Lifelong Learning: Universities in Decline Part 1 with Dr. John S. Cowan
Universities in Decline: A Review of What Has Gone Wrong and What Can Be Done About It (Part 1)
Tickets for this morning lifelong learning class are $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. If you are interested in participating in both this class and attending the Part 2 lecture the following evening two-event packages are for sale for $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers.
North American universities have had a rough ride over the past 30 years. The widespread institutional response to the challenges they have been facing has usually involved some dumbing down of those undergraduate programs not regulated by external professional bodies, steep fee increases, balancing the books by enrollment and class size increases, a systemic failure to understand the underlying purpose of a liberal education, and, more recently, some problems maintaining both academic freedom and free speech, (along with a peculiar conflation of these two very distinct concepts). Government in both the USA and Canada has further exacerbated the difficulties by adopting counterproductive methods for targeting public investment in research. Some of the difficulties have been exacerbated by some of the policies and practices in the primary and secondary education systems.
While the university world has deployed some minor antidotes to these problems, a case could be made that the sector is in slow but real decline. We will take a hard look at the underlying causes, both within and outside the institutions, and explore some possible remedies.
Dr. John Scott Cowan has held senior roles at a number of universities (bio appended) and, in a national capacity in Canada, handled crises in over 20 universities. He will give a comprehensive tour of these issues, and suggest some possible remedies, followed by a half hour discussion. He will speak at 11:30 on Wednesday, Jan 15, and the event will end at 1:30PM. A box lunch is provided.
ABOUT DR. COWAN:
John Scott Cowan studied physics, and then physiology at Toronto. A post-doc at Laval University preceded 24 years at the University of Ottawa as professor, Chair of Physiology, and as Vice-President. He was Vice-Principal at Queens University before becoming Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) 1999-2008. RMC is the university of the Canadian Armed Forces. He has been President of the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies, the Canadian Physiological Society, and the Canadian Association of University Business Officers. Also active in labour relations for over 40 years, he has been a negotiator, arbitrator, teacher, and the first Senior Advisor on Labour Relations to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
Despite having an extensive research career in his first discipline, he has also had a long involvement in defence issues, starting with a monograph on defence policy in 1963.
He was President of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute 2008-2012, and was Chair of the Defence Science Advisory Board of Canada (DSAB) 2010-2013 (now called the Defence Advisory Board of Canada). He has received the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), the Sovereigns Medal for Volunteers (2018), and the Canadian Armed Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service (2008). His current RMC status is Principal Emeritus, and in 2009 he received a Doctor of Military Science (honoris causa) from RMC for his contributions to the profession of arms. He was also the Honorary Colonel of the Princess of Wales Own Regiment till early 2017. He is Vice Chair and Director of Research of the Hill 70 Memorial project.
He has also flown over 60 aircraft types, and is somewhat deaf from a few thousand hours flying the T6/SNJ, and so does not mind at all if people shout at him.
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