On Campus

Where are the MacGuffins?

From the fall newsletter of the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis (CHEPA):

Alfred Hitchcock popularized the term “MacGuffin” in the late 1930s. A MacGuffin is a plot device that moves a story along, or motivates it, but it is of meager, if any, import by the end of the film. The letter of transit in Casablanca is perhaps the most famous MacGuffin. The computer disk in the Coen Brothers recent dark comedy, Burn After Reading is another example of a MacGuffin. Higher education has its very own MacGuffins – plot devices that consume enormous amounts of time, but ultimately are irrelevant.

The CHEPA newsletter goes on to list higher education commissions, international rankings, national report cards, and academic “bills of rights” as some examples of MacGuffins in higher education.

Can you spot the MacGuffins in Canada’s post-secondary education system?

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