By Donald Abelson, President, University of Western Ontario Faculty Association; as emailed to UWOFA members, 26 July 2012. Posted by permission.
I would like to draw your attention to a discussion paper that was recently released by the Ontario government on reforming post-secondary education in the province. Entitled, Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation and Knowledge, the report contains several recommendations that, if implemented, would have potentially devastating consequences for how we teach and conduct research. Among other things, the paper recommends replacing 4-year undergraduate programs with 3-year European style baccalaureate degrees, placing a premium on on-line learning, and developing a transfer credit system that would allow students from colleges and universities to transfer their first and second year introductory level courses to the institution in which they are enrolled at the time. The paper also stresses the importance of “learning outcomes for students” and ties provincial funding to how effective universities and colleges are in achieving those outcomes. On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, I, along with Bryce Traister (immediate past president), attended a consultation sponsored by the Ontario government to discuss these proposed changes. At the meeting, Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, made it clear that the province is prepared to move full-speed ahead with these reforms.
We anticipate that the government will introduce legislation in the Fall of 2012. Given the controversial nature of this paper, it is not surprising that the government initiated this plan during the summer months when most faculty and students are away from university campuses. UWOFA plans to hold a Town Hall discussion during Orientation Week to provide our members with an opportunity to address the government’s plans to dismantle post- secondary education in the province. In the meantime, UWOFA will be working with other faculty associations and organizations at the provincial and national level to make sure our concerns are heard.
I should add that university presidents across the province have expressed their strong opposition to the discussion paper.
I look forward to working with you and will keep you apprised of any new developments. I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.
Donald E. Abelson
-- The Faculty Association The University of Western Ontario 1201 Western Road Elborn College, Rm 2120 London, ON N6G 1H1 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: www.uwofa.ca