In conversation with new provost, Student Wellness Services director

Mark Green and Cynthia Gibney talk plans for the year, COVID-19

Mark Green.
Credit: 
Supplied by Mark Green
Cynthia Gibney.
Credit: 
Supplied by Cynthia Gibney

The University welcomed two prominent figures to its staff in March: Mark Green, provost and vice-principal (academic); and Cynthia Gibney, executive director (student wellness services).

Mark Green

At the start of his five-year term as Provost, Mark Green, Sci ’87, is excited to return to Queen’s to create an environment where students, staff, and faculty can thrive. 

“There are so many people across the University who have great, interesting ideas,” Green wrote in a statement to The Journal. “I think that’s going to be an essential part of acting on the Principal’s and community’s vision: recognizing and giving people the space to act upon those great ideas.”

Having completed both an undergraduate degree and post-doctorate fellowship at Queen’s, Green is familiar with the University. He earned full Queen’s professorship in 2001 and has filled several positions at the institution throughout his career, including acting associate academic dean and acting head and associate head in the department of civil engineering.

Immediately prior to assuming the role of Provost, he was the vice-dean (graduate studies and recruitment) of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS).

As Provost, Green said he intends to prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion. He also hopes to promote international representation at the University beyond increasing the presence of international students on campus.

“We need to understand how [international students] influence our community and 
what changes are required to our curriculum," he wrote. “Working on big global problems, such as sustainability and climate change, needs to be a part of that.”

Green hopes to influence the University’s broader impact on society, addressing its relationship with both the City of Kingston and different socio-economic areas and communities in southeastern Ontario.

He will also focus on the University’s research mission and how it relates to teaching.

“The student experience at Queen’s is outstanding, but I think that it increasingly has to be informed by research excellence,” he wrote. “That’s one of the reasons why students come to a research-intensive university such as Queen’s.”

Regarding COVID-19, Green has been working closely with the Principal, senior leadership, Public Health officials, and student leaders to ensure the safe continuation of University operations.

Green said he feels “optimistic” about the upcoming academic year, despite the pandemic.

“Queen’s core strengths have always been our ability to deliver a transformative learning experience, our exceptional students, and the strong sense of community,” he wrote. “There will be challenges ahead […] but we have a strong foundation to carry us through the pandemic.”

Cynthia Gibney

Assuming her new position only two weeks before campus moved to remote access, Gibney said she’s ready to keep staff and students safe during the pandemic.

“I look forward to working through the challenges that September will bring,” Gibney wrote in a statement to The Journal. “Even though the academic and school experience is going to be different, I have confidence it will still be great.”

Before coming to Queen’s, Gibney worked as the director (health and wellness) at Western University for 16 years. She was also an adjunct professor in Western’s School of Nursing and has been a registered nurse in southwestern Ontario since 1993.

In her new role, Gibney hopes to keep staff and students safe from COVID-19 while maintaining clinic functions. As part of that goal, she wants to introduce remote access to mental health counselling, Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) advisors, and health/lifestyle appointments. 

She will also focus on proper cleaning of examination rooms and other clinical spaces, having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for students, and recruiting more clinical staff to allow increased volumes of students to procure timely appointments.

Gibney expressed her interest in getting to know Queen’s students, initially by connecting with the Rector and with student leaders in the AMS and SGPS, so she can understand students’ needs and their ideas for how Student Wellness Services should meet them.

She wants to give students an active role in their health care needs while encouraging the use of a broad spectrum of health care delivery methods. 

Gibney’s other priorities involve improving the SWS's website to increase the efficiency of student access to health and wellness information and understanding the Kingston labour market to recruit qualified clinical staff. She also wants to get to know the SWS staff, services, policies and procedures.

She said she hopes to ensure timely appointments and increase both walk-in capacity and access to physicians.

“Now that we are getting to know more about the disease, we are starting to plan for how we can offer students a hybrid of care both remotely and in-person,” she wrote. “I am excited to see how the institution and students work through this challenge."

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