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Agreement highlights college-university collaboration

Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences program will offer advanced standing to students from various college programs across the province.

A doctor uses a touch screen. (iStock)
A doctor uses a touch screen. (iStock)

Queen’s University has signed agreements with 10 Ontario colleges which will allow students enrolled in a one-year health-centred certificate program to gain advanced standing in a Queen’s online health degree.

New articulation agreements signed with colleges across Ontario, including Kingston’s St. Lawrence College, will allow graduates of the colleges’ Pre-Health Sciences advanced pathway who enroll in the Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences program to receive credit for roughly one semester of courses.

Colleges who have signed onto this agreement:
• Algonquin College, Ottawa
• Cambrian College, Sudbury
• Fleming College, Peterborough
• Georgian College, Barrie
• Humber College, Toronto
• Loyalist College, Belleville
• Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake
• Northern College, Timmins
• Sheridan College, Toronto
• St. Lawrence College, Kingston

“These agreements are an example of our commitment to collaboration and innovation within the higher education system,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are simplifying the process for qualified students who are seeking a high-quality education in the health field, while also delivering that education in a way that is flexible and forward-looking. We look forward to welcoming these students and helping them begin rewarding careers in healthcare.”

The agreements are effective immediately and are designed to pair the students’ introductory training and experience in health and healthcare with the necessary theoretical knowledge to pursue a variety of health professions or further studies at the university level.

“We are so pleased to work with Queen’s University to be able to offer this new pathway to our students,” says Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO of St. Lawrence College. “We know that many of our students are just beginning their post-secondary journey and opening up accessible ways for them to be able to achieve their educational goals is an important way we can help them on their career path.”

Post-secondary student mobility has been a priority of the Ontario government. In 2011, the government established the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to enhance student pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among Ontario’s 45 publicly assisted postsecondary institutions.

In response, Ontario universities and colleges have stepped up their efforts to develop transfer credit policies and practices, making it easier for students to choose their path through the postsecondary system. According to ONCAT, 55,000 students transfer institutions each year in Ontario.

Queen’s receives dozens of college graduates each year through academic pathways that have been established between individual faculties and colleges across Canada, including a collaborative degree in Music Theatre where students complete two years at St. Lawrence College and two years at Queen’s.

To learn more about the Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences degree, visit bhsc.queensu.ca. Applications for the Spring 2018 term are now open.

Exploring Indigenous identities

The Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) is organizing a week of events aimed at raising awareness of reconciliation and Indigenous matters.

Queen's Native Students' Association member Helena Kita (Artsci'19) and Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci'17) help take down the thoughts of the Queen's community as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)
Queen's Native Student Association member Helena Kita (Artsci'19) and Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci'19) help take down the thoughts of the Queen's community as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)

Through song, stories, food, and art, organizers of Indigenous Awareness Week hope to spend the next few days exploring what it means to have Indigenous identity.

“Whether you are an Indigenous person, a well-established ally, or beginning your journey towards ally-ship and educating yourself on Indigenous histories, cultures, and current issues, you are invited to join us this week,” says Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci’19). “Our goal is to engage all members of our community in a discussion around Indigeneity and reconciliation, and further their knowledge of issues affecting Indigenous Peoples today.”

There are several activities planned throughout the week, with events scheduled for each day. This year, organizers have aligned Indigenous Awareness Week with the QNSA’s annual conference – blending the learning and social aspects of the two events.

On Monday, members of the Queen’s community can participate in a whiteboard session from 10 am to 3 pm in the Athletics and Recreation Complex (ARC). Organizers hope to use the time to gather thoughts on what reconciliation means to them, and share it on a canvas forever featured by QNSA.

Monday night will include a poetry slam featuring community poet Bob Mackenzie as well as Queen’s student poets in the Grad Club.

On Tuesday, organizers will lead a mass KAIROS exercise from noon to 2 pm. in the McLaughlin Room of the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). This exercise is a teaching tool used to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Later that evening, organizers will show Angry Inuk, a documentary about a new generation of Inuit as they participate in the traditional seal hunt. The film will be followed by a discussion lead by Professor Noel McDermott (PhD’15).

Those looking to broaden their palates should stop in to Wednesday’s bannock and tea sale from 9 am until noon at the intersection of Union and University.

A student contributes to the Indigenous Awareness Week whiteboard. (University Communications)
A student contributes to the Indigenous Awareness Week whiteboard. (University Communications)

Thursday will see a number of Indigenous vendors visiting campus to sell their artwork and other creations between 10 am and 2 pm in the JDUC. Some of the items that will be for sale include beautiful traditional items such as dreamcatchers and earrings. Later in the day, QNSA will host a Kehewin Cree Hoop Dance workshop.

Thursday evening, two acclaimed Indigenous models will visit the Queen’s campus to share their stories and experiences at a ticketed event. Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell and International Model and former cover of Vogue Ellyn Jade will join the Queen’s community for a wine and cheese event at the Agnes. The event is being co-hosted by the QNSA and the Vogue Charity Fashion Show.

Friday culminates in a town hall event featuring Clement Chartier, President of the Métis National Council. Mr. Chartier will deliver remarks from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in Goodes Hall, and a reception will follow at the Agnes from 1:30 to 3 pm.

Sixty volunteers are coming together to help make Indigenous Awareness Week a reality, and the QNSA has received support from a number of groups on campus including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, the Grad Club, and the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations.

“We are so excited that Indigenous Awareness Week includes participation from students, staff and faculty from all parts of our university,” says Darian Doblej, (ArtsSci ’18). “Working towards reconciliation requires all of us, non-Indigenous and Indigenous people working together in order to create better futures. When everyone here comes out to events, I know we can be confident in just that – creating better futures.”

Queen's community members filled in their thoughts responding to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)
Queen's community members filled in their thoughts responding to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)

To stay up to date on Indigenous Awareness Week at Queen’s, please visit the Queen’s Native Student Association’s Facebook page.

Smith launches North America’s first graduate business degree in artificial intelligence

Master's program focuses on the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the context of modern business decision-making.

Smith School of Business has launched a new management business degree in artificial intelligence that will help fill the talent gap for much-needed managers who can apply AI strategies to business decisions.

Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence
Smith School of Business’ new Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence (MMAI), a first for North America, is focused on the effective management of AI in business.

Smith’s new Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence (MMAI), a first for North America, is focused on the effective management of AI in business. The program is designed specifically for studying the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the context of modern business decision-making.

“AI is being considered for every function within organizations, from operations to marketing and customer experience, to finance and forecasting,” says Elspeth Murray, Associate Dean, MBA and Masters Programs, Smith School of Business. “But the challenge is bridging the power of technology with the needs and context of the organization. That requires a new kind of professional with a balance of science and management expertise. That’s why the Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence is so needed today.”

The MMAI content will be delivered by Smith faculty and adjunct faculty from the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a hub of outstanding global talent focused on research excellence in deep learning and machine learning.

Based at SmithToronto, Smith’s state-of-the-art facility in downtown Toronto, the MMAI will start classes in September 2018, subject to approval by the Ontario Universities Quality Council. A 12-month program that students take while they continue to work, classes are held Tuesday evenings and alternate Saturdays, plus two one-week residential sessions in Kingston.

Smith is known for its innovation and leadership in business education. The school has a strong history of recognizing a market need and quickly developing programs – from establishing the first undergraduate business degree a century ago to launching the leading and largest Master of Management Analytics (MMA) in 2013. The MMAI is built on the foundational business and analytics courses of the MMA with the addition of courses in deep learning, natural language processing, AI ethics and policy, reinforcement learning, and an AI capstone project.

“AI will be a core business function for the next generation of business leaders, and we want to graduate business managers who will generate tangible business outcomes from AI,” Dr. Murray says.

To learn more about the Smith School of Business visit smith.queensu.ca.

Making undergraduate orientation more inclusive

The Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group has submitted 20 recommendations to foster diversity and inclusivity.

Students meet during orientation week activities. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
Students meet during orientation week activities. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

After six months of consultations and discussions, the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group (UORWG) has submitted a number of recommendations designed to ensure Undergraduate Orientation Week is more welcoming and inclusive for all members of the Queen’s community.

“The university will be working to address these important recommendations over the coming year and a half, and I want to thank the working group for their efforts to make orientation week more inclusive,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf. “As an alumnus, I know the importance of both preserving our traditions and updating them to ensure future students are able to fully participate. Our campus is at its best when everyone is engaged, respected, and feels safe – and creating that environment starts with events like undergraduate orientation.”

The UORWG was formed in August 2017 in response to the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report. The PICRDI report called on the university to make diversity training available to student leaders, and to examine the policy and content of Undergraduate Orientation Week from a diversity and inclusivity lens.

The Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group, chaired by Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer, was mandated to examine all aspects of Queen’s direct-entry undergraduate student orientation experience, including university orientation and the student society orientation activities. The 20 recommendations in this new report were created by a cross-university working group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, who received input from the community through public consultations.

Orientation leaders warm up and prepare to welcome new students to campus for the first time. (Photo by Lars Hagberg)
Orientation leaders warm up and prepare to welcome new students to campus for the first time. (Photo by Lars Hagberg)

The recommendations, which have been submitted to the Principal, consider not only how student leaders are trained, but also how the university communicates about orientation, ensuring all events are inclusive and aligned with the goals of Undergraduate Orientation Week, and making tools available so students can report incidents of racism, discrimination, or accessibility barriers.

In responding to this report, the university and student societies will also look at how to make Undergraduate Orientation Week more affordable for students, clarify the related oversight and policies, review the content of various orientation chants and cheers, and ensure orientation prepares students to be respectful members of the broader Kingston community.

“We are pleased with the level of engagement and dialogue there has been around the review of Undergraduate Orientation,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “These recommendations are aimed at strengthening the student transition experience by ensuring that it respects and reflects the diversity of the student population, is welcoming and accessible for all students, and fosters, for all members of the incoming class, a sense of belonging at Queen’s.”

The aim is to have a number of the recommendations completed in time for Fall Undergraduate Orientation 2019. To review the full list of recommendations and the final report, visit the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group’s website.

UCARE holds first public meeting

Much of the conversation at the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) public meeting revolved around the university’s progress on two key reports.

What is UCARE?
● A council formed in September 2017 to promote and support the efforts of the university to foster a more diverse and inclusive campus community.
● UCARE comprises faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The group meets three times per year.
● Forming UCARE was a recommendation of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report.
● In February, Stephanie Simpson (Artsci’95, Ed’97, MEd’11) and Mona Rahman (Sc’93, PhD’01) were named UCARE’s first co-chairs.
● For more information on UCARE, visit the council’s webpage.

Dozens of community members gathered in Robert Sutherland Hall on Monday, March 5 to learn about Queen's University’s progress in promoting diversity and inclusivity on campus, to discuss new initiatives, and to identify priorities for the months ahead.

The University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) meeting included updates on two diversity-related reports, an informational presentation on the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, and open discussion of the vision and mission for a new centre currently under consideration.

The council received a presentation from Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) about progress made in addressing the recommendations of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) task force final report.

Her updates noted some significant success stories and new initiatives within the Queen’s community. Of note, Dr. Shearer called attention to the recent Ester Margaret Harrison Estate Gift which will support bursaries for Black, racialized, and first generation students – supports recommended in the PICRDI report. Dr. Shearer’s report also noted the support given to, and the success of, Black History Month at Queen’s, as well as a recent ‘open office hour’ discussion event she held in Ban Righ Hall.

On the subject of reconciliation efforts, Dr. Shearer announced that an implementation group was being formed to help ensure that the TRC task force final report recommendations were fulfilled. She also reported on the work that was underway to renovate Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and efforts by the Faculty of Arts and Science to find other Indigenous student space on campus.

Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) provides an update on the university’s progress on two key diversity reports. (University Communications)
Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) provides an update on the university’s progress on two key diversity reports. (University Communications)

In a verbal update, Dr. Shearer mentioned that the final report from the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group was recently delivered to Principal Daniel Woolf. This report, which makes several recommendations aimed at making undergraduate orientation week more inclusive, will be shared publicly with the Queen’s community in the near future.

In response to this update, a question was raised around further inclusivity training for orientation leaders as well as staff and faculty. Dr. Shearer, along with Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean (Student Affairs), mentioned training that is being co-developed by the Equity and Human Rights Offices and Student Affairs. It will be delivered to this year’s orientation leaders.

Dr. Shearer also noted that the university has been briefing the Board of Trustees on key diversity metrics related to students, faculty, and staff, and these numbers will inform the creation of the university’s next strategic framework.

Lastly, she announced the creation of an Inclusive Community newsletter. This new resource will be used to share stories, and help demonstrate how Queen’s is meeting its diversity commitments. The newsletter will also promote related events, and increase communication around diversity and inclusivity on campus.

Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) provides an update on the university’s progress on two key diversity reports. (University Communications)
Council Co-Chairs Stephanie Simpson and Mona Rahman lead the discussion at the UCARE meeting. (University Communications)

The bulk of the meeting was spent discussing the proposed Alfie Pierce Centre for Racial Equity and Social Justice, a new centre that was mentioned in the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report.

Dr. Shearer has been working to identify space for this centre on campus and conduct consultations with the community. A university-owned and currently unoccupied house on Albert Street has been identified as a possible location. The house is currently undergoing a feasibility study to assess how it could best be adapted into the Alfie Pierce Centre.

The discussion was opened to members of the public, and it began with lively discussions about the proposed name and location. The deputy provost noted the Alfie Pierce name is not final and there are still more discussions to come on the centre and its overall vision.

The students present stressed the need for a space for racialized students, and expressed their hope to see progress on the centre in time for the fall.

The next UCARE meeting, an internal planning meeting, will be held in April.

Investing in innovative ideas

Teams of Queen’s and St. Lawrence College students will be receiving internships and other supports to implement their city-building ideas.

Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)
Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)

The City of Kingston will be investing in projects to potentially make it easier to get around town, and make it easier to find out what’s going on.

On Friday, the winners of the first Mayor’s Innovation Challenge were announced. This new competition was designed to garner innovative ideas which could address local challenges. Postsecondary students from across Kingston were invited to submit proposals and pitch before a panel of judges for the chance to win support for their ideas.  

“We saw wonderfully creative and innovative ideas come forward through this inaugural Mayor’s Innovation Challenge and I am looking forward to seeing the winning ideas come to life through the internships awarded,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07). “We have so much talent in our community and I am proud this challenge has allowed us to showcase and harness this talent to address challenges we face while supporting and launching the careers of youth in Kingston.” 

A team of four Master of Planning students took away the top prize through their proposal for a pilot project to develop a multi-seasonal cycling network. The student team, including Anna Geladi, Nick Kuhl, Mac Fitzgerald and Gurraj Ahluwalia, will receive internships with the City, a $10,000 budget and support from City staff to help implement their project.

“The four of us came together to take on the Mayor’s Challenge because of our shared passion for active transportation,” says Mr. Fitzgerald. “It is both exciting and validating to have won the competition, knowing how much work we put into our proposal and that our ideas resonated with the judges and the City. We are all looking forward to seeing some of our suggestions come to fruition this summer and eager to become even more involved with active transportation planning in Kingston through our internship.”

Two proposals, each focused on enhancing local attractions and learning opportunities for youth through event applications, tied to win the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) internship sponsored by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). During the pitches, it became clear that there were strong synergies and complementary strengths between the two groups, and the judging panel encouraged them to merge and join the QICSI program as a team of four.

These teams, consisting of Queen’s students Skyler McArthur-O’Blenes (Artsci’19) and William Medeiros (Sc’18) and St. Lawrence College students Mark Mathieu and Brandon Crausen, will receive $7,000 stipends per team member for the summer and $4,000 in seed capital for their ideas.

“I'm incredibly excited to have the opportunity and the resources to realize an idea that just a few months ago was nothing more than brainstorming over paper plates of pad thai,” says Mr. Medeiros. “I'm incredibly appreciative to the judges for recognizing the synergy between the original teams and proposing a merger. I think we'll do great work together.”

James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC, was one of the judges and says there was a palpable dynamic of excitement and sense of purpose in council chambers during the pitches.

“I’m very pleased and excited to be working with the City of Kingston on these social innovation projects,” says James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC. “As a “townie” myself, I am impressed and grateful for the commitment that Mayor Patterson has shown to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in the Kingston region, and I’m excited to see the close collaboration with the City of Kingston growing.”

The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge was made possible through partnership and collaboration with Bell Canada, Queen’s Centre for Advanced Computing, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the Queen’s Centre for Social Impact, Royal Military College, and St. Lawrence College.

Deputy Provost launches inclusivity newsletter

Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer is launching a monthly email newsletter in support of an inclusive living and learning environment at Queen’s. 

Want to be in the know about major announcements, events, and activities related to diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s? Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer is launching a monthly email newsletter in support of an inclusive living and learning environment at Queen’s. 

In March's debut issue, get caught up on:

To subscribe to this new resource, please email phillip.gaudreau@queensu.ca

Queen’s Law reveals shortlist of Indigenous art proposals

Have your say on the three proposals submitted by Indigenous artists seeking to create a permanent art installation in the Queen’s Law building.

  • Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.”  The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
  • All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
    All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
  • Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
  • Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
    Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
  • Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
    Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
  • The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)
    The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)

 

This fall, the Faculty of Law atrium will be home to a permanent art installation created by an Indigenous artist – and the project committee that launched the special commission is seeking your input on three proposals.

“The Indigenous community at Queen’s Law is excited to have a permanent visual representation of our heritage, culture and presences on campus,” says Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Co-ordinator at Queen’s and project committee member. “This art will reflect our history, present and future in Canada, and the evolution of law.”

The Indigenous Art Commission was launched by Queen’s Law in September 2017. The purpose of the commission is to further the cause of reconciliation on campus by increasing the visibility of Indigenous art and culture and the recognition of Indigenous territory, specifically within the Faculty of Law. Additionally, the members are seeking to create a welcoming space for Indigenous people and to promote awareness around historical and contemporary issues that are relevant to Indigenous people and law.

“Queen’s University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “By honouring this traditional territory, we acknowledge its significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived, and continue to live, upon it. Having a work of art that reflects Indigenous culture and values in the entrance to our school will be one of many ways we honour this traditional territory and embrace Indigenous engagement in all that we do in the Faculty of Law.”

The project committee has shortlisted three artists who will be presenting their proposals on Monday, March 12 from noon to 1 pm in the Queen’s Law atrium. Each artist will display a three-dimensional maquette or digital scale-rendering of their proposed artwork. Attendees of the open drop-in will have an opportunity to ask the artists about their proposals, and submit comments to the project committee via a survey.

Later that day, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm at an Agnes Etherington Art Centre reception, the Queen’s community can meet and chat with members of the project committee and the three shortlisted artists.

The project committee members will consider public input when making its final decision. Those who are unable to attend the open house can submit their feedback via an online survey.

For those who are unable to attend the presentations on March 12, a summary of the three shortlisted proposals and the online survey is available on the Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission web page.

The spirit of Black History Month 2018 lives on

The themes of Black History Month 2018 included perseverance, and looking to the future. Both were on display throughout February as part of events organized by the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) and the African Caribbean Students' Association (ACSA).

  • Amanda Parris, CBC television and radio personality, provided the opening keynote for Kingston Black History Month 2018. (Supplied Photo)
    Amanda Parris, CBC television and radio personality, provided the opening keynote for Kingston Black History Month 2018. (Supplied Photo)
  • Dozens gathered in the Renaissance Event Venue for the February 4 opening event. The night included performances, guest speakers, and the announcement of all planned events. The events were open to the community and attracted a wide array of participants. (Supplied Photo)
    Dozens gathered in the Renaissance Event Venue for the February 4 opening event. The night included performances, guest speakers, and the announcement of all planned events. The events were open to the community and attracted a wide array of participants. (Supplied Photo)
  • Edward Thomas (Sc’06, MASc’12) presents to a crowd of students, faculty, staff, and community members about the fate of black medical students who were expelled in 1918. (Supplied Photo)
    Edward Thomas (Sc’06, MASc’12) presents to a crowd of students, faculty, staff, and community members about the fate of black medical students who were expelled in 1918. (Supplied Photo)
  • Mr. Thomas, who is also a Queen's employee and former journalist, spent hours sifting through public documents and the Queen’s Archives to uncover the fate of 10 of the students. According to Mr. Thomas' research, some of them became medical heroes, statesmen, patrons, tycoons, clerics, builders, activists, and advocates. (Supplied Photo)
    Mr. Thomas, who is also a Queen's employee and former journalist, spent hours sifting through public documents and the Queen’s Archives to uncover the fate of 10 of the students. According to Mr. Thomas' research, some of them became medical heroes, statesmen, patrons, tycoons, clerics, builders, activists, and advocates. (Supplied Photo)

From delving into the past, to looking into the future.

From food and dance, to reminders of the struggles faced, and overcome, by Black Canadians.

From reflections on diversity and mental wellness, to community building.

Black History Month 2018 explored it all through a series of social and academic events. It kicked off Sunday, Feb. 4 with an opening ceremony, and carried on with discussion panels, food and dancing lessons, and a campaign across campus centred on the legacy of alumnus Robert Sutherland. The Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) and the African Caribbean Students' Association (ACSA) partnered to organize this year’s festivities.

“It's such a meaningful experience each year to work on putting together Black History Month with people from different backgrounds and walks of life," says Asha Gordon (Artsci'18), President of the Queen's Black Academic Society. "This year's opening ceremony and events surrounding resilience showed me the multitude of ways in which people of the Black diaspora, unify, celebrate, and overcome. There is such a fortitude of mutual support and resourcefulness in our communities and I can't wait to see where we go with celebrations for February 2019!"

In support of QBAS and ACSA’s plans, the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) and the Alma Mater Society each provided grants to support Black History Month festivities.

For those who missed Edward Thomas’ presentation in Robert Sutherland Hall on the fate of the black medical students who were expelled in 1918, please visit the Principal’s blog for a guest column.

To carry the momentum forward from Black History Month, the Queen’s Black Academic Society is planning an inaugural conference on the future of black scholarship. The conference, which will take place Saturday, March 10 at the Tett Centre, will look at the subject of, “Learning in White Spaces”. To learn more about this conference, visit their registration page.

Learning Outcomes Assessment project into new phase

New focus on embedding and assessing student critical thinking skills in course work.

Natalie Simper and Wanda Beyer review document.
Wanda Beyer, assessment facilitator, (left), reviews a standardized rubric with Natalie Simper, Assessment Research Project Manager in the Centre for Teaching and Learning. (University Communications)

During their undergraduate years, students are busy mastering their course curriculums. But there is a growing focus across the university on ensuring their critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem solving skills are also being put to the test at every opportunity. These transferable skills are what employers are interested in, and can really help when students get out into the job market.

This is where the ongoing Learning Outcomes Assessment project at Queen’s comes in. It’s funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and has now entered a new phase with the launch of the Cognitive Assessment Redesign (CAR) initiative.

“This initiative is aimed at taking into account everything we have learned so far about how to measure and embed more cognitive thinking skills into undergraduate courses,” says Jill Scott, Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning). “It also provides our faculty with support to increase their capacity to specifically develop and assess transferable higher-order skills.”

To get things started, instructors from 25 first and fourth year courses expressed interest in redesigning assignments materials to support student skill development. The courses from several different faculties each received a $5,000 grant to fund the modification or improvement of their courses. Each was also paired with an assessment facilitator with expertise in their area to help them align their assessments to a set of standardized rubrics.

A rubric is essentially a tool for teachers that defines and describes what is expected for a specific level of achievement. Queen’s has settled on a set of standardized rubrics that articulate four levels of achievement, aimed at the demonstration of skills from first to fourth year undergraduate education.

“As the research is showing, one of the best ways to measure a student’s ability to apply knowledge or skills as they would in the real world is to embed critical thinking and problem solving challenges into their regular course work and then assess it as part of their mark,” says Brian Frank, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) and co-Principal Investigator along with Dr. Scott. “The important part is ensuring the standardized rubrics are being applied by all instructors in the same way so we can gather reliable data and thereby get a clearer picture of how much our students are typically improving during their undergraduate years at Queen’s.”

As part of this rollout, teaching assistants working with participating instructors are also being specially trained to score assignments that align with the standardized rubrics. This will ensure they are all marking consistently across a course that has quite a few students and quite a few teaching assistants.

“For students, this new way of designing authentic assignments or assessments has a lot of benefits. When they receive the rubrics up front it helps them figure out what they need to demonstrate to receive top marks on the assignment. They can also then compare their eventual mark to the rubric to see where they can improve,” says Natalie Simper, Assessment Research Project Manager in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

“Instructors are reporting students are appreciating the clearer direction the rubrics provide and have fewer questions both during and after their assignments.”

Along with this authentic assignment work, a selection of students in first and fourth year are also writing a standardized test this year. The ETS HEIgthen assessment also aims to measure the students’ ability to both analyze and synthesize complex information.

“So far about 1,500 students have written the test this year. We have developed methods to effectively compare the first and fourth year group’s test results so we can quantify the difference. These results support the  validity of rubric evaluation of the authentic assignments,” says Ms. Simper. 

Queen’s is one of seven universities and colleges in the Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium created by HEQCO in December 2012. The organization will soon publish the results from the first phase of the Learning Outcomes Assessment project completed last year at Queen’s. As for next steps, the program has received the green light for the 2018-19 academic year to ensure the initiative can continue to grow.

“Overall, our aim in this phase is to create a hub or network of instructors and facilitators who are able to share their expertise in cognitive assessment redesign with their colleagues. This way the work will begin to spread organically for the benefit of students and instructors alike,” says Dr. Scott. “Most people at Queen’s have likely never been part of a project like this before and it can change how you think about your role or practice as a teacher. It is a different way to think about assessment but it’s quite invigorating to apply fresh techniques and new knowledge to the educational work we all believe in.”

For more information on the CAR initiative or the overall project, visit the Learning Outcomes Project webpage or contact natalie.simper@queensu.ca.

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