Queen’s News Centre: Principal welcomes discussion on university specialization (27 October 2010)

As posted in Queen’s News Centre, 27 October 2010.

Note that the “discussion” the Principal “welcomes” is not about whether to support the HEQCO Report but only about “how.” See also OCUFA’s two critiques of HEQCO’s recommendations, and Mark Jones, On Virtualization and Differentiation of Ontario Universities, at pp. 31-39.

Principal Daniel Woolf will be working with his provincial counterparts, Queen’s Park and the College of Ontario Universities on how universities can differentiate themselves and focus on their strengths.

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) released a report this week, recommending that universities set measureable goals based on their strengths, and the provincial government base new funding on whether those goals are met.

“This is an excellent starting point for a discussion among universities and their communities about how we can all identify our particular place in Ontario’s post-secondary education landscape,” says Principal Woolf.

“The themes resonate with our ongoing academic planning process at Queen’s in terms of some of the elements in my vision document, Where Next? and the Academic Writing Team’s report, Imagining the Future. We certainly will have to make some choices about areas of emphasis upon which to focus, especially on the research and graduate education side, while continuing to ensure that we can offer a comprehensive range of undergraduate programs.”

The result of increased differentiation would include higher quality programs and more and better choices for students, says HEQCO President and CEO Harvey Weingarten. “They should have greater clarity on which institutions best serve their career and personal aspirations. They should have more mobility within the college/university system,” he says.

The government is reviewing the report and will be consulting with universities in the coming months.

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