National scholarship returns

Program seeks to bring top academics to teach at Queen’s

The Queen’s National Scholar (QNS) program, which was created in 1983 to attract exceptional professors to Queen’s, will be reinstated in June 2013.

The program was cut in 2009 due to budget cut by then-principal Tom Williams. Current Principal Daniel Woolf announced its return last February in order to help boost the University’s academic reputation.

“The Principal said to me at the time that he had been going around talking to lots of people and he heard consistently from other people about how highly they valued the QNS program,” Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Alan Harrison said. “So when he felt we could, we should reinstitute the program ... it’s really part of a general strategy of trying to hire the best possible people for faculty members at Queen’s.” 

The reinstated program will feature significant changes from its former structure, which were discussed at Senate on Oct. 30.

Previously, QNS limited appointments to two for humanities and social sciences and one in sciences, with the principal making the final decision.

The revamped program will see two new scholars appointed per year for five years, with a total of $100,000 given to each recipient, costing a total of $1 million.

The designated funds will be directed to separate faculties, who are then responsible for supplementing the funds for the chosen recipients.

The selection process will also change to include letters of intent for applicants prior to making full submissions. 

“The committee will select a limited number of them and those will be invited to make a full submission,” Harrison said.

The program will also increase eligibility to all departments at the University, rather than maintaining quotas for certain fields of research.

“The Principal said he wanted it to be an open competition,” he said. “He doesn’t want to privilege one area of study, that doesn’t say that will be the outcome, but we want the very best to come forward.” SGPS President Matthew Scribner, PhD ’12, said that while restricting fields for the program creates healthy competition between faculties, bringing back the program will be beneficial for the University.

“They can put more effort into finding people they couldn’t ultimately get,” he said. “This will ultimately help bring more diversity into Queen’s and into teaching.”

Scribner added the program will help graduate students looking to find employment at the University. 

“So many grad students are just going into adjunct positions and to have any job opening is a sign of good things to come across the University sector,” he said. “Hopefully one day the QNS program will be able to offer more openings and people will advance.”

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