Volume 94, Issue 63

Tuesday, January 16, 2001


Richmond Hotel scene of 2001's first murder

USC welcomes new general manager

Brescia head soph chosen as new O-Week officer

Smarter bar-hopping via Web

Professor shortage prompts funding talk

Stand-off ends without incident


Corroded Disorder

Professor shortage prompts funding talk

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

A crisis is looming as Ontario university faculty remain in high demand.

A report released yesterday by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations predicts that about 15,000 professors must be hired over the next 10 years to cover expected retirements and a massive rise in student enrollment.

Henry Jacek, president of OCUFA, said the provincial government has known about the looming faculty shortage for years, but has done very little to address the issue. "If the government fails to provide the requisite funding to allow this hiring to take place, the crisis in post-secondary education will not only affect our students, but the future of Ontario as a whole," he said.

Jacek said the Tory government has placed an emphasis on tax cuts since 1995, adding post-secondary funding was one of the areas which suffered cutbacks. "The government underestimated the situation and now the problem has come home to roost," he said.

In total, an additional 90,000 students are expected to enter the Ontario system before 2010, Jacek said.

Erin George, president of the Canadian Federation of Students, said operating grants to colleges have to be returned to pre-1996 levels. "If a crisis does come to pass, then there's no one to blame but the government," she said.

George said the CFS was also concerned that university operating budgets, which are expected to be announced in March, will be tied to factors such as performance indicators and private/public partnerships. "Stable, unencumbered operating grants are what we need," she said.

Western president Paul Davenport, said it is imperative that provincial funding comes soon, so Ontario's universities can compete with the faculty recruitment drives of colleges and universities in other provinces and the United States. "With each year that goes by, the labour market becomes more competitive," he said.

A funding announcement could be expected in the March budget, confirmed Dave Ross, spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. "We recognized their would be a need for additional faculty with the two highschool graduating classes [in 2003]."

The provincial government is looking at developing a new funding formula, Ross said, explaining individual university funding would depend upon factors such as university input, performance indicators and projected enrollment changes.

He added the provincial government had previously committed funding for post-secondary infrastructure, and is now prepared to address operating costs. "You can't put the cart before the horse," Ross said..

He also dismissed reports and statistics which show Ontario universities have the worst student to faculty ratio in the country. "Ontario universities are second to none. I don't see this being a hindrance to quality education."

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