- The discussion in Ontario has no clear definition of productivity, which makes serious or useful discussion of the issue difficult.
- Ontario’s universities have already made significant productivity gains – decades of under-funding and rising enrolment have meant that professors are already teaching many more students with much less public funding.
- This productivity increase has done little to improve the quality of education at Ontario’s universities – in fact, by many measures quality has come under threat even as productivity has increased.
- For professors and academic librarians, the most meaningful measures of productivity are attainment rates and research output.
- Proposed productivity enhancements, such as increased faculty teaching loads and increased use of online learning, are properly seen as secondary to the broader goals of greater student success and research effectiveness.
- Over-focusing on these secondary elements – like teaching loads and online learning – is ineffective and may harm larger productivity goals.
- A productivity agenda focused on reducing government investment in higher education will have a negative effect on higher education in Ontario.
The complete paper is attached to this email. It can also be accessed at http://ocufa.on.ca/wordpress/assets/TrendsInHigherEducation-Productivity-FINAL.pdf
OCUFA plans to release a series of papers over the coming years that examines – and challenges – the emerging “productivity agenda” advanced by some policy observers in Ontario. This agenda, closely linked with austerity policies, manifests in a variety of ways, from calls for faculty to teach more, to the need for “teaching only universities”, to calls for greater university differentiation. In all cases, we are concerned that the primary objective of the productivity agenda is to obscure the need for sustained public investment in Ontario’s universities, thereby compromising the quality of education received by students and the quality of research produced by our institutions.
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Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
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