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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 2006

Quality as Antidote

Frank Furedi’s commentary (“Becoming McUniversities,” Bulletin, February 2006) easily blames the standardization and homogenization of education in our universities on administrators who “compel” academics to adopt the managerial models and practices associated with McDonald’s hamburger chain. “We are increasingly forced,” he complains, “to work according to rules and practices that do not derive from academic culture but from a managerial one.” Blaming the administration and the pressures of market forces for the deterioration of the university curriculum is a most enjoyable pastime to would-be rebellious academics.

The McDonaldization of our universities is really a symptom of a broader decline in liberal education brought on by the mindless narrowing of courses and programs that has characterized our universities for decades, and by the turning of universities into therapeutic communities dedicated to the promotion of “correct” attitudes about class, race and gender, sensitivity training and a happy-face, Ronald McDonald atmosphere.

Expanding quality courses committed to the pursuit of ideas and truth as goods worthy in themselves is the best antidote against the conformity of fast food education.

Ricardo Duchesne
Social Science, University of New Brunswick