But cars can stop
In the article “I, robot, need ethical guidance” ( June-July issue),
the description of the updated trolley dilemma has me wondering
why, in the design of a self-driving car, there is no option
simply to stop. This constraint in the thought experiment ignores
reality. In the original dilemma, the trolley (or train) was on a
track, so the idea of stopping seemed to be subliminally excluded.
Designing self-driving cars makes many assumptions about
the options available that should be clarified.
Mr. Tillman, now retired in Hamilton, Ontario, was a consultant in the area of international higher education.
on behalf of The Lowe-Martin Group, I would
like to congratulate you for your spectacular success at the 61st Kenneth R. Wilson Awards (
University Affairs won three gold medals, including
Magazine of the Year). Your team continues to
produce the very best in publishing and contributes to ensuring the ongoing success of quality
magazines. We are honoured to be your partner
and appreciate being your printer of choice.
Mr. Griffin is president and CEO of The Lowe-Martin Group, the
company that prints University Affairs.
a hearty congratulations from Memorial
University on your honour. Fantastic news.
Mr. Green is communications coordinator, alumni affairs and
development, at Memorial University.
congratulations – what a great and deserved
Ms. Graydon is an author and founder of Informed Opinions.
congratulations on the well-earned award.
Print still rocks.
Ms. Bloch-Nevitte is executive director, communications, at the
Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario in Toronto.
i am seriously puzzled by the article by Paul
Yachnin, “Rethinking the humanities PhD,”
which ran in the April 2015 issue. In it he makes
the radical suggestion that certain skills ought
to be built into the humanities PhD program
instead of being worthy add-ons: “how to read
and write, think through problems, gather evi-
dence, organize arguments, question what counts
as evidence, teach and listen to the arguments
Isn’t having these skills what a BA is supposed
Dr. Thomas is the editor of Philosophia Mathematica and retired
as professor of mathematics from St. John's College at the
University of Manitoba.
Mitigating donor influence
the column about spheres of influence on universities by Martha Crago (“From the administrator’s chair,” June-July issue) is a wonderful
piece and a great conversation starter. It really
gets to the heart of the issue, which is that “money”
does not come without context.
At institutions such as universities, it is crucial
that there is a filter between donors and the uni-
versity’s activities. This is the essential tenet of
academic freedom. When there are insufficient
controls to mitigate the influence of the donor’s
agenda on the activities of the university, the uni-
versity loses its credibility as an independent
institution, which is the foundation of why it is a
good idea to give to universities in the first place.
Students clearly want industry partnerships
and real-world experience to be part of their edu-
cation, but not at the cost of universities becoming
beholden to the will and judgment of industry.
I appreciate the balanced look at this issue,
rather than portraying it as a double-edged
sword. I think, with the kind of protections for
academic freedom that Dr. Crago recommends,
we could end up having our cake and eating it too.
Mr. Greenland-Smith is a researcher in the school for resource
and environmental studies at Dalhousie University and a member
of Divest Dalhousie, a group working toward divestment of
Dalhousie’s endowment from fossil fuels.
donna kotsopoulos, professor in the faculty of
education and faculty of science at Wilfrid Laurier
University, was acting associate vice-president,
research, until June 30, 2015. In the June-July
issue, her administrative title was incorrect.
first nations university of canada is federated
with the University of Regina, and its degrees are
awarded by U of R. Incorrect information was provided in an article in the June-July issue.