SAVE HUMANISTIC STUDIES sign now

To Professor Manfredi and the Working Group on Interdisciplinary Programs,

It has come to our attention that the Working Group has recommended the elimination of the Humanistic Studies program, albeit with short notice and with a dramatic lack of transparency. The Humanistic Studies program has been under review and in risk of elimination for several years, and thus has willingly submitted multiple requests for curriculum revisions. In a Winter 2008 appeal to the Associate Dean of Arts, Mary McKinnon, Humanistic Studies students were assured that supposed rumors of the programs erasure were false, and that the faculty was merely working to improve it. Thus it came as an unpleasant surprise when, unbeknownst to both students and program professors, the Working Group met in December of 2008 and came to the conclusion that the current programs in Humanistic Studies be eliminated.

Interdisciplinary Studies programs play a vital role in the McGill community. They fill an important niche for students who are hoping for an all-encompassing education and are unable or unwilling to confine their education to two or three departments. Contrary to what the Working Group suggests, the Multi-Track system does not allow a student to find links between and among subjects in the arts for example, literature, history, philosophy, religion, music, history of fine arts the social sciences, and natural sciences, in the way Humanistic Studies does.

McGill University, which prides itself on ranking amongst the top universities internationally, ought to consider the value placed on Interdisciplinary Studies programs at Ivy League universities, including Harvard and Princeton. Though students of Humanistic Studies, and other interdisciplinary programs, may not fit compactly into a prescribed box, it is precisely our ability to think outside of the box that makes us valuable members of the university community and exceptional candidates for graduate schools.

We the undersigned are frustrated and angered by the actions of the Working Group on Interdisciplinary Studies, which congregated in December of 2008, without notifying the Humanistic Studies program directors and Humanistic Studies students, and concluded that the Humanistic Studies Major and Minor Concentrations do not constitute a coherent package that achieves the stated academic goals.

We would like the Working Group to:

1) allocate students a chance to defend the program
2) allot time for the Humanistic Studies directors to prepare a response
3) conduct the deliberations in a manner that is transparent to the whole of
the McGill community
4) reverse the negative trend towards the eradication of Interdisciplinary
Studies at McGill.

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Lily CannonBy:
Nature and EnvironmentIn:
Petition target:
The Working Group on Interdisciplinary Studies

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