The Council of the Faculty of Arts adjourns for the last time

After convening for almost 50 years, the Council of the Faculty of Arts held its final meeting in the Senate Chamber on May 14. The council, a committee of Senate that sets academic policy for the Faculty, has been meeting monthly during the fall and winter terms since 1962.

The council determines the Faculty of Arts curriculum. Dean Robert Drummond says it has been a comparatively calm governing body in recent years as many contentious issues were long ago resolved. Although Drummond is quick to remark that council has been, at times, a very lively place with lots of debate. This was particularly true in the 1970s when a major concern of the day was the issue of a general education. The curriculum of York University was instituted in 1963 and one of the guiding principles was that there would be considerable constraint on what courses students should take in their first two years. A general education curriculum that combined elements of humanities, social science and natural science was developed to provide students with a solid foundation of interdisciplinary knowledge, methods and approaches to help them gain a wider perspective of the world around them.

Right: The leadership of the last Council of the Faculty of Arts stood for the camera at the meeting of the council in the Senate Chamber. From left, Vice-Chair Carl Ehrlich, Chair Savitsa Sévigny and Dean Robert Drummond

In reflecting on council and the Faculty’s history, Drummond said one of the more interesting events in council occurred during the 1970s, with a push by students for greater representation on decision-making bodies at the University. One remarkable result was the appointment of student Michael Mouritsen as chair of the council during the 1972-1973 academic year. It was the first and only time a student has served as the Faculty of Arts Council chair. That legacy continues to this day in that the student presence on council, says Drummond, continues to be very active.

Left: Recipients of the Dean’s Awards

The final meeting of council – prior to the debut of the new Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies on July 1 –  was a largely ceremonial event. The final Dean’s Awards for Outstanding Teaching, Service and Research in the Faculty of Arts were presented after the meeting adjourned.

A list of recipients follows:

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching

  • Professor Peter Paolucci, Department of English
  • Honourable Mention: Professor Deborah Clipperton, Division of Humanities

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service to Students

  • Professor Robert Kenedy, Department of Sociology
  • Honourable Mention: Professor Peter Dawson, Department of Sociology

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research

  • Professor Zulfikar Hirji, Department of Anthropology
  • Professor David Jopling, Department of Philosophy
  • Professor Priscila Uppal, Department of English
  • Professor Lorna Weir, Department of Sociology

Ian Greene Award for Teaching Excellence (sponsored by the Faculty of Arts Student Council)

  • Professor Jonathan Rudin, Law & Society Program 
  • Vanessa Rosa, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology