Vice-president and provost Cheryl Misak announced last week that a new transfer credit consortium between seven of Ontario’s universities had been implemented.
The agreement is designed to facilitate students’ mobility between the institutions. Instead of going through the process of filling out paperwork, presenting various documents, and having each case reviewed personally by an assessor at the Office of the Registrar, several first-year arts and science courses can now be automatically counted towards a specific degree program.
The universities named in the agreement are McMaster, Queen’s, University of Guelph, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, and University of Western Ontario.
Concern has arisen over why these universities were included while others, including York and Ryerson, were not.
“The particular universities in the consortium have a shared commitment to very high and similar standards for learning outcomes in course offerings at the first-year level,” said Amy Mullin, UTM’s dean and VP academic.
The consortium caught the attention of the provincial government as well.
“We need an Ontario-wide system,” said Glen Murray, the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, as quoted in The Toronto Star.
Rylan Kinnon, the executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Students’ Alliance, commented on the agreement on OUSA’s website. “Students believe that this limited first step is progress, but that it is insufficient,” he wrote.
He went on to say that students want to see all universities joined in a transfer credit agreement that unites them all. A united education system with an Ontario-wide system of transfer credits would allow students to much more easily pursue their field of study in multiple universities.
“With higher-level classes, I think it’s absolutely an issue, and I don’t think it is actually workable,” said Holger Syme, the chair of UTM’s English and drama department. “The idea that you can unify curricula across the board, over all Ontario universities, doesn’t take into account the variety of approaches in any academic field.”