On December 20, 2013, the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities quietly released its Major Capital Expansion Policy Framework. The new policy governs how the government will allocate funds for major new infrastructure projects, including the creation of satellite campuses.
The framework establishes four basic criteria for capital projects:
- Accommodates enrolment growth of more than 1,000 full-time students in the short term, with the potential to accommodate longer-term growth of 5,000 to 10,000 over the next twenty years (i.e., long-term enrolment comparable to enrolment at substantial existing college or university campuses)
- Adds new facilities (either owned or secured through long-term lease) larger than 70,000 square feet (roughly 6,500 square metres), designated primarily for academic purposes
- Offers a broad range of programs, with substantial new or expanded ancillary services (or, shows clear potential for future growth in program offerings and ancillary services)
- Significantly improves local student access to postsecondary education in the short term (and has the potential to do so in the longer term), particularly in geographic locations that may be under-served by higher education.
The policy also gives priority to programs that are proposed in collaboration with the local community, are in areas with high unmet need for postsecondary education, and are consistent with the goals of the government’s differentiation framework.
The Toronto Star recently wrote a story on the policy, quoting OCUFA President Kate Lawson. Overall, OCUFA is pleased that there is finally a policy to govern the creation of satellite campuses, which had previously been developed haphazardly with some negative short-term consequences for students and faculty. However, OCUFA will be monitoring the application of this policy closely to ensure that new projects guarantee appropriate working conditions for faculty and provide a high-quality experience for students.