Teaching

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. These seemingly grim lines may be the most optimistic in modern literature: life feeds into life, change is constant, and the spring’s rain helps complete the cycle.

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Most undergraduate students would really benefit from an intensive one-on-one tutoring program in writing essays. Even among third and fourth year students, it’s something most of them can’t or don’t do competently. While U of T offers some writing resources, you can’t really turn up at a writing centre with an unstructured, ungrammatical, and unconvincing […]

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Ages ago I submitted a photo essay to the Canadian Labour Congress for their “Workers’ Rights and the Struggle for Social Justice” project. It was meant to be funded as part of the (at least dubious, and almost certainly offensive, given that people have lived here for many thousands of years) Canada 150 celebration. The […]

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Arguably for millennia, but certainly since the industrial revolution, technological development has been driving changes in labour practices. This has been accelerated by globalization and automation and is likely speeding up as sensors and artificial intelligence improve and costs fall: Both for individuals and governments, it’s hard to discern what this means when planning for […]

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The capricious forces directing undergraduate teaching in political science have set me up for an extremely difficult term. First, I was assigned to teach an hour’s $6 shuttle drive away, at the Missisauga campus. Second, my “tutorials” are starting with 30 students each. With only five tutorials in the entire course, this raises the question […]

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In each year of my PhD, I have applied for all the summer teaching assistant (TA) positions offered in the Department of Political Science (and, after second year, in the School of the Environment too). I never heard anything back as the result of my applications, including for frequently-advertised ’emergency’ positions and jobs in statistics […]

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Having finally finished grading the second set of late essay assignments, I am now calculating the participation grades for my tutorials in the fall and winter term. The profile of attendance across time isn’t as flat as one might like, but doesn’t look too dismal: On Wednesday, I am invigilating the final exam, which we […]

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Land acknowledgements — in which people recognize the traditional territory of indigenous peoples on which they are assembled — are an important part of decolonization and indigenous reconciliation. This year, I included one in my handout for tutorial students. There is not, however, a definitive recognition for downtown Toronto or the U of T area. […]

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The Economist recently printed an article about free speech on university campuses in the U.S.. In particular, they contrast thedemands.org which they say “lists speech-curbing demands from students at 72 institutions” and the Chicago Statement which argues that “[c]oncerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as justification for closing off discussion of […]

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