For the third straight year, Queen’s has ranked among the top 10 in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings – earning third place worldwide and first place in North America out of over 1,700 universities. Queen’s is the only Canadian university to achieve three top-10 placements since the rankings began in 2019.
The THE Impact Rankings are a global measurement for assessing universities’ performance in advancing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were established by UN member nations in 2015 to guide global action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure shared peace and prosperity for all people by 2030.
"It is an honour to be recognized for our institution’s ongoing contributions to advancing the SDGs. These goals are reflective of the university’s mission and our desire to be recognized as a global institution," says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. "The Impact Rankings have played an instrumental role in bringing together our community by creating a focus on the numerous ways Queen’s is engaged in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. Our performance in the rankings tells us that we are on the right track, and our efforts are having an impact."
The 2023 rankings reviewed institutions from 117 countries, including 26 Canadian universities, and saw an overall increase of 11 per cent in worldwide participation over last year.
"It’s really impressive what Queen’s University is doing to meet the goals and is a testament to how seriously it takes those critically important goals and how the whole sector is united in pursuit of a sustainable future for us all," says Phil Baty, Chief Global Affairs Officer with Times Higher Education. "The rankings are vital for millions of prospective students who are increasingly demanding to see evidence that the universities they consider for their education are committed to sustainability and to helping them to become sustainably minded citizens."
The Impact Rankings evaluate universities’ activities across four important areas – research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship – using hundreds of quantitative and qualitative data points.
Once again Queen’s submitted evidence for all 17 SDGs, and scored outstanding marks, in particular for advancing SDGs 2, 11, and 16. The university placed first in the world for its contributions to SDG 2: Zero Hunger; second in the world for SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; and seventh for SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
"Our performance in this year’s rankings confirms that Queen’s is realizing its aspirations to be a university that effects real, positive change at the local, national, and global level," says Principal Deane. "Our community is working together to improve our world and to help shape a better future for all of us and the planet."
Queen’s submitted more than 400 pieces of evidence this year, highlighting institutional operations, policies, research, and strategy, and involving collaborative work by dozens of units across the university. Some examples of the evidence provided and evaluated this year include:
- SDG 2 – Swipe it Forward Queen’s, an initiative to help address food insecurity on campus and provide short-term, immediate support to students in need. All students on meal plans have the option to donate up to five meals per semester to a student in need.
- SDG 2 – The new Queen’s PEACH Market, a ‘pay what you can’ model where untouched food is packaged and made available to members of the university community.
- SDG 16 – The John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy in the Department of Economics informs policymaking in Canada and abroad by focusing on policy-relevant research in economics and related fields.
- SDG 16 – Queen’s Model Parliament (QMP) is the oldest and largest model parliament in Canada. The student-led event sees about 300 students take over Canada’s House of Commons where they experience the legislative process by forming political parties, running for office, drafting bills, and debating them on the floor.
- SDG 11 – Queen’s is committed to recording and preserving aspects of cultural heritage such as local folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge. Our Office of Indigenous Initiatives – Art on Campus program has installed artwork across campus from many different Indigenous nations, as well as an outdoor plinth that identifies the Indigenous land the university sits on.
- SDG 11 – The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, or "The Isabel" as it is fondly known, hosts public performances, bringing local, national, and internationally renowned artists and performers of all genres to the local community, including musicians and performing artists.
- SDG 11 – The Sustainable Transportation Sub-Working Group provides recommendations for the implementation of alternative transportation such as public transit options, parking pass options, and active transportation with a focus on benefits for the environment, human health, and the economy.
- SDG 15 – The Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS) is one of the premier scientific field stations in Canada. For almost 70 years, researchers and students have gathered at QUBS to conduct leading-edge research and participate in courses spanning ecology, evolution, conservation, geography, and environmental science.
- SDG 15 – Sustainability and biodiversity initiatives are core to the mandate of Queen’s Bader College (UK). The campus acts as a living laboratory, where students collect samples and perform experiments on the rich variety of ecosystems and land forms that are present.
Originally published in the Queen's Gazette.