President's Report 2006 | Community

Community Life Highlights

Calendar launched to raise money for cancer research

From left, Dr. Gary Paterno, Terry Fox Cancer Research Laboratories, graduate student Patti McCarthy and Dr. James Rourke, dean of Medicine, spoke at the official launch of the calendar "Life.Plain.Simple."

Memorial University launched a calendar to raise funds for breast and ovarian cancer research this past year titled Life. Plain. Simple. The elegant and sophisticated 16-month 2005-06 calendar depicted the charm of everyday life. All of the proceeds were used to support research at Memorial University through the establishment of endowed research awards for faculty and graduate students in breast and ovarian cancer research. This project was proposed and overseen by PhD student Patti McCarthy. The original proposal was developed by Ms. McCarthy with Dr. Desmond Robb. The calendar is in memory of Dr. Robb, professor and chair of the Discipline of Laboratory Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine.

National stroke award for Memorial neuroscientist

From left, Dr. Paul Morley, Dr. Dale Corbett and CSN board chair David Scott at the award ceremony in Quebec City.

Dr. Dale Corbett is the first winner of the Paul Morley Mentorship Award from the Canadian Stroke Network. The award recognizes significant contributions to the training of the next generation of Canadian stroke researchers. Dr. Corbett is a professor of Basic Medical Sciences at Memorial and holds the Canada Research Chair in Stroke and Neuroplasticity. He is actively involved in the Canadian Stroke Network as an investigator and member of the board of directors. In announcing the award, the Canadian Stroke Network wrote that the field of stroke research in Canada has been enhanced by Dr. Corbett's commitment to mentorship for students and researchers at all stages of their careers.

University research professor receives highest honour

Dr. Jeremy Hall, university research professor

Dr. Jeremy Hall has received the highest honour that the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador (PEG) bestows on its members. At its recent annual conference, PEG announced the recipients of awards for excellence in engineering and geoscience. The Award of Merit, presented to Dr. Hall, is given for valued contributions to the professions and the community. Dr. Hall has made significant contributions provincially, nationally and internationally to understanding the geosciences and, in particular, to the study of the Earth's interior.

O'Dea named to Order of Newfoundland and Labrador

Shane O'Dea

English professor Shane O'Dea has been named to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. Also known for his work at preserving the built heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prof. O'Dea was one of eight named to the Order, now in its second year. Having distinguished himself as a teacher, scholar and preservationist, Shane O'Dea has also gained provincial and national renown for his service to the heritage community of Newfoundland and Labrador. He has been instrumental in researching, documenting and maintaining architectural heritage. Along with Prof. O'Dea, Tim Borlase, Tom Cahill, Desmond Dillon, Susan Knight, Ingeborg Marshall, Deborah Powers and Janet Story received the honour during a ceremony at Government House on Nov. 10, 2005.

Trick or Eat gathers record amount of food

From left, Memorial students Sarah Morrisey, Sammy Khalili, Ryan Snelgrove, Brendan Sheehan, an unknown volunteer and Jaydon Harding with just some of the 5,000 pounds of food they collected on Hallowe'en.

Memorial University students and other volunteers spent Hallowe'en 2005 going door-to-door - but not for candy, for food. They gathered a record-breaking 5,000 pounds of non-perishable items for the local Community Food Sharing Association. Memorial was one of 34 campuses across the country which took part in the national program called Meal Exchange. Trick or Eat puts a new spin on Hallowe'en and raises awareness about local hunger.

Essential role in rural communities

Gordon Noseworthy of the Twillingate Harbour Authority talks with conference participants, including former Premier Brian Peckford, on the Fisheries Field Trip.

If you ask Dr. Rob Greenwood, director of the Harris Centre, it is a no-brainer that universities and research institutions play an essential role in helping rural and remote areas thrive. In that vein, Dr. Greenwood took the lead in organizing an international conference on rural research and policy that brought about 200 rural researchers, policy makers, and leaders to Twillingate from around the world on Oct. 13-15, 2005, to share their research and experiences. The conference, Big Lessons from Small Places: A Forum on Governance in Rural North America and the North Atlantic Rim, was a joint initiative between the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF), of which Dr. Greenwood is also president, the North Atlantic Islands Program, and two community-based organizations; the Twillingate-New World Island Development Association and the Twillingate Island Tourism Association.

Memorial launches Math in the Mall

Budding mathematicians strapped on their thinking caps and headed to the Avalon Mall February 2006. They took part in a special program called Math in the Mall, organized by Memorial University's Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Math in the Mall was an educational event tailor-made to get young children involved in math and to show them that the subject can be fun. Children enjoyed activities such as a math trail, a type of mathematical scavenger hunt where participants roamed the mall in search of answers to particular problems such as: estimating the number of tiles in the ceiling of a store.

Working together to investigate child sexual abuse

Standing from left, Const. Sharon Warren, RNC, Crimes Against Persons; Dr. Shelly Birnie-Lefcovitch, director of the School of Social Work; Lisa Crewe, administrative project support, School of Social Work. Sitting from left, Susan Walsh, Health and Community Services; and Paula Rodgers, project co-ordinator, School of Social Work. (Photo by Chris Hammond)

Eighteen social workers and police officers from around the province had the opportunity Jan. 20 to view a new training video, the Stepwise Interview Approach, on the investigation of child sexual abuse. The video was launched in St. John's as part of ongoing training under the Child Sexual Abuse Investigation Training Program (CAITP). The investigators were in St. John's to be trained in the use of a newly-revised manual on the Collaborative Approach to the Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse. "This project started in 1993 in response to several recommendations of the Hughes Inquiry," said Dr. Shelly Birnie-Lefcovitch, director of Memorial's School of Social Work and project director. This province's four regional integrated health authorities, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police jointly funded the project. It was co-ordinated by Paula Rodgers, School of Social Work, with administrative support from Lisa Crewe, also of the School of Social Work.

Memorial part of education summit

Memorial University Students' Union President Cletus Flaherty took part in the national summit in Ottawa.

Memorial president Axel Meisen headed up a contingent of representatives from the university who were in Ottawa Feb. 24. 2006, for a series of meetings focusing on post-secondary education and its future in Canada. Student leaders from Memorial's St. John's campus, as well as Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook and the Marine Institute, attended the meetings. They were joined by Glenn Blackwood, executive director of the Marine Institute, as well as Premier Danny Williams and Education Minister Joan Burke. The theme of the national stakeholder summit on post-secondary education and skills was Competing for Tomorrow.

Employees shave it off for charity

Adam Fairn, left, a lifeguard at The Works, is one of about 20 or so employees who shaved their heads as part of the Shave for the Brave fundraiser. Here, he's joined by Robyn Murphy, co-ordinator of information services at The Works.

More than 20 lifeguards, swim instructors, fitness leaders and facility supervisors at The Works — many of whom are either Memorial grads or are current students — shaved their heads March 3, 2006, as part of a unique fundraiser for a well-known organization. The workers also issued a challenge to all Memorial University employees to donate to their cause. They were taking part in the Shave for the Brave campaign organized by RealTime Cancer (RTC), the only cancer organization in Canada that's primarily focused on educating young adults about cancer and supporting them when faced with a cancer challenge. The workers jumped at the chance to help raise money for a cancer group geared towards young people.

Nursing students have a ball raising money for charity

From left, Amanda Green and Amanda Fredericks helped organize this year's Nursing Charity Ball.

Nursing students at Memorial's School of Nursing and the Centre for Nursing Studies put off a Charity Ball March 18 at the Capital Hotel in St. John's and raised over $2,000 for cerebral palsy while having a lot of fun. Amanda Green, Charity Ball co-ordinator for the MUN School of Nursing (MUNSON), said there were 16 students involved in organizing this year's event, including Amanda Fredericks from the Centre for Nursing Studies (CNS) and Kerri Mercer, CNS Society president. The other organizers were all from Memorial's School of Nursing and represented students in the first three years of the bachelor of Nursing program.

Project Green cleaning up

Project Green opens their doors.

One person's trash is another's treasure. Memorial's environmental group, Project Green held its fourth annual Dump and Run April 2006 at Memorial's Hatcher House. Dump and Run provides people with the opportunity to get rid of potentially useful items. Project Green collects the items during the first four days of the event and then opens the doors for a gigantic yard sale of sorts where all the items are available for sale. The point is to reduce the amount of useful material going into the provincial landfill, and to raise money for Project Green, the Campus Food Bank and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Business faculty swaps tins for tunes

Memorial's Marketing Society organized a food drive for the Campus Food Bank from April 3-7. The food bank walked away with 500 food items and B.Comm. (Co-op) student, Nick Lane walked away with an Apple ipod Shuffle.

Memorial's Marketing Society organized a food drive for the Campus Food Bank April 2006. The food bank walked away with 500 food items. Using tag lines like Peas for a Pod, Apples for an Apple, Shuffle to Win, and Tins for Tunes, the society encouraged people to donate food items. The society called on students, faculty and staff in the Business Administration Building to donate food items for a worthy cause. The goal was to collect 500 non-perishable food items. A total of 412 items were collected while the Class of 2006 generously donated the bulk of the remaining items.

Opera RoadShow takes to the air

A scene from the Opera RoadShow in 2002.

The Air Labrador Opera RoadShow Tour 2006 is a unique venture that sees undergraduate music students perform throughout the province for primary and elementary school audiences. Dr. Carolyn Schiller, the director of opera in the School of Music, came up with the concept as a way for her students to experience professional touring, while introducing youngsters all over the province to the pageantry, drama and music of opera. This is the third year for the tour, but the first time the operatic entourage has been able to venture off-island thanks to Air Labrador who has committed to covering the cost of all flights — a gift of about $50,000. While not every school has been able to accommodate the opera, the RoadShow has performed for over 10,000 children, some in very remote areas.

Memorial applauded for running for a cause

From left, Phil Smith, assistant manager, parking and traffic, Campus Enforcement and Patrol (CEP); Jeff Fifield, investigations officer, CEP; President Axel Meisen; Robert Whitten, director, Law Enforcement Torch Run Torch, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Memorial University was recognized for supporting a well-known community fundraiser that has helped raise thousands of dollars for Special Olympics. Rob Whitten, the director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Torch (LETR), Newfoundland and Labrador, presented Memorial President Axel Meisen with a plaque of appreciation for the university's support of LETR. The torch run helped raise money to support athletes who attended the Special Olympics in June 2006 in Manitoba. Each year, members of the university's Campus Enforcement and Patrol lead the university's involvement with this initiative. CEP officers participated in the 2006 Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Newfoundland and Labrador Special Olympics on June 9. And Jeff Fifield, investigations officer with CEP, traveled to Brandon, Man., July 17-19, to run in the final leg of the Torch Run for the Summer Games for Special Olympics, representing not only Memorial but also the province.

Grenfell professors inducted by national organization

Don Foulds and Marlene MacCallum of Grenfell's visual arts program were inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in Halifax at the academy's 126th annual general assembly. Each had their work displayed at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia as part of a new members' exhibition. Elected by their peers, Profs. Foulds and MacCallum have been recognized for their significant contribution to the visual arts in Canada. Their artwork - Prof. Foulds' sculptures and Prof. MacCallum's printmaking - is well recognized for its excellence and innovation on provincial, national and international levels. The RCA joins together Canada's most accomplished artists, all of whom since 1880 have contributed substantially to the visual arts in Canada.

Living and learning with stress

Memorial University helped facilitate discussions about teacher stress this past winter. The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development hosted a public meeting titled Teacher Stress and Working Conditions: Implications for Teaching and Learning. Dr. Lynda Younghusband, assistant professor at the Student Counselling Centre, was a keynote speaker at the forum and presented the findings of her doctoral thesis on teacher stress in Newfoundland, and its impact on the teaching and learning environments. Other panelists included Dr. David Dibbon, associate dean for undergraduate programs with the Faculty of Education; Denise Pike, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils; and Glenda Cluett, a teacher recently retired from the Eastern School District. Dr. Younghusband said that researchers have reported that the primary health problem of teachers is stress and that the causes are multiple and complex. Workplace stress has also been found to diminish teachers' enthusiasm and distance them emotionally from their students, thereby lessening the teacher-student interaction. Dr. Younghusband's study explored the experiences of high school teachers' work environment, particularly their experiences of stress. She conducted interviews with 16 high school teachers, from 24-55 years of age, in rural and urban Newfoundland in 2002. She looked at teachers' struggles to balance multiple demands (feeling burdened by work pressures and demands, barriers to teacher effectiveness), the importance of supportive work environments (feeling unsupported by administration, value of a collegial community, importance of having adequate resources), and the realities of stress (participants' understanding of stress, self-concept, the taboo of stress, feeling consumed by the job: interference with personal life). Dr. Younghusband's results presented a picture of a profession which demanded constant attention often to the detriment of participants' health and well-being.

DELT captures anniversary of Somme battles

Joe Earles, videographer, DELT films the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in France.

On July 1, 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, the Newfoundland Regiment fought its first engagement in France. On July 1, 2006, soldiers from the same Regiment returned to the battlefields to mark the 90th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel. Memorial's president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Axel Meisen, together with Chancellor John Crosbie, laid wreaths at the Beaumont-Hamel ceremony. Two members of Memorial University's Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) travelled with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to each of the five memorials established in France and Belgium in memory of the battles fought by the first Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment.

Provincial team defends ROV title

For the second straight year, the Eastern Edge Robotics Team, representing Memorial University, captured the gold at the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center's international Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) competition held at NASA's Sonny Carter Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas. The competition challenged teams to design, build and operate an ROV to perform a series of tasks like those performed by an ROV in an industrial setting. Of the 16 teams competing in their class, Eastern Edge was one of only two teams to complete all of the tasks. The team was awarded first place overall as well as the Judges' Choice Award. The eighteen member team is comprised of post-secondary students from Memorial University's Marine Institute, Faculties of Engineering, Science, and School of Human Kinetics and Recreations and the College of the North Atlantic.

Grad students go international

Two grad students participated in a program that helped them make a difference in community projects overseas. They were taking part in the Canada Corps University Partnership Program (CCUPP), a $2-million pilot project designed and managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The project's goal was to assist young people in their quest to better understand the governance challenges in developing countries and search for solutions. Tracy Glynn, a M.Sc. student in the Environmental Science program, went to Indonesia, while Carla Thachuk, currently pursuing her master's in physical education, spent three months helping implement sport and recreation programs in refugee camps in Guinea and Sierra Leone, in West Africa.

Memorial students celebrate 10 years of educational outreach

Kathy Moulton, a Memorial arts student and intern this year with Frontier College in St. John's. (Photo by Jeff Green)

Frontier College: Students for Literacy @ MUN celebrated its 10th anniversary of doing educational outreach work in the St. John's area. Since 1996, the group has been partnering with organizations such as community centres, junior high schools and boys and girls clubs to help support the learning needs of the community through group and one-on-one tutoring. This year, Memorial partnered with nine community groups including MacMorran Community Centre, the Association for New Canadians, Froude Avenue Community and Centre and the Community Youth Network. Tutors visit the centres spending individual time with learners. Currently, the Memorial group has about 60 members who are studying everything from political science and education to neuroscience and dietetics. They each share a passion of helping others.

Grenfell students pitch in to clothe needy children

Ghana Project volunteers, from left, Brandy Hepditch, Stephanie Ganz, Amy Snook, Jennifer Messenger and Caitlin Dix.

Raising money for children's school uniforms is the goal of the student initiative the Ghana Project. A ratified initiative of the Grenfell College Student Union, the project got its start when a student from Nova Scotia generated interest in the student population. The Ghana Project has raised money through simple events like penny drives and bake sales, and they've even held an event called Make Noise for Ghana; musical performances were combined with a silent art auction, held at a local Corner Brook pub. One of the more interesting events the group held was the Mend Your Wares event. In exchange for a donation, students, faculty, and staff brought in their old jeans that needed patching, socks that needed darning and shirts that needed buttons, and the volunteers on hand mended the items on the spot. So far the group has fundraised well over $1,000.

SERT Centre provides first-class training and support to West Coast

Members of the SERT Centre helped rescue people from the worst flood Stephenville has ever witnessed.

On Sept. 27, 2005, parts of the community of Stephenville, located on Newfoundland's west coast, were flooded. Heavy rains caused two rivers in the town to overflow their banks, washing away roads, bridges and sewer lines, engulfing vehicles and forcing the town to declare a state of emergency. Hundreds of people were displaced and some homes were demolished. In the end, more than 150 millimetres of rain fell on Stephenville over two days causing millions of dollars in damage. Help came from officials with the Safety and Emergency Response Training (SERT) Centre, operated by Memorial University's Marine Institute. The facility, located at the Stephenville International Airport, is a satellite campus of MI's Offshore Safety and Survival Centre (OSSC). In only a few short years, the SERT Centre has garnered an international reputation and is one of the premiere fire training facilities in Canada. It offers a litany of courses ranging from aviation rescue and firefighting to industrial safety and emergency response training.

On the job: internships help local groups while promoting social work

Top row, from left, Jennifer Gover, Allan Horwood, Doug Butt and Cathy Hanlon. Front row, from left: Samantha Bursey and Leslie Brown. (Photo by Jeff Green)

Several community organizations throughout the Avalon Peninsula were given a blueprint on how to improve their services for young people thanks to six graduating students from Memorial University's School of Social Work this past year. The fifth-year students spent 13 weeks this semester doing outreach work as part of their field internship, a requirement for graduation. The students spent time with a variety of groups who primarily work with young children and teens. They said their placements were not only a chance to offer suggestions on how the groups can expand their services, but were also an opportunity to promote the School of Social Work and the type of work a social worker does. Doug Butt and his partner, Allan Horwood, conducted a series of youth focus groups while working with Eastern Health's Child, Youth and Family Services division on Bell Island. Meanwhile, two students worked in the Conception Bay North region of the province. The program Girl Power was launched this past winter at Coley's Point Primary School and focused on boosting grade four girl's self-esteem, self-confidence and to encourage empowerment, said co-ordinator Samantha Bursey. Her partner Jennifer Gover did her placement at Eastern Health's offices in Bay Roberts. And, Leslie Brown and Cathy Hanlon completed a placement with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in St. John's. The couple worked primarily with the RNC's Child Abuse Sexual Assault Unit (CASA) conducting participatory research.

Volunteers in your community

From left, Rosemary Healy, Debbie Andrews and Linda White

What do Willow Jackson, Mike Hollahan and Fronie Squibb have in common? Aside from working at Memorial University, they're also doing their part to help make a difference in our communities. In fact, they're just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of volunteers from this province who are involved with countless organizations and community groups. There are lots of ways people who work at Memorial are pitching in and doing their part to make a difference. In honour of Volunteer Week 2006, which ran from April 23-29, Memorial University saluted the staff and faculty who are helping communities grow. Jeff Green, editor of The Communicator, compiled a special website highlighting these employees. Visit to read about some of our co-workers who are dedicated volunteers, check out some of the groups they're involved with and share your own volunteer stories.

Memorial helps community group devise map of hiking trails

Dr. Rodolphe Devillers, an assistant professor in Geography, and Andrew Cuff, a fourth-year student in the department, worked with the Torbay Environment and Trails Committee this past summer to help map traditional trails in the town.

A unique partnership this past year between the Department of Geography and a non-profit group based on the Northeast Avalon resulted in what’s likely the first-ever community trail mapping project in the province. Memorial collaborated with the Torbay Environment and Trails Committee, a volunteer group dedicated to preserving the town’s natural areas, to help document traditional trailways and footpaths in the community. Through in-kind support, the use of top-notch equipment and computers, and the supervision of a summer student, Memorial was able to help the group create a computer database of most of the town’s hiking trails, highlighting their degree of difficulty and their various locations in the town. It was a big project that wouldn’t have been possible without the partnership with Memorial, said Madeleine Florent, secretary with the Torbay group. Memorial lent her group Global Positioning Systems (GPS) which helped volunteers map trails. That information was then passed over to Andrew Cuff, a fourth-year Geography and German major who is also completing a diploma in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS). He spent the summer working in Memorial’s GISciences Laboratory, editing and mapping the data volunteers collected. The end result was a solid inventory of trails and paths throughout Torbay. This type of community partnership is nothing new for Memorial or the Department of Geography. In fact, this current project actually began four years ago under the direction of Dr. Alvin Simms, associate professor at the GISciences Laboratory. He provided assistance and advice to the environment group before passing the reigns over to Dr. Rodolphe Devillers, an assistant professor who teaches cartography and GIS mapping.