Five ceremonies in two days, run with the precision of a military operation,
the dignity of an ancient rite of passage and the warmth of a family reunion.
Thats the challenge facing the organizers of Concordias five
convocation ceremonies June 11 and 12 at the cavernous Molson Centre in
downtown Montreal, and they always deliver.
Added to their workload this year is a new format for the 3,543 diplomas
that will be handed out to proud graduates. Formerly, the diploma listed
the degree and the recipients name. A gold seal was affixed for
the Faculty distinctions i.e. with great distinction (a grade
point average of 4.00-4.30) or with distinction (a grade point
average of 3.40-3.99).
This year, at the request of the academic departments, the new diplomas
will specify the program. This makes it easier for another university,
for example, to see what course of study the graduate took.
However, the diploma had to be designed in such a way that it could include
any of the many configurations of programs available at the university
majors, minors, double majors, specializations, honours, and more,
such as membership in one of Concordias colleges. Since graduates
are already offered their diplomas in French or in English, that adds
up to a lot of possibilities. Thanks for designing the new, program-specific
diplomas should go to Patrice Ah-Kam, office technology analyst in IITS,
who has been working on this project for several months and continues
to do so.
More women in the arts
While the overall breakdown for the graduating class of spring 2002 looks
fairly standard 1,888 female graduates and 1,655 male the
breakdown by discipline tells a different story. In the Faculty of Arts
and Science, the male/female ratio is 485 men to 914 women undergraduates,
and 68 male to 113 female graduate degrees, for a total of 555 men and
1,028 women. Thats nearly twice as many women as men. If you factor
out the pure sciences, its even higher. Fine Arts also graduates
more women than men, 209 to 129.
In the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, the ratio stands at
489 men and 140 women graduating this spring.
Business studies show the greatest relative gains by women in recent years,
and the numbers for the John Molson School of Business reflect that. Even
more women than men, 511 to 482, will graduate this June.
Nina Howe, who teaches early childhood and elementary education at Concordia,
is well aware of the continued preponderance of women in the so-called
soft disciplines, saying that elementary education is still gender-segregated.
Professor Howe explained that many teachers encourage girls superior
linguistic skills and steer them, perhaps unconsciously, away from science
and math. As a parent of school-age children, though, she says that math
is being taught better than ever since the recent Quebec curriculum reform.
There are other factors at play, she said, including the fact that more
women than ever are attending university.
However, the ratio of women and men tends to drop dramatically in some
disciplines at the PhD level, when many women scholars are faced with
the demands of their childbearing years.
In February 1992, at the instigation of a group of faculty and students
who felt that bachelor and master held overwhelmingly
masculine connotations, Concordia adopted alternatives: baccalaureate
and magisteriate. The choice was first offered in June 1994. However,
the gender-neutral degree nomenclature has had only modest success. At
the convocation ceremonies this time in Spring 2001, 168 undergraduates
out of a total of 1,467 chose baccalaureate (11.45 per cent), and only
one out of 36 graduate students chose magisteriate. Broken down by Faculty,
the largest proportion of undergraduates who chose the alternative nomenclature
was in Arts and Science (26.5 per cent). Slightly more than 11 per cent
in Fine Arts made that choice, 20 out of 688 graduates in the John Molson
School of Business chose it, and none in Engineering and Computer Science.
The choice of nomenclature is offered to each potential graduate, each
degree is verbally introduced with both names at convocation, and an explanatory
note is included in each convocation program.