By Betsy Terpsma. Although not as famous as Alvin Toffler, Herb O’Heron is Canada’s own educational futurist. Working with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), as Director of Research and Policy Analysis, he analyzes statistics and trends in education and makes predictions for the future of post-secondary education in Canada.
O’Heron will be providing his insights on The Value of a Degree as part of the President’s Leadership Lecture series on Monday, Jan 28 at 4:30 pm in Building A, Room 225 (boardroom) at the Abbotsford campus.
He is the first speaker in UFV president Mark Evered’s Leadership Lecture Series for the 2013 calendar year.
“Herb will be speaking to the value of a degree to an individual and the value of a university to the community” said Evered. “This speaker is a great fit with the goal of the leadership series to bring speakers that challenge and provoke discussion at the university and in the community.”
Universities across Canada have experienced tremendous growth over the last 30 years. Since 1980 the number of full-time university students has more than doubled, while part-time enrolment is up 16 percent, according to AUCC’s Trends in Higher Education publication.
In the same time period, UFV has grown from a small regional college to a fully accredited public university that enrolls over 16,000 students per year. The university now offers more than 100 programs, including two master’s degree, 15 bachelor’s degrees, majors, minors and extended minors in more than 30 subject areas, and more than a dozen trades and technology programs.
But can this growth be sustained in the next 30 years? Many programs are full. Buildings are at capacity.
UFV, like many educational institutions, is wrestling with how to provide a better education with shrinking government resources and increased competition in the marketplace. There are changing demographics, new technologies, emerging labour markets, and globalization to consider. In sum, there is no shortage of challenges for educational institutions.
The AUCC represents 95 Canadian public and private universities and colleges, including UFV, with a mandate to facilitate the development of public policy on higher education and to encourage cooperation among universities and governments, industry and communities.
O’Heron is the primary author of AUCC’s Trends in Higher Education publication, which examines factors that influence Canadian university enrolment, faculty, and finances, and the resulting impact on the resources universities require to meet student demand.
He also works with the Centre for Education Statistics at Statistics Canada. He is a founding member of the Canadian Institutional Research and Planning Association.
This free educational lecture is open to members of the community as well as students, alumni, faculty and staff of the university.
Scheduled next in the President’s Leadership Lecture Series will be former professional hockey player and advocate for children’s rights Sheldon Kennedy, one of UFV’s 2012 honorary degree recipients. He will be speaking on Wednesday, Feb. 27.