Summer is flying by, and soon we will be surrounded by the busy and energized atmosphere of the school term. As we prepare over these next couple of weeks, I want to encourage all faculty to consider an important aspect of working in the world of academia.
I believe we, as academics, have a very important responsibility: to act as public intellectuals. We formulate theories in our own minds, and conduct research within our offices, labs and field schools, but once that work is done, what do we do with the results? While it is our responsibility to disseminate our research and creative activity in academic venues, we also need to engage the wider public. Whether writing opinion pieces, providing evidence-based policy analysis, creating and facilitating programs that improve the local or global community, or simply sharing our knowledge and ideas with the larger world, the many kinds of public intellectual work conducted by our faculty members demonstrate the critical and ongoing importance of Arts research and teaching.
Recently, I have been very pleased to see a large number of our faculty in the news, offering expert commentary on a wide range of topics, from the diversity of languages spoken in our city, to the ramifications of the gender gap in an oil and gas province, to the politics surrounding the Keystone pipeline project. This type of insight and vision will be vital in the next two months as we look forward to the fall federal election. For some citizen voters, election choices can be overwhelming. Academic opinions can offer new perspectives and facilitate informed discussion, and are vital to ensuring that voters are educated about their options.
Over these next couple of weeks, as you prepare for the upcoming school year, I hope you find a few last moments to relax and enjoy your families, your friends and our beautiful city.
Acting Dean of Arts