K. Westhues Homepage





Kenneth Westhues
Professor of Sociology




As much as any motto could, Waterloo's motto — In Harmony with Truth — points to the highest value a university serves. It means making ideas square with evidence, harmonizing words and numbers with the data of common experience. This value outranks all others, even those (like higher education, vocational training, technological innovaton, community development, and the shaping of public policy) that are also integral to a university's mission.

If a university is to be kept on track toward this goal of truth, the professors who constitute its faculty cannot spend all their time teaching classes and pursuing specialized research. They cannot leave the governance of the institution entirely to full-time administrators and the governing board. They have a responsibility to inform themselves of administrative issues and to join in public dialogue, debate, and decision-making, for keeping the institution on track.

During thirty years on the faculty at Waterloo, my contributions to responsible shared governance have included serving in part-time administrative roles like department chair and officer for this or that, but especially publication of critical commentaries on university policies and politics.

The three contributions below may be of continuing relevance not just at Waterloo but in other academic communities. I plan to provide additional files and links in coming months.

(1) Documentary History of the University of Waterloo Ethics Committee, 1982-1998.

(2) Decision of Peter Mercer on a matter entrusted to him by the President of the University of Waterloo, 1998.

(3) Becoming Rootless by Degrees: Lecture in the series, "Roots," Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo, 1985.