Institute of Island Studies gets thumbs up in external panel review if money available
© Guardian photo
Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island
The report of an external panel commissioned to review the Institute of Island Studies said all the right things this week. The very first of 29 recommendations stated that the IIS should continue to exist, with the same mandate it has now. The only thing missing is money, and lots of it. Unless the institute can generate its own revenue and be self-sustaining within the University of Prince Edward Island community, then its future relevance could be minimal.
The report suggests the institute’s continuing education program should be a revenue generating operation. The conclusion is pretty simple, really. It would be nice to retain the institute as an important addition to UPEI, as long as it pays its own way.
The review was launched following a crisis this spring when UPEI did not renew the contract for Irene Novaczek, the institute’s director, citing cost savings. The institute was founded in June 1985, with a focus on research projects and public engagement activities with an emphasis always on Prince Edward Island, a key element of what makes the university unique.
The report noted the current IIS model is unsustainable and that the institute should refocus and pull back from its roles in advocacy and activism and return to its previous mandate of being “an honest broker.” One could conclude the institute was stepping on some toes and it had better become more pliant and obedient or else.
A final report on the institute isn’t expected until next year, past the university’s next budgeting process. So any hopes for a revived IIS won’t happen until 2015, unless a fiscal miracle happens.
It was suggested by a member of the public on hand for the report’s release that some reasons why the university cannot fund the institute are because of a recent massive building campaign, plus the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars on human rights claims.
. . . Some weekend thoughts
. . . How is this for a possible future use of the old Prince Edward Home, which is closing this weekend? If Health Minister Doug Currie decides he doesn’t need it for a youth addictions centre, the province should donate the property to the city of Charlottetown as a gift to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 which led to Confederation. The property should then revert back to green space as a welcome extension to Victoria Park, which has been under stress for many years. The approximately 8-10 acres of land can be turned into flower gardens and tree-lined walking paths with benches to welcome everyone to Victoria Park, and not become a dreaded parking lot for nearby government buildings.
. . . People turn back their clocks later tonight and get the luxury of an extra hour. A survey of Canadians to find out what they would do if they had an extra hour each week shows many are so busy that they are missing out on some of life’s most enriching activities, such as time with family and friends and helping others. Here’s how busy Atlantic Canadians would use their extra hour: 13 per cent would use their extra hour to sleep; nearly half of Atlantic Canadians (46 per cent) would strengthen relationships by spending time with family and friends; one in 10 would focus on their health by exercising; finishing up household errands was the selection of 11 per cent of Atlantic Canadians; less than one in 10 would pursue personal interests and hobbies; only seven per cent would devote their extra hour to community service; and eight per cent would work.