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Student Learning Experience

Championing career development with tailored support

The 2nd annual Queen’s Psychology Careers Conference held on March 22, with approximately 100 students attending. From left: Andrea Labelle, Undergraduate Assistant in Psychology; Stephanie Manuel,  Department Student Council Co-President; Meghan Norris, Undergraduate Chair; and Megan Herrewynen,  Department Student Council Co-President. (Supplied Photo)

Meghan Norris, Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology, is creating tailored career supports and teaching students how to apply academic knowledge to future careers.

“The discipline of psychology is both broad and deep; students learn rigorous research methodologies and data analytic techniques in tandem with learning about the subtleties of complex behavior,” says Dr. Norris. “As a result, our students are uniquely suited to lead initiatives aiming to solve many global challenges, yet it can be hard for them to identify how to translate their training into their next career steps.”

Dr. Norris has implemented a number of new initiatives including a career conference, a new course and a new open-source textbook.

The 2nd annual Queen’s Psychology Careers Conference held on March 22, had approximately 100 students register, with faculty and alumni in attendance. They spent the morning engaging in professional development training with Career Services, had a keynote luncheon with guest and alumni Michael Seto, and they spent the afternoon discussing traditional and non-traditional career options in the field of psychology through small group mentoring with industry professionals. The day ended with a larger networking session with industry professionals.

The new course, PSYC 204: Applications and Careers in the Psychological Sciences, teaches students to take action and think about a variety of career options. To support this course, Dr. Norris assembled a new psychology textbook focused on how psychological sciences are applied in practice. The Canadian Handbook for Careers in Psychological Science was written by experts across Canada, and is open-sourced, which means it is free to access, and will be available online at eCampusOntario this summer.

“Students receive training in the skills most desired by employers but, despite this, students sometimes have a hard time seeing the relevance of this training ,” says Dr. Norris. “By integrating lecture, active-learning, and guest speakers, this course strengthens student awareness of the link between the content they are learning and the many ways that this knowledge can be translated into a broad range of applications and careers.”

Through the development process of these initiatives, Dr. Norris took advantage of the consultation services of Career Services, who can help with creating tailored career support, including forming learning outcomes and designing activities to help students explore career options and articulate the value of their university experience. Miguel Hahn, Head Career Counsellor, then contributed to the conference and the course with customized career workshops, and also to the textbook with a chapter on career development.

“Dr. Norris’ initiatives are all great examples of how faculty can champion career education on campus,” Hahn says. “Bringing career education into the classroom is a crucial component in developing student career readiness before graduation. By meeting student’s needs early on, they are supported in exploring career options, reflecting on who they are, and making plans towards meaningful career goals.”

To explore opportunities and resources for creating tailored career supports, contact Career Services.

Integrating Western and Indigenous care

Jung Lin
Jung Lin works as an occupational therapist in a Cree community in northern Quebec and enrolled in the Queen's Faculty of Health Sciences' DSc in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership (RHL) program. (Supplied Photo) 

This article was first published on the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Blog.

Working as an occupational therapist in a Cree community in northern Quebec, Jung Lin was very far away from Queen’s when she heard about the DSc in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership (RHL) program - but the timing could not have been better.

Jung learned about the program through an informational email from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, where she’d earned a master’s degree ten years before. Just a few days before she received this email, she had been having a conversation with her manager about whether or not she’d be interested in taking a larger research and leadership role within their organization.

When the message about the RHL program reached her, then, it seemed almost like a sign.

The DSc RHL program is one of our newest offerings in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and it is designed for people, like Jung, who already have careers in health care but want to develop their skills in order to take on bigger challenges and larger responsibilities.

Jung’s goal in earning her doctorate is to put herself in the position to help rehabilitation professionals work more closely with Indigenous care providers. For her dissertation, she is conducting a mixed-method study to develop training modules that can help practitioners learn how to integrate Western and Indigenous methods of care. Her goal is to use her findings to develop better training systems for Indigenous paraprofessionals and to enhance service delivery.

“While I greatly enjoy providing care to my patients, I’m also looking to make bigger changes,” Jung says. “The Rehabilitation and Health Leadership program is teaching me how to make the larger impact I’m aiming for.”

Originally from Taiwan, Jung has been making connections across cultural divides her entire adult life. After earning her degree in Occupational Therapy in her home country, she worked there for several years at a mental health facility before moving to Canada with her family.

When she and her parents came to Canada, they settled in Montreal, which they chose because Jung’s older sister was working toward her PhD at McGill. After a few months, though, Jung decided on a change of scenery and to get started on earning her master’s degree.

She found her way to the Master’s in Rehabilitation Science program at McMaster University, where she developed a greater understanding of Canadian healthcare.

After finishing this one-year program, however, she felt like she had more to learn and explore in order to enter the workforce with a greater sense of confidence and mastery. Ultimately this desire led her to enroll in the thesis-based Master’s program in Rehabilitation Science at the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

At Queen’s, Canada truly started to feel like home for Jung. She gives a lot of credit to her supervisor, Dr. Rosemary Lysaght, for supporting her with her transition to Kingston and for helping her develop a professional network.

From Kingston, Jung returned to Montreal to be closer to her family, and she worked as an occupational therapist in the city. When she saw the job advertisement for her current position with the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, she was immediately intrigued. She viewed it as an opportunity to provide useful services to a part of Canada that she wouldn’t get to know otherwise.

Jung says there are some challenges to working in the north. Her family still lives in Montreal, so every two months she drives nine hours (each way) to spend time with them. The community she lives in is over an hour and a half away from the nearest grocery store, which means she has to plan her shopping trips much more carefully than she was used to before working there. And, of course, the weather can get extremely cold.

But Jung finds the experience highly rewarding despite any challenges.

The DSc RHL program is fitting in to her work and life commitments just as she’d hoped it would. The online nature of most of the coursework allows her to integrate studying into her busy schedule without much trouble.

Even more important, she strongly believes that the program is helping her to meet her goals.

“I think I’ve gone through a transformation since starting the program,” she says. “I am more capable of making long-term plans for my work, and I have grown more confident as a leader. The classes ‘Leadership Development Seminar’ and ‘Applying Theory to Enable Change’ have had an especially strong impact on me.”

Jung felt confident in her decision to enroll in a second degree program at the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy because, as she worked toward her master’s, she thought it was an environment where the faculty truly care about students and their needs.

“After 10 years,” she says, “I think Queen’s is just as student-centred as I remember it.”

Dr. Reznick thanks Andrew Willson for his assistance in preparing this blog. 

Careers start here

Employment program aimed at attracting Queen’s Arts and Science graduates to accelerate their careers in Kingston grows into second year.

Queen's graduates who participated in the first QCA:K cohort.
Queen's Career Apprenticeship: Kingston pilot participants (from left to right): Maryam Remtulla, Justin Karch, Carmen Song, Kerstin Juby, Peter O'Donnell, and Jacey Carnegie.

A number of local businesses welcomed new graduates into their ranks recently, under the auspices of Queen’s Career Apprenticeship: Kingston (QCA:K) – a unique employment-funded apprenticeship program designed to provide arts and humanities graduates with career acceleration and strengthen the city’s workforce. On the heels of its successful pilot in 2018, the program placed 19 Queen’s Arts and Science graduates with Kingston-based organizations this month, more than doubling the number of students hired last year.

Our businesses had such a positive experience during the program’s pilot that even more local companies have approached us to participate in the second cohort,” says Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, noting that 29 companies signed on hoping to secure a successful 2019 graduate, up from 15 last year. “It is clear that the demand for arts and humanities students is growing, and initiatives like this help to connect the talent coming out of Queen’s University with local businesses.

Participating organizations span a diverse range of sectors, including the property management, retail and sales, consultancy, technology and software development, and more. Notable organizations who hired this year include Limestone Analytics, Providence Care, Kingstonist, The Power Collective, Benefits by Design, and Makeship. Together, the combined salaries of 2019 QCA:K hires amounts to over $720,000 – averaging $38,000 per graduate for the year.

Increased employer interest in the program is not the only upward trend either. The number of student applicants this year increased 96 per cent over last.

“The amount of interest we’ve received from students signals a real appetite for experiential learning opportunities that will lend to a graduate’s long-term career success,” says Barbara Crow, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. “It also shows us that Queen’s students are open to settling right here in Kingston, should they be presented with competitive and enriching job opportunities.

Graduates placed through QCA:K come from a variety of disciplines, like Political Studies, English Language and Literature, Drama, Global Development Studies, Philosophy, Economics, and more within the arts and humanities.

QCA:K emerged as a joint project between the university’s Faculty of Arts and Science and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation after discussions with Queen’s benefactor Alan Rottenberg, who wanted to fund efforts that would accelerate the careers for talented students with bachelor of arts degrees. With this support, local employers who committed to hiring new graduates for a minimum of a one year, on a full-time basis would be reimbursed for four months of a student’s salary, up to $4,000 per month.  The apprentices, during their first year of their career, benefited from seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders through the mentorship component of the program. This year, those apprentices that have just completed their apprenticeships will step into the mentorship role and provide guidance to those in the 2019 cohort.

An event was held for the QCA:K participants on Thursday, May 9, that celebrated the 2018 apprentices and employers as well as recognized the incoming apprentice cohort. Representatives from Queen’s, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, and the local business community were present.

Visit the website to learn more about the QCA:K program.

Queen’s Law launches Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law

A ground-breaking program at Queen’s Law is poised to transform the training of individuals seeking entrance to the immigration and citizenship consulting profession.

Announced today, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) has named Queen’s University Faculty of Law as the sole accredited English-language provider of a new graduate diploma program to train prospective immigration and citizenship consultants. Delivered primarily online and including an optional blended format (online/onsite), Queen’s Law will launch its new Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law in January 2021.

This program will be aimed at training students to write the ICCRC’s Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Entry-to-Practice Exam. Upon successful completion of this exam, graduates may apply to become a member of the ICCRC and, subject to successfully completing the registration process and being admitted to the Council, would then be permitted to offer immigration and/or citizenship advice and/or representation for a fee.

“Immigration and refugee applicants are among the most vulnerable consumers of Canadian legal services,” says Sharry Aiken, Queen’s Law Professor and Academic Director of this new program. “Their first language may not be English or French; they may not be familiar with our legal system. It’s crucial that those helping them are qualified, trained, and rigorously assessed.”

“We are in a unique position to develop and design this program, building on the success of our two existing online programs, the undergraduate Certificate in Law and the Graduate Diploma in Legal Services Management,” says Dean of Law Bill Flanagan. “This is a historic moment for the law school, placing Queen’s Law as an international leader in online legal education. Traditionally, law schools have focused primarily on training lawyers. At Queen’s Law we have taken the lead in thinking broadly about what legal education can be, from offering a range of courses in law to undergraduate students to developing a graduate level program to train legal professionals in key business skills. Our new Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law is a natural extension, putting Queen’s Law at the forefront of innovation at Canadian law schools.”

“We’re making a major contribution to the quality of services and representation in this area,” Professor Aiken says. “The federal government has expressed concerns about the quality of current services, which our program directly addresses.”

With an anticipated intake of about 500 students a year, the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law will be a 66-week program, currently planned as nine courses covering everything from the foundations of Canadian immigration law to ethics and professional responsibility, along with best practices for managing an immigration/citizenship consulting business. Entry to this new program will require an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and a high level of English language proficiency.

“We are building a program that will help set a new and much higher regulatory standard for immigration and citizenship consultants in Canada,” Dean Flanagan says. “With over 500 hours of instruction in the program, built by immigration and citizenship experts like Professor Aiken and supported by professional instructional designers and course developers, we aim to help transform the quality of immigration consultant services in Canada and abroad.” 

The program will also be available in French, developed by the Université de Sherbrooke to be launched later in 2021. Queen’s Law will work closely in collaboration with the Université de Sherbrooke in the development of the program.

“Ensuring immigration and citizenship consultants are properly trained and highly skilled is the first step to ensuring that immigrants to Canada are treated equitably and humanely throughout every step of their journey here,” Professor Aiken says. “We’re proud to be at the centre of a program that will increase the quality and reliability of immigration services and increase access to justice for those who often need it most.”

** Please note that this program is under development, and will require the approval of Queen’s Senate and the Quality Council of Ontario before it can be offered.

Smith School of Business and Peking University offer new dual-degree program

Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing, China, have announced a partnership that will see commerce students from Smith study in China and earn two undergraduate degrees: one from Queen’s University and the other from Peking University.

Peking-Smith Partnership
Officials and faculty members of Peking University and Smith School of Business at Queen's University celebrate the launch of a new partnership called the “Future Leaders” International Undergraduate Dual-Degree Program.

Starting in fall 2020, up to five Smith Commerce students each year will be selected to take part in Peking University’s “Future Leaders” International Undergraduate Dual-Degree Program.

The students will spend two years studying in the commerce program at Smith, then two years at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management in Beijing. They will earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s and a Bachelor of Arts in Management from Peking University. Classes are taught in English.

“This partnership will give Smith students the opportunity to experience first-hand China’s fast-growing and dynamic economy,” says David Saunders, Dean of Smith School of Business. “We are proud to partner with Peking University in our mission to develop outstanding leaders with a global perspective.”

Through the partnership, Smith becomes a founding member of Peking University’s “Future Leaders” program, alongside 13 other top universities from around the world, including schools in Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Brazil, Singapore, Japan, and Israel. Smith Commerce students will study with students from these countries while attending classes in China.

Peking University launched the “Future Leaders” program in order to develop global leaders equipped with an intimate understanding of China, and who can navigate inter-country exchanges created through China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“The Belt and Road Initiative has injected new significance into globalization, and Peking University wants to give young people from around the world the opportunity to pursue their dreams while simultaneously making a contribution to the field of education,” says Peking University President Hao Ping.

Earning two degrees from two leading universities will give Smith students with international career aspirations an advantage in the marketplace. Students will have a unique opportunity to develop a broad global management perspective and experience truly cross-cultural learning, both from classmates and professors.

With 115 top international business school partners in 38 countries around the world, Smith provides students across academic programs with the opportunity to study abroad through international exchanges, dual-degree programs and global business projects. 

Mapping the connection gaps

[Team K-Connect]
A team of Queen's students – Xavier McMaster-Hubner (Computer Science), Sam Alton (ECEi), Erik Koning (ECE), Raed Fayad (ECEi), and Nathaniel Pauzé (ECE) – recently earned a top prize at the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge in Kingston.

Weak or unreliable wireless data connectivity is an ongoing frustration for consumers and businesses in Eastern Ontario. Imagine yourself committing to a multi-year wireless service contract only to discover that coverage is unreliable at home or at work, the areas where you spend most of your time. Regulators also need to know for sure where service gaps most need to be filled so they can prioritize new locations for cell tower permits.

A team of Queen’s students has come up with a novel way for consumers and regulators to more easily understand where there are gaps in wireless connectivity.  

Raed Fayad (Electrical and Computer Engineering – Innovation Stream), Sam Alton (Electrical and Computer Engineering – Innovation Stream), Nathaniel Pauzé (Electrical and Computer Engineering), and Xavier McMaster-Hubner (Computer Science) developed a proof-of-concept system to measure varying cellular data signal strength across Kingston and to display those data on a visual heat map. Users would be able to view the heat map online to see how reliable their cellular signal would be depending on where they are in the city.

The group came together as team K-Connect at the QHacks hackathon at Queen’s in early February.

“We used the Post-it note brainstorming method we learned in our APSC 200 Engineering Design and Practice course for our idea generation phase at QHacks,” says Pauzé. “One of our strongest ideas involved collecting Wi-Fi signal strength data inside the new Mitchell Hall building to find the best location to work on our project. We decided to scale-up our idea by collecting cell signal strength across campus. We moved forward with this project choice because we saw the usefulness of the data our product would collect.”

The idea earned the team one of two spots in the City of Kingston Mayor’s Innovation Challenge pitch competition a week later. They presented to a panel of municipal and academic leaders at Kingston City Hall, earning a top prize in that competition. (The other winner was Blackrose Technology led by Erik Koning (Electrical and Computer Engineering), who proposed using drones to monitor environmental threats or to help in search-and-rescue). Each team earned $4,000 in seed funding for their ventures and admission to the 2019 QICSI start-up accelerator program.

“Two members of our group are considering enrolling in the QICSI program,” says McMaster-Hubner. “We have options to further develop K-Connect, but our current situation for the summer makes it very difficult to try and prepare or do anything until we are back together as a group.”

This article was first published on the website of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Helping students excel during exams

[Exam support]
Peer Learning Assistants Kaitlin Pilarski (Artsci’20) and Samantha Simpson (Artsci’20) review a poster of exam study strategies. (University Communications)

Exam season can be a stressful time for students, which is why Student Academic Success Services (SASS) and Student Wellness Services in the Division of Student Affairs provide a variety of supports to help reduce anxiety and cultivate academic success.

“We recognize that Queen’s has a diverse student population, which is why SASS offers support for students with varying needs,” says Ian Garner, Academic Skills Outreach Coordinator at SASS. “Students are in a better position to evaluate their exam prep skills in second semester, and it’s important that we provide them with tools and resources to succeed.”

Over the past week, SASS has offered exam prep workshops that focus on specific courses and exam formats. With approximately 20 students per session, these tailored workshops give students the opportunity to receive focused professional support.

In addition, SASS has developed new course-specific study posters, which provide detailed study tips and common mistakes related to nine popular first-year courses. Presented first at a drop-in event, these posters are now available online so they are easy to access.

For individual exam prep, students are encouraged to make an appointment with a professional staff member at SASS to develop customizable learning strategies and study schedules.

“Coming to SASS services can help students learn how to apply course material in useful ways during an exam,” says SASS Peer Samantha Simpson (Artsci’20). “Whether you sit down with a Peer Learning Assistant or come to a workshop, our services go beyond memorization to help students plan and study effectively for their exams.”

Student Wellness Services has collaborated with SASS to provide exam anxiety support. Resources range from online tools to professional support from Student Wellness Services staff. This partnership helps to ensure that students experiencing all levels of anxiety receive the proper assistance during what can be a very stressful time.

For further assistance, students can book an appointment with Health Promotion, to create a self-care plan and practice mindfulness through bio-feedback therapy. There are also self-help workbooks available online for improving your mood, managing anxiety and developing self-care practices.

Student Wellness Services will be running a social media campaign over the April exam season, highlighting various resources and services available on campus and in the community. More information can be found through the QueensUBeWell social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Access more exam resources and book an appointment with SASS.

Making Health Sciences more inclusive for Indigenous students

Indigenous Access and Recruitment Coordinator Cortney Clark is helping Indigenous students find their way into health sciences programs, navigate the university, and thrive in their time at Queen’s.
Cortney Clark is the Indigenous Access and Recruitment Coordinator for the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University.

This article was first published on the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Blog.

Last year, the Faculty of Health Sciences welcomed Cortney Clark as the new Indigenous Access and Recruitment Coordinator. In this role, Cortney is doing the very important work of helping Indigenous students find their way into health sciences programs, navigate the university once they’ve arrived and ultimately thrive in their time here at Queen’s. 

A Mohawk woman and member of the Bear Clan of the Wahta Mohawk Territory in northern Ontario, Cortney knows very well that Indigenous people in Canada face obstacles to resources, like higher education, that many settler Canadians never experience.

“This work feels personal for me,” Cortney says. “I understand the need for this work and I want to use my lived experiences and abilities to help propel reconciliation through accessible and culturally safe higher education.”

She first started working to build connections with Indigenous communities as a recruitment coordinator for the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Information Program (APSIP).

Through APSIP, Cortney travelled widely to more than 55 different Indigenous communities, many of them in remote and rural locations in northern Ontario. In these different communities, she advised learners on Indigenous access policies to higher education, and specifically advised on the application and admissions processes for Canadian universities and colleges.

While she found it rewarding to help so many people in so many different areas, Cortney has been particularly excited to be able to provide “wraparound service” to the community of health sciences students at Queen’s in her new role. Wraparound service means that she works with Indigenous students from the beginning of their application process through to their graduation.

Cortney advises prospective students on their applications to the Faculty of Health Sciences; she works to create a culturally safe community for students when they arrive; and she helps connect them with career development resources tailored to their needs. She is also available to help students with anything else that arises during their time at Queen’s. All the students that she works with have her cell phone number, and they know that she will answer if they call.

On top of her recruitment, advising, and student support programming portfolio, Cortney is also an active member in a number of different committees in the Faculty of Health Sciences that are advancing our TRC initiatives. For instance, Cortney is a part of the faculty’s Indigenous Health Education Working Group (IHEWG), which is comprised of faculty members and students from each of our three schools.

IHEWG works to build connections with Indigenous communities to find out how Queen’s can help them achieve better health outcomes. The working group is also developing a range of initiatives to ensure that Queen’s trains health practitioners to deliver culturally safe care for Indigenous patients, who frequently encounter racism and insensitivity in the Canadian health care system.

To work towards this goal, the IHEWG, along with the Office of Professional Development and Educational Scholarship, has organized an important series of events with Barry Lavallee, a professor at the University of Manitoba, a practicing family physician, and an expert on Indigenous health. Dr. Lavallee will be visiting May 15-17. He will provide training on working with Indigenous communities and also give a public lecture on how racism affects Indigenous health.

The IHEWG also recently led the hiring of Tim Yearington, the new Indigenous Curricular Innovation Coordinator in FHS. Tim will take a key role in decolonizing our health sciences curriculum and ensuring that Indigenous knowledge as well as the perspectives of our Indigenous students, health professionals and patients are reflected in our programs.

Cortney is also working to help integrate services for Indigenous students across Queen’s by serving as an active member of the Community of Practice Working Group. This group is chaired by Kandice Baptiste, Director of the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, and it aims to connect all the Indigenous staff and leadership who work closely with Indigenous policy and Indigenous students at Queen’s.

As you can see, Cortney has already been very busy since starting her new role at the faculty in August. And she is planning a lot of projects for the coming months. Just over March break, she did recruitment work at the Little Native Hockey League in Mississauga, where she spoke to over 227 hockey teams of Indigenous students and their parents about post-secondary programs at Queen’s.

She is also hosting, in partnership with Four Directions, an academic recruitment fair for prospective Indigenous graduate students on May 4, at Queen’s. Universities from across Canada, including Trent, McGill, Concordia, Toronto and Lakehead, just to mention a few, will be participating in what promises to be an important event for helping Indigenous students realize the different research opportunities and programs in graduate-level education.

I am very grateful for all the work that Cortney has been doing to help the faculty work towards its goals for responding to the TRC report, and I know that the rest of my colleagues on the decanal team are as well.

Dean Reznick thanks Andrew Willson for his assistance in preparing this blog.

University leaders discuss the future of teaching and learning

The Council of Ontario Universities convenes at Queen’s to explore evolving approaches to educating.

Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), Jill Scott, delivers a presentation on student learning outcomes to COU members.
Queen's Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), Jill Scott, delivers a presentation on student learning outcomes to COU members.

Heads of more than 20 post-secondary institutions from across the province gathered at Queen’s University this week to discuss shared values, student skills, and learning outcomes at the 307th meeting of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). The council, chaired by Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, provides a forum for Ontario’s universities to collaborate and advocate in support of their mission to enhance the prosperity of students and their communities.

Daniel Woolf addresses COU members inside Queen's newest building, Mitchell Hall.
Queen's Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Daniel Woolf, addresses COU members inside Queen's newest building, Mitchell Hall.

“It’s a pleasure to host my COU colleagues here at Queen’s University, especially for my last meeting as Chair of Council,” says Principal Woolf, who is leaving the role after a two-year term. “During my tenure, I have enjoyed our many lively discussions about shared opportunities and challenges our sector has faced, and have witnessed the true value of this group as a forum for knowledge-sharing.”

The major focus of this week’s meeting was a presentation by Queen’s Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), Jill Scott, entitled Student Skills and Learning Outcomes: Rethinking tools and assessments. During the talk, she discussed ongoing research into effective approaches to tracking and interpreting student learning outcomes being conducted by Queen’s University’s, in partnership with the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO).

Queen's Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Brian Frank, discusses student learning outcomes with COU members.
Queen's Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Brian Frank, discusses student learning outcomes with COU members.

“The teaching and learning landscape is evolving rapidly, and learning outcomes is a big part of that,” says Dr. Scott, who spoke together with Brian Frank, Queen’s Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) and co-principal investigator for the research. “To remain successful in providing the most impactful and transformative learning experiences for our students, we must continually work toward a culture of valid and reliable assessment.”

Teaching and learning outcomes are two of many areas of focus for the COU. Others include advancing research; internationalization; diversity, equity, and inclusion; economic opportunities and skills training; and more. Learn more about the COU’s mission, and Teaching and Learning at Queen’s now.

Principal Woolf completes his COU Chairpersonship in advance of stepping down as head of Queen’s University in June 2019. COU colleague and current president of McMaster University, Patrick Deane, will then take over as Queen’s University’s next Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Supporting experiential learning

[Student panel at Experiential Learning Summit]
Kevin Collins, Coordinator, Community Engaged Learning, Student Experience Office, right, leads a panel discussion entitled ‘What makes an impactful EL experience,’ featuring Queen’s students, from left, Candice Pinto, James Xie, and Tess Wittman, during the university’s first Experiential Learning Summit.

The Experiential Learning Hub (EL Hub) hosted the inaugural Experiential Learning Summit in Wallace Hall in the JDUC on March 27.

The event brought together more than 70 students, faculty, and staff to showcase the various experiential learning opportunities available at Queen’s, both curricular and co-curricular. Attendees also learned about experiential learning strategies and resources that are being used to facilitate growth on campus and in the community.

“Experiential learning programs allow students to develop professional skills and gain new insight into course materials,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “The EL Summit celebrates the strides that Queen’s has taken to expand and enrich its learning opportunities for both students and staff.”

Panels were held throughout the event to highlight the personal experiences of EL course instructors and coordinators, student participants, and EL Hub staff. The panelists discussed successes, challenges and resources related to effective EL course and program design.

Margaret Maliszewska of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, one of the speakers at the summit, has recently created a course on intercultural competencies in which she has implemented an EL experience with local organizations.

“It’s important for students to apply their conceptual understanding as well as their language skills to real-world situations,” Dr. Maliszewska says. “Developing this course, with the help of the EL Hub, has allowed me to engage with my students on a practical level and strengthen my own abilities as an educator.”  

For James Xie (Sc’19), one of the student panelists, participating in a 16-month internship at Invista as a research and development engineer helped him develop professional and interpersonal skills.

“During my internship, I was able to expand my skills to entirely new fields and lead truly multidisciplinary projects that had a real impact,” he says. “I found the experience helped to solidify my technical and management background, and provided a great environment for me to try new things, and make mistakes, while still having mentors to ask for guidance when I needed it.”

To learn more about experiential learning and the variety of resources available, visit the EL Hub website, or contact them at el.hub@queensu.ca

 

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