May 28, 2012 Professors and academic librarians are warning the Government of Ontario against putting limits on the educational options available to students, based on the results of a survey released today. In a leaked discussion paper and several speeches, the Government of Ontario has floated moving to a three-year degree structure, delivering 60 per cent of a degree online, and introducing year-round university programming.
“In a competitive and knowledge-based economy, our students don’t need less education,” said Constance Adamson, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). “Any policy that potentially reduces the quantity and quality of curriculum taught in universities has to be met with extreme caution and concern.”
–87 per cent of faculty agreed that moving to a three-year degree will limit the ability of students to pursue graduate or professional education in the rest of Canada and the United States.
– 86 per cent of faculty surveyed agreed that moving to a three-year degree will harm the quality of university education in Ontario
– 82 per cent agreed that delivering 60 per cent of undergraduate courses online will harm the quality of university education
– Only 24 percent of faculty surveyed strongly agreed that there is sufficient student demand for year-round university
“Online education has an important place in today’s universities, but moving the majority of undergraduate education online will undermine the learning experience our students expect. We shortchange students if we ignore the educational importance of face-to-face student interaction with their peers and faculty inside the classroom and laboratory,” said Adamson
“Faculty members are united in their concern over the online learning and three-year degree proposals. These ideas need to be carefully scrutinized and reviewed to ensure that they support the best possible student experience while meeting Ontario’s educational needs.”
The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) survey was commissioned to assess Ontario university professors’ and academic librarians’ opinions on a variety of issues affecting university education. The online survey received over 2,300 responses between March 21 and April 16, 2012.