Algonquin Shuffle update

By Mike Valiquette

Thanks to everyone who has chimed in with their comments and concern over the recent changes at Algonquin.  Word is now out, to some degree, regarding the situation.

Last Thursday, October 7th, Neil Hunter and Paul West were removed from their positions as co-coordinators of the Animation program at Algonquin College.  It was reported to me that they were “fired” from the position.  While no longer coordinators, Paul and Neil are still employed at the College as teachers.

Administration today named Derek Bond and Tom Crook the new coordinators for the program.

The following email was sent to all students today from Peter Larock, the Chairman of the program:

TO: All Animation Students

My apologies for the confusion caused by an administrative change in the Animation program.

Coordination of the program has been moved to Derek and Tom.

The unauthorized reports of this administrative change on external sites and social networks imply that Neil and Paul are no longer with the college. Nothing could be further from the truth. Neil and Paul are an integral part of the Animation program team.

You won’t notice any changes. The program will continue in the same direction with the full support of the college.

Peter Larock
Chair, Design Studies

Algonquin has a great program, and this appointment is a clear signal that the administration is fully behind the direction the program has taken over the last number of years and ensures business as usual for the staff and students.  There remains some question regarding the sudden nature of the move last Thursday, and I’m being called to task over the use of the word “fired”, but for now, it’s important to acknowledge that both Peter Larock and Russell Mills have clearly demonstrated that they understand the needs of the program, the students and the surrounding industry and have made a great call in a less than perfect situation.

Best of luck to Derek and Tom in their new roles.

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5 Responses to “Algonquin Shuffle update”

  1. Ron

    This should serve as a notice to other schools, there are a lot of colleges with lacking Animation programs.
    I’m thinking of a certain school in Oshawa Ontario.

  2. Interesting.
    Derek and Tom are solid folks and I am glad to see that the program will continue in good hands.
    I in no way want to belittle the talent of both of these guys as I consider them to be of the best quality that Ottawa has to offer and am glad they are passing on their knowledge to others BUT, it would seem that a change of leadership for the program was not handled very well. At least from an outsiders point of view.
    I got the impression that this change was as much of a surprise to Neil and Paul? Like I said above, no reflection on Derek and Tom (love you both guys) but why the change?
    My hope is this is something that all parties are on board with and no fallout will take place between people that have known each other for years.
    Or I hope that this is not another case of College administration FUBAR’ing up a perfectly good system for silly reasons like budget or some such. That would never happen I am sure.

  3. Kelseigh

    I will note that the college only saw fit to contact the affected students after there was a good deal of unrest about the decision. The fact that we weren’t immediately informed of a major, and highly unusual, change like this, and still haven’t been officially given any reason whatsoever, is disturbing. After all, we’re the ones paying for this venture, aren’t we?

    The fact is, “fired” is an accurate term. The fact that we didn’t know if they were fired from their teaching position as well as their co-ordinator position is a fault on the part of the college administration for remaining secretive throughout. And, apparently, they continue to be secretive even now.

  4. Em

    Well, isn’t Mr Larock deft at skirting the issue? “All is well, nothing to see here, the college has handled everything perfectly well, please don’t ask any questions. Everything is smooth-a-roony!”.

    I really think the college didn’t expect that there would be much support for these guys and now have to scramble to appease a whole lot of people. Are they going to do so by pretending that this is just an “administrative change”. Nothing on earth moves slower than administrative decisions. Something is a little fishy with that.

    So basically, two very competent men who’ve been with the program for years can be fired & humiliated, with no actual reasons given (are there any??) and another two men suddenly have to take on a huge job completely out of the blue that was already being done well… and the admin’s position is that it’s all hunky dory! Smooth sailin’. Golly, sorry for the mixup! Silly old administration! Everything is just business as usual! Let’s pretend that nothing happened, students! You’ve seen nothing! Neil and Paul who? Look! Butterflies!

    What a bunch of bull.

  5. Remy

    At first, some of us were afraid that maybe the school was going to hire some random people who may not be in the animation field to co-ordinate our program.

    We as animation students at the Algonquin College are happy that our program is still in good hands. However, as mentioned by a few people, we would like to find out why this change occurred.


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