News  News Brief: Humanistic studies continues

McGill’s Humanistic studies undergraduate degree will likely continue as a fixture of the University’s curriculum, but Dean of Arts Christopher Manfredi is planning major changes to the program.

Members of the Humanistic Studies Students’ Association (HSSA) and the program’s director learned last week from a series of meetings that Manfredi envisions a more grounded and focused Humanistic studies Program.

The problem with Humanistic studies in its current form, according to Manfredi, is that it lacks a base department or unit necessary to maintain internal cohesion. Working outside of its own proper department, unlike other interdisciplinary programs such as International Development studies or African studies, Humanistic studies has difficulty finding long-term teaching and administrative support.

The dean is planning to meet again with the HSSA executive and Humanistic Studies Association Committee, hold a reflection period to speak with students and faculty members, and establish a committee to develop the new program.

Manfredi proposed that no new students be admitted to Humanistic studies after January 1, 2010, in anticipation of the new program. The current program will continue and students will be able to finish their degree.

Humanistic studies students are only required to take two classes: Western Humanistic Tradition 1 and 2. They make up the rest of their credits with any classes in, history of fine arts, the humanities, social science, or natural science, and choose four classes in a similar field or topic to create an individual focus.

— Jennifer Markowitz