As those of you who follow this blog know, sometimes my comments about academe can be harsh. There are deep, systemic issues in an institution that refuses to change at the pace of the society in which it is embedded. I think it is important that we never ignore our own disorders while we are critiquing those of the world around us.
However, at times like Congress, I am reminded why I have loved being a part of the university system in the first place. After all, I have spent that last twenty years within the ivory tower. For all its faults, it is a wonderfully stimulating environment, vastly diverse, and full of people who care deeply and passionately about their contributions to their fields and to society.
While finances impact virtually every aspect academe, they are not the motivation behind what we do, and for that I am grateful. This is why I would never be happy in the private sector, I am simply not touched, moved or inspired by profit.
During Congress I was awed at how much of Canada’s most valuable resources were represented in the halls, classrooms, and courtyards of Carleton. For the five days I was there, the energy of concentrated thought and focused inquiry sparked like electricity. Yes there were politics, and one-up-manship, anxiety and frustration, but not much. Not enough to overshadow the postive energy of the thousands of scholars who took the pilgrimmage that is the annual ritual of academe in Canada. If you have never gone, do try to get out to Concordia next year. You have to experience Congress at least once.
University Affairs videotaped all the Career Corner sessions – hurray! – and these will be posted starting in the fall. So if (like me) you missed one or couldn’t make it to Ottawa at all, there is still an opportunity to benefit from all that was shared.
Now I am going home. Congress continues until Sunday, but I am done. After a wonderful five days I want to slip into my own bed and sleep deeply. Tomorrow I will start contacting the people whose cards are stuffed in my bag before I forget, as if!