The Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics at Trent University

Looking for my research? You probably need the Weebly website.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trent professors rank high, outperformers!

The news broke before school started back up, so colleagues and students weren't all hip to the latest bulletin, which is that we are amazing.  Trent U faculty both out-perform other (and bigger!) universities and over-perform for our size.  In short, our professors and research impact are impressive! That's right, we're highly ranked in sciences and humanities according to HESA (that's the Higher Education Strategy Association). They report that our professors are exceptionally productive and widely cited researchers. Indeed, they voice surprise on every other page, which is gratifying, but I'm not as surprised as they were. See the full report, "Measuring Academic Research in Canada," here. [Launches a pdf]

Of course, I cannot resist suggesting that, given this clear and recognized strength, we would be crazy to squander our hard-earned reputation as outstandingly productive research scholars by teaching the same load year-round. I hear the wheels of the three-year-degree bandwagon rolling on, but why squander nationally reputed and hard-earned scholarship rankings to gain speed?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sustainability Studies defense on Friday

The Sustainability Studies Graduate Program is pleased to announce the following upcoming M.A. thesis defense:
Geoffrey Eve
"Sustainability Reporting in the Oil Sands: A Narrative Analysis of Energy Company Approaches to Sustainable Development"
Friday, September 14, 2012
11:15 a.m.
Blackburn Hall Room 126, Trent University
All are welcome; seating is limited.
Supervisor: Professor John Bishop
Committee: Professor Stephen Hill, Professor Graham Taylor
External Examiner: Professor Hevina Dashwood (Brock University)
Chair: Professor Kathryn Norlock
Abstract:
Given the lack of public trust and recent notable environmental problems in the Alberta oil sands industry, I have proposed the question: Should the energy industry operating in the oil sands follow and commit to a more normative approach of the natural-resource-based view in their sustainable development strategies, and thereby become more responsible corporate stewards?
Through a narrative analysis of sustainability reports for four energy companies operating in the oil sands, I have discovered that most disclosures of sustainable development are textually conceived to appear as normative motivations demonstrating moral obligations to stakeholders. However, these disclosures are disguising firm instrumental business-as-usual practices. Sustainable development is defined by companies through the natural-resource-based view, where environmental issues can be solved through eco-efficiency practices. I suggest why energy firms may have to change their strategies towards achieving sustainable development in their operations based on a more normative approach, and how to achieve it.
Keywords: Alberta, oil sands, stakeholder theory, legitimacy theory, natural-resource-based view, corporate stewardship, sustainable development, corporate reporting, eco-efficiency, narrative analysis. 

Philosophy majors are GRE champs!

Philosophy is still the best-performing major on GREs, according to this.  The sciences beat philosophers at the Quantitative section, but philosophers are right behind them, and tops in the other two-thirds.  We're some keen thinkers! You know why?  Practice, practice, practice.