September 9, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 6  

Front Page >> News > USC likes Quality Ass.


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USC likes Quality Ass.

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

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.



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