Ontario universities should play to their strengths instead of trying to be everything to everyone, the head of an advisory body on higher learning said Tuesday, as he called for schools to focus on the programs they do best.

A report commissioned by Ontario's deputy post-secondary education minister by the Higher Education Quality Council is calling on universities to pick a specialty and stick with it.

“You will have the institutions doing what they do best, not trying to do what everybody else is doing,” council president Harvey Weingarten said yesterday.

Tough economic times and a crush of students pouring into universities has schools spreading themselves too thin, Weingarten said.

A spokesperson for Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy said the minister will review the paper carefully and consult with universities.