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Speculative Diction

BY MELONIE FULLICK | December 14 2011

From November to March is prime time for academic burn-out in graduate programs — I’m convinced of that. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing; it can be easy to sink into a trough of exhaustion and stress, and not climb out of it for months. But rather than just the seasonal doldrums, my sense is that […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | December 07 2011

Over the past month in Canada, academic freedom has been a topic of debate triggered partly by a new statement adopted by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada in late October. In a National Post column on November 9, George Jonas critiqued the AUCC’s statement for emphasizing the interests of institutions and administrators […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | November 28 2011

After the post I wrote recently about innovation, I noticed that yet more articles have been popping up in the wake of the report I was discussing, including this one by Tom Jenkins who was part of the team that produced the report. Then as I listening to Radio NZ recently, I heard a BBC […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | November 18 2011

Something that characterizes education, as a practice and as a discipline, is the constant stream of public critiques levelled at education systems, educators, administrators, parents, researchers, and on and on — by each other and also by those not immediately involved in education. This kind of sustained contentiousness is not the same as the assumed […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | November 07 2011

The “teaching vs. research in universities” debate was lively in Canada this month after the Globe and Mail published an editorial entitled “Canadian universities must reform or perish.” The authors place undergraduate teaching firmly at the centre of the university’s responsibilities, decrying the systemic valuing of research work and suggesting that funding for research and […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | October 31 2011

A new panel on research and development (R&D) and innovation led by Tom Jenkins, executive chairman of OpenText Corp., has produced a report entitled “Innovation Canada: A call to action.” The 6-member panel has recommended “a radical overhaul that includes the creation of a new funding council and transforms the country’s largest research entity, the […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | October 21 2011

Last week an article I wrote about academic blogging was published in the print and online editions of University Affairs. I decided to provide a follow-up to the article, because there were so many interesting comments from bloggers that couldn’t be included in the scope of the original post. I also want to take time […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | October 11 2011

Today’s post is a response to the Globe and Mail’s October 11 editorial, Canadian universities must reform or perish. The response from my PSE friends on Twitter was provocative (the tweets can be found on Storify); those involved in the discussion seemed to agree that while the article highlighted real and pressing problems, the analysis […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | October 03 2011

This month saw a number of articles and blog posts on the theme of academic publishing, or rather, the failure and corruption of academic publishing as an industry and the need for its reform. This issue was raised critically by UK journalist George Monbiot in a column last month. Because academics rely on journals for […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | September 27 2011

Full disclosure: I’m currently helping with the campaign to re-elect Ted McMeekin (Liberal, Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale) and in the past I worked on a federal campaign (2008) for Gerard Kennedy, former Liberal MP for Parkdale-High Park. Ontario’s provincial election is coming up on October 3rd and since postsecondary education (PSE) is provincial jurisdiction in Canada, I decided […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | September 19 2011

“Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.” — Jesuit saying This week I spent a couple of days watching every movie in the Up Series, a set of seven documentary films that follow the lives of a group of English children over a period of about 45 […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | September 08 2011

For academically ambitious Canadian university students, including those finishing their undergraduate degrees this year and those already in graduate school, September is grant application season. Grant-writing is like the unpleasant medicine of graduate school. While the outcomes are beneficial in terms of professional development (and sometimes, funding), the process of application is painfully difficult and […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | August 29 2011

Each month here at Speculative Diction I provide a short update on some of the latest post-secondary education news from Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. First up, in Canada earlier this month Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, to announce the winners of the 2011-2012 Vanier Graduate […]

BY MELONIE FULLICK | August 17 2011

Greetings, and welcome to my little corner of the University Affairs web site. As the new blog on the block, I thought I might provide a short introduction of myself and the kinds of topics I’ll be addressing in future posts. At the moment I’m writing from the perspective of a graduate student. I spend […]