Thursday, October 28, 2010

French Shore Tapestry Johnson GEO Centre

Please visit the French Shore Tapestry at the Johnson GEO Centre.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Congratulations to our new graduates who received degrees at Memorial's convocation on Friday, October 22, 2010 at the afternoon and evening sessions. In the morning, in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, I welcomed new teacher candidates on behalf of my colleagues in the Faculty of Education.

Speech to new teacher candidates:

It is my pleasure and honour, on behalf of my colleagues in the Faculty of Education, to offer our sincere congratulations on this day of achievement to all of our teacher candidates. I bring special greetings from our Dean, Dr. Dave Dibbon who is on leave. Dave would love to be here today and he sends his warmest wishes and congratulations to you and your families.

We know that you have been dedicated to your studies and to your goal of becoming a teacher – becoming a great teacher. It is a moment in time for you, for your families and friends as you embark on a journey of discovery, challenge, joy and ‘yes’ moments of questioning about your choice But with your friends and colleagues, other teachers, you will be welcomed, guided, mentored along the way. This is the moment when the Faculty of Education marks your transition from teacher candidate to teacher and we do this in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, our friends and our colleagues in what is a common endeavour of providing the best possible education to those we serve.

I wish to extend to you my appreciation for choosing Memorial University to pursue your studies in education. We know you have other choices and we are honoured that you chose us. We also know that we offer an exceptional program if we are to judge by the comments we receive from educators in NL and other provinces where our graduates teach. An award-winning faculty, I am proud of the many faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves as recipients of awards for exceptional teaching, for research and for community service. While those first two activities are of paramount importance, Memorial University in its mission affirms is special obligation to the citizens of NL and it is in the community service that you will find many of my colleagues engaged and contributing to the development of this province.

But more about you: you have chosen to be a teacher. You know what this means. You can prepare young people to meet the world – to be citizens, fulfilled and engaged as you are, in essence, to improve and change the world. Every teacher can do this every day by actions and dedication to students in classrooms, in schools and in communities. In his book, As Near to Heaven By Sea, Kevin Major speaks of Memorial University as the most important institution in post-Confederation NL. It was through Memorial and from Memorial that teachers went back to their communities, degrees in hand, and began the great and noble task of bringing education to every place in this province. You are now part of a proud history of teachers who contributed so much to the social, economic and cultural development of this province.

Today I am pleased to congratulate you as you enter the profession. I look forward this afternoon to bestowing the hood marking you as a graduate of the Faculty of Education.

As you enter the family of alumni, we will continue to connect with you wherever you are in this province or in the world. I hope you will contact us from time to time. Let us know how you are doing.

I wish you well today, tomorrow and throughout your life and career. Know that our doors are always open. We look forward to hearing about you as you take your place in the profession and in the world.

Again, congratulations and thank you. Enjoy the day. It is yours.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Schools with clear purpose

This article reflects research that claims that students do well where schools have a clear mission and purpose. Religious schools are examples of this but there are others, eg schools with foci like the arts, languages, gender, etc.

I am particularly interested in the implications for public education. If parents choose, does this weaken a generalist approach to education that promises excellence in education for all students. Do such schools, though publicly supported, create enclaves of selected students? Do parents with higher education levels garner even more advantage for their children?

I'd like to hear your views.

Reactivating my Blog

Thanks to colleagues Dr. Dale Kirby and Dr. Mary Stordy and my daughter Kathleen Hogan for inspiring me - in different ways - to reactivate my blog. Special thanks to Kathleen for guiding me through the process.

Since my last blog, I have been involved with projects at Memorial University. Presently, I am Acting Dean of Education in the absence of our Dean, Dr. Dave Dibbon. I look forward to welcoming Dave back as do all his colleagues.

In the past two years, I have enjoyed two wonderful trips to Australia combing New Zealand on one of those. With a group of 6+ we have enjoyed travelling together and we look forward to a return to southeast Asia in the spring. Otherwise, there have been numerous and pleasant trips to Toronto to visit Kathleen and her family and our other daughter, Maureen. Happily, one of our children, John, continues to live in St. John's.

Otherwise, I enjoy my engagement in the community especially through my involvement with the Johnson GEO Centre as Chair of the Board of Directors and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Eastern Health and a member of the Janeway Foundation.

With golf season coming to a close, I look forward to having more time to blog.

Thank you for reading my blog.