May 20th, 2020

OCADFA Dispatch

OCADFA  General Members’ Meeting: June 5th, 11-1 pm via TEAMS

 Mark your calendars!  We invite you to join us for our General Members’ Meeting (GMM) on June 5th (11-1 pm)  Our GMM will be an opportunity for us to share and organize on dominant concerns that have arisen during the past few months: collegial governance, job security, workload issues, curriculum challenges, protecting academic freedom & intellectual property and the financial uncertainties unique to our sector.   The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has released a useful guideline for re-opening campuses which we will discuss further at our GMM.  

Collegial Governance During the Pandemic

On May 14, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Senate approved the Academic Emergency Response Plan which established a committee (AERC) to endorse academic decisions and implementation including “mode of delivery, assessment, learning outcomes of courses, extensions of term dates and assessment periods; exemptions, extensions, amendments of student policies”.  The AERC, was comprised with a minority faculty vote, had no term dates of operation and no clear channels of oversight or transparency.  For many, the decisions of the AERC were presented as unilateral.  Faculty were informed that class caps for Spring/Summer courses were expanded, in many cases by 50% and asynchronous delivery required. 

OCADFA recognizes the important work undertaken by the AERC in response to the urgent matters presented by the pandemic, and we commend the individual members of the AERC for taking on this work with diligence, commitment and conscience. However, we questioned why academic matters that require Senate oversight and collegial governance were being decided upon outside the purview of Senate.  The AERC is currently planning for the Fall/Winter semesters.  There is a possibility that the AERC will expand class caps for the fall term.  

OCADFA asked Senators to convene senate sessions through the summer months to provide oversight on the mandate of the AERC. Within 72 hours, our public letter to Senators garnered support from a wide cross-section of faculty members.  David Robinson, President CAUT issued a letter in support of OCADFA’s request to President Sara Diamond on the matter.  Robinson wrote: 

Any proposal modifying academic policy and practice, even when temporary, should continue to require approval by the Senate. In no case should the administration use the current situation to bypass collegial processes or assume final authority for academic decisions. 

The issue was discussed at the May 19th meeting of Senate.  The following agreements were made:

  • Senate will conduct an e-vote to increase the faculty representation on the AERC by eight.
  • Senate will review the AERC’s mandate when regular Senate meetings resume in September
  • Senators who wish to attend an AERC meeting during the summer months will be able to do so. AERC meeting times will be circulated to Senators in advance of AERC meetings.
  • A summary of AERC meetings will be provided to Senators over the summer months

OCADFA believes these agreements address in principle some of the concerns raised. We thank the many members who stood up on this matter. Collegial governance is a power that is only effective if we exercise it! 

Labour Relations

 OCADFA and University Administration have set up an Emergency Pandemic Joint Committee (EPJC) to discuss issues as they arise. As you are aware, we signed a LOU with admin on April 3, 2020 on some immediate issues stemming from the pandemic:  such as stopping the tenure clock and making a small emergency expense fund available for sessional instructors teaching in spring/summer. To apply for the $100 reimbursement from this fund please contact Adam Bereza ( in the office of the VPAP.  The LOU expires in July 15, 2020. Many other issues have arisen since then. The EPJC will meet regularly to address immediate issues related to online delivery and the pandemic closure.


 The clearer we see you, the better we can service you and organize together.  As well, OCADFA is in the midst of bargaining a new MoA.  As we negotiate for a stronger contract, we’d like to capture a clearer picture of who you are, your working conditions and what issues concern you.  We have commissioned a membership survey to have hard numbers we will use to advocate for you.  We hope you will take the 30 minutes required to fill it out.  Please watch for it in the coming week.

Grievance Update from interim Grievance Chair Richard Hunt

OCADFA and OCAD U are working together to address the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that differences in interpretation of the MoA aren’t still ongoing, and the effects of the pandemic are bringing more points of difference to light.  Grievances can be on behalf of the individual, on behalf of groups, or on behalf of OCADFA if the grievance has to do with interpretation of policy. These may include issues of workload, academic freedom, compensation, and how contracts are interpreted. The process is more important than ever, as precedents will be set, and questions and issues that have never arisen before must be settled. 

We will continue to monitor decisions and actions made by the administration, and to challenge these when we believe they are not in the best interests of faculty and students. We invite faculty to consult OCADFA when they have questions about requests and demands made of them individually or collectively. The more faculty participate, the stronger our position.

Bargaining Update from Negotiations Chair Eric Steenbergen

Negotiations are continuing during this time.  We have been meeting regularly and exchanging proposals, while we have agreed to maintain the confidentiality of the discussions at the table, we are able to discuss our proposals.  We have tabled proposals for sessional right of first refusal, improvements to the TA hiring process, and enhancements to pregnancy & parental leave, among others. We have yet to submit our monetary proposals, these have been finalized by the negotiations committee and will  be tabled when we get to that point.  I am pleased with our overall progress, although there are some items on which the parties are quite far apart. We will continue to work toward a resolution on those items, should we be at an impasse our next step will be referring to mediation. 

Retirements & One Resignation

OCADFA would like to recognize the following members who are retiring or resigning this year:

Faculty of Art

Janis Cole, Professor (Integrated Media / First-Year Art)

Janis began teaching at OCAD in 1990. She came to OCAD with an active fifteen-year, international, award-winning documentary film practice and script writing career.

John Coull, Assistant Professor (Integrated Media / First-Year Art)

John began teaching at OCAD in 1974. During this time, he served as Head of the Film area for over 20 years, and Chair of the Department of Technological Studies for seven years.

Johanna Householder, Professor, Chair of Cross-Disciplinary Art Practices (Criticism & Curatorial Practice / Integrated Media)

Johanna began teaching at OCAD in 1986. During this time, she has been Chair of Criticism and Curatorial Practice Program (2009-2013) and is the current Chair of Cross-Disciplinary Art Practices (2015-2020).

Diane Pugen, Associate Professor (Drawing & Painting / First-Year Art)

Artist, curator, activist and educator. Diane has been involved in art education teaching for over 50 years, with 30 of those years at OCAD (1989 – 2020).

Jack Cassady, Associate Professor (Printmaking/Lithography)

Jack began teaching at OCAD in 1984.  His work is found in collections, such as Bibliotheque Nationelle de Paris, France; Museum of His work has been published in numerous catalogs, literary digests and a coffee table book.

Faculty of Design

Melvin Quirt, Professor (Environmental Design/Interior Design)

Sandra Kedey, Associate Professor (Advertising/ Graduate Studies)

Sandra began teaching at OCAD in 1991.  During her time, she served as Chair of the Advertising program. She is a fellow to several industry associations, and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious Price Award for Excellence in teaching at OCAD. 

Debbie Adams, Professor (Environmental Graphic Design)

Debbie began teaching at OCAD in 1994. Through her professional practice she has created a wide variety of projects including: corporate identity, signage programs, environmental graphics, communications design systems, books, magazines, posters, retail packaging and websites.

Thank you all for sharing your creativity, intellectual acumen and spirit with students and colleagues OCAD U!

Spring/Summer 2020 Newsletter

 OCADFA invites you to submit to our special digital edition of the Spring/Summer 2020 Newsletter. Deadline: May 31st.  We are interested in expressions that reflect intersections between labour and lived experiences at OCADU at this time. Contributions can be in text, audio, visual and digital formats. If you have any questions, contact Maria Belén Ordóñez (

Stay Connected

We are on Facebook and Twitter, where we frequently share relevant news and articles on labour, pedagogy and artistic/research practices. Please like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And if you have a upcoming exhibition or a event that is related to your professional practice or pedagogy, please email details to Vice President Surendra Lawoti ( We will share them on our social media.

We are operating in a crisis. The remote modes of delivery we are developing and delivering meet crisis needs.  We are not offering online learning and most of us are not trained and did not seek employment in designing online learning.  The distinction needs to be clear.  Let’s be wary of pressures to normalize online learning as the ‘new normal’.

In solidarity,

Min Sook Lee

President, OCADFA