SSH News: CIBC report responses, volunteer at the World Social Science Forum, and the Royal Society of Canada names new fellows and award winners


Last week saw the release of a report from CIBC about the current state of employment prospects for university graduates. Since then, discussions about the value of a university education have ramped up across the Canadian media, with many questioning the practicality of studying in disciplines associated with the liberal arts. In response, an article in the ...

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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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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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Ninth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

The International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences is an international, interdisciplinary event that examines the nature of disciplinary practices, and the interdisciplinary practices that arise in the context of ‘real world’ applications. It also interrogates what constitutes ‘science’ in a social context, and the connections between the social and other sciences. The focus of presentations range from the finely grained and empirical, to wide-ranging multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary practices, to perspectives on knowledge and method.

The 2013 conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, saw over 250 delegates representing over 45 countries.

We are inviting proposals for paper presentations, workshops/interactive sessions, posters/exhibits, or colloquia addressing Interdisciplinary Social Sciences through one of the following themes:
* Social and Community Studies
* Civic and Political Studies
* Cultural Studies
* Global...

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SSH News: “The Hidden Impact”, Interrogating Access, and the Power of the Arts National Forum


Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Another report about the benefits of a liberal arts degree emerged this week, this time from across the Atlantic at Oxford University, entitled "Humanities Graduates and the British Economy: The Hidden Impact". The study, which tracked the career progress of a collection of humanities graduates over a period of time, reveals that a liberal arts degree does not necessarily limit job prospects, and has increasingly led graduates to find positions in key sectors for economic growth, such as finance, media, law, and management. Though the study (a pilot project) focused only on humanities graduates from Oxford, researchers suggest the methodology may be useful in future studies of other universities or a broader spectrum of graduates. The head of Oxford’s humanities division...

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SSH News: Conferences, Canadian higher ed, and “Heart of the Matter” reactions


Image courtesy of UBC Library.

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

This year’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences may be over, but the 2013 World Social Science Forum (WSSF) is just around the corner. Taking place in Montreal from October 13-15, the WSSF is organized by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and expects to draw over 1,000 delegates from 80 countries to explore the theme "...

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SSH News: “The Heart of the Matter”, Canadian Studies, & Impressions of Congress 2013

Christine McKenna, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences released a report this week entitled “The Heart of the Matter”, which examines the value of social sciences and humanities (SSH) in the pursuit of a strengthened economy and cohesive society. The report makes recommendations for improving American SSH education, and suggests that in combination with STEM disciplines (the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), a liberal arts education could promote innovation and improve understanding of the contexts in which science-based research is applied. An article in the ...

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