An update on NSCAD's progress
March 12, 2012

Q. What is the current status of sustainability planning?

A. In January and February, three consultation groups focusing on academics, deficit reduction and facilities met several times and with broad representation. The recommendations that came out of these groups, in turn, were considered by the university’s Academic Council, Management Committee and the Space Utilization Committee. As well, a special task force of the Board of Governors called the Windsor Committee (comprised of Grant Machum, Ian Austen, Jim Mills, Julia Rivard, Rob Cameron, Paul Goodman, Kevin Latimer, Michael Donovan, and David B. Smith) has been meeting weekly.

Feedback from the consultations and the university’s internal advisory bodies was considered by senior management in drawing up a framework for sustainability. A draft of this framework, which addresses all recommendations in the Windsor report in order to ensure the short-term and long-term stability of the university, has been reviewed by the full Board of Governors and submitted to government.

Q. Who is involved in organizing the framework for sustainability?

Senior administration with the support of the Board's Windsor Committee are leading the process with input from a broad spectrum of people who are concerned about NSCAD’s future, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors and governors.

Q. What is the role of the provincial facilitator at this stage?

A. Dr. Dan O’Brien, appointed as a facilitator by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education in January, has been providing counsel at all stages of the process. As well, he has been giving monthly updates on the plan’s progress to Minister Marilyn More.

Q. How will David B. Smith’s resignation affect progress of the framework for sustainability?

A. David B. Smith's resignation takes effect May 15. Like all the senior managers at NSCAD—Sharon Johnson-Legere, Vice President Finance; John Mabley, Vice President University Relations; and James Moy, Vice President Academic and Provost—President Smith has been working diligently in shaping what is a very complex, multi-faceted framework that addresses NSCAD’s future in the short and long-term. He is firmly committed to working with the Board of Governors on delivering solid sustainability scenarios to the province in advance of the March 31 deadline.

Q. What are the plans for an interim successor to President Smith?

A. A committee of the Board of Governors has been set up to search for an interim president for the 2012–2013 academic year. Serving on that committee are Paul Goodman, board treasurer; Michael Donovan, chair; Grant Machum, vice-chair; and Matthew Reichertz, faculty representative.

In the meantime, David B. Smith continues in his role as NSCAD’s president.

A permanent president will be sought to assume duties starting in 2013.

Q. Besides David B. Smith, other members of the senior management team are also leaving. Are these departures related to NSCAD’s financial situation?

A. No. James Moy, Provost and Vice President Academic Affairs, has been at NSCAD since August 2009. He has resigned, effective May 16, to accept a position as the Dean of the College of Arts at the University of South Florida. John Mabley, Vice President, University Relations, has decided to retire after his current five-year contract ends in July.

Q. What is in the framework for sustainability?

The sustainability framework and its options delves into virtually every aspect of the university, including curriculum, fees, facilities, human resources and ancillary services. Every part of the university will be affected as the university restructures for a sustainable future.

Q. There are rumours throughout NSCAD that up to half of the classes currently offered will be cut. Is there any truth to them?

A. No, this is not true. That said, many classes at NSCAD now proceed even if they are under-enrolled and this practice has proven to be financially unsustainable. In the future, starting with the timetable for the 2012–2013 academic year, the plan is to combine historically under-enrolled multi-section offerings to guarantee full enrolment. Further, core courses which are under-enrolled will be offered less frequently, from once a semester to once a year. Adequate provision has been made in all areas and at all levels for students to be able to complete their degrees with a robust selection of course offerings.

Q. Another rumor circulating is that the Granville block is now being sold … fact or fiction?

A. Fiction. Because of commitments to federal and provincial funders that made substantial upgrades to the Granville Campus possible—including roof replacement, energy efficient lighting, natural gas conversion and façade restoration—NSCAD is obligated to retain the Granville Campus for at least another five years. Even with those improvements, there is much more that needs to be done to bring the campus up to current standards for educational facilities. Accessibility, for example, remains a major challenge at the historic campus. In the short term, NSCAD must take opportunistic advantage of the Granville Campus’s prime downtown location by offering spaces on the ground floor for rent. In the long run, the university may need to move from Granville in order to capitalize on pedagogical synergies that arise when programs are in closer proximity to each other.

Q. Are cuts the only part of the framework?

A. No, fundraising and investments in recruitment are key components of going forward. NSCAD has already seen improvements in fundraising through the Annual Fund campaign called NSCAD Now. In 2011–2012, donor participation in annual giving has increased by 20 per cent. This has been facilitated through a systematic five-year effort to improve record keeping; a re-energized alumni association; and a highly engaged development committee of the Board of Governors. Credit also goes to President David B. Smith in overseeing an unprecedented $8.4 million raised from private donations alone over the past six years.

Further, it is recognized the university’s ability to attract new students may have been hampered in the past few months. NSCAD hopes to devote a portion of privately raised funds to bolster recruitment efforts, particularly in international markets, and to strengthen resources for student support and scholarships.