Canada

Where have all the academics gone?

Writing in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Lawrence Martin observes that Canada’s academic are “missing in action“. That is, almost totally silent on the critical issues facing the country- everything from the “declining state of our parliamentary democracy” to the tepid response to the Federal Government’s muzzling of federal scientists and starvation of key research institutions (for more on this, check out Carol Linnitt’s scathing indictment of the Harper Government’s attack on science).

Martin’s point is a good one.

Reflections on the CSSHE Annual Conference: Good, but more policy, please?

This past week, Academic Matters was fortunate to attend the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. As a magazine dedicated to higher education issues, we were particularly interested to attend the sessions of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE), held between June 2nd and June 6th.

The sessions were quite good, featuring a lot of insight for student affairs professionals and those interested in teaching a learning. However, as with past years,

Harper and the “dumbing down” of Canadian society

It’s almost like we planned it!

But even though we didn’t, the micro-lecture roundtable discussion sponsored jointly by the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) and the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) provided a perfect venue for scholars in a range of fields to address some of the themes that were raised in the most recent issue of Academic Matters. And it would seem this is a topic that piques people’s interest and incites serious concern for academics – attendees at the

Are the Stars Aligned? Will Canada finally create an international education strategy?

In its 2011 budget, the Government of Canada announced an allocation of $10 million over a two year period for the development and launching of Canada’s first international education strategy.  To achieve this goal, it struck an Advisory Panel of six experts who produced an extremely comprehensive, strategic, and expansive report in August 2012.  The report, entitled International Education: A Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity, provides recommendations organized under five core themes: targets for success, policy coordination and

The Quiet Campus: The Anatomy of Dissent at Canadian Universities

The remarkable—a word that can be read in many different ways—2012 student protests in Quebec have stirred memories of the activist campuses of yesteryear. For faculty members introduced to the academy in the era of student activism, anti-Vietnam War protests, and general social unrest, the recent quietude of the Canadian university system has been disturbing. Universities had been transformed in the 1960s from comfortable retreats into agents of intellectual foment, social change, and political action. For a time, it appeared

The Myth of the Academic Generation Gap: Comparing Junior and Senior Faculty in Canada’s Universities

It is commonly assumed that junior (pre-tenure) professors work much harder and have lower levels of job satisfaction than their more senior (tenured) peers.

A new study of Canadian university faculty, titled ‘Academic Work in Canada: the Perceptions of Early-Career Academics’ and published in Higher Education Quarterly (Jones, Weinrib, Metcalfe, Fisher, Rubens0n & Snee, 2012, volume 66, no. 2) concludes that not only is this assumption incorrect, but also that, despite the rhetoric that junior and senior academics are experiencing

Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.  My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link.

Points I raised in the address include the following:

-Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts for inflation, and even when one accounts for population growth. The exceptions, of course, occur during recessions.

-Yet, since the early 1980s, the federal

Tenure and Academic Freedom: The Beginning of the End

Since the Second World War, Canadian and American universities have offered faculty members tenure, the promise of lifetime employment to those who complete a six-to-ten-year probation period. During this time, professors’ teaching, writing, and research are scrutinized by their colleagues to determine whether or not a tenured appointment is merited.

The tenure system arose during a period when qualified faculty were in short supply and, for many years, served as an important non-pecuniary tool for faculty recruitment. At the same