In an effort to better support its student, staff and faculty parents, the University of Manitoba has launched a new Childcare Initiative. This important initiative comes in response to a 2013 report prepared by a U of M childcare working group comprised of students, staff and faculty members. The report highlights some significant unmet needs of parents, including the limited availability of on and off campus childcare spaces.
"Access to high quality licensed childcare is essential for student success and to reconcile the work and family needs of our staff and faculty," said University of Manitoba President David Barnard. "Through the Childcare Initiative, we hope to garner a better understanding of the issues faced by parents in our student, staff and faculty communities, and explore meaningful ways to address those issues."
The initiative is being led by a childcare consultative committee, consisting of Susan Gottheil, Vice-Provost (Students), Gregory Juliano, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources), Susan Prentice, professor of sociology, Faculty of Arts and Brandy Usick, director, Student Advocacy and Accessibility.
"Conservative estimates suggest that 11 per cent of students and approximately half of staff and faculty members are parents," said Susan Gottheil. "Improved childcare and established family-friendly policies will not only enhance the experience of this significant segment of our community, but will also help us attract new recruits."
As a first step, the University has hired consultant Betty Kelly, who will be undertaking a year-long study at the University. Kelly, who holds both a Master's degree as well as Early Childhood Education (ECE) III credentials, is a former provincial Early Learning and Childcare coordinator and an experienced college instructor.
Kelly will research best practices and business models, providing advice on ways the University can better meet the childcare needs of its community through creating programs and facilities, integrating early learning care services into our campus developments.
Information on existing supports, updates about the Childcare Initiative as well as a forum for providing feedback can be found at umanitoba.ca/childcare.
- reprinted from U M Today