Post-secondary review to look at resources, government relationship and plenty more
Review welcomed by MUN president, after years of finding efficiencies
Almost one year after an "extensive" review of the province's post-secondary education system was announced, no such review has begun, but the terms of reference were set on Thursday.
The province also announced who would do the review — three highly educated professionals with decades of experience.
"We want to ensure our public post-secondary system meets the educational and vocational needs of our students," said Advanced Education Minister Bernard Davis.
He stressed timelines were not of vital importance in the process to this point.
"We wanted to make sure we got it done right much better than getting it done quickly," he said.
The press conference was the latest in a cavalcade of daily announcements by the provincial government.
Davis has appointed Karen Kennedy to chair the review, with Dr. Kevin Keough and Dr. Doreen Neville as fellow members on the committee of experts.
The review will "provide a long-term vision for the next decade and beyond" for the post-secondary education system, according to a government release.
After the review was ordered last March, government provided an update in October asking for input on the terms of reference. At that time, appointments to the expert committee were in the hands of the public service commission.
Who are they?
Kennedy has worked with both Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic. She most recently served as a consultant on a review of CNA's School of Health Sciences, where she used to be the dean.
Keough is currently the executive director of the Alberta Prion Research Institute and has served on numerous advisory and review committees, as well as more than 30 professional bodies or community organizations since 1968. He has a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Toronto.
Neville has a doctorate and a master's degree in health services administration from Harvard University. She most recently served as a consultant with MUN's Office of the Provost. She's also served as an associate vice president with Memorial University and director of research for the Waterford Hospital.
What will they look at?
The terms of reference touch on dozens of subjects, but the question at the root of it is whether the province's public post-secondary system is meeting the needs of its students, and if there is room to do more.
The committee will look at how programs line up with labour demands, how the system contributes to immigration, the aging infrastructure on campuses and how revenue is generated.
They'll also review the relationship with government, which has been rocky since budget cuts limited the bottom line for MUN and CNA.
MUN president Gary Kachanoski said the review is welcomed by the university.
"Reviews are always a good thing, to have a second opinion or a second look at it," he said.
Kachanoski is hopeful the review will focus on resources — the budget he is dealing with this year is the same amount he had nine years ago, in his first year as president.
With crumbling infrastructure and an estimated $445 million price tag to fix it all, the school has been left to search for efficiencies at every turn.
"I think all of that has to be put into the pot to say how should the university be structured and how should the resourcing model for the university be structured?" Kachanoski said on Thursday.
While many say they are looking forward to the review, it will be another year — in 2020 — before the committee gives its report to government.