All Posts Tagged With: "Daniel Woolf"
What students are talking about today (April 1st)
1. In a letter to the editor of a campus newspaper, a Princeton University alumna whose sons now attend the Ivy Leage school, has told female students, “forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out. Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate.” Susan A. Patton says that Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion that women “lean in” to advance in their careers is missing the point. Here’s a sample of the controversial letter from the Daily Princetonian:
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
You can imagine the reaction this caused over the weekend. “What an excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships she has,” wrote Susan O’Connor of Nymag.com, to which Patton responded in The Huffington Post, “honestly, it was intended as little more than honest advice from a Jewish mother.” It’s rare that such views make it into print, so I’m certain we’ll hear more on this.
What students are talking about today (February 6th)
1. Olympic gold medal swimmer and dimwit Ryan Lochte has recreated Nirvana’s Nevermind album cover for ESPN The Magazine and everyone’s making the same joke about Kurt Cobain rolling over in his grave. Lochte subs in for the baby in the photo. He told ESPN that, “if you look at the baby, he’s definitely happy in the water. And that’s what I am.” He also noted, “he’s chasing after a dollar bill. So he’s always on the grind.”
2. Eight years after same-sex marriage became legal in Canada, Britain’s House of Commons on Tuesday approved a proposal that will allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales. The vote was 400 to 175. On the topic of gay rights, a photo has emerged of an unnamed West Point cadet escorting his boyfriend to a winter formal. The photo appeared on the Facebook page of Knights Out, the West Point alumni support group for GLBTQ soldiers. If gay couples can be accepted at the most prestigious military academy in America, it seems only a matter of time until the entire country follows.
3. Queen’s University held its first ever Black History Month opening ceremony last week. “I hope [what] Queen’s students take away from this is that there is a big Afro-Caribe culture here at Queen’s,” organizer Stephanie Jackson told The Queen’s Journal. Black History Month, originally “Negro History Week” when it was started in 1926 by black historian Carter G. Woodson, is held each February in honour of President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and Frederick Douglass, the famous anti-slavery activist. Queen’s president Daniel Woolf told the opening ceremony crowd that Black History Month won’t always be needed, but that it is today. Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney honoured black law enforcement officers on Tuesday. Among the participants were Devon Clunis, Canada’s first black Chief of Police (in Winnipeg) and Lori Seale-Irving, the first black commissioned officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The government also drew attention in a press release to the Black History Virtual Museum.
4. “Good men are hard to find—at least on television,” writes Angela Johnston of MacEwan University’s The Griff. “The archetypes of bumbling doofus (for example, Melissa McCarthy’s counterpart in Mike and Molly) and sociopathic jerk (see Alex Karev in Grey’s Anatomy) have been abundant for decades, with few alternatives.” She notes a recent article in the The Atlantic explored this phenomenon and she’s been watching shows that don’t stereotype men, like Parenthood.
5. After a long delay, Concordia University has announced Canada’s first Major in Canadian Irish Studies will go ahead this fall. The bachelor’s degree will allow students to explore the history, literatures and cultures of Ireland and the Irish Diaspora. Courses include James Joyce, Irish Traditional Music: A Global Soundscape, The Irish in Montreal, Irish Mythology and Folklore, Field Studies in Ireland and Cinema in Quebec and Ireland. Michael Kenneally, director of the Centre for Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia, told Maclean’s in 2011 why interest in Ireland is so high in Quebec. “If you’re interested in cultural nationalism, colonialism, post-imperial identities, partition and decolonization, rebellion and independence, Ireland is a case study for all of that.”
A timeline of injuries, deaths, scandals and crackdowns
Graphic by Jessie Willms. Text by Josh Dehaas.
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Canadian students feel hopeless, depressed, even suicidal
This week’s issue of Maclean’s took an in-depth look at the mental health crisis on university campuses. Read the story, check out our tips for dealing with stress and join the conversation on Twitter: #brokengeneration
In late August, as the first leaves changed from green to red and gold, university ghost towns were coming back to life. Residences were dusted out. Classrooms were readied. Textbooks were purchased—and new outfits, new computers, new posters to decorate dorm room walls. Amid this bustle, construction workers at Cornell University began installing steel mesh nets under seven bridges around campus. They overlook the scenic gorges for which Ithaca, N.Y., is known; in early 2010, they were the sites of three Cornell student suicides of a total of six that year. Students cross the bridges daily on their way to class.
Cornell’s bridge nets are the latest and most visible sign that the best and brightest are struggling. In an editorial in the Cornell Daily Sun following the 2010 suicides, president David J. Skorton acknowledged these deaths are just “the tip of the iceberg, indicative of a much larger spectrum of mental health challenges faced by many on our campus and on campuses everywhere.”
The (surprisingly) most-read stories of 2011
Each year, we offer Maclean’s On Campus readers a look back at the Top 10 most-read higher education news stories of the year. There were two big themes in 2011. First, the many scandals over universities’ reputations, from Alberta to Queen’s to St. FX. Second, uncertainty about the job market for grads.
1. Time for this year’s edition of X-ring Idol
Our blogging English professor, Todd Pettigrew, dared to compare the obsession of St. Francis Xavier students with their beloved X-ring to Gollum’s unhealthy quest for the precious. We knew St. FX students would defend their tradition vociferously—and they did, with more than 250 comments over three days. Most were from alumni and students who thought Pettigrew missed the point. They argued that the ring symbolizes their hard work and the family-like bond they instantly glean whenever a fellow X-grad catches a glimpse of their band. Then again, dozens of readers agreed with Pettigrew—some even suggested the flood of emotional reactions reinforced his point.
“Unthinkable” to be compared to Waterloo, McMaster, Guelph
A leaked letter written by Queen’s University’s principal reveals a man who is worried about the school’s slipping reputation, its upcoming labour strife and ongoing financial struggles — which he beleives can only be overcome by more corporate partnerships. The letter was supposed by be a private list of his goals for the upcoming year, but it found its way onto Facebook and Twitter.
Daniel Woolf’s candour on the school’s changing reputation is most striking.
“At Queen’s, where the financial situation is particularly acute, the quality that once defined the institution is clearly being compromised,” he wrote to William Young, who chairs the Board of Trustees. “It would have been unthinkable 20 years ago that the quality reputation of undergraduate education at Queen’s would be challenged by Waterloo and McMaster …to say nothing of Guelph – but it is clearly happening.”
He goes on to say, “it is time to leverage our assets to achieve international recognition… the distinctive small-town Ivy League experience of a Queen’s education with its excellence in both teaching and research, should be embraced – it is this cachet that attracts students from around the world to Cornell and Dartmouth in the U.S. In Canada Queen’s is arguably the only university with this pedigree.”
He also says that the school must “attract many more international students (which is the longer term key both to greater revenue and greater global reputation).”
Then he suggests that the long-term financial situation will only be improved through more partnerships with corporations, citing Stanford’s partnership with IBM and MIT’s partnership with Nokia as examples. More corporate cash is needed because: “the past two decades have seen a complete reversal of the funding model for Ontario universities: 20 years ago 74% of our operating budget was provided by the province; today, that figure has flipped to 47%.”
He also suggests that his Principal’s Commission on Mental Health could be leveraged for funding. “It crosses directly into fund-raising, as there are corporations with a keen interest in this area (including Bell, which has already funded a Chair in the area (to be announced publicly in the fall).”
He does see some light on the horizon regarding government funding — but, in doing so, admits that quick growth has compromised the school’s quality.
“The good news is that Queen’s may not have to grow dramatically just to get what little provincial funding there is. In late May, at a speech I attended in Toronto, the Hon. John Milloy, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced plans of replacing some per-student funding with performance-based support… We may revise our growth projections to take advantage of such a change, should it occur.”
Finally, he writes that his number one goal for the year is to “negotiate successful labour group agreements,” because he antcipates six months of labour unrest. He added that, “I appreciate the Board’s understanding that these disruptions, should they occur, will be unpleasant and potentially reputational-damaging in the short term, but they may be a necessary step in order to achieve success in salary restraint and pension reform.”
Near the end, he writes, “I would anticipate a summary of this document, duly adjusted for a public audience.”
The letter was posted by Ashley Ratcliffe to her Facebook in a “note” and then was circulated on Twitter.
Queen’s communications director Ellie Sadinsky told the Queen’s Journal that Principal Woolf learned that the letter had been leaked and circulated through his Twitter account. He defended the letter in a tweet to former Engineering Society President* Victoria Pleavin, saying “This is my annual ‘goals’ doc to the Board—a normal process; negotiated labour agreements are a priority, as stated.”
*This post originally named Victoria Pleavin as the president of the Engineering Society. In fact, the current president is Derrick Dodgson. We regret the error.
University to shift resources to “brand” programs
Facing ballooning pension costs and shrinking deficits, Queen’s university is planning to cut 15 per cent from their budget over the next three years. The cuts are announced just as Queen’s completed the first phase of a new athletic centre, which will leave the university with an extra $125 million in debt. Though Queen’s Centre is being partially funded through a new student levy, outside donations have fallen short. Phases two and three have been postponed.
To compensate for its budget woes, university principal Daniel Woolf says he plans to scale down the university’s offerings, and shift available resources towards core areas. As reported in the Globe yesterday:
Most Canadian universities, such as Queen’s, are struggling with financial pressures, caused by factors such as rising pension costs and falling endowment income. Several have implemented cost-cutting measures, ranging from dropping courses and banning small classes to laying off staff.
Longer term, Dr. Woolf, a historian and Queen’s grad, believes the school will have to reshape its academic direction to develop what he calls a “balanced academy.” This would ensure that the university shifts more attention to undergraduate education – what he describes as “our brand.”
He is also preaching selectivity: the need for Queen’s to determine what areas are core to the university, and then focus on them intensely. “You can’t do everything at the same level,” he said.
The administration had requested faculty take a two per cent pay cut, with a promise to split the savings between professors own departments and the school’s operating deficit. Queen’s University Faculty Association members voted 89 per cent against the request last Monday. The union is blaming the administration for mismanaging the budget.