Individual universities are pursuing policies of climbing in international ranking of universities. This means emphasis on research, publication of research findings, and not on the outcome of teaching. They are not serving the province, the people of Ontario, their students, or many of their employees well at this point.
Andrew Robinson is a contract instructor in the Physics dept. of Carleton University. Born, raised and educated in the UK, he has worked as a professional researcher and scientific programmer in the UK, Germany and Canada. His wife, also a physicist, is a native of Ottawa, where they now live with their two sons.
This is a riposte to an article in The Huffington Post by a Professor of Philosophy, titled "Message to My Freshman Students." This article left me shaking my head. I am a professional university teacher, with an interest in pedagogy and in particular, managing the crucial transition year from high school to university. Here is my opening speech.
05/19/2015 05:33 EDT
As you can imagine, many university teachers loathe this site completely. In fact, it's not so much a teaching evaluation, as a review of the student experience in the class. It completely ignores all important contexts of where the course fits in the program of study, and why the teaching methods chosen were used, resources available to the teacher to help teach the course, and other necessary background information.
04/12/2015 10:04 EDT
A few days ago, this email popped into my mailbox. I have reproduced it in its entirety here, but I have withheld the name of the student. Hi Andrew, I am a TA at U of T and I saw your blog on HuffPo...
03/26/2015 09:22 EDT
How can we ensure that when students are engaged in their studies, they get the best possible chance to absorb and process all of the information which they receive when sitting in a class? I will be...
03/15/2015 11:01 EDT
We have strikes and unrest at the two largest Universities in Ontario, Toronto and York, plus enforced layoffs at Wilfred Laurier, because of a "revenue shortfall." What is going on?
03/13/2015 05:45 EDT
The universities are actually addicted to cheap contract instruction. They can't get enough of it, and crave more. And of course, like most addicts, they are in denial that there is a problem. The sensible thing would be rehabilitation. This will almost certainly require an outside intervention.
02/17/2015 01:07 EST
The beef I have with the University is that people like me are working de facto full time. If we were really full time, we would be paid a lot more, have much better benefits and even a pension. I have colleagues who have been teaching for 13 years, and the University is still trying to call them "temporary appointments". This is blatant hypocrisy, we are working full time, but the University maintains a pretence that it is a "one off, special contingency" every year. Nonsense!
02/08/2015 01:39 EST
Today, I had a perfectly reasonable request from a student who wanted to review an exam from last term. I was unable to comply with this request because to do so would be to give my employer more of my time for free. As a dedicated teacher, I am extremely sad about this, because I would like to give my students the very best learning experience that I possibly can. So what makes a mild-mannered Physics instructor turn into a seething rebel? The blunt answer is that I, along with many of my colleagues in Higher Education in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia are being shamelessly exploited by our employers. My total earning for the year are $34,000. If the University wants a "Full Service" teacher, then they need to pay us as a highly qualified professional person would expect to be paid.
02/04/2015 03:08 EST
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