Senate Agenda - EXHIBIT IV - January 22, 1999

Report on the 243rd Meeting of the Council of Ontario Universities

D.M.R. Bentley, Academic Colleague

At the meetings of the Academic Colleagues and the Council of Ontario Universities in Toronto on December 10 and 11, 1998, several matters of interest and importance were discussed and decided:

  1. The Report of a Task Force on "Access to Degrees for Ontario's College Students" was discussed at length and approved in principle. The position of the Report is that, with seventeen, geographically dispersed universities already in existence, the Province does "not require additional degree-granting institutions" and that "access to degrees for Ontario's college students should be improved by accelerated articulation and collaboration" between and among the universities and the colleges.
  2. During the discussion of the Report, it became apparent that pressure from colleges for degree-granting status is likely to continue and that, among other things, the COU must arrive at a convincing definition of a university and a degree in the Ontario context.

  3. Approval was given to the Report of a Task Force on "Recruitment and Application Guidelines" that endorses the principle of uniformity regarding admission requirements and procedures (six OACs, common dates for offers, responses, etc.) and reminds admissions officers of the inappropriateness of using scholarships, residence accommodation and the like in a coercive manner. (A summary of the Report's recommendations has been sent to the Registrar's Office.)

  4. The impending release of a government-sponsored survey of the employment rates of university graduates may be a cause of concern to the universities on two counts: (i) the methodology of the survey, and (ii) the misrepresentation of its results in the media and elsewhere. Universities should be prepared to look closely and critically at the survey.

  5. At present, athletic scholarships are not permitted at Ontario universities, but there is pressure from at least two institutions (Lakehead and Laurentian) to have this prohibition lifted, and a debate of the issues and principles involved appears to be in the offing.

  6. The public opinion research plan associated with the "Meeting Ontarians' Expectations" initiative is moving ahead apace under the guidance of Michael Gourley (who, of course, needs no introduction to The University of Western Ontario) focus-group sessions have been held between January 11 and 15, survey fieldwork completed between January 18 and 25, and interviews with business leaders conducted between January 11 and 25. The final report will be submitted to COU on February 25. Thanks, in part, to pressure from the Academic Colleagues, the contents of the questionnaires, the nature of the focus groups, and the types of business leaders to be consulted have been expanded so as better to reflect the activities and concerns of the universities.

    The likelihood that, in addition to the bulge created by the "double-cohort" in 2003, there will be an increase of some 50,000 students who are eligible for university from 2005 to 2010, gives some ground for hope that the government will provide funds for faculty renewal and university expansion in the coming decade. Since the projected increase in students and the preceding and accompanying "retirement bulge" will be North America wide phenomena, the question arises of whether and how Ontario universities will be able to educate, recruit, and retain the number and quality of faculty that will be needed.

  7. The process of naming the Board for the Millennium Foundation Scholarships is nearly complete and the Board is expected to meet in early February. The COU has urged that "wherever possible, the elements of the program [be] harmonized with existing student assistance programs, both federal and provincial" and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada takes the view that students enrolled at all its member universities should be eligible for the scholarships (95% of which is slated to be needs-based and 5% on exceptional merit).

  8. The COU is sponsoring a colloquium on "Technology-Based Teaching/Learning" that will take place between 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on February 11 and be broadcast by satellite to Royal Roads University, the University of Calgary, and a university in the Maritimes. Some forty people will be able to attend the colloquium in Toronto, and "[r]emote sites" will be able to "participate" in discussion via "two-way telephone lines." Details have been forwarded to the Educational Development Office.