October 2006 The Holy Grail of Relevance While the classroom teacher as reluctant hero has been well portrayed in movies such as Good-bye Mr. Chips, To Sir with Love and Stand and Deliver, the university professor has also been represented as the misunderstood eccentric-genius in movies such as The Nutty Professor and The Paper Chase. Challenges Facing New Academics Let me ask you a question. Have you ever felt like an utter stranger in a particular setting? Think back. It could have been your first day in grade school, or on first setting foot in a developing country, or even being hospitalized. It’s one of the many senses of the sociological concept of alienation, and very broadly simplified, it refers to a situation where one feels totally alien. John Stuart Mill & Today's Universities May 20, 2006 mark(ed) the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Stuart Mill. Quite unimportant to anyone other than myself, it also mark(ed) the 50th anniversary of my first encounter with On Liberty.Faced with a school chaplain who thought that Bertrand Russell had nothing to say — “he had four wives” appeared to settle the matter — and a house-master who assured me that Russell was “an old fool,” I settled down to consume the more accessible essays of both Russell and his godfather. Academic Staff Ready for Hill Representatives of academic staff associations from coast-to-coast will gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Nov. 23 to meet with their members of Parliament as part of CAUT’s annual lobby. Teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals will highlight the challenges facing post-secondary institutions and propose ways the federal government can improve access and quality. CAUT Argues for Raise in Federal PSE Funds The federal government needs to make post-secondary education funding a major priority of the next budget, CAUT told the House of Commons Finance Committee last month in Ottawa. Academic Staff at Sainte-Anne OK Strike Academic staff at Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia voted overwhelmingly last month to authorize a strike. Bias & Discrimination Saddle Women’s Advancement Bias and discrimination, and not innate ability, are the reasons why female academics are underrepresented in many fields of science and engineering, according to a report issued last month by the National Academies in the United States. Rushed Process Sidelines Federal Consultations A federal government sponsored online consultation on post-secondary education is receiving a tepid response from stakeholders. High Tuition, Static Enrolment Canada has the highest level of post-secondary education attainment in the developed world, but a new report warns it will soon be overtaken by other countries because of stagnant growth in the enrolment rate over the past decade. Marcus Harvey Joins CAUT Marcus Harvey joined the staff of CAUT in August as a professional officer Paul Smith Receives CAUT Award Paul Smith, a PhD candidate at Carleton University in the National Wildlife Research Centre, is the recipient of the 2006–2007 J.H. Stewart Reid Memorial Fellowship. Shaky Logic Undermines Critique Finding oneself appalled by the moral and intellectual squalor of the younger generation is usually a pretty reliable indication that one has grown old. Professors of humanities, who often tend to fancy themselves as keepers of the light in a darkening world, are particularly vulnerable to this state of mind, and occasionally one will write a book accusing the younger generation of having dropped the lamp. Such complaints are always worth considering, however, for it is always possible that, this time, the geezers have got it right. Sometimes the world really does change for the worse and slowly enough that we may have failed to notice. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear York Appeal York University president Lorna Marsden will face a civil suit for misfeasance in public office as a result of the Supreme Court of Canada’s rejection of the university’s request for leave to appeal a lower court decision.