J Lang’s Dismay at Backward Step in Scholarship

October 26, 20009

Dear Dean Gaskell,

I am writing to express my shock and dismay at the apparent moves afoot to kill the history and philosophy program in Theory and Policy Studies at OISE. Closing this program would send a dire message to the academic world where scholars consistently express their admiration for the work done in H&P at OISE. I have had conversations with professors from Stanford, UCLA and around the globe who have all claimed that H&P at OISE is considered the WORLD STANDARD for this kind of program. Just this past weekend at the University of Washington in Seattle, I heard the word “amazing” used to describe philosophy of education at OISE. In conference after conference, the scholarly work of OISE philosophy students and faculty is regularly over-represented in peer-evaluated selections for presentations and publications. Philosophy of Education is a large international community where OISE is considered by many to be the highest bar of scholarship. Ending this program will send a message to the world that the work others value so highly has no place at the University of Toronto.

While this horrific, unconscionable action is being considered at the U of T, other schools continue to emulate OISE, starting NEW philosophy of education doctoral programs–Simon Fraser is one example. Smaller institutions, such as the University of Saskatchewan have twice the number of philosophers of education than OISE as it now stands, yet those scholars look to OISE for leadership.

I cannot express my dismay at the possibility of such a backward step in Canadian scholarship. In my long years on this earth, I have not witnessed scholarship so close to the cutting edge as I have in H&P at OISE. It is an academic jewel that should be nurtured and treasured– not tossed aside like dross. Please reconsider and please do everything possible to prevent this tragic outcome.


James C. Lang, PhD

80 Beverley St., #6

Toronto, ON, M5T1Y1



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