Federation News

Don't be fooled by "innovation nostrums"

Yesterday's Globe and Mail contained an op-ed by David Naylor (President, University of Toronto) and Stephen Toope (President, University of British Columbia). Outlining seven "innovation nostrums," they argue that Canada's productivity gap can't be fixed by quick solutions. Rather, creating a national culture of innovation requires sustained investments and thorough planning. They highlight the role the social sciences and humanities can play, articulating how graduates from all disciplines can foster creativity and innovation.

In a letter sent to the editor, CFHSS President Noreen Golfman concurs with their conclusions:

It is refreshing to see our senior academic leaders challenging tired mantras. University of Toronto President David Naylor and University of British Columbia President Stephen Toope (Don’t swallow...

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Federal Budget 2011: Strengthening Canada’s research capacity

Summertime usually conjures up images of lakes, sunshine and gardens. Here at the Federation,  summer is also the time to think about priorities – specifically, to develop our submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, with our recommendations on the priorities for the 2011 federal budget.

This year, our recommendations centre on mentoring the next generation, supporting the highest levels of research excellence and building strong connections with the user community.  The Federation also identifies key features for new investments in SSH research, including:

•    Well-defined ambitious and large themes linked to pressing socio-economic issues, with direct relevance in Canada and within the international community;
•    Cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary, cross-jurisdictional work as required  by the issues;
•    Promoting knowledge...

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"Our Greatest Possible Resource"

“A degree will help you get ahead” – so many young Canadians have been told. But with crippling debt and high tuition costs, the cost of getting post-secondary education can become higher than the benefits.

And, as Roseann O’Reilly Runte points out in a recent Globe and Mail piece, these disincentives for attending post-secondary education actually end up hurting society as a whole. President of Carleton University, Dr. Runte argues that without access to education, our world would be “a hotbed of strife.” Education, on the other hand, promotes civic engagement and connections to the community, leading to richer experiences and better wellbeing for students and community members alike.

While Canada has excellent education available, Dr. Runte calls for continued support in providing access to education. In turn, she argues...

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Social Sciences and Humanities Key to Digital Economy

Daniel Paul O’Donnell, Federation member and Co-President of the Society for the Digital Humanities wrote an op ed piece in the Edmonton Journal this week discussing the role that the humanities and social sciences have in the development of Canada’s digital economy. According to O’Donnell, “What makes the new digital economy so exciting and so different from what came before is the emphasis it places on problems humanists and social scientists have always studied: organization and communication; finding the balance between the group and the individual; and producing, disseminating and sharing cultural work.”

O’Donnell’s comments are timely given that the government’s digital economy consultation has just closed. As a country we need to ensure that perspectives from across the full spectrum of disciplines are able to contribute to innovation...

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Encourager l’engagement citoyen du chercheur : un rôle fondamental pour la Fédération

Dans son discours aux participants à l’assemblée générale réunie à Ottawa à la fin du mois de mars, la présidente de la Fédération, Noreen Golfman, a réfléchi sur le travail du chercheur dans une perspective citoyenne.   Selon Mme Golfman, la Fédération est un milieu de réflexion où les membres s’intéressent davantage à leur action citoyenne qu’à leur carrière, davantage à ce qu’ils peuvent partager qu’à ce qu’ils méritent. Plus précisément, elle a examiné le rôle de la Fédération en vue de favoriser un sens du devoir collectif — c’est-à-dire aller au-delà de ce que Donald Hall, dans son œuvre The Academic Community: A Manual for Change, appelle le moi universitaire et penser plus généreusement à faire partie d’une collectivité universitaire.

Dans un monde qui favorise trop souvent l’innovation technologique et les extrants, Mme Golfman a également rappelé l’importance pour les sciences sociales et humaines d’éviter d’être perçues comme marginales...

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Engaged Scholarship

Engaged scholarship, Knowledge mobilization, Social innovation - all of these terms have been gained prominence in the past few years as ways to describe how researchers and scholars can connect with communities. Regardless of your preferred term, it is clear that strong relationships between researchers and communities have been developing, leading to many creative and constructive results.

On March 28, 2010, the Annual Meeting of the Federation's General Assembly featured an intriguing and thoughtful session on Engaged Scholarship, moderated by Karen Grant, VP Research Policy. Listen to the full podcast of the session below, or read the live blog account of the event here. Excuse the initial part of the recording - the session gets underway at 2:34 into the recording.

[podcast]...

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Federation’s VP-Equity receives award

The Federation would like to extend deep congratulations to Malinda S. Smith, vice-president of Equity Issues, on receiving the Anti-Racism Award 2010 (individual category). Awarded by the Centre for Race and Culture (formerly the Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations), the Anti-Racism Award recognizes contributions to end racism in Edmonton. The award will be presented as part of the CRC’s gala banquet marking the International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination. Malinda’s work on critical approaches to race, gender and social justice has connected her to the university and beyond. Here at the Federation, she most recently launched the Equity Matters online conversation, consisting of blog posts from academics across Canada exploring current equity issues.

Malinda has also been the driving force behind bringing equity issues to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Science - where she has led the...

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Building a More Prosperous and Just Canada

by Jean-Marc Mangin, Executive Director

Photo courtesy of Ian Muttoo on Flickr

Who are we? Where are we going? How should we get there? How will we transform along the way?  These are the existential questions that continue to preoccupy much of the inquiry done by social scientists, humanists and artists around the world. These were also the key questions for about 200 participants at the 150! Canada Conference at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on March 11-12th.  This gathering was the first big public meeting to begin planning the 150th anniversary of...

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