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Build 2000

Trent Officials Seek Support and Present Solutions to the Province's Standing Committee on Finance

Investing in liberal arts and science education provides solid returns

President Bonnie Patterson, together with Susan Clark, VP (Academic) and Garth Brownscombe, Acting VP (Administration), presented a three-part brief to the province's Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at a public input meeting held in Peterborough on February 9, 2004.

The University's presentation began with a focus on areas where Trent continues to seek assistance from the provincial government.  Trent's messaging to the all-party committee emphasized a need for a partnership approach to address a number of outstanding issues.  These topics included unfunded students, deferred maintenance, the need for continued provincial investment in the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT) to allow universities to continue to obtain their matching share of federal research dollars, and the need for the province to continue investing in the Biotechnology Cluster Innovation Program (BCIP).

Part two of the submission highlighted numerous areas where Trent University could offer its expertise to various provincial ministries and add to the strength of the Peterborough region.  Ontario's aging teacher population, the shortage of scientific jobs in the local area, and Ontario's ongoing nursing shortage were noted as areas where Trent's programs and capabilities could make a difference.   The University also suggested it could play an integral role in developing additional graduate programs in the healthcare field, and that its DNA Forensics and Wildlife Profiling Centre and Water Quality Centre could assist the government to seek solutions to a range of environmental and healthcare issues.

Trent's presentation concluded by emphasizing the value of a liberal arts and science education.  The stellar success rate of its graduates in obtaining employment was stressed, together with how government and society benefits from strong arts and sciences programs.  

Special emphasis was given to how higher education plays a unique role in developing individuals into full contributing members of society and providing a context for understanding each individual's place in broader society and the community.  The president added, 'It is in the disciplines of humanities, social sciences and sciences that we continue to understand and reshape our social values and our notions of a civic society.'

President Patterson told the MPPs, some of whom are newly elected, about Trent's history in delivering programs in Oshawa.  'The demands for Trent programming continue to increase and real opportunities exist to expand degree offerings and spaces in Oshawa.  With its established university reputation in place, Trent is ideally positioned to deliver its traditional programming in the arts and sciences, and new leading edge curriculum in the growing fields of environmental education and tailored programs for health care professionals,' said President Patterson. She added that Trent University has a more than 20-year history in the Oshawa area for delivering university programs based on a sound educational rationale and that the University could indeed do much more.

After the presentation Patterson added, 'We felt it was important to be proactive and ensure we had a spot on the agenda to reach the members of this committee, many of whom were newly elected MPPs.   It was timely to highlight some the outstanding financial issues that require immediate attention, that Trent University is poised to help solve some of Ontario's public policy challenges, and that the government is receiving a very good return on its investments in liberal arts and science education.'  

Download Trent's submission (Microsoft Word document).

Posted February 10, 2004

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