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15 Aug 2013

Updating PhD Defence: Memorial University Wins Innovation Award


Ottawa - A new program that encourages examiners to attend the dissertation defence process remotely has won the 2013 CAGS/ETS Award Excellence and Innovation in Enhancing the Graduate Student Experience.

Memorial University’s e-Defence program has connected examiners from all over the world to more than 60 oral defence proceedings at the campus in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The judges were impressed that the set up was user-friendly, had a positive environmental impact and reduced wait times for arranging oral defences – the traditional last step before being awarded a PhD. They also felt the program had particular relevance to institutions outside Canada’s major urban areas.

The program creates an annual savings of $70,000 annually. But the cost saving is just one benefit.

edefen “We have been able to access the best experts in the world for our graduate students,” says MUN’s Dean of Graduate Studies Noreen Golfman who is also president of the Canadian Assocation of Graduate Studies (CAGS). “Geographical location no longer limits their appointment.” Traditionally, attending a defence in person usually involves at least three days of an examiner’s schedule, and time-consuming travel arrangements which are often thwarted by weather.

The award is sponsored by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies and The Educational Testing Service. It will be presented in November at the CAGS Annual Conference in Montreal.

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) brings together 58 Canadian universities with graduate programs and the three federal research-granting agencies, as well as other institutions and organizations having an interest in graduate studies.

For more information contact:
Gail Dugas

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