St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.
REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT 1952-1953
The total enrolment was 457 students, 335 men and 122 women. The enrolment of 369 in the 1952 Summer Session is additional; of whom 136 were men and 233 were women. For the regular session the registration in three faculties was:
Of the 457 students, 163 were domiciled in St. John's and 294 outside St. John's.
For the past four years of the University the registration has been 308 in 1949-1950; 400 in 1950-1951; 418 in 1951-1952; and 457 in 1952-1953.
On sabbatical leave were Professor A.M. Fraser (History), and Professor H.M. Lodge (Education). Professor Fraser studied at Columbia University in New York and Professor Lodge at Toronto University. New appointments on the Academic Staff were Assistant Professor N.J.P. Brown (Philosophy), D. Genge (Lecturer in Physics), Miss June Miles (Instructor in Biology), the last two being one year appointments. On the Library staff new appointments were Miss Agnes O'Dea (Reference Librarian), and Miss H. Faith Mercer (Classifier and Cataloguer). Professor Rothney (History) received a one-year appointment as locum tenens for Professor Fraser. Dean G. A. Hickman (Education) returned to the University after a year's sabbatical leave spent at Columbia University.
The year now closing has seen the largest increase in the book stock of the library since the beginning of the Institution. 1800 volumes were received, including basic works of reference without which advanced study is impossible, and general works to back up new courses of instruction or to provide added material for courses already in existence. The year has also seen a striking increase in the number of periodicals to which the University subscribes. These include back files of many periodicals, especially in scientific fields, and periodicals to meet the demands of new courses and courses already in existence. Two new laboratories, one for Chemistry and one for joint work in Physics and Chemistry, have been provided in the Annex building. Apart from their use in instruction, they will be utilized for research on the artificial drying of salted codfish. This is in accordance with a recommendation of the Fisheries Development Committee and the laboratories have been provided with the assistance of the Provincial Government. In the Biology Laboratory new tables and lighting equipment and new herbarium cabinets were provided. In Engineering twenty-four new drafting desks of improved design were procured. The Geology Laboratory has been equipped with new fluorescent lighting, a rock-splitter and other items. We are gradually adding new equipment in this laboratory so that new courses may be added in the future without difficulty. Considerable laboratory equipment was added to the several departments, and substantial savings effected through utilizing new sources of supply.
Four courses in Philosophy given by Professor Brown were initiated. These courses aroused considerable interest and were taken by a variety of students. Professor Brown seems to have settled quickly to his work and has also been active in his associations with the student-body and the faculty.
The University gratefully acknowledges the receipt of a number of generous gifts, including scholarships, prizes, gifts of money, and books to the library. These are listed as follows:
A Painting of Richard Barnes, who introduced the first Education Act in the Newfoundland Assembly, was presented by Miss Marguerite Mitchell.
A copy of The North American Pilot containing a collection of sixty maps and charts by Captain Cook and Michael Lane, dated 1779, was presented by Mrs. Harold Mitchell.
Four scholarships, tenable at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in the sum of $125.00 each, were donated by Mr. P. F. Halley. The scholarships, to be known as the P. F. Halley Scholarships, are to be awarded to the student standing highest at the completion of the first year examinations in each of First-year Arts, First-year Science (including Pre-Medical), First-year Education, and First-year Engineering.
Two scholarships, tenable at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, to First-year students were donated by the Society of United Fishermen. The amount of the scholarships is $300.00 for students ordinarily resident outside St. John's and $100.00 for students ordinarily resident in St. John's, and awarded to children of members of the Society of United Fishermen and children of deceased members.
A gift of $2,500 was received from the Explorers Club of New York in memory of Captain Robert Bartlett. The gift was unconditional and the application of it left entirely to the discretion of the governing body of the Memorial University, with the suggestion that part of it might be devoted to the encouragement of some phase of activity in the broad field of exploration preferably maritime and polar.
A very generous gift of an electric basketball scoreboard was installed in the gymnasium by the Imperial Tobacco Company and will be maintained for five years by the Company.
Gifts of books to the Library were received from the following kind persons:
The President, Dr. Raymond Gushue
The British Book Council
Miss Marguerite Mitchell
Mrs. Harold Mitchell
Mr. Alban Dobson
Dr. Robert Saunders
The University of London
The University of Glasgow
Mr. Gerald S. Doyle
Dr. da Costa
Mr. Lyttleton B. P. Gould
Mr. George G. Thomas
Messrs. Ayre and Sons, Ltd.
Dr. Raymond Miller
The Department of Education of Newfoundland
Pulp and Paper Association of Canada
The Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company
Professor C. R. Fay
Dr. G. A. Frecker
Mrs. Kay Kennedy
The University of Toronto
The American Consul for Newfoundland
A special convocation was held on October 8th, 1952, for the installation of Viscount Rothermere of Hemsted as the first Chancellor of the University, and of Raymond Gushue as the second President. This was attended by representatives of other Universities and the learned societies. In accordance with the custom, a special publication has been issued covering this Convocation. The Spring Convocation for the granting of degrees took place on May 30th, 1953. President Trueman of the University of New Brunswick was the special speaker and the following degrees and certificates were conferred: Insert Table
New Campus and University Buildings
The new campus, formerly the Halliday Estate, has been added to by the purchase of a substantial piece of land from the Irwin Estate and by other smaller lots acquired during the year. The Engineers' Survey Camp took place on this site in the Fall of 1952 and in concert with the giving of the necessary instruction the beginnings were made on a contour survey of the property. The Camp will be held there again this year and this work continued. A completed contour survey will be of great value in laying out roads, building sites, and for planting, etc. The planning of four buildings, i.e., Arts, Science, Library, and Gymnasium, is well advanced. A great many meetings have been held on this during the year. Mr. Carman Paine of Montreal has recently been retained as Consulting Architect and plans to spend some weeks here during the Fall, during which time it may be expected that plans will be advanced to the stage where tenders can be called for for construction during 1954.
A number of visitors gave lectures at the University during the year, particularly in the Department of Engineering. In this Department, weekly seminars at which papers were given by students and discussed, were held. Dr. C. R. Fay, Professor Emeritus of Cambridge University, (History) will be giving a series of twelve lectures at the University during the Fall of this year on the social and economic history of Newfoundland.
University extension department
The place that the University extension can play in the community has received much attention during the year. A great deal of correspondence has taken place between the University and all other Canadian Universities and others. In addition, I had the opportunity during a visit to the Mainland of Canada, and the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, to discuss this matter with a number of interested people. During the latter part of July, Dr. Raymond Miller visited St. John's and held discussions with the members of the Board of Regents and others on the subject of extension. As a result of all this, our thinking has become clarified and can be translated into activity. The wise choice of a director or Head of the department is a matter of prime importance.
The high percentage of failures in Pre-Engineering at this University and others in the Maritime Provinces has been causing a great deal of concern. It is felt that overloading of courses may be partially responsible and a committee has been set up by the Senate of the Nova Scotia Technical College with a view to examining and revision of curriculum.
Duration of academic year
For the next academic year Convocation will take place on May 19th instead of May 30th, thus shortening the year by eleven days. It has been impressed upon the Senate that comparatively late closing of this University imposes a hardship on students vis-a-vis those of other universities in obtaining summer employment and in attending, as many male students do, the Course Schools of the various military services. It is felt that there will be no diminution in the value of courses given as a number of holidays previously taken during the winter and early spring months when weather was usually unsuitable, have been dispensed with. The bringing of the closing date more into line with that of other Maritime Universities will be a very substantial help to many students.
The usual student activities under the auspices of the Students' Representative Council and other student bodies were carried on during the year. Debating was resumed with some success and some complications. The practice of having Faculty Advisers for student societies had been discontinued in the academic year 1951-1952 and it cannot be said that this was all to the good. The desirability of resuming this practice has been discussed with the out-going and incoming heads of the S.R.C. and it has been agreed that Faculty Advisers be appointed for the coming academic year. The various student bodies will be consulted in the making of such appointments.
After the opening of the Academic Year a system of student advisers was initiated and a number of students allocated to various members of the Faculty. It worked with varying degrees of success and the results were such that plans have been laid for a full-fledged student adviser system to be operative during the coming academic year. As students register particularly in the freshman year they will be given the name of their adviser and required to call upon him or her within a given time. Further contacts will then be arranged and it is felt that this system will help some students over perplexities and problems with which they might otherwise find it difficult to cope.
Meetings of Deans
A programme of regular weekly meetings of the Deans with the President was instituted during the year. Additional meetings were called when required for discussion of matters of policy. It is felt that this practice will be of considerable value to the progress of the University.
It is generally felt among members of the Faculty that there has been a deterioration in student discipline over a number of years. This is due to causes which need not be enlarged upon here. It is proposed to take certain measures to combat the harmful effects of such a condition. Among these will be the streamlining of registration and the provision of Faculty advisers upon registration. In the early weeks of the College year there will be several indoctrination assemblies, particularly for the benefit of freshman students. These will be aimed at bridging the gap between high school and University attitude, methods and standards, and will be conducted in an atmosphere of consultation together. "Skipping of classes" seems to have become more prevalent in recent years than formerly. Steps will be taken to keep an exact check upon this and to call students in for consultation, in accordance with a plan, when classes are being missed. If cases of incorrigible defaulters develop they will come before the proper committee and a decision made as to applying the regulations respecting failure to attend classes. These have been clarified and will be fully explained to students at the beginning of the year.
Changes in the use of common-rooms have also been agreed.
Articulation of University and Secondary School Work
The University has been aware of criticism from outside, which has been matched by concern from within the University, at the high percentage of students who have entered the University with Grade XI and failed, sometimes rather miserably, in the first year of the University work. In an attempt to discover the reasons, several steps were taken during the year. At its opening, examinations were set by the University, strictly on the matriculation level in several key subjects. The results did not approach conformity with those of the Grade XI examinations and indeed were significant. They pointed to the fact that a substantial percentage of students entering the University with Grade XI were not really equipped to begin University work. In spite of some attempts to bridge this gap, the results of the Christmas examinations amply confirmed this diagnosis. Early in the New Year, with the cooperation of the Deputy Minister of Education, a series of meetings was arranged. These were attended by the Deputy Minister of Education, the four Superintendents of Education, Senior members of the Faculty, Representatives of the Newfoundland Teachers' Association and of City Colleges. These meetings were held weekly for a period of several months and resulted in a clear and agreed statement of the problem and of causes leading thereto. This statement of the problem was approved by the committee and a sub-committee was appointed to draft a representation to the Minister of Education recommending remedial measures. This draft has now been finalized and awaits a further meeting of the Committee which will be called immediately after the beginning of the academic year. If approved, it will be sent to the Minister with the agreed statement of the problem. These meetings were most useful and fruitful and it is believed will make a direct and distinct contribution to the improvement of a condition which has been a source of worry to people associated with education at its various levels. The co-operation of the various bodies mentioned above in the discussion of and on a clear agreed statement of the nature of the problem and in a joint recommendation to the Minister of Education for its solution point to the growth of a healthy and useful relationship between them. If the problems facing education in Newfoundland are to be tackled this can be done only by the existence of the genuine spirit of cooperation among all those associated with education and by a common intelligent will to appraise the problem and to meet it.
The University stands at the threshold of great things. It has outgrown its present physical facilities, and the active planning for the new campus, which ought to be translated into a building programme next year, is a recognition of this fact. We are bringing to the ranks of the Faculty this Fall a number of teachers, eminent in their respective fields. Their arrival will add strength to the academic staff, and enable us to enlarge the courses given in several departments. It will also accelerate the plans for the granting of Honours degrees and the Master's degree. Other additions to staff must be made, and indeed some posts have been advertised, but we are desirous to make our choice as discriminating as possible, and have therefore delayed making appointments in some cases.
To fulfill its responsibility of being a place of light, of liberty and of learning, and of devoting its attention and energies particularly to the development of its student members and to the problems peculiar to the Newfoundland community, much remains to be done by the University. I believe that the ground work has been well laid and that planning has advanced materially during the past year. We must overcome our limitations of space and of staff, but as I have said, both are well in hand.
The University must do more. In the field of education in Newfoundland as elsewhere, there are soft spots. We must chart these, whether they be at primary or secondary school level, or at University level. This can be done best in active association with others interested in education in Newfoundland including the public. Neither the University nor any other agency or group actively engaged in the dissemination of knowledge can afford to take a detached view, or a "hands-off" attitude. When the charting has been done, and a sound start has been made, the elimination of such soft spots is the next task. To this the same principles apply, and the attitude must be one of advance rather than of resignation to the existence of ills. The problem is undoubtedly complex and will never be completed and finally settled, since human society is never static. If, however, together the bodies interested can analyse and appraise, and together diligently apply themselves to the remedy they will be doing a service to the cause of education and the country that they can never do in isolation.
A University is looked upon as an association together of scholars, with the pursuit of dissemination of knowledge as its object. Another may be added, that of the development of culture, character and courtesy in the individual student. One of the great deficiencies of Memorial in this respect springs from the lack of residence facilities for students. Our student material comes from many corners, some comparatively isolated, of the Island. The association together in residences, with their fellows, will play an important part in their rounding out and development, and it is to be hoped that this opportunity will be accorded in the near future. It will, at the same time, attract students from parts of the Province who now find it as convenient from the distance standpoint to attend other Maritime Colleges, where residence life is an additional attraction.
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