A Message from the Dean of Arts

Dr. Lynne Phillips, Dean of Arts

January, 2015

It’s a wonderful coincidence for the Faculty of Arts to be starting a new year with the launch of our revised Bachelor of Arts core requirements.

For us, the BA is not a free-for-all, whatever-you-feel-like kind of degree. The BA at Memorial focuses on students acquiring skills and knowledge that they can use in the world. So we wanted our curriculum to properly reflect the acquired attributes of our graduating students. As outlined in our ARTS 20/20 plan, this means graduating students who, in addition to being knowledgeable and competent in their field(s), are critical and practical thinkers, creative and responsive problem solvers and effective communicators who can demonstrate ethical, moral and intellectual integrity, an appreciation of diversity and a passion for learning.

This may seem like quite a list! But we know our students and we’re quite confident that our new requirements will allow them to explore diverse topics and still complete their undergraduate degree in four years. It’s really a case of quality over quantity – students now have fewer requirements to meet but there is more substance to the requirements.

Some of the most important changes include:

• Replacing the humanities and social sciences requirements with a breadth of knowledge requirement that will provide students with the opportunity to choose exposure to a variety of ideas, methods and course content

• Replacing the research and writing requirement with a focused critical reading and writing requirement to ensure students obtain foundational, university-level reading and writing skills (research skills are learned through a student’s major)

• Introducing a quantitative reasoning requirement designed to ensure students develop foundational knowledge and skills in numeracy, quantitative analysis, and logical reasoning

• Adjusting the second language requirement to become a language study requirement designed to ensure students develop knowledge of the structure of a language other than English, and to foster awareness of the inherent link between language and cultural literacy.

Those currently enrolled as arts students have the option of following the old requirements or opting to follow the new ones. Advisors throughout the faculty and in the academic advising office has been briefed on the new requirements and are happy to help and answer questions. The completion of this huge task exemplifies the benefits of working with and learning from each other. I would like to thank all those faculty, students and staff who contributed to this initiative over the past two years.

The BA at Memorial is better!

I look forward to your feedback.

Enjoy the winter semester!

(More information on the changes can be found at www.mun.ca/arts/programs/undergraduate/baisbetter/index.php.)