Board briefs
April 8, 2013

Here are news items arising from the NSCAD Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, March 28.

Union agreements ratified 
The Board of Governors ratified the collective agreements reached with FUNSCAD Unit I, representing faculty and librarians, and FUNSCAD Unit II, representing technicians. Both agreements have also been ratified by their respective unions and are for three-year terms.

University finances 
NSCAD expects to end the fiscal year 2012-13 with a substantially reduced deficit. This represents significant improvement over the past two years as the university continues to work toward a balanced budget. When the 2012-13 operating budget was drawn up at this time last year, the deficit was projected at $1.2 million on a total budget of $18.6 million. A year previous, at the time of the Howard Windsor Report, the deficit was projected at $2.4 million.
Paul Goodman, the treasurer for the Board of Governors, reported better-than-expected revenues for the university, adding “management has been diligent in controlling the things they can control.” Other measures taken included: a three per cent tuition increase (approved by the province under the MOU for all Nova Scotia universities); the introduction in September of three student fees, which are standard at most other universities; decreased utility costs because of recent energy efficiency upgrades; a university-wide spending freeze; and the reduction of 50 to 55 classes as a result of dropping under-enrolled sections of the same courses and the development of a four-year timetable.

Report to the Province

In response to a request from the province, NSCAD President Dan O’Brien submitted a report to the province by the March 15 deadline. The report consisted of an update on the two studies now underway (one on affiliation and one on space utilization), a plan on the orderly retirement of debt and information on the debt’s history and background. NSCAD’s debt has been decreasing steadily through the payments being made and now stands at $17 million. 
For more information, please refer to the President’s Blog:

A new vision for NSCAD

Julia Rivard, the board’s vice chair, is leading the strategic planning process in order to formulate a long-term vision for a strong and united NSCAD. Julia, a NSCAD design grad, said the process should be unifying, inclusive, creative, useful and participatory with the aim of delivering a visioning document to the Board of Governors in the fall of 2013. She added she’d like to organize an in-depth week of visioning by university stakeholders, “bookended by two amazing speakers.”
Besides Julia, other members of the Strategic Planning Committee are: Ian Austen, Elizabeth Currie and Ross Cantwell from the board; faculty reps Marlene Ivey and Anna Sprague; students Sarah Trower and Gabby Beauchemin; Peter Wünsch from the NSCAD Alumni Assoc.; Kenn Honeychurch, Provost, VP Academic Affairs & Research; and ex officio member, President Dan O’Brien.

Presidential search

The Presidential Search Committee met last week to review candidates. Chair Grant Machum reported that the aim is for the new president to be in the job by September. In related news, the term for President Dan O’ Brien has been extended to September 2013 and the term for VP Academic Kenn Honeychurch to June 2014. 

Innovation funding

In recent days, the Province of Nova Scotia has announced funding through the Innovation Fund for collaborative projects. The $25-million fund was established in 2011 to help universities deliver high-quality education while exploring ways to reduce operating costs.

Among the successful projects are: 

  • A collaboration among Dalhousie, Mount Saint Vincent, NSCAD, and Saint Mary's on a personal and professional development program to match the skills of rural Nova Scotians with job opportunities;
  • A natural gas conversion project at NSCAD’s Academy Building;
  • A one-stop, online application portal allowing students to apply to multiple universities in Nova Scotia with just one form;
  • A national and international recruitment strategy for all universities. Until now, universities have competed for students. This project will encourage them to develop a national and international student recruitment strategy that will benefit all institutions.

New name

The Division of Historical and Critical Studies has been renamed. It is now officially the Division of Art History and Critical Studies.

The Board of Governors next meets on Thursday, April 18.