Ripping the fabric of Brescia's programs
By Sabrina Carinci
Brescia College students are fuming over the recently announced phase-out of the clothing, textiles and design program.
"This program is something special to Brescia," said Kelly DeVenne, a second-year student in the clothing, textile and design program and the president of the Clothing, Textile and Design Consortium. "It's one of the last [programs] in Canada."
The clothing, textile and design program has been offered as a bachelor of science degree since the introduction of the program over 30 years ago. However, it is only recently that the program was offered as a bachelor of arts degree, DeVenne said. This change made the program more attractive to students with a background in arts.
DeVenne, like many of her classmates, is upset with the manner in which the phase-out has been implemented. According to her, the program was not given a chance to develop and become familiar to the students who would be interested in enrolling.
"It was all done very unprofessionally. We were told by our teachers and it was done by secret so we wouldn't cause a ruckus," DeVenne said.
She added some students in the affected program were made aware of the decision by students from different programs. "We feel really small," she said.
Sister Dolores Kuntz, Brescia's principal, was partially responsible for the phasing out of the program and refused to comment.
Teresa Topic, dean at Brescia and also responsible for the phase-out, said the clothing, textiles and design program has had a long history with the college and has gone through two separate sets of changes in the past five years.
The reason, however, for the decision to delete the program is the lack of enrolment. "The consistent, very low number of students registered in the program was the main reason it's too low to allow us to carry it," Topic said.
According to DeVenne, students within the program are also concerned with the quality of education they will receive once the new teaching faculty are brought into the college.
"As of June all of the teachers will be terminated. We'll be getting new teachers," DeVenne said.
According to Nick Iozzo, VP-education for the University Students' Council, the students are rightfully worried about their education. "The full-time faculty will be gone and there will be part-time faculty only," he said. "The students are worried about what's going to happen to the quality of education."
In a question and answer meeting last Thursday, students and faculty were invited to express their concerns about the phase-out.
"I think the meeting was a success. Most of our questions were answered, but some things are still up in the air," DeVenne said.
She added some of the questions asked by the students were not answered sufficiently and administration refused to put anything in writing.
Iozzo said he understands the concerns of the students and is sympathetic to their feelings. He said he believes the students are especially upset because they were willing to assist in drawing attention to the program so it would survive at Brescia. "But it seems like Brescia has made their final decision," he said.
"I find it irritating that the [BA] program was approved by the Senate then phased out," Iozzo said.