Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Campus Alberta Quality Control Council

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org

CAMPUS ALBERTA QUALITY CONTROL COUNCIL

One of the important outcomes of Alberta’s Bill 43 has been the development of the Campus Alberta Quality Control Council. This Council is charged with the responsibility of deciding on standards that determine which institutions will be able to grant degrees. The eleven member council has now been confirmed. Headed by Doug Owram, the former provost at the University of Alberta, and made up of prominent university academics, the composition of the Council is intended to reinforce the focus on high standards.

With the confirmation of the Council’s composition, at least one college, Grant MacEwan (GMCC), has announced that they are a step closer to being able to grant university degrees. Currently students are able to take the first two years of many arts programs at GMCC, but then must transfer to U of A or another university to complete their degree. Grant MacEwan College, if approved, will be able to grant degrees as early as 2007. The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology has also expressed interest in offering degrees.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada does not recognize degrees granted from colleges. Calgary’s Mount Royal College agrees with that viewpoint, arguing that a degree must come from a “full-service” institution to merit acceptance. Rather than seeking degree-granting status, Mount Royal is working toward becoming a full-fledged university.

Of greatest concern, of course, is the issue of quality and standards, and Doug Owram promises that the Council is not a group of people who will play fast and loose with standards. A look at the composition of the council confirms that all eleven members have extensive post secondary and related experience (although there is no student representation).

Allowing colleges to grant degrees is just one way in which Alberta is attempting to manage the increase in demand for post secondary education. Those of us who are concerned about the continued quality of that education will be keeping a close eye on the activities of this new Council.

REFERENCES

When it comes to education, it’s a matter of degrees: New council will set standards for colleges hoping to offer university degrees. Larry Johnsrude, Edmonton Journal, July 28, 2004.

Council established to review degree-granting proposals & list of members. Alberta Government news release:
http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200407/16852ADDD6F7C-F0B4-4140-A9051A381EC4A850.html

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