Starting in May 2019, the University of Saskatchewan will offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and Anthropology instead of offering them as two separate programs. The merger aims to help integration within the department and offset budget cuts.
The department of archaeology and anthropology has its origins in the defunct department of anthropology that decades ago split into two separate departments, each with its own BA program. Since archaeology and anthropology came back together in 2008, the department has been aiming to further integrate the two areas.
As a result, the two undergraduate programs will soon turn into one. Current students will have the option to change course to the combined BA or to graduate in either of the former programs. The Bachelor of Science in Archaeology will stay unchanged.
Angela Lieverse, department head of archaeology and anthropology, says that the merger of the BA programs is the culmination of years of work towards integration within the department.
“We have been integrating for years,” Lieverse said. “Bringing the two BA programs into one seemed like the perfect way to finalize the process of becoming one department.”
The change is also a response to cuts to the department’s budget. Their Notice of Intent for New Programs, presented to the Planning and Priorities Committee, explains that “with continuing reductions to [their] department’s annual operating budget, [they] can no longer rely on sessional instructors or associate faculty members to cover off necessary courses for [their] students.”
The combined BA will have fewer course requirements than the previous programs. Lieverse says this means they can offer some classes every other year, but it will not result in fewer options for students.
“All of the courses that we’ve offered in the past will still be offered. Nothing’s going to be changed or removed — it’s just about how those courses get put together into a degree,” Lieverse said. “Fewer requirements means more flexibility for students but also for faculty and staff.”
Lieverse says that a degree in anthropology that covers the subdiscipline of archaeology is the common practice in North America and that the U of S remained different because of the historical separations within the department. According to Lieverse, the combined degree will still give students the opportunity to follow their interests.
“It looks like we are changing things dramatically, but we are really not. By and large, students are going to take the same courses that they were always going to take,” Lieverse said. “If they want to focus more on archaeology or anthropology, that’s fine.”
Incoming students will have to take two introductory courses and then three out of four required 200-level courses. After that, they are free to pick whichever classes they want. At the end of their degree, they will also have to take a unified capstone course: ANTH 400. The course will be a seminar on contemporary issues like the archaeology and anthropology of reconciliation. It will start being offered around 2020.
Lieverse says that the combined degree will bring opportunities for collaboration within the department and that the professors and staff are planning new integrated courses for the future.
“We can start teaching courses in the other discipline or co-teach courses,” Lieverse said. “Budget was part of our decision, but it really was offering a really effective program that is better integrated.”
Ana Cristina Camacho / Staff Writer
Photo: Riley Deacon / Photo Editor