SJU subtracts math program


St. Jerome’s University (SJU) and the University of Waterloo have agreed on a consolidation plan that will see SJU’s faculty of math absorbed into UW’s.

SJU’s math faculty consisted of Benoit Charbonneau, Conrad Hewitt, and Cyntha Struthers who will now join their colleagues across the creek. Other faculty included J.P. Pretti, who worked part-time for SJU and UW.

“The University of Waterloo gets three seasoned professors … known across the creek who can actually step into gaps that they are currently facing,” said Scott Kline, vice-president academic and dean.

The main goal of this agreement was to provide SJU the opportunity to strengthen their current programs and develop new ones that are aligned with its institutional mission and values.

“It frees us up to build a new program or enhance current programming. We basically gain three positions in the arts in the next three to five years which allows us to grow at our core strengths,” said Kline.

Other than the contributions made by the new faculty members, UW will not be greatly affected by this consolidation, as SJU math students only took up 1.09 per cent of all math students.

Despite this agreement, SJU will still promote the teaching of math as math classes will continue to be held there, but UW will provide the professors and conduct any other administrative decisions.

What distinguished math at SJU were the small class sizes and increased interaction between professors and students. Tutorials, normally ran by TAs at UW, were led by professors and had 15-20 students in each one.

Classes at UW can have up to 200 students, which consequently makes it harder for professors to interact with their students individually.

Students who are accepted in UW’s math program can choose the St. Jerome’s math option, which would allow them to take all the first-year core math courses at SJU. 

Before this agreement, SJU also offered statistics, computer science and second-year math courses, but this will no longer be an option and must be taken at UW.

SJU promotes itself as a liberal arts university and the direction UW wants to proceed with math does not fit their big picture.

“Mathematics were a part of the liberal arts, but the type of mathematics we do at the University of Waterloo now is no longer liberal arts mathematics,” said Kline.

“We have no mathematics for liberal arts courses being taught at this university. It’s simply not what the University of Waterloo faculty of mathematics wants to do.”

All of these changes will take effect May 1.