PHOTOGRAPHY: DAVE HOWELLS, MICHAEL RITTER, CLOUDBREAKER AND GENEROUS CONTRIBUTORS FROM UNSPLASH.COM
Dr. Gary Kachanoski
President and vice-chancellor
To prepare our annual report, we looked back on 2016-17: the challenges, triumphs, and opportunities to move Memorial closer to its vision of becoming one of the most distinguished public universities in Canada and beyond.
This report is built around the theme of Out in the Open. It reflects the place in which we live, the adventuresome way in which our researchers and students engage with the world around them, and the spirit of exploration that is a hallmark of a Memorial University education.
That spirit of exploration was evident in Dr. Leila Qashu’s PhD research on the unique, musical form of conflict resolution used in Ethiopian Indigenous communities. Dr. Qashu’s dissertation was named the best in Canada for 2017 by the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies. Her dissertation was singled out for “breaking new ground” and bringing to light a form of justice that has national and international applications.
While every year has good and bad news stories, 2016-17 was a challenging year globally and locally. Here at Memorial, we were called upon to be increasingly adaptable and responsive while remaining true to our mission, vision and values.
For example, in January the United States issued an executive order that prevented individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. This ban had the very real potential to affect international studies, academic conference participation, and in some cases family relationships of our university students and faculty. I am proud of how faculty and staff worked quickly to develop tangible support for those affected by this travel restriction, including waiving application fees from applicants in the countries affected.
Closer to home, Memorial implemented reductions in the 2017-18 budget, the sixth consecutive year of reductions. Developing budget solutions that maintain the integrity of Memorial’s core operations and provide certainty for current students about the cost to complete their degree programs required significant consultation. I am deeply appreciative of the thoughtful input provided by faculty, staff and students, as well as the hard work and commitment demonstrated by our Board of Regents throughout the process.
Make no mistake: these are critical times for Memorial University. The decisions made in 2016-17 and moving forward have far-reaching impacts on the future of our institution and they are not taken lightly. We are constantly seeking innovative solutions to the challenges we face.
The Open Space story in this report outlines multiple innovative projects, including the Battery Facility and the Honeywell energy performance contract, that enable us to address essential infrastructure needs while making our budget stretch further.
We have heard clearly from stakeholders inside and outside the university that Memorial is vital to the social, cultural and economic health of the province. We understand that people want to know more about our institution: how it is governed, how decisions are made and what we are doing, every day, to meet our special obligation. To that end, this year we have included a special feature, Open Book, on governance, transparency and accountability to highlight the diverse ways that Memorial, as the province’s only university, works to meet expectations in these areas.
The last year has also been marked by student achievement on a global scale. The Open Doors story in this report highlights the success of both Enactus Memorial and Paradigm Hyperloop, two student groups that are positively impacting the world in which we live.
Throughout this report, you will see links to special themed features and additional stories from the Gazette, Memorial’s online news source and a dynamic window into the daily workings of our institution. This supplementary content from 2016-17 gives you a deeper insight into the story of Memorial and the dedicated, talented and creative people who make Memorial a special place in which to live, work and learn.
I hope you find the report enlightening and look forward to hearing your feedback.
Gary Kachanoski, PhD
President and vice-chancellor
PS Beyond this report, to stay in touch with the latest news at Memorial, I recommend subscribing to the Gazette. This past fall, the Gazette ran a special feature on COASTS – a pan-university initiative focused on our Cold Ocean and Arctic Science, Technology and Society strategy. This is an area of specialization that has emerged from the university’s unique connection to the people and place it serves, and in which the university has distinguished itself as a world leader.
In November the Gazette carried a special feature on innovation at Memorial, highlighting world-leading technology development and commercialization, a growing range of social innovation organizations, faculties and schools with world-leading research and teaching programs, as well as Memorial’s state-of-the art facilities and equipment.