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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Brief report on ACSG meeting

We are still slogging through the videos of the ACSG meeting, but some brief highlights. For now, just reporting what was said, without commentary. If anyone has corrections or additions to this, please email futureorartcenter@gmail.com or post a comment.

DRC - Design Research Center Building
  • The DRC (Gehry building) would be composed of three parts: the shops, a library, and an atrium
  • Why Gehry? Branding, best of class design of building, draw donations, international exposure
  • The construction plan would include a central plant for Ellwood and Gehry buildings - i.e. A/C, Heating, etc allowing equipment to be removed from roof of Ellwood. This allows for solar on the roof of Ellwood
  • Would be an inexpensive building, like a design studio
What Koshalek wants to do next
  • More involved in faculty hires, including international searchs
  • Work more closely with faculty & students
  • Better communication with faculty, alumni, students
  • Build the Board of Trustees - more diversity, more design focus
  • Sees competition as Stanford D-School, CMU, Ohio State, MIT, U of Minnesota, RCA
  • $75M raised since 1999
  • $25M of that went to endowment
  • Endowment was $16M in 1999, is now $42M, next goal is $60M (typically, less than 5% can be spent each year, i.e. $2.1M of current - this was not stated in meeting - just typical for endowments)
  • 90% of endowment goes to scholarships
  • Last year, $1.4M raised for scholarships
  • Last year, education budget was $25.4M, went over budget by $1.1M, blamed implicitly on Nate Young, and technology went over budget as well
  • From 2003 to 2007 education budget increased by 24.6%
  • Changes to the Cafeteria will be implemented in the next few weeks - no details of what those changes are
  • South campus is LEED approved
  • Gehry building would be sustainably built and operated
more coming...


lee bolton said...

After sitting through the 3 hours of video, in two very slowly gestating cycles, I would make this recommended viewing for any student interested in propaganda and advertising.

That being said, I do not blame the administration for assailing me with information and a bevy of numbers. Certainly with the recent uproar over transparency and money management towards education, they want are doing their best in providing this information to us under such quick duress.

The difficulty that I had in digesting it was the amount of percentage quoting that was going on, the lack of numbers presented in a physical sense (ie. on paper,) and unsubstantiated survey metrics created to justify costs. This was further coupled by the fact that I myself became overwhelmed and oversaturated with this information leading to my complete lack of trust in what information was being disseminated.

For example, I can have one apple, and add another to make two. This is a 100% increase. A paltry amount in quantity, but because of the percentage amount, this seems large. This can also be further construed by quoting percentages over time. If I have 1 apple and then double this over 2 years, eventhough it is a miniscule number, it is an increase of... 100% over 2 years.

I appreciate the time that the administration took to compile these numbers from their number cruncher, however if you inform us that it will give us a greater headache to understand how this process all works, how do you expect to even attempt to grasp it if all you do is throw out random numbers from those books? I doubt that this was intended, but there is little room for a discussion of finances when the answer is, "It will just give you a headache. Let me show you," and lead you towards my solution.

If you are to provide us with numbers and metrics, I understand, I believe that Pricewatershouse/Cooper handles our audits and this is fine; However, providing us with survey facts that correlate and support data that we can't have their sources verified or seem biased seems doubtful at best. Furthermore if the reason why students come to Art Center is first and foremost because of the work, and secondarily because of the architecture, than the argument becomes that more muddled to me because it seems that the current architecture is doing its job and there is no reason for expansion. While this can be argued as a 'glass half full/half empty argument' I found the videos littered with such analogy and easily misintendedly misconstrued information.

I am not sure if it was really the ACSG's purpose to go into the meeting with pointed sticks and jab the administration. I hope not-- however outside of a few questions they allowed the administration to control and 'administer' throughout the whole video, with little control and oversight, alarming me even more about our current situation, while coffee, stories and laughs were shared around a table about a situation that I felt needed to be taken that much more seriously.

Anonymous said...

When you go to business school, they teach you very well how to take numbers and then bend and twist them to make them look more impressive than they actually are (in both good and bad ways). The numbers do not lie, but the presenter can use them in deceptive ways.

Define the parameters of the "education" budget. What kind of stuff do you have tucked in there?

ilovedesign said...

Posted on Saturday, June 14, at 5:00 pm by a former board member:

The issue at Art Center is not buildings. The issue is priorities. I believe Art Center's priority should be -- must be -- providing the very finest art and design education anywhere. Sadly, the college has veered sharply off course. Under Richard Koshalek's leadership, Art Center has undertaken two massive building projects and is on its way to a third. Richard is well-known for raising funds for buildings and working with celebrity architects. That's what he's good at; that is his passion. When we hired Richard, we hoped he was also passionate about art and design education. Today we have little evidence of that. Early board meetings were often devoted to lengthy architectural presentations. Education initiatives were treated perfunctorily as an operational matter and not a strategic topic for discussion. Programming for the new buildings was shoddy and did not respond to core educational needs. The buildings are deeply disliked by students and staff and significantly under-used. The price is startling: a 20,000 sq ft library and a 20,000 sq ft. studio space for $50 million. That's $1250/sq ft. While building proceeds at a fast pace, little attention has been paid to educational quality. Enrollment is down. Less qualified students are being accepted. And the college has suffered significant deficits each of the last 3 quarters (now $1.1 million). Indeed, the college's very survival is now threatened. The board needs to ask the president to drop his building plans and refocus on meeting his financial management responsibilities and rebuilding the quality of the Art Center education. Alumnus and former Board Member
Posted on Sunday, June 15, at 3:03 pm by Clement Mok

The idea was to create a bureaucracy so by the time a student or group is able to make a change, most of them would already have graduated. I know my alma matter will rank higher if I donate money to its endowment. I should be able to... I should want to 'pay it forward' - I rather keep my wallet in my pocket. Thank you, but no thank you. Especially, under these circumstances, I will wait until Richard Koshalek, Patricia Belton Oliver, and Jean Mitsunaga are gone and the rest of the administration decide to continue student, and design objectives clear and transparent without any hidden agenda.