Support Professor Hakob Barseghyan at the University of Toronto

Support Professor Hakob Barseghyan at the University of Toronto

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HPS Supporters For Hakob started this petition to University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science and IHPST

Dear University of Toronto Students, Faculty, and Alumni,

It has come to our attention that Professor Hakob Barseghyan, an assistant professor at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), will no longer be teaching at the IHPST in the coming academic year. This comes as a great shock to many students who had the opportunity to be taught by Professor Barseghyan. Given his outstanding teaching record and dedication to his courses, we believe that losing him would be a great loss to the University of Toronto as a whole. 

We ask any students, alumni, and faculty who felt that Professor Barseghyan has touched their academic careers to please support Professor Barseghyan and help demonstrate that he is an integral part of both the IHPST and the University of Toronto. Please read the open letter below and sign your name to this petition if you wish to support Professor Barseghyan.

In addition, we are compiling a list of testimonies that highlight Professor Barseghyan’s contributions to the U of T, which will be sent to the administration. If you are interested in writing to support Professor Barseghyan, please email your letter to petitionforhakob@gmail.com. Unless specified, all testimonies will remain anonymous, so please feel free to contact us.

Thank you in advance for your support.

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To the Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology and the Faculty of Arts & Science,

It has come to our attention that Professor Hakob Barseghyan, an assistant professor at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), will no longer be teaching at the IHPST in the coming academic year. This comes as a great shock to many students who had the opportunity to be taught by Professor Barseghyan, and we believe that he would be a devastating loss to the University of Toronto as a whole. We, the undersigned, write to express our concern with this course of action, and respectfully ask that the decision regarding Professor Barseghyan’s appointment be reconsidered.

Professor Barseghyan has taught at the University of Toronto since 2011, and has positively affected the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of students. He has contributed to the threefold increase in overall course enrollments at the IHPST, the fivefold increase in HPS majors and minors, and the sevenfold increase in enrollments in courses he has taught since 2011. In particular, his online course, HPS100, provides a gateway for students interested in the subject and serves as an exemplar of online learning. The lecture videos have received tens of thousands of views, indicating significant interest in his lectures outside of the university. In this and other courses (such as HPS250 and HPS309), he has regularly received average student evaluation scores of 4.5/5–5.0/5, as can be seen on the Quercus student evaluations page. He was also chosen by students to receive the Rini Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016, an annual campus-wide award that recognizes outstanding teaching at the undergraduate level.

Professor Barseghyan has also continuously supported undergraduate research. He has offered a number of students research opportunities, guiding and encouraging undergraduates to publish their original work and present at international conferences. Some of his commitments include running Research Opportunity Programs in HPS for seven years, supervising two (2019 and 2020) Jackman Scholars-in-Residence projects, and chairing the ASSU Undergraduate Research Conference in 2018. These projects have all taken place outside of his teaching commitments. He also frequently attends undergraduate events, such as those hosted by the HPS Undergraduate Society, and engages actively in the HPS community.

Given his outstanding teaching record and involvement in student life, we, the undersigned, respectfully ask the administration to review Professor Barseghyan’s contractual situation and position at the University of Toronto as a whole. We believe that, given his outstanding teaching record and ongoing commitment to the university, it is vital that Professor Barseghyan be given a full-time appointment and continue teaching at the IHPST, specifically his successful introductory HPS courses. A teacher as enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient, and dedicated as Professor Barseghyan is an asset to any university, and we fully believe that his continued appointment will contribute significantly to the quality of teaching and student life at the University of Toronto.

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