Protein providing muscle to the Smart Agri-Food Supercluster initiative

Four beef-sector case studies illustrate how SASC can magnify and amplify their impact

Protein providing muscle to the Smart Agri-Food Supercluster initiativeThe Smart Agri-Food Supercluster is one of nine groups awaiting word from the federal government on whether it will share in the $950-million innovation supercluster fund established earlier this year. It’s conducting innovation community meetings across Canada to help the sector understand its economic, environmental,  job creation and innovation impact.) How big is your innovation…

Are university professors obsolete?

Students of the future won’t be limited to a local institution or faculty member. And much more learning will be less formal and structured

Are university professors obsolete?What future awaits university professors? Do you remember telephone operators, mostly women who worked at switchboards connecting and disconnecting phone calls? Operators have long been replaced by automation and the various voicemail mazes we all struggle through. Did you see that wonderful film Hidden Figures, where “coloured computers” – very smart black women – did,…

Changing attitudes, changing platitudes

We’re rather smug in our belief that our modern take on things reflects a perfect and compassionate view for all time

Changing attitudes, changing platitudesThe federal government recently announced it will compensate people who lost their jobs or were otherwise persecuted a generation ago simply because their sexual orientation didn’t fit the accepted norm of the day. This perfectly reflects modern thinking, and the government should be applauded for the decision to compensate members of the military and other…

Free speech: Be open to debate or become irrelevant

The danger arises when we become too attached to ideas and are no longer open to healthy discourse

Free speech: Be open to debate or become irrelevantHanna Holborn Gray, former president of the University of Chicago, said, “Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.” So it’s quite ironic that issues of freedom of speech have…

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…

Four reasons to choose an MBA for your postgrad education

An MBA degree is the perfect postgraduate study option for anybody looking to break into the business industry

Four reasons to choose an MBA for your postgrad educationToday, there is a huge choice of career options to consider along with a wide field of educated people to compete against for the various positions available. With so many different career choices to consider, choosing the right postgrad program is an essential for anybody looking to embark on their professional pathway. However, this can…

The dark, Machiavellian side of academia

Overlooked by the mass media and given almost free rein, the academic world is a haven for bullies and antisocial behaviour

The dark, Machiavellian side of academiaAccording to the mass media, Hollywood and Westminster are awash with misogynists, pornographers, exploitationists and bullies. That may or may not be true. Natural justice requires that accusers and accused have their day in court. Unfortunately, trial by media seems to have replaced trial by jury. While we’re in the mood to put the world…
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