Concern over Cut to H&P doctoral program – Mark Devitt, MA

584 Spruce Street

Sudbury, ON



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dean Gaskell,

I would like to voice my concern at the proposed decision to cut the History and Philosophy of Education doctoral program at OISE. I believe that this is an injustice not only to the staff and students within the program, but to the entire academic community at OISE.

The History and Philosophy department is one of the most (if not the most) comprehensive and wellrespected of its kind. Its professors are held in high regard among their peers in the field, and the program provides inspiration and resources not only for historians and philosophers of education, but for pre-service and service teachers. In a time when Philosophy is gaining a larger role in the high school curriculum, now is the most important time to preserve, cherish, and strengthen this department. The best way to do this is by maintaining it.

I am concerned that this proposed decision has been made for the wrong reasons. As we see a continually more corporate university, one wonders where the humanities fit. I believe that it is tremendously important to develop well-rounded, thoughtful, caring students who are able to think critically, and I believe that the humanities is an essential part of this. If we expect to prepare teachers to teach and model these values, then we must maintain the humanities within higher education and to provide service and preservice teachers with the highest quality academic thought. Thought that happens within OISE’s History and Philosophy of Education doctoral program.

I am a MA student within the Philosophy of Education program. My peers and I have chosen to come to OISE to study within this department. Most of us are teachers, most of us have had other careers, most of us have been successful outside of academia. We come here to study, because we believe that the humanities are important. We believe in asking questions of our world and of ourselves. We believe in exploring big ideas, and always working hard to answer those questions. We believe that the humanities are important and that they should play a larger role in the university. We are not a part of this department because we have to be—we have countless other options as well-rounded, thoughtful, and  caring critical-thinkers—we are a part of this department because we believe that History and Philosophy of Education is important and desperately needed.


Mark Devitt




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