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REF NO.: 96

SUBJECT: Distinguished professor to speak on the significance of the arts for education
DATE: March 7, 2003

Note to editors:

On Monday, March10, 2003, Dr. Rena Upitis, professor, Faculty of Education at Queen's University, will give a lecture titled A Sense of Wonder and Achievement: Learning through the Arts. The lecture is jointly sponsored by the School of Music, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education and will take place in Rm. A-1043 of the Arts and Administration Building located on Memorial's St. John's Campus. The lecture begins at 8 p.m. Attendance is free and all are invited to attend.

Dr. Rena Upitis is the author of a national, three-year study which examined the role of arts education in the improvement of general literacy and numeracy skills. The results of the study showed that students enrolled in the Royal Conservatory of Music's Learning through the Arts (LLTA) program scored as much as eleven percentile points higher in mathematics than their peers in non-LLTA schools.

"Arts education is not a cornerstone in many Canadian schools, and, indeed in some schools virtually no arts instruction take place," says Dr. Upitis. "Many people think that the arts somehow detract from the learning of other subjects, but this study shows that this is not the case. In fact, we have evidence that the arts may help children do better in math, possibly because they are more engaged in school when arts are a part of the curriculum."

The dean of Memorial's Faculty of Education, Dr. Alice Collins, could not agree more. "It is important to invest time and resources into arts education in schools, both as a means of developing appreciation for the arts and enhancing teaching and learning across the curriculum."

Dr. Rena Upitis is a professor of arts education at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. She has taught courses on music and mathematics curriculum methods, integrated arts and technology, and research methodologies.

A musician and composer, Dr. Upitis has diplomas in both piano and vocal performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), and degrees in psychology (Queen's, B.A.), law (Queen's, LL.B.), and in education from Queen's (M.Ed.) and Harvard (Ed.D). She has worked as a music teacher in inner-city schools in Canada and the United States and has been a studio teacher of piano and music theory for over 25 years. In June, 2000, she completed a five-year term as dean of education at Queen's University.

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