June 19, 2015
The Honourable Dr. Reza Moridi
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
900 Bay Street, Third Floor, Mowat Block
Toronto, ON M7A 1L2
Dear Minister Moridi:
Please find enclosed for your consideration the OPSEU position paper on the province allowing interested colleges to offer stand-alone nursing degrees.
Like Colleges Ontario, our union believes that colleges are well positioned to offer accessible and high-quality BScN degrees. However, a crucial component of the academic environment is missing. College faculty are denied academic freedom on par with their university colleagues. Academic freedom protects the rights of the teacher to teach and the student to learn. In research and scholarship, it is crucial to advancing knowledge.
The denial of academic freedom to college faculty hurts our students. As your ministry’s own research has shown, students graduating with college degrees face significant forms of degree discrimination in the labour market and when they apply to university graduate degree programs.
We further note that in the matter of stand-alone nursing degrees, academic freedom would ensure that health care research and education occurs in a rigorous, bias-free and transparent manner. Ontarians deserve a health care system where they can be certain that the nurses, who literally hold lives in their hands, graduate from such a system.
As such, we strongly recommend that your government tie degree granting approval to the implementation of a robust academic freedom and academic decision-making framework that protects students’ investments, guarantees the credibility of Ontario’s postsecondary education system, and enhances our health care system.
We look forward to discussing this further with you.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU CAAT-Academic Divisional Executive Chair