In the late Fall of 2011, with the assistance and encouragement of colleagues in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, I launched this website. We wanted a public space — a virtual square — in which we could come together to raise our concerns about the cuts to the Faculty of Arts that we were experiencing that year, which were devastating, and which were, indeed, irrational, given that the University was vaunting its ambition to be amongst the “Top 20” universities in the world by 2020. No university can be truly great without a vibrant, strong Faculty of Arts.
Then, in 2013, with the historic cuts to the postsecondary sector in Alberta delivered by the Progressive Conservatives, the Square was alive again. You can find the original campaign material for these two years under “Defending the Faculty, 2011-12” and “Once in A Generation: Defending PSE, 2013.” Since then, the Square has served as a space for members of the Faculty to open up to public conversation issues of concern to them relating to the state of the Faculty or postsecondary education. The Square remains open to all contributions from faculty members in Arts, as well as postdocs, graduate students, and even undergraduate students. The Square is here to serve what we in Arts do so well, and what we teach our students to do — engage in the public discourse upon which the public good and a strong democracy depend.
To contribute to the Square please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.