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New interim dean plans to keep HKR on track

 

Currently associate dean of undergraduate studies and a professor in the school, Dr. MacKinnon has been part of the Memorial team since 2002.

"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 10 years ago. So I think it's time that I stepped up," he noted.

In fact, since arriving at Memorial, Dr. MacKinnon has accomplished a lot. He is director of the Interdisciplinary PhD Program with the School of Graduate Studies, is cross appointed with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, is an honourary research associate with the School of Graduate Studies at the University of New Brunswick, and was a research chair and co-director at the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research.

But Dr. MacKinnon's other accomplishments lie in his research, which mainly focuses on maritime evacuation, escape, survival and rescue and workplace health and safety. Recently, and together with Dr. Brian Veitch from the Faculty of Engineering, he received $4.1M to develop a small craft simulator prototyping lab to research the effectiveness of virtual reality and artificial intelligence in training for offshore.

Over the years, Dr. MacKinnon has presented his research at conferences in Canada and around the world and has published numerous papers related to his findings.

Although his appointment is limited, Dr. MacKinnon hopes to continue the evolution HKR has experience in the last few years. "We've added new graduate programs, started important renovations to our physical space and with support from the vice-president academic office, added well needed faculty and staff positions. I hope I can continue this momentum over the next year."

"The university is undergoing many interesting changes in its administrative structures and I'm certain I can contribute to this process," he noted. "I want to make sure that the great things happening in HKR remain visible and that we continue to be engaged in the university and community at large."

Dr. MacKinnon has 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 sits on several university committees including the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies and the Senate Committee on Research. He is also a member of several organizations including the Ergonomics Society of South Africa, the Association of Canadian Ergonomics, is the Minister's representative on 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) and SafetyNet. He was most recently appointed to the international advisory board for a project called Lighthouse, a research project based in Sweden.

At its meeting on May 10, the Board of Regents approved Dr. MacKinnon's appointment which will begin July 1, 2012 and continue until a permanent candidate is found. He will be taking over from Dr. Antony Card who is taking a position as associate vice-president (research) at the Grenfell campus.

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