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Student Learning Experience

Fall Preview welcomes prospective students

Close to 4,400 prospective undergraduate students and their families converged on campus on Saturday, Nov. 3, for the first of two Fall Preview Open Houses at Queen’s.

[Fall Preview Open House]
The first of two Fall Preview Open Houses, held on Saturday, Nov. 3, attracted close to 4,400 prospective undergraduate students to Queen’s.

With the application process for the 2019-2020 academic year now open, this day-long event allows prospective students to discover all that Queen’s has to offer. Attendees are able to tour campus facilities, visit residences, and speak with students, faculty members, and staff about their programs of interest.

“Queen’s Fall Preview allows prospective students to come to campus to see first-hand the strength of our programs and the quality of the student experience,” says Stuart Pinchin, Executive Director, Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment. “I’d like to thank all faculty members, students and staff who participates in this important event that helps students decide whether Queen’s is a good fit for them.”

Thousands more potential undergraduate students and family members will be welcomed to campus on Saturday, Nov. 17 for the second Fall Preview Open House. For the 2018-19 academic year, Queen’s received more than 42,000 applicants for 4,422 spaces.

An exciting addition to the recruitment season this year is the launch of the on-campus Bachelor of Health Sciences, a direct-entry undergraduate degree program. This program has been available online since 2016, however in Fall 2019 students will also have the opportunity to pursue this degree pathway in a classroom setting. The program will follow a flipped classroom model that uses the individual study of online modules to enhance the engagement of classroom sessions. This will provide students with a unique learning experience that combines course material with real-world application.

Register for the second Fall Preview Open House online

Celebrating undergraduate research

Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships allow students to team up with their supervisor on research or develop a separate project in an area of personal interest.

  • The 2018 cohort of USSRF students.
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf and Interim Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse congratulate the 2018 cohort of USSRF students.
  • Attendees listen to students as they present their USSRF projects.
    A poster display was put up in Stauffer Library to highlight the research completed by participants in the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships.
  • USSRF student poster projects on display in Stauffer Library
    One of the participants in the USSRF program discusses her poster project on display in Stauffer Library.
  • Economics undergraduate student Juliette Deck
    Economics undergraduate student Juliette Deck shares her experience with the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships.
  • Electrical engineering undergraduate Dimitri Georgaras
    Electrical engineering undergraduate Dimitri Georgaras discusses his research project during the celebration ceremony.

While summer is often the time for students to head to the cottage or pick up short-term employment, for the recipients of the 2018 Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships (USSRF), the summer months provided an opportunity to engage in discovery-based learning and develop their research skills.

The USSRF provides undergraduate students a unique opportunity to enhance their research skills under the supervision of a faculty member in the fields of the social sciences, humanities, or creative arts. Over a 16-week period, students team up with their supervisor to participate in their research program or they may develop a separate project in an area of personal interest.

Recently, as part of the annual USSRF celebration, hosted by Principal Daniel Woolf and Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research), the 31 recipients of the 2018 USSRF had a chance to display project posters.  During the event, attendees also heard from two recipients about their own experiences with the program. 

Dimitri Georgaras is an electrical engineering undergraduate supervised by Dr. Matthew Rogalsky (Dan School of Drama & Music). His project “Taming the Ghost in the Machine,” examined electronic feedback as a method of sound synthesis in live electronic music. The purpose-built electronic feedback instrument that Georgaras designed and constructed for this project will now be available to students in the Queen’s Sonic Arts Studio.

"It is not every day you are given the chance to develop and conduct a research project in your area of true passion, especially if that area is as niche as mine. The USSRF has not only given me a summer’s worth of research I am able to look back upon with pride, but has also provided me with the confidence that I will be able to continue to pursue my passion for music and electronics,” says Georgaras.

USSRF also provided economics student Juliette Deck with an opportunity to research the 1997 Quebec Universal Child Care Policy with Dr. Ian Keay (Economics). Her project looked at the case for Canadian universal childcare subsidization by assessing the effects of Quebec’s policy on female after-tax earnings through a difference-in-difference study. Deck hopes that this research will inform current policy debates.

“This experience improved my ability to analyze complex data, collaborate with academic experts, and synthesize information for an academic paper. I plan to apply the skills I have gained both in my pursuit of a law degree, as well as towards my broader career aspirations of solving complex problems using data,” says Deck.   

Since 2011, the USSRF program has provided hundreds of undergraduate students with the unique opportunity to experience the research process first-hand and garner transferable skills.

Research posters from this year’s USSRF students will be on display in Stauffer Library from Oct. 23 to Nov. 2. Applications for the 2019 program are due at 4PM on March 1, 2019.

“Research can be an important part of a rich and rewarding undergraduate experience,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Having research experience at the undergraduate level helps students acquire a foundation of employment-ready skills and prepare for further education.”

For more information, visit the USSRF program website.

The measure of a student

Queen’s students participated in a four-year study to look at how they learned during their programs, and the results are now available.

  • [Queen's University SOAR orientation]
    As part of the Learning Outcomes Assessment project, a group of students completed standardized assessments throughout their degrees. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • [Queen's University Political Science lecture theatre class]
    Results from some upper year students were used as a benchmark, which allowed the university to quantify how students improved over their four years at Queen's. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • [Queen's University convocation Grant Hall hooding]
    The end result: students’ skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication increased. Queen’s students demonstrated a higher level of skill in critical thinking than comparable students at most peer institutions participating in the equivalent surveys.(Photo by Garrett Elliott)

When students enroll at a post-secondary institution, they want to know that they will graduate better equipped for life – whether they intend to join the working world, pursue further studies, conduct research, or apply their experiences in another meaningful way.

A recently concluded four-year longitudinal study conducted by the Office of the Provost, partially funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), sought to measure and track several important student learning outcomes as students progressed through their time at Queen’s.

The project’s results, which reflect well on a Queen’s education, were recently published as a HEQCO research paper.

Learn more about the LOA Research Project
Queen’s LOA Project Website
Learning Outcomes Assessment and Program Improvement at Queen’s University – HEQCO Report
Phase 1 Summary – Queen’s Gazette
Phase 2 Summary – Queen’s Gazette

“Queen’s has emerged as a national leader in learning outcomes assessment, an area of growing importance in the academy – finding a way to measure and quantify the value of a post-secondary education,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Assessing the growth of our students’ cognitive skills is a priority to help us understand the degree to which Queen’s students develop during their time here. I am pleased both at the successful completion of the project, and Queen’s ongoing work in this field of research.”

About the project

The Learning Outcomes Assessment project sought to determine how important skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and lifelong learning skills improved over a student’s four years at Queen’s. Specifically, researchers sought to answer four questions:

  1. How much do students’ complex cognitive skills change between the first and fourth year of undergraduate studies?
  2. How does the development of complex cognitive skills and lifelong learning vary between programs and individuals, and what is the relationship of standardized measures to course grades?
  3. Can data from instruments be used to support skills development in courses?
  4. How feasible is the use of these assessments in a Canadian university?

The high-level outcomes of the study noted that students’ skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication increased over the four years of their Queen’s degree; and that Queen’s students demonstrated a higher level of skill in critical thinking than comparable students at most peer institutions participating in the equivalent surveys.

This is important, as industry and academia are increasingly recognizing the value of skills as graduates enter a rapidly changing job market. A study from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) which was published in March noted human intelligence and intuition are critical to maintaining employment in the face of automation and other workforce trends. The “Humans Wanted – How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption” research paper specifically noted the importance of critical thinking and problem-solving.

How to measure skills

To conduct this research, thousands of student participants volunteered from multiple programs in the Faculties of Arts and Science, and Engineering and Applied Science. The students completed standardized assessment tests and results of some of their exams and assignments were also studied. Sample groups of the students were also interviewed. Results for upper-year students were used as a benchmark, and compared against first-year students as they completed their degrees.

“We have shown that we can to assess key skills, such as critical thinking, among our students, and that students are improving,” says Brian Frank, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning)and the DuPont Canada Chair in Engineering Education Research and Development in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “We are continuing this work in a new project that engages faculty in developing and assessing transferrable skills, providing a different perspective on their roles as teachers. We are using a consistent approach that gives us information to inform course and program improvement.”

Emily Britton (Artsci’15) worked on the LOA project as a research assistant. She says she appreciated the unique opportunity to participate in the project and gain a different perspective on the university.

“I was able to learn a lot about what was going on at the university level in terms of tracking student progress and achievement, which I think many students are not aware of,” she says. “I think a lot of students assume and hope that they are developing the sorts of key skills that were assessed by [this project]…but I think it’s encouraging to see some wide-scale and tangible evidence that their degrees are providing them with the types of transferrable skills that will set them up for success.”

Ms. Britton noted the connections and applied research experience she gained on the LOA project were also helpful to her as she applied to graduate school.

What comes next

With this phase of the project complete, Queen’s is working on a related project to enhance the way learning outcomes are assessed in courses across multiple programs.

The Cognitive Assessment Redesign project is seeking faculty members who wish to build greater understanding into how their courses are fostering critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem-solving.

By signing up, faculty members will deepen their understanding of how to align course learning outcomes to assessments, how to create an authentic assignment that deliberately elicits skills like critical thinking, and how to develop a rubric that successfully measures student achievement.

Each faculty member is paired with an Assessment Facilitator, who helps with the assessment redesign, and instructors are part of a network that meets regularly to share results and discuss their approaches.

The Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium

Queen’s is one of nine universities and colleges which make up HEQCO’s Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium. Each of the members are engaged in similar efforts to investigate the development and assessment of learning outcomes, and refine the instruments for assessing and measuring them.

Harvey Weingarten, the CEO of HEQCO, called Queen’s efforts in measuring learning outcomes “forward thinking” and “innovative”.

“Non-disciplinary skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s fast-changing economy,” Dr. Weingarten said. “Postsecondary institutions need to do a better job of measuring, teaching and credentialing these skills so students can succeed in the workplace and in life.”

Completing this research places Queen’s in select Canadian company – while the concept of measuring learning outcomes is somewhat common in the United States higher education community, few Canadian institutions have investigated the idea. Importantly, Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), noted that Queen’s students “started higher” than the average and “ended higher” when compared against other schools in other jurisdictions such as the United States.

To see the Learning Outcomes Assessment and Program Improvement at Queen’s University HEQCO report, please visit HEQCO’s website.

Opening doors to lifelong learning

Ever Scholar, offered by the Professional Studies Unit at the Queen’s Faculty of Education, provides opportunities to explore topics in the arts, science, and the humanities.

Ever Scholar, a new program offered by the Professional Studies Unit at the Queen’s Faculty of Education, opens up learning opportunities for retirees and seniors in the Kingston area.

[Ever Scholar]
Ever Scholar is a lifelong learning program providing opportunities to explore topics in the arts, science, and the humanities. (University Communications)

Ever Scholar is an open-enrollment course series for anyone in the Kingston and surrounding area. Designed as a lifelong-learning program, Ever Scholar provides opportunities to explore topics in the arts, science, and the humanities.

The program got its start when Jessica Della-Latta, Executive Director of Professional and Non-Credit Programs at the Faculty of Education, took part in the Foundational Leadership course offered by Queen’s Human Resources. She had just received an enquiry regarding Queen’s offerings for third-age learners. The enquiry was for something more than a lecture but not as intensive as a course for credit. To set the program up for success, Della-Latta’s Foundational Leadership project team polled Kingston community members and alumni and met with potential partners such as ESU, community organizations, and senior administrators at Queen’s.

They discovered that while programming for third-age learners is abundant in the Kingston area through local community groups, none specifically met the immersive course experience that many retirees and seniors were looking for. Seeing a win-win opportunity, Della-Latta and her project team moved the project forward.

Meeting with all stakeholder groups including Queen’s University Institute for Lifelong Learning (QUILL), Later Life Learning, Kingston Seniors Centre, Retirees Association of Queen’s (RAQ), and the Enrichment Studies Unit confirmed the need. 

“I met with all those groups because I didn’t want to redo what was already being done well. I wanted to identify the gap and fill it. I wanted this to be a collaboration,” Della-Latta says. “So we formed an advisory board with members from each of those groups to help shape and guide – they came up with the name Ever Scholar – what our focus and subject areas will be.  It is an important collaboration.  We all cross-promote our programs in the spirit of learning for all.”

The Faculty of Education was a natural place for such a program.

“As educators, we believe that education continues beyond formal schooling. Ever Scholar is an opportunity for us to share our wealth of knowledge and research with the community and offer accessible lifelong learning opportunities for everyone” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education.

The first six-week course, entitled First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Studies, started on Wednesday, Oct. 10 and is hosted primarily at Duncan McArthur Hall, along with field trips to locations such as the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre.

The courses are being developed by graduate students from the Faculty of Education.

The programming is also being developed with cost-effectiveness in mind, not only for the university but for the students as well. For example, parking is covered by the registration fee.

Another key for Ever Scholar, points out Nathan Cheney, Business Developer in the Professional Studies Office, is building positive relationships between the university and the community

“We wanted to try and remove as many barriers for people as possible while maintaining the quality of learning that we are proud to offer at Queen’s University," he says. "One of the things that Queen’s focuses on is the community aspect and the community experience of the campus. We decided to host this on Queen’s campus so learners experience all Queen’s has to offer."

The second course, which will focus on health sciences, will be offered in May.

If you have an idea for an Ever Scholar course, Della-Latta is open to suggestions from all faculties.

For more information about Ever Scholar, visit the Professional Studies website.

Removing barriers

Queen’s is using an upcoming café event to create awareness of how campus buildings and infrastructure are becoming more accessible. 

[Queen's University accessibility]
Additional power door openers will be installed on campus as part of the "Proposed 5-Year Accessibility Plan for Barrier Removal in Existing Buildings". (Supplied Photo)

What are your ideas for making the Queen’s campus more accessible?

At noon on Wednesday, Oct. 31, members of the University’s Built Environment Advisory Group (BEAG), with the support of the Human Rights and Equity Office and Physical Plant Services, will host an Accessibility Café focused on the “Proposed 5-Year Accessibility Plan for Barrier Removal in Existing Buildings”. The café will take place in Robert Sutherland Hall Room 202.

Following a presentation by the Advisory Group on accessible built environment standards and codes and the proposed 5-year plan, members and attendees may ask questions and engage in discussion to help guide future accessibility upgrades on campus.

“We are excited to be supporting this Accessibility Café and to be discussing projects the university is moving forward with as part of its commitment to improve campus accessibility for everyone,” says John Witjes, Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities).

In the 2018/19 budget, the university pledged an ongoing $250,000 a year to address accessibility renovations and improvements across campus. 

Some of the upgrades planned for the next five years include power door openers, signage to help campus visitors find accessible entrances to buildings, adding accessible building entrances to existing buildings, and relocating some on-campus resources to more accessible locations.

The university is also looking to add another two single-user (gender-neutral) accessible washrooms on campus. There are five such washrooms being added to campus this year, including two which recently opened in the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre. This is in addition to the 80 accessible and 25 not accessible single-user washrooms on campus that are considered gender-neutral washrooms.

To determine which projects receive priority, the Advisory Group has outlined high-level criteria, which focus on safety, fundamental barriers, and creating inclusive environments. They examine the type of building that requires the upgrade, the amount of traffic the building receives, whether the building connects to other buildings, and other factors to make their decisions.

”Our goal was to select accessibility components and features that would enhance the existing built environment on campus, benefiting people of all abilities,” says Maridee Osolinsky, Planner with Physical Plant Services. "We are looking forward to creating more awareness of accessibility in the built environment and engaging with participants on designing a more inclusive campus.”

Event organizers will also use the Café to recruit new members into the Built Environment Advisory Group. The group provides advice to Queen’s Facility Management on accessibility concerns, standards, and legislation, including the Design of Public Spaces Standard that assist in making the Queen’s campus and its facilities accessible to everyone.

Specifically, they have a mandate to:

  • Advise on the requirements and implementation of various standards;
  • Review and endorse accessibility projects funded within the 5-year plan;
  • Review site plans and floor plans for new construction and renovation projects on capital projects of a value of $2.5M or greater and accessibility projects that receive grants

The Café is one in a continuing series delving into accessibility matters on campus, and those interested in the topic are encouraged to stay tuned for more events in the new year.

To learn more about the Built Environment Advisory Group, visit the Equity Office website. Those interested in applying to join the group should email Andrew Ashby, Accessibility Coordinator, at ashby@queensu.ca by the end of November 2018.

Supporting more open and affordable course materials

Many students, faculty and staff at Queen’s are part of a growing movement towards more open and affordable course materials to improve the student learning experience. Following a year of consultations and pilot projects, the Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group provided a report to the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning in May 2018 recommending a number of principles and goals for further supporting this movement. Key amongst them was the offering of services and funding to support the creation and adoption of open textbooks.

[Open Access Course Materials]Building on a 2017 pilot program, a second call for proposals is being issued to support the use of open textbooks at Queen’s. The application submission deadline is Friday, Nov. 30. 

The 2017 program funded the development of three open textbooks in the disciplines of psychology, physics, and pediatrics. The 2018 call for proposals will award up to seven grants to instructors. Three grants of up to $7,500 each will support the development of a new open textbook in an undergraduate course. Four grants of $800 each will be for the adaptation of an existing open textbook for use in an upcoming course or program. Priority will be given to large undergraduate courses, courses with high-cost textbooks, and courses in new or emerging disciplines or subjects.

The creation of open access materials benefits both students and instructors. Emma Neary (QuARMS '23), one of two undergraduate students who was hired to support the creation of an open textbook in physics last year, was provided with a unique experiential learning opportunity that also benefits her fellow students.

“I believe that open access course materials are the first step in ensuring that university is realistically accessible for everyone,” Neary says.

The benefits of open textbooks also go beyond making course materials more affordable for students and providing greater flexibility in tailoring textbook content.

“Building our own custom textbook with expert author contributors from across Canada has allowed us to create an authoritative resource tailored to the Canadian context that is unavailable anywhere else,” says Meghan Norris, Chair of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Psychology, who compiled and edited an open access textbook for PSYC204: Applications and Careers in the Psychological Sciences.

To support instructors in creating new open textbooks and adapting existing ones for Queen’s courses, Queen’s University Library is coordinating the development of open textbook services in partnership with faculties and other units across campus. Funding for the current call for proposals is provided by the library and the Campus Bookstore.

Find out more and apply for funds online.

For the report of the Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group, see: www.queensu.ca/provost/committees-and-reports/provosts-advisory-committee-teaching-and-learning/open-and-affordable-course

If you have any questions or comments, email: open.education@queensu.ca

Campus takes a break

Fall 2018 marks the first time Queen’s incorporates a two-day break into the schedule. 

Expect things to be a little quieter around campus on Thursday, Oct. 25 and Friday, Oct. 26. 

That’s when students will be participating in Queen's University’s first fall term break, a two-day rest period designed to ease stress and improve student success. 

“The goal of introducing this break into the fall term was to balance student wellness while retaining our valued traditions and instructional days,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “As this is the first year of this revised fall term schedule, we will continue listening to feedback from the community to ensure this break achieves its goal of enhancing the student learning experience.” 

In February 2017, Queen’s University Senate approved the addition of a fall term break at the recommendation of the Fall Term Break Task Force, which Dr. Shearer chaired.  

To accommodate the addition of a break, the university shuffled the move-in and orientation schedule at the start of the term. In making these schedule changes, there were no changes to the December pre-exam period study days nor were there any changes to the number of instructional days in the fall term. 

Students are encouraged to use the two days to catch up on their readings and their rest. The campus will remain open for students wishing to visit a library, hang out at a food outlet, or access a gym. 

For students wishing to better equip themselves for their studies, the Queen’s Student Academic Success Services team and the School of Graduate Studies will be running workshops. The Queen’s University International Centre and Residence Life teams will also have programming during the break. 

Additionally, the Ban Righ Foundation’s 2018 Inspiring Women event is being held on Thursday evening at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. The guest speaker is Kristin Cochrane (Artsci’94), CEO of Penguin Random House Canada. This event is free to attend and open to all students, staff, and faculty. 

Students in Stauffer Library on Oct. 25 or Oct. 26 will have the opportunity to learn about the hard work of some of their peers as part of the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship (USSRF) Poster Display – though the display will run through November 2. 

To view the Fall Term Break Task Force’s final report, visit the University Secretariat’s website

Giving graduate students with children a hand

A new initiative jointly helps graduate students with children balance the demands of academic work and parenting.

[Queen's University Education Library Duncan McArthur Hall]
The Education Library in Duncan McArthur Hall. (Queen's University)

An upcoming writing day offered in the Expanding Horizons program by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) will feature childcare for the first time, as part of a pilot initiative designed to support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who are parents.

On Friday, Oct. 26, the SGS will host a writing retreat designed to provide uninterrupted writing time to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows while also providing age-appropriate activities for children ages five to 12. The session runs from 9 am to 4 pm at West Campus.

Not coincidentally, this day is also a professional activity day at the Limestone District School Board. PA days can pose an additional challenge to students with children, as their usual care arrangements may not be available yet their own academic responsibilities continue unabated.

So, the SGS and the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic) have partnered with the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) to provide both a day of sustained writing and a day of childcare. Students will work on their theses or other pieces of writing in the Education Library while their children will be cared for in an adjoining room in Duncan McArthur Hall. There is space for up to 50 students to take advantage of this opportunity.

Last year, a graduate student approached the SGS about providing new supports that specifically address the challenges of balancing academic and family responsibilities. In May, a workshop was held to explore what supports are required and how they might be implemented. The very real problem of time constraint emerged as a key issue.

“While there is a great deal of work still to be done, particularly in recognizing the unique contributions that students with children make to the academic culture at Queen’s, we decided to put in place this pilot initiative as a support to students who face extraordinary demands on their time,” says Marta Straznicky, Associate Dean (SGS), who is coordinating the childcare program.

“Balancing the responsibilities of parenthood and studies can be a challenge, and our hope is this pilot initiative allows our graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to participate more fully in their studies,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “We also hope this program will help them and their children build community during their studies at Queen’s.”

The program will be offered on four successive PA days: Oct. 26, Nov. 30, Feb. 1, 2019, and April 5, 2019.

To learn more about the Graduate Student Parent Writing Circle, visit the School of Graduate Studies website.

Gaining experience in the workplace

At Queen’s, education is always happening inside and outside of classrooms, lecture halls and labs.

Through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP), second- and third-year students can take part in 12 to 16 month experiential learning opportunities with partner employers on campus, in Kingston, and across Canada. The program is part of the university’s focus on growing experiential education opportunities. 

[Hind Mukhtar]
Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, right, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the experiential learning opportunity through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP). (Supplied Photo) 

For participating students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and in the School of Computing, an internship is an opportunity to build skills through work experience. Interns have completed a range of roles in fields including biotechnology, research and development, geographic information systems, software development, marketing and sales, and project management. 

QUIP continues to grow in popularity with approximately 250 students currently on internships, more than triple the number just a few years ago. 

“There’s growing interest in QUIP because it provides students the opportunity to take what they are learning through their studies and apply it to the workplace,” says Melissa Duggan, QUIP Internship Coordinator. “The internships also give students a chance to return to their studies with renewed energy and a deeper connection to course materials.”

Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the program with the aim of gaining applicable work experience prior to graduation.

And that’s exactly what she got.

“I learned a lot of technical and professional skills. The technical skills that I gained from my internship will be beneficial while working on my fourth year capstone project. I also got a better idea of the field of work that I would like to pursue after graduation,” Mukhtar says. “Personally, I found this experience very crucial to my undergraduate career. I got a feel of what it’s like to be an engineer. I was able to apply all the concepts that I’m learning in school to real world applications.” 

Kelsey Sleep Jennings has returned for her fourth year in Global Development Studies after working for 12 months as a digital research intern with the Cultural Services Department of the City of Kingston. One of the main projects she was involved in was developing a three dimensional interpretive tour of City Hall. The work involved extensive research and gathering of information as she developed the model over a period of four months. 

Through this work she has not only gained valuable experience but also a better view of what direction her future career path may take.

“I think experiential learning opportunities are incredibly important for post-secondary students. They really give you the chance to break out of the university bubble and experience life and your education far beyond the limits of a classroom setting,” she says. “Without these experiences I think I would still be as lost as to what I wanted to do post-graduation as I was in the summer of 2017. I was able to experience working within a municipal government and really test-drive a career that I was interested in.” 

The internships have also proven positive for employers and the university.

“When we hear from former interns, they all say what a transformative experience it has been,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Queen’s Career Services. “At the same time our partner employers tell us about the contributions Queen’s students have brought to the workplace and the projects they are involved in. When the students return, they bring those skills and enriched perspectives to Queen’s.”

Employers continue to hire from Queen’s to tap into a talented pool of students from a diverse array of programs. The 12-16 month model also allows for a relatively high return on investment in training.

For those students interested in registering for the QUIP program for positions starting in May 2019, information sessions are being held this fall. 

For more information about QUIP and how to hire an intern for a role on campus, visit the Career Services website.

 

Funding available for inclusive initiatives

The Office of the Provost and Vice Principal (Academic) has launched a new program to fund community efforts to build a more inclusive campus.

[Queen's University Isabel Bader Centre Human Rights Festival 2018]
The Isabel Bader Centre's Human Rights Festival was one initiative supported by Inclusive Community funding in 2017-18. (Supplied Photo)

Students, faculty, and staff with ideas that promote inclusivity or foster intercultural connections have a new option for support from the university.

The Inclusive Community Fund was established in 2018 to further these goals within the Queen’s community, and is now accepting applications.

The program began informally during the 2017-18 academic year when the Provost’s Office was approached by various groups on campus seeking support for their diversity and inclusivity-themed efforts. After recognizing the need for and value of this type of fund, the Inclusive Community Fund was turned into a formal program starting in the 2018-19 year.

“A more diverse campus community enhances our academic mission, our student experience, and our research,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “Having a greater understanding of and appreciation for different cultures is important for our learners and for our staff and faculty. It is my hope that this funding will provide opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff to showcase the best of their ideas and create opportunities for sharing and dialogue.”

Established by a $50,000 annual contribution from the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), any Queen’s student or employee can apply for funding to support an initiative or event that promotes an inclusive Queen’s community. Each project proposal will be evaluated on the extent to which it:

  • promotes a more inter-culturally informed, tolerant, and inclusive campus community
  • is open to the Queen’s and/or broader community
  • enhances the quality of the student or employee experience at Queen’s
  • promotes Queen’s in a positive manner

A group comprising two representatives from Student Affairs, one student representative, one staff representative, and the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) is responsible for reviewing applications and making decisions.

Last year, several groups received funding during the pilot offering. Among those was the Queen’s Black Academic Society, which organized a first-ever conference focused on the future of black scholarship.

Applications to the Inclusive Community Fund are open year round. To learn more or apply for funding, visit the Inclusive Queen’s website.

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