Tue, Oct 27, 2009
Concerning the Closure of the History and Philosophy Program at OISE/UT
Esteemed Dean Jane Gaskell,
I wish to express my deepest concern surrounding the proposed closure of the doctoral program in History and Philosophy of Education at OISE/UT.
As an M.A. student in History and Philosophy nearing the end of my studies, I was shocked to hear that the threat of closure would be levied against a program bearing such a rich legacy in shaping the intellectual climate and international reputation of OISE/UT. Though I understand that the quality of our program has not been cited as the primary reason for the recommendation of closure, I am deeply concerned that this decision will have the effect of obliterating a vitally important aspect of educational research without justification or precedent.
Our department plays a unique role in shaping not only teacher education and Master’s level studies, but is home to the PhD students whose diverse research interests and interdisciplinary work have earned well-deserved academic renown in Canada and internationally. The History and Philosophy program demonstrates global impact within the broader educational landscape. Based on the international profile and academic rigour of the PhD Doctoral programs in History and Philosophy, OISE continues to attract scholars from around the world to our institution. Many important relationships have been forged as the faculty and students of History and Philosophy have partnered to further these disciplines globally. History of Education and Philosophy of Education continue to grow in relevance as they provide the tools to investigate the complex educational problems of our times by casting glances back at where we have come from, and by providing a critical glance to guide towards increased understanding of ourselves and of the human condition. This is but a small piece of what OISE/UT stands to lose as the decision is made to close the doctoral stream of History and Philosophy of Education.
Without History, we cannot know the lessons of the past; without Philosophy, we wander without the beacon of truth and a critical spirit. As a philosopher of education, I note that the very act of bestowing a Doctor of Philosophy, indeed, in any field, is a testament to the high esteem of Philosophy as the epitome of all scholarship. We risk forgetting our educational legacy if we choose to excise these programs; I urge you to prove accountable to us, as students, and to speak against the closure of the History and Philosophy program.
Jennifer Hompoth, B.Ed.,M.A. student,Comparative, International, and Development Education,
History and Philosophy of Education OISE/UT
“What are the standards that we have? If we’re concerned about unarmed truth–understanding this condition of truth is allowing suffering to speak–and unconditional love–understanding justice is what love looks like in public–then the question is, what suffering voices do we hear…and what kinds of concerns about justice are made manifest…? Cornell West