Should we boycott US conferences?

Checking my emails on Monday morning was as crazy ride.  First message – a petition to boycott US conferences.  10 following messages – debates about whether this is the right choice.  I immediately thought of my mentor Ruth Hayhoe and her stories of China in 1989.  They faced the same question – Should we boycott an oppressive regime?  I sat down with Ruth this week to learn more.

READ her story in University Affairs here..

Can Academic Freedom make space for Minority Groups?

Mildred’s award winning pancakes.

I recently had brunch at a cafe – Mildred’s Temple Kitchen – which, despite the odd name, was great.  Truly award winning pancakes.  And how is this relevant to higher education?   The washrooms.

I guess that connection needs to be explained a little more.  There was only one washroom, with four or five stalls that all had well sealed doors.  The sinks were communal.  Universities and a whole bunch of other public institutions seem incredibly high strung over issues like gender neutral washrooms, gender neutral pronouns.  And while some think this is all new and gravely concerning, Canadian universities have been debating accommodations for minority groups for decades. This is not new.

Want some clarity on the issue?  READ my piece in University World News…

**disclaimer** Mildred’s washrooms have had more than a little off-beat media coverage.  And I am by no means endorsing everything that takes place there.

Blogs for University World News

From June 2015- June 2016 I have been on maternity leave, although I still had some time to write for University World News UWN) and complete my thesis.  Here are links to several of my UWN blogs.

Oct. 14. 2016. Supporting victims of sexual assault at university. 
Aug. 19. 2016 Can private education contribute to nation building?
June. 10. 2016  Will students be forced to pay the utility bills in Ghana?
April 15. 2016  The vital role of credit transfer in Canada.

Successful Defence!

Picture of CommitteeI returned from maternity leave in the summer and jumped right into the intensity of defending my dissertation.  On September 21, 2016 I passed without revisions – a rare event and more than I could ask or imagine.  The credit for the pristine final draft goes to my committee members, who provided extensive feedback last spring and to my mom, Joanne Karram, who edited my thesis four times!!  Perhaps the best part of the whole journey was eating ice cream in celebration with my dear committee members Dr. Ruth Hayhoe, Dr. Jane Knight and. Dr. Monica Heller.

You can watch my mock defence presentation at the following link – http://connect.oise.utoronto.ca/p5e8zryivr4/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

START WATCHING AT 10 MINUTES – 10:00:00

Moving forward at OISE

Lemonade StandThree weeks into my maternity leave I signed into my work email account to find a lovely invitation from OISE’s interim Dean.  The invitation welcomed all of OISE’s community to a “pop-up” lemonade stand, hosted in the hallway next to the Dean’s office.  Though I could not attend – not even a lemonade stand can drag me way from those precious new-born days – I have continued to think about the symbolism of that lemonade stand and what it means for the OISE community.  You can read my thoughts here in my latest UWN blog.

Video from Recent Research Talk

I owe a big thank you to the Comparative, International and Development Education Centre (CIDEC) at OISE for hosting a great day of presentations by PhD students.  It was a wonderful chance to hear about the research that is happening across our faculty and taking our students around the world.

Follow this link to watch my talk on university students’ identity change at Western branch-campuses – http://connect.oise.utoronto.ca/p1pbn4xmzl7/

 

 

MENA: The Final Frontier of Ranking

Before we know it, all the universities of the world will be ranked and a seemingly impenetrable class system of institutions will be set in stone.  I assume that proponent of ranking will claim that nothing is concrete about rankings; after all, institutions have the ability to move up and down based on their performance.  But it all feels a little bit like the American Dream – you can make it to the top with clever strategies and a lot of hard work.  But we know this isn’t true.  Factors such as money, reputation, national policies are much stronger forces than hard work and strategy.  Very likely, the majority of universities will maintain their intitial location, holding on to their prestige or remaining entrenched in their inobscurity.

As ranking comes to the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) – Daniel Kratchovil and I decided to point out the inequalities in the process and call for a more nuanced and collaborative method of ranking.  Read our article for University World News here  – http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20140916142944380