Landing : Athabascau University

never let schooling interfere with my learning

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  • Jon Dron commented on the blog Athabasca's bright future 2 days ago
    Thanks Mary, thanks Caroline! I hope my remarks did not come across as critical of the town or its people, Mary - they were not meant that way. I, too, very much want Athabasca to thrive and I do appreciate its charms. Those well tended gardens,...
  • Anonymous commented on the blog Athabasca's bright future June 23, 2017 - 8:11am
    Having trouble filling all the requirements to post here ;-) I have posted unsuccessfully a few times. Regardless, I love this post Jon!  I have circulated it to FHD because few of our faculty appreciate The Landing. Your depth of perspective...
  • Laurie Milne published a blog post Mummies Help Scientists Study Diseases in the group AU Anthropology Interest Group June 22, 2017 - 10:02am
    A recent article in the Globe and Mail (June 13, 2017) discusses the use of evidence from ancient mummies in understanding modern diseases.  https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-ottawaquebec-edition/20170613/282144996328263
  • Mary Pringle commented on the blog Athabasca's bright future June 22, 2017 - 9:38am
    Great post, but I have to disagree with your take on Athabasca. I grew up in a similar town west of Winnipeg (where I spent most of my time after the age of 17). The home town felt pretty desolate to a young person at that time, but it has now been...
  • Jon Dron published a blog post Athabasca's bright future June 21, 2017 - 8:46pm
    The always excellent Tony Bates provides a clear summary of Ken Coates's Independent Third-Party Review of Athabasca University released last week and, as usual, provides a great critical commentary and useful advice on next steps.I am much...
    Comments
    • Great post, but I have to disagree with your take on Athabasca. I grew up in a similar town west of Winnipeg (where I spent most of my time after the age of 17). The home town felt pretty desolate to a young person at that time, but it has now been "discovered" by the upwardly mobile, who have deposited culsters of McMansions in various natural beauty spots. I don't like the idea of Athabasca being discovered in quite that way, but it is probably inevitable for such a beautiful setting so close to Edmonton.

      Now approaching retirement, I find my garden and all the things I can do here--mostly as a result of AU's presence--the best things in the world. IMO, we should be working much harder to attract bright young hipsters here to live in Athabasca, open businesses, work at AU, and create an environment that attracts more of their kind.

      And the desolation of the main street is a matter of perspective. Now it feels comfortable and authentic to me. I would not trade places with my relatives living in ridiculously overvalued condos in the heart of Vancouver although I like to visit. Athabasca is a livable place, a place to set down roots and be part of a community.

      Mary Pringle June 22, 2017 - 9:38am

    • Having trouble filling all the requirements to post here ;-) I have posted unsuccessfully a few times.

      Regardless, I love this post Jon!  I have circulated it to FHD because few of our faculty appreciate The Landing. Your depth of perspective shows your real committment to AU. Thanks.


      - Caroline Park

      Anonymous June 23, 2017 - 8:11am

    • Thanks Mary, thanks Caroline!

      I hope my remarks did not come across as critical of the town or its people, Mary - they were not meant that way. I, too, very much want Athabasca to thrive and I do appreciate its charms. Those well tended gardens, neat and friendly neighbourhoods, and kind, self-reliant people are really quite delightful, and the surrounding countryside is pleasant (give or take the odd biting insect or large carnivore!).  And it is far less remote, run down, and threatened than other towns further North, though I'll stick by my claim that there are visible signs of a very worrisome downward spiral, and I find it hard to see a place that is two hours away that can only be reached by driving there as particularly close to Edmonton. It's all relative, I suppose, but that's half a day of mostly unproductive travel to get there and back, and it's a risky venture at some times of the year. It would be hard to attract too many hipsters right now, though the Athabsca Hotel is a great start (love that place). If I ruled the world, or at least the region, and I wanted to increase the vitality of the place, I'd subsidize regular and fairly frequent public transit. It would never pay for itself and would often run empty, at least at first, but it could make a big difference in the long term. Connection matters.

      I'd prefer to see a virtual end to Athabasca's central organizational role in the university hierarchy, though it has great value as a symbolic centre. We should not physically base ourselves in Edmonton, either, or anywhere else for that matter, though decent facilities in different areas are not a bad thing: exam centres, book storage, labs, studios, server rooms, spaces for visiting researchers, etc still have value. Notwithstanding the need for some physical space, we are and must be digital natives, and geographic clusters inhibit our capacity to innovate and grow our online communities. I like Coates's take on it, though I'm sure it needs refinement here and there. His proposals make far better use of our physical presence in Athabasca by focusing on what value a physical location can provide: links with indigenous folk in the region, partnerships with colleges, links with the local school, the development of a regional research centre, etc. That could make AU campus into a quite divergent and partly separate branch rather than an administrative hub. Innovations could feed back from there to the rest of us, and vice versa because it would be different. It would be good for the region, too, because the focus would be on developing and sustaining the surrounding community and the local environment, rather than pretty much anywhere and anyone else. Plus, it would make it more worthwhile to live there: people would be involved with their community through their work and would feel greater connection as a result. And, of course, those working more in the mainstream areas of the university with worldwide outreach would be better placed to do so because we would, simultaneously, be greatly improving our ability to work online and at a distance. Seems a winning idea for all, at least in principle. Might even draw in a few hipsters :-)

      Jon Dron 2 days ago

  • Jon Dron uploaded the file Landing logo medium resolution June 21, 2017 - 4:38pm
    long version of the Landing logo showing the river it represents a little more clearly than the one usually seen on the site
  • Jon Dron uploaded the file Athabasca Landing June 21, 2017 - 11:37am
    The site of the original Athabasca Landing, by the Athabasca River
  • Jon Dron uploaded the file Athabasca June 21, 2017 - 11:28am
    A view from downtown up the hill to Athabasca University
  • Alvin Finkel commented on a bookmark Change Alberta June 21, 2017 - 12:51am
    I invite all readers of The Landing, especially those who view themselves as progressives, to read Change Alberta and comment on topics that we discuss. Change Alberta played an important role in the provincial elections of 2012 and 2015 and since...
  • Alvin Finkel bookmarked Change Alberta June 21, 2017 - 12:47am
    This is a Facebook blog on Alberta politics (and other related subjects) for which I provide about 75 percent of all content. It has over 4200 followers and over 4500 likes as of June, 2017.
    Comments
    • I invite all readers of The Landing, especially those who view themselves as progressives, to read Change Alberta and comment on topics that we discuss. Change Alberta played an important role in the provincial elections of 2012 and 2015 and since the latter election has attempted to counter the pervasive propaganda in favour of returning to a past where Alberta governments were puppets of big business and opponents of universal services and special help for the disadvantaged.

      Alvin Finkel June 21, 2017 - 12:51am

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  • I have never let my schooling interfere with my education - Twain
  • The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a hearth to be lighted - Parlby
  • We have a hunder of the mind, which asks for knowledge all around us - Mitchell
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever - Gandhi
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What is it time for? Yup, it’s here…another Canadian Football League season, that special time of year when the calendar flips from hockey obsession to football infatuation. As fans of the great game ourselves, we understand the importance of finding that extra bit of summer to squeeze in a CFL game on TSN, or to […]
2 days ago
Aside from time studying in the virtual world, a number of AU students spend their time exploring the real world. Whether it’s travelling for work, as a treat between course loads, or to reward themselves for graduating, AU students are racking up the hours — and frequent flyer points — jet-setting the country and the […]
2 days ago
Today some will celebrate, some will choose not to, and some will undertake ceremony in recognition of this special time in the calendar. Here in Canada, today is recognized as a day to “celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Metis” (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada). Many Indigenous communities, […]
June 21, 2017 - 4:12pm
By Heidi Staseson Another Athabasca University Convocation, another resounding success. Perhaps (so we’ve been hearing) even one of the better ones to date! From Thursday through Saturday last week, 400 of the nearly 2,000 graduates, from across Canada and beyond, descended upon the impressively festive Town of Athabasca, Alberta, to receive their university degrees. Accompanied […]
June 14, 2017 - 1:18pm
The much-anticipated report of the Third Party Review of Athabasca University has been released at an event on the university’s main campus in the northern Alberta town. Today also marks the beginning of the annual convocation ceremonies, marking the completion of the educational careers of many of the university’s students. The university’s Board Chair sees […]
June 8, 2017 - 11:04am
Last week, Athabasca University hosted the 34th annual Alberta Student for Services Conference (ASSC) in Athabasca, Alta., represented by 22 post-secondary institutions from across the province. Nearly 200 delegates attended the three-day event, this year aptly titled Going the Distance. Delegates from as far as Lethbridge made the several hundred kilometre trek to meet with […]
May 25, 2017 - 3:45pm
This is the course graduate students have asked for — if you are a student in Writing and New Media, Heritage and Social History, or Cultural Studies, this course is for you! Writing and New Media 605: Creating Life Histories Opening in June, WRNM 605: Creating Life Histories, focuses on the methodologies of oral history, […]
May 18, 2017 - 12:32pm
I have spent a lot of years thinking about “what I want to be when I grow up”. I’ve changed my mind on the answer countless times until one night a friend of mine made a comment about how great it would be if we had our own publishing house. At that moment, something seemed […]
May 12, 2017 - 9:27am
My original plan was to earn my Bachelor’s degree long before I had any children. Back in 2005, I applied at a college in Manitoba for 2+2 program. Basically 2 years of college, then after earning my diploma, continuing for another 2 years at university for a Bachelor’s degree. I was very eager for the […]
May 11, 2017 - 10:39am
Like many AU student moms, real life happened when I made other plans. I ended up leaving my first round of university studies before I finished my degree and then I met my British husband and moved overseas. While this brought so many real life experiences, not finishing my education was something that weighed me […]
May 10, 2017 - 9:19am