Arts One Chair

I served as Chair of the Arts One program from 2010-2012, and am doing so again from 2015-2017.

Accomplishments during 2010-2012

In addition to the day-to-day running of the program and the usual duties of overseeing the formation of new teaching teams and themes, as well as hiring new faculty when needed, I did the following.

Alumni relations

Arts One has quite a few alumni, since the program started in 1967. Many of our alumni love the program and are interested in alumni events.

  • We had our first event at Alumni Weekend in at least five years in 2011, and did so again in 2012. During the 2012 event we had a former Arts One faculty member give a mini-lecture on a text commonly taught in Arts One, which was a great success. We also had open houses during both events, complete with images and other scrapbook items from our long history.
  • We organized a roundtable meeting with alumni in February 2012 to talk about possible alumni events for the future. We discussed having another lecture and a movie viewing and discussion, as well as working with the Faculty of Arts Arts Tri-Mentoring program to engage alumni with current students. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of these ideas were taken up after I left the Chair position (I went on sabbatical out of the country from 2012-2013).
  • I and an Arts One alumnus created a newsletter for alumni in 2012, which we handed out at our Alumni Weekend event. A recent external review of the program had suggested we do so. Again, I don’t think this practice continued after I left the Chair position.

Student recruitment

  • At the suggestion of one of our program administrators, we engaged in a program called “Home for the Holidays,” in which current Arts One students take information about the program back to their home high schools during holiday breaks, and speak with guidance counselors about Arts One. Every year we get a good number of students who would like to participate in this program, and we hope thereby to spread the word about Arts One through personal contact.
  • I worked with several people at UBC to find a way to contact the high school AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) coordinators in BC and we sent them brochures for Arts One.
  • I worked with Jump Start, the international student orientation program at UBC, to help get the word out about Arts One to their students. I participated in one of their events and they held a movie night hosted by Arts One students as well.
  • I designed and implemented surveys of new students in Arts One asking how they heard about the program, how we might increase awareness of it, and why they chose the particular theme/team they did (we have two themes and teaching teams each year).

Off campus event for students

  • Arts One has a long tradition of students organizing on-campus events; I decided to try inviting students to see a play at the local Shakespeare festival, Bard on the Beach, in Fall 2011. This was quite successful, so I have continued it every year that I have taught in Arts One (except when I was on sabbatical during the 2012-2013 academic year). This event takes place during the first 1-3 weeks of class, and is a great way for students to kick off the year and start making friends. The only downside is that the cost for this event is fairly high, and the Arts One budget doesn’t have much room for subsidies for those students who would like to go but cannot afford to.

Joint events with Science One

  • UBC has a similar program to Arts One in the Faculty of Science called Science One, and our physical campus spaces are adjacent to each other. While I was Chair of Arts One in 2010-2012 we organized two joint events with Arts One and Science One students: a lecture and discussion on the history of the atomic bomb in the USSR, and a film viewing and discussion.

Activities related to Arts One faculty

  • I asked for and secured regular funding in the Arts One budget for a professional development fund for faculty in Arts One who didn’t have access to much PD money elsewhere. The Arts One Advisory Committee set out terms for the distribution of these funds, which I then implemented. I do not know if this money remained in the budget after I left the Chair position. It was mostly needed when we had a good number of faculty in the program who did not have tenure-stream positions (we now have fewer such faculty).
  • I implemented, as an early adopter, mid-year course feedback surveys for faculty in Arts One who desired to have them. This feedback was done online, but went only to the faculty members themselves, as formative feedback for the rest of the year.


Goals for 2015-2017

Student recruitment and increasing enrolment

  • We have had somewhat low enrolments off and on for the past few years; we have been working hard to fix this, through numerous means, which I will continue. These include:
    • We have been very conscious of developing new themes and reading lists that will be attractive to students (and parents), based on what students tell us in our classes and on surveys.
    • We have worked to ensure that our messaging about the program is clear, consistent, and attractive to potential students.
    • We have developed a presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to help increase awareness of our program.
    • We have a site that showcases recordings of our lectures and student blog posts, that helps prospective students see what the program is like:
    • We have worked with those in charge of recruiting events where possible, to ensure that messaging about our program is clear and accurate.
  • There are also plans to conduct a survey of students who take either Arts One, the Coordinated Arts Program, or WRDS 150 (a course in research and writing in various disciplines)–all first-year students in the Faculty of Arts must take one of these–and I hope to help design this survey to ensure that questions are included that can help us in our recruiting efforts for the future.

50th Anniversary and alumni relations

  • We will have our 50th anniversary in 2017, and we will have a major, full-day event to celebrate. I expect we will have at least one speaker as well as an open house and other activities. This will require quite a bit of planning and connections with alumni. I will work with the Alumni Relations office at UBC to plan this event (as we did with our 40th anniversary event in 2007).
  • I plan to hold an event during Alumni Weekend again in 2016, which is the last event in UBC’s centennial year of 2015-2016.
  • I would like to hold another meeting with alumni, or administer a survey, to see if they would be interested in other events or mentoring programs, as we did in 2012, to re-start that process.

Student online journal

  • Several faculty members and I have discussed starting an online journal for Arts One students, which would showcase their best work in the program. There is enough interest in this idea to move the project forward starting in 2015-2016. I believe this would not only help current students, but could be useful for recruitment of future students as well, when they see what they can do in the program.

Student and faculty podcasts

  • We have some podcasts created by faculty on our Arts One Open site:  Some of the current faculty in Arts One have expressed interest in doing more podcasts, and I would like to involve interested students in helping with them. This is a good way for students to learn the material outside of class, and it would provide useful resources for other students, present and future.

Student events

  • I would like to try to have more academic student events, perhaps in combination with the Coordinated Arts Program and/or Science One, such as guest lectures, films, visits to performances or exhibitions off campus. The students in Arts One organize several informal, more social events during the year; I would like to see if we can add one or more events more focused on learning, on topics of interest not only to Arts One students but also those in other programs.
  • I plan to look into getting donations to help fund such events, by working with the Alumni Relations office at UBC. We might need money to fund guest speakers, or tickets to performances, for example.