• Ontario university strategic mandate agreements: a train wreck waiting to happen

    Where the plan goes off-track is with the system-wide metrics used to assess research excellence and impact: 1) Tri-council funding (total and share by council); 2) number of papers (total and per full-time faculty); and 3) number of citations (total and per paper). A tabulation of our worth as scholars is simply not possible through narrowly conceived, quantified metrics that merely total up research grants, peer-reviewed publications and citations. Such an approach perversely de-incentivises time-consuming research, community-based research, Indigenous research, innovative lines of inquiry and alternative forms of scholarship. It effectively displaces research that “matters” with research that “counts” and puts a premium on doing simply what counts as fast as possible.

  • School guidance counsellors ‘stretched’ amid rising mental health needs

    “Principals are saying ‘we’ve got a crisis here in terms of the mental health piece, and we don’t have enough staff to address it, either through psychologists and social workers or through guidance’” … With only half the schools able to regularly access a psychologist and a shortage of school social workers, “the role of guidance counsellors may be stretched to fill the gaps,” says the report.

  • Sensing a moment, Canadian scientists swing for the fences

    Research advocates say a growing economy at home and political turmoil elsewhere has handed Canada a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get back on par with other developed countries in its science investments… Canada’s scientific enterprise needs a long-term infusion of stable funding to keep younger researchers in the profession and set the stage for the kinds of major breakthroughs that are decades in the making.

  • No compromise in free speech debate

    Compromised free speech is simply the negation of the right itself, and so an impossible concession… social justice advocates, are not interested in free speech as it is conventionally understood. Rather, they are engaged in a revolution to tear-down established hierarchies… Many universities no longer view the pursuit of truth as their primary goal; instead, the social justice goal of protecting victim groups has become the priority.

  • No, postmodernism at universities isn’t a vile, cancerous doctrine

    Right-wing postmodernism flourishes by bulldozing dissent. The current occupant of the White House, and those leading rhetorical crusades in his shadow, are just late-model versions of real intellectual rot… Universities are always easy targets… We insist that when people utter falsehoods and nonsense, or behave intolerably, they will be challenged, on the facts, with reasons and arguments. It’s indoctrination, sure – into critical thinking.

  • The idea of the radical, leftist university is a misleading caricature

    The combination of growing economic imperatives with new conditions of visibility has made administrators more sensitive than ever to public relations, consumer evaluations and program reputations… These trends have ensured that Canadian universities remain largely conservative organizations. Even as they seek to promote tolerance… administrators… have responded through bureaucratic measures that can sometimes be excessively arbitrary and autocratic.

  • Hot!

    Here’s the gender gap that matters

    “Men have increasingly become the second sex in higher education,” … What’s clear from these trends is that educational inequality has worked its way up from elementary school, and is now solidly entrenched at all levels of attainment. This, in an age when higher education and cognitive skills are more important than ever… Higher education has become so feminized that it’s hard to see how it can be re-engineered to appeal to men.

  • Safety on campus shouldn’t require the muzzling of ideas

    Of course there will be unease and resistance to the radical and sweeping transformation being proposed to the conceptual gender schema that organizes how we recognize, think and speak about ourselves as human beings. Isn’t that to be expected? … Doesn’t more speech facilitate this? We need a realm of public reason in which appeals to emotions and identities are neither the starting, nor the end points.

  • Stop debating age and actually teach us about consent

    We need to learn that consent can be affected by power dynamics, the influence of substances and perceived safety. In order for us to feel safe and empowered in our decisions, conversations must be constant and reflective of our experience. Education has to start young, acknowledging that consent is not only mandatory for sex but also for any kind of healthy relationship… So, we have to keep talking about it, a thousand times over, until things start to change.

  • What’s so scary about free speech on campus?

    The concept of words as weapons that can inflict damage on people’s equality rights is a staple of feminist legal thought. It is also widespread on campuses today… For all their talk about diversity and inclusion, universities have become monocultures of thought, where unpopular ideas are often regarded as downright toxic… “Universities are no longer places where ideas may freely circulate… if you even bring up the ‘wrong’ ideas, you are labelled as some sort of public enemy.”