Board of Governors, June 28, 2001 - Appendix VIII, Annex 5

Report on the 256th Meeting of the Council of Ontario Universities

Friday, June 2, 2001

D.M.R. Bentley, Academic Colleague

Council briefly discussed a variety of matters that are in progress, such as the Report of the Task Force on Student Assistance, and it learned form the President of the AUCC, Robert Giroux, that indirect costs of research are likely to be a part of the Federal Government's impending white (or possibly green) paper on innovation.

By far the most significant and momentous component of the meeting, however, was a presentation on recent developments in postsecondary education in Ontario by David Trick of the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities. After expressing the Ontario Government's satisfaction with the fact that enrolment in the postsecondary system appears to be consistent with projections and celebrating both the SuperBuild initiative and the provisions of the recent budget, Mr. Trick proceeded to reassure Council that the Government is aware of the need to address the issues of inflation, deferred maintenance, faculty renewal and salaries, and "unfunded BIUs" (of which there are now as many as 25,000 in the system), and to indicate that the Government is keen to enter into discussions about increasing funding for graduate and professional schools and about the definitional implications of its commitment that postsecondary education will be available to "all qualified and motivated students." He also reiterated the Government's determination to proceed with a medical school in northern Ontario, its commitment to creating in the Ontario Institute of Technology (Durham College) an institution that will offer a full range of college and university programmes, and its openness to proposals for the foundation of private universities in Ontario. Under interrogation, he confessed that, within its overall scheme of allowing colleges to evolve into polytechnics, the Government will permit these institutions to offer ordinary as well as applied baccalaureate degrees. Exhibiting a nicely Sadean touch, he concluded by thanking the Council of Ontario Universities for its co-operative--indeed, collaborative--attitude towards the Government. Clearly, the COU is in the very difficult position of being reluctant to look the ministerial gift horse in the mouth while also needing persuasively to remind the Government that Ontario's universities require much more funding if they are to respond effectively to the disadvantages that they are now facing in the realms of teaching, research, and infrastructure.

At a dinner on the evening preceding the meeting of Council, the inaugural David C. Smith Award was presented to Professor David Cameron, the Chair of the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University.

The Council meeting on June 1 was the last over which Dr. Paul Davenport presided as Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities, a sometimes trying role that he fulfilled with the diplomacy and eloquence that we at Western tend to take for granted and which has been a great asset to COU during the past year.