U of T Signs Strategic Mandate Agreement with Province of Ontario
St. George to reduce number of undergraduate admissions
Gazelle Dehzad CONTRIBUTOR
Photo: The European Nudging Network.
For the second time since its establishment, the University of Toronto (U of T) has signed a Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development for the period of April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2020. The SMA, which every post-secondary institution has signed, highlights current and future objectives and priorities shared between the province and the universities.
“[The agreement] provides us, over three years, to have security of our funding, to be planning, and also to be able to identify areas that we want to seek investment in,” Andrew Thomson, Chief of Government Relations at U of T, explained in an interview with The Mike. “This allows us to institute and identify the key priorities, areas of investment, and how to offer programming across the three campuses of the university.”
The SMA outlines some of the main priorities shared between the University and the Ontario government. This includes: maintaining a leadership position in research and innovation, expanding enrolment of international doctoral students, broadening international activities for students, and promoting access and diversity through financial support for students of all backgrounds.
The main area of focus that has been emphasized throughout the SMA is improving student experience. The agreement details the steps that have been taken to create more opportunities for studying abroad, providing additional support to international students, better preparing graduate students for a range of academic and non-academic careers, and establishing a tri-campus Sexual Violence and Support Centre for students, faculty, and staff.
“The second area of focus is, of course, around research intensification. We are Canada’s leading research institution and this allows us an opportunity to clearly measure and reflect the strength that the University has in research,” Thomson stated. “An example of one of the changes that is in this agreement is we have agreed with the province to reduce the number of undergraduates on the St. George campus, instead to focus on more research-intensive activities at this campus while at the same time protecting our enrolment in Scarborough and Mississauga.”
Over a three-year period, the downtown campus will be reducing domestic undergraduates by approximately 2,000 to coincide with demographic trends while maintaining the numbers at the Scarborough and Mississauga campuses. The University will be increasing Master’s and doctoral offerings.
The new SMA aims to build upon the current strengths of the university, and continue creating a diverse environment where students are provided the opportunity to explore their interests and build useful skills that will assist them in the workforce.
The SMA also provides financial sustainability for the University, which allows for growth and creativity. When asked about the long-term benefits this provides, Thomson said, “I think it’s a very positive piece for the University of Toronto. We are Canada’s leading university internationally recognized as one of the great universities of the world, and this funding agreement provides us support to continue on that mission.”