Campus questions answered

Thinking about post-secondary education? Bill Morrison has just the book for you.

Morrison, who lives in Ladysmith, co-wrote Campus Confidential, 100 Startling things you don’t know about Canadian universities with Ken Coates, the Dean of Arts at Waterloo University. This is the pair’s 11th collaboration.

Morrison, a retired professor, has taught everywhere from UNBC to Duke with a total 41 years experience in the field.

“When you’ve done something for 41 years, you develop strong opinions about it.”

“There’s certainly things about universities that need to be fixed and we make  suggestions for that.”

The book, said Morrison, is a non-academic read geared towards the general public.

“The chapters have titles like: ‘University isn’t for everyone, There’s nothing wrong with the skilled trades, What to look for in a prof,’ ” said Morrison.

One of the suggestions, said Morrison, has to do with entrance exams.

The authors are not aware of any undergraduate  universities that offer their own entrance exams — they all depend on high school scores.

“They hand over control of their admission standards to institutions they have no control of themselves.”

“The result of this is there is enormous grade inflations.”

Morrison noted 30 years ago, you could get into McGill with 70 per cent grade point average, then it went to 80 per cent and is now 90 per cent.

In the book, Morrison and Coates urge readers to look into university and what it stands for before making a decision.

“Unless you are really into what universities do, you will be happier and better off doing a skilled trade.”

Morrison added students should not be pressured by parents or other friends into attending a post-secondary institution.

Morrison said he recommends the book not only for high school students preparing to make post-secondary decisions, but also for parents.

Morrison also blasts the stigma attached to post-secondary education.

“I am old enough to remember when people were proud of getting a high school diploma.

“Now we’ve got to the stage where the suggestion is that if you don’t have a university degree, you are kind of stupid.

“And I think that is very unfortunate.”

Copies of Campus Confidential are available at Salamander Books in Ladysmith.