Dream courses in development

Principal’s course redesign initiative opens for applicants

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Queen’s is now offering funding for creative professors interested in rebuilding their course of choice.

Applications opened for the Principal’s Dream Course program in October, which provides offers up to $13,000 in one-time funding for professors interested in redesigning a course at Queen’s. Up to three applicants can receive funding. 

According to the Queen’s website, the program welcomes creative and imaginative proposals to be considered for single semester courses. Applicants are required to submit a course redevelopment focused on the topics of sustainability, indigenous identities and the Queen’s 175th anniversary.

This funding will be provided by the Principal’s Office, according to Peter Wolf, associate vice-provost (teaching and learning).

In an email to The Journal, Wolf stated that the program will build upon pre-existing undergraduate courses. 

“We want to see what the faculty members propose. It could be new pedagogical approaches, furthering active learning, going [on] field trips, incorporating new technology, hiring additional educational assistants, etc.,” he wrote.

According to the Queen’s website, the funding can be used for guest speakers or for course materials, technology and other supports for “active and inquiry-based” learning. 

Wolf added that the professor would have the same control over their course as usual, “other than the opportunity to highlight course enhancements due to the enhanced funding, and to let students know they are taking a Principal’s Dream Course.”

He called the undertaking a “pilot project”, and stated that classes will be assessed by feedback from other faculty. He didn’t comment on whether the funding would continue for successful courses.

Although Queen’s 175th anniversary will be brought into curricula, Wolf stated that the University was “not just looking for courses that sing the praises of Queen’s” and that he hopes courses maintain a critical viewpoint.

“We respect the freedom of the faculty to make choices for their courses,” he wrote.

After applications close in February 2016, up to three courses will be selected. The redesigned courses will then be implemented for the 2016-17 academic year.

The selection committee will include two faculty members and one representative each from of the Office of the Principal, Research Services and the AMS. A non-voting member from the Centre for Teaching and Learning is also on the committee.

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