Interview with new director of le Bac program

Dr. Laurie Carlson Berg, new Director, le Bac program

While the home of the Baccalauréat en éducation (le Bac) is the Faculty of Education, the program spaces are uniquely located in the Language Institute Building. Since 2010, the program has flourished under the direction of Dr. Lace Brodgen, who has now moved on to be the founding Dean of Laurentian University’s Faculty of Education. The following is an interview with the new Bac program Director, Dr. Laurie Carlson Berg.

Please provide a short description of le Bac program.

Le Bac (pronounced like back as in “Give yourself a pat on the back”) is the Baccalauréat en éducation française. There is a variety of different programs students can choose to pursue within Le Bac, as we prepare students to teach at the elementary or secondary level in both Francophone and French Immersion schools as well as in Core French classrooms. Students can either begin the 4-year program after completing their high school studies or do an after degree (BEAD) program. It is important to note that le Bac is not a French-language version of programs offered in English by the Faculty of Education. Our program has an important focus on what it means to be a teacher of one of Canada’s official languages in a minority context, be it Core French, French Immersion, or Francophone.

Why is it important to offer the Bac program?

There are a number of reasons, but two that come immediately to mind are linguistic diversity and responding to community needs. First, there is a significant need, not only in Saskatchewan but also in other provinces that actively recruit our students, for more French-speaking teachers. Le Bac provides a welcoming environment for high school students from Core French, French Immersion, and Francophone schools, including Fransaskois schools, to enhance their proficiency in French and to learn how to inspire their future students to learn about French language and the multiple Francophone cultures in the world. In the second year of the 4-year program, students spend 10 months at the Université Laval in Québec City. There, they are fully immersed in a Francophone majority context. We are also building ties with the Wandake First Nation in Québec City so that indigenization can be more fully integrated into each year of le Bac.

In terms of linguistic diversity, Canada is a bilingual nation and having le Bac in the Faculty of Education is part of acknowledging the linguistic plurality in Saskatchewan schools. In my view, having a French presence within the Faculty of Education fosters a greater understanding of, and provides a space for dialoguing about, linguistic and cultural diversity here on the Prairies.

What is your vision as the new Directrice du Bac?

I have three principal priorities as I take on this new role with gratitude namely continuing to focus on indigenizing our program, maintaining and building upon our solid reputation, and continuing our efforts to recruit more students.

Le Bac was the first program to make the Indigenous Education course mandatory. We appreciate the relationships we are building with elders, and how each member of our team has taken on responsibility for indigenizing courses and our annual Bac student professional development event.

Having been part of le Bac team for 17 years, I appreciate the solid reputation le Bac and our faculty have in the community. I strive to lead my energetic team and students to continue to collaborate with our multiple partners throughout the province. As budgets permit, our team endeavors to increasingly model how technology can enhance teaching and learning.

This year, we have the largest enrollment ever and are offering two sections of the first year Educational Foundations course. My goal is to continue to increase the Bac cohort. So far, our only challenge at this level has been finding large enough classrooms.

Any final comments for now?

A warm welcome to new faculty members Heather and Joël and a big shout out to all members of le Bac team for the many ways, big and small, they inspire our students and serve our community with heart!

Follow us on social media