I knew I wanted to try to make a difference
and I was inspired by the “war on cancer” after
learning that a relative was diagnosed with cancer.
But, I knew that it was not going to be an MD who
“cured cancer.” The MD would give the pill that
was invented by a scientist – in fact, a team of
scientists. So I knew I wanted to get involved in
science and I chose organic chemistry because I
knew that this was the tool that could build the
molecule that was going to “cure cancer.”
Well, I was naive as a teenager. Of course,
we know that cancer is much more complex and
a simple magic-bullet cure is not going to hap-
pen. But I still think that most students would
be better advised to think beyond the medical
degree – to pursue fundamental biology, bio-
chemistry and chemistry that will drive us
towards understanding human disease. Only a
few will be MDs, but many hundreds more will
make enormous contributions as scientists. I
think a lot of students would be much more
relaxed if they were not given misguided advice
that tells them that if they don’t get their MD
then they can’t make a positive difference in the
world or have a rewarding career.
Dr. Hultin is a professor in the department of chemistry at the
University of Manitoba.
A country’s intelligentsia
the comment by Aaron Hughes, that “No developed country – especially one with Canada’s
international stature – looks to other countries
to train its intelligentsia,” begs a response
(“We need to nurture a Canadian humanities,”
January 2017 issue). Australia, New Zealand,
South Africa and economically advanced Latin
American countries, for starters, have many leading scholars and scientists whose scholarly
formation was in the U.S., the U.K. or Europe.
I’m sure other developed regions of the world
have similar high rates of foreign-trained intelligentsia. Also, the notion of there being such a
coherent thing as the “Canadian academy,” as
the article assumes, is questionable.
Dr. Allen is a professor in the department of theological studies
at Concordia University.
A “reset” … back to the past
kathryn shailer’s article proposes a solution
– getting all the parties in the university sector
together to work for the common interest – that
reminds me of the so called sindicatos verticales,
or vertical trade unions, that were the mandated
organization for all the sectors of the economy
in Spain under General Franco during my child-
hood (“It’s time to push the reset button on the
relationship between faculty, administrators
and boards,” December 2016 issue). Owners,
cadres and workers in a productive sector were
part of the same and only union, which worked
to make the sector better (grande in Spanish
Francoist parlance, “more competitive” in
The system, taken from Mussolini’s Italy, was
a charade, in which the workers’ rights were systematically ignored – no pesky faculty associations and disturbing strikes after this miraculous
resetting. We will be all united, finally, singing
hand-in-hand (“synergy” in administrative dou-ble-speak). I am sorry Ms. Shailer, but your solution sounds to me an awful lot like the usual
spiel we hear from university presidents when
they call for consulting bodies whose recommendations are systematically ignored.
Dr. Fernandez is president of the Canadian Association of
Hispanists and a professor in the department of French, Spanish
and Italian at the University of Manitoba.
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The Black Hole
Attracting academic talent in
the age of Brexit and Trump
Saying no to
Take a look at the things you
say no to, and see whether
there’s a pattern
Écrire tous les
jours ou non?
Les auteurs prolifiques adoptent
des pratiques d’écriture qui
correspondent à leurs préférences