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SFU receives $12 million to expand French language programming

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Roger Blackman, dean of arts, 604.291.5810;
Danielle Arcand, education, 604.291.3714;
Dr. Christian Guilbault, Department of French, 604.268.6783;
Diane Luckow, media/pr, 604.291.3210;

April 6, 2004

French language instruction in B.C. gets $12.8 million boost; SFU students can now study in French to earn BA

A $5.93 million, five-year grant from the Canadian Heritage ministry, matched by provincial funding of $6.865 million through SFU’s annual operating grant, will expand French language programming at the university.

The grants will help promote bilingualism in Canada by improving post-secondary French language programs in B.C. and increasing the number of qualified core French and French immersion teachers.

"This will make SFU a leader in French language education in B.C.," says SFU president Michael Stevenson, who notes that there are 35,000 B.C. students currently enrolled in French immersion programs at the elementary and secondary levels.

Among the first initiatives will be a new SFU office of Francophone and Francophile affairs, which will coordinate and promote new programming developments in both the faculty of arts and the faculty of education.

A new SFU Bachelor of Arts program to be delivered primarily in the French language will commence in September 2004. It will offer majors and extended minors in political science and French, leading students into careers in public administration and community services or into the French module of the faculty of education’s professional development program for teachers.

The SFU faculty of education will develop and expand its existing French language programs for teachers, with initiatives such as:
    -a Masters program in French to be offered outside of the Lower Mainland. The first off-campus Masters program will be taught on Vancouver Island;

    -additional graduate studies programs in French education for teachers, available in both face-to-face and on-line formats;

    -increased student intake (from 32 this year to 48 in September 2004) for the French teacher education program;

    -additional undergraduate education courses in French language to orient and support elementary classroom teachers.