Grenfell College, Waterford Institute sign MOU
By Connie Boland
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Principal John Ashton (L) and Dr. John Ennis, head of the Waterford Institute of Technology’s School of Humanities and director of the Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, recently signed a memorandum of understanding.
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Waterford Institute of Technology last week that augers well for students, faculty and staff at both institutions.
The document signed in Ireland also opens the doors to new initiatives that will further strengthen the long-standing ties between Newfoundland and Labrador and Ireland.
“The memorandum of understanding formalizes a relationship that has been ongoing for a number of years, and which involves a degree of collaboration that has increased significantly in the recent past and is continuing to expand,” Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Principal John Ashton explained April 22.
“What the MOU does is affirm the commitment of both institutions to continue working collaboratively and to continue to provide opportunities for faculty and students to work together in support of common objectives.”
During the winter semester, Cordula Hansen, a postgraduate student from the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), brought her unique ideas on bronze casting to Grenfell College’s School of Fine Arts. Ms. Hansen offered workshops on any number of related topics as part of her master of arts thesis, but she also had the opportunity to create her own sculptures and to learn from the students working around her.
Experiences like that are exactly the reason the MOU was signed, said Dr. Ashton, who was in Ireland for meetings at WIT and other institutions. “The MOU affirms those kinds of connections and commits us to doing more.”
This summer, a delegation of WIT visual arts faculty interested in developing joint projects and student exchanges will visit the School of Fine Arts to meet with faculty and staff, as well as to become familiar with Grenfell’s facilities. As well, Grenfell and WIT will incorporate a student exchange component into their new tourism studies degree programs. Two Grenfell faculty members have been invited to attend WIT as visiting professors during the 2005-06 academic year.
But the MOU reaches beyond Grenfell College’s relationship with WIT, Dr. Ashton added. “It also represents our commitment to strengthening ties and building relationships between Newfoundland and Ireland. This is only one in a series of initiatives involving our university and our Irish partners.”
The director of the Irish National Film School will visit Grenfell College this summer. As well, the institution will receive a delegation from the Dun Laoghaire Institute for Art Design and Technology, which is working on a number of projects, including the development of learning vacations that would see visitors from Ireland stay at Grenfell College while participating in a variety of summer program mini courses.
“The Ireland Newfoundland partnership is an important initiative to the province and to our university,” Dr. Ashton points out. “As a distinctive unit within the university we see an important role for us to play in furthering that.”