News release

Faculty Retirements Point to Need for Planning

MARITIME PROVINCES HIGHER EDUCATION--Faculty Retirements Point to Need for Planning


Maritime universities will have to fill about 1,800 full-time faculty positions over the next 10 years in order to cope with expected retirements.

According to a report released today, Sept. 9, by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), at least three- quarters of these positions will have to be filled by PhDs who studied outside the region.

Faculty Recruitment and Retention in the Maritimes explores faculty demographics and the estimated hiring need, as well as the main source for the supply of candidates -- new PhDs. It integrates the results from an in-house survey of Maritime institutions with findings of similar studies conducted across Canada. The report summarizes options and best practices for dealing with issues from salaries to the nuances of the recruiting process.

"The situation we find ourselves in is by no means unique to this region," said Mireille Duguay, CEO of the commission. "It has been estimated that 32,000 new faculty will have to be hired across the country to meet retirements and to cope with increasing enrolments."

Universities in the United States are also experiencing the effects of looming retirements.

"Maritime universities will be facing a climate of intense hiring, both in the region and outside," said Ms. Duguay.

The report was prepared by an advisory committee to the commission, composed of members appointed by the Association of Atlantic Universities and the MPHEC.

"We have found that while the two largest universities in the region, Dalhousie and University of New Brunswick, are already feeling the effects of stepped-up competition for candidates, the smaller one are generally not yet reporting difficulties in finding and hiring new candidates," said Dr. Sam Scully, chair of the committee. "Those that are are experiencing difficulties hiring in specific fields such as engineering, nursing and computer science."

Dr. Scully noted that while some universities in the region are studying the issue closely -- and still others have begun to address it -- all Maritime institutions will need to look at these statistics and make preparations.

A surprising finding was that the challenge of hiring new candidates is one thing, but keeping them on staff is another, especially with other universities across Canada scrambling to fill positions. Faculty members who leave are most likely to do so within the first two or three years of being hired. Given the seller's market, they can usually get more money in their next job.

The challenge now is for institutions to formulate effective, comprehensive policies. Doing this in concert with efforts at the provincial and regional levels will ensure that the region is well prepared for competing for the best candidates on the national stage. Getting to that point, however, will require dialogue and co-operation among the stakeholders.

The MPHEC will host a symposium on faculty recruitment and retention for invited participants on Oct. 31 to address the issue. The anticipated outcome of the Symposium will be a set of strategies and policies applicable to the region, provincial governments and universities, the overall goal of which will be to provide these stakeholders with a plan to deal with.

The MPHEC was established in 1974. Its mission is to assist institutions and governments in enhancing a post-secondary learning environment. The 19 members of the MPHEC are drawn from the Maritime provinces. They represent higher education institutions, provincial governments, students and the general public.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Maritime universities will have to fill about 18-hundred full-time faculty positions over the next 10 years in order to cope with expected retirements.

According to a report released today (September 9th) by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), at least three-quarters of these positions will have to be filled by PhDs who studied outside the region.

The commission will host a symposium on faculty recruitment and retention on October 31st to address the issue.

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Contact:

Joanne Neilson
Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission 506-453-3875 E-mail:
kjd            September 9, 2002        8:36 A.M.