Volume 91, Issue 39

Thursday, November 6, 1997

purple goat


University S.O.S.

A crisis.

That's what author J.L. Granatstein warns is happening on Western's campus and at all universities across Canada.

Granatstein was in the University Community Centre's McKellar Room yesterday to promote the book he penned with two other authors, entitled Petrified Campus.

As advertised, his views were both controversial and thought provoking.

Granatstein says Canada needs to provide first-class education to first-class students and one way he would like to do this is by establishing an elite university system like in the United States and Europe, where there is true distinction between schools. As well, entrance marks would be raised.

While it is true undergraduate programs in Canada generally look the same, creating a ranking system may not be easy to achieve. American Ivey League schools rely heavily on tradition and universities themselves decide who they are going to recruit.

Political correctness was one cause Granatstein pointed to, of problems in the education system. Universities are not only immersed in political correctness but all other facets of society are as well. However, universities are places where free-thinking should reign. Ideas should be challenged. Should a line be drawn so feelings are not hurt? No. If someone says something outrageous in a classroom, it is most likely they will be challenged by others. Most importantly, what they say creates dialogue.

At the same time, while students may disagree with each other, they may have trouble disagreeing with the professor who evaluates them. Some students will go along with their professor's ideas to get marks. It's unfortunate, because a university degree isn't a report card and success does not always come down to marks.

What students do while obtaining their degrees is important – that's why potential employers look at students' life experiences when reviewing applicants for jobs. Employers know, like Granatstein, that a degree does not come with a guarantee about a person.

Abolishing tenure is also promoted by Granatstein and although it's true some professors should not be teaching, if there is no tenure the best profs will be recruited by American schools with tenure. What universities really need are effective measures to evaluate professors with tenure, to make sure they are still meeting the minimum requirements needed to be effective educators.

Granatstein also believes students should be paying more for tuition. You get out of education what you put into it, he says. Unfortunately, this would only make it more difficult for students, who are already having financial troubles. More loan programs would only create more student debt. And personal debt, for many students, is a serious crisis.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997