President's Report 2006 | Teaching

Highlights

Physician to review research integrity issues

Memorial University has appointed Dr. Paul Pencharz, a researcher and physician from Ontario, to undertake an examination of research integrity pertaining to the university. The examination includes, but is not restricted to, policies, processes and initiatives relevant to the research of Dr. Ranjit Chandra.

Dr. Pencharz is a staff physician with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where he also serves as a senior scientist in the hospital's Research Institute. He is also a professor of pediatrics and nutritional sciences with the University of Toronto.

His examination will be in two parts.

In part one, Dr. Pencharz will examine Memorial University's policies, processes and initiatives regarding research integrity for the period of the early 1990s to the present. It will provide a high-level comparison with policies and processes for the same period in place at other research-active universities in Canada. This examination will also include policies, processes and initiatives relevant to the research of Dr. Chandra.

In part two, Dr. Pencharz is being asked to make recommendations on measures that should be taken by Memorial University to strengthen research integrity and to make recommendations for action at the national level, particularly joint actions by the major research funding organizations and research-active universities in Canada.

The university expects to receive the report before the end of the calendar year.

"We remain committed to integrity in the research we undertake at Memorial University," said Dr. Christopher Loomis, Memorial's vice-president (research) to whom Dr. Pencharz will report.

"This investigation should provide us with guidelines to ensure that we have appropriate mechanisms in place to deal with any issues that arise concerning the integrity of the research being undertaken at Memorial," he said. "Dr. Pencharz's work will also help us lead an effort nationally to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to address these kinds of concerns that may arise elsewhere in the country. Other jurisdictions like the United States and Germany have such mechanisms and it is appropriate for Canada to consider developing similar protections to ensure the veracity of research."

The university will address the results of Dr. Pencharz's investigation with the university community and others.

More information on this issue, including Memorial's Policy Statement on Integrity in Scholarly Research, can be found at www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/chandra.php.

Changes in store - Memorial's engineering program gets overhaul

The Bachelor of Engineering program at Memorial is being redesigned for the first time in 30 years. The program has been revamped to emphasize areas that have particular relevance to Newfoundland and Labrador such as oil and gas, offshore, process industries, energy sector, advanced technology sector, with more team project work, and increased flexibility to take courses across engineering disciplines and from outside the Faculty of Engineering.

Scheduled for students entering in 2008, the most obvious change is that the program will now run five years instead of six (or eight academic semesters from the current 10). Other significant changes include students being admitted directly from high school and, although the program will still have a mandatory co-op component, students will only have to complete four work terms as opposed to the six they now have to complete. The new program will also include Engineering One, a common first year with more project-based, interdisciplinary courses after which there will be competitive entry into each of the five engineering disciplines: civil, electrical, computer, mechanical, and ocean and naval

Icelandic teachers visit Memorial

It was the start of a long and fruitful journey when Karl Erlendsson, a headmaster at a compulsory school (ages six to 16) in Iceland contacted Dr. Jean Brown, Faculty of Education about coming to Memorial for a sabbatical in 2001-2002. Out of this initial contact with Dr. Brown, grew a professional development workshop that brought 22 teachers from Akureyri, the second city in Iceland, to St. John's on a week-long visit in June 2006. The group participated in school visits in St. Philips, Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace as well as workshops at Memorial on the provincial school system, school development, current brain research, inclusive education, and virtual learning in provincial high schools. Dr. Brown said that one of their key interests is e-learning. "Their school, which is new, has state-of-the-art technology, they are really interested in what we are doing in technology in this province."

Interest in Brain Storm Competition growing

From left: Brenda Fisher, Janssen-Ortho; Roger He (first place, Prince of Wales Collegiate; Brian Kenny, Health and Community Services NL; Paul Thistle (second place, Gonzaga; Pam Anstey, Epilepsy NL; and Alex Ryan (third place, Gonzaga).

Thirty-seven students from five local high schools competed in this year's Brain Storm Competition, held March 23 at Holy Heart High School in St. John's. "We first held the competition in 2000 and in that year there were only seven students from two high schools," said Dr. John McLean, who has been the key organizer of the competition for the past six years on behalf of the local chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine. The Epilepsy Association, NL Division, also shares in organizing this annual event.

The top three students — Roger He from Prince of Wales Collegiate, Paul Thistle from Gonzaga and Alex Ryan from Gonzaga — received cash prizes provided by the competition's major sponsor, Janssen-Ortho. In addition, neuroscience graduate students obtained donations from 21 local companies which enabled all contestants to receive a prize. A Brain Art competition was also held in conjunction with Brain Awareness Week and 11 entries were received from high school students.

Math in the Mall

Budding mathematicians strapped on their thinking caps and headed to the Avalon Mall in St. John's on Sat. Feb. 4, 2006. They were taking part in a special program organized by Memorial University's Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Math in the Mall, is an educational event tailor-made to get young children involved in math and to show them that the subject can be fun.

Activities such as a math trail, a type of mathematical scavenger hunt, involved participants roaming the mall in search of answers to particular problems such as: estimating the number of tiles in the ceiling of a certain store; describing the geometric shape in a store logo; or discovering how long it takes to move between floors on an escalator.

This is not the first time Memorial University has held this type of activity. In the early 1990s, the department held a similar highly successful program for several years.

Mentor of the Year award for Newfoundland pediatrician

L-R: Dr. Tricia Feener, a pediatrician from Corner Brook and graduate of Memorial, presented the award to Dr. Chuck Hobeika, along with Dr. Sharon Peters, chair of the Atlantic Region Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada selected Dr. Chuck Hobeika, FRCPC, as a Mentor of the Year for 2005 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to medical education, the high standards of care he has demonstrated to students, peers and patients, and his long history of fostering excellence in the pediatric training program at Memorial University. Dr. Hobeika was an associate professor of Pediatrics at Memorial University for over 30 years until his retirement in 2001. He remains on staff at the Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre, holding one to two clinics a week.

Model mentors: MUN hosts high school conference

A group of enterprising students from Memorial University spent their winter mid-term break helping mentor high school students taking part in a unique program.

The Memorial University United Nations Society hosted the 15th annual Memorial University St. John's High School Model United Nations conference, held on the St. John's campus Feb. 20-21, 2006.

More than 200 students from area high schools took on the role of a representative of a country and essentially argued its viewpoint in a session resembling that of the real UN. They got lots of support and guidance from 30 or so Memorial students who participated in the event.

Andrew O'Brien, a member of the MUN UN Society and president of this year's Model UN conference helped organize the event along with fellow Memorial students Michael Downey and Erin Matthewst. They also got some assistance from the Department of Political Science and the United Nations Association of Canada (UNAC) to pull off the event.

Dr. Lilly Walker, dean of Student Affairs and Services, credited the Memorial group for co-ordinating the conference. "This is a totally student-run organization. They mentor others, organize events, raise their own funds and profile the importance of being involved in the world. They are a tremendous group."

National stroke award for Memorial neuroscientist

(L-R) 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 University of Newfoundland and holds the Canada Research Chair in Stroke and Neuroplasticity. In announcing the award, the Canadian Stroke Network said 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. Among Dr. Corbett's many achievements in the area of training and mentorship was the extremely successful Summer Program In Neuroscience (SPIN), held first at Memorial University in the summer of 2003.

New scholarship honours case team coach

Dr. Alex Faseruk has been coaching case teams at the Faculty of Business Administration for more than 20 years.

Each year students from Memorial's Faculty of Business Administration go head-to-head with business students from around the world at national and international competitions. And while the team members often change from year to year, one name is a constant on the team roster. For more than 20 years, finance professor Dr. Alex Faseruk has been coaching graduate and undergraduate students and preparing them for intense case competitions.

In recognition of Dr. Faseruk's commitment and contribution to his students, in particular the MBA case teams, the faculty announced the establishment of the Dr. Alex Faseruk MBA Scholarship for Excellence in Service. This award will be presented annually to a full-time MBA student of scholarship standing who has demonstrated outstanding service through participation in student, faculty or university activities and/or contribution to the larger community.

In January 2006, organizers of the prestigious John Molson MBA International Case Competition at Concordia University recognizes Memorial University as the most successful school in the competition's 25-year history. Dr. Faseruk holds the distinction of being the longest-serving and most successful coach at that competition.

Dr. Faseruk is also a recipient of the 3M Teaching Fellow, the National Post's Leaders in Management Education Award and the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Physician to review research integrity issues

Memorial University has appointed Dr. Paul Pencharz, a researcher and physician from Ontario, to undertake an examination of research integrity pertaining to the university. The examination includes, but is not restricted to, policies, processes and initiatives relevant to the research of Dr. Ranjit Chandra.

Dr. Pencharz is a staff physician with the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where he also serves as a senior scientist in the hospital's Research Institute. He is also a professor of pediatrics and nutritional sciences with the University of Toronto.

His examination will be in two parts. In part one, Dr. Pencharz will examine Memorial University's policies, processes and initiatives regarding research integrity for the period of the early 1990s to the present. In part two, Dr. Pencharz is being asked to make recommendations on measures that should be taken by Memorial University to strengthen research integrity and to make recommendations for action at the national level, particularly joint actions by the major research funding organizations and research-active universities in Canada

The university expects to receive the report before the end of the calendar year. More information on this issue, including Memorial's Policy Statement on Integrity in Scholarly Research, can be found at www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/chandra.php

Province selects Arts website as curriculum resource

The Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website already receives over 100,000 visitors each month, but that number is bound to rise as junior high students and teachers throughout the province increasingly turn to it as their source for information on provincial history.

New content development will be aided by a $50,000 infusion from the provincial Department of Education.

"The Department of Education has developed a Grade 8 curriculum on Newfoundland and Labrador history. They asked us to go through our site and fill in gaps in the information related to the curriculum," project co-ordinator Vince Walsh explained. "They approached us because we've developed a very good reputation. We have always prided ourselves on making every effort to ensure information is accurate, and visitors to the site have confidence in that accuracy."

The provincial funding has allowed the Heritage Website team to hire a researcher/writer; Mr. Walsh also hopes to draw on the expertise of the Arts faculty in adding content.

"Our mandate is to examine several aspects of provincial history from the 1800s onward," says Mr. Walsh. "In the post-confederation era, we're expanding our information on resettlement, economic development, infrastructure and the cultural changes."

According to Dr. James Hiller, the academic co-ordinator for the heritage site, the curriculum project is spurring some major original research, particularly for the period of the 1950s and '60s. "There's no standard source on the resettlement program, nothing that really describes how a community went about moving in the 1960s. It hasn't been described before." The same is true, he noted, of topics like the start-up of mines and mining towns in western Labrador.

To join the hundred-thousand or so visitors who experience the depth and breadth of the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website every month, visit www.heritage.nf.ca.

Teaching business basics

Amid all the big names and big budgets at the Students in Free Enterprise World Cup, members of Memorial's chapter of Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) earned international acclaim for a student-organized, low-budget project that taught business basics to young people in Labrador.

In October 2005, Meghann Comerford, a B.Comm. (Co-op) student and member of ACE Memorial, was invited to the HSBC Financial Literacy Forum held in Toronto as part of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) World Cup event. The invitation came after forum organizers reviewed how she helped to turn a $1000 US scholarship from HSBC into a business program that targeted Aboriginal youth.

Ms. Comerford and fellow ACE members John Hurley and Angela Dyke partnered with the Native Friendship Centre to deliver a two-day Youth in Business conference in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area.

"There were 14 young people in the class and we tried to get them to think about the financial side of owning your own business," said Mr. Hurley. "We ran a simulation exercise where they were owners of retail store. We got them to think about sales, inventory, pricing and how they would market products to people in their area."

"There aren't a lot of young people who choose entrepreneurship as a potential career," he added. "It's still kind of a mysterious occupation. Activities like this conference help young people to expand their list of career possibilities. "

"I think the word 'entrepreneurship' in our name turns people off," said Mr. Hurley. At the SIFE World Cup, the championship team from ESSEC Business School in Paris was made up of 10 core members from seven faculties and eight countries and the team from Drury University in the United States has 43 student members who represent 17 programs of study.

"Where we are the only university in the province, we feel like there are so many economic issues at home that we can all contribute to," said Mr. Hurley. "We want to have the strongest students from across campus to be members of ACE Memorial."

Visiting profs from the U.S. and France offer course at Memorial

From Sept. 21-23, 2005, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science offered a course that has never been offered in Canada. Constructal Design of Porous and Complex Flow Structures deals with the design and analysis of porous and complex flow structures found in engineering systems. It was led by internationally-renowned researchers Dr. Adrian Bejan and Dr. Sylvie Lorente as well as Memorial's Dr. Yuri Muzychka.

The course offered topics that include geophysical applications, fluid collection and distribution networks, multi-scale design, compact heat exchangers, process intensification, and sustainable design of energy systems.

What in the world is a learning object?

If you don't know what a learning object is, you're not the only one. In fact, countless definitions of a learning object currently exist. Memorial's Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) has adopted the following definition: a pedagogically sound, interoperable, digital resource that is created to assist in the fulfillment of a determined learning objective.

On a very broad scale, a learning object is meant to be something that addresses various learning styles and enhances a student's ability to learn.

Incorporating a learning object into the classroom or an online course can mean presenting content to the learner in new and novel ways. Meeting expectations, addressing needs and even just presenting data in a way that is not straight from a textbook, can prove to be an added learning benefit.

Learning objects can be reused in a variety of learning contexts, when a similar learning objective is addressed and/or may also be used in its original state to address a different learning objective. A good example is the learning object DELT has developed, with significant involvement from English faculty members Bernard O'Dwyer and Bob Hollett, for use in English 3650, Structure of Modern English: Phonology and Morphology.

The object's purpose is to allow students to hear the English vowel, diphthong and consonant sounds, while viewing an animated representation of how the sound is created through its points and manner of articulation. The object further demonstrates how the tongue, lips and vocal cords interact to create specific sounds. The learning object guides students through the pronunciation of standard modern English sounds articulated by a Canadian speaker, providing students with reliable audio sources with which to compare and practice. The learning objective for this object would be to discern the phonology of modern English structures.