Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The York Strike - an opportunity

I feel for the students at York University - the vast majority of whom have been kept out of classes by trough-grazing CUPE members intent on blackmailing the University and taxpayers. The strike is apparently a precursor to a larger 'action' (Orwell would be proud) on the part of CUPE planned for 2010, to shut down all of Ontario's universities.

Now a real university doesn't have so many non-tenure track teachers. At my university, all courses - expect for small freshman writing seminars - are taught by tenured, or tenure-track professors. Graduate students conduct study sessions outside of formal lectures.

However, the idea to shut down the university - unwittingly on the part of CUPE knuckle-draggers - may have some merit. Let's face it, York - and York is not alone - shouldn't be a university. It might be a university if 80-90% of its so-called university programs were dropped.

Look at YU's website. There are new programs listed as follows:

- BA in Race, Ethnicity, and Indigineity
- MS in Social Work (with no BSW required as a prerequisite! - you don't say)
- MA in Disaster and Emergency Management (not even a BS!)

Im scared to look much further.

Let's face it, York consists 90% of students who shouldn't be in university, in programs that have no business being taught anywhere, taught 90% by people who either are not or should not be professors.

Let's close 90% of this 'University' and get the students into some societally-useful course of study - like basket-weaving. We could use some of the buildings to train these CUPE members skills such as pipe-fitting and welding.


crystal said...

Respectfully, have you ever met any York graduates - especially from the programs you just berated?

I have. And they're smart. Smart enough to never pen anything close to this wholesale write-off of a socially engaged university where the only reason profs aren't tenure-tracked is because of exploitation, not as you imply, the quality of their teaching. This is the case in many Canadian universities, some of which you might even like.

J. Albert said...

I'm glad to see someone with some pride in the school. Where the heck are the alumni?

Many Canadian universities are diploma mills. It's unfortunate - but a fact. I don't want to write off York - I'm only suggesting that it be reformed. If the contract profs at York were tenure-quality, they would be on tenure somewhere else. Not every Phd or MS will or should be teaching at University.

My suggestion is an aggressive pruning of programs at York - say down to 40% of its current size. The other resources could be used for trade schools.

Anonymous said...

Shockingly ignorant. Or perhaps not so shocking, given that many people who were educated in specialized or "professional" fields tend to be as ignorant as you.

I'm a York BA grad. I became a business manager before I turned 30, in one of the most reputable companies in Canada. In comparison, all of the people I know who studied engineering or business degrees are not even in those fields - they work in call centres, quality assurance or low-level IT jobs. All respectable jobs but not what they aimed for. Why, you ask? A degree only gets you so far. You need to be bright and adaptable.

York's environment and multidisciplinary programs breed bright and adaptable people. Sure, there are a fair share of duds. But there are a fair share of duds in U of T engineering (for example) who cheated their way to a C average.

What do I like about most York students and alumni? They think constructively, they are open to new ways of thinking, they apply themselves, and they are interested in the world around them. They don't flaunt their credentials. They work hard to get where they are.

This is my first time on the Hogtown blog. Thanks to you, it's also my last.

J. Albert said...

Wow - cranky! But at least someone who will stand up for his (her) university.