October 27, 2009
History and Philosophy in Education: review of Dean GaskellDear Dr. Vanessa Laufer – External Reviewer of OISE Dean,
It is with great sadness and disbelief that I send this communication to you. I learned of the impending cancellation of the History and Philosophy in Education program at OISE at the University of Toronto recently, and was dismayed to think one of the premier programs in all of Canada would simply disappear into oblivion.
I believe this decision does have immediate relevance to the task you are undertaking in your review of the leadership of Dean Gaskell – and moreover, is a damning indictment of her lack of understanding of the purpose of history and philosophy of education in the formation of U ofT’s ‘Great Minds’.
As a graduate student in education, even one at a different institution, I understand the implications of this lack of leadership quite clearly – Dean Gaskell and the others who have chosen to undermine the H&P program and the place for the Humanities in Education – are saying to anyone that is paying attention that faculties of education are NOT about fostering critical thinking in teachers and students. Moreover, using the megaphone which is OISE/U-T, Dean Gaskell’s decision will no doubt have a detrimental effect upon the future (and tradition) of the Humanities in Education on an international scale.
OISE/U-T, representing a proud and noteworthy tradition of scholarship and leadership in Canadian education for so many years, now has a decision to make with your help as an External Reviewer: do the actions and decisions of Dean Gaskell represent the pride and best traditions of OISE/U-T?
As a graduate student on the opposite end of the country, I have serious reservations and doubts regarding the ongoing leadership of Dean Gaskell at one of Canada’s premier faculties of education.
Bhuvinder S. Vaid
Philosophy of Education
SFU Faculty of Education
Karen Sihra, Chrissy Konecny, Michael McGarry