Brock’s English Dept. reaches out for student feedback in town hall meeting

On Jan. 21, the Department of English Language and Literature Studies at Brock will host a town hall meeting to facilitate student feedback and gain critical insight that could help direct the future of the program moving forward.

The upcoming town hall meeting is one element of a program review that each program in the university undergoes as part of a larger provincial regulation known as the Institutional Quality Assurance Program (IQAP). Every program at Brock University, and throughout Ontario, is required to go through this review process every several years. These on-going review processes are handled differently by each university, faculty, and department.

The English Department’s review process began last year through the circulation of a survey to students majoring in English, which makes up approximately 350 students. While the department received productive feedback, they also wanted to facilitate a less formal forum in which students could openly discuss their opinions.

Home of the English Department  / Christy Mitchell

Home of the English Department / Christy Mitchell

“We thought that English majors would want to be able to talk about their experiences,” said Ann Howey, Chair of the Department of English. “There won’t be a lot of professors and it won’t be overly formal. We really want to let the students discuss their personal experiences in the program”.

Surveys, while efficient, are highly impersonal, resulting in general detachment from those who are asking and answering the questions. Howey and the English Dept. administrative staff hope that this conversational approach will help break down this barrier, and show students that their feedback is highly valued and a critical element of the review process.

Reviews, in previous years have yielded large results for the department, and has even helped direct and establish interest in the development of the WRIT (Writing and Rhetoric) and ENCW (Creative Writing) programs. Furthermore, student feedback has helped the department expand its core course list to include more genre and theory-based undergraduate classes.

“If you are a major in any of the Department’s programs, I encourage you to come out,” said Howey. “It’s a great chance for us to connect to new students, and for you to productively gather as a cohort.”
The town hall meeting will take place on Thursday January 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge. Coffee and refreshments will be provided.

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