SSH News: Congress 2015 planning, reflecting on Jim Miller’s lecture, US-Canada academic exchange and the value of university education

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Planning for Congress 2015 has begun

The planning cycle for Congress 2015 has officially begun! The Congress 2015 Planning Meeting took place September 24-25, jointly hosted by the Federation and the University of Ottawa. Program Chairs (PCs) and Local Arrangement Coordinators (LACs) from each member association attending Congress were present for a two-day meeting at uOttawa, to get planning underway and to learn how to get the most out of Congress for their associations.

Ruby Heap, Academic Convenor for Congress 2015 at uOttawa, and Jean-Marc Mangin, Executive Director of the Federation, both gave words of welcome to an enthusiastic and inquisitive crowd.  Congress organizers participated in a campus tour and a city tour led by Ottawa Tourism to learn about the various venues available to them for the vast array of meetings and events they will plan for May 30 to June 5, 2015.

Thoughts on Jim Miller’s lecture “Why Don’t We Get Along?”

Léo Charbonneau, deputy editor at University Affairs has contributed a blog post reflecting on Jim Miller’s Big Thinking on the Hill lecture “Why Don’t We Get Along?” Miller, professor at the University of Saskatchewan, traced the historical deterioration of Canada’s relationship with the First Nations, and urged that we return to the initial spirit of cooperation through a sustained series of small steps and achievements. Charbonneau presents the key points from Miller’s lecture in his blog.

Antonia Maioni calls for more academic exchange between Canada and the US

Federation president Antonia Maioni notes in an op-ed in Embassy that the academic exchange between Canada and the US, in terms of number of students, is highly unequal. Roughly 27,000 Canadian students were studying in the US last year, while the figure for American students studying in Canada in 2011 was only 7,800.

In order to facilitate a better and more dynamic exchange of ideas, Maioni proposes several changes. These include simplifying complicated visa rules, and the creation of innovative cross-border joint programs.

Insisting on the value of universities

David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, issues a challenge to doubters of the value of a university education. In his CBC opinion piece, Barnard relies on numbers to make his point about the advantages of a university education over a college education. He adds that, in addition to expecting better pay, university graduates can expect that “the skills and critical thinking they acquire can take them across the country and around the globe.”

Kris Magnusson, dean of education and Laurie Anderson, executive director at Simon Fraser University also contributed an opinion in The Vancouver Sun insisting on the value of a liberal arts education in preparing students for rich and rewarding lives and careers. The authors write: “The attributes of a liberal arts education — flexible and critical thinking, creativity, collaborative problem-solving, tolerance for ambiguity and respect for myriad perspectives — become even more critical in an age of rapid access to unlimited amounts of information.”


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Congress 2015Federal policyBig ThinkingEducation