OBJECTIVES: Concerned with enhancing access to higher education within the constraints of current economic conditions, provinces across Canada are reviewing and reconfiguring universities under their respective jurisdictions. A variety of approaches are being employed in this regard, including the expansion of existing institutions and the creation of new ones. Established universities have opened auxiliary teaching sites, sometimes in communities quite geographically removed from the main university location. Certain initiatives involve partnerships or mergers, while in others, permission to offer applied degrees has been given to non-university educational institutions. Going further in this direction, new universities have been created from former community colleges, and degree-granting private institutions have been authorized.
In the absence of comprehensive authoritative accounts to explain these continuing developments, considerable confusion characterizes any present understanding of the Canadian post-secondary education organizational landscape. To rectify the situation, this project proposes to clearly define and differentiate the various institutional administrative structures that have evolved since the major university expansions of the mid-twentieth century. Addressing a significant gap in the historiography of Canadian higher education in the process, the intent is to monitor, document and inform current developments, encouraging a greater general understanding of university institutional organization. To achieve these purposes, our research team will:
- categorize the various organizational entities associated with each of the higher education establishments authorized to grant university degrees in Canada, clarifying their relationship to their principal corporate identity and noting physical locations.
- organize this information into a readily consulted inventory, openly accessible in an online secure information commons database repository.
- conduct secondary research pertinent to university organizational developments that have occurred since the last comprehensive histories of Canadian higher education were published forty years ago.
- interview informed representatives of degree-granting institutions, provincial governing bodies and relevant higher education associations to record university organizational developments that have occurred and continue to change.
- analyze the characteristic features of the various changes, identifying trends and describing models among the initiatives that have been implemented.
- encourage further research and inform future university administrative developments by disseminating research results through presentations and publications.
- engage gra duate students in every dimension of this project, contributing to their educational and skills development.