On the occasion of publishing its 200th post, U of O Watch has asked former professor Denis Rancourt, known for his precedent-setting pedagogical and grading methods, to grade president Allan Rock's performance since starting his mandate at the University of Ottawa, since the president's trip to Haifa, Israel, in June 2008.
The professor attributes an overall grade of A+ to Allan Rock's performance to date.
The grade arises from a student-centered evaluation based on effort and evidence of significant progress. Using these criteria, the president's performance is judged to be exceptional.
Professor Rancourt has made an extensive evaluation using all available audio-visual and documentary material, including records obtained via access to information (ATI) legislation and many student reports and recordings. Rancourt is confident in his final grade for Allan Rock's performance with 90% certainty 16 times out of 20.
It is not expected that the grade will be contested by a higher authority, given professor Rancourt's relevant expertize in critical pedagogy.
The reasons for the A+ grade are evidence for exceptional progress and for exceptional effort. These are largely attributed to the motivating pedagogical method in which the student was given a high degree of agency, freedom to make mistakes, and much feedback about his errors and successes. The student also benefited from a highly supportive environment including a high salary, adulation from a loyal staff, and a marketing department dedicated to presenting a positive image.
Moral lapses and past (pre-mandate) errors were not criteria in the evaluation since it is meant to be a measure of authentic effort and real progress.
Examples from the professor's detailed evaluation report are as follows.
Near the start of the president's mandate, documented incidents showed that the president could be overly aggressive towards students including: verbal intimidation in his office, trespassing registered students, pursuing criminal charges against students for participation at university Senate, and unilateral deregistrations of students from courses and study programs. The Ottawa Police were frequently seen on campus where they were not helpful.
Recently, there have been no reports of such abuses on campus. Indeed, protest expression has become common and completely tolerated at Senate. Students are no longer being trespassed for civil participation in campus life. And president Rock is even allowing "student motions" to be presented at Senate without the usual illegitimate administrative veto.
There remains a very aggressive tone at the Senate chaired by Allan Rock but this takes nothing away from his progress in other areas.
Another example is the Ann Coulter media relations fiasco caused by and managed by Allan Rock. Although Rock made all the wrong moves, showed an absence of principles, and inflicted the largest damage to the University's image in its history, detailed ATI records show the tremendous effort that Allan Rock was making to understand and manage the situation for the good of the institution.
Since the Allan Rock administration has not tried to censor anyone else recently, not even Students Against Israeli Apartheid (although he won't let them address Senate when invited by a Senator...?), Rancourt concludes that Allan Rock has shown an exceptional ability to learn from his mistakes, despite the adulation from his salaried subordinates.
There continues to be room for exceptional progress and exceptional effort. So Rancourt expects that Allan Rock will be a straight-A student right into his second mandate.
Final Grade: A+