ment for grad students,” October 2011). Here at
Concordia University, we have just introduced
an initiative we are calling GradProSkills in
response to calls from the workforce, as well as
from graduate students themselves, to expand
their range of skills.
Workshops and online tools tackling such
subjects as effective leadership, communication,
and stress and time management are among the
resources offered through what our dean of
graduate studies, Graham Carr, likes to call a
“professional toolkit.” You can read more about
it at http://goo.gl/Fga2P.
Ms. Downey is a media relations adviser at Concordia University.
Time to trust in blogs
i’d like to compliment Melonie Fullick on an
excellent article (“Should you blog?”, Career
advice, November issue). At the Social Media
Lab at Dalhousie University, we are conducting
a study on how scholars are using social media
and networking sites for information and knowledge dissemination, and it pretty much confirms
many of the points she brought up.
In our recent survey of 367 respondents (pri-
marily in social sciences, working in the United
States, Canada and the United Kingdom), we
found that 46 percent actively maintain blogs
(posting monthly or more frequently) and 84
percent read and comment on blogs. This sug-
gests that there is an increasing acceptance
among scholars that blogs are legitimate and
trustworthy methods for gathering and dissem-
inating scholarly information.
Dr. Gruzd is director of the Social Media Lab and an assistant
professor in the school of information management in the faculty
of management at Dalhousie University.
melonie fullick’s career advice was excellent.
I agree that we should see more academics blogging about their work, which is so varied. Most
universities’ strategic plans focus on community
engagement or the internationalization of the
campus community. What does this mean? Well,
for some it can or does mean getting outside our
academic silos and blogging. Blogging can offer
engagement with the university community and
Again, a thoughtful and important piece.
Dr. Aragon is a senior instructor in the department of political
science at the University of Victoria.
Give us access
i was about to try out the new posting on your
website about professors who leave the tenure-track option for other types of careers (“Escape
the Ivory Tower, ”at universityaffairs.ca). Imagine
my disappointment when I realized I could not
access the information, due to it being presented
solely via a podcast.
Podcasts are not always accessible: only those
who can hear in a certain way can access them.
I suggest that all podcasts and videos on the UA
website be accompanied by a text transcription
or, in the case of videos, with captions. That way
those who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafened,
or have learning or reading differences (and
require text versions), or those who struggle with
oral English without visual cues or those who
prefer to run text through a reader can also access
this potentially valuable information.
As you can see from my not-exhaustive list,
a large segment of the population is already
excluded by the mere posting of the podcast on
your website. This oversight poorly reflects upon
any organization that strives to be inclusive. As
you know, professors don’t always fit into the
same mould, but this diversity contributes to a
truly vibrant academic community in Canada.
Dr. Campbell is a senior research fellow in environmental science
at Saint Mary’s University.
Editor’s note: Dr. Campbell makes an important point.
From now on, we will endeavour to supply a summary
or transcript with new podcasts and videos.
What’s NEW Online! www.universityaffairs.ca / Nouveautés en ligne! www.affairesuniversitaires.ca
Virtually Learning – Live!
Adam Chapnick recounts at the
2011 Congress of the Humanities
and Social Sciences his experiences
of teaching an online course for
the first time.
Podcaster Rochelle Mazar talks
about five things you can do to
improve your course website that
helps both you and your students.
Lab coat to business suit
A Wilfrid Laurier provost advises
faculty and grad students to take
on some admin work and see how
they like it.
La liberté universitaire,
une fin en soi
Divergence de point de vue en matière
de liberté universitaire.