Queen’s to review its place in public policy landscape

New commission chairman predicts Queen’s position in the future of public policy

Queen's faces an "evolving landscape" in terms of Public Policy, said Principal Daniel Woolf
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In the world of public policy, Principal Daniel Woolf considers Queen’s a wheelhouse for graduates entering the public service. However, looking towards the future, he insists that the University must review their position in the field in order to continue.

“While Queen’s is still highly regarded in the field of public policy, we face an evolving landscape,” he told The Gazette in discussion on a new initiative.

The initiative, titled the Principal’s Commission on the Future of Public Policy at Queen’s University, will be chaired by alumnus Michael Horgan, former deputy minister of Finance Canada.

Other membership will consist of Vice-Chair Margaret Biggs, Kevin Costante, ArtSci ‘78 and MPA ‘79, Jeannie Dempster, ArtSci ‘93 and MPA ‘01, Bridget O’Grady, ArtSci ‘03 and MPA ‘05, Peter Wallace, ArtSci ‘83, Bob Watts, and Rector Cam Yung, ArtSci ‘16.

Together, the group will conduct a wide review of how Queen’s might modernize its approaches to public policy in the learning environment.

In an interview with The Journal, Horgan expressed his hopes for Queen’s role in the future of public policy, and its continued importance as a contributor to the public sphere and as a teaching ground for future policy leaders.

“While Queen’s has played an important role in public policy in Canada, it’s time to take a closer look at that role,” he said.

“Our basic plan is to go out and talk to people, outside the Queen’s community, about what they need and where they see Queen’s fitting in.”

When looking back, Horgan noted that 20 years ago the Queen’s School of Policy Studies was preeminent in the field.

Now, however, schools like the University of Toronto and Carleton University have joined the fray, making public policy a competitive field in ways that it wasn’t before.

With the commission set to begin meetings this fall, concluding its work with a report to the principal in fall of 2017, Horgan was distinctly aware of the obstacles they may face.

“There are always challenges,” he said. “Public policy has become a very crowded space now... Queen’s doesn’t have quite the same eminence as it used to.”

Queen’s, in his eye, has many strengths; but Horgan posed the question: “Is there a way that the strength of Queen’s can be mustered to help in this area?”

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