Ontario’s university chancellors issue statement on higher education


Recently, the chancellors of Ontario's 17 universities gathered on the Glendon campus of York University. Though not all were able to attend, it was an unprecedented meeting, called by the chancellors themselves, a group of distinguished Canadians from a wide variety of backgrounds, to share their views and experiences, and to reflect on some of their common concerns.

Without reservation, the chancellors expressed pride in the institutions of which they are titular heads, and confidence in the administrations who run them. They talked of future opportunities in and for Ontario, and of the challenges those opportunities present.

Following their meeting, the chancellors issued this Statement of the Ontario University Chancellors On the Importance of University Education and the Value of the Liberal Arts:

“Higher education is of the utmost importance to the future of Ontario. To prepare the leaders of tomorrow, we need a university system that is characterized by excellence, accessibility, diversity and flexibility.

The liberal arts and sciences must continue to be a seminal part of Ontario's higher education. This is a practical idea as much as a philosophical one. A number of recent studies have clearly underlined that a well-rounded, general education — learning to think, to write and to express one's ideas clearly — is as valuable to future employability as technical or technological training.

To meet these goals, the universities need renewed funding. Both government and the private sector (for it is increasingly a shared concern) must join in an effort to see that the needs of tomorrow — for a well-educated work force and a new generation of leadership — are met.

Whatever new funding mechanisms are developed, they should permit universities themselves to manage enrolment demand and to maintain a diverse and forward-looking curriculum and program of research.

The people of Ontario are, and should be, proud of their universities and what they stand for. They — we — should work together to see that that pride is maintained.”