In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

98 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 >in the eyes of many, economic performance, not intellectual enlightenment, is the university=s preeminent raison d=ĂȘtre.= He then explains the extensive current emphasis on educating students for employability and on sponsoring university research that targets economic issues. Again, he is dispassionate in this analysis, although programs such as the Ontario Access to Opportunities Program (ATOP) that offered universities an economic stimulus for increasing enrolment in engineering and computer-science programs deserve a more spirited treatment B at least in the opinion of this reviewer. The program was intended to alleviate the allegedly insatiable demand (by high-tech firms in their heyday) for trained employees, and was instituted just before the hightech meltdown and subsequent laying off of thousands of trained workers. Axelrod comments sagely: >The boom and bust experience of high-tech companies on the stock market beginning in the latter half of 2000 was but one indication of the field=s endemic volatility. The reduction of its workforce by some 50,000 employees (half the workforce) by the Canadian high-tech giant, Nortel, throughout 2001 was another.= ATOP is still in existence. The very absence of passion that I have pointed to does give Values in Conflict a seriousness and integrity. As a guide both to what is happening to the way Canadians regard university education and to the history of Western belief in higher education generally, it is useful and articulate. And it shows B implicitly B that universities frequently acquiesce in the use of market-driven judgments and indicators of performance. (ROWLAND SMITH) Tom Pocklington and Allan Tupper. No Place to Learn: Why Universities Aren=t Working University of British Columbia Press. 224. $85.00, $24.95 This is a timely book that delivers fully on the polemical promise of its main title but only intermittently and unevenly on the explanatory promise of its subtitle. As befits two political scientists, the authors have a strong sense of public policy and the public interest, but their common discipline also skews their analysis and findings at times (especially, perhaps, in their deeply uninformed disparagement of >postmodernists=). However, their book is worth reading for its shortcomings as well as its accomplishments, especially at a time when the government of Canada claims to be substantially reinvesting in postsecondary education and enabling the provinces to do likewise, and when the response from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada to the federal Innovation Agenda seems far more enthusiastic than that from the Canadian Association of University Teachers. For those who have lived through waves of hostility to universities from humanities 99 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 governments, business, and (other) special-interest groups, including the Canadian Citizens Coalition with its annual deriding of SSHRC-sponsored projects with >funny= titles or >plainly= fatuous objectives, it may be hard to recognize their places of work in the following key claim: >Universities, more so than other powerful Canadian institutions, sail on seas of unwarranted deference.= For those who have contested university policies and priorities from the inside as critical or dissident faculty, the university as the recipient of unrivalled deference may be equally unrecognizable. Tom Pocklington and Allan Tupper seem at times to ignore the powerfully anti-deferential dimensions of collegial processes, the ongoing exercise of academic freedom, and the critiquing of everything from differential and socially divisive tuition fees to unduly directive contract research. We are not the saps and scoundrels they occasionally suggest we are; nor are we so dependent on American academic self-critique as they imply. That said, there remains an important element of truth in the authors= insistence that large areas of university motivation and practice have been virtually exempted from criticism from insiders or outsiders. Campuses can host truisms as readily as can boardrooms or union halls; conversely, universities have no monopoly on searching inquiry and candid disclosure. If universities are less sacrosanct than the authors allege, they are surely capable of being as smugly corruptible as they try to show. No Place to Learn is impelled by the belief that >modern Canadian universities...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 98-100
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.