My next postcard will be from somewhere warm…
February 15th, 2013

My next postcard will be from somewhere warm, heading out of Dodge on annual leave very shortly. Winter’s been brutal and it will be nice to be away from, among other things, tedious daily missives, signals and dire warnings about impending budget cuts. It’s hard not to be suspicious of all the government posturing around the economy. We are a have province, boom is apparent, the forecast is cheery, but yet we are being braced for an asteroid of a budget. This kind of disparity makes the citizenry cynical.

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Much ado about reforming PhD programs right now.
February 8th, 2013

Much ado about reforming PhD programs right now. Check out the graph above. This is the most up-to-date data we have in this country. According to an article in this month’s University Affairs, “the proportion of PhD students who successfully complete their degrees within nine years has risen across all disciplines, but completion times remain long and in some fields have even increased.” That’s alarming, and has given rise to some serious refocusing on the value of graduate programs everywhere. There are lots of reasons for the slower completion rates, not the least of which is that there may be nowhere to go in the academy once you actually finish your degree. Concordia University is now rewarding timely doctoral graduates with bonuses; UBC is reviewing its entire program menu to see how best to encourage more timely completion rates; and some universities are considering limiting their PhD intake altogether.

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You couldn’t make this up…
February 1st, 2013

You couldn’t make this up. This story hit the fan this week:

North Carolina governor proposes funding PSE based on students’ ability to get jobs: North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told a national radio audience Tuesday that state community colleges and universities should be funded based on how well they do at placing students in the labour market. McCrory said he has instructed his staff to draft legislation “in which we change the basic formula and how education money is given out to our universities and our community colleges, not based on how many butts in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs.” University of North Carolina president Tom Ross says the 16-campus system is already revising its funding formula to include measures relating to student achievement and academic and operational efficiencies. Still, he has reservations about gauging university success solely based on students’ and graduates’ employment rate.
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