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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

College Governance - Best Practices?

Art Center has always been outside the norm when it comes to its governance structure - I.e. how educational decisions are made. In addition, the education structure has been in continual change for the last 10 years. What do you suggest for how education should be organized?

* What structure do you suggest? Should Art Center follow best practices from other art/design schools?
* How can faculty be better integrated into the educational process?


Anonymous said...

Best practices means real honest representation from students, faculty, staff and the community. I've heard many times the current leadership say that it is not a democracy. Well it should be. The community is responsible and concerned and ready to participate in the governance!

Anonymous said...

Communication! There hasn't been open communication and sharing of information: challenges and acheivements in many years. Start now. What is the plan for governing the school while the president search is on?

Jason said...

Open discussion for ALL parties!

This should be our next, forum, summit, conference, design storm including the board, faculty, staff, chairs, alums, industry representatives, educational thought leaders, futurists and especially the students.

What would the board think about that kind of collaboration? Essentially the board has a opportunity to turn a disruptive blog into a new style of leadership.

From this type of collaboration a appropriate structure can emerge in which it does not take 500+ staff, administration and faculty to educate approximately 1500 students. (ohhhh... that makes me sick to think about especially when we are well over 90% tuition dependent.)

Anonymous said...

Best practices for Art Center means returning to its roots. We need to find an ad man and bring him and his wife to run the school. It started as a family-run business and that's what worked.

This is a business, after all. Business is not a democracy.

Bambi said...

Art Center staffers should "Spend every dollar as if it were their own". Art Center should scrap the current financial leadership team and get a new CFO with a brutal pen and a chainsaw for cutting out the waste.

Seriously evaluate every non-teaching position on campus and weigh it against the needs of education and the financial health of the school.

Find the "real cost" of attending Art Center, and embark on a path to price Art Center's tuition to be in concert with the actual $ needs of the school. Stop using the other design schools as a "benchmark" for this purpose. A tuition dollar should be related to operational costs, not what RISD is charging 3000 miles away.

Hunt down fraud and hold people accountable for abusing funds.

Establish a solid travel policy and make the CFO responsible for approving most trips. No more flying business class. Not even for the president of the college (unless the upgrade is on him).

Find and eliminate conflicts of interest in regards to big-dollar projects. Architecture projects should have solicitations for competitive bids.

Look into selling some of the 143 acres Art Center sits upon on Lida Street. Think about what it might do for the endowment.

Bambi said...

more from my "Serious Trash" comment:

I think the BOARD of TRUSTEES should be made up primarilly of Alumni. Those who went to Art center, know what it is supposed to be about. They should know how to communicate a vision of what our community needs to our CEO, CFO and CAO.

Now as far as the CEO goes, I thin it is dangerous to hire an alumni. Like "Alternate Perspective" writes, it would be too easy for a "Trans-guy" or an "Illustration chick" to push too narrow a view of Art Center. We need someone who knows how to RUN something of this size. Hopefully an educator who knows about operations and the academic world.

As far as the CAO goes, I;d prefer someone with a design background, but also, probably NOT an alumni. When you have an alumni in such a position, it means they then pad the rolls with their old friends and buddies. I'd prefer a guy who does not have an allegiance to any particular department or major.

As far as CFO goes, I say that like any other large business (Art center has over 500 employees), we need a new outsider with strong financial analysis and planning credentials. He or she should be a CPA, and familliar with the ABSOLUTELY ETHICAL reporting of the numbers. We have come to distrust the numbers at Art Center, and that should start with the CFO.

outroLugar said...

Re:Anonymous said...
Best practices for Art Center means returning to its roots. We need to find an ad man and bring him and his wife to run the school. It started as a family-run business and that's what worked.

This is a business, after all. Business is not a democracy.

6/25/08 2:46 PM

This is 2008 and not 75 years ago. "Finding an ad man and his wife" is not how a global thinking college should be governed.

There is a need for transparency from the bridge. The decisions administration makes need to be presented and shared with the student body and the rest of the Art Center community. There has never been a formal presentation of what the design research center is, what it will do for us, how it could be used, if we need it at all, or our actual need have never been investigated to make this investment matter.

The only faces of administration should not be the registrar's office and the accounts receivable. It is the president's responsibility to be present in the classrooms, make connections to the students. The biggest issue we are having today begins with the exclusiveness of the administration and the board. In my two years at Art Center, I still haven't seen Nate Young or Richard Koshalek in the hallways. I don't know what their ideological agenda for my education is.

The faculty and chairs need to be part of the decision making when it comes to education. They are the ones that educate the next generations. They should not be treated as middle management in a corporation.

With a new community aware of its rights, and the availability of information, students have a right to have access to that information.

The most important thing is to look forward and recognize the needs of a global perspective - no man is an island. We are not going to be a great design school if we ignore how the rest of the world is operating. Looking at the past is not the right way to govern a college that should be educating the future designers.

Transparency - openness is the key.

Anonymous said...

I agree - primarily we need transparency and communication in the admin. Unfortunately I dont know the most effective way to achieve this.

Also although I strongly uphold the idea of "No Teachers" (ie people that teach at ACCD are professionals that bring in real world experience). This has from time to time hurt us by giving the admin too much leverage over the faculty. Thusly appointing some individuals with permanent teaching positions / professorships? like in a real College may help equalize the balance of power. Providing the right people are put in place - Ideally they should still be professionals that are current in their fields. On the down side I think there are some 'permanent-professional teachers' at ACCD that should not be there because they dont have enough experience and dont add any educational value to the institution.

Bambi said...

Anon wrote:

"I think there are some 'permanent-professional teachers' at ACCD that should not be there because they dont have enough experience and dont add any educational value to the institution."

Regardless of how you may feel about certain individual teachers, you have to concede that whoever is their department chair (or the CAO) needs to have the power to make such decisions.

Myself, I probably emerged from Art Center more positively influenced by FT instructors than my PT ones. It always seemed that the part-timers were less concerned with my overall edcucation. I think when you stumble upon the rare individual who really is a "great" teacher, the school needs to try and secure those resources, as they are invaluable. Professional expertise GOT them to Art Center. I could care less if the last piece my graphic design teacher created was in 1978. So long as his or her criticism was helping me get better, that's all I care about.

Jason said...

Bambi is right, Generally speaking it takes a long time for a part time teaching professional to streamline their lessons and offer the best possible instruction for students. The more expert full time teachers, the greater opportunity there will be for the part time teachers to learn and get great advice on effective techniques. I'm not saying there should be a majority of full time faculty.

Anonymous said...

CFO, President and Provost/Education Office should each report to the Board so that they are not manipulated or controlled by the President.

Anonymous said...

The International Initiatives SVP should report to the shop manager. That way they will better understand what it takes to build up a plan, a budget and a sense of reality.

Anonymous said...

Who deserves a vote on the board that represents the Art Center Community?

Alumni, Faculty, Tenured faculty,
Staff, people that give more than 5 million dollars?

By law a non-profit board is accountable to the community it serves. Everyone seems to be so powerless awaiting their next decision.

My guess is that this stucture also encourages the leadership of the school to keep certain information from them which may have resulted in the recent shake up.

I think this is a concern worth discussing.

Anonymous said...

the cooks. Just like the current administration, they feed us crap every day.

Anonymous said...

Why does George "Silverback" Falardeau (chief of facilities) need to walk around in designer suits and drive a 7 series BMW? Why does he need a luxury office? Why do I see him regularly at L.A. county's second best restaurant 'The Raymond' ?

Sounds like a huge waste of money for a job like 'chief of facilities' who spends his time looking good.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 12/28/08 9:26 PM

do you have an axe to grind with GF? you posted the same "outrage" on at least 3 posts here. Why not take your grievance directly to Dr. Ellsworth?

And really, being Anonymous and throwing mud at someone whether they deserve it or not is immature.

Get a life.

And happy new year! Make 2009 your year to make positive changes in your life and of others.

Future of Art Center said...

Regarding the comment on George "Silverback" Falardeau. Wow. That's about the weakest criticism of someone at Art Center I've ever heard. I mean, really, you are criticizing someone for what they drive? Really?

I'm not arguing one way or the other for Falardeau, but with all the crazy stuff that's gone down at the college, there are more urgent things to talk about than how nice a suit someone wears! And you lose even more credibility by posting in multiple places. I've removed the other posts.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that GF has his own resources and works for less than the going rate, just to have something to do. He is genuinely committed to the school. We could do worse.

Wish we had more like him.

Anonymous said...

My experience with GF is that he's a glad handing creep. He'd say anything to make himself look good. If his incompetence is challenged he quickly turns nasty and threatening. Definitely part of the problem not the solution.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 1/8/09 2:39 AM

Under the veil of Anonymous you attack others by name. Cowardly at best. If you have an issue take it up with the proper channels and stop flinging mud at people while behind a wall of Anonymous.


Anonymous said...

When design schools are in trouble, the first place some people turn their ire towards is the guy responsible for changing the light bulbs.

I guess there's a reason you are not enrolled in "real college".

Anonymous said...

"My experience with GF is that he's a glad handing creep. He'd say anything to make himself look good. If his incompetence is challenged he quickly turns nasty and threatening. Definitely part of the problem not the solution."

Ophelia, I agree with your comment about anonymous personal attacks. However, in this case it is kind of refreshing to hear a candid opinion expressed, one that I'd heard several times before about Felardeau but stated much less directly.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Guy changing light bulbs? Now that sounds like a position that could be eliminated in hard times, if the salary is a substantial one.

Anonymous said...

Look, at least for the short term, there is a guy in place (Ellsworth) who is not afraid to ditch a few unused sandbags from the side of the balloon.

The thing people should care about is if the board desires to LEARN anything from the guy about priorities. If they hired the guy simply because he was available, then nothing was gained. If they hired him because they think his style is the right style, then you can feel good.

Unfortunately, this board behaves like the man behind the curtain. Unimpeachable and not open to dialogue. Subsequently, they'll never get another dime out of me. I gave them plenty and they spent lots of them in Switzerland and Japan. They didn't gain me anything, nor did they gain anything for a future generation.

Perfect Storm said...

So -- I'm hearing from multiple sources that Koshalek is still involved, pulling strings from a distance, manipulating Board members still too drunk on the kool-aid to see his failed vision, getting reports back from members of his entourage who remain employed by the college, and using them to keep his pet projects in play. Of course, as you might imagine, this makes Frank Ellsworth's job impossible, as needed changes are thwarted by Koshalek loyalists.

I hear a showdown may be coming at the January Board meeting, and I hope Ellsworth gives it to them with both barrels -- either the Board lets him do his job, or they can suffer another public embarrassment when he quits.

I think the alumni and faculty voice needs to be heard about this. And if Koshalek really is still manipulating from the sidelines, then he's more of s sicko than we thought -- like, get a life...

Anonymous said...

There are only so many offices on the bridge. Not a single one of them is incapable of being filled with a replacement worker. Ellsworth can kill any project he likes. The guy was not hired to be a puppet, as he's retired and does not exactly "need the job".

Koshalek might still be playing monkey games, but that's his own anger management issue to work out. Ellsworth has a more powerful position than Koshalek ever had. Art Center specifically came to Ellsworth. Koshalek merely prevailed in a long search process. Huge difference.

Thank God I no longer sink a dime into this place.

Perfect Storm said...

Anonymous said:
Ellsworth can kill any project he likes.

From what I hear, he can't.

His hands are apparently being tied by Koshalek sympathizers on the Board, and Koshalek drones still employed by the college who are fanning the flames in hopes of keeping their bloated and unnecessary jobs.

I think Koshalek always hoped to leverage his Art Center enterprises into a cushy position elswhere, perhaps dictator of an empire of conferences about what he imagines to be intellectual high-fashion -- i.e., good ideas others think up and do the hard word of developing, and that he just dresses up in, to be seen in public. So, he's apparently continuing to work on his resume, at Art Center's expense.

Of course, this is just what I hear is going on. Anyone at the school have any hard evidence?

Anonymous said...

I would hope that Ellsworth would have a good rationale for killing any projects or making any changes in staff.

I thought by now, post-xmas, that we would have heard of staff layoffs. Anyone hear of anything in the works?

Just waiting for the other shoe to drop....

Anonymous said...

Well remember this:

Before we raised our voices, fiscal responsibility was not a major issue at Art Center. Now it is THE issue.

Ultimately it all comes back to the board, as I have said many many times before. You can blame Koshalek all you want, but you need to be holding the board's feet to the fire now. Why focus any anger on him at this point? He's gone (and has been for many months now.

The thing about boards, is that they tend to clean their own houses after power struggles like these. The minority usually gets purged (as has happened in past regimes at Art Center). I expect no different here. Don't expect Art Center to start healing again until the board settles its own internal war. It will play-out the way that it will, and there is literally nothing any of us can do about it except keep showing them that we care and that we're NOT going away like in years past.

Perhaps the members that voted to not renew Koshalek's contract need some reminding that if they want our future support, they'll need to keep cleaning up the house, and keep it clean.

Anonymous said...

Falardeau, please don't close the campus down after hours, it's nice to be able to work in the classrooms with friends.