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Not hot off the press–not even news really

March 8, 2009

but see the article by Elizabeth Church on “Universities use all the tricks in the book to lure students,” Globe and Mail, 6 March 2009 nonetheless.  She provides the earth-shattering insight that universities are targeting potential under-graduates aggressively so as to fill (or semi-fill) lecture halls in September.  

Ironically, as governments ramp up funding for foundering private sector businesses, they are ever more parsimonious when it comes to education.   No free ride for Jane and Joe public–at least not when it comes to investing in their futures. 

Rather, universities have been forced to expand their recruitment offices so as to compete with each other for those students who are able to shoulder the debt needed to pay for their education (or for those who can afford to pay for it without going into debt) in the dog-eat-dog world of post-secondary education.  

At the same time, faculty hiring has been reduced significantly. 

Recently on CBC the Dean of Arts at York University relayed the fact that there would be only five tenure-track positions offered at YU this year.  Shocking .  There are more than 50,000 students at YU!   Much more modestly, we at UNB Saint John were informed last Autumn there would be no hiring without presidential approval.   It is now March–and we’re still in the deep-freeze when it comes to hiring faculty. 

Administrators would justify recent policies as market-driven.   They say they simply can’t afford to hire full-time faculty.  But while the numbers may add up, the underlying principles do not.  

How can universities function without tenured faculty?   Given that faculty are responsible for curriculum–both in terms of conception and execution–how is it possible to offer students quality programs?  

It’s one thing to recruit students, quite another to make good on the promises in the glossy promotional literature distributed hither and yon.

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One Comment
  1. Eric permalink
    March 9, 2009 9:27 am

    Universities are training thousands of future tax payers.

    How is it that a car manufacturer is “too big to fail” but we can risk losing thousands of educated people?

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