May 10th - Important meeting for Textile Arts at Capilano University

by - Thursday, May 09, 2013

In our previous post we detailed how underfunding and budget problems were leading to cuts to a number of programs at the post-secondary level, most importantly for our readers would be the textile program at Capilano University.

Capilano University’s president Kris Bulcroft has called a meeting for tomorrow at 1pm in the North Shore Performing Arts Centre (the main theatre in Birch, cafeteria building, map at the bottom of this post).

If you are concerned about the future of the textile arts we encourage you to attend the meeting. Below we reprint the letter from Capilano President Kris Bulcroft, forwarded to us by Mary Lou Trinkwon, Co-ordinator/Faculty Textile Arts Capilano University.

[Note: at the close of this letter Kris Bulcroft refers to it as "an employee forum" but we are assured that the broader community is welcome. ]

Will these cuts impact you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

A Letter to the Campus Community from the President
May 6, 2013

Capilano University is at a crossroads, one of the most challenging in its history. We must continue moving forward. The choices we make at this juncture define our future, but which road to travel?

The Board of Governors has chosen a challenging path but one that focuses on a stronger foundation for future success. It is now up to each of us to make a choice about which road we take from here. One path propels us forward, while the other divides us and limits our momentum.

The recommendation to reduce programs was not easily made but it was an informed decision. It is widely known that the institution has faced budget shortfalls for years. It has responded by consulting at length with our internal and external stakeholders, implementing cost efficiencies in a number of ways and simultaneously seeking new sources of revenue. For all the progress we've made, challenges remain. This reality is not ours alone, as colleges and universities throughout Canada are facing significant budget challenges.

What sets Capilano apart in this complex landscape of post-secondary education is that we have a long tradition as a community. I can attest that the budget recommendations made by your deans, VPs and president were carefully considered and are offered as a proposal to move forward as a quality university committed to serving both current and future generations. Many of you disagree with the recommendations and it is your right and responsibility as members of this community to voice your opinions and concerns.

I have heard the rally cry to stop the cuts and I've shared your pain and frustration. At the same time, I have also heard from employees and students who say they understand the difficult choices that must now be made. I have heard from those who share a deep concern that pitting faculty members against each other in a decision-making process around program reductions would cause irreparable damage to relationships for years to come. It is the responsibility of the Administration and the Board to work together to make such decisions based on an understanding of all of the forces affecting the university and post-secondary education in general. While the time frame for comment is short, your concerns are being considered along with many other points of view, including current, future and former students; current and potential donors; the current government and all parties who seek election this year; industry, union, and community leaders; and other college and university presidents who face equally challenging decisions about the future of post-secondary education in Canada.

Threats to post-secondary education loom large. On this current course, we cannot reasonably expect to receive from government any assurance that our operating grant will be addressed to meet current needs, nor can we expect significant new sources of revenue to become available in the immediate future. Competition for scarce resources across the public sector will continue to intensify. Students will come to the university with higher expectations and greater needs. The public will demand greater accountability of colleges and universities, and new ways of learning and credentialing are rapidly emerging.

As we move forward, there is much work to be done. Capilano's future rests in establishing an academic plan that will elucidate the future directions in our curricular and co-curricular offerings. One of the top priorities of our new Vice President, Academic will be to immerse the campus community in a process to develop that plan. The academic plan will set the stage for further refinements in our program mix and craft a vision for our collective future as a university.

I am acutely aware of the magnitude of the challenges ahead. Ultimately, the choices we make will define our future. It's not always easy to remain optimistic but we are on this path together. With choice comes responsibility and accountability, and as President I accept the responsibility to lead the way.  I hope you will come to hear further thoughts about how we can move forward by attending an employee forum on Friday May 10 at 1:00pm in the North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts.

Kris Bulcroft

North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts
2055 Purcell Way
North Vancouver, BC V7J 3H5
(604) 990-7810

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  1. The idea of this program being cut will be a blow not only to those who want to study textile arts but to the arts community as a whole. The Lower Mainland will lose future generations of artists – they will move to other provinces and countries and take equivalent programs (Concordia University in Montreal). The impact of cutting this program with have a ripple effect: it will shrink the art community that runs their businesses right here in British Columbia. It impacts the film and theatre industries, galleries and museums, and those who go on to Master and PHD programs (and can currently claim that the Textile Arts Program at Cap is the underpinning of their work), and those who then go on to write books and teach. Imagine - the influence, knowledge and expertise of this Textile Arts Program will just disappear from our arts and culture vernacular. Michelle Sirois-Silver


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