The 180

Do private programs belong at public universities?

A new MBA program at the University of Victoria is being paid for by Telus - and it's only open to Telus employees. We look at what that means for the future of higher education.
University of Toronto campus (Credit: Evan Mitsui/CBC)

This month, the University of Victoria is launching a very exclusive MBA program -- it's only open to Telus employees. 

The program will be taught primarily by UVic faculty, but it's being paid for by Telus. The company also played a role in its design. 

Dan Pontefract is Chief Envisioner with the Telus Transformation Office, the office responsible for setting up this program. He sees it as an innovative way to give Telus employees the education that's most relevant to their company.

I don't think the higher education institution is in need of being dismantled, I think it needs to be updated.- Dan Pontefract, Telus Transformation Office

E. Wayne Ross is a professor of education at the University of British Columbia. He says this program is the next step in the corporatization of higher education. 

I think one of the demises of education... has been its susceptibility to adopting business practices. They have always been antithetical to the life of the mind.- E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia