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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 1997

Memorial web paper -- fictional account

I read with some interest Dr. Schrank's contribution to the CAUT web site entitled "Memorial University One Year Later." I cannot refute Dr. Schrank's fictional account any more than one can refute any other piece of art.

In the spirit of the academic tradition, CAUT members should be interested in other views to inform themselves on this matter, and might avail themselves of three sources:

a) The CAUBO paper cited extensively, but selectively, by Dr. Schrank. It will provide a context for the many out-of-context quotations. A complete reading of this paper will make clear unequivocally that we discuss as two root causes of the current malaise of Canadian universities CAUT's effective campaign on behalf of faculty and the general inability or unwillingness of university presidents (read senior administrators) to provide counterbalance in the interest of the other partners in higher education.

b) The Academic Presidency -- Stronger Leadership for Tougher Times (Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges). From a CAUT perspective this volume may have suspect origins. It does establish, however, that the senior administrators at Memorial are far from alone in believing that we need more clarity and more accountability in our system of governance.

c) Those who prefer a more traditional academic treatment of this issue may wish to consult "The Meaning of Mass Higher Education" by Peter Scott, historian, long time editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement and now a university vice-chancellor.

Finally, Memorial is indeed a metaphor, as Dr. Schrank points out. Universities are changing. The only relevant question in this context is whether that change will be imposed by external forces or if it can be accomplished from within with active cooperation from faculty.

Jaap Tuinman
Vice-President (Academic) & Pro Vice-Chancellor, Memorial University of Newfoundland

At the end of February 1997 Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association marked the first anniversary of the signing of its third collective agreement. This anniversary provided a timely opportunity to revisit the troubled negotiations and to see how the collective agreement has been implemented. On The Web (Bulletin, September 1997) highlighted the availability of "Memorial University One Year Later: Implementing the New Collective Agreement," prepared by Bernice Shrank, professor of English and chief negotiator, third collective agreement, MUNFA, at the CAUT web site -- ed.