Board approves senior appointments; VPR search set to begin

Dec 5th, 2016

By Jennifer Batten and Jeff Green

Board approves senior appointments; VPR search set to begin

At its regular meeting on Dec. 1, Memorial’s Board of Regents approved the appointments of Dr. Mark Abrahams as associate vice-president (research) pro tempore and Dr. Mary Courage as acting dean, Faculty of Science.

Both appointments are effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Dr. Abrahams, who currently serves as dean of science, will replace Dr. Ray Gosine, who was named vice-president (research) pro tempore in October. Dr. Courage, University Research Professor, Department of Psychology, will replace Dr. Abrahams.

“I am delighted that Dr. Abrahams has agreed to take on this role,” said Dr. Gosine. “He is a long-serving dean at Memorial who brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the research portfolio.

“As an active researcher and senior academic administrator, he knows the importance and impact of Memorial-led research across the disciplines,” added Dr. Gosine. “We will benefit from his leadership as he helps build Memorial’s research presence across our campuses and beyond.”

“I thank Dr. Courage for taking on this important academic leadership role and I look forward to working with her to continue to advance the priorities of the Faculty of Science,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic).

Key architect

Dr. Abrahams was appointed dean, Faculty of Science, and professor of biology andocean sciences in March 2008.

He holds a B.Sc.(Hons.) in zoology from the University of Western Ontario, a M.Sc. in biology from Queen’s University and a PhD in biology from Simon Fraser University. As a researcher, he has focused primarily on fish, examining interactions between predators and their prey and the impact this has on the ecosystem.

Since coming to Memorial in 2008, Dr. Abrahams has played an important role in a number of research-related projects. Notably, he was a key architect of Memorial’s successful effort in the Canada First Research Excellence Fund competition in September of this year, which saw the partner universities awarded nearly $100 million to create the Ocean Frontier Institute.

Additionally, under his guidance key infrastructure work in excess of $13.5 million was completed to conform to contemporary safety standards and improve science laboratories and facilities for faculty and students. His leadership has also played a key role in advancing plans for Memorial’s new Core Science Facility on the St. John’s campus, as well as the establishment of the Department of Ocean Sciences, the first new academic department within the Faculty of Science since the Department of Computer Science.

NSERC recipient

Dr. Courage previously served as associate dean of science (research and graduate) in the Faculty of Science.

She has been a Memorial faculty member for more than 30 years. During that time, much of her work has focused on developmental processes in the early years of infancy and childhood, including the changes with age in visual functioning, attention and information processing, memory and social cognition.

Her research program is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Dr. Courage was co-director of the Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs from 2000-10. This multi-site centre was established by Health Canada to generate new research, and to ensure that existing knowledge relevant to the needs of children and adolescents living in remote and northern regions of Canada is available to both parents and professionals.

A Memorial alumna, Dr. Courage holds a BA and PhD from Memorial and a M.Sc. from the University of Alberta.

VPR search to begin

The appointments will continue until the post of vice-president (research) is filled permanently. Following the untimely passing of Dr. Richard Marceau this fall, Dr. Ray Gosine was appointed vice-president (research) pro tempore.

In the coming weeks the president will commence a search for an individual to assume this important leadership role.

The search will be conducted in accordance with the Procedures Governing the Appointment, Review, Promotion and Tenure of Academic Administrators, and a search committee will be established. Senate elections will commence this month and other constituencies may expect to be asked for nominees to the committee.

Further details regarding the search, including consultations on the position profile, appointment of committee members, etc., will be provided at a later date. Updates will also be posted on the President’s Office website.