Faculty of arts teams up with choice retailer

By Melanie Bethune

Arts programs have never been of the highest priority to Alberta’s education system, particularly when it comes to funding and the distribution of grants.

With the recent announcement of the multi-million dollar expansion to the Schulich School of Engineering, as well as the new sponsorship from Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., the students and staff of the faculty of arts were left questioning the massive cutbacks to post-secondary programs last March. Corporate sponsorship may indeed be the answer.

The university has recently unveiled a new partnership between the anthropology department and Anthropologie, the choice retailer for women with a passion for seemingly hand-crafted clothing and more money than taste.

“Through this relationship,” said anthropology professor Richard Timberman, “students will now be able to obtain bachelor of arts degrees in the cultural applications of synthetic alpaca wool, riding bicycles in sundresses and over-priced and over-sized sweaters. Gone are the days of so-called useless arts degrees. We are dedicated to building a future of strong, independent leaders of tomorrow.”

Students in all departments are getting excited about the prospect of corporate sponsorship.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said first-year English student Sarah McKellan, who is currently in the process of switching from her political science degree into Anthropologie. “And it’s super trendy! Nothing says success like hand-embroidered socks!”

As for the real-world applications of these new degrees, Dave Jameson, vice-president operations of Anthropologie said, “The anthropology of old was exactly that: old. Instead of studying cultures of the past and their variations, students are now earning degrees in what we see as the culture of the future: trendy women’s fashion. We see this as a real world, professional degree akin to engineering, medicine or nursing. Our graduates will be able to survive in the big leagues. Besides, who doesn’t love a good floral blazer?”

Students are hoping that with this new corporate sponsorship, the faculty of arts will be able to stand its ground in the job market.

“Arts degrees used to be useless,” McKellan continued. “I mean, what was I going to do with political science? Government? Law school? In the long run, those aren’t important at all. Why be an international diplomat when you can do something practical like study the difference between silk, satin and synthetic? Now Anthropologie, on the other hand, will really give me an edge in the workforce.”

With the obvious and imminent success of such a partnership, other departments are currently seeking their own forms of corporate sponsorship. While nothing official has been announced as of yet, students may be looking forward to the opportunity to obtain an Opa! bachelor of arts degree in Greek and Roman studies in the near future.

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