On January 30, 2021, the Faculty Association of the University of Calgary joined other supporters of post-secondary education in Alberta in voicing our support for stable funding of post-secondary education and expressing our concern about the province’s future.
We hope that the Government of Alberta will make clear its commitment to ensuring that Albertans have access to world-class institutions and scholars and that the working environment in universities provides the researchers and teachers with the respect and support that these dedicated professionals deserve. The proposed and actual cuts to post-secondary education funding carry the real and present danger that Alberta’s universities in the future will be diminished versions of what they are today. Universities and university education are critical to Alberta’s economic and social future and government funding must reflect this reality. The funding of post-secondary education must be seen as an investment in the future of the Province.
The Faculty Association of the University of Calgary believes that sustainable public funding for Alberta’s post-secondary education is essential to the health of our institutions and the overall health of our province and its economy. We believe that Alberta’s post-secondary institutions have a central role to play in diversifying our workforce and building the kind of economy that will enable Alberta to move forward in these trying times. However, our post-secondary institutions need appropriate, sustainable funding to achieve this. Investment in Alberta’s post-secondary education is a choice that the Government of Alberta must make in order to secure a prosperous future for Albertans.
In these times of economic uncertainty, Albertans need to have opportunities to transition by learning new skills. But just when they need post-secondary opportunities the most, they are faced with higher tuition rates and have realistic fears about the quality of their education. We believe that student learning outcomes are intrinsically tied to the working conditions and well-being of the instructors and support staff. Hiring freezes, lay-offs, and operational budget cuts come with increased workload and stress for the remaining staff. Meanwhile, with increased financial pressures and uncertainty, institutions often increase reliance on contract academic staff who have little in the way of job security or benefits and often earn less for instructing a course than the students who aid them.
Now is the time for Albertans to work together to urge our Government to invest in our post-secondary education system of today for the prosperity of Alberta into the future.