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Thursday, May 29, 2008

How can education be improved at Art Center?

A discussion on the future of education at Art Center. How can education be improved? What is working well, what is not? How is Art Center falling behind other schools and art and design trends? What are the most important things to change about Art Center?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

All artists, as visual people, need exposure to the world they are competing with. With a solid understanding of fundamentals in the area of their design field, students need to be inspired to create. My experience here, is greatly in part to the guidance of the veteran faculty. Their encouragement and experience has shed light of my hopes of finding a career in the art world. When the faculty has been scared away, I fear what the school will have to resort to in order to show me as they have. First and second even 5 year teachers can help show you what the immediate industry is like, but they lack the ability to teach, which is most important.

Art Center is a great resource, only because our great alumni fuel the evolution of their fields, then become great teachers, which attracts great students, who continue that cycle. I believe that increased enrollment damages that cycle because Art Center will be forced to lower its standard.

Some of the most open-minded and encouraging veteran instructors I know fear that the Art Center community is being steered in the wrong direction. Expansion would be wonderful, but monetarily unrealistic for Art Center.

Ashley said...

As a current student I see a lot of things that I love and respect about this school. However, this only throws into sharper contrast the things that could be improved. I came here (as I imagine a number of other people did) in order to have the most challenging artistic experience available. I've found that in some teachers, but I have to admit that it's not the norm. I know you'll find a range of teachers in every school, but I had expected more from ACCD teachers. I'm tired of grade inflation. When I get an A, I want to be able to say that I worked the hardest I could and produced my best work to date for that teacher, not just that I handed all my work in on time.

How can education be improved? Raise the bar. Art Center's reputation is based on its students. The quality of our work represents the quality of the school. This means technically and conceptually. Teachers get more contact time with students and *don't* give us any slack. That's not what we came here for.

lee bolton said...

What is working at Art Center?

A beleagured and overtaxed faculty that works for dimes and nickels and is intimidated to speak freely about their opinion without fear of being squashed by 'administration' at the cost of their jobs because of no tenure.

Students are watching good instructors leave (and retire from) the school or teach at a local junior colleges to make ends meet, lowering the playing field unintentionally, and is not attracting new talent in to replace them.

The school is making business (and probably no profit) for small groups and other trade schools that charge $300 for weekend classes and technology that the school should be offering, teaching to us for the cost of our education OR hiring these people to teach these classes and fill the void being left by our departing faculty.

The 'value' of Art Center is declining. -Frankly the argument of 'you guys are pathetic because all schools increase cost and teachers move on.. blah, blah' is not relevant; Much more it is just as much a part of the problem due to student apathy to fix things.
Students are becoming disenfranchised and see the school as less than it was years ago.

What is not working for Art Center?

Education.


-Sorry for the sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Kick the 200 administrative staff members OFF THE HILL. Give the students BACK the Ellwood building, as God and Kubly intended.

Put 'em in offices and a cube farm at the South Campus. The place is ill-designed and virtually useless for classrooms.

Anonymous said...

FYI, God and Kubly put staff on the hill. Maybe God and Kubly should revisit the situation and mix department chairs with adminstration so that they actually talk!

Anonymous said...

Some of the staff would be HAPPY to move to the South Campus. Maybe if God and Kubly are listening...

Anonymous said...

As a former staff member at Art Center (who thinks very respectfully and affectionately of the school), I applaud the students for caring about their education and the legacy of the college enough to do something about the current state of affairs. Nevertheless, I also caution you to tread carefully. "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Many administrative staff members care very deeply for the students and take their responsibilities very seriously. They really are there to serve you (the students), and contrary to the beliefs that some appear to have, many of them are on your side. Unfortunately they don't have a voice as strong as yours. Their voice could put their livelyhood in peril (i.e. Rachel Tiede).

Jason said...

Is anyone listening us?
I feel like the relationship and communication with in this school are corrupted. It will be a very long time before I can speak of Art Center affectionately.

I ask those who have the power to change the direction of this school to consider the following:
-If you are a student considering going to school what would you look for? buildings or teachers and a reputation based on which? Cost and competitive entrance are huge deciding factor for those of us who are taking on ludacris debt.

Take a look at collegedata.com you will find a 70% acceptance rate for Art Center with a average debt of 70K as opposed to RISD that is 30% with 4 times as many applicants and a average of 22K debt. Richard talks about increasing awareness but I think he needs to focus on accessibility we are only 16% international.

Please look at these numbers:
from collegedata.com and http://www.guidestar.org/pqShowGsReport.do?partner=grantexplorer&npoId=227435
The schools growth rates from 2000 to 2005 look like this:
Assets up 84%
Revenues up 69%
Expenses up 38%
Liabilities up 96%
Land and Buildings up 121%, (nation average here is 120%)
Investments and securities up 60% Program expenses up 37%(education)
Tuition Revenue up 41%
Salaries up 44%(W/O management)

The way these percentages are going I'm not too sure you'll find professional design talent into this kind of charity... I mean teaching.

\\\\\\\My biggest complaint out of all of this is that the career services office and financial aid office although doing a good job could be given some money and staff to assist with our inevitable money worries which are simply not going to go away and stifle and disrupt creative experiences.\\\\\\
Thanks for the blog Nathan we all owe you!!!!!
Sincerely, Jason Hill (the student)
Please keep others informed and motivated!!!!!
The person who wrote this has it right:

"Replacing styrofoam plates and erecting pretty buildings is nothing compared to a dysfunctional admin and faculty relationship because this impacts the very people the school relies most on: the students and future students."

Anonymous said...

The most effective way to ensure the future of Art Center College of Design is to close it’s doors. This would also be the fastest way solve the school’s money problems; increase it’s presence on the world stage and the value of it’s diploma.

Across town, a hundred years ago +/-, Amos G Throop established Throop Polytechnic Institute, a vocational school, much like Art Center today, concerned with the arts and the sciences. Ernest Bachelder, whose tiles are highly prized today, taught ceramics there. Much later, Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate of high energy physics, whom loved to paint and draw, taught there. Throop eventually evolved into The California Institute of Technology or CalTech and left the vocational attributes of the school behind... or did they? The motto at Art Center has always been “Teaching professionals not Professional Teachers,” that’s not far from the CalTech model. Excepting that CalTech has the endowment or financial horsepower to build the big telescopes that their “teaching professional” astronomers need to discover new planets. This horsepower that allows their professional space scientists to design and build space craft capable of traveling billions of miles over decades on just a tablespoon of atomic energy. Seems it just may be the way we spin this idea of teaching professionals.

Art Center’s endowment problems are rooted in the idea that we look too much like a business to the outside world. Not unlike the many for profit vocational schools. Philanthropists and corporations do not like to donate to businesses, it’s bad form. This is the mistake that the current administration has made and continues to make. Our NGO status is part of an attempt to make us look less like a business.

The time has come to give Art Center and CalTech the shot in arm each school richly deserves. Merge them. Other schools have successfully made this move. This would double the respective schools pools of talent. Bring CalTech closer to it’s creative roots. Give Art Center access to lucrative research grants and cutting edge technology. Most importantly, improve their respective images in the world view; and with the stroke of a pen, Art Center would become part of CalTech’s billion dollar endowment. The down side is that it would reduce the per student value of the current endowment; but would greatly improve the combined school’s ability to raise funds in the future. With a few minor additions of curricula the Merged School could offer exciting new programs... Applied Cybernetic Media Design, Applied Mobility Design, Molecularly Embedded Graphics...

Folks this solution is staring right at us. Art Center’s lack of endowment will consume us it is only a question of time. Art Center is not financially sustainable in it’s current form, “we cannot compete in a world of mega endowments” (from another post). If the tuition is free at Harvard or Stanford, where do we the think the best and the brightest will study?--Harvard and Stanford offer graduate studies in Industrial Design. Art Center must attain financial sustainability if it is to survive the next century; we must embrace the very essence of change that we profess and seek out the answers that are bigger than we are and more far reaching than the ones we are currently considering.

Regrettably, much of the current Art Center administration would be made redundant by administration that already exists at CalTech. This truth could be leveraged to reduce the strain on student tuition and free up our faculty to focus on education and design research. Maybe the Merged School would want hire someone with design education leadership experience to head up the improved Art Center College of Design, since there might not be a need for a president.

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't what most people posting here care about, but the Fine Art program has also been gutted. In the last few years, as key faculty leave, they just never get replaced. This used to be one of the best MFA programs in the country, now it's a shadow of that.

Anonymous said...

First thing ACCD can do is be honest with it's students.

Are you an Art Center or just a graphic design and Industrial Design center?

The school has been eliminating foundational classes more and more such as life drawing and anatomy. Seems to me its becoming less effective place to learn illustration and fine art.

Anonymous said...

Please delete the posts of the guy who keeps posting links to the Roland Young video on YouTube. This guy has hundreds of replies in regards to that video over there. Why expand his soap box?

Future of Art Center said...

Agreed about the Roland posts. The one above is deleted. If anyone sees other posts like this, please let us know and we will delete them. Roland hasn't been teaching at ACCD for a long time, and there is no reason to bring that issue into this discussion.

Anonymous said...

Thought of the day:

Before you build a sustainable building, build a sustainable school.