Print Edition: June 20, 2012
UFV is getting inventive with its Arts program this fall. On the UFV Today blog, Anne Russell explained how the University is planning to offer an intensive nine-credit course. “UFV will be offering first year Bachelor of Arts students a new way to dive into university studies,” she wrote, explaining the goals of the course. The interdisciplinary ARTS 100 course will cover some lower level requirements of the BA program, introducing students to UFV’s resources, and providing skills needed to succeed in a post-secondary environment.
As a 60 student, nine-credit course split between two professors, ARTS 100 will be attended three days a week, and will meet the writing and reasoning requirements needed for the Bachelor of Arts program at UFV. The course will cover such disciplines as geography, literature, and history, with a main focus being on anthropology and literature.
Beginning this fall with a theme of “Homes and Homelands,” it is a new venture that, if successful, will be brought back in September 2013.
Of course, every new venture comes with a series of negative what-ifs. Potential issues with the course stem mainly from the concept of combining all sections of arts studies into one, monolithic whole.
While one may argue that all Arts subjects fall under the same cohesive blanket, there is no denying that a student interested in majoring in biology or geography (both part of the course’s integrated segments) will have a vastly different and perhaps even opposing interests and academic value systems to a student who sees Literature (another part) as their educational goal. Combining subjects from biology to literature with the intention of being an interesting course for all will certainly prove to be a challenge. But I believe that it is one that can be met.
ARTS 100 will focus on a knowledge application setup, which will involve lectures and notes like any other class, but will also place a higher importance on field trips, project-based work, guest speakers, and practical experience in the subjects being focused on. This will certainly provide a great launching pad for students unsure of what direction their post-secondary experience is going to take them in. The ability to experience a wide variety of disciplines all together, whether the students enjoys all of them or not, will be of huge help to a student as they figure out that all important time table.
For a school growing at a rapid-fire pace, the inclusion on ARTS 100 into the timetable seems like an understandable venture. A base course that touches on a variety of subjects in the Faculty of Arts, with a focus on applied knowledge will certainly be helpful in steering a potential Arts graduate toward the major and minor of their choice.
I can remember the confusion and weight involved in choosing that first slew of courses that would ultimately push me into the upper level direction. With ARTS 100, it will be much easier for a student to weed out the courses they don’t really want to take, or are just taking to see what it’s like, which may just contribute to a few shorter waitlists in the long run, and general increase in UFV student satisfaction.
I was pleasantly surprised by this new, innovative venture; I personally would love to have taken this course. I’m looking forward to the positive outcome experienced by ARTS 100 students who, thanks to the course, will have a little better idea of where UFV is going to take them.