Association makes information sharing easier

FREDERICTON (CUP) — Universities in Atlantic Canada are joining a national initiative to make institutional information readily available and easily accessible to the public.

The Association of Atlantic Universities recently launched an online common data set that gives a by-the-numbers look at the region’s universities, giving statistical information about indicators from library collections to university expenses in revenue.

“This info has always been available,” said Peter Halpin, AAU executive director. “But the challenge was it wasn’t always easily accessible and it wasn’t found in a common place, from university to university.”

Now, anyone can visit the AAU website to find common data about 13 of the region’s universities.

Halpin said having the information out there would make it easier for prospective students and their parents to make informed decisions about choosing which university to attend.

A complete listing of the data can be found at the association’s website.

Zach Daylor, national director for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, believes easy access to information is vital to the lobby work his organization does on behalf of students, and said with cutbacks in post-secondary related research, the common data is more important than ever.

“When we see things like the long-form [census] disappear, and we see organizations like the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, that did a lot of research and published a lot of research and numbers related to education, disappear, it makes our job way more difficult,” he said.

“It’s been a recurring issue for us, making sure we can have comparable data that’s kind of calculated in a standard way across the country to kind of give us what a national picture would be of post-secondary education, accessibility cost and those sort of things,” he said.

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