Archive for June, 2014

Kwantlen’s Compensation Controversy

There have been four presidents of Kwantlen Polytechnic University since I was hired eleven years ago. Our current one, Dr. Alan Davis, seems to me to have been the best. Why? He understands how our university’s future will never be a break from its past: a community-focused, rigorous institution devoted to providing students with real-world expertise – from fashion and interior design to horticulture to business to criminology and, now, even to beer-brewing and to Chinese medicine.

He has been a superb hire. In his previous post – president of the State University of New York’s prestigious “university without walls” – he demonstrated his commitment to cool and interesting innovations, humanism, and technology.

How Dr. Davis got hired is not controversial, but how he got paid *before* he started his job as President has. Today he released this statement:

I am very troubled by aspects of administrative compensation at KPU that have recently come to light. It is clear that, prior to my arrival at KPU, there was an established pattern of issuing pre-employment consulting contracts to people being hired to senior positions. The recipients of those contracts, including myself, were unaware that these contracts might be non-compliant in some way with BC public sector regulations.
Assistant Deputy Minister Rob Mingay found in his recently released Compensation Review of Kwantlen Polytechnic University that the mis-reporting of two of those contracts (including my own) was not in keeping with the spirit and intent of government standards.
Similar conclusions could be drawn about other such contracts that were issued before my arrival.
I am therefore conducting a review of these issues, using independent external resources as required.
I wish Dr. Davis the best, and I applaud the transparent manner with which he has addressed this episode.

National Identity vs. Cultural Differences

Here is my blog-friend Clarissa’s take. Oft-times I don’t know how to respond to her posts, which are so smart and personal and awake to argument.  I just love to read them.

Good Rule: Take pleasure in your artistic process

This might not make you an artist. But, if you don’t take such pleasure, no one will give a hoot about your song, painting, poem, or garden. This is from my friend Jonathan Mayhew’s brilliant and beautiful blog:

If you don’t write with delectation your reader will feel none. If you are bored with your topic, your reader will feel your boredom–your pain, whatever it is that you feel, she will feel it too.

Taking pleasure. Well, look at the play I wrote yesterday, playing hooky from my scholarly writing. That was fun and I don’t care whether anyone else likes the final result.

The first thing: take pleasure in the raw materials. What you have chosen to write about has value and interest to you. It could be the pleasure of finding something egregiously bad or stupid, even.

Take pleasure in the level of engagement with the material. You are enjoying your spending of the time in this company. With this engagement, you lose a sense of your self as separate from the material.

Take pleasure in the final result, your ability to make something valuable and pleasurable to other people. Write pleasure-giving sentences.

Academic and personal freedom at Trinity Western University

Friends and former students of mine who have attended TWU say the vibe there is friendly and open-minded, despite

TWU’s long-standing “community covenant,” which requires faculty and students to refrain from homosexual relationships or risk expulsion. The covenant forbids premarital heterosexual relationships and “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” …

Even though Premier Christy Clark’s government has approved TWU’s proposed law school and accepted the university’s argument that “religious freedom” gives it the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians, TWU’s dream to open a law school has run into heavy pushback from provincial law societies, beginning in Eastern Canada.

In the latest development, B.C. Law Society members this month overrode their own leadership and voted by a margin of 3,210 to 968 to direct their board of governors to deny law society accreditation to the proposed law school.

Douglas Todd’s story in The Vancouver Sun covers the controversy very well. (h/t SW)


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