Ten ‘blue sky’ courses have been selected for the Principal’s Impact Courses (PIC) initiative this year. The programs will use funding creatively to support the development of educational experiences that push the boundaries of teaching and learning.

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

When the Principal’s Impact Courses selection committee originally invited submissions, the initiative was meant to fund just five courses. Due to a strong group of proposals, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane increased funding from five to 10 funded courses with a total investment of $100,000.

“The purpose of this program is to support faculty who have innovative teaching and learning ideas that align with Queen’s new vision for our future, including the support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It was truly inspiring to receive so many creative, and enthusiastic submissions,” says Principal Deane.

The Principal’s Impact Course 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 supporting inquiry-based ‘wicked idea’ experiences, community impact, and the integration of research into the student experience as emphasized in the Queen’s Strategy. Selected programs will receive a grant providing up to $10,000 in one-time funding to develop their proposed course.

“These learning experiences will better prepare our students to navigate, influence and shape the future by uncovering questions essential to humanity and charting a path to explore those questions,” says Klodiana Kolomitro, Associate Vice-Principal (Teaching and Learning). “They will open a new paradigm for the design of curricula and learning environments and continue to make learning for impact an integral part of the Queen’s experience.”

2022 Grant Recipients

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.

Originally published in the Queen's Gazette

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