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| The James McGill Professors and William Dawson Scholars may not get the same amount of attention as the Canada Research Chairs (CRC), but the three-year-old program is performing remarkably well.
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Luc Vinet explained that when the Canada Research Chairs program was first announced, McGill decided to use the lucrative program only for external recruitment. But how to keep the stars we already have at McGill?
"We had to address the retention aspect. Had we done nothing such a decision would have created tremendous unrest within the troops, and our people would have gone looking for CRCs elsewhere," said Vinet.
Photo: Owen Egan
He explained that James McGill and Dawson awards are complementary to the Tier I and Tier II CRCs. As with Tier I CRCs, James McGill awards are designed to retain well-established senior professors. The Dawson awards are aimed at junior faculty who are seen as up-and-comers.
"The McGill-Dawson program is completely parallel to the CRC program. It is considered to be the same level of prestige, and the advantages are absolutely parallel," said Vinet.
In addition to being an effective inducement for star faculty to stay at McGill, Vinet said that both the external and internal programs have created a real academic buzz on campus.
"It creates a remarkable atmosphere at the university, and in a sense we have doubled the number of CRCs at McGill. We stand to have 340 either McGill-Dawson or CRCs," he said.
"There's a sense of excitement of the high scholarly level that is carried with that."
The James McGill and Dawson awards also correct flaws inherent in the CRC structure. The externally funded chairs are heavily weighted towards the sciences.
"To manage academically a university we need to maintain an equilibrium of disciplines. The arts disciplines are core, but the (CRC) program pushes an imbalance in that respect. Given that we are in total control of our internal program, we've used it to correct that imbalance," he said.
For a full list of the Canada Research Chairs, William Dawson Scholars and James McGill Professors, see www.mcgill.ca/ researchoffice/crc/program.