As we reflect on the end of another academic year, we have much to be thankful for at NSCAD. Of course, I am aware of the many challenges we have faced, but the true test of our institutional resilience is not the number of challenges but the quality of our response. In a nutshell, our collective response to our various challenges has, in my estimation, been nothing short of remarkable.
Consider the list:
- Board governance overhaul;
- stellar 125 anniversary celebrations and special events;
- receipt of government funding for the affiliation and space studies (and on our terms);
- completion of two mandated reports to government – Institutional Outlook Report and a second sustainability report;
- successful contract negotiations with our two teaching units;
- harmonization of relations with the Province;
- five highly successful events – launch of the I AM NSCAD campaign, Starfish Student Art Awards, Artist for a Day, the launch of the 2013 Graduation Catalogue and the Graduation ceremony;
- increased positive community profile as evidenced by positive media reporting (see list below of stories in the media gathered in a two-week period);
- launch of a strategic planning process;
- and perhaps most important, over achievement of deficit reduction goals.
I continue to believe that our ultimate strength as an institution (program excellence notwithstanding) depends on our ability to demonstrate financial sustainability – and we are well on our way to doing this. The fiscal environment in which we find ourselves, combined with an activist government funding partner makes financial sustainability a primary concern.
By way of future plans, we will need to invest greater effort in building internal consensus among our various stakeholder groups. A major first initiative in this regard is the strategic re-visioning process proposed by our Strategic Planning Committee. The process will be guided by engagement principles which are intended to mobilize participation by all in our school community.
Looking further, we can expect a busy summer as we receive the reports of our two consultant-led studies, which will trigger important decisions on our institutional future. We also begin early work on the strategic planning initiative; firming up board governance change recommendations; and finally, initiate a university-wide campaign to meet our student enrolment objectives.
As I conclude, I am reminded that I had every belief that this would be my last blog post as president, but as you are aware, my departure plans have been delayed, so I will save reminisces and reflections for a later time. In its place, I should like to close with a wish to all for a healthy, restful and safe summer.
P.S. Here is only a sample of the media coverage NSCAD, alumni and students received over the past month. Highlights include the nationwide opening of NSCAD grad Jason Buxton’s feature film Blackbird (which has since won an award at Cannes Ecrans Junior), Artist for a Day and Open City, the Starfish Awards and a collaboration between NSCAD’s Design Division and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
- Open City, Global TV – Report on Artist for a Day and Open City.
- The Catalysts, The Globe and Mail – NSCAD graduate and instructor Andrea Dorfman makes the prestigious list of the top creative talent in Canada.
- Electric sport bike (that’s right to take) on Pike’s Peak race – The Globe and Mail – A look at NSCAD design instructor Michael Uhlarik’s ultra cool electric bike, the Amarok.
- A World and an Artist Transformed, New York Times – April Gornik, 59, describes Eric Fischl during their early days (they met at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) as “a hilarious, off-the-wall …
- Atlantic Journal, Bell Aliant – Meet Torrance Beamish, the winner of NSCAD’s Starfish Student Art Awards.
- Browse and shop at NSCAD’s student ceramic show, The Chronicle Herald – Spring-time offers a unique opportunity for patrons to see the works of NSCAD’s ceramics department.
- Opening Reception, Daniel Hutchison, BlogTO – NSCAD grad’s work at YYZ Gallery in Toronto.
- At the Galleries: Nerd pottery, animals take over Argyle, The Chronicle Herald – Jenny Morton and Alexis Doiron met at NSCAD University and regularly get together to make pots.
- Sights, sounds and tastes up for grabs at Open City, The Chronicle Herald– He plans to hit Artist for a Day first at NSCAD University’s waterfront campus…
- Delicate balance of art and religion, The Chronicle Herald – On NSCAD grad Regina Coupar’s show in Lunenburg.
- Saturday brings back city exploration at its finest, The Coast – Artist for a Day, Open City on Saturday.
- Q&A with Jason Buxton,The Chronicle Herald – Blackbird, the debut film of Chester filmmaker Jason Buxton, is opening nationally in select theatres, including Park Lane in Halifax on Friday.
- Human rights and visual images, CBC Radio’s Information Morning – Design and illustration students at NSCAD University worked with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission on an unusual poster campaign, to promote human rights.
- Dartmouth athlete pushes for women’s canoe racing to be added to …, The Chronicle Herald – Soon-to-be-NSCAD graduate Jenna Marks advocates for her sport.
- Human rights conference tackles bullying, The Chronicle Herald – The students from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design will also have an art exhibit on disability, transgender, freedom of speech, race relations, …
- Beamish wins NSCAD’s Starfish award, The Chronicle Herald – Beamish receives the $5,000 purchase price for his work, which now becomes part of NSCAD University’s permanent collection. The nine …
- Final exam: NSCAD student works, The Chronicle Herald – All of the works here, plus many others, will be in the annual NSCAD graduation exhibition, opening May 6 at Anna Leonowens Gallery on Granville Street and …
- AT THE GALLERIES: Little boy’s dream becomes big boy art, The Chronicle Herald
“I still stand up against the fence,” says the Halifax sculptor and part-time NSCAD University professor. He’s created a little (and big) boy’s dream …
- Sculptures plunge viewer into water lilies’ world, The Chronicle Herald – NSCAD Foundation professor Sarah Maloney got up close with the flowers in creating the seven works now at Studio 21.
- Runaway: where art and fashion strut their stuff, The Chronicle Herald – Two of the biggest fashion events in HRM — NSCAD’s Fashion Show and the Wearable Art Show — came together to share the same catwalk for …
- NSCAD Grads Show Off, The Coast – Among them are this year’s NSCAD graduates, who also invite you to take in their year of work at the NSCAD Graduation Exhibition 2013.
- Bruce MacKinnon, Martha Wilson to get honorary NSCAD degrees, The Chronicle Herald – The long-time political cartoonist will be awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree from Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University next month, …