likes Quality Ass.
By Laura Katsirdakis
The government of Ontario has dedicated a
portion of this year's budget to the province's universities,
with some conditions attached. The money is intended to ensure
the quality of education does not decline due to the double
cohort. Western stands to receive about $6 million.
The fund is referred to as the Quality Assurance
Fund. The government announced the fund early this year and
details about it on Jul. 25 of this year, said Dave Ross, spokesperson
for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The
QAF program will continue to allocate funds over the next three
years, he added.
The condition attached to this funding is
that undergraduate students must benefit, Ross said. "[The
money is intended] to enable institutions to hire faculty, acquire
library resources and purchase computers," he explained.
In June of this year, Western's Senate Committee
on University Planning discussed the QAF and by Aug. 22 the
official submission for the funds was sent to the government,
said Paul Yeoman, president of the University Students' Council.
"The USC was involved in planning for
the QAF - there was a requirement to consult with student groups,"
Yeoman said. The USC was effective in making changes, he said,
noting they objected to spending a large portion of the funding
on research since the average undergraduate student does not
benefit from this.
"Overall, [the USC] was very happy with
the areas the money will be going to," Yeoman said. "We
were able to communicate well with administration [on this matter]
and they were very responsive."
The biggest area the money will be allocated
to is hiring faculty, Yeoman said. "The student/faculty
ratio has been a concern," he added. With this funding
the university will be able to offer more classes and class
size will be lower, he said.
"This is the first funding targeted
at quality improvement," said Dave Ford USC VP-education.
The USC has been quite successful in ensuring it improves the
quality of undergraduate education, he said.