The Academy’s Sword of Damocles in the Early 21st Century

To borrow directly from Cicero, “there can be nothing happy for the university (he said person) over whom some fear always looms”.

Universities risk failure in the actualization of their core functions of knowledge generation and knowledge mobilization if they also do not attend effectively to contemporary social, cultural, and political tensions. In the current context, a neo-liberal agenda argues for a paradigm shift away from the academy’s tradition of autonomy and leading social change through education towards an interventionist model by governments, including increased authority, regulation, and the ability to intervene based on market forces.

In this session, Dominic Giroux, President and Vice-Chancellor of Laurentian University, discusses winning conditions for the success of a university. He will provide an argument for a different leadership role that senior administrators must play to maintain the intellectual space and material conditions within the Academy. This leadership role is intended to ensure the survival of active inquiry, academic freedom and education of society while responding to and resisting when necessary the ever increasing demands for public accountability, targeted funding envelopes, and increased government role in decisions traditionally held within the Academy.