by Pamela Gill
Dr. Randall Maggs explains the research behind the series
of poems he's written about NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuck.
By Pamela Gill
Grenfell College's recent research presentation to the Board
of Regents was all that and a bag of cookies.
“What do star clusters and cookies have to do with
each other?” asked Dr. Doug Forbes of Grenfell's physics
department as he slammed a baggie of chocolate chip cookies
against a desk.
The answers to that and other research questions were the
subject of the Grenfell Showcase — four presentations
made to the Board of Regents as well as representatives
from various sectors of the west coast community.
Dr. Forbes explained his research on star formations and
his quest to find out why stars form the way they do. He
likened star clusters to cookie crumbs — some stars
are big, some are small. His research measures the luminosity
and temperature of stars — among other things —
in order to attempt to determine why some are big and some
are small, how they’ve formed, when they formed and
how quickly they are dying.
Dr. Bob Hooper, manager of the Bonne Bay Marine Station
in Norris Point, says the station offers “unlimited
research opportunities.” Research on wolffish critical
habitat is currently underway; wolffish are currently on
the edge of becoming an endangered species. The biggest
research project at the centre now is the development of
the Bonne Bay Ocean Observatory.
“Over the last year or so we've been designing and
putting together the equipment for it,” he said, adding
the technology will gather oceanographic, biological and
video data. “We’ll be observing ocean dynamics
using a seabed installation.”
Methods of communicating in rural communities was the focus
of Dr. Ivan Emke's presentation. Dr. Emke, who chairs Grenfell's
social/cultural studies degree program, pointed to several
examples of small communities using media such as television
and radio as means of keeping in touch and discussing important
rural issues. In Burgeo, for example, the community supports
a local cable station through subscriptions. This revenue
has allowed the employment of two full-time staff to run
the station, who produce programming such as This Week
in Burgeo. This type of programming allows residents
to get good information on issues of importance to their
survival, explained Dr. Emke.
Finally, Dr. Randall Maggs of Grenfell's English department
shared his research on the mysterious Terry Sawchuck, the
NHL goaltender who succeeded on the ice, but had difficulty
coping with most other aspects of his life. “The Sawchuck
Poems” examine at the man behind the hockey mask.
“In this series of poems, I’m trying to understand
what happened to him in the context of the game he was playing,”
said Dr. Maggs, referring to the circumstances surrounding
Sawchuck's depression, probable eating disorder and his
Ultimately, the showcase allowed Grenfell to demonstrate
that the college is not just about teaching.
“Since Grenfell College opened in 1975, it’s
been known for excellence in teaching,” said Dr. Adrian
Fowler, principal of Grenfell. “Although we've always
been engaged in research, we’re not well known for
our research. We’ve just appointed an associate vice-principal
of research who is helping us to better position ourselves
to contribute to research and development in this region.
This showcase is an opportunity for us to demonstrate to
you the kinds of research in which our faculty are involved.”