Budget cuts create new options

Five new interdisciplinary degrees announced in the Faculty of Arts and Science

Jill Scott, Undergraduate Chair of Linguistics said that the world language studies minor is the direction students want to go in.
Jill Scott, Undergraduate Chair of Linguistics said that the world language studies minor is the direction students want to go in.
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This September the Faculty of Arts and Science will introduce five new interdisciplinary degree options.

The new degree options are a BA minor in world language studies, a revised BAH major in linguistics, and a BFA major ARTF or a BFA major/minor or major general option for fine arts students. The changes are in response to both the recent budget cuts and increased student demand for more flexible programs in the Faculty of Arts and Science, John Pierce, associate dean of studies in Arts and Science said.

“After we did a three year review of programs, some departments realized they wouldn’t be able to sustain themselves over the long term, and this really motivated the change,” he said, adding that the major/minor degree option is now the most popular one in the Faculty.

Since the revised linguistics and fine arts programs are a move away from the Special Field Concentration that required students to take 14 or more credits, more students will now be able to take on a minor.

With the new programs, the fine arts and linguistics departments are able to offer less courses because of the decreased requirements in the major/minor option. This will help reduce unnecessary costs, which is especially important given the recent budgeting situation, Pierce said.

“The fine arts is critical to the creative arts offerings at Queen’s and linguistics is a growing interest for students,” he said. “Budget cuts are a new financial reality, and until this levels off, these revised programs will be a good alternative in the mean time.” While revisions to the linguistics and fine arts departments aim at improving efficiency and meeting student demand, a BA minor in world language studies is an entirely new degree option at Queen’s.

Pierce said that there was a strong demand among students to diversify language options, and the new world language studies minor will be a step beyond the preexisting International Studies Certificate.

Jill Scott, the undergraduate chair of linguistics, said that the minor option arose because of conversations about the potential amalgamation of language units which the German, linguistics, Japanese and Chinese department has agreed to pursue with the Spanish and Italian department.

“There’s no doubt that students who are interested in languages will love this new option, it’s definitely the direction that students want to go in,” Scott said. “Some students want to have a grasp of several languages because we live in a global world, and having exposure to multiple languages is important.” Language courses that previously only counted as electives and couldn’t be combined towards a language degree now can go towards the world language studies minor. These include Japanese, Chinese and Arabic, Scott said, adding that the creation of the World Language Studies minor is a sign that collaboration and cooperation really can yield great results. There is of course, she said, the possibility that similar interdisciplinary projects might occur in the future.

“For the administration it’s an interdisciplinary program without any additional resources, which allows us to sustain the resources we have,” he said. “The university as a whole supports this, and students are increasingly interested in interdisciplinary and flexible programs.”

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