Canadians urge caution on performance measure

July 28, 1995

Performance indicators are slowly making their way into Canadian universities, mainly via Alberta and Ontario, Susan Gray writes.

The Council of Ministers of Education of Canada is in favour of the indicators and in Ontario the Council of University Affairs has proposed their implementation.

But Donald Savage, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, and William Bruneau of the University of British Columbia have produced a paper arguing for caution. "If performance indicators are a device for the centralisation of power, we should say so," they say.

In Not a Magic Bullet: Performance Indicators in Theory and Practice, they argue that to avoid a heavy-handed imposition of information gathering on the institutions, performance indicators might be negotiated as part of collective agreements.

An alternative is the extension of the faculty accreditation process to the entire university with the advantage that inputs would be emphasised unlike the current lack of emphasis on inputs.

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