educators during francophone Open Door DayThe second annual Francophone Open Door Day promoted French-language programming at the University of Windsor to high school students.

Event opens door to study of French

More than 150 Grade 11 students from French and French immersion high schools came to campus April 30 for the second annual Francophone Open Door Day.

Organized by Languages, Literatures & Culture department head Tanja Collet-Najem; political science professor Emmanuelle Richez; and Sheri Lowrie, recruitment and outreach co-ordinator in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences ¾ and supported by all French Studies faculty, the event promotes French-language programming at the University of Windsor.

“We want to raise awareness among future applicants that there is a significant shortage of qualified French-language personnel in a number of areas on the job market in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent,” said Dr. Collet-Najem.

Among the shortages she identified in relevant sectors are teachers in French and French immersion school systems; nurses, technicians, and other health-care practitioners; judges in courts of law; and translators, editors, speech pathologists, computer programmers, and other language professionals.

A secondary aim of this event is to highlight the size and vitality of the French-language minority of Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, an area officially designated as bilingual by the province of Ontario.

Visitors came from École secondaire catholique E.J. Lajeunesse, École secondaire catholique l'Essor, École secondaire catholique pour adultes Sainte Trinité, and French immersion programs at Sandwich Secondary School and Saint-Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School.

After being welcomed to campus by Erika Kustra, associate vice-president academic, and Cheryl Collier, dean of FAHSS, they heard a plenary address by Drs. Collet-Najem and Richez highlighting French-language programming at the University of Windsor and the area’s need for French-language professionals.

French literature professor Jeremy Worth gave a mock lecture on the poetry of Québécois poet Émile Nelligan and Richez delivered a mock lecture on political science. Collet-Najem moderated a student panel with six UWindsor student participants: French studies majors Sascha Batke, Carter Hodgins, Soleen Depape, and Athina Woldemichael, and political science students Victorieuse Samboa and Andrelle Mboudjeke. The panellists spoke about what made them choose French at Windsor, life on campus, their career aspirations, and more.

Community organizations that joined this year’s event included Workforce Windsor-Essex, Centre communautaire francophone Windsor-Essex-Kent, and Association des communautés francophones de l'Ontario, Windsor-Essex-Chatham-Kent.