The University of Calgary has abandoned its plans to open a privately operated international college. Instead, the Board of Governors approved a new, in-house recruitment model to bring more international students to the U of C.
Original plans would have seen a private corporation recruit international students whose English-language skills did not meet the U of C’s standards. These students would then attend a college run by a private corporation to improve their English before attending the U of C.
Outcry over allowing a profitminded corporation to run a U of C branded college followed the initial announcement in October of last year.
The University of Calgary Faculty Association (TUCFA) voiced concern over the plan in a letter written by TUCFA president Paul Rogers. Rogers argued the college would lead to academic outsourcing and the “incentive to recruit students with weak academic backgrounds and to ‘pass’ them so they can be admitted to the U of C.”
Following recommendations made by an International Task Force, the International Undergraduate Student Recruitment Model (IUSRM) was approved by the Board of Governors. Rogers, who sat on the task force, said the new model addressed TUCFA’s concerns.
“Control of quality and academic standards and authority over programs, under the new model, is maintained in traditional academic mechanisms,” Rogers said.
Under IUSRM, administration wants to increase the proportion of international undergraduate students from 5.3 to 10 per cent. This means the university has to recruit 1,400 more international students over the next four years.
Under the new model, the U of C will recruit up to 50 per cent of international students through the English for Academic Purposes program. New partnerships will bring in 30–40 per cent of new international students, with the rest coming from direct recruitment.
The new plan will still include a corporate component. Board of Governors student representative Michael Smith said funds will be set aside for consulting on setting up foundational programs and new international partnerships.
While Smith believes a corporate- run college would have led to quicker results, he is pleased with the new model.
“While this solution might take more time for the university to develop, I think a homegrown solution is more effective. We’ll be able to control the U of C’s stamp on it,” Smith said.
While Rogers is happy with the administration’s decision to keep international recruitment in-house, he said an increase in international enrolment without an increase in faculty may negatively impact students.
“Some programs are very tightly packed and I don’t know how easy it’s going to be to squeeze additional students into those programs and what the impact will be on the quality of student experience,” Rogers said.
Students recruited under this model will hit campus in the fall semseter of 2015.