The Media Theory and Production program, a combined four-year program between Fanshawe and Western that allowed students to graduate with both a diploma and a degree, is set to be cancelled this year.
This program was offered under the Faculty of Information and Media Studies along with two other branches: Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) and Media and the Public Interest (MPI). However, on the FIMS website, MTP is no longer listed under the undergraduate programs tab.
Bridget Farrell, FIMS student council vice-president communications, commented that MTP students were unaware of the removal of this program.
“There was really no communication with students on this matter, and the fact that they finalized the decision for discontinuation and even removed the program from the website with no formal announcement left FIMS students blindsided,” said Farrell.
Kathie Hess, FIMS undergraduate senior academic counsellor, noted that the lack of communication has been because the University Senate has not formally approved the decision yet. The Senate will give the final say on the program change in October.
“Sometimes with student representatives, they might not be aware of everything that is being discussed. I think once the students kind of understand why the program was being reviewed and some of the challenges, despite all of the improvements that were being made, they’ll understand the decision,” said Hess.
Hess said that the dialogue on discontinuing the MTP program has been going on for roughly five years.
“There have actually been two reviews of the MTP program. One of the reviews interviewed every single fourth-year MTP student [from that year]. These decisions always take a long time between start to finish so you might have a cohort that has already graduated but started the discussion,” said Hess.
Hess said while the program information is available to current students, the faculty is in a difficult situation because they don’t want future students to be looking into the program since there is a possibility that it will be discontinued.
“I think the students are having trouble finding it which we probably need to do a better job [about]. I think messages have gone out telling students it’s still there but it’s not as intuitive when you go in. It’s in the 2016 academic calendar as well,” said Hess.
Although the discontinuation of the program has not been formally approved, a new agreement between Fanshawe and Western has already been discussed and approved on both ends. Jim Van Horne, MTP coordinator for Fanshawe, spoke out on the new agreement.
“It’s not a collaboration anymore it’s now called an 'articulation agreement' and so it’s slightly altered but it’s also good for Fanshawe students,” said Van Horne.
The new articulation agreement states that high-achieving Fanshawe students who graduate with a diploma in broadcast journalism, radio broadcasting, television broadcasting or interactive media design can apply to enter into year three of an honours program at Western.
Despite the reasoning behind the new program changes, Farrell felt that leaving students out of the discussion was unfair. While the new agreement is good for Fanshawe students, it offers no real benefits to Western students wanting to get a diploma.
“We understand that MTP has issues that need remedying, but the disregard that the FIMS administration showed towards its students throughout the process demonstrates a lack of respect. We hope moving forward that this will change, as we hope to maintain a strong relationship with our faculty members," Farrell said.