Colleague Wells points us to what I agree is a very good piece by Ivison on David Naylor’s visit to Ottawa. Toward the end of his column, Ivison references a piece on the recession and higher education, written by Alex Usher and Ryan Dunn of the Educational Policy Institute.
Alex has a piece in the recent 50th anniversary issue of University Affairs, which looks at the main trends driving higher education in Canada (and the world) right now; the article is one of those science-fictiony things where Alex writes as if it is 2034 and he’s looking back at how current trends played out over the next few decades. It’s all pretty smart, but here’s what I think is the part most relevant to Naylor’s agenda:
Institutional mistrust of government, and mutual mistrust between the federal and provincial levels of government, had stymied the development of a national quality-assurance system. And sheer inertia had stalled any changes to credit definitions or adoption of a European-style process for common degree outcomes across institutions.
Moreover, few Canadian institutions had made serious investments in a presence abroad (let alone set up campuses) and almost none had experience in promoting themselves abroad in a way that could challenge the American, British and Australian universities that dominated the market. So, what many universities had thought of as their “Plan B” in the event of government cutbacks – foreign student recruitment – turned out not to be viable.