Monday, 3 September 2012
A typical highest ranked university is world class in a broad range of areas, has a Nobel Prize winner or two, has a good teaching and research reputation and has cutting edge facilities. So my papers have been attributed to the near-by university with no negative effect on their reputation but more builders have been hired there than the highly skilled immigrants I meet at my career workshops. It gives me a mixed feeling about the new facilities that I get to use as a community member but that may have cost me and others career wise (6 years and counting down the tubes). Some of these facilities, including housing are being built to attract faculty, apparently because the people already in the back yard like me are not adequate. The university president and others got millions to tour a few countries to encourage foreign students to come to the country because they pay higher fees. When I read the various papers about the trip and the report, 700-plus commenters did not believe that innovation had to come from outside, and felt that the purpose of the trip really was the higher fees that are more needed than ever because of federal cutbacks. What is wrong with our own students they asked? Why do we have to sell our infrastructure to others, to the detriment of local citizens? They accused the university presidents of being foreigners seeking the interests of their native countries. Maybe they are lawyers, who are not trained to recognize innovation or to generate income. Then again the business faculty has higher salaries than every one save the medical faculty and yet they have to attract foreign students to gain income instead of creating it themselves. Maybe a mining metaphor is appropriate? Innovation is a precious commodity that is only available outside of Canada and that is why the top leaders have to go elsewhere to continuously mine it. If the local people were truly top notch these leaders would know them because they would have succeeded despite the multiple barriers (professional bodies etc.) others put in their way. Does that sound like a correct metaphor? Of course a blog like this does not help either. What I have noticed at my career training is that in order to succeed you have to be continuously grateful for the opportunities even if you do not get them.