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

Friday, April 22, 2011

U of O Faculty of Education professors speak out to defend their dean

The dean of the Faculty of Education, Marie Josee Berger, has -- in terms of her treatment of students -- been judged the most ruthless administrator at the University of Ottawa, HERE.

Member of the university senate Joseph Hickey has reported the reactions of some professors in the Faculty of Education, HERE.

The following professors have spoken out in defense of Berger, with strong words against Hickey's attempt to use collegial governance to mitigate the possible damage to academic integrity. (LINK)

Bernie Andrews

Richard Maclure

Sharon Cook

Stéphane Lévesque

Claire Maltais

This is reassuring because we might expect that these professors would also stand just as firmly and from the same principled perspective regarding any injustices to graduate and undergraduate students? We welcome evidence to that effect.

Seriously, how are the reactionary yelps of the above professors compatible with even the publicly known face of dean Marie Josee Berger, reported in the media in 2007 HERE?

1 comment:

Steve E. Noble said...

What is most disturbing is that NO professor has commented in critique of the Dean. I am wondering why no professor has spoken and said "I totally agree with this critique." Or even a more balanced view of "While Berger can be oppressive she also has very positive aspects." Nothing. Most interestingly, none of these professors are non-tenured, contract or part time. All of these faculty categories are imbued with deep vulnerability. Imagine - someone critiquing this Dean or any administrator AND is non-tenured!!! I've had to wait until I'm outside to speak up simply because I know that any dissent would mean my immediate dismissal. I've been told that as soon as a (non-tenured) faculty member files a grievance, the Dean will find a way to remove that person as was my case (There is a non-retaliation clause in labour relations.). And I read in these comments about integrity? Where would non-tenured careers be after a comment of critique?

This is not an open institution where freedom of expression is allowed or where academic freedom is permitted. There is the brutalizing and oppressive term of "professionalism" foisted upon those with less power(which is either never defined or vaguely determined by those in authority) which means that dissent and critique are disallowed (except in very narrowly constructed ways determined by those already in power!). How things are presented become more important than what is said.

What is counted as "truth" is determined by those in authority and anything not matching the definition is dismissed as being an untruth or irrelevant. And one of the words used by the profs is "integrity"? Whose definition? Based on my own experience of this Dean, integrity is NOT the word I would use - but then, again, I was treated as second/lesser class.

Where is the free, open dialogue around agreeing and disagreeing with the Dean's award - or anything else? It seems to be left to those already with power and not welcomed by those who are most vulnerable.I've heard mention during a Faculty strategy session that whatever is decided by the faculty members can always be vetoed by the Dean - not that the Dean would negotiate with any outcome collaboratively arrived at by the faculty, just that the Dean can simply say no.

Now I've heard from several sources inside and outside the Faculty of Education that a significant number of faculty complaints from across the campus emanate from the Faculty of Education. I've heard that the Dean's negative reputation is well known in other departments. I don't know how the four professors can square off Berger's reputation inside and outside the faculty with their responses. Without all voices openly and freely expressing their opinions from within the Faculty, we will never get a full and accurate picture (Four profs out of 70 or so is not representative). Muzzling dissent is a sign of repression, not free expression.