Feb. 24-28: cultural shifts and cultural community at OCAD U

Icon for on the agenda

We’re now in the post-Study Week home stretch, where the collective mood of the campus shifts as we all realize we only have about six weeks of classes left! On my agenda this week:

  • A group of staff and Student Union types are getting together to finalize a new set of guidelines for planning accessible events at OCAD U that we’ve been working on for some time. The goal here is not merely to meet legislative requirements but to demonstrate OCAD U’s leadership in inclusivity for people with disabilities by making sure that all of our events are accessible. What does that mean?  Well, you’ll notice more and more that we have sign language interpreters and even real time captioning at our major events. We try to have any print materials at the event available in other formats. And we make sure there’s a mechanism for anyone planning to attend an event to let us know ahead of time where they might need a particular accommodation. We’re far from perfect – it really takes a culture shift to make these kinds of details part of routine business – but we are well on our way.
  • OCAD U’s Board of Governors meets Monday, February 24 with a heavy agenda including, of most interest to students, the annual setting of tuition fees for both graduate and undergraduate, domestic and international students.  Though I am not a member of the Board, I usually attend and am often asked to provide background on specific student-related issues, which I will on Monday.Promo for Cultural Community Expo
  • Tuesday is shaping up to be an awesome day with our first ever Cultural Community Expo. If you’re serious about a career in the visual arts, you’ll want to attend as much of this day as possible. Our career development folks have put together a fantastic line-up of collectors, dealers, gallerists and community organizations to give you real insight into how the professional art world works.
  • At the same time, I’ll be pilot testing a new training program we’ve developed for faculty on Identifying and Supporting Students in Distress, part of our campus-wide mental health strategy.
  • Later in the week, I attend the Steering Committee for Project Chroma, which is probably the single most important project going on in the University right now. It’s a massive renewal of our information systems infrastructure, including….the student registration system! Can’t come soon enough, I know. But there’s a team quietly working away down in 205 Richmond on configuring the new system which will significantly improve service to students in the future.
  • Saturday is one of my favourite events: the launch of our annual publication for First Generation students — students who are the first in their family to attend higher education. This year’s publication is called Forum and I had the honour of writing the introduction (I was a first gen student myself.) We gather to celebrate the launch at Xpace on Saturday afternoon.

Hope to see you at one or more of these events — or at the Mission Burrito line-up 😉