Staff honoured for their commitment to students

Andre De Freitas with OCAD U President Sara Diamond.

June is a super rewarding month when you work at OCAD University. First, there’s the pure joy in  celebrating our newest grads as they cross the stage at convocation, completing their years-long journey at the university. Later in June, we get to recognize the hard work and commitment of our fellow employees at our annual Employee Appreciation celebration.

This year, several staff from the Student Affairs portfolio — and staff who work closely with students outside of Student Affairs — were recognized with honours.

Andre De Freitas, Manager, Financial Aid & Awards
BLG Employee Equity Award
Over his four years at OCAD U, Andre has become a member of the Admission’s, Recruitment and Retention committee, and a member of the University’s Board of Governors. Using these forums, he has made an ongoing and significant contribution to practices, programs and policies that aim to support equity, inclusivity and transparency as it concerns student success and the distribution of financial aid resources.

“Andre is a committed advocate of universal access and believes that any person who wants to pursue post-secondary education in Ontario should do so without limits,” said his colleague Kelly Dickinson, OCAD U’s Student Advising Manager.

This dedicated and passionate approach to student success has led Andre to champion various initiatives across the university including the development of bursaries aimed at supporting equal opportunity for students with disabilities, and students from different cultural or socio-economic backgrounds who hope to join OCAD U, but who may not have the resources to do so. He has also championed an awards management system with the goal of promoting accessibility to financial aid resources for students, especially to those students who are under-represented and may face a magnitude of financial barriers when choosing to pursue post-secondary education.

The team behind the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers: Zev Farber, Myles Collier and Serena Lee.

The team behind the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers: Zev Farber, Miles Collyer and Serena Lee.

Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (Zev Farber, Serena Lee & Miles Collyer)
Advancing Excellence Team Award
The staff who make up OCAD U’s CEAD team are dedicated to ‘advancing experience’ — specifically the OCAD U student experience — one of the four pillars of the university’s strategic plan. Their work supports students in many facets of career development, including organizing niche networking events and career fairs that truly provide students and grads with invaluable opportunities to collaborate with industry professionals and explore specialized, innovative and entrepreneurial employment opportunities.

The CEAD adopts a collaborative and integrated model, in which they work with faculty members and program chairs in the curriculum planning and execution of courses like Cross-disciplinary Professional Practice within the Faculty of Art, a course that aims to bridge class content and the professional activity.

All initiatives carried out by CEAD have the sound objective of creating a platform to develop strong professional relationships between OCAD U grads/alumni and external partners. This has included introducing exhibition awards, inter-university conferences and other initiatives, such as the ‘Hang At Home’ professional dinner series for senior students and external partners, which aims to support students in building meaningful relationships in the arts community.

Sandra Barnes of the Faculty of Design office.

Sandra Barnes of the Faculty of Design office.

Sandra Barnes, Program Assistant, Advertising, Graphic Design & Illustration
Employee Excellence Award
While Sandra isn’t a member of the Student Affairs portfolio, she has a campus-wide reputation for supporting student success in her long career at OCAD U. Sandra started with the institution in 1985 as a receptionist within the Faculty of Design. She is often the first point of contact for students who have encountered various obstacles within their program or otherwise, and is instrumental in identifying concerns and resolving issues. Using an equitable, patient and knowledgeable approach, Sandra is a trusted point-person who is able to liaise with faculty members and program chairs to resolve issues and handle special requests in the interest of supporting student success and satisfaction efficiently and effectively.

We are proud of all of our colleagues at OCAD U, and especially our staff in the Student Affairs portfolio. Congrats to all for another year of great work!