Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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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

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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

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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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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 , , | 3 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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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

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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

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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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“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

Mathematical Instruments

Originally posted on Mathblogging.org — the Blog:
This post is part of the series Mathematical Instruments in which we introduce you to some of the math bloggers listed on our site. Today: via Wikimedia Commons Nassif Ghoussoub — Piece…

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Merry Christmas!

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Obsession

“His character is full of flaws, flittering from one obsessive behaviour to another, and he does this effortlessly.”  Mathematics is back with a vengeance, taking up all of my mental space. The same obsessive behaviour that got me to write … Continue reading

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“I am unable to accept your refusal”

And once your rejection of the rejection is not rejected, prepare to reject the way you’re expected to spend your time.

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Happy New Year everyone!

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The spoken word vs. modern-day centurions

The best speeches are not originating these days from the Palace of Westminster, the French National Assembly, or the US senate. And they are definitely not features of Question Period in our own House of Commons. Strasbourg has supplanted Rome as the hotbed of oratory, and … Continue reading

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