We held our annual ceremony here in SGS this week
May 30th, 2013

We held our annual ceremony here in SGS this week. It was a happy afternoon, and not just because the sun was shining. So many talented achievers, so many proud family and friends in attendance to honour and celebrate success. I love this time of year, the tulips are singing in technicolor and convocation ceremonies speak to just how hopeful life seems to the freshly graduated—even for those holding doctoral degrees.

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That’s the view of Jerusalem from my hotel baloney in Mt. Scopus…
May 24th, 2013

That’s the view of Jerusalem from my hotel baloney in Mt. Scopus. Not bad, eh? This is my last day and I am heading home soon. It’s been a wild ride, with a stay in Cannes for the annual festival –grey skies, torrential rain, bling, buzz, Leonardo, and superb movies—followed  by Israel—temps in the ‘thirties, bright blue skies, ongoing intensity and complexity of geopolitics. Newfoundland and Canada in general seem so tame and safe by comparison.

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This is the famous beach at Cannes…
May 17th, 2013

This is the famous beach at Cannes where Bardot and other starlets once shed their bikinis for the adoring fans and photographers. Such stunts are passé here. Nothing shocks. The annual film festival gathers thousands of people in the industry who have the jaded look of too many action films that died at the box office. Still, shock-free though it is, Cannes is still a real kick and one would be a fool not to sample the huge menu of offerings. Already I have seen superb film, locked hands with one of my idols, Jane Campion, lined up for eternity and been denied a seat at the last minute, secured a prime seat for another screening, and gawked long and hard at the throngs of humanity who have descended to this fair of vanities.

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Allan Rock rocks
May 10th, 2013

Allan Rock rocks. He did, at least, this week in a speech to the Canadian Club in Ottawa: “The ‘Skills Mismatch’ and the Myth of the Irrelevant University.” I love it when university presidents speak their minds. In my view they just don’t do it enough. A former Federal Liberal Cabinet member, Rock has a natural aversion to this present government’s approach to supporting higher education, and so you have to start with that, sure.  But he took the opportunity to speak boldly and honestly to a group of Canadian mandarins about representation and misrepresentation of academia, putting the case squarely before their hooded eyes.

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Normally, on this blogspot I resist wading into the very shallow waters of political rhetoric…
May 3rd, 2013

Normally, on this blogspot I resist wading into the very shallow waters of political rhetoric but this week’s events compelled me to don my nose plugs. Those of us who work in education know well just how much Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ongoing assault on Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau is revealing about himself. After the thwarted attempt by, allegedly, a graduate student and his pals to blow up a VIA Rail train, and alluding to Trudeau’s earlier comments about understanding the “root causes” of terrorism, Harper declared that now is not the time to “commit sociology.” This tasty sound byte has extended well beyond the typical 21st century news cycle. It’s just too irresistibly chewy—especially for us hungry academics who understand how the social sciences and humanities are being steadily starved.
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