Left to right, Marilyn Taylor (former Chair of ApSS), William Knitter (for the Dean of Arts and Science), Dick McDonald, Rector Frederick Lowy, former Rector John O'Brien, Ed Enos, and Randy Swedburg (Chair of the new department).
by Barbara Black
The Department of Applied Human Sciences celebrated its inauguration with a party last week, and the new kid on the block is looking pretty vigorous.
The Departments of Applied Social Science and Leisure Studies joined forces last spring. Described at the time as a win-win situation for both units, the consolidation built on evident affinities and respective strengths. Leisure Studies was strong in program planning and had an excellent internship program, while ApSS's strengths lay in interpersonal dynamics.
Both departments had forged close bonds with the non-academic community, including Elderhostel, the educational travel service for seniors (see story, this page), and the Centre for Human Relations and Community Studies, a consulting service. An innovative group of programs includes the delivery of distance education to First Nations communities.
The celebration on Friday night started with a wine-and-cheese reception in a cozy room off the cafeteria in the Henry F. Hall building. As well as Professors Randy Swedburg and Marilyn Taylor, who engineered the friendly merger, the featured speakers included the young department's "grandfathers," Dick McDonald and Ed Enos. Both men, now theoretically retired, were academic pioneers.
McDonald, retired but still active, is a walking history of Applied Social Science at Concordia. He took guests and friends back to the days when one of the hallmarks of Sir George Williams University was its close connection to the YMCA and the Y's own work in the field of human relations and self-improvement. McDonald was one of the first professors when the ApSS Department began in 1963.
Ed Enos, inducted last year to the Concordia Sports Hall of Fame, created the first Exercise Science Department in North America. In 1973, Enos pushed for the creation of a complementary liberal arts program, and Leisure Studies began as an interdisciplinary studies program, under the late Professor Michael Hogben.
After the wine-and-cheese, the celebration moved over to the Department's premises at 2085 Bishop St. for a potluck supper and a party, including dancing.
Next day, many of the celebrants took part in the 11th annual conference about social issues in the field of leisure, jointly organized by the department, the students' association, and the City of Dorval's Leisure and Culture Department.
There were about 90 participants at the event, and nine speakers, all from Concordia: Professors Nancy Arsenault, Ghislaine Guerard, Raye Kass, Bluma Litner, Randy Swedburg, Marilyn Taylor and Marty Thomas.
Minor adjustments are still being made to the curriculum to improve the fit, but everyone appears to be delighted with the merger, and Swedburg, who is Department Chair, said that new initiatives are being planned in research.
Applied Human Sciences has more than 850 students enrolled in two certificate programs, two majors, three specializations and a graduate degree. Graduates of programs in Applied Human Science find careers in public recreation programs, private care institutions, and many other venues.