Directional Sign with OLD NEW Words and Sky

Enough already with 2016. Any year in which someone like Donald J Trump gets elected to be President of the United States is not a great year. But all is not totally lost. We live in Canada, where the air is sweeter, less hostile (mostly), and more progressive (generally). The refugee family a bunch of us sponsored a little over a year ago seems to be thriving. The teenagers are in high school, hooked on their devices and the latest whatevers, and mom is working at a Middle Eastern restaurant right here in St. John’s. Their capacity for change and their elegant ability to adapt to a weird foreign culture like ours is nothing less than inspiring. As the saying goes, sure puts everything in perspective.

The year was a mixed bag, to be sure. You might need a multiple-choice test to keep it all straight. Where do you stand on the conflicting positions, assumptions, attitudes, and opinions floating around out there about university culture? None, or all of the above?

Public universities are under siege these days because
a) governments are reducing contributions and grants
b) they don’t meet today’s workplace needs
c) learning and truth are overrated
d) food offerings are crushingly mediocre

Students are dissatisfied because
a) they want ‘free’ tuition
b) they want more wellness breaks
c) they want more services
d) the food sucks

Tuition is a vexed issue because
a) disadvantaged students have to pay the same as those who can afford it
b) recruitment depends on affordable education
c) low tuition is thought to be poor quality education
d) we’re not Norway

Faculty members are dissatisfied because
a) they want more time off from teaching
b) they want more time off from teaching first year
c) they don’t like change
d) they want to be left alone

Administrators are dissatisfied because
a) they get no respect
b) they are bloated
c) no one wants change
d) too many people are earning salaries and collecting pensions

Faculties are dissatisfied because
a) why can’t everyone just be like Business?
b) why are we still training teachers?
c) students don’t want to study History anymore
d) they need more money to do stuff

The general public is dissatisfied because
a) tax payers are supporting international students
b) their children spend too much time on their PDAs
c) university salaries sure seem high
d) don’t we need more hospital beds?

Women are dissatisfied because
a) they are still vastly underrepresented in university senior leadership
b) they have trouble being taken seriously
c) men talk too much in committees
d) they are still earning less than their male peers

Men are dissatisfied because
a) employment equity committees are bothersome
b) they have to leave their doors open when meeting female students
c) some of their peers talk too much on committees
d) they aren’t earning what they deserve

Technology is changing university culture because
a) it makes it easier to do lots more stuff
b) it confuses personal and professional communication
c) it makes access to information a snap
d) it costs a lot to build modern infrastructure

Employers are dissatisfied because
a) they don’t want to hire students without soft skills
b) they don’t want to invest in training
c) no one has a strong work ethic anymore
d) the economy is right scary

University rankings are troublesome because
a) everyone knows they’re a racket
b) everyone buys in to the racket
c) parents believe in the racket
d) we can’t come up with anything better

Keyword of 2016 is
a) risk
b) pensions
c) corporatization
d) bloat

The future looks bright because
a) we’re better off than most of the world
b) we’re all about renewal
c) there will be new Apple upgrades
d) it just has to

The correct seasonal greeting these days is
a) Merry Christmas
b) Happy Hannukah
c) Happy Holidays
d) Happy Solstice

How’d you do?

Have a safe holiday. Looking forward to 2017 when I will be returning to this blogspace.

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