TRU faculty of arts to go global in search of students

'We find that a lot of people go into the arts because they're looking for a stepping stone into the professions'

SYLVIE PAILLARD / Kamloops Daily News
November 13, 2012 01:00 AM

Thompson Rivers University's faculty of arts wants to expand its reach to the rest of the globe.

Their trail the world could be well trod since several other TRU departments have enjoyed global connectivity for many years.

But before plunging in, the dean of arts wants to take the pulse of faculty, students and staff on how best to internationalize their programs.

Faculty, staff and students are invited to the two-hour meeting in the international building's Panorama Room on Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"We're holding a forum to discuss whether we want to go exactly that same way (as other departments), bringing students to us or whether we want to create more opportunities, pathways for our students, for example, to go abroad," said Dr. Michael Mehta, TRU dean of arts.

And he says the university's arts curriculum has lots to offer.

An attractive aspect for international students may be the reorganization of programs two years ago that put a focus on professional opportunities coming out of studies in humanities, social science, fine arts, journalism and communications.

Programs now include such preparatory courses as pre-law and pre-social work, said Mehta.

"We find that a lot of people go into the arts because they're looking for a stepping stone into the professions," he said. "So we have gone through a very concerted effort to redesign our program so people can see that direct pathway."

TRU's Faculty Association has a generally positive response to receiving more international students, as long as supports are in place, said TRUFA president Jason Brown.

"It's a good idea," said Brown. "(But) the faculty association is concerned that in our search for bringing in more international students, which is kind of mandated by the provincial government, that it's replacement of revenue that the government is not paying to the institutions.

"So we have to be careful that we provide the supports needed rather than just go after the money because of the differential fees."

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