The only post-secondary institution in the Prairie provinces devoted exclusively to fine arts education is about to become a university.
The Alberta government is giving the Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) university status, based on the high-quality programs it offers. The school has a number of degree programs, including a bachelor of fine arts and a bachelor of design at the undergraduate level, as well as a master’s degree in fine arts.
“Alberta is made richer by the many exceptionally talented artists, designers and creators that call our province home. Changing ACAD to a university not only demonstrates how much we value them and their work, but reflects the school’s role as the primary fine arts institution in our province. This is a historic day that recognizes the high-quality degree programs the school offers, the type of education its students are receiving and the significance of the arts, craft and design to our province.”
~Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education
“Today’s announcement officially acknowledges that ACAD has been offering degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level for some time. Aligning our title, university, with our programming, demonstrates this government’s commitment to the pivotal role we play in the social, cultural and economic fabric of our province. Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are the creators, makers, artists and designers who strengthen Alberta by diversifying it through the development of the creative industries within the knowledge economy.”
~Daniel Doz, president and CEO, Alberta College of Art + Design
“The government granting ACAD university status reinforces our institutional track record for excellence. Although our name will change, our focus to educate and nurture the next generation of artists and designers in Alberta remains the same. The ACAD Board of Governors appreciates the Government of Alberta for their ongoing support in securing ACAD’s future as they recognize the university we have become.”
~M. Carol Ryder, chair, Alberta College of Art + Design Board of Governors
“For me, this is validation of all the hard work students do here. Finally having this recognition of all the time, money, effort and research that we accomplish is a breath of fresh air. It will be nice to have wider recognition to make transfers easier and a more accurate picture of what we have accomplished when we move on to whatever we pursue post-ACAD.”
~Camille Porcheron, director of leadership and governance, Alberta College of Art + Design Students’ Association
An official new name for the university has not yet been chosen, but is expected to be announced in the coming months.
The change in status means the institution will be able to set up a General Faculties Council (GFC) similar to those in place at other universities in the province. Once established, the GFC will expand upon the existing academic oversight at the institution, ensuring the school’s programs continue to meet provincial, national and international standards of quality.
In order for the school to officially become a university, amendments to the Post-secondary Learning Actare required. The proposed changes to the act will be brought before the legislature at a future date.
Government is currently reviewing other aspects of the post-secondary system, and will share more information about its modernization of the system over the coming months.