Confessions of the Acting Associate Chair – Week 5

What a GREAT week! This was a very busy one, but all said and done, I sure feel like we accomplished some things, including this Friday 13th version of the Confessions e-mail.

The fear of the number 13… To those who subscribe to this and other phobias (friggatriskaidekaphobia – the fear of Friday the 13th), the good news is, the day is almost done. This week Jed and the other Chairs in FIAT, along with our dean have been in some mad, number crunching meetings around the budget and there is no word yet if the fear factor played a role. I don’t want to start a rumour, but 3 chairs went in this morning, and only 2 came out… More news on the budget to come over the next few weeks but one thing is certain. We will need very careful in the upcoming three semesters to utilize our resources well.

On Monday I spent the day at Mohawk College for the HOMAD meeting – “Heads of Media and Design”. All the Ontario colleges with media and / or design programs are part of this group and reports back to the VP academic group. We spent the day talking about issues such as enrolment, marketing budgets and how the economy is playing a part in it all. One thing is clear when you meet other people doing the same or similar things across this province is that we are all facing the same issues, and I sure feel more then ever that Seneca is a leader, playing active role in organizations like this.

Coordinator’s meeting
Thanks to all the program coordinators and a few acting and students’ advisors for attending our first meeting of this semester (thanks for the chocolate Anna!). We had some great conversations about a number of pertinent topics including the budget, subject outlines, the SCA webpage and application numbers.

A couple of things that came out after the meeting such as the need for a SCA wide – skills bank database and some clarification on the standardized subject outlines. In answer to the skills database, Joseph Bodick and I will be sitting down next week to setup a quick online survey that all SCA faculty will be asked to take part in. The result will be the start of the ongoing School of Communication Arts Skills bank database that we can then use to quickly fill the needs of our incredible group of programs.

As for the Subject outlines, I will be very busy next week with coming up with a new approach / strategy to gathering all the subject outline information for all the SCA programs, then working with Kelly and Isabelle on the uploading of the data to the appropriate webpages. Look for more information coming from your program coordinators.

Back to Class
Thanks to JoAnn Purcell for the invite to a 1st semester Arts Fundamentals class, where I had a great time admiring some very talented student work of a still life of some fruit. I almost picked up a brush and gave it a try, but felt more comfortable watching. I did however learn something… If you want to make a colour darker it is better to add any other dark colour but not black… Who knew! OK all but me, but still that’s cool. I am going to buy a set of brushes in anticipation of another invite to a drawing class… I can’t wait!

I also brushed up on some Photoshop skills in Richard Slavin’s CAB class this week and thank him and his students for reminding me that I need a lot of work on my photoshop skills. His class was filled with a bright bunch of question asking advertising students that where fun to watch and listen too. With his straightforward approach, its obvious why he was selected by students in this month’s BUZZ newspaper as “Professor of the Month”. Congratulations Richard!

New Programs…
The Acting for Camera and Voice, the Illustration program (submitted by SCA), and the Independent Writing course (submitted by ELS) were all approved at the dean’s level this week and now need to prepare for presentation to the Seneca’s Boards new program committee. It is not clear when we will be able to present, because of some very full agendas but we are hoping to have one of the programs ready for the next meeting, with a projected start in September.

In Closing
I wanted to find something nice to close with this week, having Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and the fantastic Family Day holiday on Monday, I started waxing poetically about love, and family and jotted down this (with apologies to lovers of the English language):

Very superstitious, writing on the wall
Love with Red and no black
Pictures in the hall

Some would say we are lucky
I would sure agree
Great job and great friends
I like being me

Very superstitious, it’s written in the hall
Happy Mondays’ a holiday
Home with family, we’ll have a ball

I think next week, I should be visiting an ELC class, just to brush up a little…

Thanks! 5 down and 9 to go.

Confessions of the Acting Associate Chair – Week 4

This is it. Week 4 and things are just humming along. Jed is up to his hips in budget fun, we are thinking about application totals and orientations that start next week, and I had quiche for lunch today… OK there are more exciting things to report about this week then just that, so here it goes!

Back to the Class
Thanks to CAB coordinator – Anthony Kalamut for inviting me to attend his 2nd semester Creative Advertising class. This very bright, question-asking group hammered out some very cool concepts around marketing campaigns. I learned that ROI, may stand for return on investment in the business sense, but in advertising it is almost the “caramilk secret” in the design of a campaign – Relevance, Originality, and remaining Interesting. The highlight for me was seeing a glimmer of one of my teaching heroes channeled in Anthony’s incredible command of the class – Its like I had a chance to go back in time, and take part in a Big John Small class! Thanks Anthony I had a blast!

Lunchtime fun!
Thanks to JoAnn Purcell, we had some visual stimulation during one of the afternoon lunch club gatherings, where we screened – Skylight (originally called “Penguin”). Written and directed by former Animation Arts instructor, Dave Bass. The creative team included the DAN coordinator Sean Craig, instructor Rob Silvestri and a large group of gradated students over the past 5 or 6 years, working only on Sundays! They received Bravo Fact Funding and as a result you can see it on Bravo or I also have a DVD to share. Dave is also shopping around the festival market, so sky’s the limit for skylight!

On the tube!
Our very own James Cullingham was a guest on TVO’s “The Agenda” with Steve Paikin on Thursday night. Other guests included Mary Ormsby from The Star, Bruce Dowbiggin from Calgary Herald and former Leaf, Bob McGill talking about fighting in the NHL. From all reports, it was a great show.

Student Success
4th semester JBC students Daniel Alcinii and Matthew Kang have been selected for highly sought after Internships at CBC Radio beginning in May and as spring approaches a few more of our Journalism students may be selected by CBC TV. This makes 4-5 years running that our students have been selected for this competitive Internship that in the past was only awarded to students from Ryerson, Carleton and Western.

David Stein, almost CAB Graduate was a member of the winning team that entered a contest put on by the Virgin group of company’s to design an advertising campaign for V-Fest concerts; one of Richard Branson’s charity efforts aimed at homeless youth. The team was to be made up of 8 members, but due to bad weather, only 3 members showed up so congratulations to Daniela Sanz, Vijay Setlur and Seneca student David Stein.

Application numbers
Although we are still a little early in the crunch to look at our application numbers for the upcoming 2 semesters, generally speaking we are at the same or MORE then this same time period last year, and that is a GOOD thing. With many orientation stating next week, I want to extend an offer to help anyone who needs it with anything related to applications / offers. If there is anything I can do to help you get your offers out as soon as we are able to, I would be happy to help.

Coordinators meeting next week
The agenda is coming together nicely for the program coordinator’s meeting next week… If you have something you would like us to discuss, please forward it on to your coordinator or myself.

In closing
I was looking for a story from my home life this week to share as a fun way to end my confessions this week, but I am coming up blank… I asked my wife if she could think of anything that happened significant this week, and all she could come up with was her beautiful new haircut (it is very nice) but I said no… there has to be something that I can pull from week 4 from around the world that would have relevance… then it came to me.
My Answer to ALL I do not know – Google!

I type in “funny quote” and select the first webpage ( And find my closing thought for week 4!

“It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.”

Week 5 arrives in 64 hours!

Thanks! 4 down and 10 to go.

Confessions of the Acting Associate Chair – Week 3

With a busy week 3 wrapping up, I present to you my 3rd installment of my confessions email. The strike free addition! I am so happy and a little surprised at the number of people that have stopped me in the halls and commented on how much they look forward to this peek into and around the School of Communication Arts. Please keep the feedback coming (and maybe the criticism too).

What I learned this week!
Well this could almost be what I didn’t learn this week, as it started with a class visit to Michael Smith’s NAT150 – Human Sexuality class… Lets just say I was fairly confident that I would be able to handle the week three class on female / male anatomy, given my happy 12-year marriage (19 years together) and my two beautiful girls. That made the 62.5% on the 24-question true false test a little concerning. In fact, I had to rush home and hit the books and study all night. I am so glad that I found my original 1991 textbook from the first time I was a student in this same class with the same Mr. Smith (I earned a B on my transcript).

I turned my academic aspirations toward Corporate Media Production, and visited A CMP class on teambuilding, facilitated by Michael Curran. What a great class, with a very participatory group, narrowing down the big four of teambuilding to respect, communication, trust and leadership. It was great insight into the dynamics of the CMP program and their strong group of 4th semester students.

Faculty News
This week, there where two stories of “accomplishments in their fields” with SCA faculty, and although you may have heard some of the news before, I wanted to spotlight it again.

Peter Houston was acknowledged in an online story about the NEW CTV recording of the famous Hockey Night In Canada Theme. It would seem that our very own Peter was the original recording engineer and was consulted by the new team of engineers on mixing the latest version of the song. But it doesn’t stop there… Current TV faculty members, Michael Nunan and Paul Sellers were the supervising engineers and Seneca Grad – Brian Sheridan also worked on the project. Congratulations to all involved! For the article here is the link!(

Great news for IMP faculty member Linda M ( who found out this week that her L.A. publisher is so happy with the interest in her work, and the placement of her songs over the last 5 years, that they have renewed her contract! Linda, an award winning songwriter shares the skill of crafting a song with her IMP students.

If you have some good news to share please let me know!

Baby News!
We are happy to report that Michael Curran welcomed to his family, a 102 pound golden retriever named BECKER. We were also happy to welcome a very young and cute visitor to the halls of SCA this week, with the surprise drop in of little Sheyla and her proud father Mark of course. For a great insight on family life for our Associate Chair, check out his great holiday video! ( Watch for her in the IMP program in 18 years.

Seneca / YORK Joint students
With the end of the strike, YORK has released their plan on an adjusted fall and wither schedule and it will certainly impact on our 46 Seneca / YORK joint students. As a result, of the increased YORK work / class load, we have asked all the coordinators to pass on messages to their entire faculty regarding doing what we can to support our students in completing what they need too do to get back on track. If there is anything I can do to help you or your students, please let me know.

On a Personal Note
Back to things I learned this week for a second… I personally am having a great time in this new role, and feel that I am learning something about the school, the faculty, programs and myself each and every day. This week, I was also taught things at home, that can apply to us all so I would like the share them with you. First my daughter Jordyn, who is 9, and very nervous about public speaking, got an A on her speech. This taught me that its ok to say you are scared about doing something, as long as you have a little support and you try it anyway – you CAN succeed. My 6-year-old Julia taught me the importance of positive affirmation… Nathalie and I read a great entry in her grade one journal… “My name is Julia. I am in grade 1. My eyes are green. My hair is brown. I like to sing when I’m at school. I like being me”

I enjoy singing at school and I like being me too!

Thanks! 3 down and 11 to go.