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New Canadian University Alliance – U4 League

A new Canadian university alliance has just been announced – the U4 League – consisting of Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier universities. All four universities – located in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec – specialize in a liberal arts and science undergraduate education for students living in residence.

In a release, the universities said the U4 League would promote and extend the institutions’ “common objectives of providing students from across Canada and around the world with the highest quality undergraduate university education in a residential setting.”

The group said that their model of the small, residential undergraduate university “is prevalent and highly valued in the United States … in stark contrast to the situation in Canada where large, urban, research-focused institutions are the norm.”

Michael Goldbloom, principal of Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec and chair of the U4 League, said the alliance was created partly as a response to concerns expressed by students, parents, educators and media commentators “that the quality of undergraduate education has been deteriorating.” The release noted that the four universities all do well in national university rankings such as those of Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail.

The U4 League is the latest of several groups of universities to reconstitute into their own alliances. The U15 group of large research-intensive universities recently formalized its union to become a more forceful organization, and the vice-presidents, research of small universities with a strong commitment to research formed their own grouping a year and a half ago, called the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities. Acadia and Bishop’s also belong to the ACCRU.

The universities in all three of these associations are simultaneously members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, which represents 97 public and private not-for-profit universities and degree-granting colleges across the country. AUCC publishes the University Affairs magazine and website.