Brescia University College will fully integrate with Western University as of May 2024, following the approval of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) by the governing boards of the two institutions earlier today.
On Sept. 21, Western and Brescia announced the institutions had entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding to explore the potential integration. Since then, there have been extensive consultations to consider all aspects of integration.
“Meaningful discussions with Brescia and Western students, faculty, staff and alumnae have led us to this pivotal moment and will continue to define our way forward,” said Brescia President, Lauretta Frederking. “We recognize the integration has had a profound impact on the Brescia community, and their vital contributions and collaborative efforts have been instrumental in shaping this process and ensuring Brescia’s legacy is upheld.”
During the fall, Western consulted Brescia students, faculty, staff and alumnae through forums, committees and information sessions to identify the priorities and resources that would ensure a smooth transition. This has included preserving Brescia’s unique programs such as Food and Nutritional Sciences and Family Studies and Human Development, which will continue to be delivered after the integration.
As part of the integration, current Brescia students can choose to complete their program of study and remain in their current residence. Brescia’s full-time faculty, current contract faculty with sessional teaching appointments, permanent full-time and permanent part-time staff can choose to continue their employment with Western. Active contract staff may receive an offer of employment if a position is available for which they are qualified, and contract faculty will be considered for available positions as outlined in agreements with The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association and the Brescia Faculty Association.
“By coming together to transform educational experiences, Brescia and Western will help enhance opportunities and outcomes for students from all backgrounds, while upholding the legacy of the Ursuline Sisters to bridge gaps in higher education,” said Western President Alan Shepard. “We also welcome the skills, talent and knowledge of Brescia faculty and staff to help us achieve our ambitious strategic goals as an institution.”
As outlined in the MOA, Western will invest in new initiatives that preserve Brescia’s mission to instill the values of wisdom, justice and compassion into each graduate. Other commitments include:
- establishing a $25-million Brescia Legacy Fund to support scholarships, bursaries and programs for students who may face barriers to university;
- maintaining Brescia’s Clare Hall as an all-women identifying residence for at least four years, subject to demand;
- preserving the names of Brescia buildings, sites and institutional artifacts;
- identifying a dedicated Brescia student lounge for current Brescia students to stay connected outside of the classroom; and
- supporting the transfer of the Brescia Alumnae Association to operate as a chapter or group within Western’s alumni structure.
As one of Western’s three affiliated university colleges, Brescia has been part of the Western community and Brescia students have been receiving Western degrees since its founding by the Ursuline Sisters in 1919.
“Brescia’s emphasis on fostering women leaders and its innovative, student-centered approach will benefit Western students, faculty and staff for generations to come. Our institutions have enjoyed a close relationship for more than 100 years, and we are thrilled that Brescia’s legacy will continue to be an important part of the Western story,” said Shepard.
“I also want to thank Brescia President Lauretta Frederking for her leadership, as well as Florentine Strzelczyk, Provost & Vice-President (Academic), Lynn Logan, Vice-President (Operations & Finance), Jane O’Brien, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources), Paul Eluchok, University Legal Counsel, and the extraordinary team from both institutions who are deeply committed to higher education and to our community.”