Chancellors welcome education review

Ontario university chancellors – including new York Chancellor Peter Cory and his predecessor Avie Bennett – are applauding the Ontario government’s decision to review the province’s postsecondary education system. In a public statement released this week, they also praised the federal government for its recent research initiatives.

Left: York University Chancellor Peter Cory

The current public policy focus on higher education is welcome given the fundamental importance of universities, said the chancellors, in a statement on the importance of university education and the value of the liberal arts.

Four years ago, the chancellors, hosted at Glendon by York’s then chancellor Avie Bennett, published a similar expression of support for Ontario universities. It was approved by York’s Senate and endorsed by universities around the province.

Right: former York chancellor Avie Bennett

As they did in 2000, the chancellors say access to university, support for the liberal arts, renewed funding and university independence should be priorities for the provincial Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. 

Sixteen current and eight former chancellors of Ontario’s universities met in Toronto to produce the statement below.

What the chancellors say:

  • The current public policy focus on higher education, as symbolized by the establishment of an advisory panel chaired by former premier Bob Rae in Ontario, and by the federal government research initiatives, is welcome given the fundamental importance of universities. The contributions made by universities need to be recognized and extended.
  • Because of the positive, social and economic impact of universities, and the clear and lasting benefits to students, the goal of increasing the proportion of Ontario’s population enrolled in universities should be a high priority. In particular, opportunities for students to pursue graduate-level studies should be expanded.
  • The liberal arts and sciences must continue to be at the forefront of university education and an essential part of the preparation for future generations of leaders.
  • A well-rounded, general education promotes values and develops skills that are essential to societal well-being. The ability to think, to write and to express one’s ideas clearly is as valuable to future employability as technical or technological training.
  • No better investment can be made than in high quality, accessible university education. To meet their responsibilities, the province’s universities need enhanced funding. It is in everyone’s interest that the funding challenges facing universities be addressed.
  • Whatever funding mechanisms are in place, they should permit universities themselves to manage enrolment demand while maintaining a varied and forward-looking curriculum and program of research for a diverse student body.

Right: An early university class