New director looks at growth
Armed with a new report recommending Memorial hire a director of athletics, Dr. Mary Bluechardt looks to continue the development of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR). While recognizing that athletics is one facet of the school, the new director said that the new position will not only advance athletic programs but allow her more time to focus on the academic part of HKR.
Dr. Mary Bluechardt
“It’s a very exciting time to come in here given the report that’s been completed and the recommendations for the advancement of the varsity athletics program,” she said. “With a background and interest in sport and in coaching it’s a very exciting time to come into a university where there are some significant advances going to be made in athletics.”
A director of athletics can help seek funding “so that the coaches can get on with coaching and training our athletes. We have been competitive and we’ll continue to be competitive but on a larger scale.”
We need to get more students “excited about” being part of MUN Athletics, she said. The report is titled Now is the Time and was discussed at an internal forum in December. There is an external stakeholder forum Jan 17. Dr. Bluechardt anticipates the director of athletics position being filled this spring. One area that will consume Dr. Bluechardt’s time is the physical space of the school. She said there are no shortage of applications to HKR, but “what’s lacking is the teaching and lab space.”
Dr. Bluechardt comes to Memorial from Special Olympics Canada where she was the national director for coach development. Prior to that she was a professor at the University of Regina (Saskatchewan) in both the Faculties of Kinesiology and Health Studies, and Education.
Dr. Bluechardt said she’s excited about a return to the academic environment. “When I left the University of Regina four and a half years ago, I knew I was not leaving academics permanently. I knew I wanted to come back into the academic setting. I really enjoyed teaching and research, and I really enjoy interacting with the students and will continue to do that here at Memorial.”
Dr. Bluechardt said she’s been kept very busy settling into a new province, a new city, a new position, and she thanked Dr. David Dibbon for his “marvellous job” as the interim director and support in the transition.
Dr. Bluechardt’s appointment is for a five-year term, effective Jan. 1, 2006.