UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The University of British Columbia’s Arts One Program as evaluated by its students Dumaresq, Cheryl E.


Arts One is an interdisciplinary, first year program in the Faculty of Arts at The University of British Columbia which combines English, History, and Philosophy into one course worth 60% of a full-time program. Since its inception in 1967, over 5000 students have participated in Arts One; however, no formal evaluation from the student perspective has been undertaken. The objective of this study was to investigate Arts One's impact on students academically, socially, and with respect to their careers. The study was divided into two parts. First, a mail questionnaire was sent to 500 individuals who participated in Arts One between 1967 and 1988. Of the two hundred respondents, the majority recalled Arts One positively, with 90% indicating that they would recommend the program. A number of questions emerged from the questionnaires which were investigated in the second part of the study, personal interviews with 21 former Arts One participants. Together, the questionnaires and personal interviews revealed that Arts One has been a success from the perspectives of the study participants. Many had chosen Arts One for its small-sized classes, and most identified the seminars and tutorials as the highlights of the program. In particular, many credited Arts One with having taught them how to think, write, and be open to different perspectives. Participants also recalled the benefits of being part of an intense learning community and the friendships formed as a result. Some found the transition into second year difficult, particularly because of the larger, lecture-style classes. However, the strongest theme to emerge was the impact of the Arts One seminar professor on the experience of his/her students. To a large extent, the success of Arts One seems rooted more firmly in the faculty members involved in the program than in the curriculum itself. In most cases, participants spoke highly of their Arts One seminar professors, and many considered them to have been their mentors. However, some individuals felt that their seminar professors were unsuited to teaching in Arts One and negatively affected their experience. The study concludes with five recommendations, as well as some suggestions for further research.

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