Professor Leesa Wheelahan was interviewed by The Australian, March 8, 2017.

Picture: David Geraghty.

Excerpt: Competency-based training needs to be discarded, along with the training packages it is based around, vocational education ­researcher Leesa Wheelahan has declared.

In a rare visit to her homeland, the Toronto-based researcher said CBT — the bedrock approach to Australian vocational education for two decades — had demon­strably failed in its three objectives of making qualifi­cations more mobile, aligning training with occupations and overcoming a 1980s mistrust of public institutions.

Dr Wheelahan has also called for a comprehensive inquiry into vocational education and training, saying a dozen or so “bitsy” reviews over the past three years have failed to resolve a crisis in VET. She said the crisis was epitomised by rorts and regulatory crackdowns, plummeting TAFE market share and a collapse in VET resourcing — with the ­system losing almost one-third of its per-hour funding within a decade. Ever since the first training package’s introduction in 1997, she said, problems in VET had been blamed on implementation.

See full article.

As an international vocational education and training expert, Professor Leesa Wheelahan, CIHE member and William G. Davis Chair in Community College Leadership at OISE, University of Toronto, was featured in University of Melbourne’s article, “Narrow training sells students short:  The crisis in Australia’s training sector means TAFEs need to develop their own courses tailored to an unpredictable future.” See full article.

CIHE’s Creso Sa and Julieta Grieco publish “Open Data for Science, Policy, and the Public Good”, which examines the unlikely case of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research’s transition toward an open data model. This article tackles this case through a political and cultural lens pertaining to Brazil’s history of science-policy dialogue and public accessibility of open data.

Recently published book, Higher Education, Commercialization, and University-Business Relationships (Issues in Globalization and Social Justice) (Volume 2), is a collaborative review of higher education within the construct of commercialization and the development of university-business relationships. Creso Sa has authored the second chapter, titled  ‘Globalization, Business, and the Research Enterprise’, which offers a historical and contemporary context of the evolution of the university-business relationships.



The Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) has recently published a research project that was undertaken by OISE Pathways Team. This research was undertaken to support the government’s three goals for pathways in Ontario. Contributing to the four years of substantial research, knowledge building and reflection by ONCAT, this study synthesizes current theories and research on student, mobility, institutional partnerships and pathways, and presents the current patterns of student flows and institutional agreements in Ontario.

Organizers: CIHE at OISE, the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
The Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education at OISE, the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario will be hosting a half-day symposium:

Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario’s Colleges and Universities: Where there’s a WIL, there’s a way – but where specifically, and how best?

Friday, November 18, 2017, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto

This symposium will explore how work-integrated learning (WIL) can best prepare students for the workplace given that many students will find themselves in occupations that are not the obvious destination of their field of study. We will also examine WIL – or lack thereof – in a variety of academic programs with a special interest in how to avoid various pitfalls when developing, maintaining, and assessing WIL.

The symposium will be held in the ground floor library at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (252 Bloor Street West) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is free but registration is required. The event will also be webcast for those unable to attend the event in Toronto.

Please visit our event page at:

Australia’s VET FEE-HELP scheme

With the Australian Government proposing a number of substantial reforms to the Australia’s VET FEE-HELP scheme, Professor Lessa Wheelahan’s and Professor Gavin Moodie’s expert opinions were published in Higher Education, in The Australian as well as High Wired. Both are quoted, expressing their concerns over the serious potential implications of the implementation of these reforms, citing underlying issues that include “class-based politics” and inconsistent systems between higher education and vocation education.

CIHE’s Creso Sa, Glen Jones and Leesa Wheelahan have each had their respective Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund projects approved by the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

Creso Sa and his research team’s project seeks to identify the outcomes that students participating in entrepreneurship programming in Ontario colleges and universities value, as well as the program attributes and/or experiences that help them achieve those outcomes. The project will focus on experiential programs supported by colleges and universities that are part of the provincially-funded Ontario Centres of Excellence. This study is intended to help inform Ontario’s entrepreneurship and innovation policy landscape by examining the goals, expectations and outcomes of students in these types of post-secondary programs. This is a three-year project.

Glen Jones and his research team’s project is the Canadian component of a comparative, international project focusing on the changing academic profession in more than thirty countries. The study is a follow-up to a 2007 survey of university faculty and will build on the original questionnaire, with a new emphasis on understanding the perceptions of university faculty in the context of the “knowledge society.” The core of the study will be a representative survey of full-time faculty employed in Canadian universities. The researchers will be able to explore changes in demographics and the perception of university faculty between 2007 and 2017 and contribute to our understanding of the academic profession in Canada compared to other countries. This is a three-year project.

Leesa Wheelahan and her research team’s project will assess the role and impact of baccalaureate degrees in Ontario. Baccalaureate degrees have been offered at Ontario colleges for 15 years. How have they impacted Ontario colleges and students? The research team includes Professors Leesa Wheelahan, Michael Skolnik and Gavin Moodie, with Dr Qin Liu as the post-doctoral researcher. The project will generate new insights on Ontario college baccalaureate degrees with respect to mission, curriculum, students and employment outcomes.

CIHE Director Creso Sa has written an op-ed piece for The Globe and Mail entitled, “Canada’s R&D tax credit doesn’t pass the test for evidence-based policy”. In this article, Professor Sa outlines some of the drivers behind this federal policy, its intended and historical outcomes, as well as the limitations it faces to truly generate evidence-based policy.

To read the full article please use the following link:






Glen Jones will be at Seoul National University from April 21-22 for a research meeting surrounding the ‘Academic Profession in Knowledge Society’. Serving as the Canadian lead in the project, this group will be rolling out the next phase of the current study in ‘Changing Academic Professions’. There are around 33 countries currently planning to participate in this project. A summary of the CAP project can be found here:

He will also be presenting at a related meeting entitled, ‘Doctoral Training Across Higher Education Systems’, which will involve stakeholders from about 10 countries. This presentation is intended to produce a book edited by J.C. Shin, Barbara Kelm, and Glen Jones.