Chantel Teng/THE VARSITY

Ontario universities have the worst student-to-faculty ratios in Canada, and the University of Toronto is among them.

U of T by the numbers

According to the most recent comparative data on student-to-faculty ratios from 2012, the number of full-time students to full-time faculty members at U of T is 27.9:1—the second highest ratio among its peer universities in Canada, including University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, McGill University, and Dalhousie University. Full-time faculty includes those in the tenured stream, non-tenured stream, and teaching stream.  The university also measures student-to-faculty ratios with ten publicly funded universities in the United States. Compared to its peers south of the border, U of T has the highest ratio of 35.6:1.

However, the methodology used excludes medicine and counts a greater number of full-time students. When compared with the student-faculty ratio data that has been made available since 2004, U of T has consistently generated a higher ratio than the Canadian peer mean.

Between 2004 and 2008, the Canadian peer mean has fluctuated between 21.3:1 and 22.6:1 while U of T remained between 26.5:1 and 27.4:1. “Given the stand for greater access to post-secondary [education], U of T has expanded enrolment by 23,000 students in the last 12 years alone,”  said Althea Blackburn-Evans, director of news & media relations at U of T. “Today, across our three campuses, we enroll 84,5000 students… because of our size, our student-to-faculty ratio will always be higher than that of other schools.” However, these ratios vary from division to division. Currently, the Faculty of Law has a ratio of 10:1, the second lowest ratio of any law school in North America and the lowest in Canada, while the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has a ratio of 19.2:1. The Faculty of Arts & Science has 25,848 undergraduate students and 944 faculty members.   

Ontario by the numbers 

Rabble reported that enrolment at Ontario universities has increased by 71 per cent in the past 14 years; however, the number of faculty has increased by 31 percent. Currently, Ontario’s student-to-faculty ratio is 29:1 while the average in Canada is 20:1. Members from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations found that in order to meet the growing need for professors, Ontario universities need to hire 8,500 new faculty positions by 2020; however, it would require heavy funding from the Ontario government — $173 million per year. 

It is unclear if Ontario will be able to meet this need when, compared to other Canadian provinces, it currently provides the lowest funding per student.

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