How the only university college for women in Canada will soon no longer exist

Brescia University College in London, Ontario, will fully integrate with Western University starting next spring.

Thursday’s announcement said the two post-secondary institutions “have agreed to a strategic integration” through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the boards of directors.

University officials said Brescia, Canada’s only women’s university college, would end operations as an affiliated university college beginning in May 2024.

“Today’s agreement aims to meet the needs of students today, with an eye toward the future,” said Brescia President Lauretta Frederking. “This agreement will allow us to improve the academic results of students with the greatest needs. »

The “all-girls” university college was founded in 1919 by the Ursuline Sisters, who were “instrumental” in the expansion of Catholic education and institutions in southwestern Ontario in the early years of the Twentieth century.

Frederking said their goal in creating Brescia was to “fill the gaps in women’s education.”

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“I am incredibly grateful for their legacy and for their support in planning this next chapter,” she said.

With approximately 1,200 students enrolled today, the campus offers a wide variety of majors in the Schools of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Food and Nutrition Sciences, and Humanities.

“I am proud of the vibrant and welcoming culture that many students have come to know at Brescia, and I believe this proposal will allow our students, faculty and staff to build on that heritage in a way that adapts changing times,” said Sr. Theresa Mahoney, community leader of the Ursuline Sisters of Chatham.

“We are now at the point where women make up the majority of post-secondary learners in Canada and there is an equally important need to adapt to new realities, including the under-representation of equity-deserving groups in our post-secondary institutions” , added Frederking.

“This agreement will allow us to improve the academic results of students with the greatest needs. »

Along with the integration, the MOU outlines plans to honor Brescia’s legacy, as Western also moves to create a $25 million Brescia Legacy Fund to support educational access by through scholarships and programs.

Alan Shepard, president of Western University, noted the “deep historical connection” between the two institutions, calling the integration “an opportunity to chart a new course that remains true to those roots.”

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“What we envision together aligns perfectly with Western’s strategic plan, including bold innovations in education. »

According to the University, the planned integration will involve “several commitments,” including allowing current Brescia students to complete and remain in their current program for the duration of their studies.

“Western will a*sume the a*sets and liabilities of Brescia and provide Brescia’s current full-time faculty and contract faculty with sessional appointments, full-time staff and permanent part-time staff with employment opportunities,” it says. the press release.

The university will also identify all employment options available to Brescia contract faculty and staff.

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