Internal Academic Review Committee

Report on the Review of the Canadian Studies Program

Canadian Studies is a small interdisciplinary undergraduate program in the Faculty of Arts and Science, offering a challenging and diverse course of studies.

The program, typical of similar programs at other Canadian universities, has historically been poorly resourced. Moreover, it has shown little growth in enrolment since its inception. The success that it does enjoy is dependent in no small part upon the remarkable dedication, commitment and hard work of the Coordinator, who, it is noted, carries out an exhausting array of responsibilities on essentially a volunteer basis. As recommended by all of the reviewers, the Faculty has indicated that in the future, a course relief will be offered to the Coordinator.

While highlighting the enthusiasm and satisfaction of current students and graduates as well as the high academic potential of those who are attracted to the program, the External Consultant and Review Team noted the consistently low enrolment and minimal student demand. There is some sign of this changing as a result of the launch of a 200-level Canadian Studies course this year which has introduced a cohort of new students to the program. Furthermore, the reviewers state that an additional upper level Canadian Studies course must be added if the program is to remain viable. A related problem about which students voiced anxiety, concerned the discrepancy between the abundance of courses listed in the Calendar and the number that is actually delivered. The IARC notes that the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science has recently asked all unit heads to purge the Calendar of courses no longer being offered.

The Canadian Studies Program is at a crossroads; objectives and expectations for the future must be established. In this regard, the IARC supports the recommendations of the Review Team and External Consultant, as follows:

  • Explicit Canadian Studies courses at the beginning and end of the program are essential as the base and capstone of interdisciplinary learning. CDNS 200 should be followed, by 2004, by a CDNS 400;
  • If the Faculty provides the resources for the second new course, and the program continues past 2004, these changes should be assessed at the end of the next septennial IAR review period to determine if the program has proven itself through both enrolments and academic quality.

Support for these enhancements along with raising the profile of the program, may ensure its evolution into a more secure, ambitious and overall successful undertaking.

Follow-up on these recommendations and issues will take place in the annual budget and staffing meetings between the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Vice-Principal (Academic).