Category Archives: Op-eds

The Learning & Research committee of the UBC Board: What a difference a year makes (I)

“You had demanded to chair the Learning and Research Committee,” the Chair of the Board proclaimed at last week’s open meeting of a Board’s committee. You bet I did, I replied, “because the reason I ran for the Board one more time … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A research community at the mercy of a leaderless NSERC  

The bureaucrats of a leaderless NSERC have extended the 5-year grants of three research institutes by two years. This amounts to assigning awards exceeding $7,500,000. They have done so without peer review and against the wishes of one of their … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A busy first four months on the UBC Board of Governors

Things are different from my earlier 2008-14 term on the Board of Governors, but I still don’t know exactly why. The 2015-17 “revolt of the faculty” has surely been a factor. The UBClean campaign was triggered by questionable actions of … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Academic publishing in the time of sanctions and boycotts

On December 7th, the academic publisher Taylor & Francis informed two authors that they are unable to publish their mathematical research paper, even though it had been accepted by the editorial board of one of its journals two years after submission … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Why I am voting against the tuition increases for domestic students

During my previous two terms on the UBC Board of Governors from 2008 to 2014, I always voted in support of the administration’s maximum government-allowable 2% increases in tuition fees for domestic students. But things are different this time. The … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Resignation of the director of the Wall Institute: The reaction

The Board of Trustees of the Wall Institute is trying to reach out to a revolted UBC community by announcing a one-year moratorium on the changes they had dictated, only a week ago, to Director Philippe Tortell. This had led to … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Leave a comment

Why I am resigning from the directorship of the Wall institute

By Professor Philippe Tortell Universities are places where imagination and unconstrained thinking converge to produce major advancements in fundamental knowledge.  Intellectual breakthroughs hide in unusual places, and often appear when they are most unexpected.  For this reason, the University must … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Leave a comment

Accountability and Governance at UBC: Budget

By Professor Mark Thomson Mac Lean Over the past months I have become increasingly concerned about the disparity between UBC’s growing tuition revenues and enormous budget surpluses, and the struggles that many academic departments face in meeting their teaching and … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Overhauling NSERC is a long overdue national priority (I)

With an annual budget of $1.1 billion, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the agency through which the federal government funds advanced post-secondary research in science and engineering. Thousands of Canadian researchers rely on it, … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fettering unfettered research funding: The NSERC ways

Last week, I resigned from a committee that is supposed to liaise between NSERC and Canada’s Mathematics and Statistics communities. The reason? An unsettling lack of transparency, shoddy consultation, and poor decision-making by NSERC’s management in handling recent government budget … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Statistical science is everywhere

By Professor Nancy Reid, OC, FRSC On Saturday, April 7, The Globe and Mail published a long article on advances in counselling and therapy around mental health—“Rethinking therapy: how 45 questions can revolutionize mental health”. The punch line? A new … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Problem with Naylor’s Panel Report

The report of Naylor’s panel reviewing Canadian Science is out. It is an incredibly eloquent “plaidoyer” for basic research both in terms of its role, past and present, in the advancement of society. It is of course music to the ears … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Berdahl vs. Potter: The Tale of Two “Globe and Mail” Editorials

Oct. 22, 2015, Globe and Mail Editorial re: Jennifer Berdahl: “It’s far from clear, though, that her blog post was an exercise in academic freedom. Her post was one remark about one unexplained kerfuffle in a university’s administration, not a piece … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada has two ministers of Science, yet Budget 2017 barely mentions Science

University researchers across Canada are stunned and puzzled. What happened to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals promises to undo the damage that the Harper years inflicted on the nation’s research capacity? The Liberals campaigned to end the “war on Science,” yet they … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Latest Attack on Academic Freedom in Canada: McGill Turns Away from Controversy and Provocation

Originally posted on Commentaria:
? “While the Institute itself is non-partisan, MISC is no stranger to debate and controversy.”—https://mcgill.ca/misc/about “It is not a role to provoke, but to promote good discussion.”—McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier as quoted in The Globe and…

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Leave a comment

Faculty Awakening has already made a difference

Do not despair, Carla. There is no reason to feel blue. You have not only awoken your faculty friends, you have reminded them that they are the university. You have empowered them again and they appreciate you for it. The “assholes” … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Decolonizing our imaginations and building a university that reflects our society

It looks like Stuart Belkin is now a member of the UBC presidential search committee. This could have been a welcome positive gesture to the faculty had he replaced Lindsay Gordon in the Chair. Unfortunately, he seems to have taken … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Standing up to bullies

Canadians everywhere will take a stand against bullying by participating in Pink Shirt Day today (Feb. 24). UBC scholars are helping us define and recognize Bullying. Although they are mostly focused on how to “bully-proof” our children, this unique form of … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Arvind Gupta was never given a chance: A personal account

This post was published by the Vancouver Sun. My first reaction to the resignation of UBC president Arvind Gupta was relief – Arvind’s nightmare was finally over. He could go back to what he does best: work to make this … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Dean Marc Parlange weighs in on president Gupta’s “resignation”

In a letter to the Faculty of Applied Science at UBC, Dean Marc Parlange made some of his views known as to “the complex — and confidential — resignation decision of former President Arvind Gupta,” while throwing his support behind Chancellor … Continue reading

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