‘Creative School’ students share distaste for new faculty name

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By Thea Gribilas

Ryerson’s Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) officially became The Creative School on Aug. 16, but the change has faced criticism from students on social media.

The rebrand was announced on July 5 and is estimated to cost between $200,000 and $250,000, according to Rana Latif, the director of strategic development and marketing at The Creative School.

Katie Shier, a fourth-year new media student, said she thought the name change was a joke “because it sounds so unprofessional and fake.”

Shier added she doesn’t believe much thought was put into the change. “If they did, that’s also super disappointing that this is what they came up with and this is what they think best represents us,” she said. “It’s just kind of like a punch in the gut.”

Shier said she wishes the school involved students in the renaming process, although, according to the dean of The Creative School Charles Falzon, the school conducted town halls and “fireside chats.”

Falzon told The Eyeopener that, in hindsight, a more “intentional” effort should have been made to include students in the consultation process.

“I’m trying to figure out what happened in the communication chain, because there were students involved all the way,” he said.

Falzon said he conducted and was involved with several meetings with student societies and student union representatives and hosted town hall meetings to discuss the name change, but students have been vocal online about their dislike for the change. 

Parker Ducharme, a fifth-year creative industries student, said it’s a “slap in the face to Indigenous students and all students and activists” to be changing the name of the faculty when Ryerson community members have been advocating for a name change for years.

The rebranding of FCAD comes after ongoing calls to change Ryerson University’s name were amplified by recent discoveries of human remains found at the sites of former residential schools across Canada. Egerton Ryerson, the school’s namesake, is one of the architects of the residential school system.

Indigenous community members have called on those associated with Ryerson to replace its name with the letter “X” in their emails, CVs and other professional communications, The Eye previously reported.

Ducharme said he believes the move proves a name change isn’t as hard as the university has been leading students to believe. He added that he dislikes the accompanying new visual branding.

“The logo sucks in my opinion. I don’t like how it looks at all, it’s a very uncreative logo and…is not memorable,” said Ducharme.

He also said The Creative School’s social media presence has deteriorated since the rebranding.

“It doesn’t seem like they tried very hard with the branding at all,” said Ducharme. “It all seems very rushed.”

In an interview with The Eye, Falzon identified several reasons why he felt FCAD needed a name change.

“It takes away so much from the professionalism and from having a name that seems respectable”

“It was very clear that FCAD had positioning challenges and that it was a collection of really strong schools that really were amongst the best in the world, but [FCAD] hadn’t been recognized as a collective fully in Canada, let alone the world,” said Falzon.

By changing the name, added Falzon, The Creative School would have the chance to establish itself both domestically and internationally in a way FCAD did not.

This repositioning, according to Falzon, is intended to ensure Creative School students are able to have connections that go beyond their program and allow for the faculty’s “ecosystem” among its individual programs to flourish.  

Falzon also said he believes FCAD was a “clunky name” and that communication and design is a narrower focus than what The Creative School has to offer. 

Andrea Bougiouklis, a third-year creative industries student, said she liked the name FCAD and didn’t feel a name change was necessary.

“When I did see the name change, I just immediately did not like it. I felt that it takes away so much from the professionalism and from just having a name that seems respectable,” said Bougiouklis. “It’s a very juvenile name.”

Bougiouklis said since the name change, she has grown to dislike the name even more. She said she wishes the school had been more transparent throughout the rebranding process.

Rida Khan, a second-year master of journalism student, said when she first heard about the name change she thought the change was made  for some kind of technical reason. Given there was no technical reason, however, she said “it just doesn’t make sense.”

Khan added that she doesn’t believe The Creative School encapsulates all that students do. 

“I’ve always seen journalism as something that is both an art and a science, it requires your creative skill set and it requires your technical and scientific skill sets, and somehow being called The Creative School…it’s just misleading,” said Khan.

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