Fall term: moving forward with optimism

Magnolia blossoms

A message sent to all students on May 14, 2020, 1 p.m.
from OCAD University President Dr. Sara Diamond

I am writing to share an update on our plans for the fall and to let you know that OCAD University’s physical facilities will be closed until July 1, 2020. Our decision to extend this closure takes into consideration advice from local and provincial public health authorities, and the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

Our faculty and staff will continue to work remotely and I am incredibly proud of our community’s commitment to ensuring we deliver high quality education and services during these very difficult circumstances.

This week, the spring term began with courses being delivered remotely – reflecting the new reality in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have invested significantly in designing and developing these courses to provide you with high quality and engaging learning experiences as well as support for remote learning – the hallmarks of an OCAD University education.

Plans for the fall reopening

This fall, we will welcome both new and returning students with a sense of excitement. OCAD University is currently planning for high quality remote learning this fall, building on the spring and summer terms. We are also assessing the feasibility of holding some in-person classes while respecting public health guidelines.

Our planning is driven by four pillars: providing excellent curriculum as well as co-curricular activities, building a strong and supportive community, and sustaining and extending our relationships and relevance to the community outside OCAD University.

We know that art, design and creativity have proven their continued and growing relevance through the COVID-19 crisis and in the creation of a post-COVID-19 world.

More details about the fall plans will be shared with you next week. 

OCAD University is also developing a plan for a phased reopening, in dialogue with the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, our colleagues at the Council of Ontario Universities and public health officials.

The reopening of campuses across the province is complex and must take into consideration a wide variety of factors – from ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty and staff to cleaning and disinfecting protocols to implementing physical distancing measures. We will keep you updated as information becomes available.

Celebrating the graduating class of 2020

On June 12, I look forward to celebrating the class of 2020 with a wonderful event to be broadcast live on the web at 9 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). Next week, graduands will receive more information as well as an invitation to submit a personal video message for our virtual yearbook. I congratulate all of our graduands on realizing this significant achievement in their lives.

This ceremony will feature presentations by each of this year’s four honorary degree recipients: The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, visual artist and curator Jim Logan, award-winning video director Julien Christian Lutz (known as Director X) and internationally recognized surgeon, past OCAD U Board Chair and OCAD U alumnus, Dr. John Semple.

Supporting students

We continue to raise funds for the COVID-19 Emergency Bursary Fund and I am pleased to announce that the OCAD Faculty Association has donated $4,000. I thank the Faculty Association for its generous support.

I hope you are keeping safe and well during this time and I encourage you to continue to follow physical and social distancing measures when you are out running errands or even going for a walk. We continue to update our COVID-19 information page, and I encourage you to consult this web page regularly.

As a community, we have shown tremendous resilience, creativity and innovation in adapting to the challenges and disruptions created by the current public health crisis. We are in this together, and I thank you for your ongoing commitment to your education and to OCAD University.

Warm regards,

Dr. Sara Diamond, C.M., O.ON., R.C.A., ICD.D
President and Vice-Chancellor
OCAD University



Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash