results (“A fine red line: when does editing a
student’s work become cheating?”). However,
such accommodation should not be merely a
matter of allowing the submission of a text to
an editor for correction and subsequently handing in the editor’s corrected version. The process
must be head-to-head, where the editor asks
questions of the sort, “Did you perhaps mean
this rather than that?” and makes the student
aware of the nuances, vagueness and ambiguities
of English so that he or she will learn from the
process. In other words, the editing should be
interactive and not a one-sided process.
Dr. Pfeifer is an adjunct senior research fellow in philosophy in
the school of philosophical, historical and international studies at
Monash University in Australia, and professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Saskatchewan.
From spell-checkers to Grammarly
the article, “A fine red line: when does editing
a student’s work become cheating?”, fails to note
that students have for a long time used software
that suggests specific edits – from spell-checkers
and those green Microsoft Word squiggles to
services like Grammarly. How is getting help
from software different from getting help from
a human who knows basic spelling and grammar? Our university even pays for Grammarly’s
premium service for all of our students. Are we
Ms. Belvadi is a librarian at the Robertson Library, University of
Prince Edward Island.
Let’s continue the conversation
as an adviser who meets with many students
in crisis, I highly identify with many points
in the article, “Our role is to support students
when they are ready to be students” (online at
universityaffairs.ca, Aug. 25). I firmly believe
more students would take breaks to focus on
their personal well-being if they were guaranteed
a spot to return to their studies once they were
well. While I understand the reasons why universities have policies around time limits and
repeating classes, these polices do not encourage
students to take the time needed to deal with
One of the saddest things I witness is students throwing away their hard-earned cash (and
easily earned loans) for one class after another
while they attempt to maintain minimum enrolment standards and deal with a crisis simultaneously. It often ends in academic penalties and a
university record they cannot overcome. In
future years, once their personal situation has
stabilized, they are often locked out of their
desired area of studies.
Continuing conversations around this topic
must be on the agendas not only for universities
but in wider society as well. All of us have times
of personal difficulty where time away from
school and work is necessary. We need to create
an environment where this is not seen as weak,
but as an expected and valued way of maintaining a healthy society.
Ms. Hunter is an academic adviser with the faculty of nursing at
the University of Regina.
re. “our role is to support students when they
are ready to be students.” It is refreshing to hear
this perspective. I’m surprised I don’t hear more
about the societal pressures underlying students’
mental health struggles (especially anxiety).
I’ve heard countless stories from students
about the pressure to choose a career path in high
school, or about parental/social pressure to succeed, and the resulting stubborn belief that every
choice, every grade, every failure or achievement
is going to make or break the rest of their lives.
Not to mention that they are juggling jobs, school
and social media. The suffering is not insignificant. We need to address these broader issues, not
just focus on accommodations. I heartily agree
that some students should not stay in university
when they are struggling with severe circumstances. I suspect they are too afraid to leave – led
to believe their lives will be ruined if they do.
Dr. Enns is a professor of philosophy at McMaster University.
The ‘summit’ of senior administration
from time to time, University Affairs publishes
articles highlighting the hurdles that female aca-
demics experience in career advancement.
Emphasis is often placed on the dearth of
women occupying senior administrative posts.
One of the recent articles on this aspect appeared
online on May 11 (“Four women leaders in
higher-ed discuss their paths to the presidency”).
The article states:
“Women now comprise more than half of all
undergraduate students and assistant professors.
With respect, it puzzles me why, at a university in particular, should the gauge for career
advancement be the attainment of a senior
administrative position. I certainly understand
that, in most industries, attaining a senior management position would be an obvious measure
of advancement. But I feel that this generally may
not be so in university culture. Here, the administrative track (chair, dean, etc.) is rather distinct
from the conventional academic track (assistant,
associate, full professor). By that, I mean simply
that an administrative appointment does not represent a natural advancement over an academic
one, even though the former requires the latter.
In terms of career advancement, full professor is
often regarded as the natural summit.