UTSC program reviews bring in changes in academic curriculum

This is the year when a few UTSC academic programs approach the end of their life cycle. Some courses are facing potential termination, while new courses will be added to the academic curriculum.

“We just reviewed all the programs in the Humanities department. The results will be assessed by the academic committee within [February] or so,” John Scherk, vice dean of undergraduate programs said.

One of the programs being reviewed is IEE (Intersections, Encounters, Exchanges in the Humanities), a companion major program launched in 2009.

The program is designed to offer smaller class sizes, providing students with the opportunity to work closely with their professors.

Knowing that IEE is under review and might be cancelled, a fifth-year IEE student took action to save her program from disappearing.

“I started a Google document where I listed why I think IEE is amazing and I sent it out to my other peers who are also in the program with me,” she said.

“Hopefully soon we can just get together and sign a petition. Then we can show upper management how much we actually care about this program.”

Larger classes bring in more revenue for the university. Unfortunately, smaller classes mean less money for the institution.

Carl Bagot, vice president of academics for the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, said the programs that are less subsidized are the graduate programs.

The fact that less revenue can be generated from smaller classes, however, does not seem to concern Scherk.

“We are not trying to cut and economize,” said Scherk. “On the contrary, we are building and expanding our course offerings. We are maintaining the ‘garden’. Plants that are not flourishing or have reached their life expectancy are removed and replaced by new plants which will flourish.”

“We are not trying to cut and economize,” said Scherk.

“On the contrary, we are building and expanding our course offerings. We are maintaining the ‘garden’. Plants that are not flourishing or have reached their life expectancy are removed and replaced by new plants which will flourish.”

Scherk indicated that the launching of programs like IEE were experiments. If the enrollment remains low after several years, then the status of the program will be reconsidered.

“The review process is really important: it improves the program, make programs academically sound, and helps to meet the needs of the students.” said Scherk.

The fate of programs like IEE remains unclear at this point. However, around 60 new courses are expected to “flourish” in the fall.