Archive for Kwantlen

New Chalk

KPU_Homepage

I begin my sixteenth year at Kwantlen Polytechnic University today. This summer I’m teaching a couple sections of Advanced Professional Communications and one of Technical Report Writing. These are healthy, hearty classes! I am looking forward to meeting my new students. This gig has been such a blessing.

[Addendum – this came in from my university’s administration a couple hours ago: “Surrey RCMP have alerted us to an unsubstantiated threat against KPU, specific to today.  The threat is not specific to any one campus.  Therefore, out of an abundance of caution and with the highest regard for the safety and security of our students and employees, KPU is evacuating all buildings immediately and closing all five of its campuses for the remainder of the day.  All classes at all campuses are cancelled for rest of the day and our buildings will remain closed while security reviews the situation.” No update on this yet.]

“pure capitalist intent”

This tweet by Kwantlen Polytechnic University colleague and marketing instructor @AndreaNiosi is my April favourite:

Showing my students the dark side of marketing. Cultural appropriation, mis- & under-representation, stereotypes, & the pure capitalist intent lurking behind (some) cause marketing campaigns. I’m now writing an open book to go as deep as I can into this.

Kwantlen Fashion Design students make clothing for women in trades

KPUFashionForWomenInTrades

Lovely CBC interviews.

Kwantlen’s Fashion Design students are so talented.

Kwantlen’s ‘onward and upward’

My university is like a shark – it never stops moving! It has just opened its fifth campus – near the end of Skytrain’s Expo line, in what used to be one of the saddest and most dangerous neighbourhoods in Canada. I hope to teach some classes there soon.

Finals

It has been slim pickings here at basil.ca the last while. Fall 18 was a very hectic semester. I added a major assignment to my upper-level professional communications classes, and I fit in two significant trips (one to Boston for my son’s wedding, and the other to the Kootenays to take care of my late friend Kat Kosiancic‘s things). I’ll be heading back to Buffalo to visit family and friends over the break and’ll be posting more before and during the trip. But before that: Final exams tomorrow!

Saudi “scholarship students” leaving Canada

I’ve had a number of superb students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University from that country. This is awful news.

From Inside Higher Ed this morning:

Saudi Arabian students in Canada are caught in diplomatic crossfire.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education is making plans to transfer students out of Canada to institutions in other countries after a diplomatic meltdown between the two countries sparked by Canada’s criticism of the kingdom’s arrest and detention of human rights activists.

A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s education ministry said on Twitter that the ministry is “working on preparing and implementing an emergency plan to facilitate the transfer of our students to other countries.”

CNN reported that 7,000 Saudi students on government scholarships in Canada will be relocated.

Dan Drezner of the Washington Post has three “not mutually exclusive” explanations for the Saudi action:

– Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is “trying to demonstrate that he is in control [in his country], even if these sanctions will not lead to any Canadian concessions.” …

– “Another possibility is that these sanctions are less about compelling Canada and more about deterring other Western countries from criticizing Saudi Arabia.”

There is one final, more speculative explanation. There has been some recent international relations research into “prestige goods” or “Veblen goods,” things that states spend costly sums of money on with little tangible return. … As I explained this summer: “Veblen goods are positional goods, in which demand increases along with price because the good is seen as a display of prestige. Veblen goods can explain why some countries choose to invest in aircraft carriers or space programs when they should be allocating scarce resources elsewhere.” …

Maybe, just maybe, economic sanctions themselves have become a kind of Veblen good. Not many countries have the resources to impose economic sanctions of any kind on another state in world politics. The United States sanctions a lot, the European Union sanctions some, so do Russia and China, and then . . . crickets.

Except for Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia is seen as a country that can sanction others, it starts to look more like a great power. The very fact that these sanctions are costly is what makes them such a compelling Veblen good. According to this logic, it does not matter whether they work: Most sanctions fail anyway. What makes them successful is that Mohammed has demonstrated that he can impose them in the first place.

A surprise

I once asked a student of mine, who was finishing her degree in fashion design, why women found purses and handbags so important. She said, “They are just like us. They are beautiful on the outside, and there is everything you need on the inside.”