Hello, I’m Dr. Sarah McKinnon, interim president of NSCAD University.
On behalf of the entire NSCAD community, I’m honoured to share a very warm welcome to all first-year and returning students.
As a new member of NSCAD, I can’t wait to see you. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be until public health restrictions allow us all to get together on campus, and nobody knows when that might happen.
I actually just finished my 14-day quarantine today after arriving to Halifax from Toronto, and I’ve been watching everyone enjoy the great weather and waterfront from my apartment window. I’m excited to get to explore this beautiful city and discover its history and its heart, some of the big reasons why people come to NSCAD from around the world.
I’m sure many of you are enjoying being here right now, and it’s so important to remember to do so safely. If you are required to self-isolate as I was, please follow the province’s rules and directions, which you can find on our website at nscad.ca. The COVID cases identified at two universities a week before classes start is a sombre reminder of how fast things can change if we don’t work together.
This fall semester is going to look a lot different for us at NSCAD and at other universities. As you know, here all courses will be delivered online using both synchronous and pre-recorded learning experiences.
We are working hard to make these experiences rich, empowering and as close to “normal” as we can.
Feedback from the summer semester is helping us better understand how our students adapt to e-learning, and how we can make our Fall courses even better for you. We’re committed to finding ways to improve your online experience throughout the year.
You have shown
incredible resilience
throughout the sudden
and significant disruptions
this year, and through
cooperation and
compassion, I know our
community will find a way
to succeed together.
Dr. Sarah McKinnon
We’ve worked very hard to make these important changes happen while being the only university in Nova Scotia not to raise tuition for the academic year. In addition, we’ve increased financial support available to students through scholarships, bursaries, and part-time employment.
September is always a chance for a fresh start for everyone in our community. It seems especially important now that we work together to support a culture that encourages a sense of belonging for everyone – a culture that values one’s identity, dignity and safety.
Along with a dedicated faculty and staff, I am here to do all that I can to make your time at NSCAD positive and rewarding. You have shown incredible resilience throughout the sudden and significant disruptions this year, and through cooperation and compassion, I know our community will find a way to succeed together.


Finding your
community, is like
finding your voice
and hearing it for
the first time.
Yes, you. The world is vast and limitless and scary. Part of what makes NSCAD a unique experience is that you get to finally surround yourself with like-minded people. You finally get to belong to your community. Finding your community gives you a sense of belonging, and you will know it innately, the same way you know when you taste something delicious. Finding your community is rich food for your soul.
While you grow your talents, we know that belonging to this community will help foster a belief in yourself while you traverse this new experience. We encourage you to be yourself and know that you now belong to something special. A community of your own.


This fall will be unmistakably different. Courses will be online. Your talents will still be nurtured, and your passions fully quenched. Be ready, be supportive, and be open-minded.


NSCAD Textile/Fashion students are busily making 500 re-usable cloth masks for staff and students. The masks will be provided to NSCAD staff by the University and SUNSCAD has partnered on the project to have masks made available for students. The masks will allow members of the NSCAD community to more safely access campuses and their community while reducing the waste created by disposable masks. By creating the masks in our own textiles department with donated and reused materials, we were able to provide a more sustainable option. Most of the cotton fabric for the masks was donated by community members and local shops like Patch Halifax, who is always a great supporter. The masks are all reversible so the wearer can coordinate with their outfit or mood.
COVID has changed our lives and literally turned them upside down. Like all institutions of higher learning we’ve been planning for months at how we can all get through this.
NSCAD has drafted a thorough COVID protocol that students, instructors, administration, and staff have to follow during this time.
One of the major policies is the full-time ONLINE instruction that will happen this year.
We ask that you please click through and read the NSCAD Covid protocol policy.
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Our commitment to your passion.

The biggest worry NSCAD has come across with new and returning students alike was the trepidation of not having a continuous learning experience. For returning students our online learning plans were developed and executed in part through the summer. It gave us an opportunity to see how pathways that students were already on could be easily progressed without losing a step.

“In general, the online courses were able to do all of the same stuff. We would have laid out weeks of demos which is, in all honesty, better because you can continually go back and re-watch it and re-watch it and re-watch it. It’s a major plus for someone like me – I have issues with memory and instruction – to be able to go back and re-watch what he’s trying to show us was awesome.”

With that experience under our belts the next steps were much more fluid in designing the Fall around a returning student. Instructors now had a playbook of sorts to make their courses work seamlessly into a student’s progression. There will be challenges but nothing a community of like-minded souls can’t hurdle.

For all the new students we needed them to feel like they weren’t being left out of belonging to such a great community of artists but that they would still get a great kickstart to a well rounded program. Being able to jump right in and get the knowledge to shape their talents has always been a top priority at NSCAD.

They needed to know that what they were being taught was not a second class version of what they might have experienced before COVID. Instructors were given the tools necessary to make teaching just as unique as before.

They also have been tasked with making themselves even more available than ever, allowing students to get their concerns and questions answered in a timely manner. In some cases, being online is easier and faster than just down the hall.

“Since the lectures were taped, this allowed me to view and review the lectures. Found this beneficial to learning. Being able to view the videos related to the lectures, also helpful. And surprisingly there was great access to the Professor. I did not expect this. Better access than if delivered in person.”

We knew that online would hold certain challenges, but we also knew that we were up for task. NSCAD has always strived to be a dominant leader in the Fine Arts space so we could not afford to let anyone down. Our strength would come by retaining as many courses as possible to let returning students successfully continue their journey. And with that same passion it allowed us to create a program that makes every new student confident that they are also on the right path. Online instruction is not defined by distance. It is defined by the quality of thought, communication, and talent of those participating in this journey. Of which we at NSCAD know we have an abundance.


New & returning students can find out all the wheres, whens, and whys of their semester right here. Stay informed and updated during the year.
   students…read more
students…read more