York University’s difficult year

Although I didn’t blog about it at all (I did Twitter and Friendfeed about it a bit), many of you are probably aware that my work place, York University (Wikipedia) in Toronto, had a very difficulty time this past academic year with a strike, student protests and unrest as well as some disturbing on-campus violence. While trying, we did all get through it pretty well and things seem to be getting back on track. Enrollment will be down a bit in many departments come September, but the longer term prospects are very good.

York is still a very good place to work and go to school.

For those that are interested, the Globe and Mail has a chronology of the year.

They also have an very good interview with out president, Mamdouh Shoukri.

Asked to chart his progress, Dr. Shoukri offers up examples of subtle change, such as more involvement by leading researchers in the workings of the university and a new generation of faculty who are helping to shape the campus. “Unfortunately, it has taken a little longer,” he says of his larger plan. The 12-week dispute with teaching assistants and contract faculty also has set the powerful union local back on its heels: It wound up settling for a three-year deal similar to the offer it had rejected three months earlier. “It was a crushing defeat,” says Tyler Shipley, a graduate student who was a union spokesman during the strike and disagreed with the leadership’s decision to accept the deal this spring. With labour peace – at least for the next three years – Dr. Shoukri argues York is positioned to make advances. He’s just finished a reorganization of the university and put his own team in place, appointing Osgoode Hall Law School dean Patrick Monahan to the new position of provost. One of Mr. Monahan’s first duties is to head a task force with a mandate to help restore civil debate. York also won big in recent federal and provincial stimulus spending, receiving $95-million for a new life-sciences building and a law-school expansion.

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