NSCAD delivers 'Framework for Sustainability'
March 30, 2012

NSCAD University’s Framework for Sustainability has been delivered to Marilyn More, Minister of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

“We have delivered on time and responded to all eight recommendations made by Howard Windsor in his report, A Time to Act,” says David B. Smith, president of NSCAD University. “The university is open to further discussions with the province on all elements contained within the document.”

Many cost-saving measures are in the process of being implemented. In regard to classes and scheduling, the university is tightening its timetable by combining multi-section offerings and offering core courses which are under-enrolled less frequently. Other initiatives to help NSCAD move towards a balanced budget include: administrative restructuring; an expense freeze; an increased rental footprint at the Granville campus; the introduction of student fees that are commonplace at other universities; and workforce contraction due to attrition and fewer part-time positions. Some cost saving measures will be dependent on decisions of the province.

Collaboration was a major theme of the Howard Windsor Report and the university has made significant progress in this area. Proposed collaborations include jointly offered core courses, electives, online classes and full programs between NSCAD and post-secondary institutions including Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, University of King’s College and Nova Scotia Community College. Further announcements will be made as plans are firmed up.

“What is paramount for us in exploring collaborations with the other universities is in finding out how can we better serve our students,” says Prof. Smith.

Early indications are that NSCAD’s enrolments for Fall 2012 are healthy—a vote of confidence in the quality of programs offered at NSCAD. The Framework for Sustainability includes investments—made possible through the generosity of donors—to bolster recruitment efforts. The goal is to boost enrolment by 10 per cent over the next five years. Another positive development has been the university’s recent success in fundraising. In particular, NSCAD has seen strengthened support from its alumni base.

Moving forward, NSCAD is firmly committed to continue its review of programs on an ongoing basis and to embark on an in-depth space utilization study, which will look at campus consolidation to gain operational efficiencies and academic synergies.

“Throughout this process, we sought to protect the core programming that NSCAD has built its stellar reputation on,” says Michael Donovan, Chair of NSCAD’s Board of Governors. “We feel the Framework for Sustainability represents a balanced, multi-faceted approach that includes economies, investments and opportunities for revenue generation.”

Assembling an ambitious plan and getting it to the provincial government on time impresses Dr. O’Brien, who was appointed by Minister More as facilitator to NSCAD in January. Over the past three months, he has been acting as an advisor and updating the government on NSCAD’s progress.

“I was made to feel extraordinarily welcome and that made my role easy,” says Dr. O’Brien. “Everyone invested their energy and imagination in the task at hand.”