Memorial University was created to serve the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in memory of those lost in the First World War — “that through freedom of learning their cause and sacrifice might not be forgotten,” as reads a commemorative plaque in the Arts and Administration building.
From a mere 55 students in 1925, Memorial now boasts an alumni population of more than 90,000. But is it serving the people? Are graduating students meeting community needs? Does the university contribute to the province’s prosperity?
According to a recent poll, the answer is a resounding yes.
The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), of which Memorial is a member, commissioned Corporate Research Associates to conduct a survey to gather public opinion about post-secondary institutions’ effectiveness and value to their respective provinces.
The survey was conducted Nov. 1-21, 2018, and has a margin of error ± 4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
When comparing peoples’ attitudes to post-secondary education in this province to the Atlantic Canada average, across the board Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have higher opinions of post-secondary institutions generally, and Memorial in particular.
- 80 per cent believe Memorial does a good job of meeting the needs of business, industry and society in terms of providing a well-prepared workforce for the future (Atlantic provinces (AP) average: 69 per cent);
- 79 per cent believe Memorial is fully engaged with communities (AP average: 73 per cent);
- 58 per cent believe Memorial is an efficient manager of public funds, 21 per cent either didn’t answer or indicated they didn’t know (AP average: 48 per cent);
- 84 per cent believe universities are powerful contributors to the region’s economic prosperity, productivity and competitiveness (AP average: 79 per cent); and,
- 76 per cent believe universities are powerful contributors in terms of attracting and retaining talented people to the region (AP average: 68 per cent).
The survey builds on a similar survey conducted in 2014, and a comparison of the five questions shows favourable opinion increasing in three of the five categories. Visit online for more information about the 2014 and 2018 surveys.
“Anecdotally, every day we hear how Newfoundlanders and Labradorians value Memorial,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski who is also currently serving as president of the AAU.
“What these surveys give us is hard data demonstrating the extent to which the people of this province appreciate the work we do and understand the importance of our university in the social, cultural and economic future of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Established in 1964, the AAU is a voluntary association of the universities in the Atlantic region that offer programs leading to a degree or have degree-granting status.