Patrick Deane talks graduate studies at Principal’s Conversation

Audience raises concerns about daycare and housing costs

Principal Patrick Deane talked graduate studies on Nov. 18.
Principal Patrick Deane met with graduate students and professors on Monday to discuss the future of graduate studies at Queen’s—the third meeting in a Conversation series Deane hopes will inform the University’s next long-term plan.
“What is the University here for? It’s not here just to ensure its own continuous existence, it’s here to do human work,” he said at the meeting.
As the Conversation began, Deane said his goal is to address fundamental questions about how to advance the University and its boundaries of knowledge. He said graduate studies are critical to the research and education of the University. 
“We are in the rankings, we are just not high enough in the rankings,” he said.
At the last Principal’s Conversation meeting, Deane spoke about how Queen’s dropped two spots in national research rankings from 2017-18, bumping the University to 13th place out of 50 research-intensive universities. 
A graduate student in attendance on Monday said there needs to be clearer communication about expectations between a graduate student and their supervisor, adding new graduate students should have better ideas about what their goals are. 
In response, Deane agreed there should be more emphasis on goals when it comes to students entering graduate studies for the first time.
“There is a lot to be gained by asking what the point of [graduate studies] is,” he said.
Another audience member asked how Queen’s balances its undergraduate and graduate experiences when they can often exist at odds with one another. 
Deane said a student doesn’t suddenly become capable of an entirely different cognitive act when moving from undergraduate to graduate studies, and that the institution values overall research and the capacity to ask questions, assemble evidence, and reach conclusions. 
“This is not uniquely the preserve of graduate students and professors. It is the preserve of any thinking human being who is seeking to make an impact on the world,” Deane said.
Another audience member suggested Queen’s transition from a teacher-directed system to a learner-directed system.
Deane said he supported that paradigm shift. “The learner-centric model empowers the learner long after they leave the institution.”
Deane was also asked what’s next for graduate students. He said that helping students find careers after graduate studies should be a University priority, whether they’re looking for academic or non-academic work following graduation.
At the end of the meeting, an international graduate student pointed out that Queen’s doesn’t offer free daycare for students with young children, adding that high international tuition fees and housing costs can make daycare unaffordable.
Being new to his role, Deane said he was unaware of the details about daycare at Queen’s, but stated he would do what he could to address the situation. 
“On the daycare and the housing, I am totally sympathetic. I’m too new to know the ins and outs of why we are where we are on that, but believe me, I take that point very seriously,” he said. 
The next principal’s conversation will take place at the Nov. 25 AMS Assembly. 

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