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

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Allan Rock's legacy will include dismantling the graduate school at U of O

The process is already well under way.

A committee convened by VP-Research Mona Nemer recommended in 2014 that the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS), responsible for all graduate degree standards and professional standards of post-doctoral researchers across all disciplines, be dismantled, basically to save money and allow more home-faculty control without campus-wide oversight of individual graduate student and post-doctoral fellow standards.

The committee's 14-page report was accompanied by a 14-page minority report penned by committee member Timothy J. Stanley. Both reports (dated July and August 2014) and a cover letter are HERE.

The main-committee recommendations are surprising because virtually every major research university in Canada has a "graduate school", which, at the U of O, is called the FGPS.

If this is to save money, then one has to wonder why the university has been wasting money throughout its entire modern research history, and did not get this idea before?

If it is to allow more control by the field-specific faculties, then one has to question the wisdom of such a move in an environment of "publish or perish", and in view of the systemic tendencies of research professors to exploit graduate students and post-doctoral researchers as cheap labour in the publication mill.

The recommendations have a smell of being half-baked and give off an odor of "we know best how to treat our students".

In addition, the minority report is damning, and is written by the highly informed interim dean of the FGPS. Stanley denounces the main-report as being misguided, and points out that its recommendations are not evidence-based (there you go, typical Allan Rock program). Stanley warns of several specific and significant negative consequences, and urges the administration to give more weight to the voices of those who know what the FGPS actually does, rather than those who have no idea.

In addition, the graduate student union (GSAED) has formally opposed the main-report recommendations, based on the union's broad experience of graduate student grievances.

This is all being done under the watchful eye of a president (Allan Rock) who does not have a graduate degree (as opposed to a professional degree) and who has never attended a graduate program or done post-doctoral research (one needs a PhD for that).

But guess what? The Rock machine is pushing ahead with the plan, rubber stamped by an obedient Senate (minority student representation), and an obedient (and clueless) Board of Governors. This will be part of Allan Rock's legacy at the University of Ottawa. Allan Rock's final term ends July 2016, and he will stay to train the next guy or woman (in evidence-free management, no doubt).

No comments: