York’s Paul Axelrod honoured by the Council of Ontario Universities

Paul Axelrod, dean of York’s Faculty of Education, has been named the recipient of this year’s David C. Smith Award by the Council of Ontario Universities. The award, in honour of the late David Smith, former Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities and principal of Queen’s University, recognizes individuals who have contributed to scholarship and policy in higher education in Canada.

Right: Paul Axelrod

“I am honoured to receive this award. It has inspired me to continue my research on post-secondary education, including aspects of policy development," said Axelrod. "I am interested in learning more about how policy choices are made by governments. As dean, I have had an unusual vantage point to observe that process over the past several years.”

“This is a wonderful honour for Paul and great recognition for his long-term achievements in the scholarship of higher education," said Sheila Embleton, York vice-president academic. "The timing is particularly apt, coming just as we launch our new graduate diploma in this field." 

Axelrod is the author and editor of eight books and some 40 scholarly articles on the history and politics of schooling and higher education. His publications include Scholars and Dollars: Politics, Economics and the Universities of Ontario, 1945-1980; Making a Middle Class: Student Life in English Canada during the Thirties; The Promise of Schooling: Education in Canada, 1800-1914; and Values in Conflict: the University, the Marketplace and the Trials of Liberal Education.

He holds a BA (’72) and a doctorate in history (’80) from York and has been a full-time faculty member since 1982. Axelrod is the former Chair of the Division of Social Science in the Faculty of Arts (1989-1993) and has served as dean of the Faculty of Education since 2001. He spearheaded the creation of a graduate diploma in the study of postsecondary education, now in its inaugural year in the Faculty of Education graduate program.

The recipient of a number of prizes for his scholarly work, including a Distinguished Research Award from the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education and a certificate of merit from the Canadian Association of Foundations of Education, Axelrod also has three publication prizes from the Canadian History of Education Association.

Previous winners of the David C. Smith Award include former Ontario premier Bob Rae, former  McGill University principal Bernard Shapiro and the former president of the University of Toronto, Rob Prichard.

Axelrod will be honoured at a reception and dinner sponsored by Council of Ontario Universities on Nov. 1. As part of the event, he will deliver a talk on his current research in postsecondary education.