The Dean of Arts is proposing an administrative restructuring of two departments, East Asian Studies (EASIA) and Modern Languages and Cultural Studies (MLCS) to work towards the creation of a new, larger department. The goal of creating a larger unit would be better governance, oversight, and mentorship of faculty, staff and students.
How does this affect my degree?
The degrees currently offered by each department would remain and be supported by this new larger unit. This restructuring will not disrupt the academic pathways of currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students. Combining departments may also provide opportunities for teaching and research collaboration.
How will this impact students?
Combining the departments will provide students access to more academic advising and potentially increased student representation on the larger unit’s governance structure. There will also be more robust opportunities for instructors to share best teaching practices and to supply support for field schools and study abroad opportunities.
What will change for the relevant student groups?
Student groups from each of the degree areas will continue to have autonomy in their area of expertise. It will be up to each if, over time, they wish to combine or restructure.
Will this change the relationships and funding received from foreign governments?
No. Discussions with all of the relevant government representatives has ensured that funding and support for cultural events will continue and the Department and Dean would work to ensure maximum support from external sources to support these programs.
How can EASIA maintain its identity and culture?
The degrees and programs will remain separate, with separate web presence, recruitment materials and events. There could be an academic director of EASIA programs, to ensure the maintenance of the identity of the program and ensure that it will remain vibrant and visible. There is a new Asian Council to engage scholars looking at Asia from many departments in Arts, and the ongoing activities and visibility of the China Institute and the Prince Takamado Japan Centre guarantee the larger community connections.
What consultations have been done?
Throughout this year, there have been opportunities for input from faculty, instructors, and staff. Student consultations were delayed when both the university and student groups were focused on responding to provincial government budget announcements. The Dean is now inviting the input from students in the form of this townhall and a survey that will be available until the end of Reading Week. The timelines for this consultation are tight as we are anticipating additional provincial government budget announcements.
What has yet to be decided?
There are many opportunities to be discussed — the name of the new unit, for example, as well as how to maintain and support the vibrant programs and community connections of all related degrees. Leadership within the new unit would lead those consultations.
What are the timelines?
On the basis of the consultations we have done and are doing (including this consultation with students), we will be deciding on the appropriate path forward within the next month. After that, proposals will go to the appropriate governance committees, with some hope that a tentative decision will be made by July 1, 2020.
This survey is not collecting your personal information. Feedback will be collected until February 21 and included in the ongoing discussions about this initiative.
Take the Survey