Report to Windsor from SUNSCAD

Notes from the Student Union of NSCAD University for Howard Windsor                                            

October 17, 2011

C/O the office of the Deputy Minister of Labour and Advanced Education

The following are comments and recommendations made by representatives of the Student Union of NSCAD University in the October 13 meeting with Howard Windsor, Deputy Minister Ferguson and Minister More. This is neither an exhaustive list nor a formal submission to Mr. Windsor and students look forward to further input through the process.

NSCAD University’s international reputation stems from the quality of our diverse and unique programs. The university prides itself on small class sizes, interdisciplinary majors, 24-hour-access to facilities and renowned faculty which all contribute to the university’s national appeal.

Student are not prepared to accept recommendations to reduce course offerings, raise tuition, ancillary and auxiliary fees, to prioritize specific departments over others or cut programming overall. It is crucial that students are not held financially responsible for preexisting financial problems. It is also critical that this report maintains the quality of each department at NSCADU and does not compromise NSCADU’s academic integrity in any way.

We understand that addressing NSCADU’s financial situation requires a strategic plan of action, however we do not see rationalization (that is merging with another institution) as a feasible option or a solution. Merging with a larger institution would negatively affect many aspects of the university. In Tim O’Neil’s report, released last year, the recommendation to amalgamate only addressed the design department’s potential compatibility with Dalhousie University’s architecture program, but failed to recognize how it would impact NSCADU’s entire culture. When touring through NSCADU it becomes apparent that our facilities are integral to the quality of education that students seek when applying to a fine arts program. Furthermore, there has, to our knowledge, been no proof that amalgamating institutions (as was done with Dalhousie University and TUNS) creates significant cost efficiencies.

Students have expressed many concerns in regards to rationalization including but not limited to:

– The impact on the credibility of the institution and the university’s national appeal and ability to attract out of province students.

– Increases to tuition, ancillary and auxiliary fees.

– Larger class sizes.

– The loss of 24/7 access to studios.

– The loss of comfortable and functional space for students.

– The loss of an independent and autonomous SUNSCAD.

– Allocation of money between Dalhousie and NSCADU.

– The impact on NSCADU’s sister universities.

– Losing the benefits that come with being a student at a small institution and being treated more like a number than a student.

– Not actually addressing the debt problem.

– Concerns about what will happen to our library and slide collection.

– Losing faculty, staff and administrative positions as well as losing the ability to have separate governing bodies (ie the Board of Governors).

Positions and Recommendations

Thus far these are recommendations that SUNSCAD would like Mr. Windsor to investigate or take into consideration during his review of NSCAD University:

-There should be no increases to tuition, ancillary and auxiliary fees.

-The university should perform an audit of senior administration costs.

-The university should undertake an energy audit of each campus.

-The university should improve relations with NSCAD alumni and contact alumni for financial support i.e. NSCAD Now Project.

-The university should take initiative to find responsible alternative fundraising solutions.

-The province should work with the universities to establish standardized financial reporting to increase transparency and accountability.

It is important that students are directly informed upon completion of this report. Students recognize that it is necessary to review NSCADU’s current operations. We ask that you consider options that take in to account all perspectives, including the perspective of students. NSCADU students look forward to further consultations with Mr. Windsor in regards to his report and, as discussed in the meeting, look forward to seeing a draft of the report far in advance of it being released to the public and the media.

For more information please contact:

Robyn Touchie

SUNSCAD President


3 Comments on “Report to Windsor from SUNSCAD”

  1. Jane says:

    Our world needs the arts – without it our world would be a blank canvas & soundless & there would be no drama!

  2. Michael says:

    Unfortunately this is an all to common situation you are facing. One that only escalates over time. The bean counters have taken over the world. We still need to have a spawning ground for developing minds. Without original thoughts, without creativity we would be stuck, not going forward setting trends and resolving problems. I pride myself as being a creative problem solver. The pertains to art to cooking to business to a building project. Educating the mind to be creative is the most important way you can produce leaders.

    When I was in University they wanted to take away 24 hour access as well. Being on a makeshift committee we approched the dean and found out their major concern was saftey of equipment. The issue was resolved with…new equipment. Yes I understand the dollars and cents of 24 hour access, surely it costs more but their concern was over faulty gear. Generally the arts community is usually the first to go when talking about financial problem solving, yet it is the arts that allow people to see the world differently. When we challenge the norm, when we force people to think, we all grow and develop new ideas and challenge our way of doing things. This is advancement, this is growing this is living. The arts are about stimulation, evoking a response and entertainment. We need to support the next generation of creative thinkers to help the rest of the people break their molds and start to think for them selves.

    NASCAD is one of the institutions for the artist that needs to survive on its own and not be engulfed by a larger non arts based University. It will loose its edge and in time the program will become less about fine art. We need these students to be able to think with their like minded peers. 

    To affiliate with a university and share the academic liberal arts courses does make sense. To transport a whole community

  3. Rochelle Surette says:

    I attended Dal’s architecture program and the building is just big enough for the students they currently have. The education I received was lacking due to over worked teachers and enormous class sizes. I hope this will not be the future of NSCAD. This why I am attending NSCAD now.

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