There’s a future in history, and a new Public History program will prepare students to take full advantage of that future by accessing the unique strengths of both Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College.
The new program is the first undergraduate program in Public History in Western Canada and gives students a total of four new options to earn a degree. Two of these are new four-year majors from Brandon University, with two new 3+1 options also available that combine three-year degrees from BU with a fourth year at Assiniboine to develop media skills.
The new program formalizes a relationship that has been ongoing between BU and Assiniboine for several years.
“Many of my students are very interested in telling the stories of the history they learn and we have worked closely with Assiniboine students to bring these historical stories to life,” says Dr. Rhonda Hinther, an associate professor of history at BU and one of the organizers of the new program. “The result has been rich and rewarding for students at both institutions as well as for the museums and archives that we have worked with.”
Students in the program will take general history and specific public history courses through BU. At Assiniboine, they will gain valuable practical experience, through the media arts programs, in public history production through film, television, website, and video game design and development.
“Today’s media environment offers an incredible number of options for students to pursue, from traditional broadcast storytelling to interactive on-demand and immersive experiences,” says Graham Street, an instructor of Interactive Media Arts at Assiniboine. “Through this partnership, we are able to combine hands-on technical skills with meaningful content.”
While the program has only recently been approved, Hinther and Street have previously collaborated on joint student projects that have produced oral histories of Westman and television commercials for regional museums. Those, as well as new and ongoing projects, will be featured on a new website to be launched this year.
Public history projects like these can help make academic theory and study of history more accessible to all members of the public. Graduates are also expected to play an important role in economic development – cultural institutions like museums, archives, and heritage sites where graduates would be working play a critical economic and social role in Manitoba and everywhere and often serve as major draws for visitors to a community.
This new joint program helps demonstrate the deepening tradition of collaboration between Assiniboine and BU. In 2014 the institutions, along with the Province of Manitoba, signed Growing Together – Vision 20/20, a memorandum of understanding aimed at fostering collaboration between the two institutions to meet student, community and social needs.
With ongoing partnerships that include students sharing residence space and transferring credit through existing 2+2 programs, the institutions continue to make Brandon a city where students can find the options, flexibility and amenities that they are looking for when pursuing their post-secondary education.
Assiniboine Community College has been providing exceptional learning experiences for more than 55 years. The college welcomed more than 3,600 full-time and 6,000 part-time students last year. With campuses in Brandon, Dauphin and Winnipeg, and many partnerships to deliver community-based education, Assiniboine provides comprehensive educational opportunities throughout Manitoba. assiniboine.net
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