University of Toronto has chosen to suspended and essentially close History and Philosophy of Ed at the premiere international institute of education, OISE/University of Toronto, through the publicly-recognized wrongful recommendation of the Ontario College of Graduate Schools (OCGS) and the University of Toronto’s immoral “acceptance” of the unfounded claims of OCGS. Why wrongful? OCGS and UT claim that this recommendation is based on the External Review of History and Philosophy conducted in 2004, yet that review was glowingly positive. The few concerns raised–integration of the history and philosophy fields, and increasing number of students–have been successfully addressed through the diligence H&P since 2004. There is one remaining OCGS concern–hiring a new faculty member in H&P–which H&P and TPS Departments Chairs (and now, all 5 Dept Chairs of OISE) have requested from Dean Gaskell for 5 years to no avail.
On Nov 5 the University of Toronto “accepted” the Ontario College of Graduate Schools (OCGS) recommendation to suspend doctoral admissions into H&P Program. Following the past 3 weeks of tremendous public outcry (see the dozens of letters sent by faculty and scholars from around the world, posted on this site) and phenomonal public meetings (see the Facebook group SHAP for details) demanding accountability from OISE and UT, even UT School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Dean Brian Corman and OISE Dean Jane Gaskell recognize that the OCGS recommendation is unfounded, wrong, and reflects political reasons having to do with the shift from OCGS to a new “Quality Assurance Council” controlled by UT.
Supporters of History &Philosophy and humanities at OISE continue to demand accountability and transparency from OCGS and UT, including legal counsel. UT meanwhile has called for suspension of enrollment of new doctoral students in 2010, a decision which devastates this internationally renowned History and Philosophy of Ed Program, crushes our current stellar doctoral students, and ignores the human toll and impact of making H&P the sacrificial lamb.
UT has publicly said on numerous occassions (most recently at a public UT Faculty Cuncil Mtg Nov. 4) that neither closure nor suspension was ever the intention, and that this OCGS decision is wrong.
However, no amount of reason or moral appeal for UT to question the unfounded reasons of OCGS, shifts UT from its authoritarian and unilateral–certainly non-transparent, non-accountable, non-democratic decision–to close the only humanities doctoral program at OISE.
There is NO connection between the 2004 External Review and the OCGS 2009 recommendation to “suspend enrollment” and close H&P. All present at OISE Faculty Council Nov 5, all Dept Chairs at OISE (perhaps even now the OISE Dean) disagree with the OCGS recommendation and are calling for UT and OCGS transparency. To UT we say: Have the courage to question the illegitimate reasons given by OCGS to close the only humanities program at OISE. Not to so question is immoral, and demonstrates UT’s desire for political gain over integrity. However, if UT instead has the courage to question OCGS, this will demonstrate the integrity of UT’s desire for quality assurance more than accepting recommendations based on erroneous facts.