Mount Royal’s program offers most scholarships in arts faculty, according to website
Mount Royal University’s interior design program is just one of seven within the arts faculty. Yet its students have access to more awards and sponsorships than any of those other programs — a benefit of being connected with a well-heeled industry.
According to an analysis conducted by the Calgary Journal, of all the monetary awards listed on the faculty of arts awards and scholarships page, 36 are set aside for applied interior design students while 46 are for those in the other arts departments.
Those other departments include English, humanities, languages & cultures, policy studies, psychology and sociology & anthropology.
Photo by Jessica Ryan
A spokesperson from the Mount Royal University Foundation indicated that the companies and banks the foundation targets to help create new awards often choose to fund disciplines most closely matching their interests, like business, technology and science.
Therefore, it falls to each department to attract new donors by increasing its profile in the Calgary community.
The applied interior design program has done so by developing close ties with the interior design industry in Calgary.
Michele Gunn, president of Alberta Interior Designers, suggested that the program’s two mandatory four-month, employer-paid terms working in the industry are vital in finding support.
“The industry is very familiar with the students and is therefore very willing to support the program because they know that it’s a very good program,” she said.
Committee member and alumni chapter president Sarah Ward works to garner support for current students at a yearly benefit event. For two years running, over $30,000 has been raised to fund a bursary.
English chair David Hyttenrauch accounts for the disparity in scholarship support between departments by arguing that, unlike interior design, the broad scope of an arts degree does not appeal directly to any one industry.
Below is a breakdown by student major of the monetary scholarships and bursaries from the faculty of arts awards and scholarships page:
Interior Design: 36
*Offered to students in any arts program, or just any program in general, usually with a requirement like having taken specific courses in an arts discipline (creative writing, for instance).
Other relevant information from “Numbers that count” listed on the interior design FAQ page:
Approximate Number of Applicants per year: 200
“Knowing what the industry looks like, knowing where those students will end up helps shape the program,” he said.
“It’s hard to find a direct natural work placement that connects with the curriculum or what students are working on in their courses, and with arts subjects especially there are so many career paths that follow out of the degrees,” Hyttenrauch said.
However, the English department is looking to create an alumni chapter and add more coursework focusing on professional writing and editing – something that could, conceivably, create more connections with industry and attract more funding dollars.
Representatives from other arts departments affirmed the importance of helping their students enter the work force armed with connections and experience though internship opportunities.
However, most thought it unlikely that support from industries would turn into consistent sources of scholarships for current students.