Earlier this month, Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star tried to tell us that politicians do not care about universities. I thought at the time that I could add something to Regg Cohn’s observations.
The only real difference between Martin Regg Cohn and I is that he is a senior fellow of the sadly renamed Ryerson University and I was only appointed a fellow of McLaughlin College at York University back in the 1970s. All the ‘Fellow’ title really meant back then is you are never paid for anything.
But I enjoyed my role for the college and I think I helped. I particularly enjoyed the times when I would have a lecture hall turned over to me to discuss subjects such as business ethics with business and economics undergrads. It led to travelling around Ontario to many of our universities lecturing business students. Hobnobbing with all those academics, I found they were always willing to unload their financial concerns on the supposedly well-paid business executive.
But I ended up persona non grata at the business school at Western University in London, Ontario. I presented a paper I prepared for a province-wide gathering of business academics at the University of Toronto. I had criticized Western’s use of the case study method in its business school, for teaching students to be competitive instead of encouraging ethical business practices. What amused me about it was when the Dean of Business at Western called the president of my company (who happened to be a Harvard MBA—Harvard is credited with creating the case study method) to complain about my remarks. The president told the Dean that he had read my presentation and agreed with every word of it.
But back to the cheap politicians in Ontario. Oddly enough there were no loud whimpers from the community colleges and universities in Ontario during the McGinty/Wynne era in government. There seems to be some coming through loud and clear about the Ford administration. If there was an attitude coming out of Queen’s Park, it is the premier’s dislike for his higher education experience. Ford is a loud and opinionated salesman. He dropped out of Humber College after just two months.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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