|Faculty members at the University of Calgary are overworked, overstressed and are suffering from extremely low morale due to constant budget cuts, according to a new report put out by the universitys Faculty Association.
Academic staff members are also very concerned that the quality of education offered to students is declining because of large class sizes and inadequate resources.
"For a great many, the mood is grim, and in a few, there is a mood of black despair," says the report, titled Our Fractured Future.
The report was put together following a survey of the heads of all the universitys departments last August.
"The overall message is things arent good at this university and something has to be done. There has to be an increase in (funding)," says Anton Colijn, president of the U of Cs Faculty Association.
The report describes how large class sizes have led to less one-on-one interaction between students and professors. In some departments professors "have been forced to abandon or limit the number of written assignments that require careful marking," because they dont have time to mark them.
The report also states that the U of C is no longer attracting as many Ph.D students as other universities and is having problems recruiting new professors.
As well, the report says the universitys library is "falling behind other world-class research libraries," because library staff members dont have the funds to order new material. Academic staff members also say that there isnt enough money to maintain or update equipment. One department head says that equipment in his department hasnt been updated for almost three decades.
Colijn says university administrators are doing as much as they can "to get greater efficiency," but Colijn says theres only so much that can be done without increased funding.
Although most departments are suffering, some departments, such as computer science and computer and electrical engineering, have had their funding substantially increased, says Colijn.
"Those departments are not complaining," he says. "Some of the faculties that are really suffering are the traditional core what used to be the arts and science faculty."
Colijn says the university hasnt been able to keep up with demand for university spaces as the population of southern Alberta has rapidly increased.
"We are really crammed," says Colijn. "On the whole the effect is people are getting tired of constantly being under stress."
Alberta Learning spokesperson Josepha Vanderstoop says the province is providing adequate funding to post-secondary institutions. She says the Alberta government has increased funding by 40 per cent since 1996. Post-secondary institutions received $1.1 billion in funding in 2004 compared to $770 million in 1996.
"Education is our No. 1 priority and that is certainly reflected in our funding," says Vanderstoop. "The investment is huge in our post-secondary education."
Vanderstoop says the province spends more as a share of total provincial expenditure on post-secondary education than most other provinces.
She says its up to each institution to effectively manage the money given by the province and federal government and to establish spending priorities.