Ref. No. 58
||Nov. 23, 2001
||Memorial University faculty members receive awards for teaching and research excellence
Memorial University has recognized the efforts of its best teachers and
researchers. Memorial President Dr. Axel Meisen presented the awards at a
reception recently held at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre. Seven
Memorial faculty were honoured at the reception, five for outstanding
research, and two for teaching.
Dr. Ronald Rompkey, Department of English Language and Literature, and Dr.
Tran Gien, Physics and Physical Oceanography, were each named University
Research Professors, the highest rank the university bestows upon its
faculty. Dr. Christopher Marshall, Classics, Dr. Kristina Szutor, Music,
and Dr. Peter Pope, Anthropology, each received the President's Award for
Outstanding Research. Drs. Norman Garlie, Faculty of Education, and John
Quaicoe, Engineering and Applied Science, were each awarded the President's
Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Memorial began its annual presentation of the University Research Professor
designations and the Awards for Outstanding Research in 1984, and the
Distinguished Teaching Awards in 1988, as ways of singling out particularly distinguished
contributions within its academic community.
President's Awards for Distinguished Teaching recognize the teaching
excellence in the university community. Each winner of the teaching award
receives a $5,000 grant contributed by the Memorial University Alumni
Association. The President's Award for Outstanding Research recognizes
researchers who have made outstanding contributions to their scholarly
disciplines. Each award includes a $5,000 research grant. University
Research Professors have acquired a designation above the rank of
professor. The title is the most prestigious award the university gives for
research, and goes to faculty who have demonstrated a consistently high
level of scholarship and whose research is of truly international stature.
The designation carries with it a $4,000 research grant (each year for five
years) and a reduced teaching schedule. Stories on each award recipient
Dr. Christopher Marshall, Classics (Outstanding Research)
Dr. Marshall holds an undergraduate degree in archaeology and classics from
McGill University and a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. An
associate professor after only three years at Memorial, Dr. Marshall is
already a well-established leader in his field. His main speciality is the
theatre of classical Greece and Rome, although his interests wander widely
through all aspects of the classics. His numerous articles have been
published in respected academic journals such as Classical Quarterly and
Classical Journal. He has spoken at conferences around the world, including
in Greece, South Africa and the United States. His scholarly standing was
recognized in April 2000 with a three-year Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council Standard Research Grant, which he is using to explore the
stagecraft of the ancient Latin playwright Plautus.
"Classics is my passion and my drive," Dr. Marshall said. "Classics allows
me to study the ancient world in all its aspects, use any methodology that
I want, as long as it tells me something about the area that I am studying."
And it is with novel methodology that Dr. Marshall excels. Although he is
fluent in the traditional tools of the classicist - the ancient Greek and
Latin languages and the methods of philological critique - his scholarship
derives much of its incisiveness and vigour from his activities as an actor
and director, skills foreign to most classical scholars.
"I do see the plays I am involved with as an extension of my research
because I'm interested in performance. So while the ability for me to put
on a play on campus does not necessarily tell me what Euripides did or what
Aristophanes did or what Plautus did, it does provide me with a laboratory
that lets me conduct experiments about ancient stagecraft."
This approach has benefited the local public: Plautine plays on the steps
of the QE II Library and a recent interpretation of a little-known play of
Euripides in the Arts and Culture Centre have not only entertained them,
but taught them too.
"I use my research as an extension of my teaching," he said. "I see my job
fundamentally as a teacher. I'm teaching audiences with the plays, I
teaching students in the classroom, and, through my publications, I am
teaching my peers, in the same way that I learn from them when I read their
Dr. Kristina Szutor, Music (Outstanding Research)
Dr. Kristina Szutor's record as a performer during her time at Memorial is
remarkable. The pianist has given over 100 public performances since her
appointment in 1991. Despite the large number of shows, colleagues say they
"have never heard her play with anything less than superb technical command
and compelling musicianship."
Dr. Szutor, a native of British Columbia, is an associate professor at
Memorial's School of Music. She holds a master's degree from the Juilliard
School of Music and a doctorate in piano performance from the University of
British Columbia. She has performed throughout Canada and in New York,
Switzerland and Spain. She can be heard frequently on CBC radio, both
locally on Musicraft, as well as nationally on shows like Two New Hours and
Take Five. While she regularly performs a wide variety of traditional solo
and chamber repertoire, she has a special interest in 20th century music
and has in recent years been very active in premiering and commissioning
"Among other things my research involves the commissioning of new works and
adding to the body of recorded knowledge from my instrument," said Dr.
Szutor. "In the less traditional sense, my performance work is my research."
"Dr. Szutor's range as a performer is also remarkable," said Dr. Tom
Gordon, director, School of Music. "She has developed an especially fine
reputation as an interpreter of 20th-century music, including avant-garde
works using prepared piano and other extended piano techniques. Her ability
to interpret complex contemporary scores inspires enthusiasm for the music;
even in listeners who do not like 'modern music.'"
Her CD of solo piano music, titled Bookends in Time, features works from
the first and last decades of the 20th century and includes a newly
commissioned work as well as three premiere recordings. Although strictly
speaking a self-produced recording, Dr. Szutor's debut disc is the result
of collaborations with many of the same institutions that would
conventionally partner a commercial classical recording in Canada. Under
funding from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the recording was
produced and engineered by professionals from CBC Radio. She can also be
heard on Newfoundland composer, Michael Parker's CD entitled Lyre.
Dr. Szutor has premiered new works by several Canadian composers, and her
new CD includes premier recordings of works by Clark Ross, John Burge,
Marjan Mozetich and Robert Muezynski. Through her performances at Canadian
University Music Society (CUMS) conferences, lecture-recitals and radio
broadcasts, she has earned the admiration and respect of colleagues across
Dr. Peter Pope, Anthropology (Outstanding Research)
For Dr. Peter Pope, an associate professor of Anthropology, there's no such
thing as a statute of limitations. Dr. Pope, who teaches historical
archaeology, specializes in trying to understand mysteries from the early
modern maritime world.
"I like the challenge of figuring out what was happening to particular
people in particular places at particular times in the past," said Dr.
Pope. "Explaining my version of the story afterwards is another challenge.
I especially enjoy doing it if it tends to undermine the conventional
Dr. Pope has been awarded a President's Award for Outstanding Research in
recognition of his achievements in uncovering the past and preserving it
for future generations.
"For me, the award means the university appreciates the kind of
inter-disciplinary work historical archaeologists do and that it continues
to support research in the social and historical sciences," he said. "The
award will assist me in beginning some research on the impact of the early
fishery and settlement on the Avalon Peninsula."
Since 1993, he has been directing the St. John's Waterfront Archaeology
Project, an archaeological investigation that has lead Dr. Pope and his
team to uncover traces of European occupations from as early as the 16th
"In the summer of 2000, we uncovered part of the original beach and
explored the process of infill from about 1665 at a site near the Murray
Premises on Water Street," he said. "I'm interested in these excavations
because they help us understand the growth of permanent settlement in
Newfoundland in the 17th and 18th centuries. The results from this project
will give us a clearer understanding of the process of waterfront advance
in St. John's and will be used by the provincial archaeology office and the
City of St. John's to evaluate potential archaeological impact of
Dr. Pope is also directing the Newfoundland Archaeological Heritage
Outreach Program, an initiative that aims to assist communities throughout
the province in archaeological research; to help place MUN students in
research positions with community projects; and to provide an ongoing
assessment of how communities construct their pasts. In addition, he is
supervising Newfoundland's input into HMAPS (History of Marine Animal
Populations), an international project that will use historical and
archaeological sources to quantify human fishing activity over the last
Amazingly, Dr. Pope continues to be very productive in his research
publications too. He is busy making final edits to his second book Fish
into Wine, the Newfoundland Plantation in the 17th Century, which will be
published next year and the article he is most pleased with will appear in
the forthcoming Blackwell Guide to Colonial American History, edited by
Danny Vickers, a former PAOR recipient.
With Dr. Pope involved in so many projects, one mystery surrounding his
work remains: How does he find time to do it all?
Dr. Tran Gien, Physics (University Research Professor)
Physics has always been Dr. Tran Gien's overriding passion in life. In high
school in Vietnam he was drawn to the subject, and it was a natural fit for
him to study physics at the University of Saigon. He excelled in his
studies and won the National Prize in Physics; he was then sent abroad to
pursue his studies in the United States.
In 1966 he accepted an associate professorship at Memorial University:
since then he and his wife, Dr. Lan Gien, Nursing, have made St. John's
their home. Dr. Gien was promoted to full professor in 1974. A quiet, unassuming man, Dr. Gien's
enthusiasm for his work is evident when asked what he does for relaxation -
he talks about the joy of physics.
Dr. Gien is a theoretical physicist whose current research field is mainly
concerned with atomic scattering theory and calculations. He is recognized
internationally for his contributions to the development of theoretical
methods in the area of atomic collisions, which are critical to progress in
such diverse areas as the planning and understanding of accelerator
experiments, the interpretation of astrophysical observations, and the
design of high precision instrumentation including lasers and atomic
clocks. Scattering phenomena are also relevant to some medical imaging
technologies such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
Dr. Gien's contributions to the solution of quantum mechanical equations in
closed forms are in the intermediate-energy range. He is most famous for
his development of the Modified Glauber Method to deal with atomic
collisions in this area. Experimental physicists at Wayne State University,
Detroit, are now completing measurements on many of the collision systems
that Dr. Gien has investigated theoretically.
There is no doubt that Dr. Gien is a prolific researcher, and other
physicists are particularly impressed that most of his extensive list of
publications are single-authored.
"It is very hard work to write an article by yourself," he concedes. "It
requires, among other efforts, a lot of computations."
While computers are of assistance, Dr. Gien said that they really only come
into play in the final stages of solving a problem. He still relies on his
own brain to get him to the stage of writing the computer codes. He admits
that he can get so lost in thinking about a problem that he forgets about
everyday things like dinner.
Dr. Gien organized an International Symposium on Atomic Physics in Hanoi in
1999, and notes that in the small international world of physics research
"everyone knows everyone else's work." His own research has been supported
by external grants during his career at Memorial.
Dr. Ronald Rompkey, English (University Research Professor)
Biographer, arts advocate and English professor Ronald Rompkey views the
designation of university research professor as a "thrilling" endorsement,
not only of his own work, but also the Memorial University mission in
"It's a bit like a fantasy to have a university say to you 'we're going to
allocate a certain chunk of your academic year to doing research.'
"Memorial is being very progressive and forward thinking in doing this
because not every university would make this time available. To have a
university that sets aside two positions like this once a year is very
A St. John's native, Dr. Rompkey was educated at Memorial (BA '65, B.Ed.
'66, MA '68) and completed his PhD at the University of London (King's
College). He taught English Literature in British Columbia, Alberta and
Saskatchewan before returning to MUN in 1984. He is a Fellow of the Royal
Historical Society and a past two-term director of the J. R. Smallwood Foundation
for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.
Dr. Rompkey has published six books, including Jessie Luther at the
Grenfell Mission; Labrador Odyssey: The Journals and Photographs of Eliot
Curwen on the Second Voyage of Wilfred Grenfell; and Grenfell of Labrador:
A Biography. His latest work is an edition of a Labrador memoir written by
Dr. Harry Paddon.
It was as an undergraduate at Memorial that Dr. Rompkey began to hone one
of his best known research specialties: Northern Newfoundland. Today, his
notable work on Sir Wilfred Grenfell attracts readers and lecture audiences
across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
A university research professorship will allow Dr. Rompkey to further his
most recent area of interest: the 19th-century French presence on the
Northern Peninsula. A large body of travel literature exists about this
region and period. Dr. Rompkey will be editing, annotating and interpreting
these original French language texts.
As he looks forward to the next few years' labours, Dr. Rompkey once again
emphasizes that the ultimate aim of his professorship - indeed all of his
research activity - is unfailingly supported by the university he has been
a part of for nearly two decades.
"The Department of English at Memorial has been working on various parts of
our cultural heritage since the time we became a university after
Confederation. The results help explain who we are as a people," said Dr.
"Part of the business of a university is to ask questions. The more
reliable the texts we have to reflect who we are, the better."
Dr. Norman Wayne Garlie, Education (Distinguished Teaching Award)
Dr. Norm Garlie has been teaching at Memorial for exactly 30 years. In
those three decades, hundreds, if not thousands, of students have
benefitted from his wide-ranging expertise in the field of educational
As one of Memorial's Distinguished Teachers for 2001, Dr. Garlie is
receiving one of the university's highest honours for faculty members. It's
one that students and colleagues alike think is long overdue.
What might seem a little unusual to most observers is that Dr. Garlie is
able to inspire his students even when he has never met them in person. One
such student is Cecelia Edwards-Stacey, a recent graduate of the special
education degree program.
"As an older student returning to Memorial University in May 2000 (for) my
special education degree amid various personal and professional
transitions, I derived much educational and therapeutic value from my
courses with Dr. Garlie," she said. Ms. Edwards-Stacey also commented on
Dr. Garlie's "commitment," "thoughtful advice," and "reassuring and
High praise indeed, coming from another teacher, some might say, and all
the more interesting because "most of my correspondence and association
with Dr. Garlie has been through teleconference and e-mails, having only
met him in person (in early 2001)," said Ms. Edwards-Stacey.
In addition to his classroom expertise, Dr. Garlie remains extremely active
in research as well as involvement with professional organizations and
university committees. Over the course of his career, he has supervised numerous master's degree research
projects, as well as acting as internal and external examiner, reviewer,
and consultant on many occasions.
Last year the video Adam Case: Twice Exceptional, on which Dr. Garlie
with CAMS director Debbie McGee, won an award from the Association for
Media and Technology in Education and Canada. He has also been twice
honoured by the Canadian Council for Exceptional Children, in 1996 as
recognition of his contribution made to exceptional children in Canada, and
in 2000 receiving the Donald G. Warren Outstanding Achievement Award for
distinguished long-term service to the association.
"He is a most deserving candidate for this prestigious title," said Ms.
Edwards-Stacey. "This is not only because of his lengthy and impressive
list of awards, credentials, and professional achievements, but more
because of the superior quality of his instruction and guidance services
and the great personal commitment he offers and applies to his work."
Dr. John Quaicoe, Engineering (Distinguished Teaching Award)
If you were to ask students what qualities distinguish Dr. John Quaicoe as
a good teacher, they would say supportive, motivating, caring and
enthusiastic, to name just a few. Since 1982, Dr. Quaicoe has been a
teacher in Memorial's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. For the
past 19 years he has built a reputation among students and faculty members
as an instructor who is deeply concerned about learning. During his time at
Memorial, he has served as chair of the electrical engineering discipline
for nine years, and recently, acting associate dean (graduate studies and
research). It is quite fitting that he should be chosen as one of this
year's recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award.
"I have always believed that teaching is more than being in front of a
classroom and presenting information. I think one has to be in tune with
the students in terms of the material that is presented. I am very
conscious of this. I make sure that the students are understanding the
material," said Dr. Quaicoe.
Students have responded very well to Dr. Quaicoe's teaching philosophy.
Even though many of them have gone on to graduate studies or employment
opportunities outside of Newfoundland, they all say, his encouragement and
support is still remembered and greatly appreciated. One former student
remarked, "he teaches with a patient, caring and enthusiastic approach that
produces a very effective result, one that gives me the motivation to
strive to teach at the same high standard."
When asked about his teaching philosophy, Dr. Quaicoe simply said, "I
believe that effective teachers must have a vision for their students. A
vision that establishes an overall educational goal and recognizes the
potential and possibilities in students, irrespective of their background
preparation, and allows the teacher to foster active learning in the
context of the ultimate goal. This vision achieves two main goals: first,
it shows the students that the teacher cares about them as individuals; and
second, it establishes a commitment on the part of the teacher."
Speaking on his proven commitment, faculty members have said, "many
students rate him as the best professor they have ever learnt from at
Memorial." They went on to say that his courses are typified by excellent
organization of material, meticulous preparation
of class notes, and carefully worked out examples. According to one fellow
faculty member and former student, "he exemplifies the best qualities one
could hope for in a university professor."
Dr. Quaicoe is quite pleased to be receiving this award, more for the
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science than for himself. When asked if
this award will change the way he teaches he said, "I see it as a challenge
to continue to do the best job that I can."
For further information, please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, Memorial
University News Service, 737-8665.
Editors please note that photos of the above recipients can be found at