Queen's University Queen's University

Enhancing our Student Learning Experience

Student Engagement and Skill Development

  • [Active Learning Classroom]
    The Ellis Hall active learning classrooms help to facilitate group work.
  • [Active Learning Classroom]
    Students work together in a large Ellis Hall classroom.
  • [Active Learning Classroom]
    Whiteboards are available for student-use in an Ellis Hall classroom.
As our Academic Plan highlights, a transformative student learning experience is central to Queen’s identity and its vision. Our students and faculty are highly engaged and Queen’s offers a wealth of resources to foster student success.

In this framework, the student learning experience is separated into two related, yet distinct, sub-categories of student engagement and skill development.  Our Academic Plan identifies the centrality of Fundamental Academic Skills, and the University’s Proposed Mandate Statement, submitted to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, commits to developing new opportunities for expanded credentials and increased opportunities for experiential and entrepreneurial learning. It is the combination of twenty-first century learning skills and experiential and entrepreneurial opportunities that our students need to be successful. If we help our students develop the general and specific skills that meet their needs, this will also help address society’s needs by preparing them appropriately for careers or additional credentials they will pursue after leaving Queen’s.

University-wide objectives:

  • Increase the number of new opportunities for expanded credentials and experiential and entrepreneurial learning.
  • Further integrate technology into the delivery of course content where it enables improved learning.
  • Strengthen the Queen’s University Quality Assurance Processes.
  • Foster improved relationships and cooperation with the Kingston community.
  • Increase investment in faculty complement and renewal, to sustain the quality of existing programs and to develop new curricular initiatives.
  • Develop strategic programs for teaching and learning based on student engagement and generic learning outcomes.
  • Improve intra-university collaboration through new programs and curriculum innovation.
  • Develop new programs and innovative ways to help students develop fundamental academic skills.
  • Develop new programs that support an accessible learning environment and health and wellness.

Performance Metrics:

  • Undergraduate and graduate student engagement as measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey.
  • Number of new expanded alternative credential opportunities developed or in development.
  • Number of new professional masters programs.
  • Number of new experiential education opportunities developed or in development.
  • Identification and assessment of learning outcomes.
  • Graduate outcomes: two year employment rate and median income.

The Student Learning Experience: Student Engagement

Undergraduate Student Engagement

Engagement BenchmarkFirst YearSenior Year
Level of Academic Challenge7th (2008), 2nd (2011)6th (2008), 3rd (2011)
Active & Collaborative Learning20th (2008), 19th (2011)34th (2008), 29th (2011)
Student-Faculty Interaction25th (2008), 26th (2011)17th (2008), 14th (2011)
Enriching Educational Experiences2nd (2008), 1st (2011)4th (2008), 1st (2011)
Supportive Campus Environment4th (2008 & 2011)12th (2008 & 2011)
  • “Engagement” measures numerous student behaviours and institutional practices that research has indicated are associated with good educational outcomes (skills acquisition and knowledge development)
  • Queen’s performs well against other universities on several aspects of engagement, but two — Active and Collaborative Learning and Student-Faculty Interaction — warrant improvement
  • The data are collected through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in which virtually all Canadian universities and about 600 US universities participate.
  • In addition to the summary benchmarks reported above, the survey provides detailed measures for over 40 specific dimensions of engagement.

Graduate Student Engagement

  • The overall academic experience reported by graduate students at Queen’s is comparable to that at other Canadian universities. Queen’s students in professional Masters programs rate their program slightly higher than students elsewhere, while Queen’s students in Doctoral programs report slightly lower ratings.
  • The “quality of the academic experience” is a summary measure. Students also reported on whether they would attend the same program if they started over again, on student life and on numerous other issues.
  • The data are collected via the Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) every three years from Queen’s and over 30 other universities.

The Student Learning Experience: Skill Development

Headcount Enrolment in Non-Traditional Graduate Programs

  • Nearly 300 graduate students at Queen’s are enrolled in “non-traditional” academic programs. These include post-baccalaureate certificates, interdisciplinary programs of study and programs delivered in non-traditional formats.
  • This represents a four-fold increase over 2008 enrolment; additional non-traditional programs are in development and will be introduced over the coming several years.

Undergraduates Completing a Practicum or Internship

  • The proportion of undergraduates completing a practicum or internship increased from about 32% in 2004 to about 38% in 2011. This is a slightly lower rate than for Canadian universities overall.
  • In response to both student desires and initiatives supported by the Province of Ontario, programs and services to enhance experiential learning opportunities are currently in development.

Professional Masters Students Reporting "Excellent" or "Very Good" Opportunities for Internships, Practica and/or Experiential Learning

  • Professional programs are, of course, geared more directly toward specific occupations and careers.
  • A key component of such programs is the opportunities they afford to students for experiential learning.
  • Queen’s students in these programs report substantially higher ratings for experiential opportunities than the Canadian average.

Student Population Quality Indicators: Maintaining Queen's Core Strengths

Queen's Student Quality Indicators

  • This graph shows how we propose to measure the quality our student population. This set of metrics is included because success in executing the strategic framework requires us also to ensure it is accomplished without detriment to what contributes so significantly to Queen's University's reputation.
  • Undergraduate students entering Queen’s have higher secondary school averages than any university in Ontario, and a higher proportion of students enter with better than 90% and better than 95% secondary school grades than any other university.
  • First-to-second year retention of undergraduate students is 95% (and even higher in the upper years), and ultimate degree completion rates are in the 90% range, placing Queen’s first in Ontario in both categories.