Federation News

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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Alberta shows leadership with billion dollar investment in social innovation

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences applauds the creation of the Social Innovation Endowment Fund by the Government of Alberta.  With an investment of $500 million in Alberta’s 2014 budget, and another $500 million next year, earnings from the endowment will fund projects in three streams: Research and Knowledge; Funding Models and Partnerships; and Prototyping (implementing innovative interventions to address social challenges).

“This is an important initiative by Alberta” said Jean-Marc Mangin, Executive Director of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences “and we are particularly pleased to note that the fund will focus on creative collaborations among the public, private and not-for profit sectors. Through research advances and campus-community collaborations, social science and humanities researchers are ready to contribute to understanding and...

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Results for the Federation’s board of directors elections

Véronique Mallet, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The results are in! Four positions on the board of directors of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences were up for elections in the past two weeks. The winners are as follows:

For detailed information on the election results, please...

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AAAS, Chicago and the humanities

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

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) traditionally offers little space for the humanities. There were however several panels which included  social scientists, especially in reframing the discussions on innovation away from a simplistic discovery to commercialization linear model to one embracing a complex eco-system supporting creativity . Nonetheless, the need for the humanities was a recurrent motto by several speakers — in his welcoming address, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel,  called for a more inclusive approach to learning and solving our global challenges: transforming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics —the STEM subjects—  into STEAM (STEM + Art = STEAM).

Nobel Prize winner and former Energy Secretary for President Obama, Dr. Steven Chu, delivered a very powerful, often funny and quietly moving keynote on energy and climate change...

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AAAS 2014: Where was Canada?

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

This last weekend, Chicago hosted this premier inter-disciplinary academic conference by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which focussed a great deal on innovation and climate change.

However,  our Government  was missing. No booth; no reception; no breakfast; no sponsored programming.  I understand that dollars are scarce and choices have to be made. However Ottawa is less than a two hour flight from Chicago where Canada has a large consulate. Yet we could not muster any official Canadian presence.  In comparison, Japanese, Korean and European agencies were highly visible and there was some even science Ministers from developing countries. 

The lack of a Canadian presence at AAAS was puzzling. Science diplomacy is a theme that our Governor General has stressed during his mandate. The...

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Highlights from the federal budget

The federal budget was announced earlier today. 

“The investments announced today —and taken together, they are significant and represent the largest increase in funding through the granting councils in a decade— will lead to crucial research advances to address challenges to Canadian society, as well as equip graduates with the critical thinking and creative skills needed to contribute to the knowledge society," stated Antonia Maioni, President of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Read the Federation's media release here.

Briefly, highlights...

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Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy

Eleanor Fast, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The world of ideas moves quickly so the Federation was eager to respond when the government asked for input to inform a refresh the 2007 S&T Strategy.  Our submission responded to the three areas highlighted in the government’s consultation document: business innovation, developing innovative and entrepreneurial people, and research excellence. 

We hope you will read our full submission, available  here...

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Join us at the Federation's Annual Conference

Mark your calendars! Registration for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences 2014 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) is now open!

The Federation’s Annual Conference is open to all. It allows you to interact with the Federation’s members and engage in discussions on a range of issues in the humanities and social sciences. This year, the conference will take place in Montreal at the McGill Faculty Club on Friday, March 28, 2014. The full day event will feature panel discussions on the theme of transformations in undergraduate teaching and the future of the PhD, workshops on the future of Congress and Big Data, a Big Thinking lecture on “Borders without Boundaries”, an address from Chad Gaffield, President of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and...

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