Correction and Clarification: The original version of this article had incorrect enrollment numbers for drama concentration courses. It was previously stated that Introduction to Theatre had zero enrollment. The class actually has zero seats open. The enrollment numbers for Acting and Theatre production I and II were also incorrect, along with enrollment numbers for Directing For The Stage. These numbers have since been corrected.
St. Thomas University will be eliminating its English Language and Literature major’s concentration in drama. It was announced at a STU senate meeting on Nov. 21.
The concentration in drama is an add-on to the English major and this year, two students are expected to graduate with the concentration.
Dean of Humanities André Loiselle said this decision is based on the lack of students enrolled in the drama concentration and its respective courses.
“The English department is just asking the university for permission not to be compelled to offer all the drama courses when there’s not enough numbers.”
Between 2016 and 2020, an average of two students per year have graduated or will graduate with the drama concentration.
By removing the drama concentration, the English department would no longer be “compelled” to offer courses with low enrollment every year.
This semester, the only required course for the drama concentration being offered is Acting and Theatre Production I. It has 18 out of 25 seats filled.
Next semester, the second part of the course is offered and has 14 out of 25 seats filled.
The Introduction to Theatre Class, offered next semester, is at capacity with 60 students registered for the course.
Loiselle said no courses will be eliminated but some may start being offered every second year.
“Students can take all the drama courses they want. It’s really a way for the English department to save a bit of money as all departments are trying to.”
Students currently enrolled in the drama concentration will be able to complete and graduate with their concentration.
Loiselle said this will not affect students in any way because the concentration isn’t considered a credential, only a “cluster of courses.”
“There will no longer be a notation [on the transcript] saying that this meets the drama concentration. The difference is exclusively on the transcript. All courses will still be there.”
At the Senate meeting, alumni representative Dennis Livingstone said he thinks the concentration in drama is a draw for new students.
“I’m concerned students will sort of say, ‘Well there’s no concentration in drama so, I’m not going to come to this university, I’ll go to Mount Allison,” said Livingstone
Patricia Saad, a fourth-year English student enrolled in the drama concentration said she hasn’t noticed any abnormally small class sizes.
“They’re not big classes, at most we have 13 to 16 people in the class which is plenty for an acting class because with anymore you won’t have time to do anything.”
Saad said even with reassurance from Loiselle she is concerned that she might not be able to finish her concentration this year.
This is because the mandatory course offered next semester, Seminar in Directing For The Stage, doesn’t currently have a professor. 10 out of 15 seats are filled.
“I’ve heard that the people that are already in it are fine, but I don’t get how we’re fine. Because of this person that isn’t there right now, but might be coming back.”
The course is usually taught by Robin Whittaker, but he has not taught classes on campus according to multiple students. Vice-president communications Jeffrey Carleton was unable to comment on the employment status of Whittaker.
“Nobody can teach it, the only other people who can teach it are part-time professors and they already have their courses,” said Saad.
Saad said she doesn’t understand why students haven’t yet been informed and why the focus is on the numbers.
“As someone who is taking the drama concentration and has been doing this since the beginning, [I know] the numbers are there.”
Disclaimer: Patricia Saad is a journalism minor.