Lakehead University Wordmark Agora

Convocation 2006

Frances Harding
Approximately 800 graduands are expected to attend Lakehead University’s 42nd Convocation on Saturday, May 27, 2006.
Two honorary degrees will be awarded, one to Dr. Jerry F. Franklin, a university professor and researcher who has been active in a wide range of environmental issues in the United States, and one to Paul Weiler, a law professor and author of books and publications on topics ranging from medical malpractice and tort reform, to labor and employment law.  
Weiler will receive a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, and will address the graduands during the morning ceremony. Franklin will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, and will address the graduands in the afternoon.
Tracy Buckler (BScN’99) will receive the Alumni Honour Award, and the Young Alumni Award will be presented to Herpreet Lamba (BSc’98).
This year, Lakehead will celebrate a special milestone − degrees will be awarded to the first graduating class of the collaborative nursing program with Confederation College.
According to Assistant Registrar Anna Foshay, the graduating class for 2005-06 numbers 2,065 students: 128 graduate students and 1,937 undergraduate students.
Dr. Jerry Franklin – Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Dr. Jerry Franklin
Dr. Jerry Franklin
Dr. Jerry Franklin received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in forest management from Oregon State University, and a PhD in Botany from Washington State University. He has been a researcher for the Forest Service and at academic institutions including Oregon State University and, since 1986, the University of Washington. He has authored over 300 scientific articles and books.  In 1993, he was named Program Director of the Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility.  In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, he is active in a wide range of environmental issues including serving on the Board of Trustees, National Institute for Global Environmental Change, and on national boards of The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society.  Franklin has received the Heinz Foundation Award for the Environment, an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University, and has been recognized for his contributions to science and conservation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Society of American Foresters, The Wilderness Society, American Forests, Society for Conservation Biology, and the George Wright Society.
Paul Weiler – Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Paul Weiler
Paul Weiler
In his capsule biography, Paul Weiler says his official title is “the Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.” Weiler is a Canadian from Thunder Bay, who received his BA and MA degrees from the University of Toronto, then at the advice of Bora Laskin, his LLB degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and his LLM from Harvard Law School. Weiler taught at Osgoode Hall from 1965 through 1973, then was Chair of the B.C. Labor Relations Board from 1974 to 1978, before going back to Harvard at the request of, by then, Chief Justice Laskin, as its MacKenzie King Professor, in the fall of 1978, to create the Canadian Studies Program there. Weiler has taught and written in a host of fields of law and public policy in both Canada and the United States.
His new book project, titled Radically Moderate Law Reform, pulls together, and updates for the general public, his views about a wide range of issues including gay marriage and affirmative action.
Tracy Buckler – 2006 Alumni Honour Award
Tracy Buckler
Tracy Buckler
Tracy Buckler began her nursing career at St. Joseph’s Care Group after graduating from Sault College as a registered nurse in 1985. Afterwards, she went back to school and received her BScN from Lakehead University in 1999. From there, she went on to receive her Master’s degree in Health Studies from Athabasca in 2004. Now she is the President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Care Group, having been appointed to the position December 1, 2005.  Despite her busy schedule, Buckler is currently working on a certificate in Catholic Leadership from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. She is also a certified health executive and a surveyor with the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation.
Herp Lamba – 2006 Young Alumni Award
Herp Lamba
Herp Lamba
Herpreet Lamba is the youngest Division Director for Investor’s Group Financial Services, having graduated from Lakehead with a BSc in Mathematical Sciences in 1998.  Lamba has worked to develop partnerships between Lakehead University and Investor’s Group, and is active in recruiting, hiring, and mentoring Lakehead graduates.  He is an active member of the volunteer community and is committed to ensuring that Investor’s Group plays a significant role supporting many charitable causes in Thunder Bay.

President's Message

Dr. Fred Gilbert, President, Lakehead University
Dr. Fred Gilbert
Dr. Fred Gilbert
The 2005-06 fiscal year has just ended and it marked a significant fiscal turnaround.  For the first time since 1995-96 the University is not carrying a deficit in its operating budget.  Several years of budget surpluses have allowed us to eliminate the operating deficit.  Prudent fiscal management should allow us to set the stage for strategic growth in graduate studies, interdisciplinary programming, Orillia, and elsewhere.  This growth will be guided by the Academic Plan and the Strategic Research Plan.  While we must continue to be cautious and not overextend the institution, we also can start to address some fundamental long-term deficiencies.  For example, the current budget contains an increase in operating funds for most areas of the University, some money for equipment, and an institutional commitment beyond the government’s FRP (Facilities Renewal Program) for deferred maintenance issues.  It will be some time before Lakehead University is made whole again, but we are moving in the right direction.
One important initiative is the proposed Research Building (known as the Borealis Centre Project in the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) submission).  After considerable work by many of our research faculty and the leadership of Dr. Heidi Schraft, a presentation was made to a CFI Review Team and representatives of the Ontario Research Fund.  This project is essential if we are to continue the very positive research trajectory of Lakehead as it will provide space, equipment, and opportunity for faculty, staff, and graduate students to pursue interdisciplinary initiatives.  The meeting held on May 12 will go a long way in determining whether our application will be successful.
Convocation is a reminder of what the true value of a university is – to educate – and in so doing advance the frontiers of knowledge and provide citizens with the credentials and capacity to succeed in a very challenging global environment.  Those receiving degrees therefore represent the primary purpose of the University.  Two of those recipients are receiving honorary degrees.  Paul Weiler, the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard University, and Dr. Jerry Franklin, Professor of Ecosystem Analysis at the University of Washington, will be the recipients this year.
Progress continues on the Orillia Campus.  Some 200 applicants are considering attendance this fall and faculty recruitment (term contracts at this stage) is under way.  Dr. Sally-Ann Burnett has been hired as Director of Operations and the academic facilities in Heritage Place are to be ready this August.
Premier McGuinty was on campus in late April on very short notice to announce funding for the remodelling of the Munro Street Cancer Research Centre.  This will provide important space and facilities for Dr. Rui Wang’s cardiovascular research team and other Lakehead researchers who may engage in pre-clinical studies in the future.  The announcement was made in the third floor laboratories of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and another announcement proclaimed the naming of the Dr. Serafina “Penny” Petrone Health Information Resource Centre in the same building.  This naming recognizes the personal donation of over $1M to the NOSM Bursary Fund by Dr. Petrone.
The leader of the Opposition, John Tory, also visited campus and received a tour of NOSM and met with students.   This is the second visit to Lakehead University by Mr. Tory.
Lakehead University made its submission to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for an additional allocation of graduate spaces.  This request was tied to the University’s desire to grow graduate programming, especially at the PhD level.  The current allocation (based on 70% of the overall available funding) does not provide enough spaces to meet even current PhD enrolment.  The University has a strong case, and it is our expectation that MTCU will provide additional spaces from the 30% graduate funding set aside for additional growth
Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation to all faculty, staff, and students for what has been a productive and at times controversial academic year.  The University has engaged in a number of Thunder Bay initiatives that administration and the Board of Governors viewed as being in the long-term interest of the community and the University.  While not everyone agrees with these initiatives, there has been spirited and useful debate on the issues.  That is in keeping with the true value of a university that I mentioned earlier.  Such debate is healthy and educational in a meaningful way.

Departmental Feature: Student Health and Counselling Centre

Sara Tennier
The Student Health and Counselling Centre is an important place for students. It is the primary health care centre for all undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of whether they are local or from out of town.
Sharon Pitawanakwat
Sharon Pitawanakwat, Manager
The Student Health and Counselling Centre provides many services that go beyond what one would expect from a university health care centre. It employs a full-time senior registered nurse, one full-time senior counsellor, five part-time registered nurses, two additional counsellors, and six local physicians as well as four casual physicians who provide on-site medical care on a rotational basis.
A chiropractor will go in one half day a week to offer his services at a reduced rate for the students, staff, and faculty. MDS Laboratory is also at the Centre one half day a week in order to do blood work.
Terry Berger
Terry Berger, Secretary/Receptionist
In 2004-2005, student enrolment was at 7,579. During the same period, the Student Health and Counselling Centre had 9,761 primary care contacts. Primary care contacts are the number of interventions provided to students by either a physician or a nurse. These numbers do not include counselling or chiropractic sessions. According to Sharon Pitawanakwat, Manager, this year the Student Health and Counselling Centre has seen an average of 68 students a day. The numbers continue to grow as word gets out of just how many services are offered.
Eve Burki
Eve Burki, RN
Three counsellors are available during the normal academic year, from September to April, and the Senior Counsellor is available during the summer months. They deal with any problems that might be bothering students, from basic school-related stress to more complex mental health matters. All of the counsellors have expertise in depression and anxiety, two common concerns among students.
Sharon Pitawanakwat is the newest addition to the Student Health and Counselling Centre. She comes to Lakehead with a diverse background, having worked as a nurse for two years, then as Director of Health for Dilico Ojibway Child and Family Services for 13 years. There, she led the development of a rural community-based health care delivery system for Northern First Nations. She left Dilico in December 2004 and, prior to coming to Lakehead, spent a short period working with Hydro One Remote Communities Inc., where she developed an “energy conservation awareness strategy” for Northern First Nations.
Sharon Pitawanakwat is a member of Wikemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island.
For more information contact the Student Health and Counselling Centre, Room, 1007, University Centre, 343-8361.
Student Health and Counselling Centre
Administrative Staff
Sharon Pitawanakwat, Manager
Terry Berger, Full Time Secretary/Receptionist
Bev Mauro, Part Time Secretary/Receptionist
Senior Counsellor Hansia Tkaczyk, M.A., OACCPP
Valerie Szematowicz, M.A.
Michael Kopot B.A., M.S.W.(gero), R.S.W.
Karen Chan, Senior RN
Rosemary McFall, RN
Joyce Lawrence, RN
Eve Burki, RN
Kathleen Wowchuk, RN
Lorna Mitchell, RN
Dr. Jennifer Lailey – Medical Director
Dr. Stephanie Block
Dr. Janet DeMille
Dr. Delene Nelson
Dr. Kane Scott
Dr. Andrew Affleck
Dr. Jennifer Potter

Staff and Faculty Profiles: Dr. Sally-Ann Burnett, Dr. Ethel Gardner, Melissa Hardy, Gary Rathje

Dr. Sally-Ann Burnett, Director of Operations, Orillia Campus
by Frances Harding
Dr. Sally-Ann Burnett
Dr. Sally-Ann Burnett
Dr. Sally-Ann Burnett is perfectly qualified for taking on the job of Director of Operations for the Orillia Campus. She has a PhD in Food Science from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and has spent the last 10 years working in post-secondary education, most recently as Director of Broadstairs Campus, a satellite campus of Canterbury Christ Church University in England.
What appealed to her most about coming to Lakehead was the opportunity to be part of a new initiative, right from the beginning.
“I liked the spirit, values, and culture of Lakehead. I think it is an innovative place − a place that acts quickly, and takes advantage of opportunities which other universities may not.”
The Director functions as the operational lead for the Orillia campus and is accountable to the President for the implementation of the Orillia Campus initiative.  Burnett is responsible for campus planning and development, project management, long-range planning including the preparation and management of budgets, and assisting in the recruitment of faculty and staff in Orillia.
Upon her arrival in Orillia in early April 2006, Burnett was warmly welcomed by some of the citizens who helped make the Lakehead campus a reality. Within her first two weeks on the job, she had come to understand why the people of Orillia are so fiercely proud of their city.
Burnett believes her experience of working in the private sector has given her a good understanding of business and the type of skills that will be useful in her job as Director of Operations.
Prior to working at Broadstairs Campus, Burnett was Director of the University’s Centre for Enterprise and Business Development, where she found business opportunities for the University, secured funding for services and projects, and developed partnerships in economic development.
She was a Principal Lecturer and a Commercial Projects Manager with the Department of Food and Consumer Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University, and spent two years as a Product Assessment Manager with a major supermarket in the U.K.
Burnett’s immediate priority is to build on the extensive recruiting efforts that have already been underway in preparation for September 2006. She is working alongside Orillia-based staff Kelli Gray, Student Services Specialist, and Jason Duffy, Financial Aid Specialist, to connect with applicants on a “one-on-one” basis.
“The most important task at this stage is to get the right programs in place that are attractive to students. And you do that through research, and by engaging with the community so you understand the perception of need and the actual need.”
Burnett is looking forward to working with Lakehead University faculty to build these programs – faculty who, according to Dr. Laurie Hayes, Vice-President (Academic) & Provost, will be identified in the coming weeks. 
Dr. Walter Epp, recipient of the 2006 Lakehead University Distinguished Instructor Award, has already been appointed by the Dean of Education to act as a liaison between the Faculty of Education and the students enrolled in the concurrent Primary/Junior Education programs that are a large component of the inaugural curriculum at the Lakehead Orillia campus.
He is also planning to give a presentation about poet Robert Service at an arts festival in Orillia this summer. This kind of community engagement bodes well for Lakehead as it begins to raise its profile in Central and Southern Ontario, says Burnett.
Dr. Sally Burnett can be contacted in Orillia by phone: (705) 329-3746 or by email:

Dr. Ethel Gardner, Chair, Department of Aboriginal Education, Faculty of Education
by Frances Harding
Dr. Ethel Gardner
Dr. Ethel Gardner
The Chair of the new Aboriginal Education Division, Dr. Ethel Gardner, is an experienced administrator with a Master’s degree from Harvard, a PhD from Simon Fraser University, and an abiding interest in Aboriginal education, language, and culture.
One of her goals, now that she has joined Lakehead’s Faculty of Education, is to create new opportunities for graduate study at the PhD and Master’s levels.
Gardner was born outside Hope, British Columbia, but spent her childhood and teenage years living in Sept-Isles, Quebec. She comes to Lakehead having spent the past three-and-a-half years at Simon Fraser University. Prior to that, she worked as Associate Director of the First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia.
“I was impressed by Lakehead University’s history of Aboriginal initiatives,” she says, when asked about her reasons for moving east. “The Dean of Education is supportive, the President has expressed his support, and there really is a feeling that we can be creative and build new programs in Aboriginal education that will serve as models for other universities.”
Another goal is high on the list: To create a new community-based stand-alone Bachelor of Education degree specializing in Aboriginal Education, and a new degree program specializing in teaching Aboriginal Languages. Currently, Lakehead University offers the Native Language Instructors’ Diploma Program (a four-summer program designed for teachers of Syllabic Literacy and Language Arts); and a Native Language Teacher’s Certification Program (a three-summer program leading to Ontario certification as a Native Language Teacher of Native as a Second Language).
The Department of Aboriginal Education was established in 2003-2004 to increase the Faculty of Education’s capacity in all areas of Aboriginal education including policy, programs, research, and service.
The role of the Chair is to create a new vision and direction for Aboriginal education within the Faculty, and to provide leadership in the creation of new programs and new partnerships with Aboriginal organizations.
There are two Aboriginal scholars currently working within the Faculty of Education: Professor Dolores Wawia, who has been teaching at Lakehead since 1975, and Mark Aquash, who joined the Faculty as a Lecturer in 2004.  Dr. Gardner brings this number up to three, and in June 2006, a fourth faculty member will be welcomed − Dr. Judy Iseke-Barnes, Lakehead’s Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Learning.
Ethel Gardner is a member of the Stó:lō First Nation – a grouping of 24 communities situated along the Fraser River. (The word “Stó:lō” means “river” in her native Coast Salish language, Halq’emeylem.) After graduating from UBC’s Native Indian Teacher Education Program in 1984, and with encouragement from her mentor Verna Kirkness, she went on to complete a First Nations Master’s program in Educational Administration. Her thesis – a study of the Seabird Island Community School in her own First Nations community – has since become required reading in the Education Department at UBC.
“I wanted to find out exactly what a Band school could do, so I spent time at the School, interviewing teachers, parents, and administrators. I found out that Band schools can make their own hiring decisions, they can choose their own books, they can incorporate language and culture into the curriculum, and they can utilize the community as a resource.”
Her success with the Master’s thesis launched her on a path of teaching Educational Administration at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Regina (now called the First Nations University of Canada), where she later took on the position of Department Head, Indian Education, for one year in 1986-87.
Gardner’s interest in preserving her own Aboriginal language ultimately led her to complete a Master’s degree from Harvard and, in 2002, a PhD from Simon Fraser University.
An active researcher, she is currently in Year Two of a three-year SSHRC-funded research project to use technology (computers, Internet, and webcams) to connect 12 Aboriginal student teachers with three elders in the Fraser River valley, fluent in the Stó:lō language.
“Technology is being used to help the student teachers connect with others more fluent in the native language in order to develop their language skills,” says Gardner. “Essentially, we are developing an e-Master-Apprentice pedagogy for critically endangered languages.”
One of her first tasks, upon joining Lakehead University in January 2006, was to meet with Aboriginal leaders near Orillia, Ontario, where Lakehead is establishing a new campus.
“It was extremely important for Ethel to meet these community leaders face-to-face as we begin to make plans to work together,” says Dr. Lauri Gilchrist, Lakehead’s Associate Vice-Provost (Aboriginal Initiatives).
For her part, Gardner is excited about the prospects of working with yet another First Nations community. And she points proudly to a new dictionary that has been added to her collection. It’s the Rama First Nation Ojibwe Language Dictionary presented to her by members of the Ogemawahj Tribal Council during her January visit to their impressive education facilities outside Orillia.
Dr. Ethel Gardner has an office in the Faculty of Education, BL 1021B. You can reach her by phone: 766-7195 or by e-mail:

Melissa Hardy, Assistant to the Chair of Aboriginal Education
by Sara Tennier
Melissa Hardy
Melissa Hardy
“You only live once.” A motto to live by according to Melissa Hardy, the new Assistant to the Chair of Aboriginal Education in the Faculty of Education.
Hardy started her career by working at Dilico Ojibway Child and Family Services. Working there for 10 years has taught her many things and allowed her to share her own experiences and knowledge while helping others.
Deciding she needed a change of pace, Melissa Hardy enrolled at Confederation College. Hard work paid off as she graduated with three diplomas − General Office Administration, Executive Office Administration, and Human Resources Management.
Prior to taking on her current position, she worked for approximately one year as the Secretary in the Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services Department as well as the Assistant to the Native Access Coordinator at Lakehead.
When she’s not working Hardy enjoys keeping active. An amateur kickboxer for four years, she recently retired from competing but continues to train and keep in shape. She also enjoys spending time with her children (Sydney, Shawnae, and Nicholas) and her life partner, Paul. Her family lives well-rounded lives, like her own, physically, culturally, and spiritually. They are presently enjoying their newly purchased home in the country.

Garry Rathje, Chemical Engineering Technologist
by Sara Tennier
Garry Rathje
Garry Rathje
The Chemical Engineering department is pleased to have added Garry Rathje to their staff. Rathje comes to Lakehead University after working for many years at ERCO Worldwide as an Environmental Technologist. While there, he was in charge of quality control and environmental monitoring, as well as being the lab manager.
Back at Lakehead after graduating in the early 1980s, Rathje teaches Chemical Engineering labs and is in charge of setting up and maintaining the equipment, as well as doing some public relations work. His official title is Chemical Engineering Technologist.
This summer he plans to be involved with the Shad Valley Program at Lakehead. The Shad Valley Program is designed for high school students and involves four core areas: Business, Engineering, Information Technology, and Science.
When he’s not working he enjoys spending time out at camp. He also enjoys woodworking, and makes handcrafted furniture. He is happy to be back at Lakehead University, where he can share his knowledge and skills with the students.

Tending to the Life of the Mind: A Profile on Kimberly Shirley

Sara Tennier
Kimberly Shirley & Cayenne
Kimberly Shirley & Cayenne
Kimberly Shirley is an English major who plans to be a writer when she graduates. She’s also an exceptional student with an exceptional story.
Shirley has a disorder called Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) which is degenerative and hereditary but has no effect on mental capacity. Currently, there is no cure for Friedreich’s Ataxia, only treatment; however, there are developments being made in the field of stem-cell research in relation to FA.  The disease attacks the nerves in the spinal cord as well as peripheral sensory nerves in the arms and legs.  Due to a lack of a mitochondrial protein called frataxin, oxidized free radicals in the nerve cells become “rust,” which is toxic to the nerve cells. As a result, there are many physical problems that gradually worsen.
Elementary school was difficult, says Shirley, and high school wasn’t much better. “I used a manual wheelchair, and the resulting stigma was that I was not as mentally capable as everyone else.  I had to prove myself to be a student who could rise to the challenge.”  Educational Assistants (EAs) were present in each class to aid with physical tasks.
According to Sheila Noyes, the Disability/Academic Skills Advisor with Lakehead’s Learning Assistance Centre, Kim Shirley is “her own best advocate.”
Noyes explains that at the outset of her studies, Shirley discussed her strengths and needs with each professor. She was open about her medical condition, and provided written information about Friedreich’s Ataxia.  Each professor talked about the course being taught, and this time together removed the anxiety of the unknown.
“Undoubtedly, everyone benefited,” says Noyes.
Friedreich’s Ataxia affects handwriting, hearing, vision, speech, and causes one to become fatigued easily.
Shirley must have a reduced course load (three courses) and copies of any overheads that are used in class. Handouts and exams have to be printed in large print on blue paper. When it comes to exams, she uses a special room in the Learning Assistance Centre. Because she has no control over her body temperature, the room must be temperature controlled.
Despite all this, Kimberly Shirley has done exceptionally well.  She was offered a Lakehead University Entrance Scholarship, has earned high marks on exams and assignments, and has already had two papers on the works of Charles Dickens published on the Victorian Web, a website for scholars interested in literature, history, and culture in the Victorian era (
This achievement alone is a rare distinction, says Dr. Philip Allingham of the Faculty of Education, because most of the papers accepted by the Victorian Web are written by English Professors and people who are specialists. Kimberly Shirley is an outstanding student, he says. “She is an extremely lucid thinker and a prolific writer who is always thoroughly engaged.”
Vic Smith, a Professor of History, also notes that, in his opinion, Shirley requires very little accommodation. When asked what he has done to accommodate her special needs, he said, “We thought initially that I might have to wear a wireless microphone − and I hate mics − but in fact, Kim is able to sit right up front and her mother is an excellent note taker. So, the answer seems to be that Kim makes special accommodations for me. Perhaps people with ‘special needs’ are even more acutely aware of the needs of others.”
When asked what it’s like having her mother attend classes with her, Shirley smiles and replies, “It’s a unique experience.” Having her mother with her allows Kimberly to focus on school, and not to have to worry about fatigue taking over in the middle of class and missing part of the lecture. “Having her with me all the time has brought us closer on an intellectual level. It’s good to have someone with me who knows my strengths and weaknesses. If I need something explained to me from a class, my mom knows what I’m talking about.” Her mother, she says, is her primary set of hands.
Kimberly Shirley & Cayenne
Cayenne opening the door
One positive aspect to her condition is that she is allowed to have a Special Skills Dog. “Cayenne is my best friend on four legs,” says Shirley. It is easy to see why. The eight-year-old Golden Retriever finds joy in accompanying Kimberly to school, where he loves to jump up and push the accessible door-buttons to allow Kimberly to enter and exit buildings.  His “aim-to-please” personality makes Kim smile, even on her worst days.
Despite the difficulties posed by her condition, Kimberly Shirley has managed to live a relatively normal life. She has completed high school and plans to graduate from Lakehead in 2009.
“A university’s first and main responsibility is to the life of the mind,” says Professor Vic Smith, “and there is no question that Kimberly Shirley has a fine mind which it is a pleasure and privilege to watch develop.”

Wizards of Motion: Igniting an Interest in the Science of Motion

Sharing knowledge and resources. Igniting interest in the science of motion. The Wizards of Motion project is all of this and more
Jayal Chung
Dr. Moira McPherson
Dr. Moira McPherson
That old dusty Mr. Bones at the back of the classroom is coming alive in a new way. This fall, Dr. Moira McPherson and her research team will be bringing the high-tech study of biomechanics into school classrooms across Northwestern Ontario.

McPherson is the driving force behind Wizards of Motion, a three-year research project funded by the National Science and Engineering Research Council's Promo Science program, to introduce Grade 7 and Grade 10 students to the science of motion. "Biomechanics is such an exciting and diversified study,” says McPherson. “We want to get the message out to young people and show them the opportunities so they will consider pursuing a post-secondary education in the field.”

The Wizards of Motion project provides hands-on activities, and motivates and encourages youth and teachers in a unique way. It embodies the very goals of the Promo Science program: to promote the possibilities of science and engineering, in this case, biomechanics.

McPherson, Director of the School of Kinesiology at Lakehead University, has taught undergraduate biomechanics for 17 years. Her passion for the discipline is shared with colleagues Carlos Zerpa, Computer Science and Mathematics Engineering Technologist, and Dr. William Montelpare, a faculty member in the School of Kinesiology with a background in epidemiology, biostatistics, and exercise science. The team has been promoting the science of motion and biomechanics since 1999, when they started working with Lakehead’s Shad Valley Program, and with various other high school promotions.

McPherson and her colleagues have developed and refined highly efficient and portable technology for biomechanics demonstrations in the classroom. For the past five years, they have been developing the technology, curriculum components, and Web-based data capture methods which directly transfer to the Wizards of Motion project.  They also have a solid curriculum component (in sync with Ministry of Education curriculum guidelines) that first introduces biomechanics, its applications, and related careers in an engaging way to students in the form of video, animation, and data analysis.

The part of the classroom presentation that should really excite students is the hands-on laboratory data collection exercise. The class will be using Peak Motus® 8.2 Motion Measurement Analysis Software, in addition to the digital camcorder and laptop computer, to measure and analyze data, and to find the answers to questions such as: When a body is lifting a heavy science textbook what forces are at work? How does the body articulate this simple movement? What is the head impact testing module, and what are its applications in constructing a working helmet?

Students will create customized reports and teachers will be trained and provided with support materials. Over time, the data collected will be distributed and compared with other schools − an effective use of the technology to share resources and knowledge among educators and youth.

For more information about the program contact Dr. Moira McPherson by email: or by telephone 807-343-8640.

Jayal Chung is one of several students taking part in SPARK – Lakehead, a student writing program sponsored by The Chronicle-Journal.

How We Learn Mathematics: A Profile on Dr. Alex Lawson

Dr. Alex Lawson hopes her research will be used by teachers to develop and encourage students’ natural mathematical abilities
David Duncan
Dr. Alex Lawson
Dr. Alex Lawson
If there are 41 geese on a lake and 23 fly away, how many are left? According to one third grader, 18. He has done this entirely in his head explaining: “I wrote down the number 41, and the number 23. I put my finger here and take away the one (from the 41), and pretend this is 40. Then I took away the 3 (from the 23) and pretend this is 20. I took away 20. Then added the 1 and took away 3.”
The latest teaching methods from a posh private school? Not Exactly. According to Dr. Alex Lawson, Assistant Professor of Education in Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education:
“It’s actually a fairly impoverished school. High turnover rate, high ESL (English as a Second Language). What’s really happening here is that the child is being allowed to follow his own intuitive understanding of mathematics.”
Lawson’s expertise is in how we learn mathematics. She is interested in the way math is taught in our education system, particularly in the primary grades. To this end, she is currently conducting an ongoing study, “The Development and Progression of Children’s Invented Addition and Subtraction Methods: From Direct Modeling to Efficient Algorithms.” Aspects of the study have already informed her role as co-chair of the Expert Panel on Mathematics in Grades 4 to 6 in Ontario and its subsequent publication.
The inspiration for this study began some 10 years ago, when the Government of Ontario began to make changes to the way that math was taught in schools. Similar changes had begun in the United States five years earlier. The difference between the two was that while there was much research being done in the U.S. to verify the effectiveness of these new techniques, there was almost nothing to be found in Ontario.
In steps Alex Lawson.
Collecting the data is a painstaking process, says Lawson. First, she had to run a full-year course to instruct the teachers in the new ways to teach math, then time had to be given for the lessons to actually be implemented in a classroom. Following ethical approval from the Board of Education, Lawson spends time in the classroom, so that the children have a while to get used to her and are thus likely to be more responsive during interviews.
The interviews themselves are probably the most interesting part of the process. Conducted in a one-on-one fashion between Lawson and a student, they typically consist of the student being given a series of simple mathematical problems, and being asked to explain how he or she arrived at the answer. 
“The analysis is really time intensive.” Each of the interviews is recorded as a video clip, made into a small movie, and then has to be analyzed by Lawson. “If you don’t know that much about children’s thinking or about the actual mathematics, then you might not see what is going on in the clip.” She will track these students through six years of elementary school.
Using this data, Lawson has been able to support several hypotheses regarding children’s early understanding of math. Most significant is the detrimental effect of rigid algorithms. Clip after clip of Lawson’s shows children as young as Kindergarten/Grade 1 being able to solve basic division problems. And yet we know that upon reaching the older grades where the “standard” division algorithm is taught, many students struggle to solve problems that are slightly larger, but fundamentally the same. With the simpler problem, the children are being asked to rely on their own, intrinsic, understanding of numbers. With the larger problem, they are expected to plug numbers into a formula. In other words, says Lawson, children are being taught not to think. She anticipates that students in the research project will not have the same difficulties, but instead, will continue to develop a stronger than normal mathematical capacity.
Lawson hopes that her research will be used by teachers to develop and encourage their students’ natural mathematical abilities. For now though, she’d like to move beyond the one-on-one style of interviewing she’s been using, and observe how children work toward mathematical solutions as a group. Preliminary data is scarce, but seems to suggest that these instructional methods are just as beneficial to those who are struggling as they are to those already fluent in math. Whatever her eventual findings, Dr. Alex Lawson’s work will surely lead to a greater understanding of our budding mathematicians.
David Duncan is one of several students taking part in SPARK – Lakehead, a student writing program sponsored by The Chronicle-Journal.

Athletics – 2005-2006 Award Winners

Lakehead University Athletics wrapped up their 2005-2006 season on March 31, 2006, with a banquet and awards presentation at the Victoria Inn hosted by Master of Ceremonies Bryan Wyatt. The following awards were presented:
Katie Patroch
Katie Patroch
Stephen Hart
Stephen Hart
Category Winner
Female Athlete of the YearKatie Patroch
Male Athlete of the YearStephen Hart
Argus AwardErin Weir
Hank Akervall AwardJoel Scherban
Female Freshman of the YearShannon Vellinga
Male Freshman of the YearDan Speers

Team Award Recipient
Men's BasketballRookie of the Year
Most Improved Player
Best Defensive Player
Most Valuable Player
Andrew Hackner
Kieran O'Rourke
Chris Richards
Scott Seeley
Women's BasketballRookie of the Year
Most Improved Player
Best Defensive Player
Most Valuable Player
Shannon Vellinga
Kathryn Verboom
Debra Sandberg
Tara Boyce
Debra Sandberg
Men's HockeyRookie of the Year
Most Improved Player
Best Work Ethic Award
Best Defensive Player
Most Valuable Player
Matt Jacques
Mike Wehrstedt
Drew Kivell
Mike Jacobsen
Joel Scherban
Women's VolleyballRookie of the Year
Most Improved Player
Corrine Kollman Award
Coaches Award
Most Valuable Player
Ashley Baer
Chantelle Zanette
Amanda Henderson
Lindsey Johnson
Erin Weir
Women's WrestlingRookie of the Year
Most Improved Player
Most Valuable Player
Leah Dougherty
Michelle Gorrie
Katie Patroch
Men's WrestlingRookie of the Year
Most Improved Player
Most Valuable Player
Frank Schaller Memorial Award
Martin Sterlin
Andrew ElliotM
Chris Camarata
Andrew Elliot
Women's Cross CountryMost Valuable PlayerSarah Swan
Men's Cross CountryMost Valuable PlayerJon Balabuck
Women's Indoor Track & Field Most Valuable PlayerLoriana Constanzo
Men's Indoor Track & FieldMost Valuable PlayerAndrew Nordin
Indoor Track & FieldErron Williams Spirit AwardSean Sloan
Men's Nordic SkiingMost Valuable SkiierStephan Hart
Women's Nordic SkiingMost Valuable SkiierRena Bode
Nordic SkiingMost Improved Skiier
Rookie of the Year
Ava Rudachyk
Andrew Casey
Men's Club SoccerMost Valuable PlayerJohn Valente
Women's Club SoccerMost Valuable PlayerJamie DiCasmirro
Men's Club RugbyMost Valuable PlayerTravis McMaster
Women's Club RugbyMost Valuable PlayerJulie Norris
Men's Club VolleyballMost Valuable PlayerMike Smit

NOSM Bursary Fund hits $12.9 Million

On Friday April 7, the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North Mr. Michael Gravelle, and Mr. Bill Mauro, MPP, Thunder Bay-Atikokan and Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Northern Development and Mines, formally marked the closure of the first year of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s Bursary Fund Campaign.
Premier Dalton McGuinty, Dr. Fred Gilbert, and Dr. Roger Strasser
Premier Dalton McGuinty, Dr. Fred Gilbert,
and Dr. Roger Strasser
During two separate announcements, in Sudbury and in Thunder Bay, NOSM’s first year of public fundraising ended on a positive note with a balance of $12.9 million.
Elizabeth Dougall, Chair of the NOSM Board of Directors Fundraising Committee, was extremely pleased with the announcements. “This campaign could not have been so successful without the generosity and support from a wide range of Northerners – individuals, communities, businesses, media, and government – all working together to support Northern Ontario medical students.”
More than 300 of the 2000 donors to the Bursary Fund attended the announcements which highlighted the Ontario government’s contribution of funds to match donations and pledges received through the efforts of over 90 members of volunteer fundraising committees across Northern Ontario.
Dr. Roger Strasser, Founding Dean of the Medical School, noted that the success of the campaign could not have been achieved without the leadership of the campaign co-chairs, “Greg Pilot (west) and Gerry Lougheed Jr. (east), who were tireless in their efforts to raise the awareness of, and ultimately the support for, the Bursary campaign.”
Donors contributed $6.7 million. The Ontario Government raised this total to $12.9 million through a $5-million matching grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and additional provincial government funding.
Dr. Judith Woodsworth, President of Laurentian University and Chair of the NOSM Board of Directors, noted that, “Raising $12.9 million over such a short period of time is a testament to the generosity of Northerners, and their commitment to achieving quality medical education in the North, for the North."
Lakehead University President Dr. Fred Gilbert further expressed his appreciation for the financial assistance made available to medical students. “Every donation, sponsorship, and hour of volunteer time, regardless of the amount, helps to assist students to achieve a medical education in Northern Ontario.”
The Bursary Fund will provide financial aid to Northern Ontario medical students on an as-needed basis, and will help them to avoid significant debt at the end of their training. The more opportunities students have to limit financial concerns, the better able they are to focus on their studies.
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is a pioneering faculty of medicine. The School is a joint initiative of Lakehead and Laurentian Universities, with main campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, and multiple teaching and research sites across Northern Ontario. By educating skilled physicians and undertaking health research suited to community needs, the School will become a cornerstone of community health care in Northern Ontario.

Ainsley Bharath receives 2006 Award to Staff for Outstanding Performance and/or Contributions

Sara Tennier
Ainsley Bharath
Ainsley Bharath
Ainsley Bharath, Chief Technician in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded the 2006 Award to Staff for Outstanding Performance and/or Contributions.
Bharath first came to Lakehead University as a student, earning his HBSc (Biology) in 1977 and his MSc (Chemistry) in 1980. He then joined the University as an employee and has worked in a variety of capacities – as an Analytical Chemist for Dr. George Ozburn’s research group in the Biology Department, Principal Analytical Chemist for the Aquatic Toxicology Research Group, Analytical Chemist for the Resource Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, and as a Technician for the Department of Chemistry. For 10 years he served as Sessional Lecturer of Chem-1060 (Native Nurses Entry Program).
As the Chief Technician in the Department of Chemistry, Bharath is in direct charge of three other full-time technicians, the teaching labs for eight different courses (each with multiple sections), the departmental instrumentation laboratory, Chemistry Stores, and the University’s liquid nitrogen plant. In addition, he provides technical support for seven departmental research laboratories, is responsible for health and safety, helps train undergraduate and graduate students in laboratory procedures, and provides technical assistance to other departments and off-campus personnel. He is singularly responsible for laboratory set-up and experiment design for Analytical Chemistry (CHEM- 2111, 3131), Physical Chemistry (CHEM-2411), and Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM- 2351, 3371).
Bharath’s nomination included glowing recommendations from faculty and students praising his affability, his willingness to help, and his professionalism. One colleague writes, “He is sincerely interested in each student and will willingly take time during class or outside class to ‘demystify’ Chemistry. He is adaptable with regard to his teaching methods and scheduling.”
A former student writes, “Ainsley is revered for his ability to diffuse the most volatile laboratory situation with a few swift gestures while managing to bestow his vast wisdom on the students regarding how to avoid similar problems in the future. He is an exceptional communicator and gifted teacher, but at the same time a humble and approachable person who loves to share his extensive knowledge with others.”
By all accounts, Ainsley Bharath is an excellent choice to receive the Staff Award, and richly deserves the honor.

Campus News

Dr. Walter Epp
Dr. Walter Epp
Dr. Walter Epp receives 2006 Distinguished Instructor Award
Dr. Walter Epp, an Associate Professor of History Education with the Faculty of Education, is the recipient of the prestigious Lakehead University Distinguished Instructor Award for 2006.
A professor at Lakehead since 1992, Epp specializes in preparing students who will teach history at the high school level.  Using his “lecturdrama” technique, students in his History Education course teach a unit in local high schools, with excellent results.
Walter Epp was also a part of The Kosovo Educator Development Project, whose goal is to help rebuild the Kosovo education system, from elementary to university level. (Read his Report from Kosovo published in the online issue of the March/April 2005 Agora)
Walter Epp will be presented with the award on stage at Convocation on May 27, 2006.
Dr. Peter Hollings – NSERC Representative on Campus
Dr. Peter Hollings of the Department of Geology has recently taken on the role of NSERC representative on campus and one of his tasks is to promote the work of NSERC through the sponsorship of events that are related to the fields of science and engineering. This sponsorship can take the form of cash or NSERC merchandise to be used as prizes. Anyone on campus who is organizing such an event should contact Peter by phone or email to discuss the details: (807) 343-8329.
Three Lakehead Athletes Named to FISU Team Canada
Lakehead Athletics and the Thunderwolves Nordic Ski Team are proud to announce that three Lakehead Nordic Skiers have been named to Team Canada for next year’s FISU Winter Universiade Games being held in Torino, Italy.  The three are Stephen Hart (CIS-CCUNC All Canadian, OUA MVP, OUA All Star, Lakehead Male Athlete of the Year), Skeets Morel (CIS-CCUNC All Canadian, OUA All Star), and Phil Wood (CIS-CCUNC All Canadian, OUA All Star).
Rena Bode (CIS-CCUNC All Canadian, OUA All Star) and Andrew Casey (OUA All Star) were named second alternates to the team, and Mallory Deyne (OUA All Star) was named a third alternate.  All six were members of this year's Lakehead men's and women's two-peat OUA and national champion squads.  This will be the second Universiade games for both Hart and Morel as they took part in the 2005 games held in Innsbruck, Austria.
The 2007 FISU Winter Universiade Games will take place in Torino next January, on the same courses that hosted this year’s Winter Olympics.
Dr. Serafina “Penny” Petrone Health Information Resource Centre
Brittany Shanks, Dalton McGuinty, and Celina Reitberger
Brittany Shanks, Dalton McGuinty, and Celina Reitberger
On April 26, during Premier Dalton McGuinty’s visit to Lakehead University and the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), a major individual donation was announced. Dr. Serafina (Penny) Petrone donated over $1 million to the NOSM Bursary Fund. To honor Penny and her generous contribution, the NOSM Health Information Resource Centre will be named the Dr. Serafina “Penny” Petrone Health Information Resource Centre. Celina Reitberger and Brittany Shanks, members of Dr. Petrone’s family, were in attendance for this announcement. An official launch and reception will be taking place in the near future to celebrate the naming of the Centre.
Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON
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Last modified September 21, 2006
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