Academic Reform and its Possibilities

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tyndale University College & Seminary’s Chancellor, Dr. Stephanie Ling, was honoured to host a panel discussion on the Possibilities for Academic Reform on the morning of Tuesday, March 19. Approximately 40 people from various public and private institutions gathered at Tyndale for an opportunity to become more aware of the challenges that face universities and colleges needing to rethink themselves from the inside out instead of waiting for the external environment to reshape them.

The panel was moderated by Dr. William van Wijngaarden, York University’s Chair of Senate and a member of the Faculty of Science and Education. Panel members included author, professor and academic reform expert Dr. David Trick, Nipissing University’s Dean of Arts and Science Dr. Craig Cooper and Dr. Keith Cassidy, the President and Acting Academic Dean for Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy.

Dr. Trick presented the realities of education in the GTA, sharing how GTA post-secondary institutions could expect anywhere from 30,000 to 74,000 more students to attend university within the next few years. He continued to share how there are a variety of options to be considered, and how there needs to be a movement of rethinking from within educational institutions.

The discussion of academic reform has been going on for many years, as shared by Dr. Cooper. He discussed the idea of universities having partnerships with each other and with institutions such as colleges to provide new ways of learning.

The idea of smaller and private institutions being a part of Ontario’s academic future was presented by Dr. Cassidy. He spoke about a more personalized form of education and an experience that is largely residential. Dr. Cassidy also believes that academic institutions with religious affiliations are able to pursue a less utilitarian form of education and instead focus on a more holistic education and larger issues such as truth and freedom.

After the presentations the audience engaged with the panel for an hour with questions surrounding the presentations and various issues facing post-secondary institutions in Ontario today. The interactivity and lively engagement of the event, sponsored by Grant Thornton, showed that discussions of this nature are needed to meet the current and future demands for universities.

Dr. Stephanie Ling commented, “The participants experienced an engaging time of conversation with a number of questions that were left unanswered due to time constraints. I am looking forward to organizing a sequel to this panel discussion in order to explore more strategies and solutions that will address the sustainability factor of many undergraduate and graduate institutions.”

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