Regional input in PSE review

The consultation phase of the A Learning Alberta steering committee came to Calgary’s Roundup Centre this week.

At the invitation-only event delegates including students and faculty converged to discuss and debate a framework intended to guide Alberta’s post-secondary education system into 2025. The framework, created by a steering committee whose members include Calgary-Shaw MLA Cindy Ady and University of Calgary President Dr. Harvey Weingarten was created over the summer with the focus of increasing accessibility to higher education for aboriginal and rural students, as well as making it more affordable and of better quality for everyone.

“I think today exemplifies what we hope to gain from [the attendees] and perhaps to learn where the different communities within the advanced education system are, what they see as the priorities, what they see as the need, as well I think to advise us as to how bold or how innovative to be,” said Co-Chairman Russell Carr.

Boldness and innovation were some of the top recommendations to come out of the meeting. Each of the four groups who presented their findings at the end of the conference called on the Alberta government to take courageous steps towards improving the quality of post-secondary education in Alberta.

“Be bold, don’t just tinker,” said U of C Students’ Union President Bryan West. “Make Alberta the model. Make it the model for Canada, make it an international model.”

U of C Faculty Association President Anton Colijn was cautiously optimistic about the regional meeting.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said Colijn, adding his expectations weren’t high going into the meeting. “I suppose they still aren’t in the sense I don’t know what Advanced Education will do with this.”

West and SU Vice-President External Jen Smith were two of the main student representatives at the talks. Smith, who is also Council of Alberta University Students Chair, was unimpressed.

“I’d say no-one was happy with the mission statement that they put out,” said Smith. “Most people in my group didn’t think it was bold enough or separated Alberta from the pack.”

Regardless, Smith still plans on attending the Minister’s Forum Nov. 1-2 where the steering committee will present its findings to minister Hancock.

“I just hope we can get enough invitations so that we can send people from all four universities.” she said. “We hope to send a few people, anyway.”

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