The University of Toronto's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has unveiled a sweeping plan to merge several academic departments and eliminate others, including the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies and the Centre for Ethics. Simultaneously, the Centre for Comparative Literature is to be reduced to a collaborative program unable to grant degrees.
One year ago to the day, my colleague Jeanne Reynolds and I announced the start by the CLASSE of an unlimited general strike against the 75 per cent increase in tuition fees announced by the Charest government.
On February 14, 2012, there were barely 20,000 people who began to walk out. At that point we did not have the least idea that we were at the birth of what would become the greatest citizens' mobilization in the history of contemporary Quebec. Where are we now, one year later?
Whew. The Maclean's issue ranking Canadian universities, just out, still bases its ratings on what goes on in them, rather than their success in supplying grads with jobs. Everywhere else in the debate over higher ed with which we've been inundated (whoops, bad phrase this week, call it a ceaseless din), the focus has been on the failure of universities to assure jobs for grads. That's because their "education is poorly matched with the national economy" and the jobs now available, say professors Ken Coates and Bill Morrison in a recent book and Walrus article. Grads may still have a better shot at jobs than non-grads, they concede, but the "rate of return" on their educational investment as baristas or parking valets doesn't justify the costs incurred. U.K.
Recently, the Bank of Canada removed the image of an Asian woman peering into a microscope from its new $100 banknotes after focus groups participants viewed the woman’s “racialized” identity as an issue warranting review. Equally reprehensible was how Canada’s central banking institution chose to resolve this dilemma: by replacing the original image with one of a European woman (i.e. a woman with a “neutral” ethnicity, according to a spokesperson).