COLLEGE October 20, 2001
stalls UPEI deal
An attempt by Holland College and UPEI to provide a new degree program
in journalism for the Atlantic provinces is on hold pending a final
decision by the Maritime Provincial Higher Education Commission.
Holland College now offers a diploma in newspaper reporting. In the
joint progam, UPEI would offer a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism
Anne Furlong of UPEI's english department, and co-ordinator of the
proposal, said the program would "offer an expanded preparation for
people who want to get into journalism." Furlong said she has "every
confidence (the program) will get started."
Students would go to UPEI for one year, then go through the two years
Holland College requires for the diploma and then study one more year
at UPEI. The student must take 20 university level courses.
Deviations from this outline can be made but a student must take at
least five courses of study at the university after the Holland College
diploma is earned. A proposal was sent to MPHEC outlining the program,
which the commission then sent on to other universities to give them
a chance to raise any objections.
"When a new program is proposed, the commission seeks feedback from
other universities in the area," said Furlong.
The feedback was then returned and the Atlantic Association of Universities-MPHEC
Academic Advisory Committee is now conducting an in-depth review of
The MPHEC will meet again in November to discuss the proposal. University
of King's College and St. Thomas University, which offers its own
joint journalism program with New Brunswick Community College, both
expressed concerns to the commission about having another journalism
degree program in the Atlantic provinces.
Stephen Kimber, director of the journalism school at King's, said
he has concerns about having another journalism program in the Atlantic
"I think, essentially, our biggest concern is whether there's room
in this region for three programs teaching journalism at a university
level," said Kimber. "The reason I say that is that journalism is
expensive to teach in that there's a lot of technology and equipment
that goes into it and you have to have numbers in order to justify
"Now, we, I think, may have expressed mild concern when St. Thomas
started its program. But I think, in retrospect, we should have been
more out front in those concerns because they're the same kind of
concerns. I mean, we're a small region. I'm not sure that three schools
of journalism make good sense."
Kimber said he's also concerned about the joining of a community college
and a university. He said he didn't think the pairing system is working
in the NBCC case.
"We get students applying to us now to transfer into our program who
started out in the Woodstock program and weren't satisfied," said
Kimber also questioned whether the practical and professional sides
of journalism should be taught separately.
"I think there's also a guestion of `What is the technical side and
what's the professional side and should those be separated out in
anyway?'" he said. "So I'm not sure how much of that really applies
in the case of UPEI or not, but certainly those were the kinds of
concerns that we had."
In a story written by King's student Jennifer Vardy, Kimber expressed
his preference in keeping journalism a strictly university learning
experience. "The thing about using community colleges to teach the
journalism component: one of the things it does is sort of ghettoizes
journalism," Kimber is quoted as saying.
"Is journalism not a university persuit?" Vardy's story can be found
Holland College Journalism learning manager Wayne Young mentioned
the benefits of the proposed uniting of his school and UPEI.
"I think an advantage to the student would be the option of adding
a university degree to their college diploma in journalism," said
Young. "Certainly they can do that now but it involves four years
of university and two years of college, so essentially they can do
in four years what would have taken them six."
Young said another bonus to the student would be the variety of subjects
learned, thereby ensuring a wider range of competence the student
will bring to the job site. "We give them the practical now: ‘Here
it is, go do it'. The university credits should give them a little
more theory. That two years and those 20 credits should just give
you a stronger candidate at the end of the day."