OPSEU College Faculty banner

Academic freedom key to recognition of stand-alone college degrees


Faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) question the commitment of Ontario colleges to provide faculty the right conditions to deliver stand-alone four-year nursing degrees.

While nursing degrees are currently offered jointly by Ontario colleges and universities, a new report issued by Colleges Ontario advocates that colleges are well-equipped to offer nursing degrees on their own. The union is concerned that this report fails to address the academic changes that must occur for such degrees to be viewed as legitimate.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling for a commitment to academic freedom policies that would allow Ontario’s world class colleges to be recognized globally.

“Ontario College faculty are highly-trained experts in their field, and well-equipped to deliver nursing degrees. However the College’s Ontario report shows a disturbing lack of respect for, and awareness of, what it takes to deliver on their promises,” said Thomas.

At stake is how college Baccalaureate degrees are treated when students seek to pursue further study or have their credentials recognized internationally. Students who graduate with degrees from institutions that are not members of the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada (AUCC) face significant challenges pursuing further education and having their degrees recognized.

Membership in AUCC signals to other postsecondary institutions in Canada and globally that the degree is credible, and that the institution meets the internationally recognized requirements to deliver degree outcomes.

Ontario’s colleges are not eligible for membership in AUCC because they refuse to give college faculty academic freedom and control over curriculum content.

 “Ontario colleges are certainly capable of delivering quality nursing degrees, but the recognition of these degrees is undermined by the fact that college faculty are denied academic freedom on par with university faculty. If students are to receive a quality academic degree from Ontario colleges, faculty experts must determine what is taught– not managers, not bureaucrats, and not corporations,” said JP Hornick, Chair of OPSEU’s College Faculty Divisional Executive.

OPSEU represents more than 12,000 faculty at Ontario colleges.

For more information:

JP Hornick, Chair, OPSEU College Faculty Divisional Executive: 416-806-9526  jphornick@gmail.com

Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 416-557-7936 evisser@opseu.org