August 2013

Archives

SSH News: CIBC report, call for papers for Sexuality, Human Rights, and Public Policy conference, and the official website for Congress 2014

 

Earlier this week the CIBC released a report suggesting that Canadian postsecondary students are widely choosing to enter fields of study that are not compatible with today’s high-demand areas of employment. Consequently, the report argues that Canada is experiencing an excess supply of post-secondary graduates whose skills do not reflect the needs of the contemporary labour market. The implications of the report have been discussed in a...

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Liberal arts education: good for your mind and your wallet

 

Jean-Marc Mangin Executive Director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

With the excitement, anticipation and promise of a new academic year inevitably come questions about the long-term value of a degree.

Recently, Benjamin Tal and Emanuella Enenajor at CIBC World Markets attempted to quantify the long-term economic value of post-secondary education, concluding that “Canada is experiencing an excess supply of post-secondary graduates,” and that students are making unprofitable decisions by choosing in vast numbers to study in the humanities and social sciences.

A discussion on the value of education is always welcome. Taking Tal and Enenajor’s numbers at face value, their conclusions are very much open to debate and, I will argue, not based on their own evidence.

But before entering into the discussion at all, let’s...

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What’s the big idea? – Micah Anshan’s new role for drug users

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

In 1956, William S. Burroughs sent a letter to the British Journal of Addiction with an article enclosed, which described his experiences using a broad collection of drugs and the symptoms of withdrawal from each. Of the common tendency to use the word addiction “to indicate anything one is used to or wants,” he suggests that “so misapplied, the term loses any useful precision of meaning.” Burroughs, a seminal figure of the 1950s Beat movement, appears in this letter to call for an understanding of “real addiction” as experienced by a “real addict”.

According to...

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SSH News: University arts program woes, “Designing Healthy Campus Communities”, and the Global Young Academy calls for new members

 

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The University of Prince Edward Island has seen its enrolment of students into arts programs drop 22% for this September, and registrar Kathy Kielly suggests the arts decline is part of a nationwide trend. Similarly, the University of Alberta has chosen to suspend admission into 20 arts programs due to low student enrolment, an adjustment related to its budget cuts of $84 million over the next 3 years. Maybe the humanities in Canada are not as safe as we thought.

A collaboration between the...

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ASPP Books: "Free to Believe: Rethinking Freedom of Conscience and Religion in Canada"

 

Mary Anne Waldron

University of Toronto Press, 2013

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

It was revealed this week that the government of Quebec is aiming to introduce a new piece of legislation called the “Charter of Quebec Values.” This bill would ban the display of religious symbols in the province’s public institutions – including by civil service employees, who would be...

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SSH News: Upcoming conference submissions, and the humanities get some time in the spotlight on the Colbert Report

 

The next deadline to submit a proposal for the Ninth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences is September 9th, 2013. This call for proposals not only pertains to paper presentations, but also to posters, exhibits, workshops, and interactive sessions. The forum aims to discuss approaches to knowledge creation in the social sciences with an emphasis on interdisciplinary practices, so research may cover a variety of themes and ideas. Be sure to keep an eye on the conference website, as proposals are called for and reviewed on a monthly basis. The Ninth...

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Eligibility criteria for CIHR Foundation Scheme live pilot competitions released

 

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have recently undertaken a number of steps to reform and improve their Open Suite of Programs and peer review process for funding Canadian health-focused research.  At the Federation’s recommendation in the spring of 2012, CIHR developed a Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Group comprised of Canadian scholars from across these disciplines. After soliciting feedback from this group and the broader the research community on the preliminary program reform outline, CIHR has developed a new system for their investigator-driven grants process that will reorganize the suite into two new schemes:

“The Foundation Scheme is designed to provide long-term support to research leaders at any career stage with demonstrated track records of success, including new/early career investigators with...

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SSH News: Building Better Lives & Communities, Research Ethics Panel appointments, and the 2013 Massey Lectures

 

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) is set to host a half-day symposium called Building Better Lives & Communities, where a variety of international experts will engage with ideas about identity, groups, and the pursuit of happiness. Through a series of TED-style presentations, panel discussions, and audience Q&A periods, the forum will consider three different themes relating to social change and community wellbeing: “The challenges to group identity”, “The pitfalls of imperfect decision-making”, and “The power of positive social experience”. With researchers weighing in from a range of academic fields, the symposium will facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation about some valuable studies in social science. Building Better Lives and Communities will take place on September...

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“We are all connected”: Shawn A-in-chut Atleo to speak at the 2013 LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium

 

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

A great deal of discussion has come up in the news recently concerning Canada’s treatment of and relationship with its Aboriginal population. Obviously, there is still a lot of progress to be made. In a recent op-ed in the Globe and Mail, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo states, “We must confront the ugly truths and move...

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SSH News: Canadian Museum of History plans, Humanities 2.0, and the social conditions affecting Canadians’ health

 

The plans for the new Canadian Museum of History have been revealed, and they point to a greater focus on issues of politics, conflict, and First Nations history than can be found in its current incarnation as the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The report outlines the museum’s plans to rebrand itself and revamp the collection’s presentation, though some are expressing apprehension about the museum’s ability to critically examine certain issues in the wake of research and curatorial staff losses .

Le Devoir has been continuing their Humanities 2.0 series, and...

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Statistics Canada: New numbers on federal S&T spending

Karen Diepeveen
Fédération des science humaines

New numbers released from Statistics Canada reveal that federal spending for science and technology is expected to decline in the 2013/14 fiscal year. According to their survey, total spending is anticipated to decline 3.3% from 2012/14 to $10.5 billion.

The figures relevant to academic research are Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) expenditures. HERD expenditures have been static since 2009/10 and in 2013/14 are expected to be $3.25 billion.  Of this, $2.534 billion are expected to be spent in the Natural Sciences and $715million in the social sciences and humanities.  Interestingly, funding for research into ‘...

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