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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 30, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Society, Culture & Environment (formerly Comtemporary Studies)



A proposal to revamp Contemporary Studies and change the name of the program to Society, Culture & Environment was passed on November 26 by University Senate. For more information about the Society, Culture & Environment program click here.

Society, Culture & Environment at Laurier Brantford 

Society, Culture & Environment is designed to introduce students to a range of ongoing and emerging issues including poverty, climate change, colonization of Indigenous communities, and gender and racial inequality. The program provides students with the knowledge, skills, and inspiration to directly engage with, and meaningfully change, the world we live in.

The Society, Culture & Environment program emphasizes an innovative approach to learning which is problem centered, interdisciplinary, and emphasizes the basic skills essential to success in any field - the ability to communicate effectively, analyze and solve problems, to situate issues within appropriate cultural and historical contexts, and to use information technology effectively. 

Program highlights 

  • Opportunity for independent studies and Internship

CT330* is an independent studies course. Full-time Society, Culture & Environment faculty whose discipline is closest to the topic will advise students. Students can choose from a variety of means of assessment. There is also the opportunity for students in Society, Culture & Environment to take a fourth year internship in the Brantford area.

Courses offered 

Popular courses

  • Current Issues in Global Context
  • Digital & Social Media: Critical Approaches
  • Environmental Concerns: From the Grand to the Globe
  • The Democratic Imagination
  • Popular Culture & Meaning

Admission requirements 

High School Admission Requirements College Grad Admission Requirements 

4U English at 60%

Average in top 6 4U or M courses of low - mid 70's 

4U English or college equivalent at 60%

Overall average upon graduation in mid 70%'s

Click here for transfer credit details 

Careers 

Graduates of the Honours BA in Society, Culture, and Environment program are socially conscious citizens that have the capacity to dream and to do in a variety of personal and professional contexts, contributing to a more positive collective future for all. Recent graduates have been employed by a wide range of organizations and agencies including the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Passport Canada, Red Cross, United Way, Hamilton Health Sciences, and Grand River Conservation Area. Going on to advanced graduate studies or specialized training is also a choice for many grads including Business Administration, Social Work, Labour Studies, Law and Early Childhood Education.

Student experience 

Excerpt from column by Rachel Phan in Brantford Expositor:

Last Saturday, I wrote my last exam at Laurier Brantford. As I walked out of the lecture hall, I was surprised to find that, instead of feeling overjoyed with ecstasy, there was a nagging sense of sadness in my belly. 

I came to Laurier Brantford nearly four years ago as a naive 19-year-old from small-town southwestern Ontario. I couldn't do my own laundry, I couldn't cook and I couldn't imagine how I was going to survive. But I did – thanks to the help of the wonderful people I met in residence. For a full year, those of us on the fourth floor at Grand River Hall became a family. We stayed up late, we went to class in our sweats and we made questionable decisions. It almost felt like it would last forever.

I loved my time at Laurier Brantford. I've received a wonderful and comprehensive education here. The interdisciplinary contemporary studies core of our education has given me the chance to learn about a variety of things. While other students at other schools have had their noses to a specific grindstone, I've been learning about everything. This year alone, I've learned about science and its critics, gender theories, social documentary and, my favourite, mid-Victorian literature. 

I'm going to miss this place – the beautiful buildings, the restaurants that are few in number but delicious in their offerings, and, above all, the wonderful people with whom I have shared laughter, conversation and smiles.

Faculty experience 

000_Paradis_headshot_2.jpgGrowing up in the rural outskirts of Thunder Bay, Dr. Ken Paradis thought about studying science at university. But after finishing high school, he fell into an undergraduate degree in English, and that’s what captured his interest. 

Though his background is in American literature and cultural theory, today his research revolves around contemporary American culture, or as he puts it, “movies, television and popular fiction.” Paradis teaches a contemporary studies course called Blockbuster Movies and Cultural Criticism, which he says “looks at mainstream movies for insight into how contemporary culture organizes our values and our assumptions.” Though he also teaches courses in traditional American literature, he often jokes that in some of his classes homework is watching television under the assumption that students have a pen in their hands and are thinking critically about it.

Much like all of the professors on campus, Paradis feels it is the interaction with the students and other faculty members that makes Laurier Brantford such a unique place. “The faculty tend to be young and open to new things,” he says. “And the students are enthusiastic, friendly and down-to-earth. They really see this as a hands-on, can-do place, and they feel they can make a difference in the life of the university.”

Alumni experience 

Justine Scriver is now an MA candidate, who graduated with a degree in Contemporary Studies with honours Criminology. “I have benefited greatly from having contemporary studies as a part of my undergraduate degree,” she says. “Having a CT background has allowed me to think in a more diverse manner and has improved my critical thinking. I am able to be critical about the principles that underlie certain theories. While some of my MA colleagues are more specialized in their undergraduate degree, I feel I am more able to apply the geographical, historical or cultural approaches to certain topics. The CT program was very rewarding for me.”