I have been scratching my head for a while as to what it means to represent the faculty on the Board of Governors. How can I know the issues that my colleagues care about, and where they stand on them? How to keep them informed about major Board decisions that affect the academy, confidentiality considerations permitting, of course.
After the success of the “Don’t leave Canada Behind” campaign, and the blog that helped launch it, I started a semi-private blog, mostly to archive old and new writings, but also to include various op-eds written for, and rejected by, the Globe and Mail, the latest one being a reply to an article by Gwyn Morgan in which he savaged our universities and faculty everywhere.
What made me finally decide to publicize this blog is a recent incident with the Faculty Association. They had asked me to write a piece for their newsletter about my experience on the Board. After submitting the article, they changed their mind about publishing it, because the FA would be perceived as giving me an unfair advantage over other candidates running for the BoG. Fair enough, though in their shoes, I would have done the opposite and solicited contributions from all candidates so that the faculty could know where we all stand on the issues. In fact, this service is badly needed and should be facilitated by the FA, because at the moment UBC’s electoral office permits the bare minimum for each candidate, allowing him or her only a 150-word “manifesto” to express his or her views.
The FA then asked me whether I could write, in 24 hours, a 500-word piece about the developing UBC Land Use Plan. I was happy to do so, however the topic deserves much more reflection than that. Thanks to the blog, I will be able to expand on the many facets of this important subject.
Voilà! I hope it will be a successful and useful experience. It could be if you contribute, comment, suggest, contradict, challenge and … keep the hits coming. The current average of 500 per day tells me that we are on the right track.