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OCAD U President welcomes new faculty members

A grid with four squares with headshots of four people. In the top left corner is Susan Blight, to the right is Stephen Foster, below and to the right is Jana Macalik and the lower left image is of Dr. Gabrielle A. Hezekiah.

Top left to right: Susan Blight, Stephen Foster, Bottom left to right: Dr. Gabrielle A. Hezekiah, Jana Macalik 

This message was updated on Sept. 1 following approval of two additional senior academic administration appointments by the OCAD U Board of Governors.

Dear members of the OCAD University community,

We are just two weeks away from starting a new academic year and I am looking forward to seeing you all and welcoming our new and returning students to our campus.

I’d like to start by introducing new non-sessional faculty members who are now part of our community. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to soJin Chun, Ursula Handleigh and Esery Mondesir in the Faculty of Art; Colin Harry and Diane Mikhael in the Faculty of Design; and Camille Georgeson-Usher, Marie-Hélène He and Fidelia Lam in the Faculty of Arts & Science.

I would like to congratulate our new chair appointments in the Faculty of Art: Philippe Blanchard, Chair, Experimental Animation and Marton Robinson, Chair, First Year Experience and in the Faculty of Arts & Science: Dr. Heather Coffey, Chair, Visual and Critical Studies and Dr. Emma Westecott, Chair, Digital Futures. Congratulations to Jay Irizawa who takes on the role of Interim Graduate Program Director, Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media, & Design and to Dr. Cindy Poremba who is now the Interim Graduate Program Director, Digital Futures.

Senior Academic Leadership Appointment

With Dr. Ashok Mathur taking an administrative leave this year (2022-23), Stephen Foster has been appointed Interim Vice-President, Research and Dean, School of Graduate Studies until June 30, 2023.

With respect to research, Stephen will report to me and lead the office’s research operations and support the implementation of the strategic directions and priorities for research services to advance the University’s research agenda. As the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, he will report to Caroline Langill, Vice-President, Academic and Provost.

Stephen started at OCAD U as the Dean of the Faculty of Art on January 1, 2020 and since that time, he has provided educational and research direction to the Faculty during a time of considerable change and uncertainty due to the global pandemic. He brings extensive teaching, scholarship and management experience to this interim role.

Before coming to OCAD U, Stephen was Professor and Head of the Creative Services Department at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus (UBCO) as well as Director, Centre of Indigenous Media Arts. Prior to these roles, he was Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research with UBCO, where he served as chair on a variety of committees related to graduate programming, scholarships and admissions, and research development and policy. He was dedicated to the development of graduate studies at UBCO, where he pioneered the Summer Institute for Interdisciplinary Indigenous Graduate Studies, inviting Indigenous scholars and artists to work with graduate students in Indigenous Studies.

Throughout his academic and professional art career Stephen has worked continually around the themes of Indigenous identity and new media to include community-based research, developing novel approaches to interactive documentary, as well as working in areas of video, photo and audio installation. Stephen holds a BFA and MFA from the Visual Arts program at York University.

Senior Academic Administration Appointments

Jana Macalik has been appointed Acting Dean in the Faculty of Art. She joined OCAD U in 2014, serving initially as the Associate Dean, Research, Outreach and Strategic Projects (2014-2019) and was Associate Dean, Academic Affairs (2018-2020) in the Faculty of Design. In 2021, she assumed the role of Acting Associate Dean, Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Art. As a member of the Faculty leadership teams, she has played a central role in guiding aspects of the academic and administrative agendas within the institution. 

Over her 20 years as an academic, Jana’s teaching has explored how society is continuously challenged to break down barriers that stand to separate individuals and ideas. As an Associate Professor in Environmental Design, she holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies from Dalhousie University and is a registered NCIDQ and a LEED ID+C.

Since 1994, Jana has been involved in cultural exhibition design and branding applications in communications and architecture, and has over 25 years of experience working as a designer for cultural institutions in Toronto and multidisciplinary firms, including Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership in New York. She is a member of the editorial board of Curator: The Museum Journal.

Jana is currently a doctoral candidate in Higher Education at OISE/University of Toronto, investigating de-differentiation in the context of specialized art and design universities in Canada. She is particularly interested in the differentiation frameworks that have posed a challenge to the unique model of art and design schools in higher education.

Dr. Gabrielle A. Hezekiah is new to OCAD U (welcome Gabrielle!) and has been appointed Associate Dean, Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Art. She is a writer and scholar with research interests in philosophy, photography and theories of the still/moving image. She is the author of Phenomenology’s Material Presence: Video, Vision and Experience (Intellect, 2010) and articles in ParagraphMIRAJCaribbean Quarterly and Small Axe

Gabrielle holds a PhD from the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She has provided consultancy services for several international development agencies including UNICEF, UNAIDS and the World Bank.

At the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine), she coordinated the Cultural Studies Program, supervised graduate students in practice-based research and served on curriculum and re-accreditation committees. She has experience in undergraduate program development and graduate program quality assurance. She comes to OCAD U from the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) where she served as an Educational Consultant for Inclusion.

Dr. Kathy Moscou has been appointed Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, in the Faculty of Design. Her background is eclectic and unique, merging visual arts and health. She joined OCAD U in August 2020 as an Assistant Professor as part of the institution’s commitment to addressing the Faculty of Design’s under-representation of Black faculty members. 

Kathy's contribution to the education of post-secondary students and her exhibition history span more than 20 years. Her lived experience informs her mixed-media art, focus on Black cultural aesthetics, design for social justice, commitment to the Black community and choice of research. She embraces a human-centered philosophy of design that empowers individuals and communities seeking to address specific issues to contribute to or collaborate with the designer/design team in designing solutions. 

Over the past decade, her health policy research has focused on designing for equity. Decolonized and intersectional frameworks have been used to examine governance and policy design to foster wholistic health; inclusive neighbourhoods; and access to safe medicines. At OCAD U, Kathy is a member of the Solid Black Collective that led the Vaccin8 for the Culture campaign in the fall of 2021 to promote vaccine literacy and confidence among Black youth while celebrating Black health and culture in the Greater Toronto Area.

Her work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon); the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto); the M. Rosetta Hunter Gallery (Seattle) and the Bellevue Art Museum (Bellevue, WA) and Wheat City Nuit Blanche.

Dr. Charles Reeve has been appointed Acting Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Science. He joined OCAD U in 2005 as a cross-appointed faculty member in the former Faculty of Art and Liberal Sciences (now known as Arts and Science) and as the first curator and director of Onsite Gallery. Since then, he has served extensively on Senate, the University's Board of Governors, the OCADFA Board of Directors, the Board of the Universities Art Association of Canada, and the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. He was also interim chair of Visual and Critical Studies and inaugural chair of the Liberal Studies program area.

Recent major projects includes the books Inappropriate Bodies: Art, Design and Maternity, edited with Rachel Epp Buller (Demeter 2019) and Artists and their Autobiographies from Today to the Renaissance and Back, Symptoms of Sincerity (Routledge 2023), and the podcast series Renewing the World, co-produced with Rachel Epp Buller and Elena Marchevska.

Susan Blight (Anishinaabe, Couchiching First Nation) has been appointed Interim Advisor to the Provost, Indigenous Knowledge, Practices and Production. She will continue as the Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Susan is an interdisciplinary artist working with public art, site-specific intervention, photography, film and social practice. Her solo and collaborative work engages questions of personal and cultural identity and its relationship to space.

She is co-founder of Ogimaa Mikana, an artist collective working to reclaim and rename the roads and landmarks of Anishinaabeg territory with Anishinaabemowin and is a member of the Indigenous Routes artist collective which works to provide free new media training for Indigenous youth.

Susan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from the University of Manitoba, and a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Windsor in Integrated Media. She is currently a PhD candidate in Social Justice Education at the OISE/University of Toronto and her dissertation is exploring the visual and spatial formations of Anishinaabeg geographies of resistance.  

Please join me in congratulating everyone on their respective appointments!

Ana Serrano
President and Vice-Chancellor
OCAD University