Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Fine Arts Take Another Hit!

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org

FINE ARTS TAKE ANOTHER HIT!

Grant MacEwan College announced this past week that they are closing their 30-year old dance program as of May, 2005. Reasons cited were an inability to manage the college’s $3.2 million deficit, and the difficulties in maintaining maximum enrolment quotas (the program was only one short of its enrolment quota of 25 in 2003-04)

Hundreds of dance professionals, including former students of the program, united to make presentations to the GMCC board of governors, urging them to keep the program alive, but to no avail. The Grant MacEwan program is chaired by Bryan Webb, one of Canada’s most respected contemporary dance experts. Webb stated that the decision was short-sighted and marked a sad day for dance in Edmonton. The dance community across Canada agreed, and was dismayed at the decision to shut down the only college diploma dance program in the country.

It is indeed sad that funding difficulties would lead to the loss of a program that was making such a significant contribution to Canada’s arts community. Although the program experienced internal and external difficulties, it was highly regarded among dance professionals, and with adequate funding, could have continued to play an essential part in expanding the role and appreciation of modern dance in Canada and abroad.

A civilization that prizes and values education in the arts is a progressive, healthy civilization. This is another step backward for Canada, the arts, and post-secondary education in general. The government of the wealthiest province in Canada should be ashamed that they have allowed this to happen.

“¢ Modern dance in crisis: critics say shutdown of college program reflects national problem. Olenka Melnyk, Edmonton Journal, September 16, 2004.
“¢ MacEwan pulls plug on dance program. Olenka Melnyk, Edmonton Journal, September 17, 2004.

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