uAlberta president profiled in The Walrus

August 11, 2010

The September issue of The Walrus includes an article profiling the University of Alberta and its president, Indira Samarasekera. What makes the president so popular with politicians and CEOs, the article says, is her belief in the knowledge economy -- the notion that the strength of a society and its economy are largely informed by the quality of its education systems. Much of the article focuses on how "universities are increasingly defined by the commercial forces around them, including governments that actively reward growth-friendly research and scholarship," resulting in a narrowing of society's field of inquiry. Samarasekera makes it clear that she does not oppose commercialization of research; however, some uAlberta researchers do see cause for concern. The article also delves into the "unhappy campus," mentioning last fall's student-initiated poster campaign criticizing Samarasekera's comments on male enrolment, the introduction of a $290 non-instruction fee many saw as a cash grab, and declining morale within the professoriate, particularly in the humanities. The Walrus