There is growing consensus that today’s economies require people who can contribute and adapt to innovation. In addition to strong technical skills, many international task forces on the future requirements of our societies have identified skills such as creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration as critical. Some even see the rise of a “creative class” as the driver of growth, and subject to a growing international competition for talent.
In this context, education systems have to equip students with the skills required for innovation societies, and some countries take this agenda very seriously.
via OECD educationtoday: Arts education in innovation-driven societies.
The term “Superstorm Sandy” irks some who think it should just be called a hurricane, rather than hyped into something special. Six months after the landmark event, it turns out that Superstorm may be exactly the right term, but perhaps not for the reason most assume.
via What if Sandy had been a real Hurricane? | www.johnenglander.net.
May 9, 2013
As MOOC Debate Simmers at San Jose State, American U. Calls a Halt
By Steve Kolowich
In the latest salvo in a debate over MOOCs that has drawn national attention, the San Jose State University chapter of the California Faculty Association has thrown its weight behind recent criticisms of the university’s partnerships with outside providers of massive open online courses—specifically, edX and Udacity.
Meantime, on the opposite side of the country, American University has announced a “moratorium on MOOCs.”
via As MOOC Debate Simmers at San Jose State, American U. Calls a Halt – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“I think it is an important and worrisome reality today that Canada is backing away to a certain extent from investing in higher education at the very moment other powerful systems are investing heavily.”
via “How Our Universities Can Compete” (University Affairs) in which the Provost Says Several Necessary Things | Arts Squared.
To Thomas Lukaszuk:
Hello minister Lukaszuk. We’ve never met. I’m president of the Alberta College of Art and Design faculty association. I hope you don’t mind, but I thought I might help out with this whole post-secondary budget problem.
You seem a little confused, what with the constantly changing information coming out of your office, and let me tell you I am too. So let’s figure this thing out together.
You might not be aware that your request for an across-the-board salary freeze, including faculty salaries, in a letter of April 18 to the college’s board of governors, undermines the principle of collective bargaining as supported by provincial legislation.
My faculty association’s job is to negotiate a settlement with the board of governors you appointed, not to listen to your requests and just agree. Then again, you didn’t make the request to me.
In fact, to my knowledge, while you seem content to make decisions about my livelihood, you’ve never met with faculty representatives in this province.
Your reported suggestion that “teaching loads could also be on the table” — which I assume is code for indirect layoffs — is also puzzling, since I don’t recall you being invited to the bargaining table to begin with. You might be surprised to learn how much teaching loads vary among schools and programs.
via Oped: Schooling minister Lukaszuk.
Why STEM should care about the humanities
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Toronto, April 16, 2013—
Kira Hamman, The Chronicle of Higher Education
One need not look far these days to find people skeptical (at best) about the value of higher education. Most of these people particularly question the value of a liberal-arts education, which they view as outdated and elitist. Claiming economic pragmatism, they seek the curtailment or even outright elimination of arts and humanities programs. Liberal arts, they say, are a luxury we can no longer afford, because students who study the liberal arts do not develop the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. This is an absurd and entirely unsubstantiated claim that I will not bother to debunk here (for an excellent takedown of this position, see Brian Rosenberg’s January 30 article in the Huffington Post). Still, absurd though it is, those of us in the sciences may think to let the humanities fight their own corner. What does this have to do with us? we may well ask.
And it’s true: You never hear politicians questioning the value of STEM education. Sure, students may complain about the chemistry class they’re required to take, and everyone loves to hate developmental math, but on a fundamental level most people accept that STEM courses belong in the undergraduate curriculum. People in mathematics, my discipline, are fond of complaining about teaching so-called service courses, but the truth is that we have a kind of job security our colleagues in the humanities could envy. Even the most hardcore of anti-intellectual politicians does not dispute the utility of mathematics, or the necessity of both teaching and learning it. So we’re safe, right? Why should we stick our necks out protecting drama, or music, or women’s studies? Three reasons.
via Council of Ontario Universities – University Success Stories.
Scottish universities employ 88 people who earn the same as the First Minister’s £140,000 (US$213,000) salary or more, reports icScotland. Just two principals across the 18 institutions earn less than the leader of the Scottish government, according to figures from the National Union of Students (NUS).
via Huge university salaries condemned – University World News.
The same may be said for North American universities, most notably the University of Alberta whose salary outranks any other because, it has been said, it is important that the president’s salary reflects the prestige and excellence of the institution.
In an age and time when we value only that for which the highest cost is extracted, outrageously high salaries may be seen as making sense of a particular kind. The question must then be asked about the kinds of values that such institutions wish to and should, uphold and the message they wish to convey about values, morals and society, most especially given their traditional function role as the social, political and moral conscience of the nation.
Dr Brendan Hokowhitu from Ngati Pukenga arrived in Canada in February to become the faculty’s dean, after time as an Associate Professor at Otago University.
In New Zealand he became known for his research into indigenous culture and sport, while setting up a Masters Degree progamme in tangata whenua (indigenous) studies.
He says First Nations people in Canada want to learn from the way Maori have advanced their causes.
But Dr Hokowhitu said he would need to approach the topic with humility, because Maori in Aotearoa did not go about things in the same way as First Nations people in Canada.
He hoped to bring about some positive changes during his tenure, including raising the profile of Aboriginal people on campus.
via Radio New Zealand : News : Te Manu Korihi : Maori academic wants to raise First Nations profile at Alberta University.
Whenever David Brooks and Thomas Friedman begin singing from the same hymnal you can bet the next public policy catastrophe is knocking at the door. This time around theyve become boosters for online college courses as a panacea to cure the ills afflicting public colleges and universities. Brooks and Friedmans new interest in higher education means that Very Serious People are lining up to hand over yet another public good to the shock doctrine of privatization.
via Joseph A. Palermo: Pedagogy of the Depressed.