Simon Fraser University's Integrated Studies Program: Developing Employability Skills Through Engagement with the Western Canon of Great Books (1998)

A new program at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University is using the great books tradition to allow adults to work part-time towards a Bachelor of General Studies degree in the liberal arts.

The Integrated Studies Program is a three-year program intended for mid-career employees who have completed half of a four-year degree, and who wish to finish their degree on a part-time basis.

It began as a pilot cooperative venture between Simon Fraser and two major employers in the Vancouver area, BC Hydro and Canadian Pacific Railway. The program was so successful that it was made into a permanent one.

The program shows how skills can be developed through a combination of humanities and business courses. It aims to broaden students’ perspectives by helping them to learn to think more critically, communicate more clearly and persuasively, understand the context of Canadian business, and develop team-building and other managerial skills.

All students admitted in a given year take the same courses at the same time, and progress through the program as a group. Students complete the program by taking 18 courses over three years, and attend classes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Total classroom hours over the three years are equivalent to regular full-time classroom hours over two years.

Important literary and philosophical texts are used as case studies. For example, Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” is used to understand leadership, while writings by Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant are used to illustrate independent thought.

The central concept is that these texts offer students profound understanding of issues that have faced humanity through the centuries, and offer guidance on solving today’s problems.

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Added: 
2013-12-03
APA citation
Michael R. Bloom, Kurtis Kitagawa and Penny Brady. Simon Fraser University's Integrated Studies Program: Developing Employability Skills Through Engagement with the Western Canon of Great Books 1998. Web. 1 Oct. 2020 <http://en.copian.ca/library/research/cboc/employability_skills/simon-fraser_university/simon-fraser_university.pdf>
Michael R. Bloom, Kurtis Kitagawa & Penny Brady (1998). Simon Fraser University's Integrated Studies Program: Developing Employability Skills Through Engagement with the Western Canon of Great Books. Retrieved October 1, 2020, from http://en.copian.ca/library/research/cboc/employability_skills/simon-fraser_university/simon-fraser_university.pdf
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