Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
Research Centres and Institutes
Joint Council on Education (UT/OISE)
OISE/UT Affiliation Agreement (1989)
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Inspiring Education, 1907-2007: Celebrating one hundred years of education at the University of Toronto. Toronto: OISE, 2006.
Eastman, Julia. Mergers in higher education: lessons from theory and experience. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001.
THE ORIGINS AND EARLY DAYS OF OISE
By Cicely Watson
This topic deserves a book. In the space provided for an article I shall present a snapshot - a personal note from one of the minor background players. First some factual information, then memories and reflections. For more detail read chapter thirteen of volume five of Gerry Fleming’s massive seven volume work, Ontario's Educative Society, published in 1971, titled Supporting Institutions and Services.
This paper was prepared from a set of notes put together for the archivist, Martha Tufts, who was employed by OISE (The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) in 2007 when we were celebrating the centennial of education at the University of Toronto (U of T). I was asked to provide something about the formation of the Institute and of its Department of Educational Planning. Early in the centennial preparations, in 2006, my instruction from the editor hired for the purpose was to prepare material for two chapters of a proposed book – say, about 25 typed pages each. One would be on the origin of the Institute, the other about the Department of Educational Planning, at that time the first and only such academic department in the world. There would be a comparable chapter for each of the six initial “divisions” (later departments), the library, field centres etc. A few months later that editor was replaced and the request was to reduce each piece to about 10-15 pages, delete the statistics and add a few pictures. Both chapters should be written in the style of a memoir, describing my personal experience observing the emergence of the decision to establish the Institute and create the Department, and providing a record of my activity during those years, conferring internationally before hiring staff and faculty for Ed Planning
Some months later, much closer to the centennial deadline, the nature of the proposed book was changed again, at the behest of yet another editor – this time, assisted by Martha, the very capable archivist. The book was to be a handsome coffee table book with many photographs accompanied by some commentary. The notion of having a chapter which described the development of each department was discarded. The “origins” finally emerged as a coffee table book – my two-page spread was dominated by a large photograph of our new building – which provided the information contained in the next few paragraphs.
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) was created by an act of the Ontario Legislature on June 22, 1965. It was rushed through at the end of the session in order to accommodate to the academic year which starts July 1st". The actual drafting of the legislation began in March when the Treasury Board approved – in principle - our first budget, $1,850,000. The academic year ‘65/’66 came to be known as the "transition year" in which the employees in the Ontario College of Education (OCE)'s Department of Educational Research (DER) and Department of Graduate Studies (DGS) continued with all their usual duties and were paid their usual salaries by the University of Toronto, and those with new administrative responsibilities were paid an extra stipend by the OISE Board of Governors - and worked 14-16 hour days and weekends for the next twelve months.
Indeed long hours and hard work became a by-word for "faculty load" in OISE. Our building and offices were open 24 hours a day, and nighthawks (like me) were commonly still working at midnight or later. Early birds (like Dr. Jackson, Gerry Fleming and George Flower) generally came in about 6:00-6:30 am, and had the distressing habit of calling meetings for 8:30 am. The public image of OISE Faculty leading a cushy, easy going life for eight months of the year while being paid for twelve was entirely false, and the criticisms of our high salaries were equally ill informed. Most of our critics were ignorant of the fact that our appointments specified that we were entitled to one-month holiday per year, which generally meant two weeks at the end of August and two at the beginning of September. Although, on paper, our teaching was carried out during the usual Fall and Winter terms of the University of Tomato, we also gave courses in Intersession (the four weeks of May and the first half of June) and Summer School (July and the first half of August).
Critics also did not realize that most of our teaching was in the evening (5:30 to 9:00pm) and our days were spent planning research, directing the research of others, doing research, and reporting research, as well as helping to run the Institute through endless, time-consuming committees! The saving grace was that we had as much support as we desired and as much money as we could spend - to find and recruit eager and productive young faculty and research colleagues. We also had the freedom to decide what needed to be done and what we could do. The new OISE was a demanding, but exciting and rewarding place to work. We had no need to write time-consuming research “proposals” to governments and funding agencies. They came to us with research and program proposals, and requests for information and research to help solve their problems.
The Act set out fifteen “functions and objectives" for the new institution, which can be summarized as: RESEARCH: all kinds, basic and applied, related to formal and informal education, and to the institution settings and society in which educational activity takes place; DEVELOPMENT: which extends from research applications - in real conditions in school, college, university, work or other places - to demonstrations, publishing and other forms of dissemination, consultation and service for the (broadly defined) educational system in Ontario; and GRADUATE STUDY: workshops, courses and programs, for credit and non-credit, at the level of certificate and diploma, and for the masters and doctoral degrees of the U of T.
Effectively in 1965 two departments of OCE and a not-for-profit corporation, The Ontario Curriculum Institute (OCI) were joined to form the basis of the new institution. What was the history of the two institutions? More important, who were the people employed in these units; what work had they been doing? How did that work connect to the proposed work of OISE?
The Department of Educational Research (DER) had been created in 1931 by Professor Peter Sandiford, a psychologist employed in OCE. He had obtained a grant from the Carnegie Foundation of New York to adapt the objective tests, which were being used in many American states, for use in Ontario schools. This and other types of activity which might be deemed "research" were of low status and of little interest to the Dean and most of the faculty of OCE, so the DER grew slowly, dependent upon soft money, its people working in isolation and largely ignored. When the initial grant money was exhausted, the Ontario Ministry (then known as The Department) of Education became the DER's patron/client. I think it is fair to say that for the next 35 years the successive Ministers of Education and their senior advisors were more reform minded, more research oriented, more foresighted and appreciative of the importance of education for their people (to the economy, to the society, and to the culture), than the members of the educational establishment of the province.
Educational change by fiat - using legislation and regulation, and providing finance - can be fairly successful in modifying structures and creating new institutions, but educational change in terms of changing people's habits, status systems, notions of what is important and not important, relationships and ways of thinking is more difficult. It is not amenable to fiat. It puts at risk long held traditions and beliefs about the importance of one's own work and ways of addressing problems. So the change process is long-term. It needs sustained support - money, people and time. Fortunately OISE was given all three.
Over the thirty-five academic years of its existence the DER added other kinds of research work, some related to its adaptation of American tests (e.g., developing the Dominion Test series), others addressing Ontario alone – for example: modernizing and creating a new provincial system of grants for schools; conducting two longitudinal research projects (named the Atkinson Study and the Carnegie Study after their initial patrons). It also assisted with other surveys, (e.g., those of the Canadian Universities Foundation (CUF).The Atkinson study followed a large cohort of students from high schools into university and other destinations. The Carnegie followed another cohort from high school entrance through to graduation. In the mid-fifties the DER began providing population and enrollment forecasts to the Ministry and local school boards which needed estimates of how long the baby boom was likely to last.
In 1957 Dr. Robert (Bob) Jackson became the Head of the DER, and the work of the DER greatly expanded. He personally undertook most of the forecasting work, and became the trusted advisor on educational matters to successive Ministers of Education. His small department became a centre providing information and advice on a variety of education-related questions - computers and their use is an example. The DER had its own equipment and used it to process and scale the province's Grade 13 public examination grades for the Ministry. The Grade 13 public examination marks were the major factor used for Ontario universities' admission decisions each year. The computer was also used to process and store the survey data of the longitudinal studies, which could then be used for many other studies. In general the DER also served other researchers from the Ontario boards and universities; and from its inception, the DER employed an editor (Kay Hobday, who became the first Editor for OISE). Publishing books and journals was an important part of the DER’s dissemination role. It also had an excellent specialized education library, much more up-to-date than that of the College. It provided the best personal library service to faculty I have ever encountered, but it was also a resource widely used by education personnel in general.
Although the DER was only one of three OISE ancestors, it was by far the most important in the genesis of the new institution.
Dr.J's influence was not confined to school authorities and their interests. He was both the Head of DER and an academic, a professor of the University of Toronto's School of Graduate Studies. Moreover, he was that rare academic, a professor with his own small band of researchers paid on large sustaining external funds - even though he was somewhat constrained in how he used them. He, therefore, was a valuable member of his own university's policy and planning committees and, through the Committee of Principals and Presidents of Ontario Universities (the ancestor of the Council of Ontario Universities, (COU), he assisted the planning committees of the other provincially funded universities.
By the mid-sixties, however, the very success of the DER was a constant source of frustration to its Head and Assistant Head. Virtually independent of OCE, with a steady (but earmarked and limited) supply of soft money, the continuance of "the firm" was assured but its expansion denied. Their vision of what research was needed and might be undertaken was so much greater than what they could undertake! They could dream. They could describe what might be. They could describe what should be. But only a large, well-funded, independent Institute could fulfill the dream. It was long overdue.
The Department of Graduate Studies was another neglected stepchild of OCE, irrelevant to its main work, unimportant to its purpose, and in the mid-sixties involving only a few faculty. The DGS staff consisted of two professors who had no relevant relationship with the faculty of the DER. They were professors of the college and also members of the U of T's Graduate School, but the academic colleagues of George Flower and Cliff Pitt were scattered and had full time jobs elsewhere. This faculty group taught in, and administered, a general MEd program (largely taken by practicing teachers, studying part time, in the evening), and an Ed.D. program which required one year of full-time study and a thesis, and served a handful of students each year, who then returned to their jobs and worked on their doctoral theses in their spare time. Professor George Flower and Professor Cliff Pitt were chiefs without a band; an orchestra leader and first violin with players who turned up now and then to play a tune.
They had developed the same entrepreneurial flair as Dr. J. but without his access to funds. Restricted by a small budget and low stipends, they had to create a teaching program with no regular teachers. Some few U of T professors occasionally taught a course for a stipend. From time to time, some of the faculty of the DER taught a course without stipend; teaching did not appear in their job description and did not reduce their work responsibilities. From time to time, some of the research personnel of the Boards of Education in Metropolitan Toronto taught a course (on stipend). Given the number of stipends and unpaid volunteers available, putting together a set of interesting offerings each year was no small achievement, but it was no way to run the graduate program for one of the major universities in the country!
There was frustration on all sides, not least on the part of the President of the U of T who was dissatisfied with the whole relationship of OCE to the University. This condition had existed since the inception of graduate study in Education in the College. That it continued until 1965 is not only indicative of its low status in the College, it is also indicative of the low academic status of the field of Education in the University. If Education had been of high academic value the University would have allocated more of its own financial resources to nourish DGS in the College. It would have insisted that a sizeable proportion of college faculty be qualified to teach at the graduate level and become members of the Graduate School. It would have taken a greater interest in, and exercised more critical oversight of, the whole degree credit, graduate program in Education.
ONTARIO CURRICULUM INSTITUTE (OCI)
The third ancestor of OISE, The Ontario Curriculum Institute (OCI), was founded in 1963 under the Direction of the former Superintendent of Secondary Education for the City of Toronto, Dr. H.H. Morgan. It grew, more or less, out of the work and report of a joint committee of the Toronto Board and the U of T. The Committee had been created in 1960 because there was a perceived disconnect between subjects as taught at the secondary school level and the contemporary conceptions of these disciplines as taught at the university level. In response, five joint subject committees were set up to work full time during the summer. They consisted of practicing teachers and professors who, together with educational consultants, would (a) advise on the reform of secondary school English, mathematics, sciences, social sciences and foreign languages, and (b) prepare teachers' manuals and learning materials suitable for use in the reformed curricula.
The Curriculum Institute was financially more solidly based than the Joint Committee which initially had only a small Ford Foundation grant. OCI received funds annually from the Ministry, a number of Ontario school boards and the teachers' federations. Therefore, it could extend the life and expand the membership of the committees, so that they could visit and report on curriculum reform elsewhere in the Anglophone world, write more teaching manuals, and produce more materials for use in the cooperating schools. I think some of the other DER faculty were involved with the OCI committees. In 1964, I was asked to chair the Committee for the Social Sciences, and did so through 1968. I found its meetings, work and members interesting, informative and highly competent.
The problem of the Curriculum Institute was that it lacked full-time committee members and an adequate income. By 1965 it was running out of funds; it was inadequate for its task. The OCI did not actually join OISE from the outset, although that was the original intention. It was expected that Dr. Morgan would become the Coordinator for Development and Field Studies, but he accepted an appointment in Switzerland. Therefore, in 1966, Dr. Ken Pruter, formerly Director of the Etobicoke Board of Education, took the post.
Now for some of my memories of how OISE came about...I joined the DER in January 1964, a crucial time in the genesis of the Institute. I was the complete outsider. Education is not my field, although I once taught school (1946 to 1948) as a supply teacher, while I was writing my doctoral thesis. I had never studied in an Ontario school; I come from Montreal. The U of T was not my University. I did my undergraduate studies at McGill (Honours in English and History), my master’s degree at Smith College (History and Government), my PhD at Harvard (Modem European History, with France as my specialty) and my post doc in Demography - which, at that time, was a unit within the Department of Sociology - at the London School of Economics, in England. For a year I was a stagière at the National Institute for Demographic Studies (l’INED), in Paris, financed by LSE.I had been a member of LSE's research faculty for four years before I retired (for eleven years) to have children and be a full time Mum.
We returned to Canada in 1959 and my husband’s job was in Toronto. By 1963 my children were in full time school, so I was now free to take a job. More precisely, I was looking for information which would lead to an interesting job, preferably a university faculty appointment, but since they were scarce on the ground in Toronto at that time, I would consider anything provided it would allow for the use of my background, knowledge and skills, and give promise of a rewarding career.
On the recommendation of Ed Wright, the research director for the Toronto Board of Education, I walked into the DER office one morning in November 1963 and asked to see someone who was involved in research. I was ushered into the office of Dr. Gerald Fleming, “Gerry”, the Assistant Head of the DER, and started to interview him about the nature and range of research which they classified as "educational research". After about ten minutes he said, "Sit tight for a few minutes I think you should see Dr. Jackson". What ensued was a two hour, three-way conversation between Gerry, myself and Dr. J. in which they described the work of the DER and the limitations of funding under which they operated, and I kept saying, "Why don't you do …," or "That could be extended to incorporate..."; and they would ask, "How would you do?...", or "How do you see the relationship between ... and ?" Altogether it was an exciting experience, but it was evident that they did not have any job vacancies.
What I learned later was that my employment at the DER was a fine example of the working of an "old boy network". The head of the demography unit in LSE was a sociologist, Professor David Glass. He and Dr.J had been doctoral students at London University. They had worked together on population projections and other demographic tasks before the Second World War. As soon as I left the office, Dr. J phoned Glass. Glass gave me a good reference, saying that, had I stayed in England it was expected that I would return to LSE as a Senior Research Officer (a faculty appointment equivalent to Associate Professor in Canada). So Dr.J. and Gerry decided they must employ me somehow.
By that afternoon they had figured out how. There was some surplus money in the secretary budget of one of their contracts. I accepted their offer, over the phone. They would hire me for six months at a salary of $600 per month as a secretary. Why did I accept, when I was looking for a university appointment? Because Gerry added, "We don't know what we are really going to call you, some sort of academic assistant to Dr. J. He wants you to take over some of his work, particularly all the forecasting. He is very interested in your ideas about model building, particularly simulation computer models. And he will guarantee a faculty appointment starting next July. Meanwhile he wants you to think about a whole research program he would like you to head, incorporating some of the things we talked about this morning. Don't worry about costs; he will get you the necessary external funding for the program. Just define the projects which will be part of the program, how many research assistants and other staff you will need, and roughly how much the whole thing would cost for, say, three years. How soon can you start?"
How could I resist such an offer? I could not start the next day because I had to find a housekeeper (who would cost almost my entire salary), but I did immediately start planning the kind of research program I wanted to conduct, its projects, and the faculty, research and non-academic staff l would need to hire.
What Dr. J and Gerry had in mind, of course, was not my role in the DER but in the new institution which was already simmering on the back burner. I joined the DER at a strategic time in January 1964. A year later Dr. J told a meeting of the employees of the DER that Mr. Davis, the Minister of Education, had agreed to create a new independent institution for educational research with the DER as its core, and he invited us to give him “ideas on what we want it to look like".
What he did not say was that the mandate and nature of O1SE; its institutional arrangements, internal structure, Board of Governors, and relationship to the U of T; the types of faculty, research and other personnel needed; the plans for its sources of revenue, the needed minimum size of its annual income, and the sizes and budgets of its internal units; and, even, our preferences for its location had all been studied. Alternatives had been discussed, over and over, for the better part of a year. There was much consultation not only with people like me but, in terms of negotiations, with other more important people. All the written materials I produced, all the discussion I was part of, or privy to, were strictly confidential, not to be discussed even with the other members of the DER.
I realized shortly after I joined the DER that I was very privileged because I was the outsider. All the other faculty of the DER either held U of T doctorates or were working on them. Most had been Dr. J.'s students . They had knowledge of Ontario's educational traditions and institutions, of course, and of the other provinces of Canada, but not much about the rest of the world. I was ignorant of Education and its history in Ontario. However, I was given time to "read my way into the field". For the first six months I spent about one-third of my days working through library materials on such things as tests and measurement, curriculum, educational administration, special education and adult education. Here, Shirley Wigmore, the librarian (who became OISE's first librarian), was a marvelous resource. We worked together; she educated me. "I want to learn about test development over the next three weeks", I would say. And she would have text books, a pile of off prints of journal articles, and examples of tests ready for me every few days. As I returned them to the library, she had the next lot ready, saying "I think you'd better have a look at these as well."
The DER weekly meeting reporting the progress and problems of each research project was also an important educating experience. As I listened to each of the senior faculty report, I would reflect on their work in terms of my own research experience. Also, I think because I was the outsider, Dr.J. and Gerry felt free to air their complaints and ideas to me, and to ask for my opinion about matters developing outside of the DER in the Ministry and in the university world. And I was a useful "go for". I used the University libraries and archives (the latter in a terrible mess in the Office of Dr. Ross, the University Registrar), and the archives of the Ministry and the province to prepare materials for both of them
The important detailed discussions and negotiations were mostly handled by Gerry. I merely heard of them after the fact when I met with him and Dr. J. to mull over developments. He met with Ministry personnel (Clare Wescott, Mr. Davis's Executive Assistant, and Tom Campbell, Head of the Policy and Priorities Board), with University top brass (President Bissell and Vice President Woodside of the U of T, and Dean Sirluck of the Graduate School), and with all of the important figures in the educational establishment of the province.
I remember writing long "memos" (10 to 15 pages) to Dr. J and Gerry, and having long "kaffee klatching" conversations - particularly with Gerry - about such things as the pros and cons of various internal arrangements - for example, the relationship of project directors, and principal investigators to other faculty and staff. I saw the former two as the type of faculty I had been at London School of Economics ( LSE) – faculty who are commonly found in the major universities of England, France and Germany –whose main job is the conduct and supervision of research. Their teaching role is usually confined to giving the odd lecture once in a while, and fostering the work of a few "research students" (i.e., to thesis supervision).
For the memos, I would do some library research, describe the current alternatives, and then add critical comments and my own opinion. Examples of the materials prepared were: on patterns of university organization in other countries; on university-based research centres and independent ones like the Max Planck Institute in Germany; on clusters of programs versus departments versus divisions in universities; on alternatives to Deans; on various ways of coordinating research work; on what seemed to be a good balance between faculty working on large research projects and on their individual research interests; on how much funding to provide for inquiry, curiosity - driven research; on ways of providing intellectual space for our professors without letting the young ones waste their time and "fly off' in all directions”; on ways of protecting the career development and mobility of faculty who move back and forth from one big research project to another as their interest in new kinds of work develops; on alternatives to such bureaucratic mechanisms as cross appointments, which tend to continue long after they have been productive. We three wanted to avoid the mechanistic, bookkeeping impression of splitting a professor’s time (percentage wise) between one unit/program and another. We thought OISE faculty should move freely across internal “boundaries” as their work interests changed.
Gerry, in particular, was very concerned that the large number of newly recruited faculty would quickly outnumber us and set about changing the institution. Most would bring with them knowledge only of how things work in a graduate faculty of a university, not how things work in a research intensive institute. In their ignorance, they could easily destroy our good relationship with the educational establishment of the province and the Ontario Government. Many of them might well see power and political authority as the enemy, not as our guarantee of existence in a hostile world.
Dr. J., Gerry and I had many a conversation about mechanisms to foster, ensure and protect the research - to implementation continuum (of academic theoretical research, to applied research, to academic dissemination; to field application and demonstration; and, finally, to popular dissemination). These meetings usually took the form of Gerry and D. J suggesting and proposing, my listening and then going off to the library to find examples and returning to argue the pros and cons of existing models.
At this time, big research projects were thought to show great promise, so we spent much time considering how to ensure that faculty time and project funding would be guaranteed from year to year; so that promising projects would not abort because funding "ran out". "How long should projects be allowed to run?", was a question I found difficult to answer decisively, so many factors were involved; not the least were such questions as: “How obvious and pressing is the need to solve the problem?” “Who wants an answer?”; “Who else is working on these questions?”
Since interdisciplinary research teams were also in fashion at the time, we discussed how to lure academics from the social sciences, and from such fields as information management, cybernetics, operations research, engineering and town planning, and persuade them to leave the security of their disciplines and come to work in the field of Education. We needed the newcomers' lenses to have a new look at the problems and politics of educational systems (operating schools, colleges and universities), at their operating personnel and organizations (teachers and administrators, teachers federations and faculty unions) and at the processes and content of teaching and learning, listening and hearing, and the nature of information, knowledge and understanding. We had to be willing to offer the newcomers more than faculty titles, travel funds and other fees, good salaries and research support. We had to give them a stake in the success of O1SE. We would start with no traditions, no rituals, no history of collegiality - except for what had obtained in the DER, which was a friendly place, but decidedly not a typical university department. How would we build a strong esprit de corps? How could we forge a common identity with, and loyalty to, the Institute rather than to the University, or to some clique or small group of like-minded academics?
I remember well one discussion we three had about academic tenure. We agreed it could be divisive and lead to excessive competition. It could lead to emphasis upon the quantity of research and development work, rather than the quality achieved. It could lead to academic cliques and politicize working teams. We three were not in favour of having a formal "tenure track system", but we thought the new recruits, especially young faculty coming straight from defending their PhDs would expect it. We were right in our assumption. The first question I was asked by most of the faculty I interviewed in the first five years of rapid expansion was, "Is this a tenure track job?" And my answer was, "No, you will have the same tenure as I have. Your future career will depend entirely on your work."
The first discussion with the Minister about the details and nature of an institute was based on a paper written by Gerry, describing a large specialized research unit which would be in the U of T, but not entirely of it, and not in OCE . It would be independent and funded in part by an annual grant from the Ministry. It would report both to the Minister and to the academic vice-president of the University. It could draw independent contract income from other Ontario Ministries, from other Canadian provincial authorities and the federal government. It could draw funds from international agencies and foundations, and from foreign governments. Its work would not be exclusive to this university. Although located in Toronto the Institute would have frequent interaction with all the educational institutions in Ontario, and, in particular, with the research departments of the other university-based colleges of education.
The first informal response asked for more details, particularly about our vision of the theoretical research - to service continuum, with examples of how research could help inform policy and day to day practice, and could assist data-based decision-making. Several long memos were prepared for discussion with government officials.
The next informal response was that our idea of a research institute was favourably viewed by the Minister and the Cabinet, but the type envisaged, within the U of T, was too complicated managerially and in terms of university policy and funding. An independent research institution was more desirable, but not simply an R & D institute. That would be too limited in purpose. Would we please add a graduate teaching function with information on a series of "for credit" graduate programs (masters level and doctoral) of a range comparable to that envisaged for the research programs. That immediately raised the delicate issue of OISE having degree granting powers, which we had been carefully avoiding. In Canada there have been a few examples of specialized institutions granting degrees, but they are rare and short-lived. Eventually they affiliate with the nearest university.
The senior administrators of U of T, who were supportive of an independent research institute, objected to having two institutions in Toronto offering master and doctoral programs in Education. It was unnecessarily expensive. We were sympathetic to their view, and we thought it might be possible for OISE to have degree granting power on paper, but deferred for some years. Meantime, arrangements could be made with several universities, including the U of T, to offer joint graduate programs. That idea did not fly either. It was too complicated and likely the U of T would not agree to participate. Moreover, we well recognized that OISE would need the active support of the U of T. We needed access to its libraries. We needed the assistance of its faculty to recruit new young faculty from the social sciences. It probably would facilitate the recruitment of all types of faculty and staff if we were associated in some way with the University of Toronto.
The easy move would be to annex OCE's Department of Graduate Studies – or at least its two full-time professors - to the new institute and sign an affiliation agreement with the University to fulfill our teaching function by offering programs for their degrees. In theory this was acceptable to the Minister and the Cabinet, but would it be acceptable to the University, and the Dean of OCE? If we followed that route we did not want our graduate studies to be constrained by association with the existing OCE graduate programs or by undue bureaucratic interference from the U of T Graduate School.
My understanding is that, in the ensuing negotiations, Dean Dadson did not seem to be too disturbed by the loss of the DER, but he was loath to lose the graduate programs. Even though he and his faculty (all involved in the teacher training program) were not teaching the current graduate courses, and were not highly regarded for their scholarship by the University or by the educational establishment of the province, the Dean felt that OCE would be diminished without its Department of Graduate Studies. However, in the negotiations, he was outgunned. OCE retained master’s level programs, but for many years its graduate work was constrained and poorly supported.
President Bissell and his senior colleagues had long been convinced of the need for a well-funded research institution to address educational policy, practice and problems. They approved of the development of greatly expanded graduate programs in Education. They agreed they should be developed together with the research programs. If the University awarded the degrees, they could ensure that the complement and range of OISE’s programs were in accord with the quality standards of the School, without interfering with OISE's internal arrangements. All OISE faculty who taught in credit programs would have to be members of the Graduate School of the University. Their vitae would have to be reviewed and approved by the School. All specialized credit programs would be subject to the general rules and processes which governed master and doctoral work in the University. In other words, the University would exercise general academic oversight.
Would it also be flexible and generous about the financial arrangements relating to graduate studies? Yes. For the first decade OISE paid the university a modest administration fee (which did not begin to cover the additional expense), and retained the students’ tuition, and later their basic income grants (BIUs) from the provincial government. The university was content to see graduate studies leave OCE - although it was suggested that the College might develop a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for school teachers, a program independent of OISE's masters and doctoral programs.
Why was OISE created in this manner? Why not simply provide large funds to OCE to transform its DER and DGS? Why not provide the funds to the University of Toronto to transform OCE itself? In my opinion, in simplified terms, these alternatives were rejected because there was no confidence that OCE would, or could, transform itself. It would need to attract the type of faculty capable of developing its research and graduate teaching work and integrating them into the teacher training program and the entire life of the College. (For details of previous reform attempts see Gerry's Fleming's magnum opus referred to above.) Even though Dean Dadson was willing to take on the task, the politicians and most of the educational and academic establishment in Ontario did not think OCE could complete it successfully. It was decided that OISE must be free of OCE; that was essential for its success.
Why make this change at that time? Why create OISE in 1965'?
Actually something like OISE was long overdue in Ontario. The province lagged far behind Alberta and British Columbia in the provision for graduate study and research in Education. Since the Second World War there had been a growing perception that a well-educated population was the necessary foundation for a post-modern industrial society -for its political stability, its economic growth, its health and its culture. In the late fifties and early sixties Ontario had transformed the structure of its school programs to accommodate higher participation rates through to the completion of secondary school, but the process of schooling had not changed to ensure high general success. New universities had been created to serve the increased flow of students (the product of the baby boom which follows major wars). A post-secondary college system was being designed (and was also announced in 1965). Further changes could be anticipated. - in the education of elementary school teachers, in the size of local boards of education, in educational finance, in the examination and testing system, in the architecture of schools, in special education for atypical children, in adult education and training.
Most of the post World War II structural changes had been made without the benefit of much research investigation, although the industry of education had become big business. In 1965 Education was the largest expenditure item in the provincial budget. What other industry had grown in range and importance so rapidly without investing heavily in research - particularly in research related to its processes, the education and training of its personnel, and the needs of its clientele?
Moreover, Ontario was rich and growing richer. The province could afford an OISE. Since World War II it had experienced three phenomena which rarely occur concurrently, and which were prolonged: (1) The familiar rapid young family formation called "the baby boom" (which in Ontario lasted much longer than in the US or Europe), (2) an "economic boom" (which continued the industrial growth required by the war - which had transformed the provincial economy - and permitted the entrance into work, without unrest, of the young returning military personnel); and (3) an "immigration boom" (to some extent to settle persons displaced by the European war, but fueled even more by the growing need for manpower and the promise of jobs and a high standard of living).
And politically the time was right. The deus ex machina of OISE was Bill Davis, then the Minister of Education, later the provincial Premier. He saw the need for a large independent research and teaching institute for Education, one of high status, one which could become nationally and internationally recognized for its excellence. He also was politically astute. He recognized that locally OISE would have a fair number of critics and would need both his political support and the U of T’s academic support for several decades. One does not introduce a big new fish in a pond without producing large waves.
Why use the two departments of OCE as the basis for OISE? Why not? What other basis was readily available in Ontario? The Conservative party had been in office in the province for many years, and Dr. Jackson had been the trusted educational advisor to Premiers Frost and Robarts. He was a respected scholar. His past services and his trusted relationship to Minister Davis made him the obvious first Director for OISE and the employees of his DER, plus the two administrators of the DGS its obvious founding members.
But if the Minister was the instigator, the deus ex machine and Dr. J the facilitator, the architect of OISE was Gerry Fleming. He designed the edifice. He carried to success the negotiations with the Minister's personnel and the University's senior administrators. For the first few years he ran the day to day operation of OISE (until he and Dr J. quarreled and he retired to write his magnum opus). He was both the first Assistant Director and the Coordinator of Divisions –(i.e., under our original concept of R and D, he coordinated all activity except the graduate studies programs). He chose the first Division Heads, recruiting Dr. John Andrews and Dr. Marion Jenkinson from the University of Alberta for Educational Administration, and Curriculum; Dr. Floyd Robinson for Applied Psychology; Dr. Roby Kidd for Adult Education; Dr. Howard Russell, the Research Director of the Scarborough Board, for the Development Office; and from the DER - Dr. John Flower for Computer Applications and Data Systems, Dr. Willard Brehaut for Foundations (History and Philosophy of Education), Dr. Vincent d'Oyley for Tests, Measurement and Evaluation, and me for Educational Planning. Dr. Kidd joined us in 1966/67 and Dr. Jenkinson, a year later. Dr. Flower did not develop his Division. In 1967/68 he resigned to take up an administrative position in the Faculty of Medicine and his “portfolio” was attached to the Division of Vincent d’Oyley to become MECA.
Dr. Jenkinson stayed in Toronto only three terms and then returned to Alberta. She had liked our concept of the research – to application - to services continuum, as had Dr. Morgan of the Curriculum Institute. But when the OCI was transferred to OISE on July 1, 1966 and Dr. Ken Pruter was recruited as Coordinator for Field Studies, the concept was changed. It was clear that Dr. Pruter saw Field Studies as a separate fiefdom independent of the Divisions and the ongoing research of OISE. He wished to plant small field offices around the province to serve the local Boards of Education.. With only one or two research personnel in each, cut off from the OISE Divisions, they would prove to be an expensive side-line. Marion Jenkinson disagreed with the new arrangement. She predicted that the field faculty would be isolated, their work ignored, irrelevant to the work of Divisions, and not enriched by constant interaction with the work of the main body of faculty in Toronto. She felt that some Divisions, particularly Curriculum and Educational Administration would be fundamentally weakened if their faculty were thus fragmented - those in Toronto cut off from field studies. She felt that this was a complete change in the philosophy of R & D. which had attracted her to OISE. This she could not accept. Her old university welcomed her back out West.
I felt her departure keenly because that left me as the only senior female faculty member of OISE. For the next decade OISE was a very masculine place. Administrators, faculty, students and many research staff were men. Some of the professional administrative staff, and most of the general staff were women. For some years I was the only female Division (later Department) Head. and full professor, although I early recruited another female demographer to Ed. Planning (Dr. Betty Macleod formerly of the United Nations in New York and of Concordia in Montreal), and, in 1970, Dr. Sue Padro (straight off her PhD at Florida State University – she was one of Banghart’s graduates). In the 1970s women were gradually recruited in the Department of Applied Psychology, Adult Ed, Ed Admin and MECA - as lecturers and assistant Professors generally. Usually I found myself the only woman faculty member on Institute committees. In terms of gender the academic personnel of OISE was slow to change; real change took more than a decade and that had not been our original intention.
From 1966 to1970, as we recruited rapidly, all the new senior faculty and almost all of the juniors were male. To attract many of the former we created new Divisions (Departments) - Dr. Brian Dockrell (also from Alberta) for Special Education; Dr. Jan Loubser (from South Africa) for Sociology. A Division of Modem Languages was intended when we recruited Dr. David Stem from England but, by that time, the Board felt that undue fragmentation was developing. Instead, a Modern Language Centre was created within Curriculum and rapidly developed into OISE's most successful centre. It was a department in all but name, with an excellent, well-integrated teaching and research program.
During 1969/70 OISE entered upon a new era. The Ministry decided that our multi-purpose block grant should be terminated. Henceforth, for a limited time (probably about a decade) OISE would have two main streams of annual public funding. For graduate studies we were placed on the same formula as the Ontario universities. In simple terms, each of our full time masters students brought in two basic income (grant) units per year, and each of our full time doctoral students, six. The funding for part time students was pro-rated. Our general purpose block grant was replaced by an R &D Fund to which the Education faculty of all universities in the province, and even independent researchers, could apply for research funds. The fund would reduce steadily over the next five years, but might be continued in some form after that. The priorities of this large-scale research contract program would be defined each year by the Ministry of Education. Small-scale and personal interest research priorities would be set and funded internally. Except for some protected funding for OISE's field centres, the Fund was wide open to competition. Some OISE contracts - like the Ed Planning Department’s annual provision of long range forecasts of enrollment and teacher supply/demand, and the projects providing data to minister’s committees and commissions - were guaranteed, and they were funded annually from another source. So, for many years, the external funds of my department were “protected”, but that was not general throughout the Institute.
Few of my colleagues seemed to realize the implications of this change. I, however, felt that Dr.J. had not negotiated sufficiently hard when these new arrangements had been at the discussion phase. I wrote him a long memo about the likely harmful future effects on OISE’s work of the new funding scheme. (Gerry refers to this memo in the publication referred to above). I also spoke to my colleagues on the executive of the OISE Faculty Association (OISEFA) about the Fund and its effect ; but we took no action. Most faculty saw the new fund as an opportunity, an additional source for which they could write project proposals and obtain additional funds. They did not see it as a threat to their academic freedom to decide on their research, independently each year. They did not foresee that henceforth our graduate studies function would outpace our research function.
How an institution draws its income determines how it spends its energies. Over the next 26 years Graduate Studies gradually replaced Research and Development as the prime concern of OISE faculty. Large projects could only be started with external funding from international, national, provincial, or local agencies. Writing project proposals and competing for external funding is not only time-consuming, it’s rife with political pitfalls, competition, and the short-term “fashions” of interest groups. The OISE faculty's individual research and publishing continued unabated, but the sum of the parts no longer represented a series of integrated long-term research programs.
Following the transition year (1965-66), what effect did the creation of OISE have upon the rest of OCE which was left behind? Immediately, I think, none. Neither the DER nor DGS were part of the daily life of OCE. I think the faculty scarcely noted the absence of personnel, most of whom had not even been housed in the OCE building. In the long run, however, I think it postponed the fundamental reform which OCE much needed. But that is another story.
What of the development of the Institute, from about 1970 to 1996 when OISE lost its independent Board of Governors and was joined with a much remodeled OCE to become the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education in all but name? That too is another story, yet to be told.
OISE, as that unusual “think tank” with very innovative doctoral programs, has not been forgotten - particularly in the UK and Europe. I am often asked: “How does OISE fare now that it’s part of the big U of T?” and,“What happened to the Department of Education Planning which flourished from 1965 to 1982? Why was it closed?” A brief account of its origins and history is forthcoming.
I hope that when they read this paper my retired colleagues of the early days will consult their diaries and write accounts of their departments from 1965 to 1975 when Dr.J. retired and was replaced by Cliff Pitt, and of the later period from 1975 to 1996. In 1996 OISE was not merely expanded to include a large school of pre-service teacher education, its nature had altered and it was radically re-altered for a second time. We academics are perfunctory about preparing, maintaining and retaining old records of our activities. With the periodic recurring internal re-organizational games of “musical chairs”, wherein portions of traditional departments, institutes and centres drift from one institutional setting to another- which seems to have become a feature of “modern” universities – it is more than ever important that we preserve the archives which provide evidence of our past. (2012)