I’ve wanted to write something about NSCAD for a while, and anyone who knows me, knows I see this whole debacle differently. I know some of you are going to take this wrong. I don’t hate NSCAD. Hell I’ve been teaching within its walls for over 15 years now. I love my students and still feel pride in being part of this legendary institution. Hating on NSCAD for me is very much like hating on religion. I don’t hate the idea of God just its administration.
When I first heard about Dalhousie ‘absorbing’ NSCAD my first thought was, excellent! I saw this move as a way to give NSCAD some stability, and above all some much needed accountability.
Let me be a devil’s advocate.
What would be so terrible if Dalhousie took the reins? Who would be effected? Redundant administration? The bookkeepers? Perhaps closing of campuses that are a drain on funds? Would there not be amalgamation of assets and a streamlining of processes? These are all extremely effective ways of ensuring NSCADs future are they not? It seems to me the ones most terrified of this would be those with a stake in any of those areas. Conflict of interest? I’d say so.
I feel that if we avoid this acquisition now, another one will be looming in the next few years unless NSCAD wakes up to its internal issues and makes serious changes.
For me this all started with, good old Paul Greenhalgh, in my opinion the man personally responsible for the decline of NSCAD. This ladder climbing past President did more damage to the spirit of the University than anyone else in its history. From his ridiculous port campus to his alleged affairs with students he ate the marrow of this great institution and then moved on to his next conquest, Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design in Washington. A position he has already moved on from. I would be curious to see how that University fared. Why we let this snake in the door is beyond me. In the wake of the Greenhalgh years we have a crippled institution, what remains is spread far too thin. I digress.
Is NSCAD worth saving? Of course it is.
But if it continues being run the same way it’s been over the last 10 years then what’s the point? Change is good. improvements must be made. Hard decisions are essential. Trim the excess, make it smaller, more efficient. New management? Why not? I am not sure Dalhousie is the right answer but what is the alternative? I would rather see NSCAD ‘absorbed’ than see it close. I know it seems short sighted. If we can stand on our own, I wouldn’t be happier, but I feel that if we avoid this acquisition now, another one will be looming in the next few years unless NSCAD wakes up to its internal issues and makes serious changes.
NSCAD needs Nova Scotia, as much as Nova Scotia needs NSCAD, Hell the world needs NSCAD. Our alumni span the globe. The old girl needs people to fight for her. Fight for this wonderful institution to stay alive.
relevant article on NSCAD: The Trouble with NSCAD