At issue

At issue McGill University

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McGill Reporter
January 25, 2001 - Volume 33 Number 09
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At issue

"McGill is hoping to attract more francophone students. The ultimate goal is to have francophones comprise about one quarter of the student body. McGill currently allows students to do many assignments in French and the University offers courses in French in law, Quebec studies and French-language and literature. Should the University expand its French language course offerings to other programs as well?"

PHOTOS: Owen Egan

André Nance
Arts student, member of the board of directors of the International Relations Students' Association of McGill

McGill should market its greatest assets: it is a crossroad of cultures, and a great place to learn English in Quebec. Here, francophone students have the chance to become fluently bilingual, and then share in and contribute to the total McGill experience. If McGill offers enough courses in French that someone can earn a degree here and never study in English, then that person has lost a golden opportunity to experience the world through a different language.

Professor Ricardo Castro
School of Architecture

I believe it would be very helpful for both francophone and anglophone students to have access to specialized courses in French. In the School of Architecture, for instance, there are numerous out-of-province students who often decide to settle in Quebec. In their future professional life here French is a requirement. Students should have the opportunity to get a head start on this front, whether they are anglophone or francophone, because they will have to become competent in a specialized use of French when they begin to practise architecture.

Professor Geneviève Saumier
Faculty of Law

Many faculties and departments would have to consider their ability to marshal the necessary resources. While the Faculty of Law teaches several courses in French, no professor does so exclusively and all teach in English as well. Limited resources would not permit otherwise. However, because law is culturally rooted and the faculty's programs embrace civil and common law, linguistic diversity is essential. We are therefore able to attract excellent bilingual faculty for reasons not inherent in many other programs whose substantive content is linguistically neutral.

Robert Sim
University and academic affairs coordinator, Post-Graduate Students' Society

Expansion of the French language course offerings at McGill is only a start towards constructing an environment that is attractive to francophone students. As an anglo student, I believe that implementing bilingual graduation requirements in degree programs, as well as requiring faculty to acquire French fluency, would lead to the emergence of a unique "McGill bilingue." A good place to start would be in the professional degrees -- engineering, education, medicine, nursing and law, where bilingualism is often a prerequisite for membership in their respective professional bodies.

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