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UPDATE: Frequently Asked Questions


June 11, 2014

What is happening at OISE?

We are ending our undergraduate teacher education programs to focus on teacher education at the graduate level.

This change to focus on the graduate level is consistent with OISE’s strategic plan which was developed following consultations with over 500 OISE faculty, staff, students, and alumni along with representatives from other units at the University.

Why was this decision made?

We are doing this in response to the 33 per cent operational cut that the provincial government has made to all faculties of education in Ontario along with the government’s decision to extend undergraduate programs from two semesters to four.

The provincial cuts will amount to a base reduction of more than $3 million to our annual budget.

Why are any changes necessary as I have heard that the impact is revenue neutral?

The revenue neutrality refers to the fact that OISE will receive the same reduced amount of funding from the provincial government as we convert the existing 1,167 BEd spaces into approximately 500 additional graduate spaces.

No matter which path we chose – either to retain the BEd program or to focus on the graduate level – we would still face this same shortfall of more than $3 million annually.

How does this change to graduate level focus compare to what other education faculties are doing?

All other faculties of education are attempting to manage through what has been a devastating loss of funding support.

Did the University actively oppose these cuts by the government when they were under consideration?

We continue to advocate for improved levels of funding for the University of Toronto, which are far behind other universities and provinces. Like all other universities with faculties of education, we strongly object to these cuts and their devastating impact.

Was there any consultation ahead of this decision?

There has been extensive consultation about the future of OISE. This change to focus on the graduate level is consistent with OISE’s strategic plan which was developed following consultations with over 500 OISE faculty, staff, students, and alumni along with representatives from other units at the university.

Following the government’s announcement last summer to reduce funding to all Bachelor of Education and Diploma programs by 33% and to extend the programs from two semesters to four, a working group was convened to consider the implications of that plan for OISE. That group recommended we focus our programming on our two graduate programs that meet the requirements for licensure to teach.

Will there be job losses associated with the move to graduate level?

Unfortunately, these changes will result in job losses. The size of the cut in government support makes job losses inevitable. No matter which academic structure we adopt we simply cannot absorb a $3 million annual reduction without an impact on our employees.

Do you know how many jobs will be lost?

Regretfully, we are projecting 25–30 USW and Professional Managerial Staff positions could be eliminated. We have already initiated discussions with USW on the development of a Special Retirement Program, and it is our hope that we will accomplish the necessary reductions through voluntary retirements and the reassignment of remaining staff. If necessary, we will also develop Special Severance programs. Comparable programs will be established for PM staff. Preliminary staffing models will be developed over the next several weeks so that staff may be better informed as they make decisions.   

Details on the Special Retirement Program will be made available once discussions with USW have concluded. It is our hope that this will occur before the end of this month.

Discussions with CUPE about special severance arrangements for stipendiary instructors will commence as soon as the academic program requirements for the expanded graduate programs in teacher education have been developed. 

Where will those job losses occur?

Not all decisions have been made as we need to evaluate the impact. The job losses will primarily impact our administrative and support functions as we amalgamate services to support the graduate level. We will also see an impact on our stipendiary faculty who support our undergraduate programs. There will be no impact on full-time faculty positions.

Will any supports be provided for those that will lose their jobs?

We will do our best to minimize any impact on employees. For employees directly impacted by potential job loss, we will provide a full array of support services.

When will you let people know about potential job losses?

Once the structure of the graduate teacher education programs is clearer, the Dean will convene a committee to advise on the appropriate administrative staffing model to support all OISE programs.

What does the university think the impact of these changes will be on the quality of the teaching profession in Ontario?

We know that the quality of teaching is at the root of a successful education system and is one of the most important variables in student achievement. Students in Ontario and around the world will benefit from OISE’s master graduates.