April 27, 2007

Government Releases Feasibility Study on Sir Wilfred Grenfell College

A feasibility study commissioned by government on the future role of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook was released today. The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, said government has reviewed the report and supports a preferred option that will give the college increased university status, within a single Memorial University system. Over the coming months, government will work with the Memorial University Board of Regents on the recommendations of the study.

"Sir Wilfred Grenfell College has expanded far beyond what anyone visualized for this institution when it was first established," said Premier Danny Williams. "This is a tremendous credit to the university and the college and an asset to the western region of our province. It�s important that we recognize where the college is today and capitalize on what it has to offer. The direction put forward in the feasibility study will allow Grenfell to increase its contribution to the economic and cultural development of the west coast."

To ensure an independent analysis, government engaged Professor John Kelly, professor emeritus and executive director of the Ireland Canada University Foundation and Professor John L. Davies, dean of the Graduate School of Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K., to conduct the feasibility study.

The scope of work involved a benefit analysis, which included infrastructure and student services, and potential impacts on such aspects as programming and recruitment. They were also asked to consider the possibility of an autonomous, independent university for Corner Brook, a concept that had not been explored in previous reviews.

The consultants have recommended increased autonomy for the college, by having its own executive and academic structure, while reporting to one Memorial University Board of Regents. "It is clear from the consultants report that it is most beneficial to maintain a single university system, but that there are many benefits associated with the college having a greater degree of independence," said the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education.

"This new governance model is an important step in allowing Sir Wilfred Grenfell to lead economic and social development on the west coast," said the Honourable Tom Marshal, MHA for the District of Humber East and Minister of Finance. "It is yet another example of the rejuvenation the Corner Brook region is witnessing under the Williams Government. To say I am delighted would be a massive understatement and I was honoured the Premier gave me the opportunity to make this announcement during yesterday�s Budget speech."

A committee will be established in the coming weeks to determine how best to implement the new governance structure and to explore all aspects associated with the change. In addition to working closely with the Board of Regents, the committee will have representation from student union representatives, senior executive members of both Memorial University and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, and the Department of Education.

"There has been a long-standing debate about the role of Sir Wilfred Grenfell within Memorial University and whether or not the college should be more independent," said Premier Williams. "Despite many other studies and reports, this is the first time an independent analysis has been conducted. We can now move forward on a path that recognizes the value of both institutions, while drawing on the strengths of each to better serve students and our province overall."

The full Kelly/Davies report is available at //

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960, 351-1227
Jacquelyn Howard
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 689-2624

2007 04 27                                         12:20 p.m.


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