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PUBLIC MARKS with tag upei

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.

September 2007

UPEI must change policy on madatory retirement

by McDonna
Just a note on Dr. Henry Srebrnik’s opinion piece in Friday’s Guardian regarding the forced retirement of faculty at the age of 65. As a student I have seen this first hand and it is absolutely heartbreaking that UPEI carries on such an age discriminatory policy. There are amazing professors who care deeply about their students and who have an unparalleled love of teaching and depth of knowledge who are forced to retire and in some instances are lost to other universities either somewhere else in Canada or abroad. For such a quickly growing university with enrolments seeing an all-time high, why must they continue this policy? To have the best professors one can imagine going overnight from full-time academic and member of the UPEI community to a sessional teacher who has to scramble to get 10 students in a class so it won’t be cancelled is unacceptable. UPEI must change this policy.

July 2007

UPEI, faculty see settlement differently - by Wayne Thibodeau

by McDonna & 1 other
A grievance settlement between UPEI and its faculty is being described as a “victory” by the faculty association, but it is being described as “not a substantive change” by the university. The issue centres on who owns intellectual property, the ideas and research being carried out by the professors and researchers at UPEI. Wayne Peters, the president of the UPEI Faculty Association, says the university has agreed to include the faculty association in all third-party funded research contracts and grants that could lead to the development of intellectual property. “This grievance was never about who owned the (intellectual property) in the first place, that was not the primary issue,” Peters told The Guardian. “The issue was more about the union’s involvement in processes like this as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for its members.” The initial grievance centred on a decision by the university to enter into discussions with ACOA regarding a research project that affected the faculty association’s collective agreement, without including the union. The university maintained it had ownership of the intellectual property. The faculty association felt the university had side-stepped the union, which has been in place for the past three years. “The big victory in this for the union is that there is a very strong recognition by the university of the union’s role in representing its members on issues that are clearly part of the collective agreement and intellectual property policy is one of those issues,” he said. But Katherine Schultz, vice-president of research and development at UPEI, described it as an “evolving” process as the university and the union work through its 100-page collective agreement, signed three years ago. She admits it will allow the faculty association to have a greater role in the “internal discussions.” “But it’s not a substantive change in the way our researchers work with partners in the community, with the private sector, with government agencies,” she said. Schultz said it will have no impact on the students. Peters said the faculty association can now “rewrite history” because it can now review all 100 contracts signed between the university and private funding partners since 2004. It also remains unclear now as to who would benefit if an idea is commercialized. For example, if a researcher finds a cure of a deadly disease like cancer, who benefits? Peters maintains it would be the faculty member while the university says it’s difficult to answer that because it could be several partners, from funding partners to faculty members to the university. Last year, the union walked off the job trying to secure its first agreement with the university. The intellectual property grievance was filed in 2005 and was not part of last year’s dispute.

April 2006

UPEI Takes Action to Ensure Teaching Excellence and Academic Integrity

by Mumvy & 1 other, 1 comment
In announcing disciplinary action against David Weale, UPEI President Wade MacLauchlan stated, "It is of paramount importance to ensure the highest standard of academic integrity and attention to student welfare for which UPEI is known. The UPEI community has been especially proud of the fact that our professors rank number one in the country for awards."

March 2006

UPEI Cowards Violate Freedom of Press

by Mumvy & 1 other
UPEI administrators acknowledge that the press should be free; they just don't believe it. Or rather, they believe the press should be free as long as it is not controversial. Or perhaps they fear rioting? Did the paper tell students to riot? Of course not, but the administrators don't want trouble. Is that how it works now? Those willing to threaten violence now determine what goes on at universities? There comes a time when you have to stand up to the bullies. That time is now. To do otherwise is cowardly. - Barbarians Inside the Gate

by Mumvy
In life, Ilan Halimi sold cellular phones on a boulevard named after Voltaire, off a square dedicated to la République. He was an ordinary young Frenchman, except for one thing; he was Jewish, which got him killed. So in death, after 25 days of torture

February 2006

Print Story - network

by Mumvy
I found it difficult to believe that the president of a Canadian university would come out so strongly against freedom of the press -- or as Wade MacLauchlan refers to it, "reckless free speech." What I found most offensive, however, was the way he tried

The Guardian: Some approved others condemned

by Mumvy
In trying to understand the motives of those who have supported or opposed the publication of these cartoons we must realize that there are at least two sets of players on either side of the issue.

National Post Editorial: Support Freedom, Buy Danish

by srebrnik
Excerpt: Meanwhile at the University of P.E.I., editors at the student newspaper reprinted the cartoons. But before the press run could be distributed, university security guards invaded their offices and seized all available copies. It was a shameful act of censorship that would have done the censors of Tehran and Damascus proud.

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