Meet the new Provost!

Posted on June 15, 2020

Mark Green

Dr. Mark Green (Sc’87) became Queen’s Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) on March 1st. He is a skilled administrator, researcher and teacher, and has held several administrative positions within the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, most recently as Vice-Dean (Graduate Studies and Recruitment). We caught up with him recently to talk about his career at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and his priorities as he begins his new role.

Congratulations. How have you been preparing for the role of Provost?
The last month I’ve technically been provost-designate, essentially apprenticing, so it’s been a lot of learning. What has been really great is that I've been visiting with all the academic faculties as well as many other departments and units that are in the portfolio. I have known people from previous roles, but this really expands my appreciation of the whole academic enterprise of the university. That’s been really helpful for me over the last month, hearing all the different perspectives, but also gleaning some common messages.

You’ve held a number of administrative positions at Queen’s, including several roles at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. What have you found most rewarding about this type of work?
It’s that ability to take ideas that I might have to help influence and shape the direction of curriculum or programming, or the direction of a department. I’ve also had roles with the Aboriginal Council and the Truth and Reconciliation Task Force that have allowed me to help shape perspectives across the university, and also gave me many good insights from an interdisciplinary point of view.

You’ve been engaged in a number of equity and diversity activities at Queen’s.
In general, I feel a sense of justice or equity, for Aboriginal issues, but also for the LGBTQ+ community. I have always championed having more women in engineering, and some of my roles have allowed me to ensure that we attract women candidates for chair appointments or committees. It is eye opening because you may start with a focus on one group, but the more you learn, the more you can find commonalities of experience in terms of barriers.

You were quite involved in developing the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE) initiative
Yes, that was quite exciting because AAE recognizes the importance of engineering for Indigenous communities. Indigenous communities may have interactions with large companies for engineering projects, but it’s far better when there are more Indigenous engineers who can come with a different perspective on key issues. The outreach being done through Aboriginal Access to Engineering is really transformational, because there’s an investment in the Indigenous community, with activities that are integrated within the curriculum in the community schools, so it’s truly a partnership.

The numbers of Indigenous students we are attracting is quite exciting. They are winning awards and excelling in all areas. The President of the Engineering Society this year is Indigenous. And we are graduating our largest class of Indigenous students this year.

As an Indigenous person, do you see yourself as a role model for others?
Coming from an Indigenous background, I feel a sense of responsibility to give back to our communities by being in this role, and to show the potential. I think that my appointment is reflective of the university’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and that’s something that I’m really enthusiastic about -- especially in terms of providing leadership in how we can be more reflective of Canadian society and different viewpoints.

What are the top priorities for you in the short term?
Providing leadership for equity, diversity and inclusion is one of three key areas. The research mission is another area, particularly how it intersects with teaching. The student experience is outstanding, but I think that it increasingly has to be informed by research excellence. That’s one of the reasons why students come to a research-intensive university like Queen’s. It not just about the quality of the undergraduate experience, it’s having that exposure to top experts in the area.

And the third area is our impact on society. I really see that on a couple of different levels. There’s the regional or community level and our relationship with the City of Kingston. But we also need to include a regional approach to our outreach, including different socio-economic areas.

And then internationally, we need to do more than representation through the presence of more international students – we need to understand how they influence our community and what changes are required to our curriculum. Working on big global problems, such as sustainability and climate change, needs to be part of that.

All of this, of course, is in the context of the Principal’s conversations with the community and what he has been hearing.

My responsibility will be how do we take these ideas and make certain that they happen, and that everyone can see themselves one way or another connected with those elements. There are so many people across the university who have great, interesting ideas. So, 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.