Day of Contradictions: More Bad News from Mount Royal University and University of Calgary

The first contradiction of the day rolled in early this morning, with the news from Mount Royal University that its Deans’ Council has released a message in which the Deans assert the academic merit of programs that they are unequivocally happy to have “suspended”:

Dear Colleagues,

Following Wednesday’s vote at General Faculties Council (GFC), we would like to clarify our position on the issue of program suspensions. While most of the members of Deans’ Council who sit on GFC, voted to recommend against the program suspensions, we did so based on — GFC being an academic body — the academic merits of the programs. The Deans would like to state our unequivocal support for the suspension of these programs for budgetary reasons. We fully support the budgetary process that was followed, and endorse the recommendation that came out of that process, to suspend the following programs:

· University Transfer- Engineering
· Theatre Arts Diploma
· Music Performance Diploma
· Disability Studies Diploma
· Forensic Studies Diploma
· Journalism Certificate
· Advanced Studies in Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing Certificate
· Studies in Aging Certificate

Deans’ Council would also like to confirm it has expressed this recommendation to the Board of Governors, along with its full support for the strategic approach of both vertical and horizontal cuts in meeting our budgetary challenge.

I’d like to believe this message was made up. The Deans at Mount Royal University have (it seems) taken one decision in the official jurisdiction of the school’s General Faculties Council, and another by way of “message,” and in the second forum they have declared their “full support” for cuts to their academic programs.

Here’s the second contradiction, this in news from the University of Calgary late this afternoon.

Calgary has announced that, in addition to other cuts, it will be turning 200 students away from its Faculty of Arts next Fall. To justify this decision, Provost & VP Academic Dru Marshall is reported to have declared that Arts enrolment at the University of Calgary is “at an all-time high, probably well above where it should be.”

Where it should be? Let’s get this straight: the very programs that are regularly being raked over the coals in both the provincial and national press as having no place in the Relevant University are in fact so popular at the University of Calgary that Calgary’s Provost wants to turn students away from them? If students don’t agree that the Arts are useless and refuse to study them, University Administrations will diminish their capacity to take them?

Can this really be what is happening in the province of Alberta?

We seem to find ourselves in a world in which no one knows what to value or how to defend even the meritorious.

Where are the University administrators prepared to stand up for the academic mission of Alberta’s universities and challenge their Boards to assist them with the fight of getting the Government to reverse the cuts?

Word is that 50 academic staff members are to lose their jobs at the University of Calgary. We can only hope of all today’s stupefying news this news will prove untrue.

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2 Responses to Day of Contradictions: More Bad News from Mount Royal University and University of Calgary

  1. Brad Bucknell says:

    Perhaps Calgary’s Provost is, like many other leaders, prepared to make things “true” especially when they do not conform with the facts. He prefers the whiff of truthi-ness.

    Or, perhaps Calgary doesn’t need the money that 200 more students would bring….?

  2. FraKathustra says:

    I don’t see the “contradictions” you claim in these statements. It is entirely possible to laud the academic merits of a program while at the same time cutting that program due to budgetary reasons. It is also possible that (even though a program is very popular) the overall cost to the university is higher than the revenues being brought in (200 students could easily mean the program is running at a loss because of the high cost of 1:1 lessons, for example). It’s certainly “bad news” but there aren’t contradictions in these statements.

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