Category Archives: Op-eds

The students join the faculty in requesting a judicial review of the UBC Board of Governors

In a major reversal of past positions vis-a-vis president Gupta’s departure from UBC, the Student Society of UBC-Vancouver issued a public statement expressing disappointment in the process followed by the Board of Governors as revealed by the recent leaks. The AMS urges “the … Continue reading

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

The UBC Board of Governors is operating in the “shadows”

This is according to a scathing letter sent today by the Executive of the UBC Faculty Association to thousands of its members. It is becoming clear that the replacement of John Montalbano by Stuart Belkin as Chair of the Board … Continue reading

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

Spring cleaning has started early at UBC

It was historic, it was rowdy, and it was fun. It has been a while since UBC has seen a couple of hundred of its faculty screaming their heads off, protesting the Board of Governors meeting, and demanding UBC management and Board accountability. … Continue reading

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

Together we can make UBC transparent and accountable

UBC faculty, staff and students will gather on Tuesday, February 2 at 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, 6163 University Boulevard. They will protest the upcoming UBC Board of Governors Meeting, and will publicly demand that the Board of … Continue reading

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

Searching for a president after disappearing another: The UBC conundrum

By Professor Leah Keshet In August of 2015, the UBC Faculty Association (UBCFA) sent some strongly worded letters to the administration and the Board of Governors, seeking open and full disclosure of the causes for termination of Professor Arvind Gupta’s … Continue reading

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

PR consultants, the “UBC side” and the rest of us

CBC Radio Early Edition host Rick Cluff introduced me at the beginning of the segment as someone who has been teaching at UBC for 38 years. Yet at the very end of my interview, he announced that “tomorrow, we will … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

An activist you are!

The letter from the president of The University of Victoria informing me about my honorary doctorate was a complete surprise. “My former graduate students and postdocs, who are now on the faculty at UVic, must have been behind this nomination,” I … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Canada’s research granting councils mean so little to this government’s agenda

NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, Canada’s main granting agencies in support of university research are not doing well. Their total absence from Budget 2015 is only one of many symptoms indicating how tired they are. Tired are their ways in trying … Continue reading

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

How dare UBC take diversity so seriously?

It has been a year since UBC announced its very first …“president of colour”. And as of yesterday, UBC-Vancouver has its very first woman provost. On the surface, these look like de-facto corollaries of a post-racial, post-sexist era, at a … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

On the “clientèle-based” logic in redefining academic units

Are we just a service department? I doubt that Princeton’s Mathematics department thinks it is, neither does any Chemistry department on this continent. Yet, a Vice-President of the Canadian Mathematical Society wants us “to come to the realization that in … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Highlights from the installation speech of UBC’s 13th President, Arvind Gupta

Here are excerpts from the speech of Arvind Gupta at his official installation as UBC’s 13th president. Canada’s post-secondary system should take notice. “We recognize UBC as a Place of Mind, but also as a place of shared cultures, traditions, and … Continue reading

Posted in Honouring friends, Op-eds, UBC Presidential Search, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The President of the University of Alberta asked us to think twice, and we have!

Back in 2009, a dozen faculty members from 10 different Canadian universities initiated an open letter to the Prime Minister imploring him to “not leave Canada behind.” The federal “stimulus” budget had just announced a substantial cut to the three … Continue reading

Posted in Op-eds, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

On the dark side of philanthropy

“We are deeply disappointed that Janis Sarra has had to step down as Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies… Like her, we will all work to secure the academic independence of the Institute and its programs, and … Continue reading

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

Return on investment in faculty rarely captured by university CFOs

“Mr. President, We are not employees of the university. We are the university.” With these words, Isidore Rabi, a distinguished faculty member at Columbia University, interrupted Dwight Eisenhower, who had started off a speech by addressing the faculty as “employees … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, Op-eds | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

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

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

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

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

Posted in Op-eds, R&D Policy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 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 , , | 3 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

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

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

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