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Taking Public Universities Seriously

Taking Public Universities Seriously

Frank Iacobucci
Carolyn Tuohy
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 650
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    Taking Public Universities Seriously
    Book Description:

    The Government of Ontario recently announced a comprehensive review of the design and funding of the province's post-secondary education system, chaired by former premier Bob Rae. The issues and opportunities confronting Ontario and Canadian research universities are by no means unique. Many industrialized countries have been forced over the last several years to respond to challenges in higher education.

    In response to the Rae review, the University of Toronto convened a conference in December of 2004 to focus on the evolving role of the public university in industrialized democracies, and the implications of this role for creating optimal government policy. The conference involved leading policy makers, university administrators, and scholars from Canada and abroad.Taking Public Universities Seriouslyincludes all the papers given at this conference, and is enhanced by a comprehensive introduction by two of Canada's most prominent and experienced university administrators, Frank Iacobucci and Carolyn Tuohy.

    Topics discussed include the rationale for funding public universities, the role of the public university, the increased competition between higher education and other government priorities, the proper role of tuition in the funding of higher education, and the models for student assistance if tuition fees increase. Anyone concerned with the future of public universities will find this book essential reading and a touchstone for future discussions.

    Contributors:Benjamin Alarie • Nicholas Barr • Bahram Bekhradnia • Michelle Broderick • David M. Cameron • H. Lorne Carmichael • Judith Chadwick • John R.G. Challis • Ronald J. Daniels • Peter Dawkins • David Duff • David Dyzenhaus • Ross Finnie • Jane Gaskell • Meric S. Gertler • Andrew Green • Martin Hayden • Ruth Hayhoe • Edward Iacobucci • Glen A. Jones • Daniel W. Lang • Donald N. Langenberg • James Milway • V. Lynn Meek • Stephen Parker • W. Craig Riddell • Arthur Ripstein • Steven J. Rosenstone • José Sigouin • Andrew A. Sorensen • Lorne Sossin • Janice Gross Stein • Arthur Sweetman • Michael J. Trebilcock • Tara Vinodrai • Melissa S. Williams • Ross Williams • David A. Wolfe • Qiang Zha

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8033-3
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. xi-2)
    Frank Iacobucci and Carolyn Tuohy

    Public universities are central pillars of successful societies. Yet the public-policy framework that sustains them is under severe stress across nations. As university participation rates have increased, governments in virtually all countries have faced increasing expectations of access to post-secondary education. In a context of competing priorities, however, public funding for universities has not kept pace with expanding enrolments. An implicit public compact that prevailed when about 10 per cent or less of the 18-to-24-year age cohort attended university could not, apparently, be sustained when that rate more than doubled and promised to rise further. Some of the responsibility for...

  4. Part I The Challenges Confronting Public Universities

    • The Role of Public Universities in the Move to Mass Higher Education: Some Reflections on the Experience of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China
      (pp. 5-25)

      The three higher education systems considered in this paper are all a part of what is often called ‘Greater China.’ All three can be seen as inheritors of a Confucian tradition which placed great value on higher education through a civil-service examination system going back to about 400 CE, and on the recognition and use of talent in public administration. Yet the pathways they chose in moving to mass higher education were somewhat different.

      Under American influence Taiwan developed a vibrant economy in the 1960s and 1970s, and with the end of martial law in 1987 a multiparty democratic system...

    • Australian Higher Education: Crossroads or Crisis?
      (pp. 26-37)

      I arrived in Australia from Mrs Thatcher’s Britain 17 years ago as a senior lecturer at a good university, when my oldest daughter was just starting school. I could not believe my luck. The staff-student ratio was good. Students paid no fees, and incurred no contingent liabilities for the cost of their tuition. I had ample time for research. Internal tensions in the university and the faculty were of the deliciously trivial kind.

      The honeymoon lasted all of six months. By mid-1988 fundamental changes were being injected into Australia’s higher education system, the effects of which are still being felt,...

    • Diverse Challenges, Diverse Solutions
      (pp. 38-43)

      Ladies and gentleman, it is a pleasure to be with you this morning.

      In fifteen short minutes, I can do no more than give you a brief and personal perspective on some of the challenges that the university system – certainly in the United Kingdom – has faced over the past couple of decades, and on the pressures that I think will be placed upon it in the coming years.

      The higher education system has changed beyond recognition. Individual universities may look much the same – actually, most do not even look the same in England – but the system...

    • The Principal Challenges to Public Higher Education in the United States
      (pp. 44-49)

      After reading the papers of my fellow panelists, I am convinced that there are many striking similarities in the issues we face, not only north and south of the Canada-US border, but also in Australia, Asia, and the United Kingdom. In the interest of brevity, I shall address only a few of the numerous challenges we face. Those I choose to address here could be gathered under this rubric: breaking the shackles of parochialism. We are hindered in our collective mission by pervasive parochialism, which takes several forms.

      1. The first challenge is the imperative to transcend disciplinary boundaries. During the...

    • What Is a ‘Public’ University?
      (pp. 50-54)

      I must say, I feel very much at home here. I grew up just over the border from Winnipeg. I have spent most of my career on the eastern seaboard among people who sometimes detect an unusual accent but are a little vague about the geography of the American heartland. So I have taken to answering the question ‘Where are you from?’ by saying that I hail from the middle of the continent and am sixty miles short of being a Canadian.

      We are here to discuss ‘the challenges confronting public universities.’ Whatarethose challenges? There is a very...

    • Challenges Facing Higher Education in America: Lessons and Opportunities
      (pp. 55-86)

      Higher education in America is in trouble. Deep trouble.

      Over the course of the twentieth century, America created one of the world’s truly great systems of higher education – a system that has generated tremendous scientific discoveries, fueled the economy, solved pressing social problems, and ensured the cultural vitality of our communities. It has educated millions of students, creating a well-trained workforce and spawning creative ideas and innovations that have improved the quality and longevity of life. Access to higher education has provided tremendous opportunities for social and economic mobility, enabling all kinds of people, including new generations of immigrants,...

    • Towards a New Compact in University Education in Ontario
      (pp. 87-118)

      Over the past decade, a number of different industrialized democracies have critically examined the structure and performance of their post-secondary education systems. By and large, the focus of this attention has been on the capacity of the state to support the needs and aspirations of the traditional publicly funded research-intensive university. In the received model, the public research university receives significant levels of funding from the state to support its research and teaching activities, but is subject to some level of state oversight and control so as to render the activities of the institution congruent with the public interest. The...

  5. Part II The Case for the Public University:: Rationales for and Modes of Public Intervention

    • Public Funding of Teaching and Research in Universities: A View from the South
      (pp. 121-137)

      Debate over the structure and funding of higher education revolves around three main groups of issues. The first and overriding issue is the nature of the higher education system. Should there be a range of institutions with different missions or should each institution attempt to meet the full range of society’s needs? Put more specifically, should all institutions offer doctoral programs (the Australian model) or should there be a hierarchy of institutions ranging from technical colleges to liberal-arts colleges to PhD-granting institutions. The broad structure of higher education is a regulatory rather than a funding issue; it is a matter...

    • The Social Benefits of Education: New Evidence on an Old Question
      (pp. 138-163)

      Education has numerous consequences for individuals and society. For many people, there is some ‘consumption value’ from the educational process. Human beings are curious creatures, and they enjoy learning and acquiring new knowledge. Education also has considerable ‘investment value.’ Those who acquire additional schooling generally earn more over their lifetimes, achieve higher levels of employment, and enjoy more satisfying careers. Education may also enable people to more fully enjoy life, appreciate literature and culture, and be more informed and socially involved citizens.

      An important distinction is that between the private and the social returns to education. Private returns refer to...

    • The Case for Public Investment in the Humanities
      (pp. 164-173)

      I will make the case today for public investment in the Humanities and I will do so by reflecting on Learned Hand’s celebration of the Humanities. The question for this conference is not whether there should be public investment in Ontario’s universities but rather how extensive an investment. Framing the question that way might seem to do away with the need to make a case for public investment. But in a world of scarce resources, the two questions – ‘Should there be investment?’ and ‘How much should there be?’ – are linked. And we all know that it is fairly...

    • On Complex Intersections: Ontario Universities and Governments
      (pp. 174-187)

      Universities and governments share many common interests and characteristics, but the one common characteristic that receives surprisingly little attention in discussions of their relationship is that both are enormously complex organizational forms. For those who study the relationship between universities and the state, there has been a quite natural tendency to categorize and simplify, these organizational complexities. In order to study we define, and in doing so delimit the scope of our analysis; in order to measure we count, and in doing so make decisions about the ‘what’ we are measuring.

      Discussions of the public role and importance of universities...

    • Equality of Opportunity and University Education
      (pp. 188-210)

      In beginning any discussion of university education, it seems obligatory to mention its importance in providing opportunities to individuals. Sometimes such opportunities seem to be viewed as one of the purposes of the university system; other times they are discussed as one of the broader social benefits of university education. The discussion will often then veer off to focus on the economic opportunities from university education and their implications for economic growth. The trend over the past decade has been to argue that investing in ‘human capital’ is the answer to all problems – it is seen as increasing the...

  6. Part III Responding to the Challenges:: Performance-Based Government Operating and Capital Support

    • The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Universities as Performers
      (pp. 213-225)

      It is no accident that as soon as we begin to talk about public reinvestment in higher education, we move quickly to a parallel discussion of accountability and performance measures. The political bargain is clear: in return for the investment of public funds, governments acting on behalf of the public demand ‘results’ from their partner institutions. The conversation has moved beyond ‘transparency’ about thewaypublic money is spent to a discussion ofwhatpublic money is buying. We are now in the Auditor General’s world of ‘value for money.’ Is the public getting ‘value’ for the ‘money’ it is...

    • The Political Economy of Performance Funding
      (pp. 226-250)

      It has now been more than a decade and a half since Guy Neave introduced the phrase ‘the Evaluative State’ (Neave 1988). At that time Neave was reflecting on a variety of practices and policies that had been installed to assist universities and, more often, the states that supported them, to cut the higher educational suit to fit the publicpurse cloth by quantitative measurement. Also, at that time most of the measures, although flawed, were accepted as temporary but necessary rough justice.

      A decade later Einhard Rau presented a small but important paper that asked, ‘Performance Funding in Higher Education:...

    • Public Funding, Markets, and Quality: Assessing the Role of Market-Based Performance Funding for Universities
      (pp. 251-274)

      David Smith, former principal of Queen’s University, ends his report on quality measures and enhancement in Ontario universities with a strong statement about the benefits of competition and collaboration. He argues that the incentives from competition in the university sector must be ‘sufficiently strong’ to promote quality.² Universities that compete in the markets for students, professors, and donations will find themselves pushed to provide high quality. Our essay picks up on this theme in exploring how governments can use markets in designing funding systems for universities that provide useful incentives. Markets work directly in providing incentives to universities, in that,...

  7. Part IV Building Excellence:: Graduate and Research Support

    • Post-secondary Education and Research: Whither Canadian Federalism?
      (pp. 277-292)

      The question posed in this paper is the following: What are the implications for Canadian federalism of recent federal government initiatives in post-secondary education in general and research in particular?

      The federal government has been directly involved in supporting research in Canadian universities since the First World War and the establishment of the National Research Council (NRC) in 1916. This was, in fact, the first direct contact between the federal government and Canada’s universities, and it came about more by dint of circumstance than by design. The NRC was established to promote industrial research in aid of the war effort,...

    • Anchors of Creativity: How Do Public Universities Create Competitive and Cohesive Communities?
      (pp. 293-315)

      Universities have long been viewed as crucial to the processes of learning, innovation, and knowledge creation, and this is more important now than ever before. Given that universities are key institutions for knowledge production, integration, and inclusion, it is crucial to ask ourselves: what role do institutions of research and graduate education play in enabling regions, provinces, and the nation to attract and retain talented people, thereby contributing to wider goals of competitiveness and social inclusion?

      This paper begins by outlining the recent literature on regional economic development, innovation, and the role of the university in anchoring the competitiveness and...

    • Innovation and Research Funding: The Role of Government Support
      (pp. 316-340)

      The shift to more knowledge- and research-intensive production has been a defining feature of the industrial economies for the past decade and a half. As this shift has gained momentum, governments have become more preoccupied with the policies required to support it and, in particular, with the role of the university. A survey inThe Economistseveral years ago provided a unique conception of the role of the university in the knowledge-based economy, ‘not just as a creator of knowledge, a trainer of young minds and a transmitter of culture, but also as a major agent of economic growth: the...

    • Post-secondary Education and Ontario’s Prosperity
      (pp. 341-359)

      In carrying out its mandate to measure and monitor Ontario’s competitiveness and prosperity relative to other North American jurisdictions, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity has identified the importance of post-secondary education in realizing our prosperity potential. In this paper we review Ontario’s competitiveness and prosperity relative to a group of peer jurisdictions in North America, identify the importance of productivity as the key driver of our prosperity gap relative to these peers, and review the importance of our under-investment in post-secondary education to productivity.

      Ontarians should be proud of the economic strength of our province. As we compare prosperity in...

    • The University Research Environment
      (pp. 360-376)

      In this paper we shall provide a brief analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges for the research environment in Canadian universities, particularly from the standpoint of the Province of Ontario. We shall draw upon examples from the University of Toronto, in the belief that the general principles have applicability across the provincial and national system. We shall argue that the research-intensive universities occupy a special place in the Canadian higher educational system, and that Canada has a requirement for a handful of research universities that are truly world class by any measure. The economic impact of university-based research...

  8. Part V Governing the System:: New Modes for Promoting Accountability, Transparency, and Responsiveness

    • The Governance of Public Universities in Australia: Trends and Contemporary Issues
      (pp. 379-401)

      This chapter presents an overview of the governance of public universities in Australia. It begins with a brief history of developments during the past 50 years. This account is important in providing a context for the second part of the chapter, in which contemporary issues related to the governance of Australia’s higher education system are addressed.

      The chapter is written with the needs of a Canadian readership primarily in mind. For this reason, matters of fine detail are omitted and there is more of an emphasis upon historical developments than would normally be required. Throughout the chapter, references are made...

    • Deliberative Democracy: The Role of Educational Research in Educational Policy
      (pp. 402-417)

      The Rae review has already had a positive impact on the university system, by stimulating debate about and raising the profile of post-secondary education. Of course we expect even more impact over the next months, but demonstrating that the issues are fascinating and of critical importance for the well-being of the province, the country, and ultimately the globe is a good start. In this paper, I will argue that keeping such debate going is a critical issue for the well-being of the post-secondary education system.

      This section of our proceedings concerns the question of intermediary bodies, the thorny issue of...

    • Public Universities and the Public Interest: The Compelling Case for a Buffer between Universities and Government
      (pp. 418-438)

      What does autonomy mean in the context of a public university? From whom is the university autonomous? Typically, this autonomy is defined in relation to government intervention in academic programs, and in the past was associated with preserving academic freedom.¹ More recently, questions of autonomy have extended to a range of government-sponsored regulatory instruments.² From this autonomy vantage, government interference with universities may be seen as motivated by short-term horizons and partisan inclinations or demonstrating insensitivity to the unique context of universities. What makes a ‘public university‘ public? It is not simply that public funds are disbursed to these institutions...

  9. Part VI Enhancing Accessibility:: Normative Foundations for Income-Contingent Grant and Loan Programs

    • Higher Education Funding
      (pp. 441-475)

      Higher education matters. No longer only a consumption good enjoyed by an élite, it is an important element in national economic performance. So it is no accident that the numbers in higher education have increased in all advanced countries. However, a mass, high-quality university system is expensive and competes for public funds with other imperatives.

      Though in part about the British reforms announced in 2004, the paper is general in its application. It starts with some background issues. Section II sets out lessons from economic theory, largely rooted in the economics of information. Section III considers lessons from country experience...

    • Student Financial Aid: The Roles of Loans and Grants
      (pp. 476-497)

      Why do governments provide loans to post-secondary students? The fundamental reason is that some individuals lack the funds they need to pay for their schooling and loans are an obvious source for that financing, but private lending institutions are generally reticent to loan to students because they (or their families) may not be able to provide the necessary collateral and a student’s capacity to repay a loan in the post-schooling period is inherently uncertain. In the absence of a government-run loans system there will be limited lending to students, a general under-investment in post-secondary education, and access is likely to...

    • Public and Private Benefits in Higher Education
      (pp. 498-513)

      Discussions about funding for post-secondary education eventually turn to the question of who pays. Central questions concern the likely effects of various proposals: will higher tuition be a bar to accessibility, making education the privilege of those who can afford it, and deterring those who can’t?¹ Or will it increase accessibility by creating more spaces and transferring money from those who can pay to those who cannot?² The facts are contested, and competing views claim that the truth is on their side. Yet both sides can’t be right.

      There’s another, equally important debate about funding. In this debate, opposed views...

    • Access to Public Universities: Addressing Systemic Inequalities
      (pp. 514-538)

      The modern university stands in a complex relationship to its surrounding society. The core function of the university remains its traditional one – fostering the highest possible level of human knowledge and understanding, and transmitting that knowledge to future generations. Yet contemporary universities – or ‘multiversities,’ as some call them – do and should serve a wide array of social purposes. In generating new knowledge through research, they also function as an engine of social and economic development. In educating students, they also create informed citizens and enable social mobility. In training society’s leaders and professional classes, they serve as...

    • Education, Equity, Economics: Can These Words Be in the Same Title?
      (pp. 539-553)

      Democratic societies face many challenges in making decisions about allocating resources across alternative needs, for example, between health care and higher education. It has been well known since at least Arrow (1951), and discussed in some circles since the Marquis de Condorcet (1785), that, in general, voting cannot uniquely aggregate underlying individual preferences into a single decision.¹ Hence, the outcome of a vote reflects both the particular voting mechanism employed and the individual preferences of the voters.

      Still, decisions are made in democratic societies and a set of normative theories have developed to describe and/or proscribe approaches to the questions...

    • An Income-Contingent Financing Program for Ontario
      (pp. 554-596)

      In a report released earlier this year entitledOn the Edge: Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education,¹ the OECD identified a number of challenges facing public colleges and universities internationally. These challenges include rapid growth in enrollment and research activity, declining state funding, unsustainably low levels of infrastructure investment, and greater competition among institutions.² Post-secondary education in Ontario is not immune from these concerns.³ Provincial operating grants per student have declined by 25% in real terms over the past decade. Over the same period, enrollment has grown significantly. As a result, the government’s share of university operating costs has...

    • Timing the Payment of Tuition to Enhance Accessibility: A Graduate Tax?
      (pp. 597-614)

      There are many issues facing the post-secondary education sector in Ontario, but the greatest passion seems to be generated by the problem of accessibility. Student leaders complain that the opportunity for a university education that should be available to all qualified high school graduates is in fact given only to those whose family wealth is sufficient to cover the costs, or to those who are willing to take on a large load of debt.

      There are several policy instruments that could be used to enhance accessibility. The most popular among students and some faculty is a pure public subsidy. We...