Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Student Learning Experience

Supporting diversity on campus

The Queen’s Student Diversity Project (QSDP) recently hosted the second annual Intersectionality in Academics conference on campus, bringing together more than 125 prospective students from the GTA, with a focus on the various academic and co-curricular opportunities available at Queen’s.

The second annual Intersectionality in Academics conference, hosted by the Queen’s Student Diversity Project, brought 125 prospective students from the GTA to Queen's campus. (Supplied photo)

“Student Affairs was delighted to partner with QSDP again this year to support their conference,” says Allison Yokom, Director of Undergraduate Enrolment and Operations. “The work they are doing is making a real impact in enhancing diversity and inclusion at Queen’s.”

During the day-long event, students were given a tour of campus, received information about clubs and financial aid, and had the chance to speak with Queen’s students, staff, and QSDP representatives.

Participants also heard from a student panel that discussed intersectionality on campus. Current students from various backgrounds were able to share their experiences within academic fields where they are traditionally underrepresented, including black students in STEM and men in nursing.

QSDP hopes that these diverse perspectives allow prospective students to see themselves within the campus community, and encourages them to pursue their academic studies at Queen’s.

“We started the annual conference to help grade 11 and 12 students realize the importance of their diverse backgrounds within an academic setting,” says Fatoumata Tounkara, Vice President and Conference Chair of QSDP. “We hope that through the lived experiences of the panelists and speakers, these students are able to see the diversity on campus and realize the abundance of opportunities available to them at Queen’s.”

Founded in 2017, QSDP is a student-led organization that is redefining diversity on campus by creating a more inclusive and informed Queen’s community.

Visit the QSDP Facebook page to learn more about the project and upcoming events. 

Queen's University Library to launch new system and search tool for greater resource access

Queen’s University Library, in partnership with 13 other Ontario university libraries, will launch a new library services platform and search tool on Dec. 10, 2019 as part of the Collaborative Futures project. The system will give students, faculty, and staff enhanced search capabilities and streamlined access to valuable resources at Queen’s and partner institutions.

The new search function – called Omni – is central to the new library system, replacing Summon and QCAT with a single tool for searching across Queen’s and the other library collections – providing access to more information resources and specialized content than ever before.

For more information, visit the Collaborative Futures Library Services Platform webpage.

Bringing Queen’s to Queen’s Park

  • Queen's at Queen's Park Day
    A team of Queen's researchers, staff, and students traveled to Queen’s Park to meet with MPPs and their staff to promote the university's unrivaled student learning experience and leading-edge research.
  • Queen's at Queen's Park Day
    Attendees learn more about Queen’s Major Maps, and other programs and services for student and grad career searchers from Career Services counsellor Carli Fink at the ‘Queen’s at Queen’s Park’ reception on Nov. 4.
  • Queen's at Queen's Park Day
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, centre, is joined by, from left, Interim Liberal Party leader John Fraser, Kingston and the Islands MPP Ian Arthur, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, and Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.
  • Queen's at Queen's Park Day
    Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science Barbara Crow and Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Fahim Quadir speak to DDQIC alumnus Norman Musengimma (founder and CEO, Bizskills Academy).
  • Queen's at Queen's Park Day
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (University Relations) Michael Fraser speak with Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark.
  • Queen's at Queen's Park Day
    NDP Colleges and Universities Critic Chris Glover takes a selfie with students from the Skeletal Observation Laboratory at the ‘Queen’s at Queen’s Park’ advocacy day reception.

A team of more than 40 faculty, staff, and students from Queen’s University travelled to Toronto on Monday, Nov. 4 for Queen’s at Queen’s Park Day, an opportunity to highlight the research, academic and student learning experience that defines the #queensuIMPACT.

The day got underway with a recognition in the Legislature by Ian Arthur, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, and Ross Romano, Minister of Training Colleges and Universities.

This was followed with a series of meetings and a reception where members of the Queen’s delegation were able to meet with MPPs and staff and share research demonstrations and information on a number of student-focused initiatives at the university, including skills training, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Queen’s at Queen’s Park is an excellent opportunity for the university to connect with our elected and public service officials, build our relationships, and introduce them to the many great initiatives and programs taking place at Queen’s,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “In meeting face-to-face we are able to communicate how Queen’s is creating skills for student success, highlight the real-world impact of research and innovation programs, and confirm that the university is a responsible and effective steward of provincial funding that is committed to transparency and accountability.”

Along with visiting the Ontario legislature, Queen’s is also planning a similar event on Parliament Hill to connect with federal Members of Parliament and their staff in the new year.

Promoting undergraduate research

  • The 2019 USSRF recipients gather with Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Research) Kim Woodhouse during the 2019 Celebration.
    The 2019 USSRF recipients gather with Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Research) Kim Woodhouse during the 2019 Celebration.
  • USSRF recipient Claire Simon takes a moment in front of her poster presentation with her faculty supervisor Dr. Lisa Pasolli.
    USSRF recipient Claire Simon takes a moment in front of her poster presentation with her faculty supervisor Dr. Lisa Pasolli.
  • Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane hands out certificates of achievement to the 2019 USSRF recipients.
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane hands out certificates of achievement to the 2019 USSRF recipients.
  • Samantha Simpson, one of the 2019 USSRF recipients, explains her research poster at Stauffer Library.
    Samantha Simpson, one of the 2019 USSRF recipients, explains her research poster at Stauffer Library.
  • USSRF recipients present their projects to attendees during the 2019 Celebration at Stauffer Library
    USSRF recipients present their projects to attendees during the 2019 Celebration at Stauffer Library
  • Owen Saunders shares his experience with the USSRF program
    Owen Saunders shares his experience with the USSRF program.

Summer is not always synonymous with studies, but for the recipients of the 2019 Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships (USSRF), this past summer was an opportunity to gain a valuable experience in discovery-based learning and to develop their research skills.

Research at Queen's
Did you know that the university recently launched a new central website for Queen’s research? From in-depth features, the latest news, and featured researchers, the site is a destination showcasing the impact of Queen’s research. Discover Research at Queen’s.

Through this program sponsored by the Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio, students, under the guidance of faculty researchers, have the unique opportunity to develop their own research projects in the social sciences, humanities, or creative arts. This past year, 19 fellowships of $6,000 were available to continuing students interested in the 16-week summer program. Two additional fellowships of $5,000 plus travel and room and board were available to students whose projects took place at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in East Sussex, England.

“Research can be a rewarding part of the undergraduate experience,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The USSRF program provides students with critical research, analytical, and presentation skills that will help prepare them for future studies or careers.” 

Recently, as part of the annual USSRF celebration, the 21 recipients had a chance to display project posters and speak to their projects. At the event, hosted by Principal Patrick Deane and Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research), attendees heard from two recipients about their own experiences with the program. 

Clare Simon is a history student under the supervision of Queen’s researcher Dr. Lisa Pasolli. Simon’s project, “Not just somebody’s mother: university Campus Daycare Co-operatives in British Columbia and Ontario, 1960s to 1970s,” analyzed case studies from Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, and Queen’s. Her research led her to explore the history of university daycares and situated their development within the context of contemporary ideologies.

“Being able to create and develop my own project as an undergraduate student is an exciting and unique experience,” says Simon. “The USSRF program has given me valuable skills which I will continue to apply in my undergraduate degree and, hopefully, graduate degrees as well.”

Owen Saunders is a political studies student who worked with Queen’s researcher Dr. Christian Leuprecht. Saunders’s project, “Cyber Electoral Interference in the Five Eyes Countries,” examined Canadian responses to cybersecurity threats in comparison to the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. His project also gave him the opportunity to conclude with policy recommendations based on this research.

“The USSRF application and research experience provides a fantastic opportunity to work one on one with a professor in your department, enhancing your research and writing skills,” says Saunders.

Since 2011, more than 200 students have taken part in the USSRF program. The application deadline for the 2020 program is March 2 at 9 am.

Research posters from this year’s USSRF recipients will be on display in Stauffer Library from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8. For more information, visit the USSRF program website

Connecting with future Queen’s students

Fall Preview and Ontario Universities Fair help prospective students learn about life at Queen’s.
Prospective students and their families learn about Queen's and its programs during Fall Preview Open House.

Over the past weekend, Queen’s welcomed more than 8,000 prospective undergraduate students, their families and guests to campus for the annual Fall Preview Open House.

Prospective students had the opportunity to explore campus and discover all that Queen’s has to offer. Attendees were able to tour campus facilities, visit residences, and speak with students, staff and faculty about their programs of interest.

With applications for the 2020-21 academic year now open, the Fall Preview Open House prepares potential students with the necessary tools and information to make an informed decision on their post-secondary education.

“Queen’s Fall Preview showcases the strength of our academic programs,the quality of the student experience and provides a chance to explore campus and the City of Kingston,” says Chris Coupland, Executive Director, Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment. “I’d like to thank all faculty members, students staff, and the local community who participated in this important event for helping students decide whether Queen’s is the right university for them.”

Queen’s also attended the annual Ontario Universities’ Fair in September, attracting over 120,000 visitors.

The event gives high school students and their families the opportunity to speak with representatives from Ontario’s 21 universities. The Queen’s team gave multiple presentations and handed out over 28,000 viewbooks.

To learn more, visit the Undergraduate Admission website.

Making change through experiential learning

Queen’s graduates receive fellowships to develop community initiatives.

Recipients of Pathy Foundation Fellowship
Jessica Franko, Lauren Di Felice, Stewart Langley, and Julia Weder have all received Pathy Foundation Fellowships. (University Communications.)

Four Queen’s University graduates are recipients of the Pathy Foundation Fellowship, formerly known as the OceanPath Fellowship. The fellowships support the development of community initiatives designed to create and foster sustainable and positive social change in local, national, and international communities.

Lauren Di Felice (Artsci’19) is working on an initiative called “Better Together Kingston,” which assists refugees with integration and empowerment in the Kingston community. The fellowship has allowed her to implement ideas generated from her past community projects as a fourth-year Global Developmental Studies student.

“The initiative emerged from my local work on the Canadian Council for Refugees national campaign. I applied for the fellowship to build on the idea and momentum generated from the campaign,” says Di Felice.

She creates local campaign materials and outreach activities to extend both the scope and influence of her previous work, and to encourage the civic engagement of new Canadians.

Julia Weder (Sci’19) saw the fellowship as a unique post-graduate opportunity to re-establish meaningful connections to another community. Weder chose a place where she felt a deep emotional connection. The Climate Change Youth Group is underway in her onetime home, Haida Gwaii, B.C. Weder works with high school students, fostering their personal and collective empowerment as change-makers.

“With this initiative, I hope to help youth find their role in the climate movement, enhance their critical thinking and leadership skills, and act in the face of the world’s greatest challenges,” Weder says.

For Jessica Franko (Artsci’19), her project is giving her a deeper understanding of development. She works predominantly with women in Maun, Botswana to address global bee health and the financial well-being of families.

“The fellowship is a radical learning opportunity, and challenges you to your core, in the best ways possible,” Franko says.

New this year, project funding will increase from $25,000 to $40,000 per fellowship. While the change is substantial, the fellowship remains focused on supporting new graduates who are designing and implementing community initiatives.

The application deadline for the 2019-2020 Pathy Foundation Fellowship is Nov 14, 2019. Students interested in learning more about the program and its eligibility requirements should contact pathyfellowship@queensu.ca.

Queen’s graduate research goes global with Matariki 3 Minute Thesis

Nevena Martinović, a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at Queen’s, named runner-up in inaugural international competition.

[Matariki Network of Universities 3MT]
Graduate students Amanda Brissenden, third from left, and Nevena Martinović, fourth from left, recently competed in the Matariki Network’s inaugural 3 Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) with Martinović being named runner-up. Congratulating them are, from left, Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science; Fahim Quadir, Vice Provost and Dean School of Graduate Studies; and Sandra den Otter, Associate Vice-Principal (International and Research).

Nevena Martinović, a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at Queen’s, recently captured the runner-up award in the Matariki Network’s inaugural 3 Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) for her talk, “Acting your age – Gender & age on the 18th century stage.”

“This was a really great opportunity for me. I keep hearing about how not many students in the humanities take part, but it is a shame as in the English department narrative is so much a part of what we do,” Martinović says. “How to communicate our ideas and get that message across, the 3MT is an extraordinary opportunity to do just that.”

Preparing for the 3MT, Martinović explains, didn’t match how she usually writes but instead was similar to how she teaches.

“I find it easy to come up with contemporary examples for the students to understand and in less formal ways. The 3MT was an opportunity to practice that skill,” she says. “It was a surprise to be runner-up, but it speaks to how each presentation has great moments in them.”

Queen’s is no stranger to the 3MT having run its own event annually since 2012 and participating in the provincial competition since its inception in 2013, which the university hosted. When the Matariki Network asked its members if there was interest in a 3MT competition, it was an easy yes for Queen’s as it is an excellent opportunity to showcase graduate researchers to a broad international audience.

“Graduate research is integral to the research reputation of Queen’s,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice Provost and Dean School of Graduate Studies. “It is critical that Queen’s provide ample opportunity for our graduate students to showcase their research in diverse ways to reach a broad audience. The School of Graduate Studies already gives students a chance to speak or write about their work on the radio (Grad Chat), within the community (The Conversation), and now internationally through our membership with the Matariki Network. Such events serve to create a community for our students to share their passion for research and, importantly, to motivate and learn from one another in a safe and encouraging space.”

The format of 3MT is often perceived as more suited to STEM and health sciences, making it a challenge to convince students in other areas, in particular the humanities and social sciences, to present their work. It is hoped that Martinović’s success encourages students from all disciplines to participate.

“I have watched many 3MT competitions over the years and I find it encouraging to see more students in the humanities and social sciences participating in these events in recent years,” says Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “Nevena winning the runner-up prize for both the Queen’s and Matariki competitions demonstrates the relevancy of research in the humanities and social sciences, as well as the creativity of our students in showcasing their research. It is important to remember that the primary purpose of the 3MT is to explain your research to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. This is an important skill for all disciplines as well as both academic and non-academic careers.”

As Queen’s is a member of the Matariki Network the new competition was an example of how the university collaborates with its partners.

“The Matariki 3MT is a welcome opportunity to strengthen our engagement with partner universities in the Matariki Network,” says Sandra den Otter, Associate Vice-Principal (International and Research). “Sharing graduate student research enlarges our appreciation of research conducted across the network and gives graduate students an invaluable opportunity to be an integral part of that research exchange.”

The Matariki 3MT complements other research collaborations between Queen’s University and its MNU partners, for example, research projects between Queen’s and Dartmouth in global health, the neural underpinnings of attention and distraction, and the salinity of aquatic ecosystems. The 3MT is just one of the many Matariki Network initiatives that Queen’s is engaged in. Earlier this year, Queen’s hosted the Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program, while the Bader International Study Centre sent students to the Global Citizenship Forum in Durham, UK.

Also competing were Amanda Brissenden, PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering and winner of the 2019 Queen’s 3MT for her presentation “Building Blocks for a Healthier Spine,” and Hannah Dies, PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering and Queen’s People’s Choice winner for “Building the future of sensors: One nanoparticle at a time.”

Matariki member institutions promote excellence in research-led education, in which students receive education from researchers at the cutting edge of their field. Each member institution conducts transformative research across a broad subject base in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Each promotes a combination of academic learning and personal growth through extracurricular activities in diverse scholarly communities so as to develop rounded citizens of the world and leaders of the future. In addition to Queen’s, institutional membership includes: University of Western Australia (UWA); Tübingen University; Uppsala University; Dartmouth College; University of Otago; and Durham University. To learn more about the opportunities available visit the international page of the Queen’s website and the MNU website.


Smith Master of International Business first for North America in Financial Times ranking

The Financial Times has released the FT 2019 Masters in Management ranking, with Smith School of Business ranking first in North America and top 50 overall. 

The Smith Master of International Business (MIB) placed 48th out of 100 ranked programs from across the globe. The ranking saw Smith move up five spots over its 2018 ranking.  

The FT 2019 Masters in Management ranking is based on a wide range of criteria, including program design, value for money, student career progress, diversity of both students and faculty, and international experience and reach. 

Smith MIB ranked top 10 for international mobility, highlighting its commitment to providing students with a truly global experience during the program and after graduation.   

“This is a great tribute to the quality of our Master of International Business program,” Elspeth Murray, Associate Dean MBA and Masters Programs, says. “Our focus on providing cutting-edge business education, strong personal skills development, and great career outcomes carries across all our Master of Management programs at Smith.”

View the full FT 2019 Masters in Management ranking here.

Supporting graduate student success

A new report from the School of Graduate Studies provides recommendations to enhance graduate education. 

Graduate convocation
Graduate students processing during fall convocation in 2018.

Queen’s offers over 140 graduate programs and currently enrolls 5,339 graduate students. These students come to Queen’s from around the world in order to further their education, help teach undergraduate students, and conduct cutting-edge research. 

To help ensure that they all receive an incomparable education at Queen’s, the university recently assembled the Working Group on Graduate Student Success. After months of research, consultation, and planning, the working group has released its report, which outlines strategies for promoting excellence in graduate education across the entire university. As part of its mandate, the working group consulted with faculty, students, and staff and reviewed graduate education across major institutions in Canada, especially schools in the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. 

Report on Graduate Student Success

Read the report from the Working Group on Graduate Student Success.

“Graduate education is a priority at Queen’s, and I am confident that this new report will guide us to strategic improvements that will strengthen the graduate experience,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane.  

Laying out goals for the short, medium, and long terms, the report makes 35 recommendations on how to improve six strategically important areas: student-supervisor relationships, financial support, professional and academic development, wellness and community, research excellence, and communication. One of the largest aspirations that the working group puts forward is the goal to establish a graduate college at Queen’s similar to those found at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. As envisioned in the report, this college would “showcase the best in the Queen’s graduate student experience and include housing and dining and be a hub of intellectual ideas. It would be a place for graduate students to think and grow.” 

The student-supervisor relationship is one of the defining aspects of graduate education, so the report offers several recommendations that would help both faculty and students to make the most of these interactions. Other U15 institutions have developed policies on graduate supervision in order to set expectations for both parties. The report recommends that Queen’s develop a similar policy based on current SGS guidelines that could help guide the student-supervisor relationship. The report also advises that SGS offer workshops on effective supervision and develop supplementary materials that would facilitate communication and planning between students and faculty. 

While Queen’s provides competitive funding packages for its graduate students, the report has identified areas where these practices could be updated. For instance, the report recommends restructuring the international tuition award as well as considering an increase in the minimum funding for PhD students.  

“Many people at Queen’s worked hard to make this report possible, and I am excited to be sharing it with the broader campus community. Our School of Graduate Studies has many strengths, and the recommendations in this report show how we can build on them to make Queen’s an international leader in graduate education,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. 

Committed to the vision laid out in the report, SGS has already begun taking concrete steps to implement the recommendations. The school has set up a working group on graduate student funding and has undertaken a number of new initiatives to strengthen Queen’s culture of positive graduate supervision. SGS is also actively exploring starting special events that would bring attention to the work of graduate students. This programming is expected to be implemented within the following academic year. 

“The Graduate Student Success Working Group is an incredible initiative that really focuses on the contemporary and future issues graduate students will face at Queen’s. The committee took the time to hear the multiple student voices involved in the consultation and committee process, and when reading the report you can see these concerns addressed with concrete action plans,” says Leo Erlikhman, Vice President Graduate, Society of Graduate and Professional Students and member of the working group.

As SGS works to carry out the recommendations from the report, Dr. Quadir will be meeting with various departments and stakeholder groups from the university to discuss next steps. To learn more about the Working Group on Graduate Student Success or to share your thoughts on the report, please contact Heather Merla at sgscomms@queensu.ca.

Two-Spirit physician visits Queen's to discuss decolonizing medicine

New lecture series debuts with expert in Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ health.

James Makokis (centre) standing with lecture series supporters M. Nancy Tatham (left) & Donna Henderson (right).
Lecture series supporters M. Nancy Tatham (left) and her partner Donna Henderson (right) pictured with guest speaker James Makokis.

A new lecture series promoting equity, diversity, and inclusivity in medical education debuted with a talk by James Makokis, a family physician from Saddle Lake First Nation in Alberta who leads one of North America’s most progressive and successful transgender-focused medical practices.

“Indigenous youth have one of the highest rates of suicide in the country, and that rate increases even further when we look at transgender members of that group,” said Dr. Makokis to an audience that packed the Britton Smith Lecture Theatre and a second, overflow space at the Queen’s University School of Medicine. “Every family medicine physician has within their scope of practice a general medical license that gives them the ability to provide transgender care. Medical students and residents, take time to learn to do this in your practice. It will be one of the most fulfilling areas of your career and you will help save lives.”

His lecture, entitled Decolonizing Medicine: Creating an Inclusive Space for Transgender and Two-Spirit People, is the first in the newly-created Dr. M. Nancy Tatham & Donna Henderson Lectureship – a series of talks featuring scholars and experts from diverse backgrounds discussing inclusivity in health, with a particular focus on LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous issues.

Dr. Makokis, who is both Cree and Two-Spirit, discussed language used around gender in medicine, the history of gender and First Nations people, and access to transgender care and hormone therapy. He explained that ideas of transphobia and homophobia are colonial social constructs, and argued that decolonizing medicine can be achieved through simple acts, like acknowledging and accepting LGBTQ2+ patients and providing care that meets their needs.

“Take off your white lab coats,” he said. “It holds so much institutional symbolism, but it can also serve as a barrier. Take it off and seek to relate to your patients in a human way. I guarantee this will help you have a long, healthy, and happy medical practice and career.”

Supported by a donation from Dr. Tatham and Ms. Henderson, who are both long-time activists, the lectureship is organized by the School of Medicine’s undergraduate Diversity Panel. Students on the panel expressed a deep enthusiasm in putting Dr. Makokis forth as the first speaker in the series.

“Understanding the impacts of the historical and ongoing oppression faced by our patients is so essential in being able to provide excellent care,” says Ayla Raabis, Queen’s medical student and Diversity Panel member. “We must constantly strive to undo our own biases to be able to truly connect and ensure we are seeing our patients as the complex people we are tasked with caring for. Dr. Makokis’ talk was such a valuable opportunity to learn from his unique personal and professional experience, and to inspire us to push for making medicine a safe space for all patients.”

Notably, Dr. Makokis and his partner Anthony Johnson won the most recent season of well-known television competition The Amazing Race Canada. They were praised for using the platform to raise awareness of Two-Spirit people.

The October 23 talk from Dr. Makokis was the first in the new annual lecture series. Information on future Dr. M. Nancy Tatham & Donna Henderson Lectureship talks will be shared on the School of Medicine website.

“We're excited to carry the momentum of this talk forward by hosting additional events centred around improving access to healthcare and delivering culturally-informed care to LGBTQ2S+ and Indigenous populations,” says Danny Jomaa, Queen’s medical student and member of the Diversity Panel. “As trainees in medicine, it's important for us to build approaches to care that are formed on the principles of equity and respect for marginalized groups.”


Subscribe to RSS - Student Learning Experience