The Alberta College of Art + Design is Now a University

This morning, the Alberta government announced that the Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) has achieved university status, based on the high-quality programs it offers. The school has a number of degree programs, including a bachelor of fine arts and a bachelor of design at the undergraduate level, as well as a master’s degree in craft media.

An official new name for the university has not yet been chosen but is expected to be announced in the coming months.

This is an exciting first step in ACAD dynamic and eventful future.

“Alberta is made richer by the many exceptionally talented artists, designers and creators that call our province home. Changing ACAD to a university not only demonstrates how much we value them and their work, but reflects the school’s role as the primary fine arts institution in our province. This is a historic day that recognizes the high-quality degree programs the school offers, the type of education its students are receiving and the significance of the arts, craft and design to our province.”

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

“Today’s announcement officially acknowledges that ACAD has been offering degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level for some time. Aligning our title, university, with our programming, demonstrates this government’s commitment to the pivotal role we play in the social, cultural and economic fabric of our province. Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are the creators, makers, artists and designers who strengthen Alberta by diversifying it through the development of the creative industries within the knowledge economy.”

Daniel Doz, President + CEO, Alberta College of Art + Design

“The government granting ACAD university status reinforces our institutional track record for excellence. Although our name will change, our focus to educate and nurture the next generation of artists and designers in Alberta remains the same. The ACAD Board of Governors appreciates the Government of Alberta for their ongoing support in securing ACAD’s future as they recognize the university we have become.”

M. Carol Ryder, Chair, Alberta College of Art + Design Board of Governors

“For me, this is validation of all the hard work students do here. Finally having this recognition of all the time, money, effort and research that we accomplish is a breath of fresh air. It will be nice to have wider recognition to make transfers easier and a more accurate picture of what we have accomplished when we move on to whatever we pursue post-ACAD."

Camille Porcheron, Director of Leadership + Governance,
Alberta College of Art + Design Students’ Association

The change in status means that ACAD will be able to set up a General Faculties Council (GFC) similar to those in place at other universities in the province. Once established, the GFC will expand upon the existing academic oversight at the institution, ensuring the school’s programs continue to meet provincial, national and international standards of quality.

In order for the school to officially become a university, amendments to the Post-secondary Learning Act are required. The proposed changes to the act will be brought before the legislature at a future date.The Alberta government is currently reviewing other aspects of the post-secondary system and will share more information about its modernization of the system over the coming months.


For more information please contact: 

Steven Hodges, Alberta College of Art + Design
t. 403.284.7656
c. 403.472.5756

About Alberta College of Art + Design

Founded in 1926, Alberta College of Art + Design (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, designers and creative leaders. ACAD provides accredited degree standard education and learning opportunities to 1,200 students enrolled in full- and part-time studies in a wide range of art, craft and design studio disciplines. In addition to credentialed undergraduate degrees in a variety of program areas, the College offers a Masters of Fine Art in Craft Media, making it the only institution in the Province to offer and confer university-level undergraduate and now, graduate degree programs in art, craft and design.