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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 2001

Two-Tiered Hiring Policy 'Wrong-Headed'

CAUT's continuing support of mandatory two-tier academic hiring is regrettable. It was a wrong-headed policy originally, and it continues to be deeply counterproductive. Let it be clear that some members of CAUT would like to see this policy scrapped.

Canadian students are competing in a world-wide knowledge-based economy. Their success in this competition will determine our economic future. They need and deserve the best teachers available to help them on their way. Not just the best Canadian teachers available.

Of course, there are absolutely first-class Canadian academics, and they deserve jobs. Indeed, a good number of them choose to work abroad precisely because they can compete successfully on the international market. They have many advantages when they apply for openings at Canadian universities — language skills, familiarity with the system and cultural sensitivity. Strong Canadian academics do not need protection from international competition.

If we want to have first-class universities providing first-class education for first-class students, then universities need the freedom to hire the best professors to do the job, without arbitrary constraints. No one should be hired just because they are Canadian and no qualified candidate should be rejected just because they are not. Quality should be central, not nationality.

Attracting the best candidates to academic jobs in Canada is already hard enough. It makes no sense to insert arbitrary constraints into this process. There will be many job openings at Canadian universities in the next decade. Filling these openings with the best people is critical to our future. It is time for responsible academic voices to speak up and be heard on this issue.

Michael Wortis
Physics, Simon Fraser University