An academic year is not like the others

Une année universitaire pas comme les autres

In the United States as with us, the academic year that is coming will force our augustus institutions to rethink parts the major of their activities.

The new push and shove in my mailbox from a teacher on holiday.

In the United States, Donald Trump wants to force universities and colleges to open “normally” in the fall. Here, the University of Montreal invites me to engage my modest talents computer to prepare my classes online and warned me that the mask will be mandatory and interactions severely limited on campus.

Clearly, the year ahead will force the university to ask serious questions. All this would be complicated enough if my subject of teaching, the american policy, do not walk across multiple crises.

The new normal

The campus will be unrecognizable this fall. Everywhere, it is planning the reopening, but nobody listens to the u.s. president, who would like to erase the reality of the COVID-19.

At best, the universities and colleges will allow newcomers and the graduating class to live their first or their last session in an atmosphere that’s as “normal” as possible. The coronavirus, however, has not said its last word, and the distancing will be inevitable.

It will be necessary to make and obstacles to human interactions and collegiality, which are the purposes of institutions of higher education, will need to be overcome.


Real problems exist. In the United States as with us, the universities will have to accommodate the thousands of foreign students turned back at the borders and absorb the financial shock of the absence of many of them.

Speaking of financial shock, in large universities, several are speaking out, have to pay of tuition fees of whopping to receive in online courses by professors who will for the most part novices in the field.

Some are questioning even the relevance of a teaching almost entirely virtual in a context very far from that university should be.

As neither the total closing or opening irresponsible are possible, as well to seize the opportunities presented by this challenge.

A salutary pause

Changes in technology allow us to rethink our modes of interaction, and it is not said that the experience that the academic community will draw from this interlude virtual will not open new horizons to improve our trade missions and discussions.

In the United States, this year is also an in-depth discussion on social justice and some issues of identity of which the potential of slippage to the left or right side – will reach a climax during the electoral campaign in the autumn. We will not continue to live.

It is essential for the university to address the crisis of the sars coronavirus in a rational way in adapting to the short and medium term to changes imposed by the pandemic in order to then incorporate the experiences learned in our practices.

It will be equally difficult, but no less vital to get through this period of tumult policy in preserving the collegiality and spirit of openness in the discussions reasoned and reasonable which shall continue to be the trade mark of the university.

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