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HKR's interim dean looking forward to stepping up

By Michelle Osmond

Walking into Dr. Scott MacKinnon's office, you'd never guess he's spinning a thousand plates. His office is surprisingly organized and relaxing. Behind the scenes, however, the new interim dean of Memorial's School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR) has a CV that reads like a novel composed of professional accomplishments.

Currently associate dean of undergraduate studies and a professor in HKR, Dr. MacKinnon is also director of the interdisciplinary PhD program with the School of Graduate Studies, cross-appointed with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and a research associate with the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research, just to name a few.

Dr. MacKinnon's own research focuses mainly on offshore safety and survival, workplace health and knowledge mobilization. Over the years, he has presented his research at conferences in Canada and around the world and has published numerous papers.

He also sits on several committees including the Committee on Undergraduate Studies (HKR) for which he is the chair; is a member of several organizations including the Association of Canadian Ergonomists, the Ergonomics Society of South Africa, the Newfoundland and Labrador Fishing Vessel Safety Advisory Council, the American-British-Canadian-Dutch Group on Human Performance at Sea, the Offshore Safety Research Consortium (Memorial/National Research Council), the CNA Advisory Board for the Safety Engineering Program and was most recently appointed to the international advisory board for a Swedish-based research project called Lighthouse.

"Many academics might shy away from administrative positions because it can impact upon teaching and research paths, but I've been fortunate to have accomplished many of my goals since arriving here in 2002. So I think it's time I stepped up," he noted. "The university is undergoing many interesting changes in its administrative and organizational structures and I'm certain I can contribute to this process. I want to make sure that the great happenings in HKR remain visible and that we remain engaged in the university and community at large."

All of this, and he manages to transport his two children to and from school, basketball practices, volunteer activities and makes sure they stay on top of their own studies. His wife Helen also works a hectic schedule, having recently started her own business.

"I'd like to say family comes first. Helen has always been supportive of my career goals and my kids Maggie and James really think I have a cool job so they tend to give me more time allowances than they really should. But most importantly I work with very supportive, creative and committed staff and faculty who really deserve credit for many of the things I do."

With a bachelor of physical education from the University of New Brunswick, a master of science from Dalhousie University and a doctorate of biomedical engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Dr. MacKinnon will succeed Dr. Antony Card who is taking a position as associate vice-president (Grenfell-research).