New post for prez
By Sara Marett
Western's President Paul Davenport will soon be sitting in a comfy new chair belonging to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
Davenport will assume his position with the national association for a two-year term beginning next week, after being elected as vice-chair last year. He will chair the association which speaks for all higher institutions across Canada, he said.
The association was founded in 1991 and its members include university presidents from across the country, said Rosemary Cavan, corporate secretary for AUCC. "We promote advocacy on behalf of the institutions, particularly in the areas of education in which the federal government is involved."
The major issues Davenport plans to bring forward to the federal government as chair of AUCC are: student aid, research funding and the internationalization of Canadian universities. These are issues already on the government's agenda, Davenport said, adding what AUCC now needs to do is help the government make some progress.
"We need to improve the federal-provincial relationship in order to achieve an improved loan program this is something the entire country is in support of," he said.
Davenport said all students benefit from associations like AUCC as their influence on the federal government's agenda is improving. "There is more money going into student support a recent example of this is the newly introduced $1 billion scholarship fund by the federal government.
"We will be working very hard to make sure the government commits to helping students pay back their loans at a normal rate after graduation," he said.
It is now also necessary to get a better commitment from the government regarding the funding of research, he added. "The cuts to research must be reversed," Davenport said, explaining this initiative would be appreciated by graduate students in particular as the money would go towards improving professional schools and laboratories.
Davenport's duties as chair include working closely with the president of AUCC and chairing the board of directors meetings, as well as spending time in Ottawa, meeting with federal government representatives and the Minister of Education and Training.