University Profs Welcome System Planning Initiative

Created 17 July 2006 07:07

Vancouver — BC’s public university professors welcomed today’s announcement of a new government initiative to create a planning framework for BC’s advanced education system. The Campus 2020 initiative, to be headed up by Vancouver lawyer Geoff Plant, will look at all aspects of BC’s advanced education system and make recommendations to the provincial government in the spring of 2007.

“British Columbia’s differentiated system of advanced education has served the province very well,” said Robert Clift, Executive Director of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA/BC). “The Campus 2020 initiative can only improve the quality and accessibility of BC’s universities, university colleges, colleges and institutes. We look forward to working with Mr. Plant and his advisory panel to achieve this vision.”

Over the past three years, the BC government has made significant improvements in access to Bachelor’s degree programs. Although this has helped to alleviate some of the accessibility problems, BC’s professors want to see further improvements in this area, and a forward-looking strategy to create new university spaces in Master’s and Doctoral degree programs.

“The future of our society and the transformation of our economy depend on having the highly-qualified people to perform necessary research and apply those research results to everyday problems,” Clift said. “The undergraduate student spaces are the first step towards this goal. We now have to create opportunities for these graduates to take the next step into advanced university degree programs.”

BC’s professors are also concerned that government has not paid enough attention to the rising costs of advanced education and the barriers these costs create for students trying to make the transition from high school to university or college.

“It used to be our goal as a society that no one would be denied an education just because of the lack of funds – we’ve lost sight of this,” Clift said. “If we are to ensure equal opportunities for our young people to obtain an advanced education and participate in the new economy, student financial assistance programs need to be front and center in any government plan. We intend to raise this matter with Mr. Plant very early in the process.”

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CUFA/BC represents over 4,300 university professors, instructors, professional librarians, and other academic staff at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver and Kelowna campuses), Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey campuses), University of Victoria, University of Northern British Columbia and Royal Roads University.

For further information please contact Robert Clift at (604) 817-1649.