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Meet NSCAD’s new ombudsperson, Jude Gerrard

Jude Gerrard

NSCAD has its first-ever ombudsperson. Jude Gerrard has been hired on a two-year contract for the new position.

As ombudsperson, Gerrard will provide mediation and negotiation services in cases of conflict with university personnel. He will report to the president, and in his role as an advocate, he is mandated to act impartially, confidentially, and independently on behalf of students, faculty, and staff. He will also play a leadership role in advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) at NSCAD.

Gerrard is currently the Chief Diversity Officer and Education Consultant with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and will begin his new role at NSCAD University on August 7.

NSCAD President Peggy Shannon says she is overjoyed that Gerrard has agreed to take on this new role.

“After speaking with many students and faculty this past year, we universally identified the need for an ombudsperson at NSCAD. Jude’s experience in this field is second to none, and he is exactly who we need to be an independent and impartial advocate for our students and to develop a culture that values diversity.

On behalf of NSCAD, I warmly welcome him and look forward to working closely with Jude to advance initiatives that promote a safe and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff.”

“I have been an educator my whole life, and the post-secondary realm is where I feel most at home. I am excited to help create a NSCAD that is culturally and psychologically safe for everyone,” says Gerrard. “Over recent years there has been an increase in hate, intolerance and supremacy ideologies sweeping democracies globally and we need to take a stand. Students and staff have a right to learn, and teach, in an environment that allows all to succeed to their full potential.”

NSCAD can become a place where the global art community can thrive, and intergenerational knowledge can be passed down in a safe, brave space, says Gerrard.

He notes, “This will not happen overnight, but anything worth doing is worth the time and effort it takes. As Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada stated, ‘Healing is a migration, it begins slowly, softly, and carefully.”

About Jude Gerrard

Jude was born in Sheet Harbour and is a member of the Millbrook First Nation. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance/HR) degree from St. Mary’s University, a Bachelor of Education degree from Acadia University, and is in the process of completing his Master of Education in Equity and Social Justice degree at Acadia. 

He has worked for several federal departments including the RCMP, Correctional Services Canada, and Veteran’s Affairs. He has also worked for many departments within the Nova Scotia public service, including Education and Early Childhood Education, (where he helped established Treaty Education in Nova Scotia) Communities Culture and Heritage, and the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives, where he helped with Canada’s first Equity and Anti-racism legislation.

Jude has worked at a number of post-secondary institutions in Nova Scotia and served on the National Indigenous Education Advisory Committee for Colleges and Institutions Canada. He has been a speaker at national and international conferences on systemic oppression and racial identity. He has trained with international equity leaders in Cultural Proficiency, Cultural Humility, and was the first Canadian to be trained as a facilitator in Beyond Diversity2, Courageous Conversations about Race, and received an Award of Recognition from the Pacific Educational Group for his work in reducing the achievement gap for First Nation and African Canadian students.

Most recently he received his Certified Diversity Executive designation from the Institute for Diversity Certification in Indianapolis, Indiana and was the first Mi’kmaq employee to be awarded the NS Premier’s Award of Excellence.

Gerrard also has an active artistic practice, and his painted drums are on display in collections across Canada, the United States, and Italy.