Is the Road Ahead Bumpy for Canadian Universities?

February 3, 2011 :: Mike Mahon
Moderated by Taz Kassam

As a result of changing demographics, enrolment rates are expected to drop off in Canada soon and un¬less universities find a way to fill the gap, the future may see a lot more empty seats in class. Right now many universities are at max¬imum capacity in post-secondary en¬rolments, but over the next three, four, five years the number of enrolments may start to decline throughout the sys¬tem.

Many universities are looking to ex¬pand their campuses and programs, because of maxed-out capacity coming from the large num¬ber of children that were born out of the baby boom generation. However those numbers peaked in 1991, which means that the rate of enrolment is likely to drop, coinciding with the gradu¬al decline in birthrates that occurred during the 1990s.

While demographics may impact university enrolment, increasing gender inequality is certain to have a lasting effect on universities. Men now represent just 42 percent of total enrolments. Moreover, their higher dropout rate means that they will represent an even lower proportion of graduates. It appears that in terms of higher education it is women who are flourishing; by comparison, young men seem to be on autopilot. The speaker will explain how these statistics are likely to affect the University of Lethbridge and as well, possible remedies.

Speaker: Mike Mahon PhD
Mike Mahon was installed as the sixth President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Lethbridge in 2010. An accomplished physical education researcher, Dr. Mahon holds a PhD in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MSc in Physical Education from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Manitoba. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Man., Dr. Mahon began his academic career at the University of Manitoba in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Studies in 1987. He joined the University of Alberta in 2000 and served two terms as the Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation.
A vigorous proponent of physical activity for people of every age and ability, Dr Mahon has worked with the Canadian Special Olympics organization and Right to Play, a group that supplies sports equipment and support to children in developing countries. He was instrumental in the creation of The Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre, inaugurated in 2003, and received the Award of Distinction from the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies in 2000.

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