Former Dean of Arts Pat Clements on the Government’s “High-Handed” “Non-Negotiable” Attack on University of Alberta

Here is the text in full of former Dean of Arts Pat Clements’ letter in today’s Journal:

A thoughtful Alberta government celebrated the province’s 50th anniversary by building the Jubilee Auditoriums. It had its legacy vision statement carved on the north wall of the Edmonton Jube. A quotation from a classical historian: “He found a city built of brick — left it built of marble.”

That sets a high standard for government stewardship. Perhaps Premier Alison Redford and Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk should reflect on the statement’s focus on quality.

Generations of Albertans and Edmontonians have devoted hard work, planning, and commitment to building our excellent university, with the result that the University of Alberta is now the flagship university in our province, one of the top three or four universities in our country and a strong presence internationally. It has developed outstanding quality across the board from the core arts and sciences to several distinguished professional faculties. Every year it wins prestigious awards for its teaching and research (last week, it was awarded two prestigious Killam Prizes).

The University of Alberta is a powerhouse of potential for our children, our health, our culture, our economy, our quality of life.

But what will be the legacy of our current government? So far, it is a high-handed, ill-informed, destructive, and “non-negotiable” attack on quality in our university and in the whole post-secondary education system.

This is profoundly disappointing. It is also profoundly wrong. The university does not belong to the government; it belongs to the people.

And what about the new legacy vision statement? Not likely to be so much about marble and excellence, but more about that messy bowl of cornflakes.

Patricia Clements, Edmonton

This entry was posted in alberta budget 2013, alberta funding for post-secondary education and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Former Dean of Arts Pat Clements on the Government’s “High-Handed” “Non-Negotiable” Attack on University of Alberta

  1. Makere Stewart-Harawira says:

    Reblogged this on The Turning Spiral.

  2. As a Faculty Member at Athabasca University, which is supposed to be a flagship institution for access and online and distance learning, I heartily concur with Former Dean Clements’ remarks.The assumption behind the cuts is that the purpose of saving money in the wake of a revenue shortfall is somehow harmonious with the goal of education reform. This is, at best, wishful thinking. At worst, it is a smokescreen for ideological bias and political vendettas.

    If the real purpose of the cuts were to improve coordination, collaboration and achieve a better balance between classroom and online, the government could have simply made its 2% increase in funding contingent upon those kinds of changes being made. In stead, we’re facing cuts that are making many of these changes more difficult to effect in any kind of a careful or sensible way.

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