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Knowledge Matters

Knowledge Matters: Essays in Honour of Bernard J. Shapiro

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 152
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  • Book Info
    Knowledge Matters
    Book Description:

    The contributors, a group of distinguished thinkers who participated in a colloquium in honour of Bernard J. Shapiro upon his retirement from the principalship of McGill University, draw from their vast experience and accomplishments in the worlds of scholarship, university administration, and the public and private sectors to demonstrate that knowledge matters.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7248-5
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)

    I offer a foreword to this volume in honour of our distinguished colleague and friend, Principal Emeritus Bernard J. Shapiro, my predecessor as principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University. I do so with pleasure and gratitude, as one of the many who have benefited from his intellect, insight, creativity, and determination, and from his transformative impact on McGill University and our broader community.

    The subject of the seminar from which this volume has grown, “Knowledge Matters,” could not be more timely nor more reflective of the values of the man who inspired it. And the question: “Whither the contemporary university?”...

  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    Whither the contemporary university? This question engaged the vigorous minds of a group of distinguished thinkers who gathered at a conference in November 2002 in honour of Bernard J. Shapiro, upon his retirement from the principalship of McGill University. The participants’ presentations drew from their vast experience and accomplishments in the worlds of scholarship, university administration, and the public and private sectors – all important facets of the life and career of Bernard Shapiro himself.

    The authors, whose revised conference papers comprise this volume, generally avoid the language of “crisis” in their analyses of university life. They are, by inclination...


    • 1 Quelques formes de l’idée d’université au Québec, 1770–1970
      (pp. 3-15)

      It is a privilege to contribute to this tribute to Bernard J. Shapiro. He certainly deserves the honour for his excellent service to McGill and to the university community at large during a very difficult decade. I also value the occasion provided by the theme of this colloquium to reflect on some basic questions concerning the fate of the contemporary university. Despite my being the academic equivalent of the foot-soldier waging a kind of trench warfare in favour of undergraduate education and trying to find some time and energy for research and scholarly pursuits, I am nonetheless aware of the...

    • 2 McGill’s Role within Canadian Higher Education
      (pp. 16-24)

      In preparing this presentation, I found myself contemplating the continuities and discontinuities of McGill’s evolution. This contemplation was assisted by the choice of Redpath Hall as the venue for the colloquium. The University’s most impressive architectural space, it was built by people confident in the future. With its double-hammer beamed ceiling, recalling generations of students who formerly studied under it – and today sheltering the portraits of University worthies – the hall is redolent of continuing achievement. It seems an appropriate setting to consider the university’s past, present, and future – specifically McGill’s role within Canadian higher education.

      While recognizing...


    • 3 What, Why, and How? The University and Public Policy in a Networked Society
      (pp. 27-36)

      For the first time in world economic history, a fully renewable resource is the basis of wealth and prosperity. Today, the most important resource is knowledge – the production of knowledge, the multiplication of knowledge, and the creation of a knowledgeable population. Knowledge is the most valuable global resource in today’s global economy and global society. And, unlike previous periods in economic history, use of the most valuable resource does not deplete the available store but multiplies and often generates new knowledge.

      We hear a great deal both about the information revolution and about knowledge-based economies and societies. Information and...

    • 4 Toward a New Understanding of Knowledge Transfer: The Role of Experts in Shaping Public Policy
      (pp. 37-50)

      As president of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (ciar), I have been extremely fortunate to work closely with some of the world’s pre-eminent thinkers. The institute was founded in 1982 by a group of Canadians from the academic community and the private sector, as a private sector initiative. For the past twenty years, ciar has been a unique catalyst for advanced discovery. It is a place that creates knowledge networks and it enables the country’s top researchers to collaborate with one another and with their international peers on globally significant challenges. They work at the frontiers of knowledge.



    • 5 Universities and Industry in Canada: An Evolving Relationship
      (pp. 53-61)

      Earlier contributions to this festschrift have traced the evolution of the idea of the university and its practical expression in contemporary society. While my comments will focus mainly on the evolving relationship between universities and industry in Canada, many of the features of that relationship may have counterparts in other countries.

      The earliest universities in Canada were conceived as civilizing forces for the advancement of a frontier society and as instruments for the education of social elites. They faced the task of assimilating different traditions and reconciling the religious precepts of the denominational colleges from which many universities were derived,...

    • 6 Research: A Partnership Opportunity for Universities, Business, and Government
      (pp. 62-73)

      It is an honour for me to help celebrate the accomplishments of Principal Shapiro at McGill University and to share some of my thoughts regarding present and future partnership possibilities between universities, business, and governments.

      My opinions are strongly influenced by my experiences in both industry and academia over the past thirty-five years. After working for ibm Canada as a systems engineer in the early 1970s, I took a faculty position at the University of Calgary. From 1982 to 1990 I was a member of the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization of the University of Waterloo and from 1987 to...

    • 7 Producing Knowledge for Society
      (pp. 74-82)

      During his principalship Bernard Shapiro promoted discussion of higher education on a scale never before seen at McGill. Much concern understandably focused on practical issues relating to how a debt-ridden institution might survive in an age of government cutbacks, but these discussions were in turn grounded in more far-reaching explorations of the changing role of universities in the modern world. I want to reflect on the role of Arts faculties from the perspective not of an administrator but of a teacher and researcher. I am addressing these issues at a time when political anxieties increasingly blur the distinction between means...


    • 8 L’autonomie des universités françaises et les enjeux de la décentralisation
      (pp. 85-92)

      En ce début de siècle, voire de millénaire, la tentation est grande de parler de crise de l’Université, quand ce n’est pas pour prédire son déclin. Mais il serait plus juste même si l’on était tenté d’annoncer la venue d’une apocalypse de se rappeler qu’elle ne serait pas fondamentalement incompatible avec la naissance d’un monde nouveau.

      Le concept de crise n’est sans doute que la manifestation dans les consciences de grandes mutations. Dans le contexte actuel de mondialisation, l’avenir de l’université française est une préoccupation majeure des pouvoirs publics. Le budget de l’Education Nationale en France demeure le premier budget...

    • 9 The Challenge of Leadership and Governance in the University
      (pp. 93-100)

      One of America’s great university leaders, Clark Kerr, was shown the exit door some thirty-five years ago in the midst of huge political turmoil. After nine years as president of the University of California, he departed with the memorable observation that he had been “fired with enthusiasm.” It was Mr Kerr who coined the term “multiversity” and identified this phenomenon as the newly dominant form of higher learning in the United States. Now in his nineties, he has published the first volume of his memoirs, still fired with enthusiasm for his project. Among the wonderful anecdotes he has to tell,...


    • 10 The Educational Journey of Bernard J. Shapiro
      (pp. 103-127)

      It is a mere twelve-minute drive from the Montreal home where Bernard Shapiro spent his childhood in the 1930s and ’40s to McGill University where he became principal in 1994. But his journey between these points was neither direct nor predictable. It was marked, and made possible, by a series of educational choices, emerging professional pathways, and shifting currents in the social and cultural life of Montreal.

      Bernard’s mother, Mary Tafler, was born in Montreal and lived her first few years on a farm north of the city. His father, Maxwell Shapiro, spent his formative years in Russia. A Menshevik...