Dear Dean Laufner, Dean Gaskell and others:
I write to add my support to the large and still growing list of scholars who are expressing shock at the announced closure of the History and Philosophy of Education Program at OISE. I began my graduate career in philosophy of education at the University of Alberta in the late 1980s and was immediately aware of the fact that OISE’s Philosophy of Education Program represented one of the leading hubs of humanities-based research in education in Canada and globally. As a doctoral student at the University of Illinois in the 1990s I experienced first hand the strong international influence of that same Program. That reputation has not diminished over the years, at least beyond the boundaries of OISE itself.
I have read many of the compelling comments and arguments protesting the decision to eliminate this Program and urging you to reconsider this decision. These come from a wide range of sources — leading scholars from across Canada, North America and Europe, scholars from other fields both at the U of T and from other institutions, and from passionate current students in the Program itself. I have only one thing to add to this chorus of voices: The negative effects of closing the HPE Program will not only be felt at OISE, but in Faculties of Education across Canada. In light of the University of Toronto’s significant international reputation, decisions like this have widespread consequences for better or for worse. I urge you to rethink the decision to eliminate HPE and find a way to save the Program so that the U of T’s influence will, in this case, be for the better.
Kevin McDonough, Associate Professor, DISE
McGill University, Faculty of Education