The U of T English department has made changes to its curriculum by modifying courses, changing some descriptions, and adding more courses.
The new curriculum will explore new knowledge and different texts. It will reflect the nature and concerns of the student body, according to the chair of the English and drama department, Alexandra Gillespie, in an interview with The Medium.
Following sexism issues made in an English class, which were raised last January in an Academic Affairs Committee meeting, Gillespie stated that some changes have to do with the incident, and that the department will focus on courses related to Queer writing, critical right studies, and global literatures in English.
In what Gillespie called “a mix of tradition, diversity, and innovation”, the department wants to remove bias around rights, gender, and religion, and wants to open up to more perspectives. By having the new curriculum, the department wants students think about sexism through feminist literature.
Gillespie stated that other changes will include offering a minor in creative writing. A minor in digital text will also be offered, with a focus on digital humanity components. Digital text is currently a third-year course that examines the impact of digital text impacts. A third minor will offer fan-fiction.
Gillespie said that the department will survey English students and will hold focus groups. She also stated that they will hire a sociology student to help with surveys.
The goal of the English department is to make sure students get to experience the traditional English studies at U of T, and get a sense of the history in literature.
The English department will be developing the new curriculum over the next six months, and will become effective beginning in the next Fall semester.