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

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dr. Steven E. Noble reporting on the Rancourt wrongful dismissal hearings -- November 1st hearing

Critical pedagogue Dr. Steven E. Noble has been reporting on the binding arbitration tribunal hearings into the wrongful dismissal case of Denis Rancourt. His reports are HERE.

Concluding highlights of Dr. Noble's report about the most recent November 1, 2011, hearing day are as follows.

The points raised by the University group were unbelievable and showed how completely unarmed this side is. The first point regarding Dr. Rancourt somehow engaging in ‘radical’ or ‘experimental’ pedagogy (remember, according to the university the hearing is not about pedagogy!) and therefore comes under the purview of the University Ethics Review Process is completely and utterly absurd. Further, it shows that the University group are not even in the realm of being academics. I come from within Faculties of Education (University of BC and University of Ottawa) – and those faculties have at their core exploring and experimenting with pedagogical approaches and never, over my 15 years of teaching have I ever had to submit an ethics review form along with my syllabus or daily lessons…. With over 100 professors and instructors in the U of O Faculty of Education imagine the amount of ethics review processing that would have to go on every term?! Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant. And it’s not just the Faculty of Education – I know other faculties are, heaven forbid, experimenting and playing with pedagogical approaches and I am 99% sure none of them are submitting ethics review forms either! And further, the University side has had two and a half years to consider that Dr. Rancourt was introducing innovative teaching in an experimental or exploratory way – as he had done years prior to his dismissal. Further, the University characterizes the pedagogy of grading all students similarly as something approaching academic fraud. Really? Faculties of Education and others have been (the University of BC does this routinely) invoking “pass/fail” courses for year whereby if student complete work satisfactorily, they receive a pass and if not they receive a fail. I know at UBC the grade equivalent to a “pass” is B+ so everyone receiving above that level of work passes. How is this different from everyone completing A level work receiving an A? Also, critical pedagogy, which is the approach Dr. Rancourt was exploring has been around since Paulo Freire, in Brazil, created this approach – that’s almost 50 years ago! The K-12 system has dabbled with it for decades; community groups work with it and colleges/universities have explored it for decades… but all of a sudden because Dr. Rancourt is experimenting with it in physics that it must be something novel and new…. Please.

My experience, thus far, of the University side is that it is so focussed on Dr. Rancourt and the narrow context of what he was doing that it is not checking what the broader academic landscape is and the hypocrisy it regularly commits; so, to me, they come off as a complete ignoramuses and buffoons. On top of this, the University side continually highlights how retrograde the institution is without realizing it.

... Through the three days of preliminary motions I have been completed unimpressed by the University side. Highly reactionary , whiny, emotional, petulant – I’m still waiting to hear some serious facts. We didn’t hear a whole lot from the APUO today because much of it was the University and its continued stalling. The APUO is raring to go so they’re spinning their wheels as the University side continues its amateur hour. I’m left wondering how much in tax payer dollars and tuition money is being spent on all of this? How many profs could be hired, how many library books and journal subscriptions and software programs could be bought, how many bursaries could be awarded with all this money?

We, now have to await until January 23, 2012 for – hopefully – the main hearing to start – barring any further caterwauling, stalling, temper tantrums from the University.

All posts about the wrongful dismissal hearings: HERE.

See hearings schedule and reports: HERE.

Chronology of wrongful-dismissal background events: HERE.

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