A+ Univeristy of Ottawa Physics prof suspended

In today’s Globe and Mail (G&M) there is an article “Professor makes his mark, but it costs him his job” about Dr. Denis Rancourt, an anarchist professor, who doesn’t believe in grades (more accurately he gives everyone an A+) .  On the University of Ottawa website his bio reads “Denis G. Rancourt is a physics professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa, and an activist, anarchist, and critical pedagogue.”

The G&M article explains Rancourt’s rational for giving everyone an A+:

It was not his job, as he explained later, to rank their skills for future employers, or train them to be “information transfer machines,” regurgitating facts on demand. Released from the pressure to ace the test, they would become “scientists, not automatons,” he reasoned.

But by abandoning traditional marks, Prof. Rancourt apparently sealed his own failing grade: In December, the senior physicist was suspended from teaching, locked out of his laboratory and told that the university administration was recommending his dismissal and banning him from campus.

Firing a tenured professor is rare in itself, but two weeks ago the university took an even more extreme step: When Prof. Rancourt went on campus to host a regular meeting of his documentary film society, he was led away in handcuffs by police and charged with trespassing.

Canadian Association of University Teachers has an independent inquiry about this situation.

There’s a great interview on rabble.ca with Rancourt on critical pedagogy.

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