On April 24, 2014, the Ontario Public Sector Employee Union (OPSEU) released a report outlining challenges facing college faculty. Our colleagues in the college system face many of the same challenges that we do in the university sector- from grappling with commercialization to precarious academic work to the government’s “differentiation agenda.”
The report was released at a special launch event featuring comments from report author Kevin McKay, Erika Shaker from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), the Canadian Federation of Students, and OCUFA.
Like universities, Ontario’s colleges are severely under-funded, leading to real threats to educational quality. College faculty are also being pressured to provide more online teaching, with worrying implications for academic planning and increased precarious academic work. To make matters worse, College faculty do not enjoy academic freedom protections and are not able to speak out and criticize their administrations. This is an unacceptable situation. OCUFA believes that academic freedom should be extended to faculty in the college sector.
One of the report’s key recommendations is the creation of an all-party select committee of the Ontario Legislature to examine the future of higher education in the province. OCUFA endorses this recommendation fully, and looks forward to working with OPSEU and other allies to ensure it is implemented.