Martha's Update - March 5, 2018

Post Date:
Mar 5, 2018

Several activities in recent weeks have provided a focus on graduate studies and prompted various thoughts to ponder. Those activities included an opportunity to meet candidates for the position of Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, an open house to review plans for the Helen Howard Graduate Student Reading Room in Stauffer Library, events for Celebrating Graduate Studies and a joint Board-Senate retreat on Saturday on the theme of the changing graduate student experience.

There are many interesting aspects of graduate studies worth discussing, but I’ll pick a few as top of mind for our information realm.

  1. Knowledge mobilization. We’ve been promoting the idea of giving VOICE to your research (with the principles of Value, Openness, Inclusivity, Collaboration and Engaged researchers) to advance innovations in scholarly communications. I’m seeing great opportunities for intersections with graduate studies in this regard. For example, Saturday’s keynote speaker, Dr. Noreen Golfman, mentioned a Knowledge Mobilization Panelhappening in Washington DC on March 14, and asked if we’re doing enough to support efforts to make research findings and knowledge accessible to broad audiences. I would argue that our current scholarly publishing models are one of the impediments, and that one of our top priorities needs to be collaborating with those interested in research impact and turning research into action.
  2. Information access. There was a panel of inspiring graduate students at the Board-Senate retreat, and as they spoke about their experiences at Queen’s I hoped I would hear mention (as I often do) of the invaluable help of someone from the library or the importance of access to information. Fortunately, I did hear that later in breakout sessions, but during the panel talks it didn’t come up at all. At first, I was disappointed, but then it occurred to me – for a researcher, thinking about information access is like a fish swimming in water… it’s a given, something the fish doesn’t notice but needs to survive. One of our top priorities is to keep it feeling that natural.
  3. Global knowledge commons. Internationalization comes up a lot in discussions of graduate studies and research, and we have a big part to play in it. We’re seeing a significant shift in how Queen’s is positioned, from a “domestic” focus to an international one. This isn’t just about the number of international students at Queen’s, it’s about Queen’s researchers being easily connected with projects around the world. As we think about the ways in which we can advance knowledge mobilization and information access, we do so with the goal of a global knowledge commons in mind.
  4. Community space. The desire for more dedicated graduate student space on campus comes up frequently. Overall, there’s an awareness that Queen’s has a very strong sense of community for undergraduates, but now we also need to see our campus through a graduate student lens. For us, one of our top priorities has to be continuing the LAMP vision of library space that deliberately welcomes graduate students, as well as others, and facilitates research. This was highlighted again recently in discussions about Douglas Library in relation to plans for the JDUC – the LAMP vision for Douglas is not forgotten.

Related to all of the above, and research more broadly, are discussions of the draft Strategic Research Plan. Thank you to all who contributed to those discussions in the library. The response submitted on behalf of the library focused on the library’s leadership role in providing the information resources and services necessary for high impact research and a culture of innovation. 

There’s been another matter on my mind during recent activities, something I think of by the title of that old bestseller “Getting to Yes.” One aspect – open dialogue – arose in hearing about tonight’s inaugural Liberty Lecture at Queen’sfeaturing Jordan Peterson (University of Toronto) and Bruce Pardy (Queen’s). The controversy surrounding Jordan Peterson is widely known. At the February 27th meeting of Senate, we had a wonderful example of civilized discourse when the Principal spoke about the lecture and our shared belief in open dialogue, and Senator Eleanor MacDonald responded with an articulate expression of the need to acknowledge the harm that words can cause. She used the phrase “free speech can also be costly speech,” which I found quite evocative. Another aspect – position-based versus interest-based discussion – was highlighted for me last week by the raised voices in fair dealing conversations. Mark Swartz and I were on Parliament Hill again last week with CARL to meet with MPs involved in the Copyright Act review, and we’ve seen that one of our challenges will be to ensure that the issues, and not just the opposing views, are well understood. Aptly, last week was Fair Dealing Week, which included a relaunching of the expanded fair-dealing.ca website.

The February 27th Senate meeting included a slate of academic program approvals to note:

  • Certificate in French for Professionals
  • MSc and PhD in Management Major Modification
  • Master of Management Analytics Major Modifiction
  • Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence
  • Master of Science and PhD in Translational Medicine
  • Combined BScH/MSc (Chemistry or Biochemistry) Degree Program

Other highlights of recent weeks included various foundational pieces of digital planning that will be the focus of my next update, and immersion in learning more about the National Heritage Digitization Strategy to help move it forward. As well, I just have to say how much I appreciated the all staff meeting we had last week, organized by the Comprehensive Information Resources Strategy project group. Once again, as I listened to the discussion, I felt fortunate to work with such dedicated, thought-provoking colleagues.

Have a good week!

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