Recently, the former president of the University of Guelph (Alastair Summerlee) delivered a speech in which he urged students and faculty alike to embrace the future: ‘We're part of a legacy system that goes back to the days of monks. In the days since books were written one at a time, society embraced the printing press and now the internet. And yet we still teach by standing up and talking to people” The answer, Summerlee said is to ‘create more online courses.’ Increasingly, Canadian universities are looking to Americans like George Mehaffey who offer a business/corporate approach to learning, one that is focused on getting more of a ‘bang for the student buck’ by jettisoning teachers and increasing reliance on technology. The University of Guelph Faculty Association asks: what kind of vision for the future of the University of Guelph informs the choices to implement the PPP and to cut college budgets? Universities should be places where the effects of technology on human beings and human interaction are studied. They should not be simply places where the the latest technological developments are implemented without the critical thought and reflection which are the true hallmarks of university learning and education.
Sky Gilbert holds the University Research Chair in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies
Elizabeth Ewan holds the University Research Chair in Scottish Studies
Robert Enright holds the University Research Chair in Art Criticism