Jeffrey Simpson – Live blog

Rick Kleer giving introduction to Simpson.
7:01pm non fiction book writing award winner. Written many political books since the early ’80s.

7:05 Simpson starts.
Was a baseball fan. Persuaded the Jays were going to be contenders, so arranged for viewing them in Minnesota. Got the Riders’s colors wrong as Green and yellow. Pitcher was from North Battleford.

Simpson

Interested observer to the university scene. The hardest job in the country can be university president, besides PM or Premier. Going outside their ranks to find a leader. Private sector does this if something is wrong. He’s often wondered why talent isn’t groomed from within. It’s partly the
politics inside is so tough, the prospective candidates get beat up so badly. Devil we don’t know as opposed to the devil we do.

There are counter examples.

Simpson says Saskatchewan like an easterner.

7:13 “series of financial challenges on our plate.”
Talking economic projections. I’ve tuned out a little.
He praises Sask economy as if we aren’t in deficit budget. Says Alberta depends on oil revenue. Doesn’t acknowlage we do too.
Alberta “took a big whack” out of university budgets.

“Universities are good at adding, but not so good at subtracting.”

ON universities were being cut 3% per year. Cutting across the board was not his preferred strategy. Identify the weak areas and where they are strongest over other universities. It’s unbelivably hard. “Administrators shy away from the task” it leads to unpopularity.

7:27
Education is an investment in the future.
“Healthcare is an investment in the accumulated ills of yesterday.”

A situation…
The government’s principle priority is to get students into universities.
We have more demand for university, and less teaching supply because professor supply can’t keep up. Class sizes at bigger universities is a serious problem. Interaction between profs and students is poor. UofT is down at the bottom of Macleans survey because of this.

He lists the silliness that can go on at universities, as being a primary challenge to overcome. The general population not involved doesn’t get that stuff. They don’t like it.

Citizens instead of widget makers.
(no money to be a citizen, it’s all debt now, I note)

Graduation rates being too low…
Another objective.
Outcomes based financing model in the USA.
Trying not to duplicate other university outcomes.

If uni is squeezed financially, governments may think they’ll make the hard decisions on cuts and priorities, so the government doesn’t have to directly.

Doing video now…

No more ten cent Globe in hotels, it costs a dollar to put that paper together. No more northern BC or Newfoundland $1M delivery.
If newspapers stick with old model, they are done for.
Uni must change too.
7:48

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