October 28th, 2010
I was with NAGS last week – and, no, not a bunch of whiners, but the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. I am on the executive and we had gathered in Beantown/Boston to plan our annual, spring 2011 conference. NAGS has the best acronym of all the branch plant associations in the Council of Graduate Studies: the west (WAGS) and the south (SAGS) aren’t quite so amusing. We are also different in more significant ways. Unlike the other groups, NAGS extends its membership beyond the USA. Canadian schools are very much part of the core constituency, and so there are usually at least 4 of us on the executive—all typically enslaved to our Blackberries. And because of the sheer range of geography, member US schools include the Ivy League as well as small colleges about which few Canadians know much. I don’t care what they say, but in Canada the difference between the top-ranked so-called ‘Big 13’ schools (UoT, McGill, UBC, blah blah) and other smaller or medium universities is not as great as the difference between, say, Harvard U. and Salem College. Ten minutes talking to their representatives tells you everything about that.