ACAD Sustainability Planning Update (April 2016)

The Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) is planning for the next 100 years – a process that is comprehensive and will set the stage for significant change.

ACAD’s vision of art, craft, and design education is based on the principle that an immersive, inclusive studio-based art, craft and design education supports both professional pursuits and lifelong learning. ACAD has made a commitment to deliver a fully integrated business plan to the Government of Alberta, Ministry of Advanced Education in September of 2016. The Business Plan will: 

  • Make a case for growth in both existing and new areas based on market demand and alignment with government policy specifically around economic diversification, social innovation, cultural prosperity and labour skills development. 
  • Identify the number of new student spaces and demonstrate the affordability of the student experience at ACAD.
  • Provide a 10-year operational budget showing the contribution of government, students and the institution to the sustainability of the institution over time.
  • Provide a 10-year capital plan on the current site as well as other opportunities to support academic growth and excellence in student learning.

Engagement within the College has been significant. The following summarizes decisions made, internal feedback received and external inputs into the development of this Business Plan.

Board of Governors (September 2015)

The Board of Governors, after careful review of five possible scenarios for the College, determined that growth was the best course of action for the institution, its students and alumni as well as the city and the province in September 2015.

While some planning had occurred prior to that date, administration embarked on a more detailed planning process.

The Board of Governors authorized funding from the financial reserves for the College to complete this plan. The President and a Project Director report directly to the Board on this initiative.

Advanced Education (Fall 2015)

ACAD Administration met with Advanced Education to request support for the development of a Business Plan and Case for Support.

Funds were provided from Advanced Education to match the commitment made by the Board of Governors from the financial reserves.

Funds received by the College from grants received by the College from the Access to the Future Fund were also used for this planning process. 

Academic Strategic Plan (September 2014 until October 2015)

ACAD’s growth plan is predicated on a solid Academic Strategic Plan. In the fall of 2014, Academic Affairs instituted an Academic Planning Group tasked to review the current curriculum, the implementation of majors and minors, review of the school structure and studio hours, and the potential for program growth.

The work completed by the Academic Planning Group resulted in a new Academic Strategic Plan.

The Plan was approved by Academic Council in October 2015.

Human Resource Compensation Study (June until October 2015)

The College undertook an independent, comprehensive review of compensation across the public, private, and post-secondary sectors.

The review will help us set a benchmark for competitive compensation across the College to aid in the attraction and retention of staff, faculty and management.

The Report was received in October of 2015.

Strategic Enrollment Management Plan (October 2015 until January 2016)

ACAD issued a proposal call for qualified firms to assist in developing a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan (SEMP).

In November SEM Works, an internationally experience firm in enrollment management was hired to complete a Plan for ACAD.

In November and December of 2015 over 32 individuals from the College participated in two full-day workshops.

The Strategic Enrollment Management Plan established a framework for the development of both annual and long-term enrollment goals to support the mission and vision of the College and plans for academic growth.

The SEMP focuses on student success and has suggested governance models for the implementation of enrollment management at the College.

The Plan includes strategies that will:

  • Improve enrollment processes
  • Increase retention
  • Augment our competitive positioning
  • Advise the College in ways to collect the right data to best manage enrollment
  • Enhance and manage space coordination, optimization of scheduling, building, and coordinating course offerings
  • Coordinate a development and implementation plan that includes all stakeholders including staff, faculty, and administrators.

The SEMP was completed in January 2016 and will be updated once the market demand analysis is complete.

Vision Mission and Values Planning (May 2015 to PRESENT)

Eight discussion groups were held with Students, Faculty, and Staff at the College with more than 85 individuals participating in Phase One of the review.

The discussion groups focused on the vision, mission and values for the College and what the College of the future might look like. Information from these discussion groups formed the basis of the Vision, Mission and Values explorations that began in November of 2015.

Phase Two of the Mission, Vision and Values exercise, included an audit of current materials, a competitive analysis and environmental scan of other schools, completion of 22 interviews with Faculty and staff, and completion of surveys that with 47 faculty and staff, 92 students and two alumni participate – a total of 163 individuals participated in Phase two of this planning exerciseThe results of this work were presented to the Vision, Mission Values Advisory Group, and at seven additional presentations to internal groups including two Schools, Leadership Group and the Board of Governors.

Phase Three involved seven workshops. These workshops were held from March 18 to March 23 incorporating the comments and ideas of over 51 participants. Workshops focused on exploring the themes identified in Phase Two outlined above. 

Work will now proceed on drafting a new vision and mission statements and updating the existing values statements.

It is an iterative process, but it is expected that this will be finalized in May of this year.

Market Demand Research (November 2015 to April 2016)

ACAD’s potential for growth and sustainability will be achieved in part by ensuring that our graduates have the appropriate skills to meet the demands of industry – both today and in the future.

In order to assess the market demand for new degree programs (undergraduate and graduate) as well as certificate and diploma programs, ACAD conducted a market demand analysis from two different perspectives: Industry and prospective student using two different research methodologies – surveys and interviews.

This market review was undertaken by a professional research firm – Litehouse Consulting and Stone-Olafsen. Surveys were conducted with prospective students, alumni and parents and interviews were conducted with 35 industry professionals

A report is expected at the end of April 2016.

Social and Economic Return on Investment Analysis (November 2015 to May 2016)

Last year, ACAD hired Nordicity to complete an Economic Return on Investment (EROI). This analysis will demonstrate the wide-ranging economic impacts of ACADs current operations and activities and forecast the potential impact and future returns from its expansion ambitions.

An EROI outlining ACADs fiscal impact – capital and operational activities, human capital effect and Intellectual property (IP) effect will be completed by mid-May of 2016.

In addition to the EROI, Nordicity will also complete a Social Return on Investment for the College (SROI). The SROI will build two case studies and focus on the social impact of the College in four key areas:

  1. ACAD’s contribution to the Creative Class.
  2. The social development potential as a result of social innovation impact from the application of design to social problems.
  3. ACAD’s impact on vulnerable populations such as FNMI and persons with disabilities.
  4. ACAD’s impact on gender equality.

This report is to be completed in mid-May 2016.

Long Range Capital Planning (March to August 2016)

In February of 2016, the College issued an RFP for Planning and Architectural Services. This planning exercise is supported by funds from Alberta Advanced Education. The College hired Kasian Architecture and Cornerstone Planning to assist with the development of a high-level Functional Program and a Master Plan for the future growth of the College.

Over the next few months, we will conduct a classroom audit (this has been completed), tour the facility and assess the current building systems, meet with Faculty, students, and staff to determine how the space is used currently and talk about future scenarios (these are all scheduled for April and 110 individuals have been invited to participate). They will analyze future opportunities for a facilities on the current site. 

In addition to the work above, the Architectural Team will also develop a detailed design for the Main Mall based on the results of a comprehensive engagement process that occurred between December 2013 and May 2014.

The schematic designs completed in May 2014, envisioned the library and new Learning Commons moving to the Mall as an anchor for the west end of the building, with student services including a Knowledge centre, advising and admissions, student club spaces, gallery and “crit” spaces in the middle, and social spaces such as a bar, cafeteria and lounging areas as an anchor for the east end of the mall. A potential dedicated maker space will also be investigated.

A Functional Program, Master Plan and Detailed Design for the Main Mall are expected at the end of August 2016. A business plan has already been developed for the Maker Space.

The sustainability planning process is funded by The Board of Governors from ACAD’s reserve fund, The Access to the Future Fund and through Alberta Advanced Education.