The political challenge of academic commitment


As we approach this year’s federal election, professors and academic librarians have a responsibility to speak out. Academic life and politics don’t always mix. There may be times when we can just keep our heads down, teach our courses, conduct our research, and attend committee meetings with little thought to spare for policy decisions being […]

Equality of Opportunity, Equality of Means: An Argument for Low Tuition and the Student Strike


Read Jacob T. Levy’s take on this issue here. Political philosophers have taken in recent years to distinguishing between “ideal theory” and “nonideal theory.” As I understand the distinction, the former has to do with the way we think that political institutions ought to be, were they to embody our preferred values perfectly. The latter […]

The High Cost of Low Tuition in Quebec


Read Daniel Weinstock’s take on this issue. At this writing, the student unions’ boycott of classes in Quebec has ended in success. The boycott precipitated an early election that brought down Jean Charest’s PLQ government. His defense of higher tuition and his stand against the student unions—excessive and illiberal though it became— almost certainly helped […]

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, […]

Upgrade Anxiety and the Aging Expert


By definition university professors are experts in their fields. Given the laws of the universe, however, professors are also aging experts. Not experts on aging, but, rather, humans who are aging. As Yeats wrote in his poem on getting older, Sailing to Byzantium, we are all “fastened to a dying animal.” Growing older increases knowledge […]