Smith Full-time MBA program returns to in-person setting

University approves some graduate programs as part of Phase 3 reopening

MBA students return to Goodes Hall.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Following the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region’s move to Phase 3 on July 17, the Full-time MBA class at Smith School of Business returned to in-person classes last week at Goodes Hall.

The University approved several activities as part of the phased return to campus as permitted by the provincial Phase 3 reopening framework.

Smith’s MBA program was one of a few programs approved by the University to resume some on-site components this week. The Faculty of Arts and Science was also approved to allow biology and cultural studies grad students to return to their offices.

The Smith MBA is a 12-month program that runs January to December each year.

“It was a good choice for the pilot program as a number of the 91 students had remained in the Kingston area,” Patrick Legresley, Smith’s executive director of finance, wrote in a statement to The Journal. “The program is currently in the elective course phase so class sizes are smaller and social distancing requirements could more easily be met.”

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Legresley added that after receiving approval from Queen’s, Smith followed the University’s Return to Campus Guidelines to prepare Goodes Hall for the return of students, staff, and faculty.

These measures include additional cleaning protocols, hand sanitizer in each classroom, the use of masks, directional signage, and no access to kitchens, team rooms, or study rooms. Smith has provided a reusable mask to each student for use in situations when distance cannot be maintained.

Student teams will continue connecting through video-chat platform Zoom.

“We have also posted way-finding signage that routes student traffic in specific areas around classrooms, stairwells and elevators,” Legresley wrote.

Smith is also keeping a daily log of individuals entering Goodes Hall.

Regarding classroom set-up, capacity has been reduced from 80 to 10 people per room with designated seating areas.

“The main classroom hosts nine students with the professor,” Matt Reesor, director of Smith Full-time MBA, told The Journal. “There is an overflow classroom that allows students to engage through Zoom on a big screen.”

Students and faculty also have the option of remaining remote by participating in lectures through Zoom.

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“We have a schedule that allows students to rotate into the main classroom,” Reesor wrote. “All classrooms are cleaned after each use.”

The process for providing students with the option of in-person learning involved Smith, the wider Queen’s campus, and students, according to Reesor.

“We held numerous town halls with students to discuss this over the past four months and their input has been instrumental in informing our return to campus plans and protocols,” Reesor wrote.

The Return to Campus Guidelines will also permit research-based MSc and PhD programs at Queen’s to return to campus in September.

“We are excited to pilot this program and see what a gradual reopening will look like at Queen’s,” Legresley wrote.

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