As appeared in The Western Star newspaper's Feb. 7, 2018 edition
It’s a new page for us here at The Western Star, one that we’re hoping you’ll be as excited about as we are. Today, we begin our “Grenfell Matters” feature, a weekly snippet of the stories and people who inspire them from Corner Brook’s Memorial University campus.
Once a week, we will expand our coverage of the school by having leaders of Grenfell tell the stories that are important to them.
Why is Grenfell so important to us? For starters, if you add the students, staff and faculty, you have a population comparable to the Town of Massey Drive. More importantly, though, the work that’s happening at the institution has the potential to affect one and all in western Newfoundland, from the environmental research, to the deep dive into farming, to the cultural footprint left by its fine arts programs, and hundreds more.
We’re hoping by sharing the stories of Grenfell, we’ll help highlight some of work that many now consider a long climb “up the hill.”
Grenfell is our university.
The students are many of our youth.
The staff and faculty are our family, friends and neighbours.
Let’s all take it a step further and ensure we also celebrate their stories as our own.
Two Humanities professors are now making their courses more accessible to a wide range of students by bringing the classroom to them.
Already an innovative program, Humanities combines a study of philosophical, literary, and historical traditions with contemporary concerns and issues in order to examine what it means to be human. Two Humanities professors are now making their courses more accessible to a wide range of students by bringing the classroom to them.
Kelly Anne Butler is an adjunct professor in Humanities and Grenfell’s Student Affairs Officer —Indigenous Affairs. In the fall term, she taught Contemporary Indigenous Ideas — Personal Narrative to 50 students, some from as far away as Wisconsin and Calgary but most from Newfoundland and Labrador. Butler travelled to different locations over the term to teach to the students there, including Grenfell Campus, the Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and Flat Bay, the latter as a “Community partner classroom,” in Butler’s words. While she conducted the class at one location, it was video-streamed to the students gathered in the classroom at the other locations or at their computers at home. The students could also enroll in the class in different ways: as a MUN student, through the Engagement Office to receive a Community Participation Certificate, or simply as personal enrichment. The mix of students of differing ages and backgrounds added to the depth and vitality of the “classroom” experience.
This course created such an environment of collaboration that the students went out of their way to help each other learn. Two students requested audio versions of the course text so Butler read the first chapter aloud and posted it to the course’s private Facebook page. She was not sure how she could maintain that commitment, but she need not have worried. The students all volunteered, unasked, to record chapters of Maria Campbell’s “Halfbreed” and post them to the Facebook page.
This term, the course Themes in Humanities 2010 is also breaking out of the traditional university setting by taking place in the Corner Brook Public Library in order to encourage community participation.
With the theme of mental health, this course places contemporary ideas and experiences concerning mental health in a broader historical and cultural context. “To this end,” the professor Dr. Bernie Wills explains, “we have engaged in discussions of PTSD and ancient warfare and compared clinical accounts of obsessive love with Dante, Plato, and Shakespeare.”
This course is also multi-admissions, meaning that individuals can register as MUN students, for Participation Recognition, or for personal enrichment.
An upcoming event for the community follows along the same lines. February is Psychology Month, so Grenfell’s Psychology Program will host a series of short lectures in the Corner Brook Public Library on Tuesday Feb. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m. Stay tuned for more information, and we hope to see you there!
Laura Robinson is the dean of the School of Arts and Social Science.