Principal's Impact Courses

The selection committee welcomes once again creative and imaginative proposals to be considered for the Principal’s Impact Courses initiative – those courses you would develop if only you had the resources and support needed to make it happen. Funds will be granted for the development of courses that directly support the themes outlined in the Queen’s Strategy, including enhancing student learning for impact, inquiry-based learning, and strengthening local and global community connections. Proposals are invited for courses that address one or more of these three areas with a focus on the world’s most significant and urgent challenges.

This exciting initiative is part of a longer-term commitment to transform curricula by enhancing already-existing undergraduate courses or developing new courses with the purpose of engaging students in transformative educational processes that build capacity in responding to a dilemma, challenge, problem, issue, question. These experiences will ideally incorporate perspectives from different disciplines, sectors and approaches, and foster reciprocal and respectful relationships among students, faculty and/or community in which all partners benefit. They will also integrate I-EDIAA principles and practices.

Grants provide up to $10,000 in one-time funding to develop the course of your dreams. You are encouraged to engage community partners and/or other faculties in developing an interfaculty course. In this case, other supports can be discussed with you and recommended depending on your needs. Funds must be used for at least two iterations of the course, and sustainable approaches that extend as far as possible beyond the one-time funding will be given preference. The budget may be used creatively to support the development of educational experiences that push the boundaries of impactful and globally-engaged teaching and learning. This initiative is not intended to support purchase of IT equipment (tablets, laptops, smartphones), laboratory equipment, or consumables.

In this call, up to five (5) courses will be selected to receive funding for delivery in the upcoming academic year. Applicants must hold a tenured, tenure- track or continuing appointment. The recipients will be invited to participate in teaching and learning events including a showcase celebrating teaching at Queen’s. Successful applicants will participate in a community of practice and are expected to engage with the research related to evaluate this program.

Additional Supports

Successful applicants will be provided with educational development support from the discipline and faculty relevant units, where available.

Proposal Content

Proposals must address the following - up to a maximum of three (3) pages.

  1. Applicant's name, appointment, and Department affiliation. Proposals from a team of applicants should identify one person as the primary contact;
  2. Proposed course name, course code (if applicable), description and intended learning outcomes;
  3. Statement indicating support from the department head/school director/or dean, including a description of how the course complements the existing curriculum in that unit;
  4. Statement agreeing to participate in the community of practice and the research associated with this program;
  5. Preliminary plans for evidencing the success of the course;
  6. A detailed budget that outlines expenditures for at least two iterations of the course; and
  7. A description of how the proposal aligns with the intentions of the Principal’s Impact Course program and addresses the selection criteria outlined below.

Selection Criteria

  • Applications will be assessed on the extent to which the proposed course addresses the following:

  • Engages students in a transformative educational process that builds capacity in responding to a dilemma, challenge (e.g. UN SDGs), problem, issue, or question;
  • Integrates I-EDIAA principles and practices;
  • Incorporates perspectives from different disciplines, sectors, and approaches and/or communities;
  • Provides education that centers on and fosters reciprocal and respecting relationship among students, faculty and/or community members where all partners (local, national, and/or global) benefit; and
  • Co-creates understanding that develops capacity towards action in terms of solutions, greater understanding, new knowledge.

Selection Process

The Principal’s Impact Course program is sponsored through the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor. Two faculty members, and one representative each from the Office of the Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning, Office of the Vice-Provost International, Office of the Vice-Principal Research, Centre for Teaching and Learning, and the Alma Mater Society will form the selection committee. A representative from the Office of the Principal will serve as Chair without voting privileges.

Deadline for Submissions:

 Proposals must be submitted electronically as a PDF to the Centre for Teaching and Learning to by Monday, April 10, 2023.

Information Session: 

 An information session is scheduled for March 2, 2023 (venue and time to be provided soon).


2022 Principal's Awards Recipients

Courses receiving funding range in topic from impact-driven leadership to the effect of humanitarian crises on health and health systems.

ANAT599: Research Investigations in Anatomy

Applicant Team: Michael Adams, Diane Tomalty, and Olivia Giovannetti, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Science

ANAT 599 will be a new course focusing on collaborative (team-based) research in Anatomical Sciences.  Students will use innovative team-based approaches to devise research questions that address knowledge gaps in the Anatomical Sciences while developing tools for improving anatomical education.

RELS3XX Living with the Dead: Religion, Culture and Death
 Richard Ascough, School of Religion
In this interactive, inquiry-based course students will develop their own research project in order to explore how human beings attempt to live with the dead and to share spaces and lives with those who are no longer alive. Students will be asked to: articulate various conceptions of death that arise in religious traditions; examine the forms and functions of how humans ritually engage with death and the dead; analyze cultural and historical trends in how people live with death; and deploy methods and theories of religious studies.

Foundations of Humanitarian Health Emergencies
Applicant Team:
 Susan Bartels and Heather Murray, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Public Health Sciences
With experiential learning activities and authentic assessment built around real-world scenarios, this course will prepare students to develop skills and apply knowledge to support those affected by humanitarian health emergencies. Students will critically assess how people and their environments are affected by natural and man-made disasters, evaluate how assistance is (and could be) delivered, and anticipate risks to both responders and beneficiaries.

Turtle Island Speaks: What Geography, History and Ecology Tells us About Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Histories of Eastern Ontario
 Scott Berthelette, Department of History
Rather than relying exclusively on classroom learning and traditional pedagogical methods, this course seeks to examine more closely Indigenous histories and historical geographies by working in collaboration with Indigenous organizations, communities, and keepers of oral traditions, cultural insight, and traditional and ecological knowledge. This course is interdisciplinary drawing upon methodologies from Indigenous studies, ethnohistory, geography, environmental history, literary studies, and material culture studies. By bringing these methodologies together, this course seeks to bring a fresh and unique perspective to Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee histories of eastern Ontario.

Proposed modification to an existing course: FOCI 290 Teaching At-Risk Children
 Dr. Alana Butler, Faculty of Education
FOCI 290 will develop effective trauma informed, culturally relevant pedagogical strategies to support the success of children who are ‘at-risk.’. Learners will study the impact of socio-economic status, social identities, Indigeneity, family dynamics, structural factors, and biological influences. The course will build toward a community project designed to benefit elementary-school aged children attending schools in lower socio-economic areas in North Kingston.

Computation and machine learning in geosciences through music
 Hom Nath Gharti, Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
With the rapid advance of computing technology, computation and machine learning have become indispensable tools in many fields. This course combines the beauty of music with the power of advanced computation and machine learning to inspire next-generation scientists and engineers to tackle a vast array of problems in geosciences and related fields. Musical or sound data, both instrumental and natural, will be collected, computed, and analyzed, and later applied to solve real-world problems in geosciences.

Research Team Challenges in Chemistry and Physics
Applicant Team:
 Rob Knobel, Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy; Richard Oleschuk, Chemistry; Marc Dignam, Kenneth Clark, Philippe Di Stefano, Jasmine Corning, Meghan Corbett, Julian Caza, Jennifer Low, Chemistry/Physics Teaching and Learning Initiatives Committee
The Chemistry and Physics departments will integrate research and experiential learning into the undergraduate curriculum, called Research Team Challenge (RTC). Three units will be offered, which will be spread out over a full academic year. This integration connects students to current problems and applications of their courses; Engages students by giving them agency in picking their research topics; Allows students to work on interdisciplinary projects between Physics and Chemistry; Gives students confidence in their abilities; Connects students to meaningful projects, such as those supporting the sustainable development goals (SDGs); Connects students to the community and/or relevant industries; and Inspires students from underrepresented groups. Additionally, this broad integration of research in the curriculum is not done to this extent at comparable institutions, making the RTC course a hallmark experience, distinguish Queen’s from other universities.

Business for Good - An Introduction to Impact-Driven Leadership
Applicant: Jean-Baptiste Litrico, Centre for Social Impact
Business for Good replaces COMM104 as the only mandatory course on social impact in the Bachelor of Commerce Curriculum. The goal is to prepare students for how to deal with a range of complex social and environmental challenges during their future career as organizational managers and leaders, by giving them an opportunity to contribute through experiential learning to real social impact projects submitted by local social purpose organizations. Overall, this course will: Equip Commerce students with the first-hand and theoretical knowledge they need to understand the complexity of social impact; Utilize experiential learning opportunities to deepen student learning; and Have a concrete and real-life impact on local social purpose organizations, thereby strengthening the relationships between the university and its community.

Belle Park: Exploring (UN)Sustainable Reality
Applicant Team: Dorit Naaman, Film and Media, Alexander Braun, Physics,
Engineering Physics and Astronomy
Exploring (UN)Sustainable Reality explores interwoven environmental, socio-economic, and arts and cultural issues related to the United Nations (UN) sustainability goals and attempts to find solutions using inter- and cross-disciplinary perspectives. It also exemplifies past and present Indigenous approaches to the environment, and as such can model sustainable principles beyond Western paradigms. The course is based in the field, in the classroom, in labs, and various archives, as well as community venues. Real world problems require multi and interdisciplinary teams in the broadest sense, to find solutions. Students from across the university – engineering, sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts and planning – form groups that focus on a burning question and will approach inquiry-based learning with much autonomy in planning, executing and presenting their projects.

HLTH 351/3.0 Health in Humanitarian Crises at the Bader International Study Centre
Applicant: Beth Richan MSc (RHBS), Health Studies and Health Sciences Programs, Bader International Study Centre
Humanitarian crises due to natural disasters, armed conflict, disease outbreaks, and other threats are growing contributors to ill-health worldwide. The on-going effects of crises on health and health systems can lead to destabilization and cripple years of social development progress. Undergraduate student research will contextualize global events through problem- and active-based learning and will act as the cornerstone to discover, examine, and assess the contributors and risk factors of populations affected in complex environments due to humanitarian crises from a health perspective. Research, case studies, evolving current events, and experiential learning (EL) will be utilized to anchor course content. By offering enhanced EL opportunities, integrating a more fully developed interdisciplinary approach, and entrenching student research, students will have a new and expanded sense of inquiry in order to further develop their academic confidence, personal growth, and research skills.