PAGE 2 • THE ARGOSY • NEWS • SEPTEMBER 25, 2008
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What do you want out of your Mt. Allisondegree? As part of the Academic Renewal process,students, faculty, and the greater community arebeing given the opportunity to discuss importantissues and have their input shape the future of academics at Mt. A.
e process began with a discussion paper written by Provost and VP Academic andResearch Stephen McClatchie, entitled
Changing to Preserve: Renewing Academic Programming at Mount Allison.
After initial student, faculty and community response, working groups wereassigned to research, discuss and report onﬁve areas of interest: outcomes and literacies,chaired by Mark Blagrave; course and programdelivery, chaired by Frank Strain; distributionrequirements, chaired by Rob Ireland; credit,chaired by Carrie MacMillan; and graduatestudies, chaired by Nancy Vogan.“
ere seemed to be a real consensus that[these ﬁve areas] were topics that people wereinterested in talking about,” said McClatchie.
e working groups are designed to broadly represent all stakeholders’ interests, and includestudents, faculty, and sta
e people[in each working group] are interested in thatissue and are there because they want to be there,”said SAC VP Academic Brian Crouse.
e Academic Renewal process is coordinatedby a steering committee, responsible for keepingthe working groups interconnected, informed, and working together. Its members are McClatchie,Crouse, the chairs of the working groups, the
A call for input in the Academic Renewal process
three academic Deans, and Chris Parker, theRegistrar.
is past Saturday, students were invited todiscuss four of the ﬁve main topics of the workinggroups at the Academic Renewal Forum.
ediscussion of graduate studies has been a longerprocess, explained Crouse, and more informationis forthcoming.
e forum was co-ordinated by the steering committee and moderated by EileenHerteis, director of the Purdy Crawford TeachingCentre.“
is is the ﬁrst opportunity for students tocontribute and engage with the process,” saidMcClatchie, explaining that faculty had beenpresented with the working groups’ ﬁndings on Teaching Day at the end of summer.At the forum, working group committeechairs gave updates on their topics, informingattendants of their considerations, conclusions,and continuing questions. About forty-ﬁvepeople were in attendance, and about eighteen of those people were students.Crouse and McClatchie were pleased with theturnout of the forum. “I was really excited thatpeople came and that there was great discussionbetween students and faculty,” Crouse said. Topics that came up in the forum wereﬂexibility in delivering courses, joint degreeprograms, concentrated course blocks, eveningcourses, integration of speakers with academicprograms, credit value, challenge for credit,certiﬁcate programs, distribution requirements,faculty advising system, ﬁrst year seminars,possible language requirements and making thepre-existing learning outcomes explicit.Discussion focused on whether or notdistribution was valuable, the beneﬁts of aﬁrst year seminar, the importance of programadvising, the conﬂicts of evening classes withextracurricular life at Mt. A, and whether or notlearning a second language should be required orencouraged. While agreement was not reached,individual concerns were brought to the attentionof the working groups, who will take them intoconsideration for their ﬁnal report.
e Academic Renewal process continues this week with four student discussions on credit,outcomes and literacies, distribution, and courseand program delivery. Crouse, who organized thestudent discussions, explained that the topics athand a
ect all students, and as such input andfeedback is critical.“
is could have very real e
ects on students’degrees in the near future,” said Crouse.“Everybody’s opinion at this university counts inthis.”McClatchie will attend the October 2 faculty meeting and one of the ﬁrst SAC meetings toreport on the process, and will present anotherreport to the community before the workinggroups are required to submit their ﬁndings andrecommendations on November 15.
e reports of the groups will be reviewedby the Academic Matters committee and thenpresented at university Senate.As for the future, McClatchie sees thisas a multi-year process. Depending on theoutcome of the reports, next year might see theimplementation of easy program changes, such asa pilot program of the ﬁrst year seminar.Still, according to McClatchie, “many outcomesof academic renewal will have to be phased in”over time.
Environmental artists use Sackville as their canvas
Storm, vandalism destroy two of ten sculptures
Helena van Tol
Argosy Staff Voyage
by U.S. artist Rob Staab
Ten internationally acclaimed environmentalartists converged in Sackville this summer. Usingpieces of local history and their surroundings,these sculptors created works of art in and aroundthe community, with only the landscape as theircanvas.Some artists stayed as long as a month working on their projects, educating the publicand beautifying the town in the process.
e tenartists included: Gilles Bruni (France), YolandaGutierrez (Mexico), Nils-Udo (Germany), BobVershueren (Belgium), Roy Staab (USA), JerileaZempel (USA), Michael Floman (Canada),Francesca Vivenza (Canada), as well as Kip Jonesand Paul Gri
n from Sackville.Now, only eight out of ten sculptures remain.Zempel’s piece, entitled
, was an SUV covered in crochet, andcould be found just outside the Waterfowl Park,near the Swan Pond. Zempel’s artist statementexplains how he turned an oversized, macho, gas-guzzling vehicle into a technological ghost by shrouding it a white, fuzzy cover, reminiscent of women’s handwork from another time, anotherplace.” It was torn up in a storm and had to betaken down soon after.Environmental art, by nature, has to beconstantly maintained. Other pieces, such asFloman’s ﬂag-like structure that twists and turns with the wind, have also su
ered storm damage,but will soon be repaired.However, Francesca Vivenza’s piece wasactually trashed by vandals.Vivenza’s
, was constructedfrom ﬁve painted polystyrene spheres, placedaround the Ladies’ College Park, becoming lostmoons that make reference to the world’s highesttides that occur in the Bay of Fundy.Virgil Hammock, Sackville town councillorand retired Mount Allison Fine Arts professor,explains the situation.“We rather expected that [this] might happen,and we certainly documented the work. We werehoping that people would leave it alone, butI guess it didn’t last the second week into theuniversity year.”Hammock and the artist considered putting afence around the sculpture, or leaving the security tape, but decided against it, believing that it wouldtake away from the work. But a fence wouldn’tstop vandalism anyway.Hammock proposed the sculpture project asSackville applied for cultural capital status.
eidea came several years ago as he was visiting aFinnish community, about the size of Sackville.
e town was home to a national arts schooland was built on a peat bog. Every other year,that town invited artists to do environmentalsculptures out of natural materials from the area.Now, with the money from the town’s culturalcapital status, Sculpture Sackville is set to becomea regular exhibition, occurring once every two years.“It’s been embraced by the people goingthrough the Waterfowl Park,” says Hammock,“
at’s why we hope to repeat this and make ita regular thing in our community. It can bringtourists into our community, it can bring beauty to our community, and it can enhance ourunderstanding of the environment.”Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates thee
ort and talent invested in this project.
ere areno leads, so far, as to who vandalized
and it’s unlikely that there will beany charges. Nevertheless, Hammock has somesuspicions.“I would say it was a bunch of drunken studentsbecause they really smashed the hell out of them[…].
ey were just too vulnerable. One likes tothink that university students are art-loving andintelligent, but I would say not all of them.”Even so, university students may not be theonly community vandals. Another piece, BobVershueren’s
, found near the UnitedChurch side entrance to the Waterfowl Park, wasalso vandalized during construction. However,there has been no damage since.Over the summer, another series of environmental art sculptures, with four of thesame artists, were installed in the HamiltonRoyal Botanical Gardens, a larger town outsideof Toronto. Sackville was able to ‘piggyback’ onsome of the costs and avoid charging admissionfor the exhibition.
e same curator, John Grande, was used for both exhibitions, the only two of this type in Canada. Sometime this term, Grandeplans to give a talk to the Fine Arts department.“I was hoping that it would last because the whole idea of public installations is that they arefor the public and to add beauty to the landscape,”laments Hammock, “It’s unfortunate that thereare people out there who vandalize and destroy such things, and particularly unfortunate if it wasuniversity students because they’re also part of this town.”