Campus Life

President Mahon speaks at SACPA

University of Lethbridge president Mike Mahon asks the question, Is the Road Ahead Bumpy for Canadian Universities, at the Tuesday, Feb. 3 Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs luncheon.

Mahon's presentation begins at noon at Country Kitchen Catering (lower level of The Keg). Admission is $10 per person and includes lunch.

As a result of changing demographics, enrolment rates are expected to drop off in Canadian post-secondary institutions soon. Unless universities find a way to fill the gap, the future may see a lot more empty seats in class.

Currently, many universities are at maximum capacity, but over the next few years, enrolment numbers may start to decline throughout the system.

Many universities are looking to expand their campuses and programs, because of maxed-out capacity coming from the large number of children that were born out of the baby boom generation. Those numbers peaked in 1991, which means the rate of enrolment is likely to drop, coinciding with the gradual 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 as well. Men now represent just 42 per cent of total enrolments. Moreover, their higher dropout rate means that they will represent an even lower proportion of graduates in the future. It appears that in terms of higher education it is women who are flourishing.

Mahon will explain how these statistics are likely to affect the University of Lethbridge and offer possible remedies to the problem.

Taz Kassam, president of the University of Lethbridge Students' Union, is moderator for the event.