Queen’s 2015-16 Annual Report casts sunny lens on last academic year

Institution’s report focuses solely on successes

Queen’s released its annual report for 2015-16 in December.

Queen’s recently released its annual report outlining its 2015-16 academic year, which cast a predominant focus on the successes experienced by the institution. 

“In my seven years as principal, I cannot remember a more outstanding year for Queen’s University than the one outlined within these pages,” Principal Daniel Woolf wrote in a message announcing the report’s release. 

The report includes an overview of the University’s donations, student learning experience, research prominence, financial sustainability, internationalization and community. 

Donations from the academic year are also included, totalling $156.1 million. $50 million donation to Queen’s business school, the donation of late-career masterpiece by Rembrandt van Rijn, the $5 million donation invoking the creation of the Dan School of Drama and Music, contributed to this number.

Student learning experience is split into five subcategories. Beneath this umbrella, the report draws attention to items that ignited divided opinions among students and student leaders: namely, the revised student code of conduct that was approved in May 2016, which forms the base for the non-academic misconduct system, and the new policy on Sexual Violence Prevention and Response. 

Other newly-minted documents, like the Severe Allergy report and subsequent policy, are celebrated. Moving along from student learning, the report outlines highlights of research prominence. 

The research section features Professor Emeritus Arthur McDonald, whose 2015 Nobel Prize in neutrino and dark matter physics was widely-touted in University marketing materials last year, the development of “world-class facilities”, and individual developments such as a wireless flexible smartphone coming out of the School of Computing’s Human Media Lab. 

“Queen’s researchers — often working with colleagues across different disciplines and institutions — are tackling diverse problems that demand unique solutions,” the report states. 

Financial sustainability is the third listed category, and the report affirms a commitment to ensuring the institution’s “long-term financial competitiveness”. In 2015-16, Queen’s ran a $39.5 million surplus as a result of higher-than-planned student enrollment, and efforts across the University to constrain costs. 

The University also released both its Energy Matters project and Climate Action Plan during the last academic year, noted in the report as steps in the right direction. 

A subcategory of internationalization is broken down into five sections, including international planning and partnerships and international recruitment and enrollment. During the last year, 6.2 per cent of first-year undergraduates were considered international students. 

The target for international undergraduate students is 10 per cent by 2019. 

Community is the last category in focus for the report, divided into four subcategories. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force is listed, as a response to recommendations outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report.

Diversity and mental health are also highlighted positively, drawing readers’ attention to events on campus such as Thrive — a week-long initiative intended to “promote positive mental health and resiliency across campus,” the report says. 

Overall, Principal Woolf commended the year, writing that “if the 2015-16 year is any indication, the Queen’s community is capable of extraordinary things, and we will strive to maintain this momentum as we head into our milestone anniversary.”

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