26 October 2013

Open Letter Regarding Faculty of Human Ecology

The following is a letter that a colleague and friend of mine wrote regarding the status of the Faculty of Human Ecology at the University Manitoba.

Please take a moment to read an open letter to: President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, Dr. David Barnard, Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, Dr. Joanne Keselman, esteemed members of the University of Manitoba Senate, Dean of Human Ecology, Dr. Gustaaf Sevenhuysen, Ms. Marcie Marcuza, CBC Radio host Information Radio, Ms. Marilyn Mackie, CBC Radio host Radio Noon, Honorable Members of the Manitoba Legislature: Mr. James Allum (Minister of Education and Advanced Learning), Ms. Theresa Oswald (Minister of Jobs and the Economy), Ms. Kerri Irvine-Ross (Minister of Family Services and the Status of Women), friends and supporters of Human Ecology/Home Economics;

My name is Christie Crow, and I am a graduate of the FACULTY of Human Ecology, I graduated in 2009 with an Integrated Degree from the Faculties of Human Ecology and Education. I am a teacher of Foods and Nutrition for grades 7-11. Every day, I count myself fortunate that I get to do what I love to do. I have the opportunity to talk to and teach my students about food, the benefits of healthy cooking and eating and quite simply, how to cook. My love of and passion for food, of cooking, and of nutrition doesn’t stop at the 27 faces in my classroom, nor is it limited to the students who are registered in my classes. The students who do take my classes talk about it in the hallways, they talk about the new technique or new ingredient or about grocery shopping or about how much Ms. Crow HATES energy drinks and what’s in them, they take that same information home and talk about it there AND in many cases take an active role in cooking at home.

With the rise in a variety of health concerns (a list that grows every year) that stem from poor nutritional habits, convenience foods, or a simple lack of cooking and nutritional literacy. The skills that my students leave my classroom with are skills that will AND DO last a lifetime because they are LIFE skills. In an era when so many of YOU are concerned about the longevity and health of the next generation, their ability to look after their own health and that of their families’ wellbeing, it seems counter-intuitive to dismantle a Faculty that focuses on life-long learning for individuals, families, and communities. Whose graduates are professionals in the fields of Human Nutritional Sciences, Family Social Sciences, Textile Sciences and of Interdisciplinary Health Studies.

While I teach Foods and Nutrition, I call on my Family Social Sciences and Textile Sciences background weekly, if not on a daily basis. I am good at what I do because of where I come from. I come from a faculty centred on, and which prides itself in, interdisciplinary teaching and learning. I come from a faculty that focuses on a wholistic approach to learning and prevention, that teaches us to see the strengths in others and to help build on those. I come from a faculty that always taught us to not only look at the big picture but to examine all the pieces of the puzzle, how they fit and work together, and how we can help make the whole stronger. I come from a faculty that preached community, but who more importantly, practiced it on a daily basis. If you dismantle the faculty, if you break apart its many facets, you not only take away the strength of our whole faculty but you will lose the strength found in each of its parts. You will devalue the history of our professional practice, you will devalue its current dynamic practice, you will devalue MY profession and my calling. You will eliminate jobs, because at the very base level of this argument who is going to hire anyone from a Faculty that was dismantled for value of its scrap, with a degree that the President of that same University didn’t value enough to even consult those that hold it.

I do what I do everyday, because of where I come from, I COULD NOT DO what I do everyday without my foundation of Human Ecology. The heart and soul of what I DO and who I AM is centred in Human Ecology, MY heart and soul is centred in Human Ecology. It defines my job, my career, it has helped define me AND my values, my approach to teaching and my approach to life. It would be a tragedy and a terrible loss to the University of Manitoba (as a founding faculty) as well as to the province of Manitoba if the Faculty of Human Ecology was lost, it would also be a great personal tragedy to the many professionals who proudly call themselves graduates of the Faculty of Human Ecology who are spread across this province, this country, and around the globe using the skills and knowledge that we learned and earned from the Faculty of Human Ecology.

I am asking you, friends and family, if you value what I (or another Home Economist) do for you , as a colleague, as a professional, as ME, SHARE and LIKE this letter, forward it on to listening ears. I am asking you Minister of Education and of Higher Learning, take a look at what is about to happen at the University of Manitoba without meaningful and public consultation with alumni or stakeholders, I am asking you, members of the media, you need to ask questions because the leadership at the University of Manitoba isn’t answering ours.


Christie Crow, B.H.Ec, B. Ed
Graduate 2009
Faculty of Human Ecology and Education
University of Manitoba