Reaching Underrepresented Groups (RUG)

The Reaching Underrepresented Groups (RUG) project aims to identify the specific gaps and barriers in Queen’s institutional policies, practices, and procedures that currently prevent or otherwise discourage some students who are racialized from accessing, participating in and having supported and positive experiences on exchange programs due to their social location. Its goal is to identify and implement strategic and sustainable solutions to systemic obstacles.  

Project Scope

The RUG project focuses on the experiences of past, present, and expectant outgoing students in undergraduate exchange programs at Queen's University within the Faculties of Arts & Science; Engineering and Applied Science; and Smith School of Business (Commerce).

Identifying Institutional Gaps

In line with the Principal’s Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism and the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Reaching Underrepresented Groups (RUG) project will identify the specific gaps and barriers in our institutional policies, practices, and procedures.

Project Update

On December 2nd, 2022 the project team held the final focus group for racialized undergraduate students to discuss their experiences with international exchange at Queen's.

Thank you to everyone who participated.

More news will be shared in 2023.

Project Details

Participants will: 

  • Receive a brief research report explaining how your participation directed faculty exchange office recommendations;
  • Possibly experience programmatic/service changes from faculty exchange offices;
  • Gain peer-to-peer support/validation;
  • Have an opportunity to learn more about exchange potential contribution to systemic change at Queen’s.

There is a risk that some of the questions may be upsetting. If you feel upset during the focus groups, you will be encouraged to signal this and receive emotional support.

RUG will be inviting the Peer Support Centre and a therapist from Student Wellness Services to provide emotional support to participants during this project. 

If you feel upset after the focus group, please do one of the following:

  • Contact for support and/or a referral. A member of the RUG research team would be happy to speak with you.
  • Refer to the Support Resource provided ahead of the focus group.

Your confidentiality will be protected to the extent permitted by applicable laws and Queen’s University institutional policies. We will do this by replacing your name with a pseudonym in all reports and an ID number in all study records.

There is potential harm that could exist if confidentiality is violated by another participant of the focus group. Focus group facilitator(s) and the research team are capable of assuring our own confidentiality of information but cannot guarantee that privacy will be maintained by the other participants.

The withdrawal of your data from focus group findings after the conclusion of the focus group phase may not be possible if your responses compromise information provided by other participants in the group.

Participation is voluntary. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to. You can stop your participation in the focus group at any time by telling the focus group facilitators, leaving the virtual focus group, and/or emailing indicating you are withdrawing.

You will be able to withdraw from the study at any point up to the end of data collection. All focus group participants will be asked to complete a post-focus group survey, with a one-week deadline attached. This means that withdrawal can be made at any point up to the end of that one-week deadline. Withdrawal from the study cannot be made after the submission of this final survey. This is in part because at this point, all contributions will have been aggregated and anonymized, and it will not be possible to extract individual contributions from this aggregated/anonymized dataset.

  • Your decision not to participate or to withdraw from the study will not affect your participation in any undergraduate exchange program at Queen’s University.
  • Your participation or discontinuation in this study will not constitute an element of your academic performance nor will it be part of your academic record at Queen’s University.

Note: Withdrawal from the study prior to completion of the post-focus group survey will result in you not receiving compensation for your participation.

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