Council of Ontario Universities releases results from Faculty At Work report, the first study in Canada of faculty work

Ontario universities are releasing results from the first major study in Canada of faculty work – capturing 77 per cent of Ontario’s full-time faculty – in an effort to help build public understanding about the substantial contributions professors are making to prepare students for success, conduct ground-breaking research and improve communities.

The Faculty At Work report released today by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) offers the first substantial analysis of faculty work, with data from 17 of Ontario’s 21 publicly assisted universities capturing 10,867 professors.

The next phase of the study aims to include more universities, and widen the scope of work measured.

“Ontario universities have been aware that there isn’t adequate data on faculty work and wanted to change that,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU’s President and CEO.

“What we found was that university faculty play a tremendous role in research, teaching and service, even in the face of surging demand and constrained resources.”

Key findings:

  • Ontario universities had the highest student-to-faculty ratio in Canada in all but one year in the last decade.
  • Ontario universities have exceeded the national average in externally sponsored research per full-time faculty in the last decade.
  • Ontario universities have granted more degrees per full-time faculty member than the Canadian average.
  • The vast majority of full professors – 87 per cent – are teaching undergraduates.
  • The vast majority of faculty – 87 per cent – produced research outputs in the year measured.
  • The vast majority of faculty – 81 per cent – participated in service work of some kind.
  • Senior faculty are more strongly engaged in administrative work, while junior faculty are more active in other forms of service.
  • On average, Ontario faculty members devote 40 per cent of work to research, 40 per cent to teaching, and 20 per cent to service.

“We hope that these findings mark the beginning of a national conversation about faculty work in Canadian universities,” says Deborah MacLatchy, chair of COU’s Council of Academic Vice-Presidents, and Vice-President Academic and Provost at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“It’s an important first step. We will be expanding our own study, and we invite our counterparts across Canada to join us in gathering and interpreting this kind of data as well.”

The study’s next phase will expand the number of participating universities, aim to have all institutions report in the same census year, capture the full range of non-classroom teaching and gather longitudinal data to track trends over time.

Read the Faculty At Work report here.


COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students and advance the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.

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