News / Edmonton

Four low-enrolment University of Alberta arts programs saved

Four of 20 low-enrolment programs in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts, including one program which had significantly more students than staff thought, no longer risk being suspended, according to dean Lesley Cormack.

Staff were told in an interdepartmental memo that they had until Sept. 3 to write to the dean in defence of their programs.

Cormack said she received letters and e-mails from students, alumni, staff and program chairs concerned about their programs, and she ultimately decided to remove four programs from the chopping block.

The saved programs and the rational Cormack gave Metro for why they were saved are as follows:

  • BFA in Technical Theatre

“It turned out that the way we were counting the students gave a false sense of how few students there were in the program. In fact there were many students in the technical theatre program so it is no longer under threat of suspension.”

Cormack said there are actually 31 students in the technical theatre major.

  • Major in Latin American Studies

“(It) has just spent the last year re-doing it’s curriculum and simplifying how it works and that was just passed through governance in March of this year so it seemed appropriate to give them a chance to see whether that was a successful strategy.”

  • Major in Scandinavian Language and Literature

“Scandinavian studies, we had just hired a new professor in that area explicitly tasked with the goal of increasing the enrolment in that major. It seemed appropriate to give her some time to do that.”

  •  Composition & Theory Concentration in the Bachelor of Music Degree

“They have been looking at the possibility of a different and direct route into the specialization…They will be looking at different entry points into the degree.”

Cormack said the remaining 16 programs will now proceed through the process towards suspension of admission.

“This really is an issue of programs that are for whatever reason not attracting students,” she said.

The program suspensions will only affect new students who choose to major in the programs.

Minors in the affected programs will continue and students who are currently in affected majors will be able to finish their degrees.

Cormack said the Arts Faculty will now evaluate low-enrolment programs every three years. Previously there was no set schedule for this.

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