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Report Finds Alberta College of Art and Design at Risk of Closure

CALGARY, ALBERTA—Following an independent audit of the school’s finances and curriculum, the Alberta College of Art and Design’s long-term future remains uncertain, Sara Lawryunik reports for CBC News. A report by the Calgary-based Ronald B. Bond Consulting identified seven failings by the institution to remain attractive to prospective students and retain key faculty and administration, placing the institution “on the verge of instability.”

More than 1,200 students are currently enrolled in ACAD’s bachelor and Masters programs. This past summer, ACAD’s expansion plans were rejected by Alberta Education, the province’s education department, which provided $15 million CAD in funding to the school during the 2015-16 academic year.

In the last five years, ACAD has spent more than $6.3 million CAD on consultants and reports, expenditures that faculty said exceeded the scale and budget of the institution and were not made public. “Six million dollars is a huge amount of money for an institution our size—and I am shocked. Deeply, deeply shocked,” ACAD faculty association president Natali Rodrigues said. “Within the faculty, we feel like there is a deep well of knowledge, and a deep commitment to making sure that the college continues. Now the question is, do we have the managerial and governance capacity for that? I hope we do, but only time will tell.”

ACAD president Daniel Doz insists that, in light of the institution’s revenues from tuition being outpaced by inflation, the school’s current operations are stable but, “if we don’t work to address it now, in five years, in ten years, then it will be a very big problem.” Raising tuition is not an option, owing a tuition freeze put in place by the Alberta provincial government. “We’re going to have to do something,” Doz said, “and so we’re really putting everything on the table, taking really a closer look at. is there anything we can do, that we can change, to help us weather this period of time.”

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November 2, 2017