Skip navigation

Speculative Diction

BY MELONIE FULLICK | September 02 2014

This post is an expanded version of a keynote talk that I presented on August 26, 2014 at the 11th Annual Workshop on Higher Education Reform, at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The post is in two parts, because it’s quite long and I’ve expanded on every point; but hopefully it’s worth reading to […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | August 11 2014

Periodically I try to share some of the tools I’m using in the process of researching, writing, presenting, and muddling about online; I’ve noticed that frequently there are things I’m taking for granted that others don’t know anything about (and could really use!). This time around I’m focusing on tools I’ve worked with in various […]


The pet-peeve language issue I’m going to look at in this post is a particular way of using the word “talent,” which isn’t really a metaphor per se but more of a quality or attribute that is nominalized and reified in ways that detach it from actual people, and their lives and work. I’ve discussed […]


In a recent Chronicle Of Higher Ed article Dr. David M. Perry asked the question, “but does it count”? with regards to public engagement in academe. Perry argues that while there’s a perception that academics don’t communicate with non-expert publics, in fact they’re doing this kind of work all the time. What we really need, […]


It’s not all that often that we see a case study in Canadian university crisis communications and in particular, where a crisis happens because of a conflict involving fundamental ideas about what universities are for and how they should be governed. That’s one way to look at the recent events at the University of Saskatchewan, […]


There’s nothing like the perspective of distance to bring murky issues into focus. I was able to re-discover this recently when I (unexpectedly) ended up spending two weeks in New Zealand, where I travelled on short notice to attend my father’s funeral, then visited extended family afterwards. The 36 hours preceding the trip were a […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | April 09 2014

On March 16, Steve Paikin – the host of the TVOntario’s popular current affairs show “The Agenda” – shared a blog post titled “Where are all the female guests?”. In it, he expressed concern about the ongoing lack of gender parity among the show’s guests, which has led to male-dominated panel discussions. The main question […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | March 24 2014

Recently the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) released a report (PDF) on a study “designed to measure the teaching loads of faculty members in the Ontario university system and the relationship of this variable to others, such as research output and salary.” The study, comprising 10 of Ontario’s 20 publicly funded universities, looked […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | March 04 2014

Some of you may have noticed that I tend to pay a lot of attention to university communications, both internal and external. It’s partly because this is one of the things I’ve researched (including for my Master’s thesis and my dissertation project); I also have a degree in communication studies and I’ve done some communications […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | February 19 2014

When I was about 20 I made the decision to quit pursuing a career doing the thing I’d been best at all my life. Some of you might be surprised to know that I was “supposed” to be an artist. I was better at art – drawing, building and sculpting, photography – than I was […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | January 31 2014

As many of you will have heard by now (since I’m slow to comment on these things), recently the Canadian government released another strategy piece regarding ongoing efforts to recruit international students to Canada. There’s been some great commentary on this already, and I can’t add much to what others have said. Much of the […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | January 17 2014

Last October was Mental Health Awareness Month in Ontario (October 10 is World Mental Health Day), and as part of the province’s mental health and addictions strategy, there was much fanfare over the launch of new initiatives for postsecondary students bolstered by $27 million in funding. This is an important and positive step, because there’s […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | January 10 2014

In the past few weeks some interesting and contentious threads of discussion have been unwinding on “Academic Twitter”, in particular one that’s focused on the current conditions of the academic job market in the United States. It seems the debate was kicked off by a post from Rebecca Schuman at Pan Kisses Kafka blog, who […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | December 12 2013

Last week with the release of the OECD’s PISA results, there was a flurry of media coverage of Canada’s (and other nations’) performance in this assessment, which I think was best summed up by Audrey Watters with the headline, “PISA Scores Confirm that [Fill in the Blank with Education Narrative of Your Choice]”. I didn’t […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | November 25 2013

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the job market, poverty, and the assumptions we make when we talk about people’s choices, partly because recently I’ve seen two excellent and provocative posts about this. The first is from Tressie McMillan Cottom on “The logic of stupid poor people”, a post that discusses how expensive status […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | November 12 2013

A recent article on Slate‘s website came to my attention only because so many academics in my personal Twittersphere were reacting negatively to it. The article caused outrage with its discussion of EdX founder Anant Agarwal’s suggestion that professors who create and present material for (video-based) MOOCs could be replaced by Hollywood stars, who would […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | November 01 2013

For some reason, in the last few months I’ve seen a number of articles and blog posts about the nature of “public intellectuals” – how to define the term, to whom it applies, and of course, the long-running series of “critiques” that discuss the failure of public intellectuals and what contributes to it. Maybe I’m […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | October 25 2013

In recent months we have seen many controversial issues arising on university campuses and in other academic contexts in Canada and around the world, which have generated a good deal of media coverage. These are issues that in some cases connect the university, academics, and students to actions, behaviours, and attitudes that have been seen […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | October 15 2013

The current Ontario government has been formulating ideas for systemic change in higher education since at least 2005, when the Rae Review was released. Some of the issues raised in that review are still with us now – and one of those issues is university differentiation, which has come up yet again via a data […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | September 27 2013

“Everyone loves to identify things that have not been identified. The rabbit hole, where ever I find it, symbolizes solitude.” –Terrance Hayes, For Crying Out Loud Recently I’ve been finding it much harder to blog because I’ve been homing in on certain aspects of my dissertation, which has taken up an ever-larger chunk of my focus […]