By: Alan Harman
Canada’s oldest journalism p.
school facing closure
CANADA’S OLDEST AND most respected journalism school is facing closure next year.
The president and vice presidents of the University of Western Ontario will recommend that the school ? which offers a master’s degree ? cease operating April 30, 1994, when the last class graduates from the one-year master’s program.
In a deal unique in Canada, the university senate and the board of governors will be asked to transfer the program, and some of the money to pay for it, to the journalism school at Carleton University in Ottawa.
The 10 faculty members would have the option of joining the Carleton program and Western would pay their full salaries until they retire. Western would then pay a smaller amount toward the salaries of their replacements.
“It’s a sad day,” said Western president George Pederson. “We’re not very thrilled around here.”
Pederson blamed a worsening financial squeeze for the decision. He said that, while the overall budget had increased, money for academic programs had shrunk by 13% in three years. The journalism school costs $1.3 million (Canadian) a year to operate.
“The university is being forced to take a hard look at its future and has decided that, in comparison with other professional programs we have, this was less important.”
The school was founded in 1946 and since 1974 has been one of only two ? Carleton is the other ? that offers a graduate degree. The university had been unsuccessful in attempts to obtain more money from the federal and provincial governments.
Western said it was the only one in Canada that offered a range of professional improvement courses for working reporters in areas such as law and environment.
School Dean Peter Desbarats said the closure was not good for Canadian journalism. “Ninety percent of our graduates go directly to newsrooms. Last year, 22 out of our 40 students had jobs before they graduated.”