It is a great pleasure to welcome incoming and returning undergraduate and graduate OCAD University students to the University of the Imagination in our 140th year, 2016-17. Your future is precious and we appreciate your trust in OCAD University. Students are the heart and soul of OCAD University. You join a community of talented and committed faculty, staff and alumni.
On behalf of OCAD University I acknowledge the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaune, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand.
OCAD University is now in our 140th year as an institution. We have been and remain a leader in art and design education, creative practice and research, combining rich and varied studio learning with contextual and historical knowledge from the humanities and the sciences. For all of those years we have been a hotbed of creative production and practices; every pocket of art and design, media companies and galleries in Toronto and around the world are filled with our fantastic alumni. Art and design knowledge can be applied to every walk of life. Our alumni are also scientists, health researchers, financial analysts, curators, architects, business leaders, politicians and planners. You will join these ranks!
The combined power of design thinking, artistic creativity, out-of-the box imagination and the ability to make tangible – to prototype and build – is needed as never before in our complex world. OCAD University believes that artists and designers are inventors who can address the grand challenges of our world such as environmental sustainability, health and social justice. Design can imagine the means to provide home care for the elderly that surrounds them with a caring communication system through our growing focus on design for health. Art can be a force for non-violence, helping communities to find a voice.
We hold a passionate belief in diversity. We welcome students here from all over the world, whether as international (9% undergraduate or 23% graduate) and mobility students, and as members of the fantastic breadth of cosmopolitan communities in Toronto. Culture in our age is truly global and as artists, designers, media makers, curators and change-makers we will only be successful if we play on the world stage and reach the vastly diverse markets growing around us. We have a great study abroad program – please take advantage of it.
Graduate Studies is of great importance to OCAD University. It reinforces and empowers our position as a university, an equal with our peers. OCAD University has worked hard to carve a space that combines graduate learning, leading edge thinking, theory and research with exemplary practice. Our seven programs are particularly notable because all have an interdisciplinary edge and spirit to them – both within their individual design and in the context of the overall graduate school. Our offerings of a variety of niche graduate degrees is a unique and special position within Canadian and international art and design schools and comprehensive universities.
We are a small community – whether you are from Toronto or out of town adjusting to campus life will be new and at times a challenge, whether in first year or later years. Please build community. We have wonderful campus work-study opportunities, a terrific Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers with career advice, work-study opportunities, research assistance positions, jobs and internships.
Here are some highlights from that are of value to OCAD University students:
- The new Student Services Centre of the 5th and 6th floors of 230 Richmond W. now puts in one convenient location: Financial Aid & Awards, Registrar, Campus Life, International Student Services, Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives, Health & Wellness and the Student Union. One flight up, on floor 7, is the Finance office and Cashier.
- Later this fall, we’ll be introducing a new convenient system for paying for materials in the shops.
- We’re continually adding institutions to our already impressive list of international exchange destinations. As you move towards your third year, consider spending a semester in another country to challenge yourself and broaden your network.
- OCAD University achieved a commitment of $27 million for our Creative City Campus renewal and new build from the Government of Ontario. We have also achieved federal government investment (not yet announced) and significant philanthropic support to make this project a reality. This contribution will change the corner of Dundas and McCaul Street. Student Services have consolidated and moved with our Student Union to 230 Richmond Street West. In 2018 we will open our Campus for the Connected World on Toronto’s waterfront. We need student engagement in the planning process.
- Print services has upgraded significantly and moved to 51 McCaul Street – providing better support to students.
- We began 24/7 access to 100 McCaul last year for non-workshop spaces, and will extend this to 115 McCaul this year, better supporting commuter and working students.
- OCAD University continues to grow our Campus Linked Accelerator offering business counselling to students, faculty and Alumni and our very dynamic Imagination Catalyst.
- We are creating a refreshed Academic plan led by our provost Dr. Gillian Siddall. This is an exciting moment for us as we consider past success, our larger context and look towards our academic future. We encourage students to engage in this planning process.
- We have undertaken significant upgrades to our graduate spaces at 205 Richmond Street West to better support Design for Health, our new GS program, IAMD studios and students, Graduate Studies and Research offices, and create better access to classrooms on lower floors.
- I have office hours every month where you can share your hopes and dreams with me for your own careers and research and the school so watch for these on our campus schedule.
Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor