• Laurentian faculty concerned by closure of Barrie campus

    The Board of Governors of Laurentian University announced today the closure of the Barrie campus… “It is unfortunate that the plan the Ontario Government was seeking to impose for the future of higher education in Simcoe County has led to this announcement… That plan would have seen unprecedented government interference into the university sector. Universities must have the freedom to determine and decide about the best options for program choice and how these should be delivered.”

  • Per-student funding at lowest point since the 1960s

    Ontario’s per-student funding for universities is already the lowest in Canada. And it is getting worse. Even before inflation is taken into account, per student funding has been heading downward since 2010-11. After inflation, it is now at its lowest point since the government began building capacity and expanding access in the sixties… students are left to pick up the financial slack. Operating revenue from Ontario’s tuition fees – the highest in Canada – already surpassed government grants last year.

  • Funding programs reverse the ‘brain drain’

    … the Canada Excellence Research Chair program created in 2000. It gives each of 24 researchers $10 million over seven years. Of the 24 chair holders, 23 are non-Canadian… Then there’s the Canada Research Chair program, also established in 2000, that invests $265 million in 2,000 positions, specifically to attract and retain top minds from around the world. The spinoff from these programs is immense.

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    Ontario spends less per student on faculty than the rest of Canada

    Per student, Ontario universities’ operating expenditures on faculty salaries have been the lowest of all provinces for more than ten years… If one were to take the teaching models in each province as given and assume other expenditures were the same per student in other provinces as in Ontario, the proportion of Ontario expenditures directed to faculty is 22 per cent, compared to 27 per cent for the rest of Canada.

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    Professors push back against laptops in the lecture hall

    Students who use laptops during class also engage in “high-tech ‘doodling’ ” – sending e-mails, exchanging instant messages, surfing the Web… even when students use computers only for note-taking, they retain less information than students who take notes by hand… doodling online distracts not just the person on Facebook, but everyone around them. Laptops in class are like second-hand smoke

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    Why we should be wary of Ontario’s high-school graduation rate

    Part of the reason the graduation rate is increasing is that standards for graduation have been lowered. … rather than simply blindly pursuing higher graduation rates, we should also be pausing and reflecting on what exactly we want a high-school diploma to mean. After all, while we want as many students to succeed as possible, if we make the bar too low, we run the risk that achieving a high-school diploma will lose all meaning.

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    Don’t undermine Ontario’s education advantage

    Ontario’s system has become a model of equity and inclusiveness in education and, as a result, in student achievement. Much of this is due to a shift to so-called outcomes-based learning and assessment. In this model, the child is taught as an individual with unique skills and needs and evaluated on the basis of what he or she can demonstrate and the teacher can observe… When classes are too large and teachers denied adequate prep time, the approach is unsustainable.

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    Universities will help reset relations between indigenous and non-indigenous people

    The cohabitation of Western and indigenous knowledge on campuses has the power to open a dialogue among cultures, enhance our mutual understanding and make change happen. There is a moral, social and economic imperative to act… Among the 13 principles to be announced this week is institutional commitment at every level to develop more opportunities for indigenous students. That means everything from community partnerships to financial assistance, academic support and mentorship.

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    Why Canadian professors aren’t afraid of their students

    … Canadian universities are in the business of mass education. We take entire generations of Canadians, tens of thousands of them recent immigrants, and give them access to the middle classes. Fancy American schools are in the business of offering boutique education to a very tiny, coddled minority, giving them access to the upper classes. That’s a really fundamental difference… The accessibility of the political system… serves to siphon off a lot of political energy, putting it to better use

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    Advocacy group calls for end to ‘streaming’ in Ontario high schools

    … enrolling in applied math in Grade 9 means there’s almost no chance a teen will go to university, says a startling new report… The OECD, an international organization representing developed nations, has also repeatedly warned that offering applied-like courses leads to lower achievement, lower expectations of the students by teachers and, at times, a “low quality learning experience,” usually for students from less affluent homes.