French studies admission suspension revisited

School of Graduate Studies to discuss future options of program at Oct. 17 meeting

Admission to french studies could be suspended for another year.
Admission to french studies could be suspended for another year.

The department of French studies is meeting with the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and the Faculty of Arts and Science on Oct. 17 to discuss the future of the program.

The suspension of the French Studies graduate program will likely continue next year, according to department head Catherine Dhavernas.

She said the department has also looked into ideas for revamping the program.

Admissions to Master’s and PhD programs in French studies were suspended by the School of Graduate Studies last February due to a decline in applications.

No students were admitted to the program during the 2012-13 school year.

At the time of the announcement, the SGS stated that the program would be restructured and eventually reopened.

According to Dhavernas, the department is still in the early stages of planning, but it’s unlikely that admissions will reopen next year.

“As things stand, we will likely request that suspension of admissions be extended for another year,” she said.

Dhavernas said she is currently meeting with other members of her department, as well as with the SGS and Faculty of Arts and Science.

She said the faculty will also consult graduate students throughout the year.

François Rouget, the chair of graduate studies at the department of French studies, said the department has looked at two options for changes to the program: an entirely revamped French studies program or the creation of an inter-departmental program.

The reopening of the French studies program would be preferable, he said, but it will depend on the resources provided to the department by the Faculty.

“One idea has been the study of rhetorics,” he said. “We would offer mostly in English, but maybe also in French, with … philosophy, modern languages, maybe film studies, arts, English.”

Rouget said this would conserve resources, as the Faculty of Arts and Science could run the program at a lower cost.

His highest priority, he said, is full transparency among all the affected parties.

“Nobody should be kept in the dark about what is happening,” Rouget said.

It’s especially important that students are consulted, he said.

He hasn’t been able to meet with the School of Graduate Studies yet, Rouget said, and although Dhavernas has held meetings, he hasn’t been updated on their outcomes.

“You could say it is a bit of a communication gap,” he said.

Rouget said members of the department have worked on the two proposals together, which will be presented at an Oct. 17 meeting with the SGS.

“I don’t want to talk about one thing and then the second afterwards, because when we reach the second part of the discussion, I think [graduate studies] will be gone.”

He said the department is already low on funding, as class tutorials have been cut and each of the professors teach five half-year courses rather than the usual four.

Despite this, Rouget said he doesn’t blame Queen’s, since all universities in Ontario are making cuts.

The responsibility lies with the provincial government, he said.

“They are putting pressures on all the universities to make sure we deliver more with less,” he said.

Rouget added he wants to be certain that any collaboration between the Department and the administration will be positive and transparent.

“I want to be proactive, because clearly if nothing is done, forget the program of French studies,” he said.

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