Back to top

CAUT Bulletin Archives

December 1997

Western Ontario Faculty Launch Certification Drive

Faculty at the University of Western Ontario have taken the first step in obtaining legal recognition for the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association.

MRC defends the way it does business

I am responding, on behalf of the Medical Research Council (MRC), to a letter from A. Berezin and others which appeared in the September 1997 issue of the CAUT Bulletin. That letter makes a number of serious, albeit unsubstantiated allegations about the allocation of research funding by the federal granting councils.

Readers applaud questions raised in review of Marsden's books

The review of Marsden's two books under your caption, "Can Universities Tolerate Religion?" (Bookshelf, November) speaks directly to issues of crucial significance for teaching and research. All too often, open discussion of the intellectual implications of religious commitment does indeed seem to be perceived as being "in bad taste." Tolerance for views of all persuasions seems not to extend to religious (or at least not to Christian) beliefs.

Ethics code restrictions limit intellectual freedom

I was glad to see the article (Bulletin, October) opposing the wilder excesses of the proposed Tri-Council Code of Ethics. However, the concern about extending protection to collectivities is somewhat of a red herring. The article itself says: "For example, it is hard to understand why any citizen in Canada would be able to write an unofficial biography of a living person except, of course, university professors ...." It is indeed difficult to see why university professors should be so restricted. But a "living person" is not a collectivity; a compromise allowing private individuals, but not collectivities, to veto research that they felt harmed them, would still prevent academics from writing unauthorized biographies.

The copyright debate -- web vs. journals

Having read some of the CAUT Bulletin articles about Internet copyright, we would be interested in any thoughts on copyright and career issues that have come up for our research unit. Our work is essentially directed at health policy of various kinds so the dissemination of research findings is more important to us than ownership. In the past we have published findings in technical reports in New Zealand then written material about it for publication in the international academic journals. To improve local dissemination and to help establish ourselves as the "authoritative knowledge producers" for a couple of areas that we're best at we have put up an extensive web site. The plan for the future is to publish on the web first and on paper afterwards.

Financial Exigency Declaration Averted

The senate of Algoma University College has been handed the task of bringing forward a long-term academic plan to restructure and reallocate academic resources to redress Algoma's short-term financial crisis.

UNESCO Adopts Recommendation

On Nov. 5 the governing body of UNESCO adopted the international statement on the status of higher education teaching personnel. This covers both individual rights (civil rights, academic freedom, terms and conditions of employment) as well as individual responsibilities. It also deals with collegiality, autonomy and the responsibilities of universities and colleges as institutions.

No Reinstatement for Mary Warner

Readers of the CAUT Bulletin over the past decade will be familiar with the case of former Brock University employee Mary Warner.

The Evolving Nature of Post-Secondary Education

Distance education, off-campus instruction, distributed learning programs -- such terms are occurring with increasing frequency in academic literature. Such programs have expanded rapidly in the last few years and the trend is likely to continue as the nature of post-secondary education evolves.

Delays in Drafting Copyright Law Welcomed

Delays in drafting several regulations in the new copyright act have provided creator and user communities an unexpected opportunity to voice their concerns.

Information Technology's Impact on the University

Information technology has an impact on many aspects of academic life -- university-business linkages, possible privatization of programs, the perceived role of the university, ownership of course materials, electronic journals, reward systems for academic staff, academic freedom, performance indicators, student accessibility, employee rights and protections, and so on. At the onset of the November CAUT Council, faculty association delegates spent a day making an initial examination of some of the issues raised by the introduction of technology in the university.

Meeting the Challenges of Electronic Publishing

David Beattie, director of operations for the SchoolNet system funded by Industry Canada, addressed delegates about the challenges facing electronic publishing in Canada. He spoke from the perspective of a government department which is encouraging learned journals to acquire an on-line presence.

Negotiating the Use of Information Technology for the University Environment

Recently, the use and control of information technology have caused tension between academic administrators and academic staff. During the 1997 contract negotiations at York University unresolved technology issues were one of the underlying causes of the faculty strike. In universities where instructional technology is forced upon staff and students, faculty are concerned about loss of academic freedom and choice to use or not to use technology.1

Email Security & Privacy

Email is like a postcard!" With this statement, Daniel Shap, a lawyer with the law firm of Goodman & Carr in Toronto, alerted conference delegates about the prevalent lack of privacy of electronic mail messages.

Planning & Development

There are many aspects to planning for the use of information technology in the university. Planning must take place at a university-wide level, as well as at the program or individual course level.

Autonomy & Governance on the Block

It's tempting to think we're living through a turning point in history. Despite its rhetorical tone, there is something to be said for this claim as we approach 2000. It's reminiscent of other turning points: the late-15th-century invention of print and the opening of the Modern period; the rise of professional science in the 18th and 19th centuries; and the world wars of our century.