For ten years now, the USFA has sponsored an annual Academic Freedom Event. This year, Dr. Dianne Miller, a historian and sociologist of education, raised the question of whether women can inquire in a manner free from institutional restraints where they are victims of sexual predation and violence. Read what she had to say in this issue of VOX.
This issue of VOX contains a tribute to James Brooke, professor of mathematics and statistics, and an article urging an open process for selecting our next president. On the one hand, an account of the life and intellectual interests of an esteemed and dedicated colleague; on the other, a rational plea for a presidential search that includes public presentations by shortlisted candidates.
What, you might ask, is the connection between these two points of view?
One possible link can be framed in terms of further questions: what is the function of a University? Is it to enable the advancement and dissemination of shared learning? Is this the primrose path to excellence in our work? And is this goal best served by collegial processes that apply not only to faculty but to the appointment of senior administrators? Or does secrecy in selecting a president better serve the cause of excellence? Not total secrecy perhaps, but a process that eliminates the possibility of faculty, students, and staff from attending any public lectures by those aspiring to the president’s house, asking questions, and evaluating their worthiness for the job.
Which of these two alternatives would the late Professor Brooke favour, and why? In light of his established record for pedagogical and research excellence and his opposition to bureaucratic narrowness, it seems likely that he would favour an open search process. For him, secrecy does not suit a public institution whose goal is to share knowledge, not to privatize it. Bearing in mind his 30 years of service at the University of Saskatchewan, we might do well to listen to his voice.
This article was sent to us before interim president Gordon Barnhart addressed the University on September 9. Nevertheless, it raises serious questions that continue to be relevant. First, it reveals some very disturbing issues with the development of what is supposed to be a prestigious element of the University. Moreover, it leads to some critical […]
Professor Claire Card, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sceinces University of Saskatchewan The University received an increase of 2% to their operating grant from the Provincial Government, which is below a cost of living increase. Ilene Busch -Vishniac stated “I am very appreciative of the province’s investment in the University of Saskatchewan, and much of […]
Len Findlay, Professor of English and University Professor, U of S At the January meeting of University Council the President of the USSU Council, Max Fineday, read the text of a motion unanimously passed by the USSU Executive expressing non-confidence in TransformUS. This news was greeted by prolonged applause from students and faculty in attendance, […]
Important changes are facing all of us as members of the University. TransformUs, in particular, has been the lightning rod for critical comment by colleagues not only in the pages of VOX but in other print media. Nor should it surprise us that the “Dickeson model” guiding TransformUS has been rejected by universities and colleges […]
We have had a bounty of submissions this year to VOX and we hope that it continues. It is important for all of us to be actively involved in dialogue about issues of relevance to the U of S. While at times it takes courage to put our views in writing, we have a responsibility […]
Whether public or private, the single most important defining characteristic of a university is its faculty. Faculty transform both the university and the generations of students they teach by means of the advancement and dissemination of shared knowledge. As is the case at many universities, some faculty at the U of S were educated here, […]
Many people are concerned about the TransformUS process as a means of academic decision making at the University of Saskatchewan. The model on which TransformUS is based is being implemented, or being considered for implementation, at several Canadian Universities and many at those institutions are likewise concerned (http://ocufa.on.ca/wordpress/assets/Dickeson-Right-for-Ontario-Craig-Heron.pdf, http://www.academicmatters.ca/2014/01/doing-the-ppp-a-skeptical-perspective/). At the U of S the […]
Happy New Year!! 2013 came to a close with bitter cold and concerns about future of many academic programs at the U of S. This issue of VOX is another submission from Professor Eric Howe. It follows-up what he previously wrote and presents his thoughts on TransformUS now that the task forces have released their […]
This is proving to be a busy fall for VOX and we welcome it. We have received a number of comments in response to our last two issues, both directly and indirectly. Thank you for those. As stated clearly in each issue of VOX, this occasional publication is “a forum for the expression of opinions […]
By Terry Matheson Emeritus Professor (Department of English) University of Saskatchewan In a recent article, literary critic Stanley Fish wrote about the fears he was experiencing when contemplating his own impending retirement. He asked a former colleague who had recently retired what his thoughts were: did he feel dread of the future, regret the abandonment […]
The U of S feels as if it is in crisis mode. A prediction has been made that there will be a hefty shortfall, over 10%, in the annual base operating grant from the provincial government. What’s to do? Well, the flock of sheep is gone, dispersed to more appreciative pastures. The Kenderdine facility has […]
By Satya P. Sharma Associate Professor of Anthropology Department of Religion and Culture University of Saskatchewan I came to the University of Saskatchewan in July 1970 and have taught anthropology all these years. Fresh out of graduate school, coming to a beautiful campus and a University, which was true to its mandate and characterized by […]
By: Luis A. Buatois & M. Gabriela Mángano, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan A total $147 million budget cut for the three councils is under way. In particular, the situation of NSERC has been addressed in a recent news article published by the journal Nature (http://www.nature.com/news/canadian-budget-hits-basic-science-1.10366), where it reads “Canada’s latest budget will […]
It is heartening to see the January 2012 issue of VOX emerge. We have articles about our past (Millard reprint), the realizations of a newcomer (Springer), thoughts on research agenda (Pratt) and a rumoured institute (Muri). VOX is your voice. What are your thoughts on issues such as: TABBS (Transparent, Activity-Based Budget System): www.usask.ca/tabbs/about? Policy […]
By: Allison Muri, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Saskatchewan Rumour has it that an agreement has already been signed to establish a Confucius Institute at the University of Saskatchewan, affiliated with the College of Arts & Science. There are over 300 such institutes, which are established to promote Chinese language and culture, in […]
Vox, Issue #12, March 1993 featured an interview with Peter Millard, past Head of the Department of English, member of the Executive of the Faculty Association, and Chair of the Association in 1987-88. Millard retired two decades ago on December 31, 1991, and passed away ten years ago in December 2001. (The full Issue #12 […]
By: Brian Pratt, Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan I am biting my nails in anticipation of my NSERC-Discovery Grant application, just like the hundreds of other academic scientists applying for renewal or their first grant. Will I be able to hire summer undergraduate student assistants? Will I have enough for us to […]
By: R. Anne Springer, Assistant Professor College of Nursing University of Saskatchewan As a relative newcomer to the academy, only two years in, I am deeply troubled by the seeming suppression of the ideals of ‘the university’ as a place of intellectual freedom and critical inquiry. Regrettably, the reality as experienced by the author is […]