Memorial University has been facing a budget shortfall for several years, most notably half a billion dollars in deferred maintenance which the school cannot afford to complete, and the results of years of the university not increasing tuition, specifically on international and out-of-province students until as of late.
The university is also facing several crises including: an aging professorship cohort reluctant to retire, the specialized demands of professional schools in order to meet national standards (specifically related to funding), the increased demands of students for free services (like counselling and health care on campus), and Memorial University trying to be all things to everyone by offering over 100 programs, the majority of which have no connection to the labour market needs of this province.
Instead of trying to do “more with less” and be all things to everyone, the university should focus on its key mandate, which is to educate Newfoundlanders and Labradors in order to access to the local labour market.
For example, the university offers programs in German, Spanish, Russian, ancient languages, classics, ancient worlds, humanities, gender studies, sociology and fine arts. While some may argue that these degrees can be used as stepping stones for gaining professional degrees, the fact still stands that none of these programs can directly be turned into local employment by themselves. I believe the university is pushing students towards doing these courses just for the purposes of boosting enrolment in fleeting programs. I also believe university leadership clearly understands that the university is funding many programs which are not useful at for gaining local employment.
Instead of trying to do “more with less” and be all things to everyone, the university should focus on its key mandate, which is to educate Newfoundlanders and Labradors in order to access to the local labour market. If MUN wants to be a 21st-century university, it needs to become more specialized in areas that meet the labour market of this province and cut programs that don’t in order to find savings.