Ryerson breaks down language and cultural barriers with new degree

The growing diversity at Ryerson University has spawned a new bachelor’s program.

The department of languages, literatures and cultures anticipates the launch of the new baccalaureate in language and intercultural relations in the fall of 2016, following Senate approval at its Jan. 27 meeting.

“Our team is energized and eager to demonstrate in these next steps the value and importance of this degree for today’s students and for the province of Ontario,” said Ryerson’s dean of arts, Jean-Paul Boudreau, in an email.

Boudreau added the cost of implementing the language and intercultural relations program will be “relatively minimal” seeing as it is based on courses that are already offered by the faculty.

The proposed 40-credit undergraduate degree will combine concepts in language and cognition, organizational behaviour and translation studies.

Jean-Paul Boudreau, dean of arts,

Jean-Paul Boudreau, dean of arts, is anticipating the new program. (Courtesy Ryerson.ca)

The program differs from conventional language curriculums because it offers students the opportunity to learn cultural knowledge and customary practices associated with their chosen language. According to Kinga Zawada, interim chair of the languages department, Ryerson is the perfect place for such a program.

“Many students come from an intercultural background and have experienced first-hand how cultural differences can be an impediment to effective communication,” Zawada said. “Our students will be able to hone and apply their skills literally outside the classroom walls. We are located in the downtown core of one of the most multicultural cities in the world.

“We could not ask for a better laboratory.”

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in language and intercultural relations will gain a broad perspective of cultural knowledge and will focus on a French or Spanish linguistic stream. The department plans to eventually add Chinese and Arabic streams as well.

The program still needs approval from Quality Council and Ryerson’s Board of Governors. Upon contingent approval by these platforms, the proposal will be submitted to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for final verification.

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