New science dean goes from macro U to micro U
A new building, new degrees and a new set of fourth-year students crowding the halls.
Mount Royal University’s science and technology faculty has a number of new things about it this year — including a new dean.
“I’m still figuring my way around here,” said Jeffery Goldberg, who arrived at Mount Royal University in August to replace former dean Bryan Lane.
“I’ve spent an entire career working for some pretty sensational universities, but none have got me as excited as Mount Royal,” he added.
Goldberg previously taught neurobiology at the University of Calgary where he researched nervous systems.
“My work is very integrated, going from molecular biology right to ecology — from the micro to the macro,” he said.
This integration between the levels could be an asset as Goldberg seeks to unify the various departments and move them forward in a research-integrated vision. He said increasing the opportunity for undergraduate research studies was one of the things bringing him to the school.
Goldberg said he sees undergraduate science students being part of research at every point of their university experience, calling it the “richest form of experience undergraduates will get.”
“I want to help the community get to that point where they can successfully integrate research into the undergraduate experience,” he said. “It’s getting there that’s the difficult part.
“We’re making a serious transition from a very teaching-focused university to one that is a truly multi-functional institution.”
Since Mount Royal students can now apply for masters and doctoral programs at other institutions, Goldberg said part of his faculty’s challenge is ensuring that students who graduate with MRU degrees are ready for those courses.
Looking towards the future, Goldberg is hopeful that this year will see the introduction of the full bachelor of environmental sciences degree. Pending government approval, MRU’s science and technology faculty will begin taking full degree students in to this program for the 2012-2013 school year.
New degrees are also a possibility, Goldberg said, adding that there are some very interesting ideas in the area of collaboration between physical sciences and chemistry.
“I’ve learned in my short time at Mount Royal is that it has really maintained its dedication to small classes, so that interactions happen where you can extend yourself out into the community, and engage in hands-on research from day one,” Goldberg said.
“I’ve taught huge classes where the student counts are enormous,” he added, recalling teaching in first- and second-year classes at the U of C. “When you have the smaller classes it just allows you to do so much more.”
He praised Mount Royal for staying true to their small-class philosophy and said he hopes that will persist into the future.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s what makes for those truly memorable experiences.”