“A university needs to be more than Kickstarter U,” says TVO contributor

September 22, 2016

“In place of critical thinking as way to reflect on our place in the world, we are creating institutions that teach critical thinking as marketing and philosophy as personal branding,” writes Paul Barrett for TVO. The author reflects on thirteen large-scale projects that received funding from the Canadian First Research Excellence Fund in 2016, none of which contained the humanities as part of its knowledge base or approach. Barrett notes that this shows a change in the university's mission from being a place of thought and reflection to a place focused on securing grant funding and having measurable impact. “There is nothing necessarily wrong with these things,” concludes Barrett, “but a university needs to be more than Kickstarter U. When the language of impact and market application is used to justify a university’s existence, we have lost a major part of what it means to be a student and a scholar.” TVO