Author Archives: Ghoussoub

UBC appoints a doer as its 13th President

Once again, UBC has steered clear of appointing a career university administrator for its top position. Unlike UofT and UVic, who opted for the ultimate insiders, and McGill, who went for a consummate bureaucrat, UBC has chosen to appoint a … Continue reading

Posted in Banff International Research Station, Board of Governors, Honouring friends, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bye Bye Board

Yesterday was my last day on the UBC Board of Governors, the end of an extremely rewarding six-year stint. To the faculty who elected me decisively twice for the Board and another time for the Presidential search committee, I say … Continue reading

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Now that Government has listened to the research community, will NSERC?

“I’m in Ottawa at the moment at the NSERC Discovery Grant competition – it’s particularly disturbing,” wrote one colleague from engineering, confirming again that the budget pressure on NSERC’s Discovery Grant (DG) program is becoming untenable. Another Evaluation Group (EG) … Continue reading

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Budget 2014 is nothing short of a paradigm shift for Canada’s research and innovation

The substantial investment in university research that the Canadian government announced today is not the only story in Budget 2014. A bigger story may be the pivotal moment and the policy shift that it represents for this government on a … Continue reading

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Artists, Philanthropists, Politicians join mathematicians in celebrating BIRS-affiliate research facility in Oaxaca

Today, I am in Oaxaca, Mexico, partying (literally) with the Director General of the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT), Dr. Enrique Cabrero Mendoza, the Governor of the State of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, Billionaire Philanthropist Harp Helú, several senior representatives of … Continue reading

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UBC Board approves improved faculty housing assistance program

It is hiring season at UBC and my inbox was feeling it. “Housing is proving a major factor in our current recruitment round. What is the status of the housing action plan,” wrote a department head. Similar queries were coming … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, UBC Housing Action Plan, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Cost-cutting in post-secondary institutions: Rank and Yank, Lift and Shift

All the bulletins open with the same rhetoric: Universities are undergoing historic change due to the sharp downward shift in government funding, hence there is an urgent need to remove redundancy and cost while being able to preserve and improve … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Universities in an Era of ‘Non-Lieux’

There is no shortage of academic topics to blog about. Much harder is to start a new year with a distinctly interesting post. Then, Stephen Toope saved the (my) day by publishing the following seminal post on the U15 blog. … Continue reading

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Roasting chestnuts for my favourite hockey players

Happy new year everyone! And thanks to the 72,000 of you from 140 countries, who viewed this blog in 2013.

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From “shared governance” to “shared services”: Lessons from the University of Michigan

A revolt is brewing at the University of Michigan. More than a thousand faculty members have signed an open letter to President Coleman and Provost Pollack: “Restore sanity to the University of Michigan.” A recent article in InsideHigherEd tells the story: “Corporatization” schemes, … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors | 3 Comments

The UBC Faculty Housing Action Plan revisited

Thirteen months ago, a message to the faculty was sent on my behalf as Chair of the UBC Community Planning Task Group, announcing the UBC Housing Action Plan as approved by the Board of Governors. The plan addressed –among other things– the problem of housing affordability for tenured and … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Beyond “the homely West-side heritage home” that shelters UBC-Mathematics

I have just received the annual newsletter of the mathematics department (my department) at the University of British Columbia. And I learned a few new facts that are worth sharing. Thanks to an interesting interview with Andrew Weaver, the very … Continue reading

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A mathematician at the Global Business Forum

I am just back from the Global Business Forum in Banff. Every year, three remarkable people expend Herculean efforts to oversee the organization of this high-profile gathering. The Forum is sometimes referred to as the “Davos” of the energy industry. It … Continue reading

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Lousy reporting targets Canada’s higher education

“An early contender for the worst article of the back-to-school period,” was Alex Usher’s reaction upon coming across an article by Douglas Todd in the Vancouver Sun titled “The pros and cons of foreign students.” Melonie Fullick’s reaction was closer to mine. … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Thank You Notes

The conference held at UBC on the occasion of my 60th birthday has come and gone, and I am still overwhelmed by the generosity and friendship shown by all attendees and organizers. And I am still awed by the powerful, deep and … Continue reading

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Celebrating Martin Barlow and Ed Perkins

A conference was held last week at UBC on the occasion of the 60th birthday of two of my distinguished colleagues, Ed Perkins and Martin Barlow. I was honoured to be asked to say a few words at a banquet … Continue reading

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Canadian Common CV: NSERC vs. Linkedin

“I hope you write a blog post about the shameful time NSERC is wasting for all of us dealing with the Canadian Common CV website!!!” My friend was referring to NSERC’s new “Portal” to be used to “manage application and peer review … Continue reading

Posted in Honouring friends, Op-eds | 24 Comments

“Hard to imagine such a speech made here by any of our elected officials”

That’s what Paul, my science policy soulmate, wrote me recently. He was referring to a speech by Elizabeth Truss, the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education, addressed to the International Student Science Fair. I am reproducing it below for … Continue reading

Posted in R&D Policy, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Oaxaca to join Banff as a hotbed for the mathematical sciences

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is now accepting proposals for its 2015 program. BIRS will again be hosting a 48-week scientific program at its station in Banff. There is also a possibility (to be … Continue reading

Posted in Banff International Research Station | 1 Comment

UBC Presidential Search Committee: Large yet not representative enough

“I understand you have been elected to serve on the Presidential Search Committee. Thank you so much for taking this important task on,” wrote the Chancellor. It is of course always nice to hear that you have once again gained … Continue reading

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