Autumn update

It’s been awhile since I last made a post—so let’s get right to it.

So hard to decide! They were all so interesting.

Hungry Bowls

Students in the ceramics department did a terrific job with Hungry Bowls, the fundraiser in which you buy a bowl of delicious soup and get to take home the bowl. Approximately 250 people took in the event on Thursday, Oct. 25, many of whom bought extra bowls when they just couldn’t decide on one. More than $7,000 was raised for Adsum House and Hope Cottage. Many people need to be thanked for this wonderful event—the students, the staff and faculty, as well as the restaurants which so generously donated soup and bread.

Enrolment

After the usual fluctuation in enrolment numbers, I can now report the following: our full-time undergraduate has decreased by 26 students or -3.3 per cent. Our graduate enrolment has increased by two students (29 total) or +7.4 per cent. Our total full-time enrolment, undergraduate and graduate, stands at 797, which is 24 fewer students than last year, or a 2.9 per cent decrease.

Visa student enrolment presents a more positive picture. We registered 28 more students than last year or a 31.1 per cent increase which is the highest percentage increase in the Atlantic region. We now have 118 visa students at NSCAD.

Interestingly, our full-time first year enrolment is up by 16 students or 13.9 per cent. This increase is offset by a decrease in new transfer students—down 16 students.

Comparatively, NSCAD did relatively well this year. Undergraduate enrolment in the Atlantic region was virtually flat (.4 per cent increase). Seven universities recorded decreases with full-time students and eight regional universities recording decreases with part-time students. In both cases, NSCAD’s decreases were not the worst.

Of the 16 regional universities, only five universities recorded increases in full-time first-year enrolment—with NSCAD reporting the highest increase.

In summary, we missed some targets and exceeded others. In the months ahead, we will give priority to refining and increasing our recruitment efforts with the aim of reversing overall trends and expanding opportunities in areas in which we have experienced growth.

Framework for Sustainability

We are still awaiting decisions from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education on several fronts, including support for early retirement incentive funding; a cost/benefit study on affiliation with either Saint Mary’s University or Dalhousie; and a thorough space utilization study.

With luck, we should have clarification from the Province on these issues by early November.

Meetings

Over the past month, I have represented NSCAD at numerous meetings and events, notably CONSUP (Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents), AAU (Association of Atlantic Universities), AUCC (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada) and AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design). The latter meeting was very beneficial as I was able to learn of experiences and challenges facing art and design schools across the continent. I was particularly interested in an AICAD initiative which may have immediate benefit for NSCAD. AICAD is in the final stages of a rebranding and communications project which will advance the value of all art and design schools. While developed primarily for an American audience, I can see many applications to our efforts to revise and update our recruitment and communication materials.

Kudos

Range Light

NSCAD professor Kim Morgan won the Masterworks Art Award for Range Light, Borden-Carleton.

Several of our NSCAD faculty members and alumni did very well at the Creative Nova Scotia bash on Saturday, Oct. 27. Professor Kim Morgan, a sculptor and installation artist, won the big prize, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Art Award for her work of art, Range Light Borden-Carleton PEI. This incredible work is now on display as part of Oh, Canada at MASS MoCA in the U.S.; it was created in the summer of 2010 with the help of a crew of NSCAD students and is an actual latex cast of a decommissioned range light.

Other NSCAD alumni winners on Saturday include: Sandra Brownlee, an RPT appointee in Textiles/Fashion, receiving $3,000 as a finalist for the Masterworks Art Award; Sarah Maloney, who teaches part-time in NSCAD’s Foundation program, recognized with a $5,000 Established Artist Recognition Award; and Thom Fitzgerald, filmmaker and playwright, awarded the $18,000 Portia White Prize.

Rod McDonald and Hanno Ehses, who have both taught in NSCAD’s Design Division, have been recognized as fellows of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. Hanno is the former head of the design department and retired in 2010. Rod is a typeface designer who is currently travelling across the country giving a series of lectures on typography. He designed NSCAD’s fonts Granville and Duke.

Movie poster

Jason Buxton's debut feature Blackbird was also a winner at the Toronto and Vancouver filmfests.

Films Gravity and Grace by NSCAD prof. Sol Nagler and Blackbird by Jason Buxton were two of the big winners at the Atlantic Film Festival. Jason Buxton (BFA 2003), who cited the influence of the late Jerry Ferguson in an acceptance speech, won three awards – best director, best Atlantic feature, and best screenplay. Jeff Wheaton won for best cinematography for his work on Gravity and Grace.

Outstanding students Claudia Legg and Halley Davies and several faculty and staff members were honored during the NSCAD Welcome and Awards Reception, held Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the Port Campus. Claudia was recognized with the Lieutenant Governor’s Volunteerism Metal and Halley won the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence.

Wrapping up

As I close this blog entry, I would like to remind everyone of the fundraising campaigns in progress at this time—namely the 125 Challenge for the Annual Fund and the United Way campaign. Both campaigns are important and deserving of our collective attention.

Until next time,

Dan

Notes from the fourth floor

Greetings,

Welcome to my blog. I’ve never had one before but I thought this might be a good way to introduce myself and let you know what I’ve been up to since I arrived at NSCAD University about three weeks ago.

Did I say three weeks? The time has flown by as I’ve become more acquainted with ongoing issues at the university and met with stakeholders both on and off campus.

In saying hello, I must bid adieu to two important members of our NSCAD team: Laurelle LeVert, NSCAD’s Registrar and Director of Student Services, who is taking a position at the University of New Brunswick, and Tanja Harrison, University Librarian, who has already started at Mount Saint Vincent University. All the best to you both — you will be missed here at NSCAD!

There is, of course, one big file that is getting my attention and that is NSCAD’s Framework for Sustainability, which was prepared for the Department of Labour and Advanced Education at the end of March. In the coming days and weeks, I will be re-examining the plan in consultation with senior staff and the Board of Governors to decide how to proceed while we await the government’s official response. Some aspects, however, are already in play. You may notice that the university is getting some new tenants at the Granville campus; that is part of a plan to bring in new revenue by maximizing the campus’s rental potential.

I’ve arrived at a wonderful time for the university. NSCAD has been getting some terrific exposure in the media for two events in particular: Artist for a Day which happened on the Halifax waterfront on May 12 and the opening of Oh, Canada at MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, Mass., on May 26th weekend. I’ve heard nothing but raves for Artist for a Day, which turned into such a great family event for Halifax. No doubt some of the kids who had their hands in clay, hammed it up in front of the green screen or watched the steamroller press a print that day will be applying to become NSCAD students in a few years.

NSCAD should be justly proud of its representation in Oh, Canada, the largest exhibition of Canadian contemporary art north or south of the border in years. One-third of the artists and curators at the show have NSCAD connections—which speaks to the university’s incredible role in shaping generations of artists and critical thinkers.

“I remember when I was in college, in grad school, I remember hearing about this place called NSCAD,” said Oh, Canada curator Denise Markonish, in an interview with CBC Radio. “So when I started doing the show and I discovered it for myself, (I realized) what an amazing legacy this place has had. It’s unbelievable that a college like this exists that has bred generation after generation of phenomenal artists. I’m really proud of having all these NSCAD connections here.”

Linda Hutchison, director of University Relations, alumni & development, tells me it felt like old home week at MASS MoCA since there were so many familiar faces there, including alumni and faculty members past and present. I should mention that Linda was able to organize an alumni event during Oh, Canada’s opening weekend through the generosity of NSCAD board member Rob Dimitrieff (BFA 2003). A big thank you to Rob. I wasn’t able to make the opening myself, but the show will be up for almost a year so there’s plenty of time to make plans for a visit.

As for this blog, I hope to update it regularly and let you know what I’m up to. Throughout the summer, I hope to meet with faculty and staff in small groups to introduce myself and to find out more about the programs at NSCAD. I’ve got a lot to learn and I want to listen to what you say.

In the meantime, if you see me in the hall or in the elevator, please say hello. I’m the guy in the suit (at least until July). Or, come up to the fourth floor anytime. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Until next time,

Dan