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100 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 provide the conditions for necessary and effective >reform.= Many of the mistakes are of our own making, and the remedies are within our grasp. No Place to Learn concludes with >Real Problems, Real Solutions,= deriving the latter from the bond between >teaching and reflective inquiry.= Excellence must begin in the undergraduate classroom but need not end there. And this fundamental truth must be reflected in the estimation of professorial performance, and the distribution of incentives and rewards for faculty. Meanwhile, graduate education must change to produce a less anxious and narrow next generation of teacher-scholars who value (and are valued for) teaching introductory as well as advanced classes and are more intent on the quality than on the quantity of their research and publication. The fault lies not with benighted leaders or naïve techno-utopians but with ourselves, that faculty are working so hard while universities are not working as they ought to. In a sense, we get the academic governance we deserve, since much of it remains self-governance. This challenge deserves to be met individually and collectively by Canadian academics, and more concertedly than hitherto. At the same time, we need to recommit to a public role as intellectuals. Until we do, a book like this one, >unapologetically aimed at the general reader,= may well be used to increase the ascendancy within universities of medical and scientific research. The notion of the >ivory tower= will continue to be used as a glib pejorative unless we revisit and recycle its highly informative history more thoroughly than Pocklington and Tupper do. Above all, we need to demonstrate that the humanities knowledge and skills we work to preserve, disseminate, and augment offer other and more effectively historicized options for reform than >nostalgic appeals to the traditions of liberal education.= (LEN FINDLAY) F. King Alexander and Kern Alexander, editors. The University: International Expectations McGill-Queen=s University Press. xiv, 138. $70.00, $27.95 This compilation of essays aims to provide discussion of prevailing issues and expectations that confront university and college leaders. The contributors include a vice-chancellor, five presidents, several higher education theorists, and two legal experts familiar with the new types of litigation that may confront modern universities. Issues considered include the role of the contemporary university, the mechanisms of increasing state intervention, the impact on small not-for-profit liberal arts colleges of competition from for-profit vocationalist universities, the implications of human rights legislation, and the exposure of universities to the jurisdiction of foreign courts for legally offensive communication through the Internet. Additionally, there are recent surveys of developments in the higher education systems of Australia, Ontario, and South Africa. Among the contributions two stand out. Kern Alexander offers a broad- humanities 101 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 ranging, historically informed reflection on the objectives of the university, its role in society, and its relation to government that sounds the keynote for the anthology. Acknowledging the pressures placed on tertiary institutions by the economic imperatives of modern governments, Alexander sees the university as a bulwark against rudderless progress under the influence of science and technology because of its ability to develop knowledge as a prerequisite to a desirable state of civilization. Education, he argues, can mitigate the negative inclinations of humanity in pursuit of the common good. It is a noble vision, with distinguished antecedents, but one that undermines its own utopianism by betraying anxiety about the ability of the institution, after all, to curb the reality of individual self-interest. The second stand-out is the essay by F. King Alexander on the consequences of the shift to knowledge-based economies in the Western world, with increased expectations from governments that universities will serve the economic needs of the state. Alexander=s account is chilling in its coldeyed analysis of how governments are using accountability mechanisms (performance-based systems, fiscal incentives, outcomes indicators, leaguetable rankings, and the rest) as a means of balancing state issues with university interests. If Kern Alexander=s essay offers a utopian ideal, this essay more than hints...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 100-101
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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