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Research and Graduate Studies

Here are some recent articles published about research and scholarly activity at Grenfell Campus:

To Costa Rica and back

"Tourism is a big industry. We want to find out what kind of practices companies in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Costa Rica are using towards achieving sustainable, green tourism."

Sometimes you have to go from Newfoundland and Labrador to Costa Rica and back to find answers to your questions. That's exactly what Dr. Jose Lam and Dr. Greg Wood have done over the past two years.

The two have been having discussions with faculty members at the University of Costa Rica (UCR). What are the opportunities and challenges created by the green economy trend for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector? What kinds of strategies are they using? Are these strategies common? These are some of the questions that Drs. Lam and Wood are trying to answer. Their findings could influence policy formulation and implementation by government agencies, as well as industry practices.

"Tourism is a big industry. We want to find out what kind of practices companies in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Costa Rica are using towards achieving sustainable, green tourism," said Lam.

Costa Rica is known for its green tourism. The country pioneered ecotourism in Latin America: there are 161 national parks, reserves and protected zones in Costa Rica, representing 25 per cent of the national territory.*

The research project started in relation to Grenfell Campus's internationalization activities, which are being overseen by Dr. Ivan Emke. Grenfell Campus has exchange agreements with the University of Costa Rica, the National University of Costa Rica, the Latin American University for Science and Technology and the Technology University of Costa Rica.

Drs. Lam and Wood and their counterparts at UCR started their research in 2015. Key stakeholders such as a government agency that promotes sustainable tourism in Costa Rica are also part of the project.

*source www.costarica-nationalparks.com


Recogni​​​​zing Mi'kmaq soldiers​

Over the years, Dr. Maura Hanrahan has heard members of the Newfoundland Mi'kmaq community lament the fact that their grandfathers and great-grandfathers served in World War I, but were not recognized as Mi'kmaq soldiers. But how many Newfoundland Mi'kmaq participated in World War I? This basic question has never been investigated.

"I knew that First Nations people elsewhere in Canada enlisted in large numbers and I expected that to be the case here," said Dr. Hanrahan. "But I was surprised at how high the numbers are: there were at least 150 Newfoundland Mi'kmaq soldiers. It seems like in some communities, like Flat Bay, every eligible person enlisted."

As Newfoundland was part of the British Empire, most Newfoundlanders joined the British in the trenches or at sea. However, Mi'kmaq country extended from Newfoundland to Maine to the Gaspé Peninsula – provincial and national borders didn't mean much to the Mi'kmaq. The Newfoundland Mi'kmaq had ties to the Maritimes and so Dr. Hanrahan expected that some of the soldiers might have served in Canadian units.

"Here again, I was surprised at the high numbers which demonstrated the endurance of those ties," said Dr. Hanrahan.

At the time, the then-Dominion of Newfoundland had no process to register First Nations people. There was no master list to work from, so Dr. Hanrahan's research had to start from a basic level. She has used materials in the public domain such as community histories, service records and other military documents. She has also photographed the headstones of many Mi'kmaq soldiers who are buried in western Newfoundland.

The goal is to build a database that will list their names and provide information about their lives before, during and after the war: their home communities, service units, next of kin, date and place of death, where they lived if they survived. Dr. Hanrahan hopes to put the database online and get the Mi'kmaq community involved to help fill in the gaps.

"The database, I hope, will be an educational tool for Mi'kmaq and other people," said Dr. Hanrahan. I hope it will go some way toward making Newfoundland Mi'kmaq history more visible and better understood. I hope the project can enter a later phase during which I would like to flesh out individual stories more and gain a better understanding of the men's wartime experiences as First Nations personnel. The research will also tell an untold story, one that might have been in danger of being forgotten or at least not widely known."


Being present in health care​

Be here now. Do what you are doing when you're doing it. Be where you are when you're there. The idea of staying present as a tool for self-management in stressful situations is one that Dr. Michael Newton has been teaching students and community groups for years. Now he wants to bring it to the health care arena of western Newfoundland.

The literature on the positive effects of mindfulness is immense; it is a growing trend in the workplace. Research has shown that mindfulness can reduce depression, stress, worry and anxiety. It can also boost working memory and focus and increase empathy, compassion and relationship satisfaction. In short, the practice of mindfulness creates a better quality of life. In health care, it can benefit both workers and patients, particularly those dealing with depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD,) obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders.

Dr. Newton has formal training in mindfulness and he has studied the research on its countless benefits. Now he wants to take it to a practical level.

"In conversation with Western Health managers and managers in other government services, I recognize there is a need for a program that would help individuals deal with the stress produced by an ever-demanding working environment," said Dr. Newton.

Mindfulness programs are usually presented in larger communities and require a significant time commitment, often spanning eight weeks. This is not an option for most regional health authorities; Dr. Newton hopes to address this problem and deliver a mindfulness program to small, often rural populations who simply don't have the time to pursue a longer course of mindfulness study.

"I am aware, for instance, that numerous hospitals offer mindfulness courses to their employees for them to use in their professional lives, as well as a way to introduce the concept to their patients," said Dr. Newton.

He plans to visit hospitals in the Toronto area to learn about the mindfulness courses they are offering. He'll then apply that knowledge to produce a web-based program that workers can complete on their own schedule. Dr. Newton runs a similar course on Workplace Mindfulness for Grenfell Campus employees, but this new program will be designed specifically for health care professionals.


Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: FC4020-4027
Phone: (709) 637-7193
Email: research@grenfell.mun.ca

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