York University sends submission to the Rae review

York University has released a briefing paper, titled “The York U Difference”, which it has submitted to the Ontario government’s Postsecondary Review panel in response to the panel’s discussion paper, issued on Oct. 1. The University’s submission highlights three key areas of focus and contains responses to the five themes articulated in the panel’s paper, “Higher Expectations for Higher Education”.

“The review of postsecondary education in Ontario now in progress under the leadership of former Ontario premier Bob Rae presents us with a historic opportunity to lay down long-term foundations for higher education in Ontario,” said Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York University. “And for us at York, there’s no more important issue than student success.”

Right: Bob Rae

The three key areas focus on the University’s commitment to the inseparability of teaching and research; student success and the quality of the student experience; and the funding priorities needed to achieve, maintain and grow high-quality programs. York’s briefing paper was compiled following discussions with the University’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and governors. The York University Foundation also submitted a brief in order to focus on recommendations dealing with financial support and accessibility. Other York groups, including the York University Faculty Association, the York Federation of Students and the Graduate Students Association, are expected to submit separate briefs to the Postsecondary Review panel.

In its response to the panel’s five themes, the University has called for:

  • A major review of OSAP, increased support for undergraduate and graduate students, and improved support for international students coming to the University and for Ontario students seeking an international experience.
  • Enhanced funding for more full-time faculty to lower the student-faculty ratio and greater opportunities for graduate level of study and research in both discovery and applied areas.
  • Long-term stability and predictability of funding.
  • Protection for students through regulated increases consistent with inflation for tuition fees in most undergraduate programs.
  • Clear and transparent distinctions between colleges and universities to create clear pathways for students.
  • International recognition of the value of Ontario university degrees (graduate and undergraduate).
  • The requirement that each university set accountability measures consistent with its missions and goals and report on those annually to the government through the university’s board of governors.

The full document can be viewed by clicking here.

More about the Postsecondary Review

The Postsecondary Review was announced by the government of Ontario in its 2004 budget to review the design and funding of Ontario’s postsecondary education system and recommend ways in which postsecondary institutions can provide the best education to students and support Ontario’s prosperity. Spearheaded by Bob Rae, the former premier of Ontario, the review is being carried out in three key stages:

  • Examining past studies and reports on postsecondary education and undertaking research and analysis of best practices in Ontario, other parts of Canada and the world.
  • Listening to Ontarians’ ideas about postsecondary education, including extensive consultations with the public, stakeholders and knowledgeable experts.
  • Developing recommendations to government.

Rae will submit his recommendations to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mary-Anne Chambers, minister for training, colleges and universities, early in 2005. For more information about the review, visit the Postsecondary Review Web site.