January 27, 2020 – Toronto – OCAD University has selected Ana Serrano as its new President and Vice-Chancellor.
Serrano will assume leadership of Canada’s largest art and design university, steering it into a new era of expansion and innovation. She succeeds Dr. Sara Diamond, who has served as president since 2005. Serrano will assume the office July 1.
Currently Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC), Serrano has a track record as a global leader and visionary in digital media. She was winner of the Digital Media Trailblazing Award at the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards and has more than 20 years’ experience building award-winning digital products, securing public and private sector investment, creating strategic alliances and starting new ventures.
“As we enter a new decade and an exciting new era for this institution, Ana brings us the entrepreneurial, innovative abilities we’ll need,” said OCAD U Board Chair Jaime Watt, also Executive Chair of Navigator Ltd. “She has a strong sense of the value of art and design education and research and a record of success effectively managing financial resources and high performing teams.”
Ana has also demonstrated a commitment to students, their wellness, and overall experience. She is an adjunct professor, advising students in the Digital Futures graduate program, and led the formation of a CFC/OCAD U partnership that began in 2011. She joins at a time of ambitious academic, research and advancement goals.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have the opportunity to join OCAD University,” said Serrano. “I understand how important the university is to the cultural and economic future of our country and can’t wait for the chance to help steer it into this new decade, when the transformative leadership of artists, designers and cultural critics will be more important than ever.”
OCAD U is on track to develop its Creative City Campus plan including the revitalization and expansion of its core spaces on McCaul Street as well as establishment of new learning space in the new Mirvish+Gehry project on King Street West. The Ignite Imagination campaign has raised $70 million, with a goal of $100 million to support the Creative City Campus, infrastructure projects, galleries, people and programs.
Transforming Student Experience commits to creating an inclusive, accessible, and dynamic environment where students can acquire the skills and knowledge to take on the key questions of our time. Its goal is to develop artists and designers grounded in humanities, social science and science knowledge.
The Strategic Research Plan re-affirms the central role of knowledge creation and research across the institution. Identified as a key priority over the next five years, it establishes ambitious goals for research activity aimed at increasing research capacity, exploring innovative interdisciplinary research programs and developing and publicizing an inclusive understanding of what constitutes research and scholarship.
Each of these initiatives was led by outgoing president, Dr. Sara Diamond. Diamond leaves an important legacy in the university’s history, leading a remarkable period of growth and transformation.
“For 15 years, Sara has represented us as our leader and a visionary, demonstrating constant innovation and evolution through her trailblazing thought and practice,” said Watt. “She has steered us beyond our roots in traditional art and design to not only university status, but also a leadership role in digital media design, research and curriculum.”
Among her most meaningful legacies, Diamond has led OCAD University in its efforts to build a diverse and equitable work force and student population, and has led efforts to address Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous culture and scholarship in collaboration with Indigenous colleagues.
She has also overseen the establishment of the institution’s graduate studies program, and over the past six years, its research activity has received more than $10 million in funding from the Ignite Imagination campaign. Under her leadership, support from the three Canadian federal granting agencies has increased so substantially that OCAD U has been awarded its first-ever allocation of Canada Research Chairs. Her last day as president will be June 30, 2020.