Much has happened during my first nine months in the Dean’s office. Changes began toward the end of February last year when the Provost, Peter Ricketts, invited me to be Interim Dean of FASS for two years with a mandate for change. At the time, Catherine Khordoc was the Acting Dean from her role as Associate Dean of Students and was scheduled to go on sabbatical leave in July 2016. Immediately Catherine and I began to introduce several changes. As Acting Dean she hesitated to tie the hands of the next Dean, but together we were enabled to pursue common goals.

Catherine has agreed to return to her role as Associate Dean of Student Affairs following her sabbatical. Susan Whitney, who has been acting in this role for two years since she filled in for Catherine when she became Dean, has done a marvelous job. Without her dogged efforts, we would not be able to claim the fantastic enrolment increases we have for this year (more on that later).

After achieving tremendous success, Sukeshi Kamra left the Associate Dean of Curriculum, Programs, and Planning role at the end of December, replaced by Richard Mann. Richard has immersed himself in the task and brought himself up to speed for the position. His experience with Carleton University Committee on Quality Assurance has been of great help, as has the review of the Quality Assurance process we have undertaken at the initiative of Chairs and Directors along with the Office of Quality Assurance (Academic Programs). Very productive meetings have resulted in many changes streamlining and re-orienting the process to meet program needs and significant changes to the Institutional Quality Assurance process have occurred.

While Catherine was still in office, Mike Brklacich was selected to continue in the role of Associate Dean Graduate Programs and Research he had been appointed to by former FASS Dean John Osborne. Catherine and I agreed that the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (ODFASS) staff required a reorganization and the office itself was due for major renovations.

Both these projects are well underway, and we have added Patricia Saravesi to the ODFASS staff as our permanent Web Developer (a new position for our team). We have also created a pivotal support staff position whose mandate is Student Success and have specified the directive of two Associate Deans as having responsibility for Student Recruitment and Student Retention.

With the help of Quality Initiatives (under the lead of Associate Dean Richard Mann), we have a project reviewing FASS retention issues. Three programs (English, History, and Psychology) have been selected as case studies, along with an analysis of First-Year Seminars which cross the entire faculty. This initiative should help us address the vexing issue of student retention. Our Faculty is in a complex position concerning retention (which is measured as remaining enrolled at Carleton). In fact, FASS is the landing place for about a net of 90 majors transferring from other Faculties each year, thus enhancing the retention rates of their original programs (mainly Science, Business, and Engineering).

Yet our retention rates are lower than other Faculties, in part because those who leave FASS leave the university (either for other universities, colleges or discontinuing). Moreover, many students who become majors or double majors in FASS programs like Geography, Indigenous Studies, Film Studies, Art History, Philosophy, Sociology, and Anthropology, do so in their second year. This way, they are not counted by conventional retention standards which measure what happens to first-year students as they move through their academic careers. We expect to learn a good deal more about how retention works through his project and have put the spotlight on First-Year Seminars, which FASS has undertaken as a university responsibility. We want to know the effect of enrolling in these High Impact Practices (HIPs), as they have come to be known. These are year long, intensive seminars with a maximum enrolment of 30 per class. They are designed to help students negotiate the transition from high school to university, navigate the complexities of student support available for a variety of academic and health challenges, have mentors with whom they can discuss issues and an audience of peers with whom they can refine their communication skills.

Due to the ever-changing post-secondary landscape in Canada, FASS units continue to modernize their course offerings and make several significant moves toward recruiting non-majors. For example, English now offers the following courses for non-majors: Literature, Law, and Criminality; Literature, Psychology, and Culture; Literature, Art, and Culture; Literature, Science, and Technology. Additionally, English has also introduced an undergraduate stream in Digital Humanities (four courses) and accepted the governance of the graduate collaborative Master’s in Digital Humanities. English has also expanded its writing intensive course offerings. Writing an English Essay was introduced this year with five sections capped at 30 students each. Half in these classes are from FASS and half are not. For 2017-18 they are launching an Effective Writing course for non-majors, and this coming year the two courses will have eight sections each, all capped at 30. All of this is a superb example of HIP experience focused on transferable skills.

Meanwhile, History has developed an undergraduate initiative for Public and Applied History, transferring its success at the Master’s level to undergrads. This past year they reconfigured all of their Canadian History courses to include a thorough and necessary representation of Indigenous History. I’m also happy to report that Public History at the Masters level has been highly successful. Furthermore, they are proposing to add a concentration in Public History to their Ph.D.

Overall, this year our enrolment prospects are outstanding. Our applications in FASS are up by 13.6% and approvals by 15.3% and confirmed registration by 26.3% (as of April 12, 2017). The challenge now is to convert these into confirmed enrolments in September. We have turned the corner from a steady faculty wide decline in entrance enrolments to a dramatic reversal. There are multiple reasons for this. One is the impact of specializations in the Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGINS). This has especially been the case for both the undergraduate programs in Sociology and Anthropology. This year’s addition by Sociology of ‘Global Inequalities and Social Change’ has flourished. Next year we add three more for FASS: ‘French and Francophone Studies’, ‘Global Genders and Sexualities’ and ‘Teaching English in Global Contexts’. Another reason is the steady interest in Psychology, particularly Forensic Psychology. The Bachelor of Cognitive Science has also grown rapidly since its introduction. We are also supported by steady increases of interest in Child Studies, Art and Culture, Indigenous Studies and French.

Besides teaching the lion’s share of undergraduate course enrolments (two-thirds), FASS remains one of the key drivers for graduate training at Carleton. We are the home to a third of all funded Ph.D. students on campus. Our faculty are active researchers, drawing the best and the brightest graduate students from across the country and around the world. These awards, honouring FASS colleagues, reflect the diversity of our research portfolio. Several senior scholars received significant lifetime achievement awards. In 2016, History’s Norman Hillmer, The School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies’ Julian Smith, and Music’s Elaine Keillor were all named to the Order of Canada. English’s Don Beecher became a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Newer FASS faculty were also honoured including History’s Jennifer Evans who was elected to the Royal Society’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Many recent FASS appointments launched their research career by receiving their first major external research award in 2016-17, including five in the social sciences, five in the arts and the humanities and one in the environmental sciences. FASS graduate students were also honoured. A Fulbright Canada doctoral award, a Senate Medal for Outstanding Achievement at the doctoral level, and the Shirley L. Thomson Award for young curators are a few of the prestigious awards recognizing excellence and innovation by our current and recent students.

The Carleton University Art Gallery continued on as Carleton’s cultural soul, bringing people together to explore and activate ideas. Some highlights from the past year include “Meryl McMaster: Confluence” curated by Heather Anderson and presented at CUAG during summer 2016, “TRANSACTIONS” curated by ICSLAC Ph.D. candidate Cara Tierney, who also received an MA in Art History from CU and the debut in January 2017 of CUAG’s new and experimental “Open Space Lab,” which turns the empty gallery into a space for research, creation and collaboration. The first edition featured the Toronto artist Gita Hashemi, who created a stunning site specific installation in the gallery entitled “Grounding.”

We remain active in the community. This past year, FASS hosted a 2016 Throwback event which featured Brian Foss and his award winning exhibition of the Beaver Hall Group. Our very popular CU in the City lecture series endures. Last year, we held a variety of CU in the City events, including a panel on the modern alterations to Ottawa’s historic buildings, and Matt Bellamy’s CU in the City event in which he told the story of how Labatt Brewers and its allies turned Canada into a beer drinking nation. We are also very pleased to host compelling speakers like Senator Murray Sinclair and his partner Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair, who spoke on Truth and Reconciliation.

Senator Sinclair’s inspirational lecture fit well with FASS’ objective to vigorously support the recommendations of this Royal Commission. To fulfill this, we have started by changing the title of our School of Canadian Studies to the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies. This is much more than a renaming. More students are now taking courses on Indigenous topics and the Masters and Ph.D. programs now welcome record numbers of Indigenous students. We are also the initiators of renovations to the Amphitheatre zone between Paterson, Loeb and Southam Hall. Key Indigenous leaders on campus are creating a meeting place for all members of the Carleton community within an Indigenous themed area. This project’s design should be announced by July 2017 with work being completed the following spring.

Please enjoy the magazine.
Wally Signature

Dean Wallace Clement

Monday, August 28, 2017 in
Share: Twitter, Facebook