Ladies and gentlemen, now that 2010 is safely shut away in the vault of history, we can turn our attention to the most anticipated affair of 2011 – the university administration and faculty award season. This year-long time-honoured competition between the best and brightest of academia has served as a beacon of excellence since I recently fashioned it in my head as filler for the first Carillon issue of 2011.
As we are all keenly aware, university administration and faculty members are nominated by the student body (read: me) at the beginning of the year. I then make predictions about who will win the Ivory Tower award in each category. To tie the whole gig together, the Ivory Tower Awards Committee then selects the winners near the end of the year. With the housekeeping behind us, let us move to the theory glitz and textbook glamour that are the Ivory Tower Award Nominations!
Our first category is the Craziest Anti-War Professor(s), and the nominees are: The Regina Sixteen (of opposing Project Hero fame); a Regina Sixteen splinter group led by John Conway; and that math prof who wears sandals on the regular.
This is a tough competition to be sure. The Regina Sixteen are already noted crazies, being on the record as supporting “universal post-secondary education.” With such radical leftist ideals, they are the clear front-runners for the 2011 Ivory Tower. However, John Conway is never to be discounted when it comes to saying and doing the darnedest things. I mean, come on, when the dude ran for city council he said he wanted to do what’s best for the children. Children? More like when’s the revolution, Trotsky? As for the math prof who wears sandals on the regular: anybody who can bear bare toes in the winter time is not of sound mind; but he is a definite underdog. I’m predicting the Regina Sixteen will take the Ivory Tower in this category, probably because the Afghan mission will be extended once again and they’ll get their scholarly knickers in a knot.
Our second category is Best Supporting Vice-President in an Academic Role, and the nominees are: Barb Pollock, Vice-President of External Affairs; and the U of R’s Vice-President Academic George Maslany, Ph.D.
Pollock would seem to have an edge, coming off a stellar performance in 2010 when she justified the U of R’s poor ranking in Maclean’s magazine by saying, “it’s not the only thing that causes students and parents … to form opinions about the university.” Well-played, Pollock. She hit the proverbial nail on the head. Since when do students choose a university based on quality? Hardly ever. That momentum will be difficult for Maslany to overcome. However, I’ve always liked me a tug-at-your-heart-strings, come-from-behind game-changer so I’m predicting Maslany will hit a home run and bring this one home in 2011. Literally. He will literally hit a home-run at Vianne Timmons’ annual faculty baseball tournament, and that will be enough to get the Ivory Tower Award. Congratulations, George.
Our final category is titled Best Performance by a University-based President in a Province with a Strong Economy That Nevertheless Has Ever-increasing Tuition Rates, and the nominees are: URSU President Kyle Addison; and U of R President Vianne Timmons, B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed., Ph.D, Lol, Wt.F, B.Rb, Cat.
This category is a nail-biter, folks; an absolute shot-in-the-dark to call. Addison’s near-perfect execution of the CFS referendum in 2010 hardly infuriated the student body at all. His seamless transition to post-voting ballot counting and court injunction filing was marvellous. No doubt, the time and resources wasted on a CFS referendum will go a long way to ensuring the students’ union ignores the issue of skyrocketing tuition.
However, never to be outdone, Timmons has recently demonstrated her frugality and detestation of largess by gallivanting through India. Her austerity measures in a time of unprecedented student debt are impressive – she could have went all the way to China, like she did last year, but opted instead for the relative thriftiness of India. But, there has to be a winner, and I predict the 2011 Ivory Tower Award will go to Vianne Timmons, with an honourable mention to Brad Wall for his help in this category.
Kent E. Peterson