M Otis – PhD Candidate – Concern about potential elimination of Doc program

Mon, Oct 26, 2009

Subject: Concern about potential elimination of History & Philosophy of Education Program

Dear Deans, Vice Provosts and External Reviewers,

I am writing to express my deep concern over the possible elimination of the Ph.D. program in History and Philosophy of Education within the Theory and Policy Studies Department of OISE.

I am beginning my fourth year of the program and for several reasons, I am absolutely against this possible decision.

As a current graduate student, I worry about losing my committee members as they may be either fired or decide to go elsewhere. Further, I depend on my GA for funding, so that changes may mean that I will not be able to finish my studies if the program is eliminated.

Professionally, I am also concerned about how the eradication of my program would impact my ability to obtain employment as I compete with graduates of lesser, but more committed institutions. I am troubled that the reduction of colleagues to learn from and network with, both as a student and later in the field, will impact me and all who have graduated this program.

Yet, even more important, beyond my own needs, there is the major concern of the school abolishing the incorporation of the humanities in the study of education. I cannot imagine thoughtful and critical study of education without them; indeed it is my strong belief that these programs ought to be expanded even though the times are financially difficult. Without a foundation in the history and philosophy of education there will be an inexorable slide toward the educator as technician, blindly applying the syllabus. The fact that our program can do so much with the current level of faculty and that they have taken steps to increase involvement of other faculty from other departments, speaks volumes about the programs understanding that they need to think creatively and be efficient.

I can go on, but I understand time is an issue and these are my main points. I thank you for your consideration.

Melissa Otis, Ph.D. Candidate

Theory and Policy Studies, History & Philosophy of Education program

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