General Studies finds its own identity

By Sonia Sharma

The Faculty of General Studies is changing its name to the Faculty of Communications and Culture. The change was a result of recommendations by the Direct Entry Review and Implementation Committee which received information from faculty members, student focus groups and the Prospective Student Office. The faculty and students find the current name, Faculty of General Studies, too vague and feel that it doesn’t accurately reflect the faculty’s activities in research and education.

This vagueness led to difficulty in recruitment of prospective students and faculty members. For example, none of three candidates the faculty interviewed recently for teaching positions could identify the activities of the faculty through its name.

The process for deciding on a new name was complex.

"We started with a list of 35 names, but with the help of student organizations and staff members we were able to narrow it down to the Faculty of Communications and Culture," said Dean of General Studies Kathleen Scherf.

After the Faculty of General Studies endorsed the new name, it gained support from deans of other faculties, the Students’ Union, the Registrar’s Office and the Alumni Association.

"The new name is more indicative of the direct entry policy of the university and will help students realize what programs are being offered by the Faculty," said SU President Toby White.

The new name is pending final approval from the Board of Governors on June 23 and if approved it will be used as early July 1.

"The new name reflects who we are and what we do," said Communications Studies professor and Associate Dean David Taras. "Most of our programs deal with problems of identity and culture, making the name fitting. They reflect grave issues that Calgary and the world will face in the 21st century and so we feel that the new name for the faculty is a progressive one."

The costs to change signage, letterheads, business cards and envelopes will be just over $5,000, which will be paid by the Faculty of General Studies. Graduates will not be given the opportunity to have their parchments redone, as the name change occurs after the June 2000 convocation. However, once the name change occurs, any student currently registered in General Studies can choose to graduate with either name on their parchment.

Scherf looks forward to the change.

"I am delighted with the university support and hope that this innovative and forward-looking name suits the community of Calgary."

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