U of L lost 1 in 5 teaching staff last year

The University of Lethbridge has seen its full-time teaching staff drop to its lowest level in at least a decade.

Statistics Canada recently released data on staffing levels at universities around Canada. I thought I’d take a look at the data for the ones in Alberta.

The new data was for 2020–2021, and the total dataset goes back a decade, to 2010–2011.

The data included only 6 Alberta universities: University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, MacEwan University, Mount Royal University, and Athabasca University.

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Here’s how many full-time teaching staff each of the universities reported during the 2020–2021 year.

# of staff% of total
U of C1,79438.51%
U of A1,52132.65%
U of L3547.60%
Mount Royal3457.41%

I’m not that surprised that University of Calgary and University of Alberta are at the top of the list. They are the oldest universities in the largest cities in the province.

MacEwan’s and the University of Lethbridge’s placements make sense, too, since they have, respectively, the third and fourth highest enrolment numbers in Alberta.

But I noticed something interesting when I looked at teaching numbers for the previous year.

# of staff% of total
U of C1,78837.53%
U of A1,56932.93%
U of L4419.26%
Grant MacEwan4299.01%
Mount Royal3487.30%

During the 2019–2020 school year, the U of L actually had the third highest number of full-time teaching staff.

In fact, since 2016–2017, when Statistics Canada began recording data for MacEwan, this was only the second time that the U of L dropped to fourth place.

In the 2019–2020 school year, MacEwan gained 6 new full-time staff, increasing from 423 to 429. Meanwhile, the U of L lost 6.04% of it’s full-time teaching staff during the same year, falling from 447 to 420.

So, if the U of L is normally in third place, how did they drop to fourth place this time?

Well, let’s compare the last two years.

U of C1,7881,7946
U of A1,5691,521-48
U of L441354-87
Grant MacEwan4294356
Mount Royal348345-3

What we see here is that the reason the U of L is in fourth place is because they lost a crap tonne of full-time teaching staff, while MacEwan saw a small increase.

Not only was the U of L’s loss of 87 full-time teaching staff the largest loss of all 6 universities, it was the largest the university has seen over the last decade, at least, and accounted for over 63% of all losses seen in the province last year.

The U of L’s next largest loss was in 2019–2020, when it lost 27 full-time teaching staff. Last year’s loss was more than triple what they saw three years ago.

Plus, the loss amounted to 19.73% of the U of L’s full-time teaching staff. In other words, the U of L lost 1 in 5 of their full time instructors last year.

And just when you thought it couldn’t look any worse.

Take a look at this chart.

Not only did the U of L see the largest loss of all 6 universities, it was the largest the university has seen in 10 years (or longer), it accounted for over 63% of all losses seen in the province last year, and now the U of L has the lowest level of full-time teaching staff it hasn’t seen since at least the beginning of the previous decade.

As I mentioned above, the U of L lost 27 of its full-time teaching staff during the first year the UCP were in government. If you add up all the losses and gains in full-time teaching staff during the UCP’s 3 years in office so far, the U of L has seen a combined net loss of 93 full-time teaching staff.

That’s a drop of 20.81% from the level they had in 2018–2019.

Actually, on that note, let’s take a look at how all 6 universities have fared under the UCP.

U of A1,6261,521-105
U of L447354-93
U of C1,8151,794-21
Mount Royal348345-3
Grant MacEwan42343512

While the U of L had a large drop in full-time teaching staff over the least 3 years, the U of A had the largest, having lost over 100 of its staff. That’s in terms of absolute numbers.

If we look at relative to the size of the total full-time teaching staff, the U of L wins again. The U of A lost only 6.46% of its staff while the UCP have been in power.

The U of L saw a loss that was more than 3 times as severe as the U of A saw, relatively speaking.

Not only is Lethbridge losing doctors, but we’re also losing teaching faculty.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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