Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and Education

Len Findlay, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus
Wednesday, 25 September 2019 - 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
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“In this talk I will argue that academic staff, students, and administrators need to be far bolder than they have been for the past decade and more in stating the case for public investment in public education. My primary emphasis will be on universities, all the while remembering and referencing how they connect to K-12 Education and to a larger family of educators too often attacked by governments, interest groups, and hard-nosed instrumentalists as too independent, too progressive, and too expensive. Such charges are largely baseless, especially in a country as wealthy and (mostly) welcoming as Canada. They need to be identified as such, and those who make them should publicly and vigorously rebutted, on and off campuses, in a profoundly academic process of rebuttal without fear of reprisal. To support this effort, I will rehearse some of the history of collegial governance, briefly chart the rise of academic managerialism in opposition to such governance, and conclude with recent examples of internal and external attacks on universities and how they can best be rebuffed and replaced by a new intergenerational politics and educational policy promoted by Canadian universities in the interests of both inclusiveness and elite accomplishment.”