Stop treating universities like they’re retail outlets

Universities should bring young people into the disciplines and rigours of an examined life, into the habits of careful thinking

Stop treating universities like they’re retail outletsWhile at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), I got to know a history teacher who was a passionate and self-proclaimed Marxist. She loved to talk about the inequality and injustices that plagued the city, the province, the country and, well, the cosmos. I asked her one morning if she wouldn’t mind splitting…

A fundamental flaw at the centre of the Truth and Reconciliation report

The commission seems to have begun its work with a conclusion in mind, then spent six years and more than $60 million amassing evidence to support it

A fundamental flaw at the centre of the Truth and Reconciliation reportThis close to Christmas is a good time to test our knowledge of Christianity and Christian charity. So ponder this: When Christian churches founded schools in Canada, what names did they use? Perhaps you think these schools were named after saints, days in the Christian calendar and important church leaders. If so, give yourself part…

Putting science to work solving real-world problems – and winning awards

University of Lethbridge students continue to win international honours by developing groundbreaking technology

Putting science to work solving real-world problems – and winning awardsThe University of Lethbridge has been sending teams of students to compete in the iGEM Jamboree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston for the last 10 years. At the competition sponsored by iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation), student teams by the hundreds gather from around the world to present their latest…

Artificial intelligence opens the door to a resurgence in the humanities

The good news about AI’s ascent is that the humanity might be shocked back into universities

Artificial intelligence opens the door to a resurgence in the humanitiesI wouldn’t want to be a prophet. Prophesy’s a tough profession. If not attacked, beaten or burned, the prophet’s ignored, shunned and hated. All for having something important to say. So don’t treat what I have to say about how universities will respond to artificial intelligence, or AI, as prophesy. At issue is how AI…

Real education reform long overdue in Ontario

But the Progressive Conservatives promise nothing more than a disappointing package that ensures education status quo in the province

Real education reform long overdue in OntarioBy Angela MacLeod and Jason Clemens The Fraser Institute The Ontario Progressive Conservatives’ recently-released election platform shows they’ve opted for the status quo in kindergarten-to-Grade-12 education. That’s unfortunate, because the province’s education system is in dire need of reform. The platform the Opposition PCs offered as they prepare for next year’s provincial election contains almost no substantive…

Free speech is central to intellectual life, even at university

A report for Yale back in 1975 was clear about how to deal with people who interfere with free speech: suspend them or expel them

Free speech is central to intellectual life, even at universityExpression on university campuses is not as free and as open as it should and must be. Over the past year, universities have cancelled controversial talks before they’ve begun, mobs have shouted down provocative speakers after they’ve started, and students have faced disciplinary actions for speaking rudely or stupidly. Culture police have examined artworks for…

When speech isn’t free, society pays a high price

A recent incident at the University provides a glimpse of what the future may hold for Canadian post-secondary education – and it ain’t pretty

When speech isn’t free, society pays a high priceAt one time, universities respected free speech and the exchange of different ideas. Intellectual discourse and thought-provoking debates were viewed as healthy, vibrant and treasured. Unfortunately, speech isn’t nearly as free on today’s university campuses. Intolerance of opposing philosophies, and hurt feelings among the hordes of special interest groups, have come to define modern institutions…

How to spark entrepreneurship in students

Students should be encouraged to think beyond their own thesis research project and consider other options - such as entrepreneurship - for their career

How to spark entrepreneurship in studentsI recently had the pleasure of being a judge for the University of Calgary’s first Innovation 4 Health hack-athon. This biomedical engineering (BME) graduate-student-led competition brought together multidisciplinary teams to design solutions for surgery and recovery problems posed by health-care professionals. Over four months of almost full-time work, a team of five BME graduate students envisioned…

When an academic debate goes off the rails

Sharing nonconformist ideas shouldn't be cause for censure, but at Wilfrid Laurier University, that seems to be the case

When an academic debate goes off the railsA new episode of The Twilight Zone is playing at Wilfrid Laurier University. It features a young woman charged with spreading sedition. It’s a cliffhanger. Will our heroine genuflect and apologize or will her inquisitors execute her? This little summary of the drama at Laurier isn’t a stretch. The longer version, for those who missed…

Giving teachers a voice in crafting a better education system

Considering the emphasis placed on critical thinking in schools, it’s ironic that teacher development minimizes debate and emphasizes conformity

Giving teachers a voice in crafting a better education systemTeaching is a challenging job. Anyone who has spent a few days in a school knows that teachers have a lot of demands placed upon them. Their responsibilities often go far beyond basic classroom instruction. From dealing with disruptive student behaviours to organizing extracurricular activities to supervising hallways and playgrounds, the workload of teachers is…