GTA needs feeder university to handle 40,000 more students
The GTA may need another university within 15 years to handle a surprise boom of 40,000 more undergraduates, warns University of Toronto president Dr. David Naylor.
So strapped are GTA universities for space, they may even — in a rare show of team spirit — form an unusual consortium to run a new sort of feeder university, Naylor said, where students could earn a three-year bachelor’s degree or switch after the second year into one of the older universities.
It’s one of a scramble of ideas being developed by the presidents of the U of T, Ryerson, York and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to cope with a surge in students driven by the flow of immigrants to the GTA and a growing appetite for higher learning.
“There was a widespread assumption after the double cohort that we would see enrolment pressures drop ... That didn’t happen,” said Naylor. “There’s 40,000 more students coming to the GTA — that’s basically another university unless we find some smart ways to handle the crunch.”
But talks about any new university must include funding for new professors, warned Henry Mandelbaum, executive director of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. “The student-faculty ratio in Ontario has been getting worse, not better,” he said. “It seems we’re preoccupied with finding seats for students without thinking about who’s going to teach them.”