Senate Agenda - EXHIBIT V - October 20, 2000

Report on the 252nd Meeting of the Council of Ontario Universities

Friday, October 6, 2000

D.M.R. Bentley, Academic Colleague

At the meetings of the Colleagues' Caucus and the Council itself several matters were discussed that will be of interest to Senate.

(1) Investing in Students Task Force. Jalynn Bennett, the Chair of the Task Force (whose brief is to "study college and university administrative operations across the province"), informed the Academic Colleagues that the Task Force is in the early, information-gathering and procedure-mongering stage of a very abbreviated process that will culminate in the submission of a report at the end of January, in time for it to inform discussions of the budget. She observed that the Government is asking the Task Force to make "concrete suggestions that are future-oriented" and that its mandate includes "red-tape reduction." She also indicated that the mandate of the Task Force does not extend to academic program review, and that it would respect the diversity within and between the Ontario university and college systems.

(2) Implementation of the New Secondary-school Curriculum. The member of the C.O.U. staff who is responsible for this dossier, Guy Hamil, reported that because the new curriculum consists of destination-defined courses (College, University, University/College, Work Place) their creation has necessarily involved extensive consultation with those destinations and that such consultation is certain to continue. There remains some uncertainty about whether students in all schools will be able to complete the new curriculum in four years, about the standards and methods of evaluation, and about the status of the U/C courses (where the "/" may perhaps be taken as an indication of a wider existential instability). All the new courses may be viewed on the government web site.

In view of the extensive changes in content and pedagogy that will be brought about by the new curriculum, Senate may wish to consider urging the Government to direct funds and resources to secondary schools for the purposes of professional development.

(3) Access to Education Initiative. On behalf of C.O.U., Tom Trbovich has almost completed a document aimed at persuading the Government that faculty renewal must be a top priority for the health of the Ontario university system and for the growth of the an "innovation culture" in the Province.

(4) Accessibility Fund. Although nothing formal or even explicit has come from the Government, there is some evidence that the existing system of tiers may at least be modified.

Finally, meetings with Government and Ministry officials have provided some grounds for guarded optimism regarding a long-term commitment of additional operating funds for the universities. Those who have never seen a chimera may yet get their chance, however, for much still depends on such factors as the performance of the economy and the Government's priorities.