Memo from Vice-Dean Baker to Graduate Students

“There seems to be an assumption coming out of the Dean’s Office that if the proposed changes go through (and count me in the camp that hopes the Dean has an enlightened change of mind) that somehow the current EAS degree can either be transferred in toto to the new Lang and Lit school or be reconstituted in toto as some sort of collaborative program.  This is simply not the case. While we have no idea what will happen to most of our faculty — dispersal among departments seems to be the most common rumor — the elimination of the EAS Dept. cannot but mean the termination of the undergrad EAS degree as it is now defined.  Perhaps there will be a new EAS Lang. and Lit. degree (though I doubt there are enough faculty to sustain it) or perhaps the Asia Pacific degree (which is already a collaborative/interdisplinary program) will need to absorb more — alot more — students that would otherwise have done an EAS major. Whatever the case, these changes will have a serious impact on future generations of students’ frame for studying EAS. That is part of the result of this plan for reconfiguration.” – Professor Andre Schmid

As you have likely heard, the Faculty has recently completed its Academic Plan for 2010-2015. The plan has been circulated broadly and is posted at http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca. I hope you will take the opportunity to read it.

In the plan are proposals for administrative restructuring in which some units will be disestablished and join with other larger units. Specifically, the plan calls for the creation of a new School of Languages and Literatures, to be created from Germanic Languages and Literatures, Italian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Spanish and Portuguese. The language and literature faculty from the Department of East Asian Studies will also join the School while scholars of philosophy and religion, for example, who are currently in East Asian Studies will likely join with their cognate departments. The School will offer a collaborative MA and a collaborative PhD in comparative literature and the Centre for Comparative Literature will be dis-established. All faculty at the Centre for Comparative Literature are cross-appointed to other units within Arts & Science and will continue to hold their full appointments there. The detailed model for the new School of Languages and Literatures will be developed by a Dean’s Working Group composed of representatives of the constituent units by December 2010.

We understand that some students may be anxious about the impact such changes may have on their program.

First and most important, if you are a student currently registered in a graduate program in one of the above units, or a new student entering in September 2011 or January 2012, you will be able to complete the program in which you enrolled and the current program requirements for your degree will remain in effect. Further, there will be no significant changes to the administration of your program during the 2010-11 academic year. If the Faculty’s proposal is approved and the existing departments and centres cease to exist on 1 July 2011, the administration of your program will be handled by the new school or department to which your faculty supervisor has moved. In all cases, the components of the financial packages described in your letter of offer to the program in which you are enrolled will continue to be valid.

The attached FAQs have been developed in anticipation of your questions and will evolve as we hear from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at vicedean.graduate@utoronto.ca with additional questions or concerns.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For Students Currently Enrolled in Programs

1. I will graduate before 1 July 2011. How will I be affected?
You will not be affected. Your transcript will indicate your current department and program.

2. I will not graduate until after July 2011. How will I be affected?
All students who successfully complete their existing programs will be able to graduate from them even after the existing departments have been disestablished. Your transcript will indicate the name of the new department and your current program.

3. Will the change in departments affect my funding?
No, your funding will not be changed as a result of the development of the School.

4. Will the change in departments affect the travel grants my old department awarded me?
No. The school will ensure there will be no change to this support for students already enrolled in a program.

5. Will the change in departments affect the courses that I can apply to TA in?
The change in departments does not involve any significant changes to the undergraduate programs which will likely need the same number of TAs. However, the School will set its own policy on awarding TA slots to its students and these may change from existing arrangements. All aspects of TA positions will continue to be in accordance with the Collective Agreement with CUPE 3902.

6. Does the change in departments mean a change in my supervisory committee?
No. The creation of the School of Languages and Literatures will have no effect on existing supervisory committees.

7. Who should I talk to about my program?
During 2010-2011 you should meet with the Graduate Coordinator in your existing department. Starting in 2011-2012 you should meet with the Graduate Coordinator of the School or the Graduate Coordinator of the department to which you and your supervisor have moved.

For Students Applying or Considering Applying to Programs

1. I am applying to an existing program and department and expect to start in September 2010 (or January 2011). If accepted will I be able to complete the program I am accepted into?
Yes. If you successfully meet the requirements of the program you will be able to graduate from that program.

2. My proposed supervisor has a graduate appointment in more than one of the affected departments. What does this mean for me?
You can apply to programs in any of departments in which your proposed supervisor holds an appointment but it is best to discuss which program is best for you with her/him.

3. I am interested in applying for graduate studies in Languages and Literature but have not contacted a potential supervisor and am not sure which field I am most interested in. Which department should I apply to?
You should feel free to apply to any of the existing departments (Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Italian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Spanish and Portuguese).

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