The last few weeks have been busy for the Executive as the start of the academic year and the influx of the student body ramps up activity at our schools.
Over the past month, Huzaifa represented OUSA in lobby meetings with two important members of parliament, namely Kevin Flynn who is the Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Education and the Conservative Critic for Economic Development Monte McNaughton. The main topics of discussion were OUSA’s response submission to the MTCU Innovation and Productivity Letter as well as the upcoming Tuition Framework. The response titled Educated Reform highlights our major proposals to fundamentally improve the quality of education at Ontario universities.
We have received positive feedback at these meetings for our proposal to create teaching chairs and incentivizing teaching-focused faculty; these proposals have relatively minimal cost to the institution, relative to the teaching efficiencies they will create as well as the benefits that would trickle down to students experiencing innovative pedagogies from professors identified as champions in their sectors. Currently, quality teaching and pedagogical innovations are disincentivized by the academic tenure ladder which heavily favours research productivity. As a result, the average ratio split for professors has shifted towards 40% of time spent teaching, 40% on research and 20% on other community goals.
OUSA is proposing flexibility so that some professors can increase their emphasis on teaching while still maintaining job security. Our other main topics of discussion have been the elimination of flat fees, which have plagued several of our member schools and are an antiquated model which doesn’t take into consideration the changing culture of PSE; where many students prefer working part- or full-time while pursuing less than a full course load; OUSA strongly hopes this concept will be outlawed by the government through the next framework.
Keep checking the OUSA blog for progress on these issues, and as always, be sure to get in touch if you have any questions or comments!
Mira Dineen, AMS Vice-President University Affairs, Queen’s University
Vice-President Administration, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
Huzaifa Saeed, MSU Vice-President (Education), McMaster University
Vice-President Finance, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance