I offer a warm welcome back to returning and new members of the OCAD University community.  We have a strong vision and mission, developed through deep consultation and it is a wonderful time to recall these words:

“Transformed by Imaginations: OCAD University challenges you to audaciously and responsibly pursue the questions of our time through the powerful interplay of art, design, the social sciences, humanities, and the sciences.”  Let’s be proud of the many accomplishments of our university, celebrate our past and our strong independence and move forward courageously and together in a time of change and challenge in the world around us and at home. 

Our vision is a call for an interdisciplinary institution, which as our mission points out must be grounded in critical studio practices and research and in action on reconciliation and the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge.  Our mission statements emphasize the importance of building community; of nurturing diversity and resilience in the context of Indigenous voices and cultures; of seeking and responding to the questions of our time as transformative agents; and finally of engaging with materials, data, technologies, ideas and pedagogy through research, studio practice and learning.  The vision and mission, and our 2017 academic plan and 2018 research plans lay the ongoing foundation for our institutional strategy.

This year we face significant fiscal challenges, propelling a need to address structural issues in how we deliver our studio education and find efficiencies while continuing to seek new resources.  Before I outline these challenges, let’s celebrate the many successes of 2018-19 in achieving our strategic directions.  We welcomed significant numbers of new faculty last year, including an Indigenous faculty cluster of 5 new members, and we continued our priority program in hiring racialized and Indigenous faculty, staff and administrators. Overall, admissions website traffic increased more than 40 per cent versus 2017-18. These large increases and the efforts of our recruitment team translated into upturns in applications including an 18 per cent increase in first choice undergraduate applications. Our undergraduate enrolment is bouncing back and our graduate numbers continue to grow. We see the expansion of international interest in OCAD U across a wide set of regions and countries (Latin America, USA, Asia, and the Middle East).

Great overall progress is occurring with our Academic Plan implementation, including the creation of a “wholistic curriculum” model that integrates Indigenous methodologies.  The “Digital Human Connection” partnership with the Ontario Technology University will result in increased opportunities for our students to engage in STEM and theirs to engage in Art and Design learning. The promotion of courses that our respective students can enroll in is a step in this direction. The partnership includes conference collaborations, workshops, job fairs, research collaboration and possible joint program or even capital development. Provost and VP Academic Dr. Caroline Langill began Flow: Curricular Transformation that will emphasize interdisciplinary opportunities, sustain quality and address fiscal challenges.

Our recruitment team analyzed programs that provide language training in the GTA, which help international students to achieve the required English Language scores (such as TOFL). OCAD U launched its own program late this spring and it will grow this coming year. We have created the Student Wellness Centre as OCAD U's one stop shop for student accessibility, counselling, sexual violence and health programs and services.

We have supported the growth in per faculty research funding and grant success, with $33,055/per fulltime faculty achieved and more faculty than ever before involved in research. Last year saw the planning for redistribution of laboratory resources and a PR campaign “This is Research” which shows the breadth of research, including Research-Creation at the university, and presence within CRAM (the GTA research festival

2018-19 was a landmark year in capital development. We opened the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, the revitalized George Reid building and the “Campus for the Connected World” waterfront campus in the Daniels City of the Arts. Tremendous effort went into the “Creative City Campus”, including all of the planning, decanting and financing efforts for the integrated and revitalized Fabrication Studios and Ada Slaight Studios, and progress on the program for the 50,000 square foot extension of 100 McCaul Street. The new Fabrication Studios will open in January of 2020. An expanded Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers now occupies the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, better supporting a strengthened experiential learning program, and a rethought Imagination Catalyst (our incubator) with a focus on OCAD U graduates. Planning for the Great Gulf Gehry Section 37 on King Street West has restarted, with commitments to include OCAD U’s 25,000 square feet in the first tower. 

OCAD U’s expanded Indigenous Education Council now has a broader ability to contribute to academic and institutional planning and to local and regional partnerships. Our Board of Governors has recruited new members and like our Senate is made up of deeply committed active volunteers. 

OCAD U CO provided an intensive five-week process in which a nominated group of cross-sectoral employees developed ideas that would strengthen OCAD U’s working environment.  These will now be implemented.

Last year continued to build on Onsite’s successes from its launch in September, 2017.  Two exhibitions were cited as the top ten in 2018; exhibitions won numerous awards; grant and donor success grew, and an engaged advisory/fund-raising committee was established.  On the policy front we have worked with the City of Toronto to update its public arts practices, and with Heritage Canada to add Design to its mandate.  During 2018/19, OCAD University launched the inaugural Canadian Heritage-OCAD U Public Servant in Residence (PSIR). In advance of many Canadian universities and of its sister organizations in the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) OCAD U has adopted and is implementing an ESG framework for its endowment investment practices. 

We continue to work towards diversifying our income. Development & Alumni Relations raised $2.5m in new revenues last year.  DAR, Research, Continuing Studies, and lease income all contributed to our operating budget. We opened OCAD U CO in the Daniel’s City of the Arts on the waterfront which will generate a profit to support the university over time by delivering executive education and design thinking support to clients. A plan for expanding Continuing Studies is underway.

This leads us to the 2019-20 year. We are striving to achieve a balanced budget and the effort to do so is extremely challenging and has required significant sacrifices. We must find $7.5 million through a combination of cuts, efficiencies, enrolment growth and new revenues. Our budget challenge is the result of an accumulated deficit, uneven year over year enrolment, the impacts of the 10% tuition cuts, implementation of our important Memorandum of Agreement with OCADFA beginning this year, and our ongoing structural fiscal challenge in delivering our current model of studio-based education. Collaborative working groups throughout the university are examining our systems and looking at further savings and revenue sources. The Flow: Curricular Transformation project includes a wide range of academic colleagues and will be critical for our ongoing sustainability.  I thank all of those at OCAD U striving to find solutions to our current challenges. 

The Ontario government has defined a series of criteria that will form the basis of our next Strategic Mandate agreement which governs our performance and funding as an institution. An increasing percentage of our core funding will be based on achieving ten metrics within this agreement. We will be measured against our own performance in areas such as student graduation rates; the success for our students in finding jobs after graduation; the salary ranges of alumni; research funding achieved; work-integrated learning opportunities, etc. We will enter the negotiations for our Strategic Mandate 3 (SMA3) in the next months and will share our goals and strategy with the larger OCAD U community, in meetings with Senate, academic community and Board of Governors.  We will need to be aware of these metrics as we reshape our curriculum.

In my last year as president my priorities are 1) to raise funds in partnership with our Chancellor, supportive volunteers, Development team and our Office of Research; 2) to continue our campaign with government to retrieve some elements of capital funding and operating budget support and negotiate our next Strategic Mandate Agreement, and to work with both federal and municipal governments for funding and policy support; 3) to continue to strengthen our recruiting efforts and investment in student retention; 4) to support our ongoing efforts in capital planning; 5) to ensure effective fiscal planning while strengthening new forms of revenue (OCAD U CO and Continuing Studies); 6) to support the academic planning that is underway; 7) and to assist in planning presidential transition. VP Academic and Provost Dr. Caroline Langill is leading a considered analysis of our current curriculum, grounded in our academic plan, with the goals of creating new ways to deliver quality curriculum, maximizing the promise of the current MoA (which equalizes workload between faculties), implementing interdisciplinarity and achieving effective savings without sacrificing quality.  I thank all of those who are working closely with her to achieve these positive goals.

OCAD University is now 144 years old. We are a resilient institution. We will find the means to build the new infrastructure that we need to better support our students and drive positive change. We will raise more philanthropic and public dollars, create new sources of income, and continue to effectively manage expenditures. We will have a positive and lasting impact on culture, economy, and society in Toronto, Ontario and far beyond. Our students thrive, love the institution and as alumni, build successful careers and lives because of their education, talent and skills.  I hope to help us stay clear-sighted and work collaboratively to address the challenges and celebrate our successes over the year to come.  Have a wonderful 2019-20 year.

Date: 
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 11:47am
Constituency: 
OCAD University
2018-19 in Review & Welcome from President Diamond
Tuesday September 3rd, 2019

I offer a warm welcome back to returning and new members of the OCAD University community.  We have a strong vision and mission, developed through deep consultation and it is a wonderful time to recall these words:

“Transformed by Imaginations: OCAD University challenges you to audaciously and responsibly pursue the questions of our time through the powerful interplay of art, design, the social sciences, humanities, and the sciences.”  Let’s be proud of the many accomplishments of our university, celebrate our past and our strong independence and move forward courageously and together in a time of change and challenge in the world around us and at home. 

Our vision is a call for an interdisciplinary institution, which as our mission points out must be grounded in critical studio practices and research and in action on reconciliation and the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge.  Our mission statements emphasize the importance of building community; of nurturing diversity and resilience in the context of Indigenous voices and cultures; of seeking and responding to the questions of our time as transformative agents; and finally of engaging with materials, data, technologies, ideas and pedagogy through research, studio practice and learning.  The vision and mission, and our 2017 academic plan and 2018 research plans lay the ongoing foundation for our institutional strategy.

This year we face significant fiscal challenges, propelling a need to address structural issues in how we deliver our studio education and find efficiencies while continuing to seek new resources.  Before I outline these challenges, let’s celebrate the many successes of 2018-19 in achieving our strategic directions.  We welcomed significant numbers of new faculty last year, including an Indigenous faculty cluster of 5 new members, and we continued our priority program in hiring racialized and Indigenous faculty, staff and administrators. Overall, admissions website traffic increased more than 40 per cent versus 2017-18. These large increases and the efforts of our recruitment team translated into upturns in applications including an 18 per cent increase in first choice undergraduate applications. Our undergraduate enrolment is bouncing back and our graduate numbers continue to grow. We see the expansion of international interest in OCAD U across a wide set of regions and countries (Latin America, USA, Asia, and the Middle East).

Great overall progress is occurring with our Academic Plan implementation, including the creation of a “wholistic curriculum” model that integrates Indigenous methodologies.  The “Digital Human Connection” partnership with the Ontario Technology University will result in increased opportunities for our students to engage in STEM and theirs to engage in Art and Design learning. The promotion of courses that our respective students can enroll in is a step in this direction. The partnership includes conference collaborations, workshops, job fairs, research collaboration and possible joint program or even capital development. Provost and VP Academic Dr. Caroline Langill began Flow: Curricular Transformation that will emphasize interdisciplinary opportunities, sustain quality and address fiscal challenges.

Our recruitment team analyzed programs that provide language training in the GTA, which help international students to achieve the required English Language scores (such as TOFL). OCAD U launched its own program late this spring and it will grow this coming year. We have created the Student Wellness Centre as OCAD U's one stop shop for student accessibility, counselling, sexual violence and health programs and services.

We have supported the growth in per faculty research funding and grant success, with $33,055/per fulltime faculty achieved and more faculty than ever before involved in research. Last year saw the planning for redistribution of laboratory resources and a PR campaign “This is Research” which shows the breadth of research, including Research-Creation at the university, and presence within CRAM (the GTA research festival

2018-19 was a landmark year in capital development. We opened the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, the revitalized George Reid building and the “Campus for the Connected World” waterfront campus in the Daniels City of the Arts. Tremendous effort went into the “Creative City Campus”, including all of the planning, decanting and financing efforts for the integrated and revitalized Fabrication Studios and Ada Slaight Studios, and progress on the program for the 50,000 square foot extension of 100 McCaul Street. The new Fabrication Studios will open in January of 2020. An expanded Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers now occupies the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, better supporting a strengthened experiential learning program, and a rethought Imagination Catalyst (our incubator) with a focus on OCAD U graduates. Planning for the Great Gulf Gehry Section 37 on King Street West has restarted, with commitments to include OCAD U’s 25,000 square feet in the first tower. 

OCAD U’s expanded Indigenous Education Council now has a broader ability to contribute to academic and institutional planning and to local and regional partnerships. Our Board of Governors has recruited new members and like our Senate is made up of deeply committed active volunteers. 

OCAD U CO provided an intensive five-week process in which a nominated group of cross-sectoral employees developed ideas that would strengthen OCAD U’s working environment.  These will now be implemented.

Last year continued to build on Onsite’s successes from its launch in September, 2017.  Two exhibitions were cited as the top ten in 2018; exhibitions won numerous awards; grant and donor success grew, and an engaged advisory/fund-raising committee was established.  On the policy front we have worked with the City of Toronto to update its public arts practices, and with Heritage Canada to add Design to its mandate.  During 2018/19, OCAD University launched the inaugural Canadian Heritage-OCAD U Public Servant in Residence (PSIR). In advance of many Canadian universities and of its sister organizations in the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) OCAD U has adopted and is implementing an ESG framework for its endowment investment practices. 

We continue to work towards diversifying our income. Development & Alumni Relations raised $2.5m in new revenues last year.  DAR, Research, Continuing Studies, and lease income all contributed to our operating budget. We opened OCAD U CO in the Daniel’s City of the Arts on the waterfront which will generate a profit to support the university over time by delivering executive education and design thinking support to clients. A plan for expanding Continuing Studies is underway.

This leads us to the 2019-20 year. We are striving to achieve a balanced budget and the effort to do so is extremely challenging and has required significant sacrifices. We must find $7.5 million through a combination of cuts, efficiencies, enrolment growth and new revenues. Our budget challenge is the result of an accumulated deficit, uneven year over year enrolment, the impacts of the 10% tuition cuts, implementation of our important Memorandum of Agreement with OCADFA beginning this year, and our ongoing structural fiscal challenge in delivering our current model of studio-based education. Collaborative working groups throughout the university are examining our systems and looking at further savings and revenue sources. The Flow: Curricular Transformation project includes a wide range of academic colleagues and will be critical for our ongoing sustainability.  I thank all of those at OCAD U striving to find solutions to our current challenges. 

The Ontario government has defined a series of criteria that will form the basis of our next Strategic Mandate agreement which governs our performance and funding as an institution. An increasing percentage of our core funding will be based on achieving ten metrics within this agreement. We will be measured against our own performance in areas such as student graduation rates; the success for our students in finding jobs after graduation; the salary ranges of alumni; research funding achieved; work-integrated learning opportunities, etc. We will enter the negotiations for our Strategic Mandate 3 (SMA3) in the next months and will share our goals and strategy with the larger OCAD U community, in meetings with Senate, academic community and Board of Governors.  We will need to be aware of these metrics as we reshape our curriculum.

In my last year as president my priorities are 1) to raise funds in partnership with our Chancellor, supportive volunteers, Development team and our Office of Research; 2) to continue our campaign with government to retrieve some elements of capital funding and operating budget support and negotiate our next Strategic Mandate Agreement, and to work with both federal and municipal governments for funding and policy support; 3) to continue to strengthen our recruiting efforts and investment in student retention; 4) to support our ongoing efforts in capital planning; 5) to ensure effective fiscal planning while strengthening new forms of revenue (OCAD U CO and Continuing Studies); 6) to support the academic planning that is underway; 7) and to assist in planning presidential transition. VP Academic and Provost Dr. Caroline Langill is leading a considered analysis of our current curriculum, grounded in our academic plan, with the goals of creating new ways to deliver quality curriculum, maximizing the promise of the current MoA (which equalizes workload between faculties), implementing interdisciplinarity and achieving effective savings without sacrificing quality.  I thank all of those who are working closely with her to achieve these positive goals.

OCAD University is now 144 years old. We are a resilient institution. We will find the means to build the new infrastructure that we need to better support our students and drive positive change. We will raise more philanthropic and public dollars, create new sources of income, and continue to effectively manage expenditures. We will have a positive and lasting impact on culture, economy, and society in Toronto, Ontario and far beyond. Our students thrive, love the institution and as alumni, build successful careers and lives because of their education, talent and skills.  I hope to help us stay clear-sighted and work collaboratively to address the challenges and celebrate our successes over the year to come.  Have a wonderful 2019-20 year.

OCAD University
Concrete Repairs - Village By The Grange - Starting Oct 21st
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Water shut off - 49 McCaul & 51 McCaul - October 9th, 2019
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Kevin Holiday, 2017 Artist Project Recipient on stage with pink and yellow banner behind
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