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PUBLIC MARKS with tag University_of_Prince_Edward_Island

October 2007

Academic Metamorphosis at UPEI

by McDonna
Charlottetown Guardian - Sept 21, 2007 Metamorphosis: an academic's version HENRY SREBRNIK Many readers will recognize the opening sentence of Franz Kafka's 1915 short story 'The Metamorphosis': "One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug." We all realize this is a metaphor for one of our worst nightmares: that suddenly everything one has been has disappeared, and one is, inexplicably, someone entirely - and horribly - different. The rock group The Talking Heads gave voice to this same fear in their 1981 song 'Once in a Lifetime': And you may find yourself Living in a shotgun shack And you may find yourself In another part of the world And you may ask yourself Where is that large automobile? And you may tell yourself This is not my beautiful house! And you may tell yourself This is not my beautiful wife! Kafka's narrative brings to life our dread at being cast adrift and cut off from others. I was thinking of "Metamorphosis" recently in regard to what I've seen happening at our University of Prince Edward Island, where a - dare we call it Kafka-esque? - policy of mandatory retirement at age 65 has been in effect for the past dozen or so years. It holds true even for those who have had relatively short careers and therefore fairly meager pensions. They have been put out to pasture while still able to teach and write just as well as - indeed, perhaps better than - professors who are 20 years their junior. The university's inflexibility has resulted in grievances brought before the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission by a number of faculty who have been forced to retire. Some, for financial or personal reasons, have managed to return to teach as part-time 'sessionals', lowly paid contract workers with no job security, whose courses can be cancelled at the last minute. So perhaps an academic version of the Kafka story would begin like this: "One morning, as (fill in with the name of a famous academic, for example Benedict Anderson or Samuel Huntington) was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a sessional. No longer teaching at (fill in with the name of a well-known university, say Cornell or Harvard), he was now hustling for courses at (Siberia U., Boondocks College, etc.), pleading with an administration for teaching. He was told he could only teach a course if 10 students were to sign up for it." We all get the picture. It's a shame that UPEI has come to treat its loyal faculty, people who have devoted their professional lives to the institution, in such a callous manner. Henry Srebrnik, a professor of political studies at UPEI, will be approaching the age of mandatory retirement in a few years.

February 2006

The Guardian: Educational experience at UPEI a source of pride

by Mumvy
In this letter to the Charlottetown Guardian, the Dean of Arts of the University of Prince Edward Island provides an unsubstantiated defense of the quality of education at UPEI.

The Reclusive Antiquarian: Fahrenheit 451 on PEI

by Mumvy
â When we realized that they were in circulation, we acted to round up the copies,â â said UPEI president WADE MACLAUCHLAN. In the institution that most symbolizes civilization, the university, we concede to the barbarians without even a s

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