Moving Forward: A Message from President Dr. Sara Diamond

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A message sent to all students on Thursday, May 7 at 3:30 p.m.

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation as some provinces begin to slowly reopen. In Ontario, we saw some businesses reopen on Monday as well as essential construction projects for different sectors, including universities and colleges.

For OCAD University, this is encouraging news as we plan to move forward with renovations as part of FLOW, our major curriculum transformation project. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the University remains committed to renewing its curriculum, which will greatly benefit students and enhance their educational experience.

The Academic Emergency Response Committee of Senate continues to work in close collaboration with our academic leadership and support teams on plans for the fall term. Our goal is to provide students with an exceptional experience and high quality education while ensuring the safety and health of all the members of our community.

With the physical closure of our facilities, most of our faculty and staff continue to work from home and I thank them for their ongoing commitment. We have also redeployed several employees to respond to critical staffing needs, minimize new hiring and provide professional development opportunities.

We are finalizing plans for our first virtual convocation to be held on June 12. This ceremony will include video messages from 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, OCAD U alumnus and past OCAD U Board Chair Dr. John Semple.

These distinguished and accomplished individuals will join the OCAD U community in celebrating the class of 2020. This year, our graduands have shown tremendous resilience and commitment in completing their studies during these extraordinary circumstances. I congratulate each graduand on achieving this major milestone and wish you all the best for the years ahead.

We are proud of our OCAD U graduates and many of them have made their mark within their respective fields. For example, earlier this week, alumnus Barry Blitt received the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartoons in the journalism category. These included a variety of New Yorker magazine covers and several cartoons published exclusively online.

Plus, two of our graduates were among the 25 recipients of the 2020 Sobey Art Award: Georgia Dickie and Tsēmā Igharas. This is one of the most distinguished awards in contemporary Canadian art and recognizes the exceptional work of these two artists. Congratulations to all!

Over the last few weeks, GradEx 105 Task Force co-chairs Vlad Spicanovic and Melanie Printup Hope have been working to confirm the task force membership. In addition to faculty, academic administrators and staff representatives, the task force includes a pool of graduating students from each Faculty (Art, Design, Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Graduate Studies), and a representative from the OCAD Student Union.

The task force will seek input from all graduating students as well as program chairs and graduate program directors. Vlad and Melanie will be sharing more details with the community shortly.

I also want to thank the OCAD U Student Union for their generous donation of $10,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency Bursary Fund. This very important fund provides short-term financial relief to students. With this contribution, I am pleased to announce we have raised more than $90,000.

I hope that you all keep safe and healthy at this time, and thank you again for all of your continued support.

Warm regards,

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



Image: United Nations