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Death By Trolley: Friends don’t let friends study Psychology

In this video I encourage people considering pursuing an education in Psychology at any formal level – bachelors, research Masters/PhD, or Clinical Masters/PhD – to research and reconsider what they are considering.

My relevant experience includes having an Hon. B.Sc. in Psychology Research and Cognitive Science, having been an MS/PhD student in Cognitive Psychology, having . . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: Friends don’t let friends study Psychology

Death By Trolley: Friends don’t let friends study Psychology

In this video I encourage people considering pursuing an education in Psychology at any formal level – bachelors, research Masters/PhD, or Clinical Masters/PhD – to research and reconsider what they are considering. . . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: Friends don’t let friends study Psychology

Progressive Proselytizing: How much should graduate students be paid?

Being a graduate student is in some sense in the middle of two extremes: being a student primarily benefiting oneself and being a paid worker benefiting society. Before graduate studies, one is an undergraduate where nobody would expect to be paid to be an undergraduate. After graduate studies, one is (hopefully) going to be paid a paid . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: How much should graduate students be paid?

Progressive Proselytizing: How much should graduate students be paid?

Being a graduate student is in some sense in the middle of two extremes: being a student primarily benefiting oneself and being a paid worker benefiting society. Before graduate studies, one is an undergraduate where nobody would expect to be… . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: How much should graduate students be paid?

Progressive Proselytizing: Media bias in covering the University of Toronto TA strike

At a bare minimum, when the media covers a major conflict between two sides – a union striking, say – it should include the briefest of quotes from people representing both sides of the conflict. This is not exactly a high bar to meet requiring the cheapest and simplest method in journalism: asking the . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Media bias in covering the University of Toronto TA strike

Progressive Proselytizing: Media bias in covering the University of Toronto TA strike

At a bare minimum, when the media covers a major conflict between two sides – a union striking, say – it should include the briefest of quotes from people representing both sides of the conflict. This is not exactly a high bar to meet requiring the che… . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Media bias in covering the University of Toronto TA strike

Political Eh-conomy: Means-test the rich, or another argument for eliminating tuition

Here’s an oversimplified choice for how to fund post-secondary education. Imagine you have two options for dealing with how people pay for post-secondary education:

Universal free tuition, means-testing to see if you are rich enough to pay Universal tuition fees, means-testing to see if you are poor enough to not pay

Either of these can . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Means-test the rich, or another argument for eliminating tuition

The Scott Ross: Public Education Before Health Care

When you replace the fan belt on your 1988 Toyota Corrolla, you can’t drive faster than when the car was brand new. Even with the new part, the car, with all of its wear and tear, is likely to be slower than when you first drove it off the lot.No one e… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Public Education Before Health Care

The Scott Ross: Public Education Before Health Care

When you replace the fan belt on your 1988 Toyota Corrolla, you can’t drive faster than when the car was brand new. Even with the new part, the car, with all of its wear and tear, is likely to be slower than when you first drove it off the lot.

No one expects that a . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Public Education Before Health Care

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: University Enrolment #nlpoli

Just for the sake of looking at some numbers, here are some statistics on university enrolment in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past decade.

The figures are from Statistics Canada.

(Read more…)

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: How Small Green Team Can Transform Large Corporation

Small green teams tasked with transforming large corporations, governments, cities, and neighborhoods face some tough challenges. TD Bank’s three-person green team employed a range of strategies to inject sustainability thinking into 27,000 employees dispersed in 1,300 locations. I find four of their tactics very smart and can be readily adapted by green teams everywhere.

. . . → Read More: Carbon49 – Sustainability for Canadian businesses: How Small Green Team Can Transform Large Corporation

Canadian Political Viewpoints: We Also Accept First-Born Children

Source: CBC News: Saskatchewan Tuition Increase Highest in CanadaSource: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Paul Gingrich: After the Freeze: Restoring University Affordability in Saskatchewan Source: Macleans OnCampus: Sask. NDP Commit to Tuition FreezeSource: Macleans OnCampus: Saskatchewan Party Pledges Affordability Source: News Talk 650: Wall Reacts to NDP Post Secondary PlatformSource: Saskatoon Homepage: UofS Salaries Questioned . . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: We Also Accept First-Born Children

Canadian Political Viewpoints: We Also Accept First-Born Children

Source: CBC News: Saskatchewan Tuition Increase Highest in Canada
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Paul Gingrich: After the Freeze: Restoring University Affordability in Saskatchewan
Source: Macleans OnCampus: Sask. NDP Commit to Tuition Freeze
Source: Macleans OnCampus: Saskatchewan Party Pledges Affordability
Source: News Talk 650: Wall Reacts to NDP Post Secondary Platform
Source: Saskatoon Homepage: UofS Salaries Questioned Ahead of Projected Deficit 

In a continuing trend for the government of Brad Wall, Saskatchewan’s tuition rates soared higher than a NASA based program for this academic year. Since removing the tuition freeze when first coming to power, the news of Saskatchewan’s higher learning facilities raising tuition rates has been as regular as morning breath.

It seems with each passing academic year, the universities find themselves in need of raising tuition levels. It feels a bit like the Weimar Republic; just keep printing money and devaluing the currency until we sort the mess out. Only instead of deflating, we’re inflating the cost of higher education.

But Saskatchewan’s increasing tuition rates were national news this time around, as our province  had the single largest increase of 4.7%. This even outpaces the standard increase levels of 3.4% noted by sociologist Paul Gingrich; you can read Paul’s full paper on the subject by checking out our sources at the top.

So, we’re outpacing ourselves it would seem on the race to the bottom.

We also managed to make programs for graduate students more expense (4.9% more expensive) and programs for international students more expense (6.7%). This has also taken Saskatchewan’s tuition for an undergraduate student to the SECOND HIGHEST in Canada; with an average of $6,394.

Let’s do the math on that.

So, a 4 year undergraduate degree for tuition costs: $25,576 in tuition alone. Add on to that the monumental cost of textbooks (Rarely do you find a textbook under $100, and some classes require you to purchase between 2 – 5 books, which you will sometimes rarely use), the cost of housing, the cost of food, recreational expenses (include alcohol for the party-hardy crowd), and we’re probably look at between $35,000 (on the low ball) and $50,000 (high ball) for a four year degree.

 And to date, what has the Wall Government done to help students out?

Let’s start with the good, as there’s only one thing to talk about there. The Wall Government expanded the Graduate Retention Program; by allowing students who stayed in Saskatchewan to receive up to $20,000 of their tuition back over a four year period.

The problem with the Retention Program, and as an habitually unemployed graduate I can speak with some authority here, is that it will rarely be used by the student to pay down their debt load. If a graduate is staying in Saskatchewan, but continually can’t find employment, that rebate money is going towards food in their belly and a roof over their head…Not paying down their student loan debt.

It’s sort of like the infamous ‘beer and popcorn’ complaint about the Child Tax Credit idea. Sure, we want our graduates to spend that money on getting out of debt, but there are other expenses that jump to the front of the queue, especially expenses that involve staying alive.

So, let’s move on to the bad.

In 2007, the epitome of Wall’s post-secondary education program was to give all high school graduates $2,000 over four years to knock $500 of their yearly tuition. So, looking at the average, Premier Wall gives new students an average tuition of $5,894 a year…And only if they’re coming directly from high school to university.

Though, Wall apparently does understand post-secondary education to a degree. After all, in 2011, when responding to the NDP’s platform of reinstating a tuition freeze, Wall had this to say:

“We’ve seen huge increases when freezes inevitably come off.”

Well, he’s certainly living up to that expected vision of what happens when a tuition freeze disappears. Wall also warned that tuition freezes place a university in trouble if a government doesn’t live up to it’s funding commitments under a freeze.

Were we not paying attention when he was making these comments? He basically laid out, par for the course, what was going to happen to post-secondary education. A untrustworthy government backing out of financial commitments to the universities, and huge increases to tuition in a post-freeze era.

Does this mean every time Wall rings a warning bell about something, we should be nailing down the hatches and waiting for when his government brings that exact scenario to fruition?

After all, Wall’s 2011 election platform talked about increased funding to post-secondary institutions; yet we’ve heard for the last two years, if not more, how the government is not providing adequate funding. After all, the UofS is currently looking for ways to shave 10% of its current budget to avoid a potential $40 million dollar shortfall by 2016; and they’re doing so by looking for people to layoff.

I need to have a side note here, just for a moment. Wall’s underfunding of post-secondary institutions is only part of the problem. The other part is the administration of these post-secondary institutions. Ilene Busch-Vishniac, President of the University of Saskatchewan, made waves when she announced that hers (and other key administrators) salaries, benefits, and bonuses were not on the chopping block.

In addition to her $400,000 a year salary, Busch-Vishniac also receives the following perks:

  • $12,000 per year allowance for a vehicle
  • $7,500 per year allowance on financial and tax assistance, 
  • 6 weeks of paid vacation a year
  • 1 Rent-free home (though, technically, it’s a mansion and it’s located on Campus)
  • $253.49 a month for health and dental insurance plan

Then there’s the other senior administrators who have similar perks. The UofS has defended this move by saying that top administrators amount to just 0.36% of the overall budget; and then tacks on the standard line about needing perks and top pay to ‘attract and retain’ professionals.

Am I the only who thinks that attracting and retaining professionals is good when that it tacks onto actual professors?  I think most people would be fine with recruiting and paying a world-class researcher or expert in their field to teach at the University; but we start to run into issues when we apply this designation to administrators behind the scenes.

Yes, we want competent people running the administration of the school; there’s no debate about that. But do we really need $400,000 + perks of competence? When Peter MacKinnon started his term as President, his yearly wage was $200,000. And over less than a decade, it has doubled for his predecessor.

And given the perks included, especially a rent-free house, there’s very little room to argue for ‘living expenses’ here. An administrator could survive EASILY on $200,000 a year. Hell, an administrator can survive COMFORTABLY on $100,000.

Ultimately, when students talk about where to go, they don’t discuss the Administration. They discuss the programs, the faculty, the atmosphere, and the tuition. The current administration at the UofS is putting the horse before the cart; you shouldn’t be talking about attracting and retaining exceptional administrators, but rather attracting exceptional students.

The point of education is to educate; not fatten the school’s purse and dole out the largesse to administrators. If that’s a university’s goal, here’s a suggestion to potential students, DON’T GO THERE.

Now that we’ve shared equal blame with the universities, let’s get back to Brad Wall.

His government has talked about funding post-secondary institutions, but consistently missed the mark on actually providing this funding. It’s a good soundbite during an election, of course, but quickly forgotten once in government. After all, there’s more important things, like banjo playing, to be done.

If Wall is going to continue to allow tuition raise to rise (Ontario is still ahead of us, maybe when he talks about Saskatchewan being number one, this was on his hit list of items), then he at least needs to follow through on funding promises to the universities that will allow them to reduce tuition.

There’s a lot more I could say about this issue, but I’ll wrap it up with this thought.

Education is not a privilege, it is a right. The fact that we educate our children up to grade twelve on the taxpayer dollar (another education sector this government is currently failing) supports this argument. Education doesn’t just enrich the person who undergoes it, but their entire community by creating skilled individuals who can contribute their knowledge back.

When you make education impossible to access, you are condemning a generation. Not just economically, but personally. Education enriches, its one of the few things in life that rarely does harm to a person. Denying education creates problems; while providing education creates solutions.

And that’s a message we can all support.

. . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: We Also Accept First-Born Children

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Some inconvenient truths: goring some educational sacred cows #nlpoli

Friday turned out to be Post-Secondary Education Day with a post here on the impact of the freeze on tuition fees and a fascinating Telegram article on the Conservatives’ 2011 campaign pledge to replace student loans with needs-based grants.

Tuition was a bit of an issue in the 2001 provincial general election.  The Tory pledge . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Some inconvenient truths: goring some educational sacred cows #nlpoli

The Scott Ross: Canada Originally Intended All Education To Be Free

Out of Canada’s 33 Fathers of Confederation, only one went to university.1

It’s not that Nova Scotia’s Charles Tupper was the only intelligent one among them, other founders were businessmen, doctors, and lawyers, it’s that none of those jobs, and many others, did not require any post-secondary education.

The eduction jobs in the late 19th . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Canada Originally Intended All Education To Be Free

The Scott Ross: Canada Originally Intended All Education To Be Free

Out of Canada’s 33 Fathers of Confederation, only one went to university.1

It’s not that Nova Scotia’s Charles Tupper was the only intelligent one among them, other founders were businessmen, doctors, and lawyers, it’s that none of those jobs, and many others, did not require any post-secondary education.

And the eduction jobs in the late 19th century did require was entirely made free shortly after confederation because provincial governments, though extremely small and limited, believed that their public schools should provide all the instruction necessary for citizens to obtain jobs in any sector, be it agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, commerce, medicine or law.

Today however provinces have lost sight of the importance they once placed on education. Where once provincial governments provided all the training necessary for a skilled workforce, they are increasingly providing less while at the same time businesses are only requiring more.

By 2020 the BC government predicts that 77.3% of all jobs will require a post-secondary education. That means in seven years provincial governments will not provide the education needed for three-quarters of all jobs whereas for decades those same governments believed it was important enough to provide the education for every job.

When Canada was founded, education was seen as the extremely important public good that it is. Even in that most conservative era of small government, where health care wasn’t paid for, roads were tolled, and government sanitation services were non-existent, education was such a priority that our provincial governments sought to make it entirely free to every citizen, to provide the training and skills for any and every job.

That is how education in Canada was originally viewed by government, and that is how all education necessary for all employment was publicly provided for decades. Of course over time that changed, and now Canada has a skilled labour shortage, productivity is declining, and our economy is stagnating.

And though today education remains perhaps the most beneficial public good, it is now a costly private expense, while health care, an almost entirely private good, along with roads and sanitation are completely paid for with public funds.

The great past of Canada was built on the importance of education and the complete public provision of it in order to train its citizens for every job. Over the last few decades that has changed, and with it so has Canada’s opportunity for a great future.  

1. [Richard Gwyn. John A, The Man Who Made Us, p.321 ] . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Canada Originally Intended All Education To Be Free

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Ask General Kang: I may have inadvertently started an intergalactic war with the Bleugzag Imperium. Do you think this might be held against me when I apply for college?

Wow, good on ya! I’d hold this against you if you DIDN’T report it on your application. Starting an intergalactic war takes a great deal of organization, planning, and above all, unbridled enthusiasm. (Though that can get you into all … Continue reading →

The Political Road Map: The Great Academic Rejection of 2008-20??

……..

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20…..

Do you know what this is?

It is a count of the amount of days since my last job interview. A count that is used to monitor a continued hope that employment in my field or a career of some sort will be attainable under the current economy. As I have mentioned in . . . → Read More: The Political Road Map: The Great Academic Rejection of 2008-20??

The Scott Ross: Why Health Care Should Be Privatized

It would be a risky claim to suggest health care should be privatized while education, from preschool to post-secondary, should be fully publicly provided, but considering the importance of education, what’s really risky is that currently we have it the other way around.

To compare the importance of health care and education, ask yourself, . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Why Health Care Should Be Privatized

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Ask General Kang: Did I miss anything important in class yesterday?

How the hell would I know? I don’t even know what kind of class you’re taking! I do have a couple of ideas, though, if you should be worried about the class you missed yesterday, which I think is what … Continue reading →

The Liberal Scarf: Hudak would end support for students from low income families with attack on 30% tuition rebate

Tim Hudak rolled out his latest double down on right-wing policy, announcing he would end the 30% tuition rebate for Ontario post-secondary students.

Hudak and his post-secondary education critic, Rob Leone framed the tuition cut as not helping mature students or single parents (ironic, given the not so high regard single mothers have been held . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Hudak would end support for students from low income families with attack on 30% tuition rebate

The Scott Ross: Canada Has Moved Backwards On Education: Our Past Demands Free Post-Secondary

Canada 140 years ago was a more intolerant, sexist, and unequal place, but on one important issue it was far more progressive than the Canada of today, and that’s on public education.

Nations often like to look back and take pride at the progress they’ve made over the years, and Canada has a lot to . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Canada Has Moved Backwards On Education: Our Past Demands Free Post-Secondary

Death By Trolley: A brave new world: Why moving beyond university can precipitate crisis

As students approach the completion of their university education some are excited to enter the “Real World”. Others are in no rush to “move on” – perhaps out of fear or uncertainty about their future, anticipatory nostalgia, or a keen awareness of what a uniquely special time the university years are.

University really can be . . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: A brave new world: Why moving beyond university can precipitate crisis

Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 5: The University Graduate Entitlement Complex

The Grad School Gospels is a series of posts inspired by Dirk Hayhurst‘s The Bullpen Gospels. In the Bullpen Gospels, Hayhurst tells stories from his struggle to self-actualize through professional baseball. Inspired by Hayhurst and the many commonalities I noticed between the minor league track to the Majors, as he described it, and my experience . . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 5: The University Graduate Entitlement Complex

Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 3: Academe Can’t Be Your Everything

The Grad School Gospels is a series of posts inspired by Dirk Hayhurst‘s The Bullpen Gospels. In the Bullpen Gospels, Hayhurst tells stories from his struggle to self-actualize through professional baseball. Inspired by Hayhurst and the many commonalities I noticed between the minor league track to the Majors, as he described it, and my experience . . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 3: Academe Can’t Be Your Everything