Featured Articles


Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education, a review

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When I was a doctoral student early in the millennium, I remember a lot of talk among my colleagues about “lines.” In the academic context, “lines” refer to additions to one’s CV in the form of presentations and publications. Lines were presumed to be good things. The accumulation of such lines would, the story went, […]

The case for publicly funded universities

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Ontario’s universities are important public spaces that depend on robust public funding to thrive. When the structure of the funding model changes, how does that impact the fundamental mandate of the university? Universities are complex public systems embedded in the heart of our communities. By shear size, they can be larger than smaller municipalities, have […]

It’s time to invest in a faculty renewal strategy for Ontario’s universities

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For years, full-time faculty hiring has stagnated at Ontario’s universities, even as student enrolment has increased dramatically. It’s time for the government to invest in a robust faculty renewal strategy. Public funding is foundational for a postsecondary system that provides accessible, quality education to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. While recent efforts have increased accessibility […]

What might the 2018 Ontario Budget mean for university faculty?

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Given the upcoming election, it is widely understood that the 2018 Ontario Budget is as much a campaign platform document as a budget. While the continued implementation of reforms to student assistance are expected to further improve access for students, faculty are concerned that operating funding for universities remains stagnant, threatening the high-quality education students […]

Looking at the big picture: A breakdown of university funding in Ontario through the decades

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University revenues by student and government funding sources Ontario student fees have accounted for a greater share of current university revenues (primarily operating and research) than provincial government grants in only two stretches over the course of nearly a century. The first was a five-year stretch beginning in 1945-46 when the federal Department of Veterans […]

The public value of public funding for research

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Basic, curiosity-driven research continues to take a backseat to privately and publicly funded research linked to short-term commercial profit. We must push back against this trend and reinvest in the core mission of the university. What machine has changed social life more than the networked computer? If we could go back in history to the […]

What happened to the issue of postsecondary education?

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Postsecondary education is an issue that affects a majority of Ontarians, but it does not often feature prominently in provincial elections. How might this issue be pushed onto the election agenda? Education is an issue that affects a majority of Ontarians. Whether you are a parent with school-aged kids, a student currently enrolled in a […]

Building Solidarity on Ontario’s university campuses

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University administrations often seek to advance unpopular agendas by attempting to pit students and faculty against each other. Through campus alliances, we can develop stronger relationships that bolster our ability to advance our own priorities. Awakening The CUPE 3902 strike in March of 2015 at the University of Toronto was my first exposure to some […]

2018 Worldviews Lecture: The challenges of free speech on campus

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The Worldviews Lecture is a lively forum to advance mutual understanding of the relationships, challenges, and potential of the academy and media. At this year’s Worldviews Lecture, Professor Sigal Ben-Porath addressed the increasingly heightened debate around free speech on campus. Her lecture was followed by a panel discussion that explored challenges for democratic values and […]

Humour Matters: It’s time to make meaningless words great again

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When it comes to humour about public funding, there really is no way to compete with reality. The last time the basic funding model for Ontario universities was changed, the Maple Leafs were winning Stanley Cups. Read that sentence again—the Maple Leafs were winning Stanley Cups. Unless you are a scholar of ancient history, you’ll […]

University funding debates should be broadened to reflect their democratic purpose

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In 2017, Murdoch University successfully applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate its Enterprise Agreement. From the National Tertiary Education Union’s (NTEU) perspective this was an attack on staff salaries and conditions and showed industrial relations law was deeply one-sided. For university management having the agreement terminated was a legitimate industrial strategy, justified by […]

Divisions in the university commons yield dividends: A partial review of Peter MacKinnon’s University Commons Divided

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In University Commons Divided, Peter MacKinnon, the long-serving president of the University of Saskatchewan, has written an interesting introduction to some of the recent contentious cases in governance of Canadian universities. He provides readers with nice introductory chapter-length descriptions of four cases: Jennifer Berdahl’s blogging about the ousting of University of British Columbia (UBC) President […]

A new bond between the public and universities could brighten America’s future

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Blackboard/shutterstock.com The technology powering the device you are using to read this article was originally developed at a research university. So was the internet, open-heart surgery, treatments for cancer and countless other innovations. Today’s way of life would not exist without breakthroughs made at American research universities, but you wouldn’t know this from the way […]

The importance of international students to Atlantic Canada

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Anita faced a tough choice when she discovered she was unexpectedly pregnant. If she took a term off school to care for her newborn, her family would lose its dream of settling in Canada. So, eight weeks after the summer birth, with her diplomat husband away on a long-term work assignment in the Caribbean and two more children at home, the international student from Cameroon returned to class full-time.