Queen's University — Since 1873
27th September 2011

Fine Arts returns students to building

Classes back to normal for third years impacted by over-enrolment

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Third-year students in the Fine Art program have returned to Ontario Hall after an administrative error forced their removal from the building last year.

An unanticipated number of students accepted an offer to the Queen’s Fine Art program in spring 2010. Instead of the target number of 30 students, the department accepted 46 students for admission that fall.

“We kind of got shafted into Macgillivray-Brown Hall, which has insufficient space and supplies got stolen and what not,” Harmony Kan said, adding that the error impacted everyone enrolled in the mandatory second-year studio art class.

“A lot of students were not impressed with how the second years were moved … without notice. Everything was delayed, information was kept from us.”

Though the over-enrolment affected the class’ quality last year, this year things have returned to normal, Kan, BFA ’13 said.

“This year they so far have figured out everything,” she said.

Twelve students from the class of 2014 dropped or switched out of the Fine Art program.

Kathleen Sellars, Fine Arts program director, said that while this is a higher attrition rate than normal, she can’t attribute it to anything specifically.

While the class of 2014 is now closer to normal numbers, there’s still challenges.

“We have to see this group all the way through now, so we will continue to address the need for additional space, teachers, technical support and equipment,” Sellars said.

“There are lots of positives, but I don’t want to minimize the challenge it has made and that it is something we want to make sure doesn’t happen on a regular basis.”

Sellars said the number of students who register in September usually varies. Though a similar situation occurred about 10 years ago, it’s not often that more students are accepted than the department has room for.

Extra costs incurred by the over-enrolment in 2010 included the salaries of additional adjunct professors, and the extra cost for materials, equipment and technical support, Sellars said.

After faculty members receive hundreds of applications to the program, they rank them and review applicants’ portfolios. It’s then Queen’s Undergraduate Admission that is responsible for sending out a specific number of offers to prospective students.

“When students apply they indicate where they rank Queen’s in terms of which university they expect to accept. Based on that, Admissions comes up with a percentage of who will say yes when they send out the offers,” Sellars said, adding that sometimes more students accept their offers than expected.

Officials from Undergraduate Admissions could not be reached for comment.

When capacity is exceeded, the University is still responsible for delivering the program.

With the admission deadline in July, there was little time for faculty to deal with the overflow.

“Both staffing and timetabling were already done,” Sellars said. “It was given to us to see how we could deal with the increased need. When the faculty office allowed additional funding, we split the class [of 2014] into two groups to accommodate.”

— With files from Katherine Fernandez-Blance and Meaghan Wray

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