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REF NO.: 2

SUBJECT: Memorial University named Institution of the Year
DATE: Sept. 3, 2004

For further information, please contact IvanMuzychka, manager, Memorial University News Service, 737-8665, cell 687-9433, ivanm@mun.ca.The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) has named MemorialUniversitythe Education Institution of the Year. Memorial is the first recipient of the inaugural award, a significant milestone in the ongoing development of the Department of Career Development and Experiential Learning at MemorialUniversity. CACEE is the pre-eminent organization in Canadathat brings together employers and career educators to discuss issues of career education and recruitment.

The award was given in recognition of leadership in career development in Canada. Dr. Lilly Walker, dean, Student Affairs and Services and Rob Shea, director, Department of Career Development and Experiential Learning both said the award does not recognize a single department, but has been made possible only by the collaboration and co-operation of all academic and administrative departments within the university.

Mr. Shea, who accepted the award on behalf of the university at the CACEE National Conference in Winnipeg, explained why the award was truly institutional.

“Memorial’s Student Work and Service Program (SWASP), the Memorial University Career Experience Program (MUCEP), our partnerships with provincial and federal government and countless other initiatives are all institution wide. The level of success we’ve achieved since the department’s inception three short years ago is directly related to the entire institution becoming involved and showing us the value they see in the programs we offer.”

Mr. Shea attributes the award to the continued development and successes of many areas and programs including: the development of cutting edge experiential learning programs that reflect the growing career needs of students and the human resource needs of the employer community for well prepared students; the development of a hi-tech career centre which provides inviting state-of-the-art information technology support for personal career development; the launch of the first Canadian Journal of Career Development which has grown to over 1,100 individual subscribers in the last three years; the Recruiter in Residence series which brings key employers on campus to engage students from a multitude of disciplines.

Dr. Walker said recognition of this type really puts the pressure on.

“Memorial is trying to do innovative things, particularly in the areas of experiential learning and ensuring that we have a strong academic base to our programming. We’re trying to build the importance of integrating the academic side and the non-academic side of the university so students are more aware of the skills and competencies they’re getting.” Dr. Walker said in the end, the university wants to produce a really well-educated, competent graduate. And she says, those competencies are not just something a student finds in a classroom, it’s what they find in complementary work such as volunteer activities or the experiential learning partnerships each department has with administrative and academic units within the university. “We’re trying to lead the way in that area.”

According to Mr. Shea, the concept of experiential learning is still relatively new. Dr. Walker said it is one of the things that makes Memorial unique. “We have co-operative programs, preceptorships, internships, field study components, and career development programs such as MUCEP. And it’s not just in the professional schools,” she explained. “What we’ve done is brought that to the general arts and science areas. In leading that experiential aspect we are not only strengthening learning but actually adding to the retention of students and developing the soft skills in students that employers like to see.”

“The beauty of experiential learning is taking the theory of what happens in the classroom and practicing it, then reflecting on that,” Mr. Shea added. “There are so many elements to learning by experience, it changes your perception of things.” “At Memorial, we are educating students to love their discipline,” said Dr. Walker. “But we are also educating them for life and how to use their discipline and that information for life.”

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