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September 2003

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Year in Review | August

The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) has named Memorial University the Education Institution of the Year. Memorial is the first recipient of the inaugural award, a significant milestone in the ongoing development of the Department of Career Development and Experiential Learning at Memorial University. CACEE is the pre-eminent organization in Canada that brings together employers and career educators to discuss issues of career education and recruitment. The award was given in recognition of leadership in career development in Canada. Dr. Lilly Walker, dean, Student Affairs and Services and Rob Shea, director, Department of Career Development and Experiential Learning both said the award does not recognize a single department, but has been made possible only by the collaboration and co-operation of all academic and administrative departments within the university.

Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial's president, and Leslie O'Reilly, Marine Institute's executive director, welcomed two ministers from Nunavut to discuss opportunities to strengthen fisheries and marine education and research in Canada's newest territory. The visit by the Honourable Olayuk Akesuk, minister of environment, and the Honorable Ed Picco, minister of education, along with other officials from the Nunavut government, was a result of an invitation from the Marine Institute to come to St. John's following the signing of a partnership agreement between the Institute and Nunavut Arctic College last May. That agreement formalized both school’s long-standing relationship in offering a range of fisheries and marine training for fish harvesters from Nunavut. With a structure now in place to plan, deliver and evaluate new training and research initiatives, the Government of Nunavut, government agencies and community development groups, have all allocated resources to support the partnership and its activities. 

Memorial's connections to Ireland continued to develop this past year. Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University of Newfoundland visited with officials at the University College of Cork this past summer to discuss opportunities for Irish marine sector partnerships. Representatives from Cork were on Memorial's St. John's campus to hold further discussions in August. Valerie Cummins of the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre, and Dr. Julie Maguire of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre, both of which are self-supporting units of the University College Cork met with Dr. Meisen during their visit. They gave presentations on key projects underway in their organizations that present opportunities for partnership with organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador, such as seabed mapping data interpretation, novel aquaculture feed development and joint maritime educational programs.

Memorial's wireless network has moved into the fast lane, with new speed and security standards. On Aug. 23, Computing and Communications converted the university's wireless network to 802.11g and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) wireless standards. In layman's terms, this means the highest level of security and a connection up to about five times as fast as the old standard. Cathy McFadyen, a network administrator with Computing and Communications, said the move was necessary because of the growing number of wireless network users on campus and the strain they were putting on the old connection.

This summer marked the end of the 15th annual Women in Science and Engineering Student Summer Employment Program (WISE-SSEP). Earlier this summer 25 young female students, who will be entering high school level three in the fall, traveled from across Newfoundland and Labrador to participate in the program. These students were given research positions at the St. John's and Corner Brook campuses of Memorial University, the National Research Council’s Institute for Ocean Technology, MUN Botanical Garden, the Ocean Sciences Centre, and the Newfoundland Science Centre. WISE SSEP is an initiative of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Newfoundland and Labrador, a not-for-profit, voluntary network of individuals working to promote and support women in science, engineering and related careers. The WISE SSEP began 15 years ago when scientists Carolyn Emerson and Dr. Faye Murrin, of Memorial University and members of WISE Newfoundland and Labrador, noted the low participation rates of females in science and engineering professions. The program is designed to promote careers in these fields to young women who would soon be making career choices, especially those in small remote communities where fewer resources are available.

Memorial researchers led a first-of-its-kind study on childhood overweight and obesity and found high rates of both in pre-school children. The recent study - carried out by the Centre for Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs - was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Aug. 3, 2004. A report -- titled Overweight and Obesity in Preschool Children in Newfoundland and Labrador -- has also been issued to health officials in this province. The report found that 26 per cent of preschool children in this province are overweight or obese. "It was the aim of the study to establish the prevalence among preschoolers in the province and to help determine the age at which overweight and obesity emerge in children", said Dr. Patricia Canning, one of the researchers of the study and member of the Faculty of Education at Memorial University. Since high rates of overweight and obesity were seen in the youngest age group in the study, we will be conducting additional research on younger children to determine when this trend begins. We do know that many school -aged children who are overweight are likely to remain overweight, therefore it is very important to address the problem as early as possible."

The 2003-2004 academic year marked the fourth year of Memorial's department of Housing, Food and Conference Services participation in the ACUHO-I international benchmarking exercise. The results revealed a significant improvement in several categories. Memorial achieved a ranking in the top 10 per cent on six of the 15 analysis factors comparing the 233 institutions in the sample group. The university scored its highest on the following factors: Overall Resident Satisfaction; Understand Self and Develop Leadership Skills; Opportunities to Participate in Hall; Fellow Residents; and Roomate(s). Memorial University residences received their highest score yet on what the survey says is the top predictor of overall residence satisfaction, Interaction with Others in the Hall.


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