As the first semester comes to a close I thought it timely to take the opportunity in this blog to extend to all readers, faculty, staff, students, board members and alumni good wishes for peace, happiness and relaxation with family and friends over the holiday season.
I know this has been a trying year for all in the NSCAD community. We have experienced more than our fair share of uncertainty and unwelcomed and sometimes critical public scrutiny. Despite all this, we have managed to continue to attract top-notch students and deliver the high-quality, unique programs for which NSCAD has gained its enviable reputation. Moreover, given our small size, we have a disproportionate share of students, faculty and alumni winning prestigious awards and recognitions compared to other universities in the Atlantic provinces.
On the planning front, we are making progress, albeit painfully slow progress, in winning government support for our Framework for Sustainability. Two components of the plan, namely a thorough cost/benefit analysis of affiliation and a detailed space utilization study, have been funded and consultants are actively being sought. I am in the process of establishing oversight/liaison committees to work with the consultants. These committees will be composed in such a fashion as to have representation from all our significant internal stakeholders groups. In the meantime, we are still awaiting government approval of the other components of the Framework for Sustainability’s Plan B.
I recognize that important sectors of our internal community are not supportive of the framework, but frankly, the Board of Governors and I have not as yet received a single alternate proposal which would allow NSCAD to return to fiscal balance. The government, our principle funder, has made it abundantly clear that they do not intend to fund our operating deficit indefinitely. Nor do we win friends in the public arena for systematically failing to operate within our means. To achieve savings, we must change current expenditure patterns. The status quo is not an option, nor are proposals which would result in increased expenditures. The Board believes that changes can be made without fundamentally damaging our ability to offer high-quality core programs. NSCAD Administration and the Board of Governors are committed to implementing the plan in a fashion which ensures such protection. The Board and I also recognize that we will need to invest more time in attempting to explain the imperatives of the plan and to be open to compelling options; that’s our work for the next semester.
I realize I have strayed into heavy subject matter when my original intent was simply to extend holiday wishes. But I know these important matters are on everyone’s minds, so I thought it disingenuous not to address them.
Best wishes to all,