CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at 1356.cupe.ca This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Outsourcing Teaching - University of Windsor





U of W mulls outsourcing teachers

The Windsor Star
Tue Jan 26 2010
Page: A3
Section: News
Byline: Craig Pearson
Source: The Windsor Star

Some University of Windsor professors worry the school may soon become one of the first in Canada to outsource professorial work.

The Australian-based Study Group International would recruit international students and provide them first-year instruction -- with academic, English and cultural courses. If the students pass, the University of Windsor would automatically accept them into second year.

If approved at a senate meeting Feb. 10, the International Study Centre, University of Windsor, would open in September. The recruits would be Study Group students, not University of Windsor students, even though they would share the campus.

"Windsor has been a leader in international-student recruitment in Canada for the last dozen years," Bruce Tucker, vice-president for academic affairs at the University of Windsor, said Monday. "We have a higher percentage of international students on campus than most other universities, with around 12 per cent (of the school's almost 16,000 students).

"But it's also an area where competition is heating up all around the world. In order to be competitive, we need to take the next step."

Australia leads in international recruiting, with perhaps 40 per cent of its university population from outside the country. But everyone from China to Europe wants in: International students pay more.

A typical student from Ontario pays $5,500 to $6,000 for a year's tuition in Windsor. An international student pays perhaps $15,000. And an SGI student might pay a little more.

The school wants to improve its retention rate. Tucker said the university loses about 18 per cent of Ontario students and 40 per cent of international students.

While Windsor might become the first university to hire SGI, the largest such company in the world, the trend began at other campuses in the country two or three years ago. A firm called Navitas has signed contracts with the University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser and, last week, Dalhousie.

"Academically, I don't feel this is a sound move on the University of Windsor's part," said Brian E. Brown, president of the University of Windsor Faculty Association which represents 1,000 full- and part-time faculty. "I'm very worried about the academic quality of education these individuals will receive. If the courses are equivalent to courses that we teach right now in our first-year program, then those courses should be taught by our professors, who are well-qualified."

Canadian Association of University Teachers spokesman David Robinson considers the outsourcing trend disturbing.

"These companies set up private for-profit colleges on university campuses," Robinson said. "The interest here is to get money. That's really sad in many ways. What the universities are really doing is lending them their good name, because the companies are nothing on their own.

"But in the end, it will tarnish their brand name."

Robinson feels academic standards will be lower than what the almost 50,000 university professors across Canada could provide.

"These kinds of companies essentially allow for queue-jumping," said Robinson. "You have very wealthy international students paying very high fees."

But Tucker said academic standards would remain high with Study Group and that more international flavour would enrich the campus.

"It would not do Study Group any good to put forward unqualified students into our second year because they would soon be out of business," said Tucker, who sees a social-justice element to the move. "These are students who could not come to the university the regular way, largely because of their English skills. This is in keeping with the University of Windsor's tradition of giving students a second chance."

Edition: Final

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