EVENT Sep 29
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Education and the Future of Work

Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Organization: Georgian College
Categories: Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2023-09-29 to 2023-09-30 Abstract Due: 2023-06-26

The world of work is rapidly changing and postsecondary education is changing along with it. In Canada and many other countries around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic caused waves of job losses and furloughs, but also was the catalyst for vast new programs of public support for workers and employers, and experiments in remote work and job-sharing. It also highlighted the crucial role played by essential workers, including frontline healthcare workers and educators, who carried out their work in the face of arduous conditions, wage freezes and faltering public systems. The pandemic likewise accelerated the adoption of new digital apps and platforms in the realms of education, healthcare, government, and business. These tools enabled online learning and remote work, and also created new opportunities for entrepreneurialism. At the same time, they led to the “uberization” of some jobs, allowing businesses to hire independent contract workers instead of employees. All of this has unfolded in the face of a demographic crunch that is resulting in a flood of retirements and a shrinking number of the young workers needed to sustain both economic growth and an increasingly strained social state.

As educators we face great challenges in trying to grasp and respond to these seismic shifts in the work landscape. On the one hand, our job is to help our students thrive in the emerging world of work, while also helping them to identify and resist changes that threaten their well-being. But we are also compelled to reckon with how the same forces are transforming the conditions of our work, for better or for worse. These are the some of the central concerns that we will explore at this conference. 

Discussion topics will include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What did we learn from the pandemic about online learning? How does this delivery mode affect learning? How does it affect teaching?
  • What does remote teaching mean for the workplace culture in colleges,  universities and elsewhere? What impact does it have on our work relationships, our experience of connectedness, and our sense of agency?
  • How will increased online course delivery impact equity, diversity, and inclusion for faculty and students? Do online learning environments level the playing field for students from marginalized groups? Or could they cause us to lose sight of our diversity?
  • What is the future of care work? How can we build a care economy that will meet the future needs of our society? 
  • How will AI, including large language models like ChatGPT, change the teaching profession? How will they change what it means to learn? 
  • What sort of jobs will AI create, and what sort of jobs will be lost? How should we respond? 
    What opportunities will the looming shortage of workers hold for young students, and how can they mobilize to exploit these opportunities?



Scott Staring