Regardless of the significance of the commercialization of research, research time is growing at the expense of knowledge dissemination which is the core mission of universities. This perception was expressed in Dr. Ahmad viewpoint (Concordia Journal, v.1-7). The pressure of reality is causing a major drift within the faculty body towards research and away from teaching, which should be the university central purpose.
Academic training channels the students’ social contribution, shapes their mindset, and prepares them for the career life. The instructor plays a very important role in the development of their students’ welfare. Some professors, sometimes, underestimate the role of class dynamics in transmitting their message to their intellectual products. In an increasing number of classes, students – as quiet receptors - listen to long lectures and stare at colorful fast-food slides. Though, they had spent enough years in silent acquisition under old elementary and intermediary pedagogical model. Students are looking forward to experience passionate pedagogical approaches that stimulate high level of desire for deep research and enlightenment.
The current pedagogical approach in most of Concordia classes should be redesigned to vocalize a clear objective behind the practical training. The lecturer should be able to design, formulate, and deliver his/her course material in a smooth and pressure-free process without pushing the flaws to the students side who come from the four corners of the world. Many of these students put serious efforts to join universities and are demanding real added values during their post secondary studies. I came from Lebanon to gain invaluable competitive advantages, and my friend Lu came from China to acquire a different set of skills. For the majority of my classes, I could not taste the Holy Grail that I might have had illusions about. My Canadian colleague Nada does not believe that her university degree enabled here to get into the rose garden, and she admits that we have to push hard in Concordia to get what we were promised of.
Going back to Dr. Ahmad’s viewpoint, I strongly agree with the proposed solution that stressed on the importance of building a different institutional measure that redresses the balance of teaching and research. Faculty concentrates more on the research goals rather than the teaching mission. They left enough doors and windows for us, students, to judge their teaching approaches. Dean Nabil Ismail from the Engineering side pointed the need of continuous assessment of the methodology of teaching skills in engineering training especially at the undergraduate level. Professors should care not only for the content they deliver, but also for well designed training skills which graduates need when they enter the workforce. It is sad to see rich academic content lacking a clear objective and a strong learning process.
Better teaching processes and learning models would draw another practical dimension for Concordia’s mission statement
"Concordia is committed to responsible and innovative leadership in fulfilling the mission of universities to develop and disseminate knowledge and values and to act as a social critic"
As a graduate student, I am not convinced that the current learning and teaching model realizes this mission statement. Other students expressed their feeling that the bureaucratic organization treats them as mere numbers. I am glad that program administrators realized the importance of reshaping current program structures but still worried about the questionable priorities leading the administration decisions as expressed by Dr. Hochstein’s viewpoint.
Finally, I would like to stress that my experience in Concordia has been rich and fruitful during the past two years in my graduate studies. Though, it is still below the expectations of an international student sacrificing his saving for a graduate degree.