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Reply to Jeff Schmidt from UofO Pres. Gilles Patry, 11 April 2007
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Subject: RE: Science in Society course

Dear Mr. Schmidt,

I thank you for your email and for your interest in the University of Ottawa. Let me assure that the University of Ottawa has a keen interest in the field of Science and Society. In fact, we are very fortunate to have several internationally recognized faculty members who specialize in science, technology and society. For example, Professor David Castle in our Department of Philosophy holds a Canada Research Chair in Science and Society. Professor Castle’s research interests include: philosophy of the life sciences, applied ethics, science and technology innovation. Similarly, a few weeks ago the University hosted the first Telus Dialogue on Technology, Society and the Future, featuring Professor Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology from our Faculty of Law, Craig Kielburger, and Jennifer Corriero. The dialogue was moderated by Evan Solomon. These are two examples of our commitment.

As you know, universities have a long tradition of working in a collegial and democratic environment. It would be inappropriate for the President of a University to decide unilaterally on the content of a program or on what course should or should not be offered in any given year or semester. It would also be inappropriate for the President to decide who should or should not be teaching a given course.

The University of Ottawa is proud to offer variety of courses and seminars that challenge and stimulate the social conscience of our students. In June of this year, Professor Pierre Anctil, Director of the Institute of Canadian Studies, is organizing a conference entitled ‘Taking a Stand: A Conference on Activism in Canadian Cultural Archives’. For its part, the Faculty of Social Sciences is developing a new course entitled “Le militantisme et son rôle social ” (transl. Activism and its role in society).
Once again, I thank you for your interest in this matter.


Gilles G. Patry, P.Eng., PhD, FCAE
President and Vice-Chancellor

see also: Letter to UofO Pres. Gilles Patry, from Jeff Schmidt, 9 April 2007

back to: Replies from Patry 2007