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. From left: Midori Ogasawara; Oluwatobiloba “Tobi” Moody; Tyler Cluff; and Mike Best. Supplied photos

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Four promising Queen’s researchers recently won national awards.

Doctoral candidates Mike Best, Oluwatobiloba “Tobi” Moody and Midori Ogasawara each received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships worth $50,000 per year over the next three years. The federal government established the program in 2008 to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to make Canada world-renowned for excellence in research and higher learning.

The same day the Vanier Scholars were announced, Tyler Cluff learned he was the recipient of a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, a bursary program that provides funding to the top postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country's economic, social and research based growth.

Dr. Cluff will receive $70,000 per year over the next two years, which will allow him to test promising new ideas in movement neuroscience, including how humans use sensory information about their bodies and the world around them to make skilled movements.

“This research will not only help us understand basic aspects of motor control and learning, but may lead to advancements in neurological assessment tools and treatment options for movement impaired individuals,” says Dr. Cluff, who is a member of Dr. Stephen Scott’s Laboratory of Integrative Motor Behaviour (LIMB) in Queen’s Centre for Neuroscience Studies.

As a Vanier Scholar, Mr. Best (Psychology) plans to build on his master’s thesis that found members of the general population have an early neurobiological bias towards the speech of people with schizophrenia that results in reduced attention and processing of what someone with schizophrenia is saying. This bias could be a major factor in understanding why people with schizophrenia are excluded, he says.

“Receiving the Vanier CGS provides me with the freedom and financial support to focus more thoroughly on conducting and disseminating my research,” says Mr. Best, who won this year’s Queen’s 3 Minute Thesis Competition. “Social exclusion can be devastating for people with psychosis. With the support of this award I can continue to expand my work to reduce social exclusion and improve the lives of millions of people living with psychosis.”

Mr. Moody (Law) is analyzing the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, the legal framework that is intended to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

Mr. Moody is examining biopiracy debates as well as ongoing related efforts to protect traditional knowledge in international forums. He argues that a coherent global intellectual property system is critical for the Nagoya Protocol’s effective implementation and, ultimately, for the effective protection of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

“The Vanier Scholarship represents to me a humbling affirmation of the significance and importance of my current research within the context of ongoing international efforts to address the effective protection of the traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources of indigenous peoples and local communities,” says Mr. Moody, a Nigerian by birth who started his PhD in the Faculty of Law in September 2012. “I am elated as the Scholarship will equip me with resources to enable me participate in relevant conferences and will afford me the opportunity to devote maximum time and concentration to the development of quality research in this area.”

Ms. Ogasawara (Sociology) is examining the development of national identification systems in Japan from the colonial times to today. The focus of her PhD will be the origins developed in Manchu-kuo, an area of northeast China occupied by the Japan from the 1920s to 1945, as well as the roles of the national ID systems in relation to the colonization then and neoliberal economy nowadays.

“I am very excited to receive a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship because it enables my research to expand to a geographically wider scope and pursue the historical understanding,” says Ms. Ogasawara. “As an international student who has a domestic responsibility for a young child, there would be no other scholarships that could support me in the same way as the Vanier scholarship does.”



Provost clarifies Limestone Queen's pathway admission policies

A recent newspaper report regarding admission standards for international students incorrectly suggested that Queen’s had lowered standards for participants of the Limestone Queen’s Pathway. Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer, spoke with with Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) for clarification.

Craig Leroux: What is the Limestone Queen’s pathway?

Alan Harrison: It is a new initiative between the Limestone District School Board and Queen’s that provides high achieving international students with the opportunity to be pre-evaluated for Queen’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) program and to complete their high school studies in Kingston through the Limestone District School Board.

CL: Does Queen’s lower admission standards for pathway participants?

AH: Participants must meet all of the university’s academic and language requirements and deadlines in order to obtain an offer of admission. Students entering the pathway are not given a “conditional offer of admission to Queen’s.” They are pre-evaluated for the Queen’s BA program. Anyone who takes part in the program is required to follow the normal admissions process and apply to Queen’s through the Ontario Universities Application Centre, and meet the same academic and language proficiency requirements as everyone else. 

 Provost Alan Harrison

CL: Is the pathway an “easy way” into Queen’s?

AH: The pathway targets students who would be competitive for admissions at top universities. It is actually a very demanding program, with participants having to complete Grade 12 in English in a new curriculum while performing at a high academic level. They also have to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, which is a requirement for earning the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, and successfully complete intensive English language training at both LDSB and Queen’s.

CL: Does the pathway ensure students are prepared for university?

AH: Queen’s is committed to supporting the success of all students, including international students. The pathway provides a highly supportive environment and its aim is to ensure that students are prepared for success in university. And we hope they choose Queen’s. In addition to the language training, they are immersed into the local culture and Queen’s and LDSB provide many other supports to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

CL: Does Queen’s actively recruit for the pathway?

AH: No. Queen’s is a partner in the program but the LDSB does its own recruiting. However, attracting international students is a priority for Queen’s and Principal Daniel Woolf. Attracting international students to campus promotes cultural awareness and enriches the student learning experience for everyone. The university’s aim is to double the proportion of international undergraduates to 10 per cent.

Opening a door to the world

By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

The flights, trains and buses needed to get to Kingston from the other side of the world may be a stressful ordeal, but the effort is all worthwhile when there’s a warm bed at the end of the trip. That’s why the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) is looking for volunteers from the university community to house international students for the first few days they arrive in the city.

For one to three days, host houses provide welcoming spaces for international students while they search for a more permanent place to live. Each year, between the fall and winter semesters, about 50 students are in need of accommodation.

“After their many hours of travel, students can be jet-lagged and exhausted,” says Hanna Stanbury, QUIC’s Promotion and Volunteer Co-ordinator. “Having a volunteer house open to them softens the landing; from there, we at QUIC can help them settle in.”

Accommodations needn’t be fancy either. “All we ask is that the host houses provide a safe and friendly place. These conditions are temporary, so students are happy to have a pull-out couch if a spare room isn’t available,” she says.

Prabeen Joshi (Sc’15) came to Queen’s from Nepal in 2010. Arriving a few days before he had access to his apartment, Mr. Joshi was welcomed into the house of some undergraduate students near campus. “This is a great program for anyone who’s an international student. It can be hard to come to a new place and this makes the transition much easier,” he says.

Now settled, and with a place of his own, he’s been hosting international students in need ever since. “I feel like I’ve been able to pay back what I got,” he says. “It’s been very satisfying to be able to help them settle in — I’ve taken the time to show them around town a little bit too, so they’ve got their bearings.”

Queen's in the World

Having hosted people from Holland, Austria, Mexico, China and elsewhere, Mr. Joshi says it’s broadened his network. “Now I know people from half a dozen more countries than I did before. I’ve got friends across the world.”

Anyone interested in offering a place to stay can find more information at QUIC’s website or contact IHC@queensu.ca.

QUIC director retiring

After more than 30 years as the director of the Queen’s University International Centre, Wayne Myles is retiring at the end of August. University Communications

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette editor

As with anything in the international spectrum, much has changed in recent years.

Heading into retirement after more than 30 years leading the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), Wayne Myles can attest to that when it comes to life on campus and abroad.

As the director of QUIC since 1982, Mr. Myles says that the main change he has witnessed is the sheer size of the international portfolio along with the need for awareness of other cultures. Canada is a much more multicultural country in 2014 and that is mirrored here on campus, with a greater number of new immigrants, international students and faculty, and students from diverse cultural backgrounds coming to Queen’s. There also are a growing number of Queen’s students and researchers travelling abroad for studies and research.

“The number of exchange students has exploded over the past two decades because it has become the vehicle in Canada for a lot of universities to become internationalized and so they sign bilateral agreements and they move into student exchanges,” Mr. Myles says, sitting in his office in the John Deutsch University Centre. “So the numbers used to be around 100 and now we’re up to 600 or more.”

There also has been an increase in international students attending Queen’s outside of exchanges and with the increase in numbers also comes a greater potential for cultural differences. Dealing with this has been a key area of study and skills development for QUIC. As Mr. Myles explains, the centre has been working for the past decade on developing “intercultural competence,” which refers to the building of the knowledge and skills that people have in dealing with differences both effectively and appropriately.

It’s not always easy because, as he points out, a lot of people are afraid of difference. The training has had a significant impact.

“You can try to engage someone who has a very different worldview but to do that well and do that in a way that is acceptable then I think that is a skill set that comes from experience or a combination of experience and book knowledge or developed skills,” Mr. Myles says. “So what we’ve been doing at the centre is focusing on assisting students and assisting staff to build the skills to work with the newcomers from abroad and to enable students going abroad to have a more successful experience.”

While many of those involved may not realize it, they are developing skills that will be very important in their professional lives as they meet people with a wide array of backgrounds, both within Canada and abroad.

Looking back on his time with QUIC, and the university, Mr. Myles says it’s the students who leave the most lasting impression.

“It’s a real privilege to work with students, the international students, and the trust and respect that they give you. Over the years I’ve seen so many of the students go through here and many of them have had significant challenges, problems – family problems from home, political problems, financial problems –and to see them succeed has been fabulous,” he says. “As a student service, being part of that is huge. I have had wonderful staff here. Working with people who are really out front with their feelings, willing to put together a set of skills to meet the needs of students is wonderful. They were very willing to press ahead on the things I thought were important.”

Mr. Myles officially retires at the end of August.

In search of James Roy

Jim Beach, a senior lecturer at England’s University of Northampton, is the second Geraldine Grace and Maurice Alvin McWatters Visiting Fellow, visited Queen's Archives to conduct research on former professor and British Intelligence officerJames Roy. University Communications

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

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette editor

Jim Beach has crossed the Atlantic Ocean for a chance to get to know former Queen’s English professor James Roy a little better.

Well, a lot better actually.

Dr. Beach, a senior lecturer at England’s University of Northampton, is the second Geraldine Grace and Maurice Alvin McWatters Visiting Fellow, and arrived at Queen’s on June 16 to conduct research into the background of Professor Roy, who taught at Queen’s from 1920 to 1950.

Professor Roy was a beloved professor and is perhaps best known as the author of Kingston: The King’s Town, a book on the history of the city, published in 1952, and donated close to 1,000 books from his personal collection to the Queen’s library after his retirement.

Also there is a scholarship in his name for the Department of English.

Geraldine Grace and Maurice Alvin McWatters Visiting Fellowship
The Geraldine Grace and Maurice Alvin McWatters Visiting Fellowship was created by their daughter, Dr. Cheryl S. McWatters, a long-time friend and supporter of the Queen’s Archives, and her husband, John MacDiarmid.
The fellowship is designed to foster, promote, and support original archival research by scholars, authors, or artists in the collections located at Queen's Archives. The $4,00 stipend provided by the fellowship is intended to help defray living, travel, or research expenses of researchers to come to the Archives to conduct their research.
For more go to archives.queensu.ca/about/fellowship.html.

However, Dr. Beach, a historian of British security in the early 20th century, is most interested in Professor Roy’s time as an intelligence officer with the British Army during the First World War.

The month-long fellowship allows Dr. Beach to delve into the resources available at Queen’s Archives hoping to gain some insight into the man as well as his service.

It’s been a great opportunity to do some in-depth research.

“It’s been really great to be here for a month with the focus of James Roy, to go through the papers much more forensically than I was able to do when I had just a couple of days (on an earlier visit), and really, really follow the leads, and use other sources here at Queen’s,” Dr. Beach explains.

The plan is to write a book.

Dr. Beach came across Professor Roy’s story around 15 years ago at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh while doing research for his PhD. There, an archivist introduced him to a memoir written by an intelligence officer – James Roy.

He would come back to that story about a decade later but to find out more about Professor Roy all the signs pointed to Queen’s.

He would have to go forward first in order to go back. Professor Roy’s time at Queen’s, and within the Kingston community, have provided insights to his military service. There are speeches and correspondence that hold information or can verify other accounts.

Dr. Beach describes Roy as having an outgoing personality who was fluent in German as well as a good conversationalist. This meant he was able to get German prisoners of war to talk, exactly what you want in an intelligence officer. He also spent a significant amount of the war on the frontlines gathering information.

“So for me, in terms of telling the story of the intelligence corps on the Western Front, James Roy is great because he stays in the mainstream and he’s also at some interesting places at interesting times,” he says. “For example at the beginning of 1918 he’s working as an analyst at General Headquarters, which is the point at which the British are trying to figure out what the Germans are going to do when they attack in March 1918. From my point of view as a military historian, he’s quite often in the right place at the right time and he’s an interesting witness to those events.”

Queen’s Archives has proven to be a treasure trove of information on Professor Roy.

“That’s the beauty of this fellowship – the resources that are available here,” he says. “It’s a great place to be, to research about Professor Roy.”


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