Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Spotlight on Graduate Education, Research, and Professional Training in Psychology

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Spotlight on Graduate Education, Research, and Professional Training in Psychology

Article excerpt

As the editor of Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, I am pleased to introduce this special issue titled "Graduate Education, Research, and Professional Training in Psychology," which was commissioned by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). This special issue is built mainly around articles from two recent summits. The first was "What's Needed and What's Next for Canada's Research Community? A Summit for Scientists/ Researchers Working in or Outside of Academia" and was hosted by the CPA in collaboration with the Canadian Consortium for Research in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (May 6-7, 2019). The second was the "National Conference on the Future of Professional Psychology Training," hosted by the CPA in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (May 7-9, 2019). I had the privilege of attending both summits, and in this editorial, I provide some personal highlights and reflections.

The first summit was attended by over 100 individuals from diverse vocational backgrounds, including academics, scientists, graduate students, and employees from funding bodies and research agencies. What was quite refreshing about this summit was that there were attendees from many different disciplines (e.g., psychology, biological sciences, physical sciences) to discuss global issues affecting research in Canada. The first speaker was James Compton, past president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, who described the current research landscape, and the keynote was delivered by David Naylor, chair of the Fundamental Science Review Panel, who described the recommendations from the panel's report.

Although I have been a professor for 10 years and am "living the changes" in academia, some of the information on postsecondary education-especially the statistics-still made a deep impression on me. For example, I learned the degree to which public funding at the provincial level had decreased for postsecondary education (up to 23%), despite a large increase in graduate and undergraduate enrollments (approximately 60% combined). This funding gap has resulted in increases in tuition, which has implications for student debt, recruitment of international students, and participation of underrepresented groups in higher education. Another major theme was the decrease in tenure-track positions and the doubling of contract positions. During breakout groups and informal conversations, some attendees in contract and nonacademic positions expressed a frustration with the lack of tenure-track jobs and reflected that if they stay in contract positions too long, they become less competitive for tenure-track jobs, with job search committees' preferring newer graduates. These discussions of tenure-track versus contract positions brought up issues of ethics and fairness in academia. These issues of ethics and fairness in academia were extended in the presentation of data on equityseeking groups. Unfortunately, little progress has been made in this domain, with the data revealing that equity-seeking groups are overrepresented in non-full-time work, with only 28% of full professors in Canada being women, women earning 82 cents per every dollar compared to their male colleagues, and racialized female professors earning 68 cents per every dollar compared to their nonracialized male colleagues. As someone who identifies as a racialized woman, I found these statistics dismaying, because the academy has been aware of these discrepancies for a long time and yet no real progress has been made.

From David Naylor's presentation, I learned that relative to comparable nations, Canada relies on universities to contribute a disproportionate amount of money to the nation's research activities, which has implications for research output and growth. Canadian researchers are notably more likely to collaborate internationally rather than interprovincially, which to me seemed a missed opportunity to further ourselves collectively as a nation. Naylor was very clear that the Canadian research community needed to advocate for itself and to make sure the suggestions from the Fundamental Science Review Panel are implemented. …

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