AND WHAT ABOUT UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS, TOM? A CRITICAL COMMENT ON THE SYMONS REPORT

Carman Miller

Abstract


Few people would fault the uncharacteristic despatch with which Canadian college and university administrators responded to the Canadian Studies controversy. The nature of their response, however, was more typically Canadian. In June 1972, after only a few years of heated public debate, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (A.U.C.C.), appointed a commission, headed by one of its own, T. H. B. Symons, the founding president of Trent University "to study, report and make recommendations upon the state of teaching and research in various fields of study relating to Canada at Canadian Universities." Over three years later, two of the projected four volumes appeared.

This report, To Know Ourselves, has scarcely received a flattering reception, despite the introductory boast of Larkin Kerwin, Rector of Laval University and (1975) president of the A.U.C.C. that this was "the most significant examination of Canadian Studies since the Massey Report." Yet the report deserves closer attention if only to expose its deficiencies. On the more positive side, the Symons Report is probably the most complete statistical description of the staff and resources engaged in Canadian Studies at our universities and colleges. Moreover it is full of useful ideas and suggestions for the amelioration of programs, courses and resources in Canadian Studies.

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