Sep 232010

Your quick phone call or email will serve the general public interest of people across Canada. 

Please, will you contact the new Dean of the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan?  And pass this along to friends who might do the same?  wherever you may live. 

The dean’s name is Daphne Taras.

Scroll down – –  a picture of her and copy of the Notice of Appointment is appended. 

Daphne was interviewed by Anna Maria Tremonti, Monday Sept 13th on “The Current”.

You can listen for yourself.  She seems to be speaking for “the people”, but she certainly doesn’t represent my understanding of things.  (   Click on “Part 2, New faces in Saskatoon”.)  

Daphne won’t know she is out-of-synch if she doesn’t receive feedback.  I phoned and left a voice message for her.   And have followed-up with below, a copy of what I sent to “The Current”. 

Old-timers in our network will know of my concerns over the direction of university education.

Some University of Saskatchewan alumni, myself included and through the efforts of our network, got elected to the University Senate which is the voice of the community in the governance of the University.   Our first Senate meeting is on October 16th.  The meeting is open to the public and to media.  

Your assistance in providing a different vision to the new Dean of the Business School, through a phone call or email, serves the public interest.   We new Senators can help effect a change in direction, but your help is needed. 



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Daphne Taras

306 966 4785  (The receptionist will transfer the call to the Dean’s office)  Email:   taras  AT 

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EMAIL SENT TO “THE CURRENT”, copy to Daphne: 

September 13, 2010 

Dear Anna-Maria, 

You interviewed Daphne Taras, new Dean of the Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan.   Daphne comes from Calgary.   I am not sure that in two months she has learned enough to speak for the people of the province. 

Daphne is correct that the University belongs to the people of Saskatchewan. 

She does not mention that we are seeing a steady takeover of the University by corporations and corporate values.  Corporate values are different from the human, community and environmental values of the people of Saskatchewan. 

The Business School will not tackle the societal problem of, for example, the ability of corporations to pass their environmental and health costs off to the people of Saskatchewan and Alberta to pay.  The Toxicology Department will not engage in public efforts to prevent poisons from going into our water supply, whether these are locally-produced or whether they come from upstream cross-border petro-chemical activity. 

The University in its Economics and Business curriculum pays lip service to critical problems such as that GDP does not account for resource depletion.   This is at a time when Saskatchewan is in the throes of a resource fire-sale, Alberta style, accompanied by depletion of clean water, soil, and air.  We are slowly poisoning ourselves and killing life support systems.  It does not bode well for future generations.   Is the University providing any leadership in helping the people of Saskatchewan transition to an economy that is based on real values that serve the longterm interests of the people who live here?  

The health of the electoral system is fundamental to healthy functioning democracy.   But the Political Science department hasn’t helped create a drive to change our obsolete and dysfunctional first-past-the-post electoral system.  The public sphere is in bad need of remedies, of new thinking, at a time when the University is selling out to corporate and vested interests in the status quo. 

The arguments presented by Martha Nussbaum in her book “Not for Profit, Why Democracy Needs the Humanities” makes the case for the importance of the liberal arts at all levels of education.   But the University is cutting back requirements and funding for liberal arts education.   There is a huge conflict-of-interest between corporatocracy and democracy.

Mixing Nussbaum’s words with my own:  The arts and humanities are historically central to education because they are essential for creating competent democratic citizens.  Education has lost its direction.  Focused on economic growth that is falsely measured, Daphne Taras speaks of education as though its goal is to teach students to be economically productive rather than to think critically and become knowledgeable and empathetic citizens capable of informed discussion for effective problem-solving.  The short-sighted focus on profitable skills is at the expense of the skills we need to criticize authority which is essential to holding that “authority” responsible.   Imagination, critical to the ability to see the world through the eyes of “the other”, is suppressed instead of being developed.  The focus on profitable skills thus reduces our sympathy with people who are marginalized and different.  It damages our competence to deal with complex global problems. The loss of these basic capacities jeopardizes the health of democracies and the hope for a decent world.  The corporate university is a big step backwards;  it is smashing the main pillar that is necessary to democracy, a liberal arts education.  It seems to be done in ignorance of history and because there is an inability of the academy to imagine and to create truly new visions for a better world.   There is too much corporate-speak, propaganda.   It makes one wonder whether the administrators have encountered and taken lessons from the literature of George Orwell.

People in Saskatchewan will resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the faulty measurement called gross national product.  We will work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give students the capacity to be true democratic citizens of their countries and the world. 

We care about the lessons being taught to our young people.  “Integrity”, the word used by Dean Daphne Taras, is not a word to be tossed around lightly.

Sandra Finley


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Appointments Notices

University of Saskatchewan:
Daphne Taras, Dean, Edwards School of Business

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daphne Taras

From The Globe and Mail

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is pleased to announce Daphne Taras as the new dean of the Edwards School of Business.

As the U of S continues to grow and diversify its programming, the Edwards School of Business will benefit from Daphne’s years of leadership experience. She began her academic career in 1994 and has held a number of positions at the University of Calgary, including a professorship in public policy and her current appointment as associate dean (research) at the Haskayne School of Business.

She has an honours BA and MA in political science from York and Duke universities, an MBA and PhD from Calgary, and holds an LLM in labour and employment law from Osgoode Hall. 

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