An arbitrator has ruled against former professor Denis Rancourt’s bid to reclaim his job at the University of Ottawa.
In a Jan. 27 decision, Claude Foisy concluded there was no reason to reverse the university’s decision to fire Rancourt, who was previously a tenured professor at the U of O, for continuing to act against its standards for objective grading.
The university dismissed Rancourt in 2009 for giving an A+ to all 23 students in his advanced physics course in 2008.
Foisy concluded that Rancourt was “well aware” that the university did not agree with his method of evaluation, but “continued to defy the administration.”
“Is the dismissal the appropriate remedy in the circumstances? The short answer is yes,” he said.
After the decision, Rancourt told the Ottawa Citizen that Foisy’s conclusion “will put a chill on innovation” in university classrooms.
“It will make instruction even more boring than it has been in the past,” he said.
However, Foisy noted in the decision that he was “in no way passing judgment on the value of Professor Rancourt’s teaching method, which calls for removing a student’s stress by not grading.”
“It may very well be that such a method of teaching results in improved learning for the physics students,” he said.
But his conclusion came from the notion that the university maintains the right “to decide and manage its institution in a manner in which students are objectively evaluated and graded comparatively one against the other.”
The U of O said the decision “speaks for itself” and would not comment further.