Thursday, January 30, 2014

Arbitrator rules that University of Ottawa's dismissal of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt was justified

Denis Rancourt on campus in 2007-2008, file photo: La Rotonde

The University of Ottawa's 2009 dismissal of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt has been upheld in a binding labour arbitration award released to the parties on January 28, 2014.

The full text of the 32-page decision is posted HERE (direct link to PDF file HERE).

A final paragraph in the arbitration award reads:

[105] Finally I want to note that I am in no way passing judgment on the value of Professor Rancourt’s teaching method, which calls for removing a student's stress by not grading. It may very well be that such a method of teaching results in improved learning for the Physics students. A number of researchers have written books on this teaching approach applied by Professor Rancourt. The University, however, has the right to decide and manage its institution in a manner in which students are objectively evaluated and graded comparatively one against the other. It has the right to determine that the grading method applied by its professors must conform to the general practice of universities which is the benchmark for determining the students' progression in their studies and for the attribution of bursaries and grants.

The first media report about the arbitration award is this one: Arbitrator upholds University of Ottawa’s firing of tenured professor -- Ottawa Citizen

The following report was written about the conflict by academic workplace mobbing expert Kenneth Westhues in 2009: Ottawa's dismissal of Denis Rancourt

Rancourt's 2011 description of the broader conflict is here: This is what targeting a dissident tenured professor looks like in Canada
TV-Ontario 2009 interview with Denis Rancourt about his teaching method and grading:


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