Since 1970, our rigorous and well-focused two-year Master of Planning (M.PL.) program allows our students to develop the knowledge and skills they require to become leaders in the planning field and to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving urban environment.
Please make a donation to the Sue Hendler Graduate Fellowship. CONGRATULATION
Tara Spears (Class of 2012) is the inaugural recipient of the Sue Hendler Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship exists to recognize SURP students who have distinguished themselves academically and are conducting research on planning ethics or women and gender in planning. Tara's Masterís report is "Creating a Safe and Vibrant Downtown Guelph: Deteriming Elements of the Built Environment that will Enhance Women's Feelings of Safety". Full Story
Dying in Public: Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer (ed. by Christine Overall), Kingston ON: Michael Grass House Publishing, 2012.
As a university professor, an environmentalist, and a world-traveler, Sue Hendler was thriving. Then she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She had to give up her job, make hard decisions about medical treatment, and drastically shorten her vision of the future. As her cancer spread, she ironically acquired a new identity as a cancer "survivor." Compelled to find meaning in her "new normal" of life with a fatal disease, she decided to write for a wider audience. In Dying in Public: Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, Hendler talks about her experiences of undergoing surgery, taking steroids, receiving chemotherapy, and enrolling in a clinical drug trial. As her condition worsens she remains committed to living fully. She struggles with writing a bucket list, discusses her "legacy," and talks about her feelings of anger and the importance of love. She also describes how she lived, towards the end, with the support of the members of her "Care Team," a group of over thirty friends, family, and health care workers who enabled her to remain at home until the day before her death. This honest, witty, and unsentimental depiction of "dying in public" is a profound tribute to a life well lived.
Sue’s book can be purchased at Novel Idea in Kingston, and
at Chapters Indigo as a Kobo book
and as a Kindle e-book
Sue Hendler – An appreciation
John Meligrana, Bev Baines and Dave Gordon
Dr. Sue Hendler died on September 14, after a brave struggle with cancer. She was originally educated as a biologist at Carleton and her interests evolved during a master’s in environmental design at Calgary and a planning doctorate at Waterloo. Sue began teaching at Queen’s in 1987 in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, and made other friends and colleagues in Philosophy and Women’s Studies. After 1993, she was a tenured associate professor at SURP and cross-appointed to Women's Studies. Sue became the Head of the Department of Women’s Studies, initiating its graduate program, planning its growth and overseeing its transformation from an institute to an academic department from 1999-2004.
As any student will tell you, visiting Sue’s office was an adventure. Books, magazines, boxes, food, equipment and various unidentifiable objects were all piled almost as high as her office ceiling. This was Sue’s approach – acquire as much information and knowledge from wherever you can and store it for later reflection. To the rest of us it looked like clutter, but not to Sue. She had the uncanny ability to draw connections among seemingly unlikely and unrelated material, thoughts and experiences. She demonstrated this skill successfully throughout her academic career and was nominated for our university’s highest teaching awards. Indeed, during one lecture she was able to make a good connection between her big curly hair and an approach to city planning!
More fundamentally, Sue explored the integration of planning theory and practice through the unifying theme of ethics. Her ground-breaking edited volume Planning Ethics: A Reader in Planning Theory, Practice and Education continues to serve as a foundation text for student planners. She challenged a generation of professional planners to build more humane cities, to think about their behavior and to question societal norms and conventions.
Sue built intellectual bridges between the women’s studies and planning disciplines. Over the past ten years, she worked tirelessly to write women into the planning history of Canadian communities. She located and interviewed some of the first women to work as community planners in Canada. These interviews became part of her book project; tentatively titled I Was the Only Woman: Women and the Planning Profession in Canada. This book will be published posthumously, with the assistance of former graduate students.
In all these efforts, Sue’s approach was always straight-forward and no-nonsense. In the world of academia, she was somewhat unconventional. While many academics ask long-winded questions, Sue was well-known for her short but pointed queries - ones that always required careful thinking and long answers. She was more comfortable teaching in small classrooms than large lecture halls; would rather listen than talk; and have group discussions than lecture. She refused to be swayed by one intellectual fad or another – she set her own path to enlightenment. It is difficult to assign any one label to Sue – she was a scholar, an administrator, a feminist, an environmentalist and community advocate all rolled into one. As we work late into the night on our next essay, book, lecture, or grant application, Sue’s life is a reminder of the benefits of living a balanced life - one that includes family, friends, community, nature, books, poetry, art and stories. All these things she treasured.
She will be missed and not soon forgotten.
John Meligrana was a student of Sue Hendler and later a faculty colleague in the School of Urban and Regional Planning; Bev Baines is Professor of Law and Head of the Department of Women’s Studies; Dave Gordon is Director of SURP.
To visit Sue Hendler's Faculty Page, click here...