Dr. Dennis Mulcahy
Faculty of Education
My bias is apparent despite the desire of my peers that I
stick to facts and the ‘truth’ when reconstructing past
realities. I view any such construction as vain and
presumptuous. This book is written by one who admits
compassion for the colonized not the colonizer; who
sympathizes with the occupied not the occupiers; and
sides with the workers not the bosses. He feels for women
in distress, and has little admiration for men in command.
He cannot remain indifferent towards mistreated children,
or refrain from condemning their elders. In short mine is
a subjective approach, often but not always standing for
the defeated over the victorious. – Ilan Pappa (2004)
I have been a member of the Faculty of Education, Memorial University, since 1988. I graduated from Memorial University with a B.A. (English) and a B.ED (Secondary Education) and spent 11 years as a high school English teacher in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. I completed my graduate work in Curriculum Studies at the University of Toronto: M.ED (1983); Ph.D. (1992).
In addition to being at Memorial University, I have been a visiting professor/scholar at Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), the University of Western Carolina (Cullowhee, North Carolina) and Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia.
The primary focus of my research and development work is Rural Education and Small Schools. Topics included in this work: multi-grade classrooms and multiage pedagogy; the viability and value of small community schools; school closure and consolidation; distance education and e-learning; teacher education, recruitment and retention; bussing; and rural policy development.
I believe that small schools are both viable and valuable for the rural communities that they serve. My work as a scholar and public intellectual is dedicated to supporting those who strive to improve the provision of education and schooling of the highest quality to rural children and youth. Supporting small schools through research and development is a necessary component of rural community sustainability. Public engagement through working with rural communities and speaking out via the media is an essential component of my work.
I also have a strong interest in curriculum theory and development. Collaborating with my esteemed colleague Dr. Clar Doyle, I have developed and revised foundational courses in curriculum theory and history. We teach these courses both online and on campus. We believe that enabling professionals to understand what schools teach, what they should teach and who should decide are fundamental to their growth as education scholars.
For those who may be interested, the dog’s (the furrier one on the left) name is Scully and she is a pure bred border collie. I keep a few sheep in my back yard in St. John’s for her amusement.
While my primary interest is Canadian education and schooling and in particular rural education in Newfoundland and Labrador, I have an increasing interest in international work. I am very interested in working with rural scholars and educators in other parts of the world and lending my expertise and enthusiasm for their rural education development work.
I have established contacts and collaborated with rural scholars in the US, the UK and Australia. Last August (2008), I had spent a month in Egypt working on a USAID sponsored project for the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education that focused on teacher preparation programs for One Classroom Schools for Girls in rural villages in Egypt. The next focus of my international work will be Cuba and Central and South America. Most recently I was an invited keynote speaker at a rural conference in Changchun, China at the North East Normal University.
I am an active member of the U.S.-based National Rural Education Association and the Rural Education Significant Interest Group of the AREA . I have served as program coordinator and Chair for the Rural SIG. I am a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Research in Rural Education, The Rural Educator, and Education in Rural Australia.
Stuart McLean of CBC's The Vinyl Cafe has coined the phrase, "we may not be big, but we're small." I rather like this statement and I take it to mean rather than regretting that a school is not a big school we should celebrate the virtues of being a small school. Too long in this province we have mislead people not only about the viability of small schools but their intrinsic value and worth.
Rural education; small schools; school closure and consolidation; multi-grade and multi-age classrooms; community resistance to school closure; importance of a school to a rural community; curriculum studies and integration; distance education: virtual schooling and E- Learning.