Friday, April 20, 2007

Details about the Fine Arts department at Concordia


About two weeks ago Dean Catherine Wild gave a presentation to the Concordia Board of Governors. I found some of it extremely interesting. Apparently people in the Fine Arts department can write a mean grant application, they had a 45% success rate in the SSHRC research/ creation competition. I'm not certain which I find more disturbing - that more than half of the ideas people come up with in the department are shot down, or that the Fine Arts has become so bureaucratic that applying for grants is considered the norm. And if grants are the norm, then I would like to see them copy the next step from the sciences and get things peer reviewed and published.

Let's take Cheryl Kolak-Dudek as an example, as far as I can tell she has had two articles published and I can't find any record online of exhibitions she has had in this century. She is "an Associate Professor of Print Media in the Studio Arts Department." Now for comparison Dr. Grant Brown, an associate professor in the department of biology at Concordia has had 74 articles published. Since he is a biologist, I don't think exhibiting is required, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that he has given presentations at public conferences, and his articles have been published in books as well - both of which would strike me as being similar.

Then, Dean Wild mentioned that "Fine Arts provides annual average funding of $1,800 per graduate student, while Queen’s, for example, guarantees eligible PhD students $18,000 (minimum) per year." Which I find astonishing since Queen's University does not have any Graduate Students in Fine Arts. How do I get some of that $18,000?

And finally in the article there is this sentence; "FOFA will need to hire about 65 new faculty members over the next 10 years..." Then a little bit further down there is this sentence "On the financial front, the faculty worked to eliminate its projected deficit for 2006/07 by cutting all operating budgets by five per cent, raising undergraduate class capacity by 10 per cent, severely limiting capital expenditures and putting hiring on hold." [emphasis mine] Which is it? Do they need to hire staff? Or do they need to not hire staff?

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