October 27, 2009
I am currently an MA student in the History and Philosophy of Education program, in the Philosophy stream, after which I have every intention of enrolling in the PhD program UNLESS IT NO LONGER EXISTS! This program offers a unique critical lens through which to view education, and asks difficult questions that other disciplines too often ignore. I have learned so much from the two philosophy courses and one history course I’m currently taking, and it’s only been two months! Though I have a background in philosophy (BA from McGill) the perspectives offered at OISE have completely changed the way I view education and philosophy. The opportunity to take classes with and be supervised by leading experts in their fields (Troper, Portelli, Boler etc.) is also something that should not be ignored. I would like to look at ethnic diversity and immigration in education from an ethical perspective; if this program closes down I don’t know where that work could take place. Even if I find another PhD program to enroll in, it won’t have this blend of expertise in philosophy and education (unless I leave U of T, which I would probably do).
I don’t understand why this program is in danger of being shut down. The reasons I’ve heard have mostly to do with ‘critical mass of faculty’ not being reached and ‘imminent retirees’ that aren’t retiring. From a student’s perspective, there is a hugely diverse range of interests and expertise among faculty members, and they are more than open to helping students seek out resources to further whatever they are interested, even outside the department should the need ever arise (for instance my advisor and I discussed the possibility of my taking a course in social justice and philosophy at York in the winter semester). Please do everything you can to keep this program open. I know supporting the humanities isn’t a popular choice in our neoliberal society, but programs like this are vital to advancing the field of education.
MA Student, Philosophy of Education
Cc Hillan, Corman, Gaskell, Laufer