October 15, 2009
More full-time faculty needed to ensure quality of university education in Ontario
Universities not meeting hiring targets set out in Multi-Year Accountability Agreements
TORONTO – Ontario urgently needs to hire more university faculty to maintain the quality of higher education, says a report released today by The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). The study – Trends in Faculty Hiring at Ontario Universities – finds that Ontario lags its peers in Canada and the United States in its student-to-faculty ratio, a key indicator of educational quality.

“A successful higher education system depends on the research and teaching performed by full-time faculty,” said Professor Mark Langer, President of OCUFA. “Without enough teachers, students are forced into huge classes with little or no engagement with their professors. Students lose, our universities suffer, and we jeopardize the economic and social vitality of our province.”

Tracking student enrolment and faculty hiring since the Government of Ontario’s 2005 Reaching Higher plan, the report finds that the growth of the student population has outstripped the rate of new faculty hiring. Ontario now has the highest student-to-faculty ratio in Canada, at 26:1. To lower the ratio to the national average, more than 5,000 new professors are needed. To match ratios in peer universities in the United States, over 9,000 new faculty hires will be required.

The report, part of OCUFA’s ongoing Trends in Higher Education research series, also finds that universities have not met their hiring targets as outlined in their Multi-Year Accountability Agreements (MYAAs) with the Government of Ontario. In addition, universities are relying more on contractually limited teaching appointments (CLTAs) to meet their hiring needs. While these part-time or teaching-only instructors make valuable contributions to the university community, they typically are unable to conduct the research upon which university education ultimately depends.

“OCUFA believes that Ontario’s university system is significantly underfunded, and high student-to-faculty ratios and increased contractually limited hiring are symptoms of that problem” said Professor Langer. “Universities simply do not have the resources they need to hire enough new full-time faculty. With tens of thousands of new students expected to enroll over the coming decade, this underfunding – and its consequences – will only get worse unless action is taken by the Government of Ontario now.”

OCUFA has recently launched the Quality Matters campaign (http://www.quality-matters.ca) to raise awareness of the need for greater public funding in the university system. Increased funding will help universities hire the additional full-time faculty they need to ensure student success.

To read the full report, please visit http://www.ocufa.on.ca/Publications.HETrends.gk

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represent 15,000 faculty in 25 faculty associations across Ontario. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at http://www.ocufa.on.ca.

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Contact: Henry Mandelbaum, Executive Director, 416-979-2117, Ext. 229 hmandelbaum@ocufa.on.ca,
or Mark Rosenfeld, Associate Executive Director, 416 979-2117, Ext. 233
mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca