Margaret Wente, in her complaints about Canadian university faculty being the highest paid in the world (“Universities are sitting ducks for reform,” April 13, 2010), bases her argument on a 2008 Boston College report that itself cautions readers that, lacking consistent data across countries being available, their study “must be seen as a first attempt rather than a definitive report.”
Regrettably Wente shows no such caution when urging Canadians to adopt a university system where faculty are no longer paid to perform research. Hundreds of years of university experience have shown that faculty research and teaching are intertwined, enriching and enlivening each other, to the benefit of students. To drop this research-based model in favour of “efficiently delivering mass undergraduate education” will
reduce the university to being a kind of upper-level high school. Our students don’t need more high school. They need interaction with faculty who are pushing the frontiers of knowledge. Wente is too swift to abandon quality higher education, especially in view of the enormous challenges we face, such as healthcare and global security. We need the best possible postsecondary system to generate solutions to these urgent
The research model might cost more, but education on the cheap is too expensive a solution.
President, Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations