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Welcoming Mohamed Fahmy to UBC

Monday, November 9th, 2015

On October 21, UBC got to welcome and to pay tribute to an extraordinary Canadian, journalists Mohamed Famhy, who was recently released from prison in Egypt. Imprisoned largely for reporting on Egyptian politics for Al Jazeera, Fahmy is now at UBC as a Visiting Professor in the School of Journalism, sponsored by the Global Reporting […]


Sunday, October 4th, 2015

I get to welcome our entering classes each year at “Meet the Dean” on Imagine Day. This year our entering class was so large that we used up all the seats in the Chan Centre for both ceremonies and had to seat hundreds of students on the stage! Introduction: Making your own history We begin […]

Convoke For Broke 2014, the exit poll results…

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Buzzed, pumped-up, enthusiastic … these aren’t the adjectives one expects to hear after shaking 2,300 hands and talking to 2,300 people, but they were the ones I was using after our last Arts Convocation on Friday. For three days, I had congratulated each of our graduates and asked them a variety of questions, the most […]

Hire Education

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

The Vancouver Sun on Saturday ran a wonderful feature story about an Arts Co-op student, Alex Chen (International Relations, minor in French), recently named “Student of the Year” by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education. Alex, who also received the “Student of the Year” award from our own Co-op program, spent eight months last year […]

A Fire to Be Lit/Kindled

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

I gave a keynote over the weekend for the Golden Key International Honour Society here at UBC. Given the Society’s emphasis on Academics, Service, and Leadership, I talked about how education can serve to transform students and light a passion for life and learning. ——- The title of my talk, “A Fire to Be Lit”, […]

On the Horizon, Part Deux

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Immediately following UBC’s uplifting Pep Rally on Imagine Day, I rushed to the airport for a flight to Munich, then to Nice (France) to catch a ride to the small city of Menton, France, on the border with Italy. Menton is one of three cities in which Sciences Po, one of France’s leading universities, has […]

On the horizon

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

I stole the title of this blog from the global music radio show I hosted in the 1970s in Madison, Wisconsin, but it seemes a fitting title for a rumination on universities in the global era. As I write this, I’m on the highway from the downtown of the mega-city of Chongqing to the Sijuan […]

Is this not your Father’s Oldsmobile?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Over the course of a year, I typically attend a few meetings of Deans from various universities – each with its own geographical “catchment” and each related to a different decanal portfolio. For example, in March, I went to Salt Lake City to attend a conference of the Deans of Arts and Sciences in the […]

Reading Railroad

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Last summer I was contacted by someone working on a website about what people at UBC were reading over the break, and so I shared my then-current reading list. Someone asked me recently what I read, and then she followed up with, “Well, if you have time to read.” But I do. And so here […]

Luke, Come to the Dark Side: The Joys of Dean-ing

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I was having lunch the other day with a former dean, and once again the conversation veered into the motivations for doing this job. My colleague missed being at the table and in charge. Why does someone become a dean? I do get asked this a lot, especially by colleagues in my own discipline who […]

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