Nothing is so constant in Canada (and particularly in Ontario recently) as asking (and answering) the question: What’s Wrong with Our Universities?
Depending on who you ask the answer varies: nothing and everything.
The recent op ed piece in the Globe and Mail by Daniel Woolf is a good example of the problem. Woolf is the principal and vice-chancellor of Queen’s University (and tweeting regularly at @queensprincipal; excellent grammar sessions BTW).
After rehearsing once again the struggles of universities (and they are real, we’ve just heard them all before) he concludes with:
“Change will come. But let’s do it right, not just right now.”
Seriously? We need more time to think this through?
In a tweet Woolf reinforces this:
Changing PSE as a collective endeavour: my views in this morning’s Globe and Mail–bit.ly/OS1Ez9. Let’s make haste–slowly.
— Daniel Woolf (@queensprincipal) August 9, 2012
We really don’t know what we have to do in higher education to make it better?
We don’t know the key strategies for effective undergraduate learning?
The discussion paper from MTCU is certainly anemic. Have a look:
But asking for more time is just not on.
We have had lots of time to think about this; we know lots about what we have to do. Apparently, however, we do a terrible job communicating this to virtually anyone.
Time to get out of the bubble.
Perhaps this is just a public tussle with the government over money. OK, I get that. But in the process we seem to be revealing our own lack of fortitude and vision.
We are doing amazing things at universities in this country.
Rather than asking for more time, I think we should boldly tell the public about the transformational things we are already doing for higher education & advanced research. And, most critically, what more we could do with a government onside and willing to help.
Full speed ahead. Now.