This weekend, I returned to Fleming College for a visit to the Garden Show. Some things had changed since my retirement four years ago, including a brand new wing. I remember faculty often complaining that the college always had money for buildings, but not so for core academic expenditures- not just teachers, but tools they use to deliver their courses.
The new provincial budget takes aim at Colleges in a new way. For the first time ever, funding will depend on results such as graduate employment and earnings, graduate rate and community impact instead of the traditional head count. This is a good thing. Colleges were developed to train students to help them find employment and to meet the needs of employers in a changing work environment. During my tenure, I saw programs where one in thirty graduates had a chance at a career in their field of study. As long as student counts drive funding, cool-sounding courses will prevail. Colleges can serve students and taxpayers by focusing on equipping students with employment-related skills that help bridge the gap that prevents them from getting jobs and employers from filling openings. KG