A Post-Strike Crisis at York University’s English Department that Affects the Marshall McLuhan Legacy in Toronto and Beyond

11Jul18

This is addressed to the Marshall McLuhan community of interest and supporters of the McLuhan legacy in the Greater Toronto region, in Canada and beyond. The situation that concerns us is at York University in their English Department and is described by B.W. Powe in the paragraph below his photograph.

 B.W. Powe

B.W. Powe–poet, writer, scholar, essayist–has been teaching his course at York University on Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye for several years now. It is about to be cancelled very early in the enrollment season, which traditionally goes on until late August. Enrollment has been down at York since the long strike. The English Department has been deeply affected. Nevertheless, this course has been popular, and in fact usually enrolls to its limit. It is the only course of its kind in North American Universities and Colleges. It is the only course at York that focuses entirely on Marshall McLuhan for a semester. Its elimination could be a setback for McLuhan studies in Toronto. BW was in the process of building bridges with his colleague Paolo Granata at the University of Toronto, setting up joint events so that York and the U of T could develop a McLuhan synchronicity between the universities. This is now at risk of being lost. Any help in communicating our collective dismay with York’s intentions would be helpful and deeply welcomed.

**********

I am sending my own email letter of support for BW and dismay at this overhasty action for BW, not just because his course has been canceled too early since such decisions are usually made in late August for the Fall and Winter semesters and there is ample time for additional enrollments, but because this usually over-subscribed  course has as of a few days ago been dropped from the English Department’s curriculum entirely with no prior notice or consultation with Professor Powe. This is wholly unwarranted.

I am calling on supporters of the Marshall McLuhan legacy, which is not just important to Toronto and Canada, but the whole world, to send email letters of support for BW Powe and his McLuhan-Frye course with a request that it be reinstated for this Fall/Winter semesters and returned to the English Department’s curriculum for future students.

I will not publish the email addresses of the York University administrator’s here, so if you are interested and wish to add your support for this cause, please send me a note by Messenger if you are on Facebook or by email to AlexanderKuskis at gmail dot com. Thank you………………Alex Kuskis

For your information here is Wikipedia’s bio on BW Powe: https://goo.gl/WjYhYV

ADDENDUM July 16, 2018: A York University student’s petition was started by a former student of BW’s by the name of Kathy Tsukalis. York University students can go to this site to read and sign it: https://goo.gl/k26VU1



2 Responses to “A Post-Strike Crisis at York University’s English Department that Affects the Marshall McLuhan Legacy in Toronto and Beyond”

  1. I empathize with the situation, for US universities (at least in the NJ-NY area) have a long tradition of leaving it to those in non-teaching exec. positions to make calls about cutting classes. They refuse to recognize what teachers understand from direct experience, that even without the experience of a strike or major publicity or environmental disaster, many students regularly do not register until late registration, then complain to their teachers that a course they were looking forward to taking had been cancelled (leading of course, to over-enrolled remaining classes.) This is not a result of laziness on the part of students, but often because (for example) they have not received their financial aide packages in time for early registration, or because they are transfer students, who cannot register before late registration. In this case, the course is important to the program, and is not one of several sections of the same course. Furthermore, if I understand correctly, the faculty member teaching the course is an expert of long standing.

    In solidarity,

    Historian of Science, Technology, and Media culture Researcher/Writer/Author/Lecturer

    Historian, IEEE History Center and Industry Associate Professor, Stevens Institute of Technology

    On Wed, Jul 11, 2018 at 11:18 AM, McLuhan Galaxy wrote:

    > Alex Kuskis posted: “This is addressed to the Marshall McLuhan community > of interest and supporters of the McLuhan legacy in the Greater Toronto > region, in Canada and beyond. The situation that concerns us is at York > University in their English Department and is described by ” >


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