Recollections of Waterloo College: A Memoir by One of Wilfrid Laurier University's Best-Known and Revered Instructors

Description

150 pages
Contains Photos
$24.95
ISBN 0-88920-473-X
DDC 378.713'45'092

Author

Year

2004

Contributor

Alexander D. Gregor is director of the Centre for Higher Education
Research and Development at the University of Manitoba and co-editor of
Postsecondary Education in Canada: The Cultural Agenda.

Review

The recollections are those of an English instructor who in 1948 joined
the small Lutheran Waterloo College (then in an affiliation relationship
with the University of Western Ontario) and stayed, until 1978, as an
integral part of that institution through its ultimate emergence as the
independent Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier
University). The memoirs depend primarily on memory and do not pretend
to offer a detached historiography. The author was very much part of the
politics (church, government, and academic) and the personal and social
relationships that shaped the institution’s evolution; the subjective,
first-hand perspective she offers contributes valuable insights into the
dynamics of postsecondary development during a period of critical growth
and change.

Although Roy’s story is specific to Waterloo College, in many
respects—having to do with topics ranging from academic freedom to the
emerging influence of the sciences—it presents a case study of events
common to institutions across the country. Waterloo College provides a
useful example of the tensions pervading post-secondary institutions
that attempted to retain a denominational identity in a public system;
and of small liberal arts colleges that struggled to maintain an
academic identity in settings where they were obliged to act as
affiliated or federated colleges under the “supervision” of a public
(and secular) provincial university.

Recollections offer the reader compelling vignettes of student and
faculty life, and that of the larger community. The author recounts
changes she observed in the basic content and format of teaching and
learning. She also discusses the pressures of growth and external forces
(like the emerging fear of Communism) and their effect on people who
found their beliefs and values challenged without the benefits of
today’s legal protections. The area of Kitchener/Waterloo itself, with
its sizable population of German immigrants, was a centre of special
tension during the years around both world wars—within the academy as
well as the larger community—and this story is sympathetically
presented.

With its unique and balanced perspective, Recollections is a fine
contribution to both social and educational history.

Citation

Roy, Flora., “Recollections of Waterloo College: A Memoir by One of Wilfrid Laurier University's Best-Known and Revered Instructors,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/14793.