Task Force Created To Address Issues Raised During Faculty Strike

Editor’s Note: Although its origin is not cited here, the Task Force announced in this news release was formed in response to the many unaddressed issues that arose during the five-weeks-long strike by faculty members at the province’s two dozen colleges in the autumn.

Contributed by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development

Ontario is working with college students, faculty, support staff, administrators and other experts to develop a forward-looking plan for Ontario's publicly assisted college system.

The province has appointed Sue Herbert to chair the College Task Force. She led the negotiation of the first Strategic Mandate Agreements with colleges; and has served as a Deputy Minister in three Ontario ministries including Education, Northern Development and Mines, and Community and Social Services.

The Task Force includes faculty, college representatives and students, along with industry and postsecondary education experts.

It will make recommendations to support the delivery of high-quality, career-oriented postsecondary education and training that is accessible to students and responsive to changing labour market needs.

The College Task Force will explore a range of topics, including:

• Student success and labour market readiness;

• Program pathways and support for students, including student mental health;

• Staffing models that would enhance program quality and improve student experience;

• Academic governance structures and intellectual property policies in the college system.

The task force will provide recommendations in December 2018.

"Ontario’s colleges play such an important role in preparing people for jobs in our growing and changing economy,” said Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Mitzie Hunter. “It’s been 50 years since Ontario’s college system was created, so this Task Force will look at how to make the college experience a better one for everyone. I’m especially pleased that student success will be at the centre of all these discussions, and that students have a strong voice on the task force."

Hebert added, “The Task Force brings together a diversity of perspectives with the common goal of supporting students, communities, employers and the college system as a whole. I am pleased to be working with this talented and committed group to promote excellence among Ontario’s colleges."

TASK FORCE MEMBERS

Sue Herbert, Chair, has had a distinguished career in the public service. She was a Deputy Minister in the Ontario government from 1997 to 2008 with the ministries of Education, Northern Development and Mines and Community and Social Services. Prior to becoming a Deputy Minister, she was the CEO of the Ontario Housing Corporation and held Assistant Deputy Minister positions. Since leaving the public service in 2008, Sue has led many important initiatives. With Patrick Case, she completed a 2017 review of governance and management practices in the York Region District School Board. In 2014-15 she reviewed the funding model for Ontario's universities. In 2013-14 she led the negotiation of Ontario's first Strategic Mandate Agreements with all 24 publicly assisted colleges.

Sylvie Beauvais has had a successful career in education for over 30 years at both Ontario and Quebec colleges. Before retiring in late 2016, she was Associate Vice-President at Collège Boréal. In this senior position, she was responsible for the overall management of the Central-Southwest programs and services. Prior to that, she spent 15 years at La Cité collégiale as a senior executive in various positions related to business development, international affairs, applied research, languages and health sciences. She is now a consultant in the fields of education, international affairs and health. She currently sits on the Ontario Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee and is a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario.

Aimee Calma is President of the College Student Alliance and has had an active career in student leadership and advocacy since 2016. She is a graduate of high distinction from Conestoga College's School of Business. Before completing her studies, Aimee was elected to the Conestoga Students Inc. Board of Directors and became president in 2017. She has led numerous campaigns related to the interests of the growing and diverse college community. The College Student Alliance advocates on behalf of Ontario's college students in partnership with student leaders.

Melanie Extance graduated from McMaster University with an Honour's Bachelor in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, and is now a post-graduate student at Mohawk College studying Mental Health and Disability Management. She is also an employee at the college, working in the department of Accessible Learning Services. Melanie is also a member of the Minister's Advisory Council of Students for 2017-18, a group of postsecondary students that gives advice to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

Fred Gibbons became President of Northern College on July 1, 2009 and is now serving in his third term. Prior to assuming this role, he held various senior positions with the college including Executive Regional Director; Executive Director, Staff Development and Human Resources; Registrar; and Principal of the Haileybury School of Mines. Currently, Fred participates on a number of provincial and national committees, including as Chair of Colleges Ontario and its Committee of Presidents, the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, the College Employer Council Management Board and Human Resources Steering Committee, and the Colleges and Institutes Canada, Learning Networks Steering Committee. He is a past President of the Timmins Chamber of Commerce and past Director of the Timmins and District Hospital.

Paula Greenberg, joining the Task Force as a representative of the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario, is a student at Humber College in the Child and Youth Care post-graduate program. She graduated from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design specializing in textile art and design. Paula previously worked in the arts, but after years of employment in manufacturing, decided to pursue social work pertaining to youth. Her social and political involvement has led her to be an advocate for youth and student rights.

Janice Hagan is an English tutor and Learning Centre Support Officer at Seneca College, where she has worked for over 30 years helping to keep students in school. She is president of her local union and has been active in OPSEU's College Support Division for 25 years and is currently serving as the Chair of the Divisional Executive.

JP Hornick is the Chair of the current Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology-Academic (CAAT-A) bargaining team that represents Ontario's College Faculty. JP is the coordinator of the School of Labour at George Brown College, a member of the CAAT-A Divisional Executive, and the Chief Steward of OPSEU Local 556. In addition to teaching labour studies courses, JP has also been a delegate to the Canadian Association of University Teachers. JP is a long-time social activist, has worked in the Ontario college system since 1997 as a contract and full-time professor, and is presently on the Board of Directors of the Community Arts organization. An experienced educator and steward, JP is committed to bringing a socially progressive labour perspective to students and workers through workshops, training and community events.

Steve Hudson became Vice President, Corporate Services at Niagara College in 2000, and soon after, completed a PhD in Higher Education at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Steve also holds a Master's of Engineering and a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Toronto. Steve has worked in the school board sector, and became a Superintendent of Business in 1993 for a school board in the Niagara Region. In 2008 Steve assumed the roles of Vice President, Academic & Learner Services, Chair of the College Sector Committee of Adult Upgrading Inc. as well as Chair of Youth Resources Niagara, a local agency supporting youth. Steve also serves as a Board member and Treasurer of the St. Catharines District United Way and is a past Trustee with the Niagara Health System.

Cheryl Jensen became President of Algonquin College in 2014, bringing with her more than 30 years of experience in the college system. Under her leadership, the college has formed new partnerships with The Ottawa Hospital, Siemens Canada, the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre, and Shopify, which offer students work-integrated learning opportunities and facilitate collaboration in support of local economic development. Cheryl joined Algonquin from Mohawk College, where she held the position of Vice-President, Academic from 2009 to 2014. She first joined Mohawk as a Chemical Engineering Technology professor in 1983 and served as Dean, Executive Dean, and Vice President of Engineering Technology, Apprenticeship and Corporate Training.

RM Kennedy is Chair of the Ontario College Faculty Division within OPSEU. RM has been a professor at Centennial Colllege since 1999 in the General Arts and Science Department and more recently in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. RM holds a PhD from York University and has written widely on issues of social justice and higher education. Originally hailing from Newfoundland, which has long struggled with the crisis of demographic change, RM holds a passionate belief in the role of colleges in protecting the social, cultural and economic vitality of communities.

Mike McKeown has worked at Durham College in the role of Accessibility Advisor/Coach since 2008. In this position he works to ensure students who identify barriers to their education are able to equitably access learning. Michael is actively involved within OPSEU's College Support Division, holding the elected positions of President for Local 353 at Durham College and Member of the Support Staff Bargaining Team. He serves as the Chair of the Provincial Employee Employer Relations Committee for CAAT(S) and sits on OPSEU's Provincial Human Rights Committee.

Ian McRae is the Government Relations and Policy Coordinator for the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. He attended Lakehead University in Orillia, Ontario and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education. As a student, Ian served two years as Vice-President of the Lakehead University Student Union and was twice-elected Northern Commissioner for the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. Ian has also worked as an elementary and high school teacher in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Formed in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario represents more than 350,000 full-time and part-time university and college students in Ontario.  

MaryLynn West-Moynes was officially installed as Georgian College's President in 2012. She brings extensive academic and administrative experience in postsecondary education in Ontario, having held senior positions in both the college and university system. She has served as Vice President of External Relations at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, President of Mohawk College, and in numerous senior leadership roles at both institutions. MaryLynn has extensive experience leading strategic planning, championing co-operative education and forging innovative college and university partnerships and pathways. MaryLynn received her PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Abdullah Mushtaq has been with the College Student Alliance since June 2017, working on an array of college campus policy issues such as mental health, sexual violence and harassment, and the recent labour disruption. By working with student leaders across the province, he's helped advocate for stronger protections for students and better accessibility to education. He previously worked as a Community Relations Advisor and Research Analyst at the Ontario Legislative Assembly. He studied economics and focused his volunteer work in the youth and education sectors. Having grown up in three different countries, he hopes to bring a unique perspective to the College Task Force.

Andrew Pariser is the Vice-President of Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), an association that represents residential construction builders in the GTA. Andrew sits as a management trustee for the Durham Residential Construction Labour Bureau on the Labourers' Local 183 Members' Benefit Fund, Labourers' Local 183 Training and Rehabilitation Fund, and Labourers' Local 183 Vacation Pay Fund. Andrew spent eight years with the Ontario Ministry of Labour as a mediator for collective agreements before joining RESCON in 2014.

Craig Stephenson was hired as Dean of Students in 2008 and became Vice-President for Students and Community Engagement at Centennial College in 2014. Craig's focus has been on the student learning experience, building capacity and tailoring new services and initiatives to strengthen persistence. At a provincial level, Craig serves on the Executives of the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health and College Coordinating Committee for Vice-Presidents, Student Services. Craig has three decades of postsecondary experience and has worked at the Universities of Warwick, Central Lancashire and Cumbria in the United Kingdom, at the Universities of South Carolina and California, San Diego and the Institute for Shipboard Education in the US.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas was elected president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union in April, 2007, after serving three terms (six years) as 1st Vice-President/Treasurer. A registered practical nurse, Smokey has been an OPSEU activist for over 30 years. He began his leadership career as president of Local 431 at the Ontario Psychiatric Hospital in Kingston where he represented more than 1,000 members before being elected to OPSEU's Executive Board in 1993. His early activism with OPSEU was triggered by his interest in developing an Employee Assistance Program at the hospital. Since then, he has participated in countless campaigns on behalf of OPSEU members. He is a periodic lecturer at the School of Industrial Relations at Queen's University.

Leesa Wheelahan is an associate professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, where she holds the Willian G. Davis Chair in Community College Leadership. Prior to taking up her appointment at OISE in January 2014, Leesa was an associate professor in adult and vocational education at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has led many projects in Canada and Australia that examined pathways within and between education and labour markets, higher education and vocational education policy, relations between colleges and universities, social inclusion in education, and the role of theoretical knowledge in curriculum.