April-May 2010

Challenging the Academy


In This Issue

Men in suits chasing a dollar symbol at the end of a fishing rod

Higher Education or Education for Hire? Corporatization and the Threat to Democratic Thinking

Joel Westheimer

Teaching critical thinking is the university’s democratic mission, argues the University of Ottawa’s Joel Westheimer, and today’s universities are failing to deliver. Universities need to reverse the trend that has them focusing on workforce preparation and the commercialization of knowledge and resurrect higher education’s public purpose.


Two groups of people on opposite sides of a walkway that leads up to a university building

Class Warriors

William Ayers

Professor William Ayers, banned last year from speaking at the University of Nebraska, argues that the current trend towards “academic capitalism” gives faculty the moment to speak up – and act up.


An exclaimation mark surrounded by question marks

The University: Punctuated by Paradox

Simon Marginson

Old/new, engaged/separate, public/private, elite/mass-oriented, national/global. But for universities, Simon Marginson argues, paradox is vital.


Rainbow of human sillouettes

The Queer Agenda on Campus: Invisible? Stalled? Incomplete?

David Rayside

For universities to become truly inclusive, sexual orientation and gender identity have to be fully incorporated into the employment equity agenda, argues the University of Toronto’s David Rayside.


Man holding up a photo of another man's face in front of his own face

Acting Out of Character in the Immortal Profession: Toward a Free Trait Agreement

Brian R. Little

Sometimes, the academic life demands that faculty deny their fundamental personality traits. But if collegial respect includes allowing colleagues the latitude to nurture their true characters, academics can survive and thrive amidst the challenges of academic life.


Peter Dale Scott

An academic life: Peter Dale Scott

David MacGregor

Scion of one of Canada’s most noted intellectual families — his father F.R. Scott: poet, founder of the CCF, McGill Dean of […]


Humour Matters – Sabbatical Time

Steve Penfold

In an odd and unpredictable way, the Olympics saved my first sabbatical. I mean, I had great plans for my first sabbatical. No lectures to churn out, no essays to mark, no exams to set, no emails to return – just time to think, read, and write. But it wasn’t going to be all work. No sir. I figured it would be long lunches, real coffee breaks (you know, where you actually take a break!), walks in the afternoon, and even the occasional nap. Sabbatical would be like an adult version of daycare and, if anything went wrong, I could just go to the quiet area for a time out.


Editorial Matters – The Road Ahead

Mark Rosenfeld

A university cancels a public lecture by an outspoken academic due to political pressure. A job offer at a prestigious research institute is rescinded in response to the opposition of a large, corporate sponsor. Police arrest demonstrators at a debate on one the flashpoints of regional geo-politics. A decision with far-reaching academic implications is taken with only perfunctory reference to collegial governance. A university’s strategic plan uses the corporate sector as a model, with the aim of maximizing growth, marketability and profit.