Professors and academic librarians are welcoming a new study that highlights their impressive teaching and research accomplishments, as well as their many contributions to the social and economic vitality of Ontario. The report, Faculty at Work, was released today by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).
“This report is the first serious attempt to examine the work of faculty at Ontario universities,” said Kate Lawson, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). “We know that professors and academic librarians work hard for students and produce real benefits for our province, and we are pleased to see this fact confirmed by the COU report.”
The study reveals that, on average, Ontario awards more degrees and receives more external research funding per full-time faculty member than the rest of Canada. The research also shows that the vast majority of faculty – at all ranks – are teaching undergraduate students and producing important research outputs. However, this impressive record of productivity has come at a high personal cost.
“As enrolment has ballooned at Ontario universities, hiring of full-time professors has not kept pace,” said Lawson. “This means serious workload pressure for individual faculty members. If we want Ontario’s teaching and research accomplishments to continue, it will be necessary to hire more full-time profs and librarians to keep up with student demand.”
The report, part of a multi-year project on academic work, makes important contributions to understanding the activities of full-time faculty. However, it does not address the challenges faced by the growing ranks of part-time and contract faculty at Ontario universities. These individuals are shouldering a heavy teaching load while struggling with low job security, inadequate resources, and poor access to benefits.
“This report is an important first step in a broader conversation around the work of professors,” said Lawson. “We hope the next phase of the project will be a thorough examination of precarious faculty in our universities, and how we can improve their working conditions. As this report makes clear, faculty are a valuable resource for Ontarians. It is important we give all of them the support and resources they need to excel.”
The full report can be accessed here.