Welcome to the blog for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Posts on this site are the opinion of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Federation, its staff or its board of directors. Entries are posted in the language of the author.

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How do we talk about the Liberal Arts?

Ryan Saxby Hill
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Several hundred researchers, educators and students gathered at St. Thomas University from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1-2 to discuss the future of the liberal arts. For St. Thomas, celebrating its centennial year, this conversation on the future of the liberal arts is literally a conversation about the future of St. Thomas University itself. St. Thomas carries a strong reputation in liberal arts education - especially at the undergraduate level.

According to the University's Vice President Academic, St. Thomas carries this commitment to the liberal arts throughout their programming. In designing even applied programming in both journalism and criminology, the school ensured that the programs were rooted in Bachelor of Arts programs. Students get BA degrees in journalism or criminology, rather than Bachelors of Journalism and Bachelors of Criminology.


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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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Immigrant Women, Equality and Diversity in Canada

Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Saint Mary’s University
Guest Contributor

This blog post is part of the Federation Equity Portfolio’s ‘Equality Then and Now’ series, marking 40 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.

The drafters of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW) deliberately chose to write about the inequalities facing Canadian women in general, strategically focusing on the major social, economic and political struggles women in Canada experienced as a whole.  By doing so,...

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