Teaching

Understanding Video Games: Interview with Professor Sean Gouglas

Nour Aoude, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The most economically important cultural medium out there today, a cultural touchstone for two generations of Canadians, and a fantastic medium for expression, entertainment and social commentary.

This is how Professor Sean Gouglas described video games in his interview with the Federation.

Gouglas is Director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Alberta, and Associate Professor in the...

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Out of the ivory tower to the public square: an interview with Shauna Sylvester

Every year, university campuses across the country fill with the hum and excitement of students looking for personally and intellectually transformative experiences. These students represent an unrivalled wealth of social and intellectual capital. Many of them dream of changing the world when they are older, but some universities are encouraging their students to tap into this energy as part of their education.

Key among these institutions is Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. The Federation had the privilege to speak to a leader in community engagement at SFU, Shauna Sylvester, Professor of Professional Practice, Director of the SFU...

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Our President-Elect asks universities to evolve, not transform radically

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

“I love you, please change.”

These words succinctly capture Stephen Toope’s message to Canadian universities in his rich, nuanced and compelling October 2014 report for Taking Action for Canada: Jobs and Skills for the 21st Century. An initiative of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Taking Action for Canada seeks to bring together educators, governments and businesses to develop solutions and best practices for keeping the next generation of Canadian workers engaged. 

Toope, a scholar of international law, is President-Elect of the Federation. He has also served as President of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, President of the...

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New Working Paper: Finding New Ways to Maximize HSS Research Impact

 

Matthew McKean, Policy Analyst, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences has been hard at work on an ambitious research impact project. Our new working paper, entitled “The Impacts of Humanities and Social Science Research,” launches today at Concordia University in Montreal at the “Mobilizing Knowledge for Social Innovation” colloquium, organized by the Fonds de recherche du Québec, as part of the prestigious Entretiens Jacques Cartier.

Why, you ask, should we worry about defining research impact and why should we attempt to measure it?  Because in this era of austerity budgets and...

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SSH News: Back-to-school reports, opinions, and advice

 

Good news about employment and earnings for university grads

University education is in the spotlight as students across Canada head back to school.

A good news report from The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) confirms that university students in the province are securing well-paying jobs in their field within two years of graduating. Humanities and social science graduates fall within this trend as well. The COU report includes a survey and...

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The towers in the world, the worlds in the towers

Samara Bissonnette

HIGHRISE. An incredibly modern, collaborative, inspiring digital project connecting voices from high rise buildings all over the world. These big concrete mammoths of architecture are "containers of human experience", and this interactive web documentary allows users to discover "the towers in the world, and the worlds in the towers".

The National Film Board, with an extensive team of researchers, creators, academics, digital artists, volunteers and high rise residents, has made the idea of one Katerina Cizek come to life in a project called Highrise that has successfully challenged and reinvented the language of storytelling.

In this exploration of technology and...

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Transformations in graduate education: the future of the PhD

 

Does anyone think the current PhD training in Canada is perfect?  If so, they are a quiet minority; re-imagining PhD training is one of the hottest topics in higher education policy. For example, the most popular post last year on University Affairs’ Margin Notes Blog, was “The PhD is in need of revision”.

Considering how to approach PhD training in the 21st century is important across all disciplines, but the humanities face a particularly urgent problem with non-completion rates as high as 50% and only about 20%-30% of graduates finding employment within the academy.

So it makes sense for the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences to explore this issue at our annual conference, a forum for representatives of the Federation’s member organizations, and other...

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Concordia Looks Back 53 Years with University TV

Christine Mitchell, Department of English, Concordia University

The Concordia University community will take a peek into its past later this week when its Media History Research Centre holds a screening of two half-hour television episodes produced on the university campus in 1961.

The programs were part of a seven-episode series that was shot live in temporary campus studios and aired on Sunday mornings at 10:00. The episodes featured faculty, students and administrative personnel in mock classroom situations and in dialogue with host Syd Davidson and focused on university life. The program’s topic is summed up in its simple title: University. Campus newspaper The Georgian described the program as “the first English-language experiment in televised education at the university level.”

Today’s audience may be surprised to discover its forebears concentrating on and grappling over many of the same concerns that abound on Canadian university...

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Forward thinking: Interdisciplinary programs and the adjacent possible

Michael Ullyot, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary

When I was an undergraduate, the recruiting poster for an interdisciplinary program in the humanities asked, "What do Leonardo da Vinci and Martha Stewart have in common?" The answer: "They're both generalists."

Whatever you think of its chosen exemplars, that program is no more. All interdisciplinary programs ebb and flow with intellectual currents, as they should -- but their common aim is to imagine future fields of study, emerging from the fields between the disciplinary borders of our imagined present. So computational linguistics, for instance, arose from exchanges between linguists and computer scientists. Often...

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SSH News: Mitacs blog, Young Arts Entrepreneur grant, COU & CAUT reports, next Big Thinking lecture

 

Mitacs launched a new blog this week that is set to feature posts about research, innovation and funding opportunities, as well as news and other issues related to the connection of academics and industry. Their first post looks into the future of Canadian postdoctoral researchers, and is based on a recent survey carried out with the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars. Click here to read the first installment of the Mitacs blog, and perhaps leave a comment! You can also subscribe to the RSS feed to be notified of new posts.

The Michaëlle Jean Foundation has introduced a new initiative to assist young people who want to start their own arts...

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