There was a time – six years or so ago now – when people were talking about the death of universities and the rise of MOOCs. (A collection of my previous posts on MOOCs can be found here). Among the many, many things this debate obscured was the fact that education delivered online was almost as old as the internet itself. Online education was mature, not some newfangled idea (in the Silicon Valley version of history, everything not invented in … [ Read More ]
So, I got a bit of mail last week in response to my analysis of the COU data (as I usually do whenever I’m presenting data on academic loads) to the effect that I am being overly reductionist about the teaching loads and perhaps implying that profs aren’t working hard. Generally speaking, these comments come in two varieties and I will take the time to answer each of them.
The first line of critique has to do with unit of … [ Read More ]
One of the huge – and insufficiently studied – differences between North America and European higher education is the way programs are structured, at least as far as Arts and Sciences go.
In most of Europe, entering a program in (say) history means you have to learn a set field of knowledge and skills. By entering into a 90-credit program in a particular field, you have a fair idea of which courses you will be taking over the next three … [ Read More ]
Today I want to go back to that COU report on academic staff I described yesterday (mind-blowing because of how much previously unavailable data it provided) and pick up on the other set of issues it raised: namely, the status of part-time and non-tenure track staff (ie. sessionals). The data is not perfect, but it is by several orders of magnitude the best thing ever published on the subject. So here goes.
The report makes a distinction between tenure stream … [ Read More ]
I have a strong message today. It’s mostly for people in social science fields (especially Deans and Department heads), but I think Provosts, VPs Research and President will want to pay attention. The message is this: the academic profession in Canada desperately needs to take its head out of its collective behind when it comes to public service.
Universities have a schizophrenic attitude when it comes to public service. Ask any university President about the value of their institution to … [ Read More ]