Academic Planning Task Force (APTF) Notice, posted on 7 March 2011:
Senate Academic Planning Task Force
Consultative Town-Hall Meeting – Undergraduate Students
Wallace Hall, March 10, 2011, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
The Task Force has identified revitalization of the undergraduate academic experience as a priority for the forthcoming academic plan. To this end, we have established four pillars, briefly explained below. The purpose of this town hall is to seek feedback from the undergraduate students. Broadly put, we want to know what you feel is missing from your education and what steps Queen’s can take to fill that void. If you are unable to make this town hall, please visit our website to find out about others to be held throughout the month of March or to provide feedback online.
Four Pillars and Guiding Questions:
Fundamental Academic Literacy As our website explains, we use this term to include general communication, writing, reading with discipline-specific comprehension, and inquiry, investigation, problem- solving, and critical thinking. But for tonight we would like to hear your views on a specific proposition.
- What would you think of a requirement that all Queen’s undergraduates participate in a first-year, writing-intensive, interdisciplinary course with two professors from different disciplines, and an emphasis on inquiry? (The idea is that there would be variety of such courses to choose from.)
The Task Force believes that both strong disciplinary training and exposure to interdisciplinary perspectives are essential for undergraduate education.
- Have you had a course experience that has succeeded in giving you new lenses through which to view your field of study?
- What do you think about mandatory first-year courses in which a given topic—such as natural resources—is treated from a variety of disciplinary perspectives?
The purpose of an undergraduate degree is not merely to prepare students for the work- force; if Queen’s is serious about “global citizenship,” its students must learn to become responsible citizens as well. Queen’s graduates should have a global awareness of their implication in the world socially, politically, and environmentally.
- How can we teach our science students the social implications of what it means to be a scientist in North American society in the 21st century? How can we teach our arts and humanities students the value of our natural world and the necessity of managing it sustainably?
- In an increasingly global society, should we be requiring that our undergraduates take courses in languages other than English and French?
Community and Student Wellness
In order to succeed in their academic pursuits, student must feel safe, they must have a sense of belonging, and they must have support for physical and mental health requirements.
- What needs are not being met by the current resources for mental and physical health?
- What could Queen’s do to support a culture of inclusivity and equity?
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t ask if there is anything that you feel the Task Force has missed that is relevant to the undergraduate experience. If so, what still needs to be addressed and how?