‘Troubled’ joint program with Algonquin, La Cité suspended last summer to undergo review

Photo by Adam Feibel

Things aren’t looking much better for the University of Ottawa’s journalism program.

Admission to the program was frozen for the current academic year after a 2012 report to the university senate called the program “deeply troubled” and suggested its elimination. In August, it was revealed the program would be suspended in order to undergo improvements and would be reopened for the 2014–15 school year.

But it’s not quite there yet.

The university won’t be accepting any new students to the program next year, either. In an email to the Fulcrum, program coordinator Evan Potter said the university needed more time to review the program, and that the faculty and department are in discussion about where to go from here.

“The university and college administrators have been working closely together to ensure that any duplication of courses is eliminated from the joint program,” said Potter. “They are also meeting regularly to discuss the future directions for the program.”

The university will submit a proposal to the Senate once a decision has been made.

In August, Potter said it’s a “solid program” and disagreed with the report’s allegation that the existing courses are flawed. However, he said the department did agree with its suggestion to introduce more journalism-specific courses that would focus learning and also increase group cohesion.

He said then that an eight-month freeze on the program would give the department “a breathing space to make those course modifications” and have it back up and running in September 2014.

Potter said the university and the department will not comment or speculate on any internal documents concerning the program that are made public, but will provide a public statement once the review of the program is completed later this year.

The program normally admits up to 35 students per year into a joint program with either Algonquin College or La Cité collégiale. Students spend two years at university and two years at college and come out with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.

However, the ongoing program suspension will have no effect on those who are already enrolled in the journalism program. Students who were already admitted to the joint program, whether they started at the U of O, Algonquin, or La Cité, will still be able to complete their studies as planned.