The Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) is one of only four degree-granting, publicly-funded Art + Design colleges in Canada, the others being the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, the OCAD University in Toronto and the NSCAD University in Halifax.
Founded in 1926, ACAD has been a major contributor to Canada's visual culture in the 20th century, with many of its graduates gaining significant national and international reputations as artists and designers. With an annual budget approaching $12 million, and employing over 150 staff, ACAD provides accredited degree-standard education and learning opportunities to more than 1000 students enrolled in full- and part-time studies in a wide range of Art + Design studio disciplines together with academic study in the history of Art & Design, theory and criticism and related subject areas. Approximately 3000 students are registered each year in Extended Studies courses, including 400 in children + teens programs.
ACAD has had an important presence in the educational post-secondary sector in Alberta and, in 2001, celebrated its 75th anniversary. Originally part of the Provincial Institute of Technology and Arts (now SAIT Polytechnic), the Alberta College of Art, as it was then known, separated from SAIT in 1985 to become designated by the Alberta Government as an entirely autonomous and free-standing Art + Design college within the public sector. In 1995 the College amended its name to the Alberta College of Art & Design in order to acknowledge the separateness and importance of design education at the College.
In 1995, the ACAD was granted degree accreditation by the Alberta Government's Ministry of Advanced Education and Career Development. Since that time the College has been able to grant Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees to those students who successfully complete the BFA requirements of the College's four-year programs.
In 2000, the College was further granted authority by the Alberta Government's Ministry of Learning to award a Bachelor of Design degree to those students studying Design for their degree. This approval signifies an important step by the College in clarifying the distinction between Design as a discipline and those of the Fine Arts, and now provides the College with two degree programs. Most recently, in 2009, the College was also granted Foreign-Equivalency Status by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. By earning this designation, ACAD is recognized by NASAD as having met rigorous qualifications and standards related to educational quality and institutional integrity. For our students, ACAD's NASAD Foreign-Equivalency status will mean that our Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Design degrees, and their individual class components, will be recognized as equivalent in post secondary institutions throughout North America. This important designation will ensure that ACAD artists and designers will be able to pursue graduate degrees internationally, and will become a crucial factor in our own imminent graduate program offering.
Throughout its long history the College has offered undergraduate education in a wide variety of Art + Design disciplines. These include Painting, Sculpture, Print Media, Drawing, Photographic Arts, Visual Communication Design (including illustration), Ceramics, Jewellery + Metals, Fibre, Glass, Interdisciplinary Studies and the latest program Media Arts + Digital Technologies.
In both degree streams, either Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Design, students taking their degree will "major" in one of these studio disciplines. This "major" is chosen by students as they exit their first year of study, or on entering the College by "direct entry" from another institution. Typically this is done in either the second year or the third year. The chosen "major" discipline that students elect to concentrate their degree studies in will be supplemented throughout their degree program by a required liberal studies program and the provision of electives from other subject areas that a student may wish to take in addition to their major discipline.
The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) is a partnership of 21 post-secondary institutions in Alberta, working together to support and enhance rural development. ARDN is committed to ensuring rural communities are a place to grow, a place to seek new opportunities, and a place to build futures.