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Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Minister Rob Norris has received Alex Usher's report on public consultations on the expansion of degree-granting authority in Saskatchewan, including recommendations from the author.

Alex Usher, an internationally recognized expert in post-secondary education systems, led the consultations. Mr. Usher is President of Higher Education Strategy Associates. He has worked on both national and international research projects related to post-secondary education and worked with both the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan on projects previously.

Mr. Usher's report includes three common themes - that there is widespread misunderstanding of what degree-granting expansion may entail; there is substantial concern about duplication of services, especially in more expensive programs; and there is widespread support for, and trust in the province's two universities.

The report contains several recommendations including:
• A quality assurance board should be established for reviewing new degree programs at institutions other than the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan.
• Institutions other than the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan should be able to offer degree programs if approved by the quality assurance board.
• The University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina should not need approval for new degree programs, but would benefit from a periodic quality audit system.
• A competitive process should be developed to determine which public institutions should offer new degree programs in areas of emerging professional practice.

"I want to thank Mr. Usher for his guidance of this process. His expertise in identifying the opportunities and the challenges of expanding degree-granting in Saskatchewan is much appreciated," Norris said.

"These recommendations are designed to create greater diversity in Saskatchewan post-secondary education, while upholding the quality of Saskatchewan degrees and not subjecting its universities to onerous and unnecessary oversight," said Mr. Usher. "They incorporate insights from what has worked in other Canadian provinces while remaining tailored to Saskatchewan's specific conditions."

Next steps include the establishment of a working group to consider the recommendations and their implications.

The ministry will provide a response to the report later this fall. The report is available on our web site at


For more information, contact:

Rikki Bote
Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration
Phone: 787-4156

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