U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Video Studies in the Pathology of Power

The Rock administration of the University of Ottawa will celebrate the departure of
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VP-Academic Robert Major (well known on this BLOG)
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at a garden party in a tent on the lawn of Tabaret Hall on May 19, 2009.
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The video below is an example of the moving address in all its intellectual depth that Mr. Major is expected to deliver. The video is based on the 2008 such garden party that was held to celebrate the departure of former president Gilles Patry (also known on this blog: LINK1, LINK2).
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69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rancourt, why do you feel the need to denigrate Major? Is it because he played an instrumental role in your dismissal, and now you feel you have to get even? I didn't think parties were meant to be intellectual exercises... you celebrate achievements or just relax. I can think of one really big achievement that Major was part of that in itself is cause for celebration.

But, I do find it funny that someone who has no power (except over impressionable youth) can speak of its pathology ("Video Studies in the Pathology of Power"). It makes you wonder where the real pathology is.

Rockourt Watcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rockourt Watcher said...

This is more proof that Denis Rancourt and Allan Rock are literally the same person, Rockourt. Rockourt has accidentally posted this loving tribute as his Rancourt persona rather than its appropriate Rock persona.

Get the facts, google rockourt.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for you...all that bitterness and no one to care...

Anonymous said...

Hey Rancourt, the ~30 empty boxes recently delivered outside what was once your office aren't going to get filled up by themselves.

Would it be possible for you to provide us with a live webcast of you emptying out what was once your office? The video could appear alongside the video you posted of Major.

Anonymous said...

The Collective Agreement (CA) under which Rancourt was dismissed can be downloaded here.


The arbitration hearings of Rancourt's dismissal will predominantly focus on the following 2 articles of the CA:


21.1.2 (c)"Every faculty member shall have the right and responsibility to evaluate students' performance objectively in a manner appropriate to the course, consistent with relevant academic standards and marking scales approved by Senate, it being understood that any procedural rules adopted by a faculty council and approved by Senate must also be observed."


21.1.3 (c)"A faculty member shall inform students, at the beginning of a course, regarding course requirements, instructional and evaluation methods, and the nature and timing of assignments, projects and examinations;"


A very important word appears in both articles: "evaluate."


Now, the University will argue that Rancourt did not evaluate his students in PHY4385/5100; Rancourt attributed all A+'s arbitrarily. Therefore, there was cause for discipline, which culminated in Rancourt's dismissal.

Rancourt will counter by presenting the case that the attribution of all A+'s to his students was not arbitrary and is consistent with "Critical Pedagogy," specifically the form espoused by Paulo Freire, and, therefore, under the purview of Academic Freedom.

Now, attributing an A+ is part of a marking scale (21.1.2(c)). It acknowledges that there was evaluation that led to the attribution of the grade. But why not A? A-? B+? B? C+? C? D+? D? E? or F?

Well, Rancourt wanted to use Satisfactory/Non-satisfactory (S/NS) marking scale, which is completely legitimate. S/NS was, until recently, a form approved by Senate and permitted via Rancourt's arbitration ruling of 2008.

Rancourt will argue that giving all A+'s is equivalent to "Satisfactory," i.e. A+ represents S and F represents NS (why the arbitrary choice of A+ and F? Why not A and E?), and inseparable from Critical Pedagogy and Academic Freedom, and therefore not in violation of 21.1.2(c) and 21.1.3(c).

But the use of S/NS must be pursuant to evaluation, 21.1.2(c) and 21.1.3(c).

Anonymous said...

Rancourt will now be in a dilemma: why did he not just simply tell his students that he would not be submitting grades at all??? The students were not going to get any A+'s, nothing. No marks were going to be submitted to the Dean.

The concept of no grading implies:

(a) S/NS?
(b) A+/F?
(c) not grading?
(d) all of the above
(e) none of the above.


The answer is very simple: Rancourt would be in open violation of the CA, (c) or (e). Therefore, choose (b). But why not choose (a)? After all, Rancourt got an arbitration award saying he could do so. Surely, no Senate would stand in his way. What, then, is the motive of choosing (b)? One possibility, creating allies out of students. An A+ surely helps getting that scholarship, etc...

Ahh, but Rancourt will counter: Academic Freedom, i.e. I don't have to justify myself. Rancourt will attempt to use Academic Freedom as a guise to violating the CA.

The University will then counter with the following article of the CA:

9(a):

"The parties agree neither to infringe nor abridge the academic freedom of the members. Academic freedom is the right of reasonable exercise of civil liberties and responsibilities in an academic setting. As such it protects each member's freedom to disseminate her opinions both inside and outside the classroom, to practice her profession as teacher and scholar, librarian, or counsellor, to carry out such scholarly and teaching activities as she believes will contribute to and disseminate knowledge, and to express and disseminate the results of her scholarly activities in a reasonable manner, to select, acquire, disseminate and use documents in the exercise of her professional responsibilities, without interference from the employer, its agents, or any outside bodies. All the above-mentioned activities are to be conducted with due and proper regard for the academic freedom of others and without contravening the provisions of this agreement. Academic freedom does not require neutrality on the part of the member, but rather makes commitment possible. However, academic freedom does not confer legal immunity, nor does it diminish the obligations of members to meet their duties and responsibilities."

Anonymous said...

The last three sentences of 9(a) are crucial (emphasis added):

"... All the above-mentioned activities are to be conducted with due and proper regard for the academic freedom of others and without contravening the provisions of this agreement. Academic freedom does not require neutrality on the part of the member, but rather makes commitment possible. However, academic freedom does not confer legal immunity, nor does it diminish the obligations of members to meet their duties and responsibilities.Therefore, were Rancourt to openly and unambiguously contravene 21.1.2(c) and 21.1.3(c) by not attributing any grades at all, i.e. option (c) or (e) of no grading, he could not use Academic Freedom to support this action (I'm giving Rancourt the benefit of the doubt that he was intellectually capable of contemplating this scenario).


Rancourt will lose his arbitration case by:

(1) Not understanding Critical Pedagogy,
(2) Logically contradicting himself, and/or
(3) Perjuring himself.


Consider the following: Final examinations were not submitted by all students registered in Rancourt's class. However, every student in that class received an A+ pursuant to 21.1.3(c) because Rancourt stated on the first day of class that all students were guaranteed an A+ in the course.

Anonymous said...

You remember Rancourt at one point wrote that he will grade for food?

Well, let's probe this letter a little bit...

The preamble begins with a section titled "Offer of Settlement" that is footnoted: "Presented, without prejudice..."

"Without prejudice" is a legal mechanism allowing parties to engage in mediation to arrive at a mutual settlement so that the matter avoids adjudication. Specifically, it allows parties to put forward terms and proposals for mediation that cannot be used against them at adjudication should mediation fail. However, it must be clear what is "without prejudice," as this term is not a blanket coverage for anything goes.

In the present case, the "Offer of Settlement" itself cannot be used against Rancourt in a court of law. On the flip side, neither can Rancourt use the "Offer of Settlement" in a court of law to advance his case. However, should the "Offer of Settlement" not be genuine, then the use of "without prejudice" is in bad faith and can actually be presented in court against Rancourt.

In the letter, Rancourt uses the term "without prejudice" a second time:

"I propose, without prejudice, the following seven accommodations in order to reconcile with the university administration..."

Now, Rancourt's uses of "without prejudice" in both instances are ambiguous. What exactly is without prejudice? Is Rancourt saying that in the event of non-resolution of the present offer that this does not prejudice his position to offer a second, third, or fourth "Offer of Settlement"? Is Rancourt saying that his statements in the proposal do not prejudice his position of arbitrarily assigning grades? Is Rancourt saying that he can add or remove the number of accommodation measures as he wants? What is Rancourt saying is "without prejudice"??? Maybe Rancourt is attempting to use the term in the sense that anything goes. That would be a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Moving on... The preamble states:

"In the matter of the university’s planned dismissal of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt under the false pretext of having arbitrarily assigned high grades in one course during 22-year career"

OK, so Rancourt is stating that he did evaluate his students (which is a false position) and the University's (right) belief that evaluations are non-existent and, hence, the grades were assigned arbitrarily, in violation of 21.1.2(c) and 21.1.3(c), are ill-founded.

But Rancourt actually supports the University's position in his "Introduction":

"To most observers it is obvious that the grading issue that the university administration is planning to use to fire me is a pretext to remove a dissident professor. This will be tested by the present offer to do my grading in the most open way possible, in the most open way ever done by any tenured professor."

For Rancourt to propose something of this magnitude flies right in the face of his public stance on what is Academic Freedom and his whole position in the matter. No one in their right mind would say keep raping me, but actually rape me harder, so I can prove that you are raping me. Rancourt invites the University to do this because he knows they wont. Because they don't need to.

It's interesting that Rancourt states "To most observers... the grading issue... is a pretext..." Rancourt is counting on the fact that most observers will not analyze the plethora of documents. But at one point, the Dean of Science wrote to Rancourt that in his (the Dean's) recommendation to the Board of Governors, Rancourt's file was considered as a whole. I believe you can find this document on academicfreedom.ca. So, we don't need conspiracy theories of pretexts.

But, anyone who studies the documents in this matter can see that Rancourt is really trying to do two things: (1) he is trying to keep his job (in desperation), and (2) he is trying to put up a smoke screen. The University has a legitimate position in labour law, so let's confound the issue - it's really the Israeli lobby.

Anonymous said...

Now here comes the heart of Rancourt's letter. It's subtle, but it's actually the most important piece:

"The document also states that it would be better to dismiss me than to ask me to change my grading practice in future courses: 'There is accordingly no foundation for an expectation that he will refrain from similar conduct should he be returned to his teaching duties.'The university’s planned dismissal of me rests on an alleged absence of a 'foundation for an expectation.' On the contrary, I would obey all specific directives."


Do you see it? How do you obey all specific directives if your "Offer of Settlement" is "without prejudice." Is the letter, then, written in good faith?

Anonymous said...

Here is the correct link to Rancourt grading for food.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, the blog automatically adds www.blogger.com to the hyperlink. Well, do it the old way:

www.academicfreedom.ca/Documents
/OfferOfSettlement-17March2009.pdf

Anonymous said...

Let's continue.

Rancourt's letter that he will grade for food was written on March 11, 2009, exactly 2 weeks before the Executive Board of Governors is to meet to decide on the Dean's recommendation to dismiss Rancourt.

Remember, the Dean's recommendation of Rancourt's dismissal was communicated to Rancourt on December 10, 2008. In turn, Rancourt, for 3 months, masquerades as Socrates, not taking the dismissal seriously, "It's a shock to me and my colleagues that the university would be so bold," Guelph Mercury, April 3, 2009, this statement appearing 3 days after his dismissal.

The University never accepted Rancourt's proposal (because they saw it for what it was), but instead offered mediation on their own terms. Rancourt accepted (Rancourt now realizes that the University is serious about dismissing him). Rancourt's March 29 communication to the University begins:

"The university never responded to my March 11th proposal for resolution but proposed mediation, to which I agreed."

Now, one of the terms was that mediation be concluded by March 27. Suffice it to say, mediation did not resolve the matter.

However, this process allows us to see what the real purpose was for Rancourt's March 11 letter. In the same March 29 communication, Rancourt writes:

"The university’s insistence on this artificial March 31st deadline remains unexplained; the collective agreement allows it an additional 140 working days (7 months) (sections 13.3.4, 13.3.8, 13.3.9). It would appear that the University is trying to hurry through a decision on this matter, at the expense of due process and justice."


OK, so Rancourt is trying to stall the process. Again, we ask Rancourt if his March 11 letter was written in good faith?

But let us now turn to the University. Is the University so bold as to violate the CA so blatantly? What does article 13.3.4 say?

"Where a member files a letter of disagreement, any time limit set for the taking of a decision provided for in other articles of this agreement or in relation to the processing or progress of the matter concerned shall be extended by 50 working days.

Therefore, in Rancourt's own words the University never met with him pursuant to 13.3.4.

As one blogger put it, "Rancour[t] is the answer to everything."

Anonymous said...

Now let us turn our attention to Critical Pedagogy.

There are two fundamental questions related to the implementation of Critical Pedagogy:

1. Does one evaluate students? and
2. If so, evaluate them relative to what?


Now, the whole point of pedagogy is to aid students in becoming educated, i.e. to learn. Does Critical Pedagogy prohibit the pedagogue from interacting with the students? Of course not. Rather, it is the manner in which the pedagogue is in interaction with them. Let me elaborate this point.

Sometimes there are absolute right and wrong answers. Other times, maybe not. For example, can I drive my car without brakes? Yes. Will I get into an accident if I drive my car without brakes? Probably. Will I die in this accident? Depends.

Now, the students of a licensed mechanic can research about brakes and come up with several different designs, i.e. multiple acceptable answers to one question. The point is, pick an acceptable one. Now, should the mechanic accept every single brake design of his students irrespective of the brakes' functionalities? Of course not.

Then, who would be liable if the brakes fail because of the students' errors? I'm willing to bet that most people who subscribe to Critical Pedagogy will litigate...

Now, coming back to the fundamental questions raised. Does one evaluate students? Well, what does it mean to evaluate? To evaluate can mean one of two things, or both:

i. provide feedback without punishment (no grading), or
ii. provide feedback with punishment (grading).

It's the latter that will grant you the license to repair automobiles.

Rancourt would probably call this approach creating "service intellectuals," namely that students come to the classroom with empty brains and the teacher fills them with information/answers/right+wrong. The students then go out in the world and continue as rank-and-file protectors of Industry.

But does such an approach really stifle creativity? Does it stifle critical thought? It would if this approach was applied arbitrarily across the board to encompass problems where there are no clear-cut solutions. Hence, the second fundamental question, to evaluate relative to what?

How is it possible to evaluate if there is no backdrop with which to measure the results? We can still talk about some things, such as driving the car, but others (for example, stopping) may be unexplained territory. I'm sure many of you can recall your first days of driving when prominence was given to unending acceleration...

Anonymous said...

We are getting closer to answering our second question.

If there is no backdrop for evaluation, then what exactly is the purpose of going into new territory? This territory we call research. Now, this does not mean that such questions cannot or should not be asked in the classroom. They can and should be, BUT AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME AND IN THE APPROPRIATE MANNER.

Courses do have a point, and there is this "thing" we call "solid state physics." Rancourt, you yourself use the latter term.

Now, Critical Pedagogy addresses the manner in which the pedagogue helps convey HOW solid state physics is conducted. Critical Pedagogy is interested in the process of education, not the results of education. Instead of endlessly writing equations on the board to be memorized, you walk the students through derivations of the equations. Rather, let THEM walk YOU through the derivations. Let them make the mistakes. Analyze the mistakes TOGETHER. Show them where you made the mistakes in deriving the same equations 30 years ago. The point is that the students get a feel for what solid state physics is, the way it's done. More specifically, the way YOU do it. This does not imply that the way you do it is the correct way. Certainly when a journal calls you to referee a submission, you have some sort of professional "solid state" criteria with which to provide criticisms, do you not?

You did try this approach in PHY4385/5100. Nobody is questioning that. Your course did have physics content. It also had some bullshit, but all-in-all, it had physics, it had solid state. Some students were able to use this style to their advantage and learn, while other, more sadistic ones, needed to be punished as bad students in order to derive pleasure from the learning process. You can't accommodate everyone.

But this is where you contradict yourself. By deriving equations and pointing out that except for 3 students in the class (your interview on TVO), the students did not understand Newton's Third Law (from highschool), you introduced "expected" answer. YOU YOURSELF set up the mechanism allowing the students to be evaluated.

But at the same time, you also talk about your bullshit politics, which cannot be evaluated according to "solid state" physics, the criteria you yourself set forth. Therefore, in order to legitimize the politics in its recurring and excessive presentation, you implement a grading tool of A+ across the board forcing it into the curriculum and upon the students, because Critical Pedagogy is a process and not a result.

This is why you say that your grading methods are inseparable from YOUR pedagogy. This is very important. You do not say that grading methods are inseparable from Critical Pedagogy, because Critical Pedagogy does not evaluate, and hence, your need for A+'s.

Now we come full circle, the debate about assigning the grades arbitrarily. On what basis did you conclude that A+ = Satisfactory. Why not any other letter grade? On what basis did you create the mapping f:S->A+?

Oh, and by the way, you seemed so disappointed that St-Amant backed out of that TV interview. It seemed that you really wanted to publicly debate your case. Am I right??? Do you still want that challenge? I am no St-Amant. One-on-one, me and you. Call up TVO, and let's make this happen.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify a bit my previous post on Critical Pedagogy...

Critical Pedagogy does not concern itself with formal evaluations by means of examinations. Rather, it discards the traditional approach where the pedagogue knows everything, the students knows nothing, therefore the pedagogue will simply transfer verbatim what is in his/her brain to the students.

In Critical Pedagogy, the pedagogue is also a student, but the student also becomes a pedagogue. The student-pedagogue and pedagogue-student can be compared to semi-transparent mirrors. The professor sends out an idea, the students absorb the idea, contemplate it, and reflect it back to the professor. The professor absorbs the reflected idea, contemplates it, and reflects it back to the students. It is a never-ending circle until the professor and students arrive at an equilibrium.

Whether former evaluations occur once equilibrium is reached is irrelevant to Critical Pedagogy. It is the process by which material is learned that is important.

Now, Rancourt discussed two things in PHY 4385/5100:

1. solid state physics, and
2. politics.


The manner in which the solid state physics was presented was in the Critical Pedagogy framework, but with accompanying evaluation of material.

However, politics cannot be evaluated in the same way as physics. They can be discussed through the Critical Pedagogy framework, a lot can be learned through the discussion process, but there is nothing concrete that can be tested in the same manner as Newton's Third Law.

Therefore, if politics can't be evaluated on equal footing with physics, there arises a question of legitimacy in presenting the politics. The easiest way to put politics and physics on equal footing is to remove the evaluation aspect from physics. Therefore, the only thing you are left with is the same Critical Pedagogy approach in studying both politics and physics.

The way the evaluation aspect was removed was by the arbitrary imposition of A+'s across the board. What Rancourt was saying at the beginning of the course was essentially: I am giving you all A+'s because the Collective Agreement says I have to submit marks according to a Senate-approved scale. But understand that even though evaluation of physics may occur within the course, this evaluation is really irrelevant - let us simply call it "feedback". We will be talking about politics and physics in the same way, and that's what the focus of the course is, the WAY in which we talk about these things.

So, Rancourt may have evaluated some students in the physics aspect, but this evaluation did not contribute to the official evaluation that implies an A+.

For Rancourt to claim that the A+'s were based on actual evaluation of physics material would not justify the emphasis on politics in the course, nor the granting of A+'s unilaterally at the beginning of the course.

Critical Pedagogy is the common denominator to put physics and politics on equal footing in terms of learning, while arbitrary A+'s satsify a Senate-approved marking scale. Physics and politics cannot be evaluated on the same level, therefore, dispense altogether with the need to evaluate.

Rockourt Watcher said...

To the author of the detailed analysis of the case:

We would be glad to provide a forum for your analysis. Please email me at rockourtwatch@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

What's wrong Rancourt? How come you're not so quick to accept my challenge to debate?

Einstein once responded to collective criticisms of his theories that the ignorant masses did not concern him. He only cared about the one person who could prove him wrong.

Are you worried that I will annihilate any morale and hope you may have of winning your case? Are you worried that you will break down on national television in front of millions of people?

Let's end your lies once and for all.

By the way, did you here that Victor Simon, Vice-President Resources at the University of Ottawa, is leaving his employ with the University? Do you know why?

Anonymous said...

Rancourt, if you accept my challenge, you can reach me at the following e-mail address:

lessonsinhumility -at- gmail -dot- com.

Anonymous said...

Simon is leaving? Looks like all the old guard is being replaced in the new Rock administration.

In any case, if you plan to debate Rancourt on TV, why not start putting your name out right here? Seriously...

Do you think any public personality would accept a debate challenge from an unknown anonymous blog commenter?

Anonymous said...

Oh, by the way, are you a student?

Maybe we could have a all-student debate on the case?

just a suggestion...

Anonymous said...

Rancourtwatch: thank you for the invitation, but I decline the offer.

Rather, I will be releasing a public document that is an in-depth analysis of Rancourt's case. This document will have its own associated blog (yet to be made public). The posts here are just summarized samples.

With regards to the comment:

"Do you think any public personality would accept a debate challenge from an unknown anonymous blog commenter?"

Rancourt knows who I am...

But my identity will be revealed to the public with the publication of my treatise on Rancourt's case.

As for engaging in debate, I'm not interested in debating anyone other than Rancourt as this will only be a waste of my time. Rancourt runs his mouth, so let him be the one to defend it.

Anonymous said...

It should be clear that the actual debate here is not about Critical Pedagogy nor the role of universities nor service intellectuals.

The point is to demonstrate that the University of Ottawa was legitimate in their concern that led to Rancourt's dismissal.

Rancourt had obligations and responsibilities under the Collective Agreement that he violated.

Rancourt is attempting to conceal his violations of the Collective Agreement by masquerading as a Saviour for Academic Freedom.

I am sorry Rancourt, but Academic Freedom does not mean that you do whatever you want. If you think it does, then you should have joined APUO's bargaining committee.

But it's always fun watching the so-called anarchists cry when they can no longer participate within and benefit from the system.

How many people have signed the petition to reinstate you? I wonder how many people would sign a petition to NOT reinstate you...

Rancourt, you will not find anything in the writings of Paulo Freire advocating the abolishment of grading. In fact, Freire's writings build directly on the foundations laid down by Rousseau. Rousseau is most famous for his book "The Social Contract" which played a prominent role in the French Revolution. It is the "banking" concept of education that Freire's praxis is based on. For anyone to advocate that grades and the "banking" concept of education go hand in hand has missed the forest for the trees, so to say.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Paulo Freire does not discuss grading precisely because there is no place for it in his model of liberation pedagogy?

The "banking" concept of education, for our readers who haven't read Freire, is (at the most basic level) the idea that teachers "deposit" knowledge in the "blank minds" of students. Grading is not necessary for this to happen, but it can certainly be complementary to it, i.e. for the teacher to verify how much the "deposited" material was retained and regurgitated back by the student.

But how would grading complement Freire's pedagogy? Wouldn't it be, instead, at best a distraction, at worse an impediment to it?

Anonymous said...

Also, are you aware that the University of Ottawa Senate has voted back in 2006 to make all classes "A to F" by default, which means that Rancourt could not have simply "chosen" to grade PHY4385 in the S/NS scheme, as you suggest he could have done, in your previous posts?

Anonymous said...

in any case, I welcome your upcoming treatise and am prepared to provide a thorough critique of it. make sure you act fast though, before the story is outdated and nobody cares anymore!

Anonymous said...

"Also, are you aware that the University of Ottawa Senate has voted back in 2006 to make all classes "A to F" by default,Perhaps.


which means that Rancourt could not have simply "chosen" to grade PHY4385 in the S/NS scheme, as you suggest he could have done, in your previous posts?"Wrong. Please read Rancourt's 2008 arbitration award.


"in any case, I welcome your upcoming treatise and am prepared to provide a thorough critique of it.You have clearly demonstrated your unfamiliarity with Rancourt's case and the documentary evidence, therefore, your critique is irrelevant.


make sure you act fast though, before the story is outdated and nobody cares anymore!"I am in no hurry. My treatise will serve only one purpose: to assist the administration in arguing their case against Rancourt at arbitration.

Anonymous said...

The Senate is trying to force all profs to use alpha numeric (A-F) grading.

However, one should recognize that the 2008 arbitration award allows a grading scheme of S/NS to be within the purview of academic freedom.

Now, even though S/NS was abolished by the Senate, continued use of it would hold up in court in this particular case, even though it is contrary to what is stated in the collective agreement that grading must be in accordance with what the Senate has approved, because of 1) the arbitration award, and 2) it has been a recognized form of evaluation.

Essentially, the Senate is bullying professors into a corner in order to compete with other universities that rely more heavily on alpha numeric grading. Are you a prof bold enough to stand up to the Senate?

But what Rancourt did is completely different. Quite simply put, he didn't evaluate in a manner that can be demonstrated to contribute towards an A+ nor S.

The more I think about it, since Rancourt clearly doesn't want to debate me (no surprise), there probably is no point to make my document public... Do you really want to read everything I have to say, Rancourt? Try a freedom of information request. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

For the technically-minded individuals, the legal grounds on which Rancourt could have successfully implemented S/NS is through the "estoppel" principle.

So, then what was Rancourt's motive for A+'s? Do a freedom of information request and try to find out!

Anonymous said...

"The more I think about it, since Rancourt clearly doesn't want to debate me (no surprise), there probably is no point to make my document public..."

COP OUT!

Anonymous said...

"COP OUT!"

A typical Rancourt response... I give you an RA+ for your participation!


"Maybe Paulo Freire does not discuss grading precisely because there is no place for it in his model of liberation pedagogy?"

Freire lived from 1921 to 1997, so he was most definitely aware of modern day grading practices. For a world-renowned pedagogue, after devoting so much effort into analyzing the educational system and involvement in educational reform through his own praxis, to not address the issue of grading as a fundamentally flawed concept, if it is so, is highly unlikely.


Rancourt, at your arbitration hearings will you be reading from "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? Or maybe you'll show some excerpts from the movie "Idiocracy" (For those who haven't seen it, rent this! It's the best $5 bucks you'll ever spend. I give it two RA+'s!).

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0yQunhOaU0

Anonymous said...

Who could this intrepid researcher and agitator be? St. Amant? Stojanovik? Some other name I probably won't spell correctly?

Rockourt watcher, what does this analysis have to do with the Rancourt-Rock singularity?

Anonymous said...

"Who could this intrepid researcher and agitator be? St. Amant? Stojanovik? Some other name I probably won't spell correctly?"

Rancourt, do you remember one of the Senate meetings that was closed down, chaired by Major? Do you remember what you said to the student activists after the Senate dispersed? Something about that the students were making democracy happen... and you advocated for students to jump on the Senate table. Direct action.

Afterwards, your side kick Gervais led an occupation of the University's Legal Counsel office to demand the University drop the charges against Kelly (motivated out of love). You do know that forcibly occupying this space is punishable as a Criminal offense?

Where were you when all this happened?

Where is this democracy you speak of?

Maybe this democracy is your sick manipulation of students to do acts against the University for your own sick gratifications?

You might actually be surprised who I am... or should I say, who "we" are. How certain are you that all of your secret e-mail lists are secure?

Anonymous said...

I like the sarcasm implied by the use of "intrepid" by one anonymous commenter to reference other anonymous commenter.

RA+'s to both sides!

Anonymous said...

it's great to see activists fight each other, that way the actual police forces have less work to do :)

stojanovic said...

"Stojanovik? Some other name I probably won't spell correctly?"

You do not need to spell correctly for everyone to see and understand your racism.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe this democracy is your sick manipulation of students to do acts against the University for your own sick gratifications?"

I would hope that graduate and undergraduate students can at least take responsibility for their own actions, if their 13 (16? 18?) years of formal schooling were of any use.

Rockourtwatcher: do you think this is part of Rockourt's experiment? To show how the whole school system produces individuals who are unable to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions?

Anonymous said...

"I would hope that graduate and undergraduate students can at least take responsibility for their own actions, if their 13 (16? 18?) years of formal schooling were of any use.

Rockourtwatcher: do you think this is part of Rockourt's experiment? To show how the whole school system produces individuals who are unable to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions?"


Is this why you banned military advertisements from campus newspapers?

Have you ever researched the sociological phenomenon of cults? Do you know how much scientific literature there is on this?

Do you really not see the point of our dialogue???

It's not about Rancourt. He's lost. He'll never be reinstated.

We are demonstrating to the whole world your cult. Where is the critical thinking and judgment on your side? Where is your self-criticism? A case in point, you challenge us regarding Rancourt's dismissal without even having a vague familiarity with the documents.

Anonymous said...

some people should really stop making assumptions about who hides behind anonymous posts on this blog...

Anonymous said...

concerning self-criticism, this is obviously something valuable, but no one should get too arrogant about their ability to self-criticize, as it is always limited to some extent, i.e. any of us have some assumptions that we are either unwilling, or currently unable, to challenge.

Anonymous said...

This Just in:

Major will be teaching a course at the U of Ottawa next year! It's called "ADM 0001: How to look and act like a smug cunt."

Anonymous said...

"concerning self-criticism, this is obviously something valuable, but no one should get too arrogant about their ability to self-criticize, as it is always limited to some extent, i.e. any of us have some assumptions that we are either unwilling, or currently unable, to challenge."

I agree with this statement but I would like to qualify it. I believe it is important to recognize that the self-criticism process is most often, if not always, initiated by external criticisms.

The commenters on this blog that are pro-Rancourt have already made up their minds. They avoid self-criticism by simply moving on to different lines of attack when a particular one fails. And when all lines of attack fail, they resort to name-calling.

Like Rancourt says, the documents are all public, just not all archived in one convenient location allowing you to put the jigsaw puzzle together. In this case, you have to go and find all the pieces yourself.

And I couldn't agree more with the comment:

"some people should really stop making assumptions about who hides behind anonymous posts on this blog..."

I think the purpose of anonymity should not be understood as being motivated by fear (it may be for some, but unlikely for this blog), but rather to allow the arguments and their merits to be addressed and not the people making them.

Anonymous said...

"
The commenters on this blog that are pro-Rancourt have already made up their minds. They avoid self-criticism by simply moving on to different lines of attack when a particular one fails. And when all lines of attack fail, they resort to name-calling."

I would personally avoid lumping together a bunch of different people in a single "collective personality"...


"Like Rancourt says, the documents are all public, just not all archived in one convenient location allowing you to put the jigsaw puzzle together. In this case, you have to go and find all the pieces yourself."

of course, but why do you assume you're the only one able to do that?

Anonymous said...

The psychological aspects for identifying cultist coercive persuasion:

1. People are put in physically or emotionally distressing situations;

2. Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized;

3. They receive unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from a charismatic leader;

4. They get a new identity based on the group;

5. They are subject to entrapment (isolation from friends, relatives, and the mainstream culture) and their access to information is severely controlled.


- Galanter, 1989; Mithers, 1994; Ofshe & Watters, 1994; Singer, Temerlin, & Langone, 1990; Zimbardo & leipper, 1991

- Cordón, Popular Psychology 46-47[4]

- Psychology 101, Carole Wade et al., 2005

Anonymous said...

well, somebody is not getting enough unconditional love... and as you say, it ain't the Rancourt supporters... cause somebody is doin a lot a work on these documents... hope the pay is good...?

Anonymous said...

"Like Rancourt says, the documents are all public, just not all archived in one convenient location allowing you to put the jigsaw puzzle together. In this case, you have to go and find all the pieces yourself."

"of course, but why do you assume you're the only one able to do that?"


I am not assuming this at all. But what I will say is that it is actually very difficult to obtain all of the documents.

There are many elements to Rancourt's dismissal that have not been explicitly identified by Rancourt as linked to his case. Also, many documents are in the form of mass e-mails limited to only the University of Ottawa community. While these documents are in the public domain, they do not readily appear on any public website.

These documents are very crucial because many of them, when put together, will reinforce the contradictions in Rancourt's position. Even though they do not form the basis for dismissal, they can be used to demonstrate Rancourt's character in dealing with the administration. The administration can legitimately question the sincerity of Rancourt wanting to reconcile with them.

Remember, the Dean stated to Rancourt that he consulted Rancourt's file as a whole in making his recommendation to the Board of Governors. I believe the understanding of what exactly constitutes Rancourt's "file" is overlooked by many.

Based on the documents that I was able to obtain, I believe a reasonable person would see that the University of Ottawa was legitimate (others who are less confident may say they have a case) in dismissing Rancourt. There really is no need to invoke conspiracy theories, just an understanding of legal principles.

I have yet to see someone who is pro-Rancourt address the evidence from a legal perspective.

Anonymous said...

"well, somebody is not getting enough unconditional love... and as you say, it ain't the Rancourt supporters... cause somebody is doin a lot a work on these documents... hope the pay is good...?"

A tenured professor of 22 years loses his job. Why?

Rancourt's case is an exercise not only in law, but also in sociology, psychology, and psychiatry. Many who are not in the physical sciences are very interested in analyzing and following the case.

As for the pay being good, some of us don't need the motivation of an A+ in order to learn.

Anonymous said...

"I would personally avoid lumping together a bunch of different people in a single "collective personality"..."


Until I see something substantive from a Rancourt supporter that doesn't rely on nonsense and rubbish like the Israeli lobby or 1984, then don't get offended that you get grouped into the "collective personality" of Rancourt.

For example, it is quite possible that many professors that do support Rancourt may only be doing so because they are concerned for the state of "academic freedom."

If you don't subscribe to Rancourt's doomsday prophecies, then say why exactly it is that you support Rancourt.

Anonymous said...

"I agree with this statement but I would like to qualify it. I believe it is important to recognize that the self-criticism process is most often, if not always, initiated by external criticisms."

It can be initiated from 'inside' when you're humble enough to see that any plan has its drawbacks.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't subscribe to Rancourt's doomsday prophecies, then say why exactly it is that you support Rancourt."

There are many professors at the University of Ottawa who, despite the fact that I would question their views on a number of topics, I wouldn't want to see fired.

For me this is not about academic freedom as much as it is about fighting a pernicious tendency to homogenize everything within "one-size-fits-all" educational institutions.

Anonymous said...

"As for the pay being good, some of us don't need the motivation of an A+ in order to learn."

...in a moment of surprising agreement with the stance that grades are not necessary for education. Thanks for proving my earlier point.

Anonymous said...

"...in a moment of surprising agreement with the stance that grades are not necessary for education. Thanks for proving my earlier point."

I agree with your conclusion that grades are not necessary for education to occur. But that was not your earlier point. Your earlier point was about grades conflicting with Freire's pedagogy. Grades do not conflict with Freire's pedagogy (nor any pedagogy) because they are not part of the pedagogy.

In any form of pedagogy, when educating about Newton's laws of motion, you don't invoke grades to understand F=dp/dt. You have force, momentum, time, derivatives... pedagogy is about learning to put these pieces together.

But you CAN use grades to understand if the concept has been learned correctly. This is not pedagogy, it is evaluating. If the proper questions are asked, grades CAN reflect HOW a concept has been learned.

In the physics community, the research and use of the "Force Concept Inventory" has led to remarkable, remarkable introduction into the classroom of Critical Pedagogy and understanding HOW physics concepts are learned. You should be able to find many articles published on the FCI.

Here are some remarkable publications how to couple Critical Pedagogy (or, alternatively, liberation pedagogy) with evaluation:

- Peer Instruction (Eric Mazur)
- Five Easy Lessons. Strategies for Successful Physics Teaching (Randall D. Knight)
- Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite (Edward F. Redish)
- Teaching Physics (Laurence Viennot)
- Reasoning in Physics. The Part of Common Sense (Laurence Viennot)

The last two are translated from French based on the educational system in France.

So, did Rancourt fulfill his obligations under the Collective Agreement?

Anonymous said...

"If you don't subscribe to Rancourt's doomsday prophecies, then say why exactly it is that you support Rancourt."

"There are many professors at the University of Ottawa who, despite the fact that I would question their views on a number of topics, I wouldn't want to see fired."

"For me this is not about academic freedom as much as it is about fighting a pernicious tendency to homogenize everything within "one-size-fits-all" educational institutions."


But what makes you assume that these professors would be fired for the same reasons as Rancourt?

How many students did you talk to that took PHY4385/5100?

How many of Rancourt's former graduate students have you talked to?

How many of Rancourt's colleagues in the department have you talked to? In the Faculty of Science?


As for your comment about the trend of the institution becoming "one-size-fits-all," are you familiar with the following 3 publications?

- Smith S. (1991) Commission of inquiry on Canadian University Education. Ottawa: Association of Universities and Colleges.

- No Place To Learn. Why Universities Aren't Working. (2002, Tom Pocklington and Allan Tupper).

- Ivory Tower Blues. A University System in Crisis. (2007, James E. Cote and Anton L. Allahar).


All three publications critically examine the current state and trend of Canadian universities. I think you will find your concerns shared with some of the most well-respected researchers in this regard.

But some people might be disappointed with these authors because they don't advocate jumping on Senate tables and occupying the offices of university administrators.

Anonymous said...

Why do none of your alternative pedagogy experts practice at the University of Ottawa (well, maybe Claude Lamontagne would be one, but he has been supporting Rancourt)?

It's nice to have an abstract discussion about how great it would be to have a critical pedagogue who doesn't have certain aspects of Rancourt we might not like... but where are these people at the University of Ottawa? Why does no one else want to teach a course such as "science in society"? Who is defending the possibility of students taking some of their classes under a S/NS scheme? etc.

I am sorry that I don't pay much attention to the detail of the legal arguments, but law is not my expertise, and this is not primary of interest to me. What affects me more is that I realize that the University of Ottawa will lose more that it will gain, academically and culturally, by firing Rancourt.

Anonymous said...

"How many students did you talk to that took PHY4385/5100?

How many of Rancourt's former graduate students have you talked to?

How many of Rancourt's colleagues in the department have you talked to?"

My basic answer to this question is "enough". I would add, as a probabilistic answer, "likely more than you".

If, like so many past commenters on this blog, you think of "Rancourt supporters" solely in terms of cultists, then I can assure you this vision is flawed. Most have been and remain critical of him, have had serious debates with him on a number of occasions, yet deplore the fact that he's being fired, as well as the process leading to it.

Your perception of a "Rancourt supporter" might be overly biased by the most vocal of them who might have trouble moderating their discourse (like Mr. Stojanovic who has probably jumped from the pro- to the anti-Rancourt extreme now?)

Anonymous said...

"If, like so many past commenters on this blog, you think of "Rancourt supporters" solely in terms of cultists, then I can assure you this vision is flawed. Most have been and remain critical of him, have had serious debates with him on a number of occasions, yet deplore the fact that he's being fired, as well as the process leading to it."


I believe a reasonable person (for example, an adjudicator) will see that it was actually Rancourt that abused process.

The "anti-Rancourt" side has presented some arguments, substantiated them, and successfully defended them. So what exactly is it that the "pro-Rancourt" and "semi-pro-Rancourt" supporters "deplore"? Give us specifics.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad somebody brought up the topic of moderating discourse. President Allan Rock also had something to say about that on his blog.


Tuesday March 10th, 2009

The Senate Meets

"I chaired a meeting of our University Senate last Thursday morning, our first in some months. Meetings in December, January and February have been disrupted by several people, some of them students, who wanted to film the public proceedings with their own cameras. To accommodate the point that Senate proceedings are public and should be recorded and made generally available, the administration introduced and the Senate adopted a policy providing for our meetings to be filmed for broadcast on our website. However, after that policy was adopted, the same group pre-empted our March 2 meeting by bringing in a loudspeaker and purporting to hold their own meeting, making it impossible for us to get underway. When they refused to stop, and in order to avoid a confrontation, I abandoned efforts to continue. You can see the film of the March 2 events here.

Because so much time has passed since the Senate last met, and because there was University academic business to transact, I called another meeting for Thursday morning. This time, I excluded the public, in order to avoid another disruption. We did record the meeting, however, and it is on our website. You can see it all here.

An accurate description of all these events can be found here.

I should add that before Thursday’s meeting, we wrote to some of the people who have been disrupting our meetings and suggested that if they have grievances or arguments that they want to bring to the Senate’s attention, then they should use the Senate’s process to ask for time on our agenda, rather than disrupting proceedings and making it impossible for the Senate to do its job. So far, we haven’t had an answer."

Anonymous said...

"An accurate description of all these events can be found here."

funny how this links to the OPINION article rather than the NEWS article from the student media.

doesn't Allan Rock know the difference between news reporting and editorializing? which one is more descriptive?

hell, if he was going for descriptive precision, why not just link to the video of the meeting that was posted on La Rotonde's website?

Anonymous said...

I am interested in learning more about Claude Lamontagne. A search on the university's website says that he is a psychology prof who was the 2001 recipient of the university's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Can you provide us with some insights into his teaching methods?

Anonymous said...

"hell, if he was going for descriptive precision, why not just link to the video of the meeting that was posted on La Rotonde's website?"


On what date was the video on La Rotonde's website posted?

Did anyone actually send the link to Rock?

Rock's blog links to an unedited video of the same event, albeit from a different angle.

There is nothing substantively different from the video linked to from Rock's blog to what appears on La Rotonde's website.

Both video's are accessible from vimeo.com:

http://vimeo.com/3480413
http://vimeo.com/3453841

Anonymous said...

http://theblacksentinel.wordpress.com
/2007/08/01/the-stupidest-guy-i-ever-worked-with/

Anonymous said...

"funny how this links to the OPINION article rather than the NEWS article from the student media."

There was also a rebuttal to this piece. Like Rock's blog link, it reads like the author thought the piece was for news.

http://www.thefulcrum.ca/node/2558

Anonymous said...

And so the Rancourt saga ends. A fade into oblivion...

Who's next?

Anonymous said...

I don't know who's next. Anyone has Mr. Rock's hitlist at hand?

Anonymous said...

Marc Kelly has some court dates coming up??? is that who's next? it's a mistake to assume that rancourt will fade in to oblivion.

Anonymous said...

...and Marc Kelly calls the President of the University of Ottawa, Mr. Allan Rock, to the stand...

Mr. Rock, did you or did you not...



"it's a mistake to assume that rancourt will fade in to oblivion."

Perhaps he'll just grow in notoriety.

There is no ounce of respectability nor credibility left in Rancourt. Being an annoying jackass is not a representation of an intellectual.

Anonymous said...

http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/
disorders/histrionicpd.htm


Diagnostic criteria for 301.50 Histrionic Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention

(2) interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior

(3) displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions

(4) consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self

(5) has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail

(6) shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion

(7) is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances

(8) considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are