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Collective Autonomy

A History of the Council of Ontario Universities, 1962-2000

Edward Monahan

Publication Year: 2004

Chronicles the rise and decline of Ontario universities from the halcyon 1960s to the Common Sense Revolution through the history of its planning association, the Council of Ontario Universities.

Collective Autonomy: A History of the Council of Ontario Universities, 1962-2000 is the first full-length account of an organization that has played a major role in the development of the university system in Ontario. Edward J. Monahan served as the council’s chief executive officer for over fifteen years. This is his insider’s account, enhanced by archival material, of the key role the universities played in planning the high academic quality of the Ontario provincial university system.

Collective Autonomy traces the evolution of Ontario universities over a period of forty years, from the halcyon days of the 1960s, during which massive injections of public funds transformed these institutions from ivory towers to public utilities, through the 1970s and ’80s when universities were downgraded as a government spending priority and problems began to develop. It concludes by looking at the problems created by the “Common Sense Revolution” and the resulting severe cutbacks in government grants to universities. It chronicles the efforts of the universities to preserve their autonomy while expanding their service to the common good, and their efforts to maintain the delicate balance between university autonomy and public accountability.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

After a forty-year professional career in the university world, first as an academic professing the discipline of philosophy and then as a university administrator, the leisure afforded by retirement has provided me with an opportunity to write the...


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pp. ix-xi

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pp. 1-11

The voluntary association of Ontario universities that was to become the Council of Ontario Universities (cou) had its beginnings in 1962, when its predecessor, the Committee of Presidents of the Universities of Ontario (cpuo), was formed. Its members are the provincially assisted, i.e., the publicly...

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Chapter 1: Establishing a Firm Foundation

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pp. 13-56

In 1962, when the presidents of the universities in Ontario decided to form an association to represent their interests and to assist in the planning and co-ordination of higher education in the province, they were making a bold move into uncharted waters. Until then, Ontario universities had operated in...

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Chapter 2: The Winds Shift: Dark Clouds Begin to Form

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pp. 57-108

DESPITE THE HOST OF ISSUES confronting their institutions, as the decade began the mood among the leaders of the Ontario university community was one of quiet confidence. When the collectivity was established in 1962, these leaders had been sometimes suspicious of one another, and cautious. The presidents were...

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Chapter 3: The Weather Worsens

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pp. 109-154

AS THE 1980S BEGAN, the mood in the universities was sombre. This was in marked contrast with the air of quiet confidence and optimism that had pervaded the community a decade earlier. Before the decade was half over, two serious efforts would be made by the government to address system issues. Both would prove...

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Chapter 4: Comes the Deluge

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pp. 155-198

The decade of the 1990s would be unlike any of the preceding ones for the voluntary association that represents Ontario universities. Described by cou Chair Ron Ianni, president of the University of Windsor, as “tumultuous,” it would see more changes to the provincial university system than had taken place over the...

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pp. 199-212

The presidents of Ontario’s publicly funded universities created the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) to assist their institutions in meeting the challenge of developing a provincial university system. The principal purpose was to serve the people of the province through the expansion of the universities to meet the...


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pp. 213-225

Select Bibliography

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pp. 227-233

Index of Names

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pp. 235-236

Subject Index

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pp. 237-240

E-ISBN-13: 9781554581160
Print-ISBN-13: 9780889204430
Print-ISBN-10: 0889204438

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2004