As the term winds down, several initiatives from the St Michael's section of the “Stepping Up” Plan are well under way. The College has begun its exploratory discussions with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto regarding the Concurrent Teacher Education program (CTEP) in the hope that the University of Toronto can launch its first such program in two years' time. St Michael's envisions an annual cohort of 20 to 25 students working in a five-year course of study, during which they would earn their Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degree. The aim is to link the Christianity and Culture program to Teacher Education at OISE/U.T. in order to prepare teachers of religion for Ontario's Catholic secondary schools. The St Michael's negotiating team includes the Principal, Elizabeth Smyth, and Mimi Marrocco.
The College is also poised to increase its involvement in the community. One of the results of the Jean Vanier visit was a preliminary meeting with representatives if Intercordia, an organisation established by Dr Vanier to link students from the developed world with the developing world. As part of their course of study, Canadian students would be able to engage in projects with families and groups in other parts of the world. This past summer, a pilot project at King's University College (University of Western Ontario) was very successful. In the new year St Michael's will begin discussions with Intercordia for a similar pilot project here. In the meantime St Michael's fellows are becoming involved in the Regent Park Learning Exchange, a co-operative venture between the University of Toronto and the Regent Park Residence Council to establish non-credit instruction in the Park. Thus far, Hilary Cunningham, Scott Browning, and Stephen Scharper have been engaged in this work. The Principal is now part of the co-ordinating group, currently located at Innis College.
As part of the celebrations marking the centenary of the death of Catherine McKinley/ Mother Mary Edward, the Kingston foundress of the Sisters of Providence of St Vincent de Paul, Elizabeth Smyth, a fellow of the College, delivered two lectures on McKinley's life and work. One was to the Sisters of the community and the second was a public lecture held on Thursday, 28 October, at Memorial Hall in the City Hall, Kingston. Dr Smyth also participated in the British History of Education's meeting at Trinity College Dublin 19-21 November. The meeting celebrated the centenary of the admission of women to Trinity. She delivered a paper entitled “Protecting the Faith and Promoting the Professions: The Catholic Women's Colleges at the University of Toronto, 1911-1921”.
On 6 November, the Principal delivered a paper titled “Famine, Facts, and Fabrication: An Examination of Diaries from the Irish Famine Migration to Canada”, to the fortieth annual Conference on Editorial Problems at the University of Toronto. This year's sessions were focused on “Detecting the Text: Fakers, Forgeries, Fraud, and Editorial Concerns”, and there were many people from our new Book and Media Studies program in attendance. In December, Dr McGowan will be in Victoria, British Columbia, participating in a project exploring the relationship between religion and ethnicity in Canada. Thursday, December 02, 2004
Jean Vanier addresses a St Michael's audience on 26 October. On Dr Vanier's right, Mark McGowan, Principal of St Michael's College, has the best audience seat in the house. On 26 October, 2004, the visit of Jean Vanier to St Michael's marked a special blessing in the history of the College. At the invitation of the Principal, Mark McGowan, and with the generous support of the Basilian Fathers, St Basil's Parish, U.S.M.C. Alumni and Development, and the Office of the President, Jean Vanier returned to St Michael's, where he had taught philosophy in 1964. Dr Vanier wished to engage with S.M.C. undergraduate students on the subject of St John's Gospel. For much of the day, in the Charbonnel Lounge, he and about forty-five students engaged in meaningful discussion on issues of justice, forgiveness, building community, and seeking life. As a special bonus, in the evening, he delivered a lecture, “Finding Peace”, to a packed Sam Sorbara Auditorium. The evening began with the Spirit Movers, a dance troupe from L'Arche Daybreak, a L'Arche community currently celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary. Dr Vanier's message was well received by the nearly 400 persons in attendance and he left saying that he “felt energised by the students” at S.M.C. The Principal's Office would like to thank the co-ordinating committee-Marilyn Elphick, Melissa Battersby, Francesca Scorsone, and Susan Morgan-for all of their work, in addition to Father Doug Hilmer, Darrin Diaz, Father H.B. Gardner, and all of the members of the Canadian Catholic Students Association.