Funding shifts cause graduate concerns
By Mark Brown
Graduate students are nervous about pending changes to the funding for category two programs, which will give students financial need on a needs basis.
Only the seven or eight programs listed as category two would be affected by the proposed change, said Allan Weedon, dean of graduate studies. Category two programs are sometimes referred to as professional programs since the people who graduate from them go directly into a profession, Weedon explained.
This includes the master of business administration program, journalism and medicine.
"We are not really changing funding that much," Weedon said. The faculty of graduate studies will be adding a bursary which will help students who are most in need of financial aid, he added.
"The students in category two normally don't receive funding from the university, whereas in category one it is normal that [students] receive some type of funding," Weedon explained.
Still, graduate students are concerned the changes to the funding will affect the number of teaching assistant positions. "The proposal is to change funding from the faculty of graduate studies from TA funding to need-based funding," said Jen Jacobi, VP-academic for the Society of Graduate Students.
Jacobi said students will lose experience from a teaching perspective and the department will lose money to provide TAs, which would have a ripple effect throughout the departments. "The impression is there will be no more TAs."
There is a lack of dissemination of knowledge, Jacobi said.
The TAs currently under the collective agreement will continue under those terms, said Catherine Dyavernas, president for the graduate teaching assistants union.
Dyavernas could not say if the number of TAs would go down. "It just points out the importance of the collective agreement," she said. The collective agreement was signed with the university two years ago, she said.
Weedon, who is currently meeting with representatives from the various programs, said he has heard these concerns. "There is the concern that we are taking money away, but what we are doing is putting more money into the program.
"The faculty of graduate studies, I don't think, is supplying TAs to category two programs, so the effect on TAs is minimal," Weedon said.
Weedon said the faculty is looking to implement the system for Sept. 1999.