Faculty Buzz

Hello Grads,

In response to the pending strike vote some faculty have been making their positions known. I will start posting their comments here as they arrive. The first two are from letters of support sent to GUSS and to be read at their special general assembly on February 29th 2012.

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“Education is a universal right not a privilege or commodity, and the threat to that right would be detrimental for many reasons. One of the most obvious reasons is that it would contribute to economic inequalities (access to skills and a degree that provides opportunities for job access and advancement in labour markets). However, the reasons go well beyond the immediate ‘economic’ ones also have to do with issues of social and political integration/empowerment.

Schools are not just sites of skill and knowledge acquisition; they are also sites of critical reflection of what our roles are as citizens of the places we inhabit – reflection that is enhanced with collective modes of engagement rather than formalized assessments. They are also sites of ‘socialization’, in that they provide students with social connections to other students/faculty. In a context of neoliberalism, where the ‘individual’ and the individualization of work reigns supreme, these social ties are increasingly critical for allowing individuals to look beyond the “self-managing, entrepreneurial model” and to provide support for one another, and especially for those who are locked out of already existing insular networks/exclusive employment opportunities. These ties – when encouraged through teamwork and participatory classroom settings – can also highlight how knowledge production/reflection is a collective – not individual – process, and this can provide a basis for challenging the individualistic bent of the neo-liberal paradigm within the university and its over-riding emphasis on creating ‘human capital’ – to prop up the economy – at the expense of providing a context for broader-based learning and critical reflection.

Finally, a policy today of raising tuition sets a dangerous precedence for the future – i.e. whenever governments are ‘cash-strapped’ (in reality, they are just privileging certain investments over others and calling it ‘austerity’), then tuition can easily become a target for future increases.

Its better not to open the floodgate in the first place.”

Norma Rantisi (Ph.D. Toronto, 2002)
Associate Professor
Concordia University
Department of Geography, Planning and Environment

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“Thank you for your efforts to preserve the accessibility of higher education in Quebec. This is something that affects all of us. You have my strong support.”

James Freeman (Ph.D. University of California Berkeley, 2002)
Adjunct Professor
Concordia University
Department of Geography, Planning and Environment

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One thought on “Faculty Buzz

  1. In addition the following faculty have signed an online petition supporting student action.

    http://concordiadeclaration.wordpress.com/

    Sébastien Caquard, Geography, Planning and Environment
    Norma Rantisi, Geography, Planning and Environment
    Catherine Moore, Geography, Planning and Environment
    Nasrin Himada, Geography, Planning and Environment
    Jim Freeman, Geography, Planning and Environmen
    Gerardo Reyes, Geography, Planning and Environment
    Rob Moriarity, Geography, Planning and Environment
    Annie Lalancette, Department of Geography, Planning and Environment
    Julia Gregory, Geography, Planning, and Environment; Research Assistant in History

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