One Thought To Start Your Day
Yesterday I talked a little bit about how competition, not co-operation, is in Canadian universities’ DNA (east of Manitoba, at any rate). But that has never stopped governments from trying – usually fitfully and half-heartedly – from trying to create more co-ordination within the system. David Cameron, in his 1991 book More Than an Academic Question (still probably best single-volume history of Canadian higher education), analyzed these attempts in some detail. What’s interesting is how things have changed over time.
One obvious … [ Read More ]
In his excellent book about the American higher education system A Perfect Mess, David Labaree makes the following point about how the American university system came to be so hyper-competitive.
Its origins were remarkably humble: a loose assortment of parochial nineteenth-century liberal arts colleges, which emerged in the pursuit of sectarian expansion and civic boosterism more than scholarly distinction. These colleges had no academic credibility, no reliable source of students, and no steady funding. Yet these weaknesses of the American … [ Read More ]
You may recall that in last Friday’s blog I was looking at scientific output of world-class universities. I could do that thanks to quite an excellent database available from Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies, developers of the excellent multi-dimensional Leiden Rankings, which do a strong job of comparing university research output and impact. I have covered this output and impact a couple of times before back here and here. This same data can be used to compare Canadian institutions – or at least the … [ Read More ]
The post-Naylor Report effort to get big new investments in fundamental science is in trouble. Bluntly, the Finance Department appears not to be buying the argument that fundamental research is, in fact, a good investment. I’m not 100% surprised: the Naylor mostly tended to assume the wider benefits of research to economic growth rather than demonstrate or prove it, and the big U-15 institutions have banked everything on a rhetorical strategy of: money for research –> a miracle occurs –> … [ Read More ]
On a pretty regular basis, some academic or other pens a piece in the popular press talking about overproduction of PhDs. Take for example this 2015 Jonathan Wolff piece in the Guardian with a piece entitled “Doctor, doctor we’re suffering from a glut of PhDs who can’t find academic jobs” in which he obsesses about a figures in a 2010 Royal Society document suggesting that of 200 people who complete a PhD only seven will get a permanent academic post and one will become … [ Read More ]