Internal Academic Review Committee

Report on the Review of the Development Studies Program

Development Studies is recognized as a dynamic and exciting undergraduate program within the Faculty of Arts and Science. Sustained by the leadership of a committed and energetic Coordinator and the efforts of dedicated core faculty, the program has attracted a growing number of excellent students since its inception in 1997. Moreover, it has demonstrated its importance to the Queen's goals of interdisciplinarity and internationalization, and to the mission of preparing graduates for roles as citizens and leaders of a sustainable global society.

Although the program is only four years old, there is already evidence of its strengths in many areas; notably, the innovative, relevant and rigorous curriculum that includes opportunities for work-study placements and participation in international exchange programs, as well as new courses on Aboriginal Studies and a well-established core of Development Studies courses. Growth has been rapid and the demand for the program already exceeds the number of available spaces. Students who do enroll are of high quality and from a diverse population, and are invariably well satisfied with their experiences and the education they receive.

Rapid expansion has presented a new set of challenges. Both the External Consultants and the Review Team are of the view that Development Studies is at a critical juncture, and could be unsustainable into the future without an infusion of resources. With the momentum and potential that it has, it could grow substantially in size and enrolments, but to develop and mature, it would require a different financial, administrative and institutional base.

While noting the generosity and support of the core disciplines, the reviewers were concerned about the heavy dependence on adjuncts to deliver the formative courses, the extraordinary workload of the Coordinator, the absence of a continuing administrative staff position, and the lack of dedicated physical space. It is encouraging to note that the Faculty of Arts and Science has committed new resources to the program which will fund a tenure-track position for a Director (cross-appointed) and an administrative support position, as well as providing a modest base-budget. However, this is only partially responsive to the reviewers who recommended that the program evolve into a department, or be consolidated into an institute in order to ensure its future.

The IARC agrees that Development Studies requires a more secure base, but recommends that the vision for the future of the program not be restricted to the two options set out by the reviewers. It is suggested that the Faculty of Arts and Science explore innovative models or structures that would ensure the efficient use of resources while providing a firmer base for the program.

The Review Team also recommended that the administration of the admissions process and the management of the field placement practices be examined and the IARC concurs with these recommendations. Responses from the Faculty and the Program Coordinator indicate that these matters are being addressed.

Follow-up on these recommendations and issues will take place in the annual budget and staffing meetings between the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Vice-Principal (Academic).