Growing pains

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The new English program has been a challenge to establish. Kayla Hoolwerf reports

A number of hardships have plauged Ryerson’s newest program — the Bachelor of Arts in English.

Although English has been offered through different programs at Ryerson as a requirement, including as a specialization through arts and contemporary studies (ACS), this is the first year that it is being offered as a major on its own.

Students in the English major this year seem to be having a slightly tougher time getting used to the university experience.

“It’s kind of hard [being in the new English program],” Alyssa Whitmell, a first year in the program said. “While all the other programs are more established it’s going to take time for us to get there because of how new it is.”

Whitmell pointed out that during orientation week in residence, the English students seemed to be continuously mistaken for ACS students.

“They’re getting better now,

but before English wasn’t an option for anything,” Whitmell said. “When we came for orientation all of our name tags said ACS. We also had a register survey and we had to check off ACS because English wasn’t there.”

Undergraduate director for English, Lorraine Kooistra recognized a problem with connecting the students. “It’s new, and the first year English students want communication. It’s unfortunate residence wasn’t ready for that.”

“We’ve been trying to build up community because it’s in the first year and we don’t have a course union,” Kooistra said.

Until the union is established next year, the program administrator Wendy Francis sends out e-mails informing students of upcoming events.

“They try to give us a lot of opportunity for unity,” Whitmell said. “But I think because it’s first year we’re afraid to take advantage of them.”

When it comes to the success of the new program, “It’s just a question of time,” said Kooistra.

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