Alberta art school aims to offer students more opportunities with new university status

An Alberta post-secondary institution will be better able to recruit students and make it easier for them to pursue graduate degrees due to an upcoming status change, according to its president.

On Thursday, the Alberta College of Art and Design announced that it will be renamed the Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts). The name change, as well as its university status, will go into effect at the start of February.

“For our students, it facilitates them being able to go to other institutions because if you want to pursue a graduate degree, coming from a university, it makes it easier,” said Daniel Doz, president of AUArts, in an interview with Global News Morning on Saturday.

“I think it also speaks about the quality of the programs we’ve been offering for many, many years.”

The status change has allowed the institution to receive roughly $4.6 million in additional funding from the province. Doz said the money will help stabilize AUArts and will be used to provide more support to students.

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“We’re a small institution and we don’t have the usual student residence, parking lots, conference centres that big colleges and big universities have and they can rely on for revenues,” Doz said.

“We’re very much limited to what the government gives us and what the students pay.”

The name change has been about a year-long process, according to Scott Cressman, chair of AUArts’ school of communication design. He added that it took workshopping and an evaluation to come up with the new name.

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“The name is a nice, broad platform for the arts in general,” Cressman said.

“We wanted to make sure that it had the stature of a large university but also looked to the future in what we might become.”

The institution was founded in 1926. Roughly 1,200 students enrol in the school annually, studying in both full- and part-time programs.