College business model must change
Re Don’t let Ontario’s college system suffocate itself, Cohn, Nov. 9 At some point the essential nature (if any) of Ontario’s colleges must be addressed. Martin Regg Cohn seems to think that they are glorified trade schools that are not materially different from high schools and don’t merit inclusion in the conversation about “academic freedom.”
In the alternative, Bill Davis’ original mandate required only that the colleges focus on applied, not theoretical knowledge. Colleges were to be academically comparable to universities, but more financially accessible.
Over the past 50 years (I’ve been teaching at Seneca for over 48), many colleges entered into “articulation agreements” with universities to produce joined diploma/degrees (Seneca and York offer half a dozen). We have a healthy tolerance for ambiguity, but this looks a lot more like chaos. Until such matters are clarified, employer-employee relations will continue to deteriorate and chronic disputes over the colleges’ “business model” will worsen. Howard Doughty, Richmond Hill As a contract faculty member in the university system, I’ve been following the college faculty strike with great interest. The prob- lem of precarious, short-term, contract work in the universities is bad enough, but it’s even worse in Ontario’s colleges.
I agree with Cohn that it’s unfortunate the strike has continued for close to a month now. However, I think the blame rests on the college employers and the provincial government.
College employers are not offering real action or even a decent compromise around the excess amount of contract work. The employers are still proposing concessions. From my perspective, the only real option is for the college faculty to reject this bad deal and have the two sides sit down and bargain. And the provincial government needs to make it clear that they want to improve the post-secondary education system for faculty and for students. Murray Cooke, Toronto