Issue 17

Newsletter - Fall 2019

Celebrating back-to-school with a 15th anniversary party

On September 20, the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs launched its 15th anniversary festivities in the company of students, colleagues and community members involved in the programs, courses and services offered in French at SFU.

The Back-to-School Celebration was held at UniverCity Townsquare on SFU’s Burnaby campus. The team from Radio-Canada was on hand to launch its fall season and celebrate the OFFA’s 15th anniversary. The organizers of the Canadian Francophone Games also came to meet SFU students and invite them to get involved in the major national event happening in Victoria in July 2020.

Click here to view pictures of the celebration. Our thanks to photographer Célia Saunier, a student in the French Cohort Program in Public and International Affairs.

Registration opens for Master of Education (online) program

Registration for the Master of Education program entitled "Teaching and Learning in French: Plurilingualism, Francophonie and Education MEd (online)" opens this Friday, November 1. This 2-year, part-time program is tailored to full-time teachers. It will begin in September 2020 and will be offered entirely online.

NEW THIS YEAR: Individuals who register before January 31, 2020 will be eligible for one of the $1,000 scholarships offered by the OFFA, in addition to the other scholarships (up to $5,000) for certified teachers.

Information sessions will be held on November 5, 13 and 21. Check the website for full details and become part of our next Canada-wide cohort!

A two-day dive into research on the Francophonie in British Columbia

The Symposium on the Francophonie in British Columbia took place on October 4 and 5 at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus. The event, organized as part of the 15th anniversary of the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA), featured 13 speakers, including experts on the Francophonie in B.C., professors from eight Canadian universities, as well as two privileged observers of the evolution of French-language research on the province.

Over the course of two days, six discussion panels addressed themes such as: B.C.’s new curriculum; Francophone spaces; identities, plurality and Francophone cultures in B.C.; history and language rights; and French learning and usage. One of the panels focused on the creation of the OFFA, telling the story of the key people who contributed to developing French-language post-secondary education in B.C. and more specifically at SFU.

"We saw the 15th anniversary as an opportunity to gather experts from Canada’s various Francophone and university communities and to paint a multifaceted picture of the state of French in B.C.," said Gino LeBlanc, Director of the OFFA.

The symposium's organizing committee also strove to produce and present research that will be useful to the community. "It was important for us to share the research takeaways with a range of community stakeholders who would use them to develop concrete solutions to the challenges they face," said Rémi Léger, a professor in the Department of Political Science at SFU and a member of the organizing committee.

Diane Dagenais, a professor in SFU’s Faculty of Education, was one of the symposium’s privileged observers of the evolution of French-language research in British Columbia. She thanked the OFFA for showcasing research, “which is essential to our ability to understand and reflect on the specific realities of our province”.

The results of the research and the discussions that took place during the symposium will be compiled in a volume to be published in 2020 by Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Video clips presenting several speakers’ research areas will also be available shortly on the website of the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs:

Since 2004, the OFFA has been coordinating, promoting and supporting the development of French-language programs and courses at SFU. As part of its mandate, it also organizes scientific and cultural activities in the community in order to help foster a plural and inclusive Francophonie.

Members of the organizing committee for the Symposium on the Francophonie in British Columbia:
Geneviève Brisson, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, SFU
Christian Guilbault, Associate Professor, Department of French, SFU
Gino LeBlanc, Director, Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs, SFU
Rémi Léger, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, SFU

Bilingual program grants Cory Henderson new perspective on politics

Cory Henderson has been interested in politics since she was a young girl. She was a Grade 10 student in the French immersion program when a representative from Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) French Cohort Program (FCP) visited her school in Penticton, B.C.

After listening to the presentation, Cory was so sure that SFU was the place for her that she didn’t apply to any other universities. Cory graduated from the FCP, a bilingual program in public and international affairs, in Summer 2019 with a major in Political Science (Honours), and an extended minor in French. Many factors played a role in getting her to that point, but the biggest one was having a sense of community at SFU. Her university journey was challenging, but she was not without support.

“In the French Cohort Program, my classmates and I did most of our courses together,” Cory says. “Having social and academic connections to them was so important to helping me succeed.”

In addition to classmates, the FCP community includes professors, older students, and members of the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs management team, all valuable support as this program is mainly taught in French.

In Cory’s third year in the program, she completed a student exchange at Science Po Paris, campus in Reims, where she took courses ranging from the history of Syria to critical race theory to the philosophy of multiculturalism. Academic expectations there were high, and Cory was one of the only students in class whose first language was not French.

“This was a very academically challenging year, but it ultimately gave me a new perspective on the way I thought about Canadian politics,” Cory says. “These challenges were crucial to my growth as a student, as an aspiring researcher and as a person.”

A key feature of the FCP is that it lets students apply their lessons through hands-on community projects and bilingual job opportunities. Through SFU’s Co-op program Cory took on a position as a research assistant at the federal government’s Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) in their Litigation Management and Resolution Branch. Cory found that her French language skills were readily transferable as she honed her qualitative research skills writing case reports. By the time her Co-op term was over, Cory was convinced that she’d like to continue working in the federal government.

“I was very glad to have that professional experience because I never wanted my degree to be just about academic performance,” Cory says. “I wanted it to be supported by knowledge I learned from doing.”

Cory credits her experience in the Political Science Capstone Honours Program with setting her on her current trajectory and her greatest success at SFU, although the Co-op job and other opportunities to work and volunteer provided her with very valuable lessons.

“I learned that life should be multi-dimensional, and that taking breaks is okay,” Cory says. “That’s not a message we get very often in the academic world, or in the world in general, so I am thankful to have learned that early on in university.”

Through the Accelerated Master’s Program, Cory took Master’s-level courses in political science for both undergraduate and graduate credit, which will allow her to finish her Master’s degree in less time than normal.

“Taking graduate level courses was an invaluable experience, because it provided me with more opportunities to get to know professors outside of the French Cohort Program and meet other Master’s students,” Cory says. “The Accelerated Master’s program and Honours were what convinced me to pursue my Master’s—and to pursue it at SFU. I wanted to continue the connections I had with professors at SFU, and I felt like the research I wanted to conduct was not complete yet.”

For her Master’s in Political Science, which she began in the Fall 2019 term, Cory received the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Her research will examine gendered and racialized differences in media coverage of candidates during Canadian federal election campaigns.