Barrie, ON, Canada
Organization: Georgian College
Education and the Future of Work
Friday, Sept. 29 to Saturday, Sept. 30
Liberal Arts Conference
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 unleashed waves of job losses and furloughs, 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 health-care 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, health care,
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’re 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’ll explore at this Liberal Arts Conference.
- 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 artificial intelligence (AI), including writing bots 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 or 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?
Proposal Deadline: June 26, 2003