Future of RMC(C)

 

A short time ago I sent out a "head's up" about the governance of RMC and the effect of budgetary reductions on the future of the institution. As a reminder, I'll repost the link here. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/ottawas-cost-cutting-casts-shadow-over-royal-military-colleges-future/article10920213/

Only one classmate has volunteered an opinion on the subject but I thought it worthwhile to open a discussion on the subject to encourage others. The opinion of former principal John Plant would be particularly welcome since the position of Principal is very much a part of the article.

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John Plant: 14 April 13

My first reaction to the commission report is favorable.


I will try to study it more carefully but am very busy at the moment and until early June.

The gist of what they recommend concerning independence of the Principal and respect for the academic process was pretty much what I enjoyed during my long term as Principal. In practise if not in regulation.

Only once did I receive a strong suggestion. It was to reduce the number of engineering degrees. We did so but did it the way we, in the academic wing, thought best.

I also enjoyed a great working relationship with HR. They gave advice on how to conduct competitions, reviewed what we did and I wrote the letters of offer. This disappeared soon after my retirement.

For me the Commandant and Principal have to be partners even buddies.

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Doug Hinton: 10 April 13: Interesting. I believe the Humanities should be an integral part of the education, but if they're going to cut funding it is after all the Royal MILITARY College and if they have to veer toward Annapolis or West Point
then so be it. What's your take?

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WIH: 14 Apr 13: What I fear most about budget reductions is that they will be applied in a typically bureaucratic manner, across the board. By so doing the college may continue to function as a full university, something dear to the hearts of faculty. However, quality of instruction is almost certain to suffer and RMC's reputation may be reduced to that of a second-rate institution. A better solution, in my view, would be to offer degrees only in science and engineering programs required by the Canadian Forces. The humanities would still be a necessary part of the curriculum because, for engineering accreditation, the CEAB requires that 25% of the curriculum be devoted to the humanities. I doubt that the Forces would want to abandon accreditation since its value is recognized by all universities with engineering programs, and by potential students. After all, retirement from the Forces comes relatively early and almost all of us have had second careers no matter when we left.  The problem of attracting humanities faculty could be handled with an agreement to share faculty with Queen's. Such an agreement would be beneficial to both institutions and even to the faculty involved.

Admittedly, I have not commented on governance since I do not have a faculty or administrative background. However, the military system sometimes works better than the civilian system. At one CEAB meeting, we told the RMC Dean of Engineering that one program name needed to be changed. He agreed. When asked when the change would take place the Dean replied "When I return to Kingston". One board member, the Dean of Engineering at UofA, challenged this timing by describing the two-year review process needed to change a program name at UofA. The RMC Dean replied "When I return to Kingston, I will give the order and it will be done", and it was!

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