Get ready for restructuring at OAC, dean says

Restructuring, curriculum reform and a general “evolution” must take place at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College to deal with its current cash crunch, OAC’s dean warns.

In a statement Tuesday on OAC’s website, Robert Gordon says that in many ways, none of the challenges the college has faced over the years have been greater than its present “financial dilemma.”

Said dilemma involves “dealing with our current structural deficit as well as anticipated increased operating costs at a time when provincial grants to universities have been frozen and endowments flat-lined as a result of the global fiscal situation,” Gordon wrote. “Many educational institutions are facing similar predicaments.”

Thus the college now enters what he described as a “period of significant transition.”

To deal with OAC’s predicament, he said, involves “making plans for the strategic restructuring of various units within OAC to support new program opportunities and improve the delivery of existing ones.”

Curriculum reform, he wrote, is to take place at the diploma, undergraduate and graduate levels alike, “with the goal of delivering more efficient and relevant programs in the future.”

It will still be important for OAC to place a high priority on “exceptional service at the farm, county, provincial, national and international levels,” he wrote, but “this will need to be done in more efficient ways.”

The college will also have to continue its emphasis on “innovation and enhanced value chains in supporting the evolving needs of the agri-food industry through our world-class research.”

That means taking “new approaches for leveraging increased financial support to conduct this research” and “building both new and existing partnerships for the delivery of research programs.”

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