More with Manzer

December 27, 2014

News.Politics: Being there at the beginning of a new campus must have felt special. Tell me what it was like in those early days.

Manzer: I officially started teaching there in the 1965-66 academic year. I had just completed my dissertation but I had yet to defend it. When my wife and I arrived there in early July, we were greeted by a half-finished concrete structure that had no windows. I was dumbfounded. I began teaching my first political science course: Introduction to Canadian Politics. It was taught in the old biology building that isn’t there anymore.

News.Politics: Tell us about your first experience teaching there.

Manzer: When I was starting out, I had about 15 students in my class in one of the new lecture halls that held space for 135. I saw the class size grow over the years to reach full capacity in that hall. I started teaching that intro course without much background in Canadian politics. It was because of senior colleagues like Paul Fox and Steve Dupré, who acted as great mentors that I was able to get through early on. Oddly enough, by my second year at Scarborough I was the assistant dean. I was only two years out of my PhD. I often think back and wonder how that happened. I guess I was just young and full of confidence.

News.Politics: What are some of your favourite memories from your early days teaching at Scarborough?

Manzer: I really cherished the community of the early Scarborough College. We were very close to the students but also with other faculty members in other disciplines. I was also proud to be there when political science became its own department at Scarborough. It really showed that political science was a big part of life at Scarborough.

News.Politics: Can you tell us a bit about what this community was like at Scarborough?

Manzer: It sounds funny now, but we just did things as they happened. I had a great time working with John Coleman, who was a political theorist, in my first year as assistant dean. It was a very good, comfortable relationship. I was into administration early but I knew after a while that administrative work was not the kind of life I wanted to lead. It was taking into my time for teaching and I did not have as much time as I wanted for research.


We had a strong relationship with other faculty members. Most of the ones I knew were in social sciences but there was also interaction between us and the chemists and zoologists. That’s one of the things that always attracted me to the place [UTSC]: the opportunity to work and talk with people outside of your own discipline.