Board of Governors, May 27, 1999 - APPENDIX IV, Annex 4
Report on the 245th 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 April 9, several matters of interest and importance to Senate were decided and discussed:
- Council endorsed in principle "The Ontario College-University
Completion Accord" of March
26, 1999 (copy of the accord is available on paper from the University Secretariat) and an
itinerary for its implementation by September 2000.
- Council approved in principle a letter from the President of COU,
Dr. Ian Clark, to the Ontario
Integrity Commissioner, The Honorable Robert C. Rutherford, explaining why the Council will
not register under the Lobbyists' Registration Act (the "activities of COU employees defined as
lobbying under the Act fall well below the 20% threshold" that would require registration).
- Council received and discussed a "Background Paper on Grade
Twelve Exit Examinations,"
the primary recommendation of which is that, "[s]ince COU wishes to pursue further the issue
of developing a policy concerning the place of final examinations in evaluating the achievement
of high school students, it should request the [Council's] Task Force on Secondary School
Issues to make recommendations concerning the mandate, scope, management, and
membership of a committee established to study and report on the issue." Informing the
discussion was an awareness of continuing grade inflation in Ontario secondary schools (the
system average in 1997 was 80.1%, up from 79.8% in 1996, and the percentage of registered
applicants who received 80% or higher in secondary school was 54.9% in 1997, up from
53.6% in 1996). Council was also made aware of recent data from The University of Western
Ontario that indicates wide disparities among the marking practices of Ontario secondary
schools in terms of the differences between the marks of their graduates in OAC and first-year
- Council was informed by the President of the Association of
Universities and Colleges of
Canada, Robert Giroux, that, under pressure from private career colleges, the needs-based
scholarships of the Canadian Millennium Scholarships Foundation will not be distributed until
the second year of post-secondary education. This is a matter of concern because it
compromises a major purpose of the scholarships - namely, to make post-secondary education
- Council also learned from the President of AUCC that a
preliminary paper on intellectual
property by a committee chaired by Pierre Fortier expresses the view that the results of
projects funded by federal granting agencies should belong to the university or universities in
which a project is housed.
- Council was informed that the release on March 31 of the
materials arising from the "Meeting
Expectations Project" - "Ontario Students, Ontario's Future", "Will there be room for me?"
and the "Meeting Expectations Project" itself - received wide and, from COU's perspective,
very enthusiastic coverage in the media, the exceptions that proved the rule being the silence of
the Kingston Whig-Standard and a report in the London Free Press under the headline
"Universities lobby for gobs of money."
1. At the Academic Colleagues' meeting, some consternation was occasioned by the information
that the COU Task Force on Secondary School Issues might recommend that after the abolition of
OACs there be no minimum number of courses (for example, 4 university courses) for entry to
Ontario universities. (At present the minimum is 6 OACs.) A further cause for concern was the
information that, in the absence of clear guidelines from the Ministry of Education and the
universities themselves about future entrance requirements, some school boards are giving
students advice that is possibly erroneous and potentially damaging. The Waterloo School Board,
for example, is informing students who will be entering Grade 9 next year that they need not take
an English course if they are planning to go into Engineering.
On a different but not entirely unrelated matter, several colleagues expressed misgivings at the
amount of money, time, and energy now being expended on recruitment, particularly, relative to
their budgets, by smaller universities.