I’m sure many of you saw Western President, Amit Chakma’s, op-ed in the National Post last week, suggesting that Canadian universities need more government assistance to reach new heights of excellence, and “own the podium” in global academia. I’ve been told that Chakma’s op-ed presages a new push by the U-15 for a dedicated set of “excellence funds” which, presumably, would end up mostly in the U-15’s own hands (for what is excellence if not research done by the U-15?). All I can … [ Read More ]
There’s an interesting study on postdocs out today, from the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS) and MITACS. The report provides a wealth of data on postdocs’ demographics, financial status, likes, dislikes, etc. It’s all thoroughly interesting and well worth a read, but I’m going to restrict my comments to just two of the most interesting results.
The first has to do, specifically, with postdocs’ legal status. In Quebec, they are considered students. Outside Quebec, it depends: if their funding comes … [ Read More ]
Seems I hit a nerve last week when I wrote about Teaching v. Research. Between the emails and the twitter chat afterwards, I can safely say I’ve never received as much feedback on a piece as I did on that one. As a result, I thought I should respond to a few of the key lines of discussion.
Interestingly, few critics seemed to have picked up on the fact that I was attacking the hypocrisy and sanctimony around the teaching/research … [ Read More ]
Sometimes people ask me: “what would I change in higher education, if I could”? My answer varies, but right now my fondest wish is for everyone to just cut the BS around the teaching/research balance.
Whenever a debate on teaching and research starts, there’s always people who either intimate how “unfortunate” it is that we have to talk about trade-offs, or people who claim that any deviation from the current trade-off means the death of the academic. But this is … [ Read More ]
The London Free Press recently published a summary of Western’s new draft strategic plan (there’s a longer version on Western’s website, but it’s password protected). I urge you to read it. It’s not uniquely bad by any means – there are lots of other institutions who have published similar sorts of documents – but it nevertheless represents a kind of quintessence of what’s wrong with university strategic plans. It is a Stepford Wife of a strategy. Nothing about it says, “Western”. You … [ Read More ]