In the 2019-20 academic year, the department welcomed 156 new majors, 30 new medials, 60 new minors, and 23 new politics-focused PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) students, for a total of 542 majors, 63 medials, 148 minors, and 69 politics-focused PPE students enrolled in the department. Additionally, 521 first-year students enrolled in the full-year POLS110: “Introduction to Politics and Government” course, taught by professors Kim Nossal and Jonathan Rose.
In the Winter term, three undergraduate students – two fourth-year students and one third-year student -- travelled to Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic as part of an exchange made possible through the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Program. The program enabled the participating students to pay regular tuition at Queen’s and receive funding to defer the costs of travel and accommodation while enrolled in graduate courses at Charles University that counted toward requirements for their undergraduate degree. In return, the department hosted four graduate students from Charles University who arrived at Queen’s in late January. As part of the agreement, Professor David Haglund also traveled to Charles University from February 17 – 21, 2020 to teach a course titled, “From Thucydides to Trump: Power Transition, Systemic Change, and the Future of Great Power Conflict”.
After the COVID-19 pandemic required the university to suspend in-person undergraduate classes on Friday, March 13, 2020, the department focused on how best to support our undergraduate students as they began the challenging task of finishing the academic year remotely. Classes were suspended for a week as university instructors worked to transfer their remaining lessons to a remote delivery format. Appreciating that students would be severely impacted by such an abrupt change and many would have questions related to grading, transcript options, and registration for the upcoming year, the department organized virtual drop-in sessions organized by enrolment year to better understand undergraduate students’ questions and concerns. To acknowledge the concerns of students who were looking to enter the job market or find summer jobs during such a difficult time, the department offered a virtual career advising session led by Cathy Keates, Director of Career Services.
When it became clear that the Class of 2020 would not be able to return to campus to celebrate their graduation at convocation, the department organized a virtual graduation celebration on June 11, 2020.
The event was well-attended by students, faculty, family, and friends, and consisted of an opening montage of footage encapsulating the Queen’s experience; a formal welcome by Department Head, Eleanor MacDonald, in full academic regalia; a pre-recorded video from our faculty members; time for our attendees to chat and congratulate one another; and finally, a rousing version of the Oil Thigh. Graduating students were also mailed a Department of Political Studies branded notebook later in the summer. When it is safe to gather again, we look forward to joining our newest alumni at a formal in-person convocation on-campus to properly celebrate their graduation from the Department of Political Studies and Queen’s University. In the meantime, the entire department would like to offer a huge congratulations to the Class of 2020 on their achievement, especially given the extraordinary circumstances under which they had to complete their degree. Well done, and Cha Gheill!