Correspondence: from OCGS, Chairs to the Dean, TPS Chair to SGS

September 29, 2009

Dr. Brian Corman

Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and

Vice-Provost, Graduate Education

School of Graduate Studies

University of Toronto

65 St. George Street

Toronto, ON M5S 2Z9

Dear Dr. Corman:

At its meeting of September 21, 2009, the Appraisal Committee (Section 2) discussed the EdD/PhD program in History and Philosophy of Education at the University of Toronto. The Committee is considering a recommendation that the program be classified as NOT APPROVED on the following grounds:

1. That the staffing levels for the program are extremely low and will be exacerbated by imminent retirements. The Committee was not convinced that a critical mass of Faculty is associated with the program to ensure the necessary intellectual climate for a doctoral program. In addition, there is no commitment for hiring at an appropriate level to ensure program viability.

The University should therefore suspend enrolments in the EdD/PhD program. Our procedures provide that the university may either accept this recommendation or, if it wishes, provide a written statement or request a meeting with the committee to discuss it. The next two meeting dates of the Committee are November 2 and December 9, 2009. The university must inform the Committee of its decision no later than October 21, 2009.

Sincerely yours,

John ApSimon

Executive Director, OCGS

JA/cr

 

 

November 4, 2009

Dr. Brian Corman

Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and

Vice-Provost, Graduate Education

School of Graduate Studies

University of Toronto

65 St. George Street

Toronto, ON M5S 2Z9

Dear Dr. Corman:

At its meeting of November 2, 2009, the Appraisal Committee (Section 2) discussed the additional information that you had provided on the EdD/PhD program in History and Philosophy of Education at the University of Toronto. After careful consideration, the Committee decided to remain with its original recommendation and approved a motion to recommend to OCGS that the program be classified as NOT APPROVED on the following grounds:

• The committee was not convinced that a critical mass of core tenured/tenure stream faculty is associated with the program to ensure the necessary intellectual climate for a doctoral program. In addition, there is no commitment of resources at the faculty level to increase the tenure stream faculty complement in the foreseeable future to ensure program viability.

Our procedures provide that the university may either accept this recommendation or, if it wishes, provide a written statement or request a meeting with the committee to discuss it. The university must inform the Committee of its decision no later than November 27, 2009.

Sincerely yours,

Donna Woolcott

Executive Director, Quality Assurance

DW/cr

 

Memo

 

To : Brian Corman

Dean, SGS

 

From : Reva Joshee

Chair, TPS

 

Re : OCGS recommendations re. History and Philosophy of Education

 

The purpose of this memo is to provide the response of the Department of Theory and Policy Studies to the recommendations of OCGS regarding the History and Philosophy of Education program. We understand that OCGS indicated that the MA/MEd in History and Philosophy be classified as of Good

Quality with Report to be submitted by September 20, 2011 and that the EdD/PhD in History and Philosophy of Education be classified as not approved. The department accepts the recommendation regarding the MA/MEd but contests the recommendation regarding the EdD/PhD.

The reason provided for the decision regarding the EdD/Phd is as follows:

 

The staffing levels for the program are extremely low and will be exacerbated by imminent retirements. The Committee was not convinced that a critical mass of Faculty is associated with the program to ensure the necessary intellectual climate for a doctoral program. In addition, there is no commitment for hiring at an appropriate level to ensure program viability.

 

Below I provide several points in response to this claim.

 

1. The above statement contains incorrect information. There are no imminent retirements in the H&P area. The two faculty members (Professors Troper and Levine) who are nearing the former mandatory retirement age have provided letters to indicate neither plans to retire. Copies of these letters are attached to this memo.

 

2. We are unclear how the Committee is defining “a critical mass of faculty.” We believe that a critical mass of faculty exists. As we have noted in previous responses to OCGS, in addition to the faculty in our program, who, we must reiterate, are all highly respected and internationally renowned scholars in their fields, we have 17 associate faculty from across the UT campus who contribute to the intellectually vibrant life of the program. Our report documented the numerous levels of Associate Faculty involvement with H&P. Associate faculty are offering courses that are either formally cross‐listed with H&P or are recognized by the program as H&P courses. The associate faculty participate actively in the H&P speaker series both by presenting their scholarly work and by attending the speaker series. H&P Associate Faculty participate in graduate seminars as guest lecturers in numerous courses each  semester. In addition, many are serving on supervisory committees for doctoral students and all have indicated their willingness to do so. Thus, by our account, there are 25 faculty involved in the program.

 

3. While it is true that OISE has made no commitment to future hirings this should not be seen as lack of support for the program. Instead this needs to be understood in the context of recent budget constraints that have not allowed for the Dean of OISE to commit in advance to a course of hiring in any program. At the department level, TPS has on record a proposal that was given the unanimous support of the department in 2007 that states that the next hire in the department should be in the area of History and Philosophy. In addition two members of the department from other program areas (Professors Magnusson and Joshee) have recently begun discussions about being cross appointed to H&P. This relatively new development came about as a result of conversations about what each would like to do as she nears the end of a significant administrative commitment (Professor Magnusson has just completed a term as program coordinator for Higher Education and Professor Joshee is in her final year as Chair of the department). Both faculty members have research and teaching interests in history and philosophy and have already been engaged with the program. They developed and offered (with John Portelli) a course in radical democratic approaches to policy study. A proposal to regularize this course in currently in preparation and will be presented shortly to the divisional body that approves new graduate courses. Professor Joshee is already supervising two doctoral students in H&P (Karen Sihra and Karen Pashby). Dr. Magnusson is offering a course this winter TPS 3820, Curriculum and the politics of knowledge: Feminisms, poststructuralisms and materialisms, which she designed to serve as an elective particularly to complement the research interests of H&P graduate students.

 

4. Finally, we have recently received a request from one of our associate faculty, Professor Mario D’Souza, to become formally cross‐appointed to H&P. Professor D’Souza is currently Dean of Theology at St. Michael’s College and has research interests in education, culture, and democracy; issues of the person and theory’s of personalism; and Catholic educational theory for both the school and the university. He will be a welcome addition to our program.

 

Please contact me if you require further clarification on any of these points

 

 

 

 

 

Letter from Chairs of TPS, CTL, SESE, AECP, HDAP

 

Dear Jane:

 

We are writing to you as chairs of four departments within OISE to urge you, as our Dean, to publicly support the History and Philosophy program in Theory and Policy Studies in its efforts to persuade the School of Graduate Studies to appeal the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies’ recommendation that the H&P doctoral programs be suspended.  We are waiting for you to intervene on behalf of our colleagues and students in H&P and to work with SGS to appeal the OCGS recommendation.

 

H & P is unique in Canada and North America, and it is one of the programs that makes OISE unique among schools of education in the world.  We have learned that as of late last week, the Dean of SGS was inclined to accept the recommendation from OCGS to suspend the doctoral program in H & P.  We would urge you to persuade him to appeal it.  The Chair of TPS and the faculty within the program have worked very hard to comply with previous OCGS recommendations to integrate the two halves of the program and, indeed, the rationale in OCGS’ most recent recommendation makes no mention of integration.  Rather, the basis of their recommendation is program size, including an unsubstantiated assertion about ‘imminent retirements’.

To quote from the OCGS letter:
“.. the staffing levels of the program are extremely low and will be exacerbated by imminent retirements. The Committee was not convinced that a critical mass of Faculty is associated with the program to ensure the necessary intellectual climate for a doctoral program.  In addition, there is no commitment for hiring at an appropriate level to ensure program viability.”

H&P currently has 8 faculty members who teach full- or part -time, plus 17 associate faculty who offer courses that are recognized as H&P courses, sit on doctoral committees for H&P students, and offer seminars as part of the H&P seminar series. Aside from the fact that the claim about imminent retirements is inaccurate, the OCGS recommendation raises very serious concerns about the viability of several graduate programs.   If the School of Graduate Studies accepts this recommendation, it has implications not only for H&P, but for other graduate programs at OISE and the University of Toronto.  What is an adequate faculty complement for a graduate program? What is a reasonable faculty-student ratio in graduate degree programs?   

 

Jane, as our Dean, we look to you to take leadership on these issues and to support a program that has generated superb scholarship and graduated highly qualified students over several decades. We would appreciate your serious consideration of this request.

 

Tara, Esther, Marilyn and Kari

 

 

 

Dear Jane;

 


Thank you for your response to our letter.
To continue the conversation, we would like to raise four points:
 
1. We know that Dean Corman of SGS has the authority over graduate programs. What we ask of you is that you intervene to persuade him to use his authority to appeal the OCGS recommendation.  Moreover, as Dean of OISE, you have the authority to make decisions about faculty complement. Thus, it is within your purview to ensure that History and Philosophy (and any other program for that matter) has sufficient numbers of faculty to continue to operate as a graduate program. What is needed at the moment is an articulated commitment to creating a new position in History and Philosophy next year.

2. While we appreciate your support of historians and philosophers and agree with the notion that it would not be intellectually respectable to have an education faculty without them, what your formulation implies is that you do not support a PROGRAM in History and Philosophy at OISE.  In the absence of any articulation of what an alternative ‘programmatic frame’ might look like, your suggestion that our wonderful History and Philosophy faculty and students’ will be included in future teaching and research at OISE is problematic.  If it is your position that H & P is not viable as a program, but that something else that includes historians and philosophers would be viable, then we would urge you to state that position publicly and engage in conversations with faculty, staff and students who think differently. In particular, we recommend that you discuss these alternatives with those who will have to rethink their future studies, their teaching and research.
 
3. As department chairs we are very concerned about the rationale used by OCGS to recommend suspension of the doctoral program in H & P.  Their September 29 letter cite  the ‘small’ number of faculty, insufficient ‘critical mass,’ expected ‘imminent retirements’ and no clear commitment from the university for faculty renewal.  As we and others have argued, their use of imminent retirements as a reason to discontinue the doctoral program is both discriminatory against older faculty and factually incorrect.  The Province of Ontario does not have compulsory retirement, and none of the faculty in the program has submitted a declaration that they intend to retire. Therefore, we would expect the University, through you and the Dean of SGS to challenge the OCGS recommendation.   
 
4. With regard to your notion that we must respect the integrity and recommendations of external review bodies, we would agree but not unconditionally.  This particular recommendation was not based on a consideration of the program’s quality, in fact, the OCGS review itself had glowing praise for the quality of the H&P programs and the September29 letter from the OCGS appraisal committee did not question the quality of the program.  As stated above, their concerns are about the size of the program and questionable assertions about faculty retirements. Because the basis of their argument is factually incorrect we feel that it must be challenged.  Finally, with regard to maintaining the critical mass of faculty in H & P, even if faculty in H & P should decide to retire, your recent assurances in DAC that the positions of retiring faculty remain as a budget line within their programs would nullify the OCGS argument about lack of commitment to future faculty renewal.
 
In conclusion, there is much to talk about here and we will continue the conversation with you and other colleagues in DAC and in other arenas.  We intend to raise the matter as ‘other business’ in the Faculty Council meeting next week.
 
Kari, Esther, Marilyn, Tara and Reva

 

 

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