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REF NO.: 86

SUBJECT: Public opinion survey gives Memorial University high marks
DATE: Nov. 1, 2004

Memorial University is well-run, provides good value for the funding it receives and generates top-quality graduates and research and development that are critical to the economic and social development of Newfoundland and Labrador. These were the general findings of a recent province-wide poll undertaken by Omnifacts Bristol Research, a local surveying and market research company.

The survey was conducted in September to gauge public perceptions regarding the university, its operations and impact throughout the province, particularly in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The survey and results are available for viewing on the Web at www.mun.ca/univrel/crs2004/. A public opinion survey conducted in 1997 provided similar results.

“The survey results illustrate the significant support that Memorial University receives from both rural and urban citizens throughout the province,” said Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial’s president. “It reveals the confidence they have in the university’s ability to fulfill its mandate of education, research and service to the community. It is reassuring to know that our significant efforts to grow the university are being recognized and received with the overwhelming support of the people of the province.”

Dr. Meisen indicated that the results were timely given the provincial government’s current focus on the future of post-secondary education. “This information is important to the Commission on Public Post-Secondary Education and we have made it available to the commissioner,” he said. “The White Paper that is being developed by the province will shape higher education for some time to come. The survey indicates quite clearly that developing a university with world-class academic programs and research activities is in keeping with the aspirations and expectations of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The Community Relations Survey reported the following observations and perceptions made by the vast majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians:

· MemorialUniversitydegrees have significant value, nationally and internationally. Over 80 per cent of respondents said they thought a degree from Memorial was as valuable as a degree from other Canadian universities.

· Memorial’s academic programs and research capabilities are world-class. Almost 84 per cent of respondents cited Memorial’s academic programs as among the best in the world, over 80 per cent feel the university’s research is important culturally, close to 90 per cent feel it is critical to economic development, and over 80 per cent recognized that the university’s research capabilities are world-class.

· Memorial operates in a cost-effective manner. Over 60 per cent of respondents felt that the university was managing its finances well.

· Public funding must be maintained for the university. Close to 75 per cent of respondents felt that public funding for Memorial was important.

· Memorial is the university-of-choice for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Close to 85 per cent said they would recommend Memorial as a quality university.

The survey also revealed interesting information on the perceptions of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians regarding tuition fees. About 60 per cent of the people in the province do not know that MemorialUniversityhas the lowest tuition fees in Atlantic Canada.

The Omnifacts Bristol survey involved a random, geographically stratified sample of the adult (18 years and older) population of the province. The survey was conducted by telephone during the week of Sept. 20, 2004, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 per cent, with 95 per cent confidence level. For further information, please contact PeterMorris, associate director, Division of University Relations, Memorial University of Newfoundland, (709)737-2455 or pmorris@mun.ca.

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