The University of Western Ontario
Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
June 22, 1999
Members of the Western community,
The term "double cohort" has become associated with the temporary increase in the demand for University places that was anticipated as a result of the elimination of the fifth year of Ontario's secondary school system. More recently, the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) has described an "increased cohort" of approximately equal magnitude stemming from a number of sources but most obviously reflecting the fact that the children of the baby boom generation will reach university-age over the coming decade. This latter, longer term demographic shift means that the double cohort can no longer be viewed as temporary but now must be regarded as an acceleration of a stable increase in demand, greater than that experienced in at least a generation.
Western will be expected to play an effective role in meeting the challenge posed by this increased demand. The scope and details of our response will have important and long-lasting consequences both for our future students and for the nature of the University itself. The discussion paper, "Western's Response to the Increased Cohort?", summarizes the central issues that will face Western in the coming year and the questions that will feature prominently in the upcoming planning process. As indicated in the discussion paper, the government's commitment and approach to the funding that will be necessary to support the expansion of any programs at Western is not yet clear. We will pass on such information as it becomes available.
I hope that all faculty, staff, and students will contribute to the discussion of this important issue.