Welcome to the Future

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Day After

The men and women of the Board of Trustees attained their careers not through luck or happenstance, they are there through hard work and due diligence. If they apply that knowledge to the issues at hand at ACCD, they will see a strong student body, a fractured staff, a splintered faculty that has never had a full member meeting ever in the last two years , the very active neighborhood that is now launching a campaign against the building and now the skyrocketing cost of steel, cement and fuel will add another 25% to the budget to the Gehry building. Every board member is responsible for their vote and we will hold them to it.

With all this in mind, where do we start?

Bring the faculty together offsite to meet one another. Unity is built through handshakes not email.

Students need smaller class sizes. Maintenance on the existing buildings. There's nothing more irritating than a lawsuit for a trip and fall on broken tile that a student gave administration notice on during a video taped open forum.

Cut the International Initiatives budget and give back to the Educational budget. At this point a few trips to Spain would pay a new teacher's salary. Two staff people going to Milan would pay a part time teacher's salary. What good is a conference in Barcelona to a student when no one views the website? And when can a student afford $345 to attend their own sponsored Serious Play conference? Isn't the whole mission of that conference is to bring the world to ACCD? How can you do that by excluding your own faculty and students by charging them to attend?

Let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. Staff is constantly getting caught off guard on directives that were known to Administration for days or weeks.

Take a few positions from Communications and Marketing to Student Scholarship.
Twenty two in C +M compared to five in Scholarship. Where's our priorities?

I will be working with the site "future of art center" to bring a positive side to the issues at ACCD. Now that we have aired our laundry, it's time to bring the passion that we all feel about ACCD back into a positive light. I will be interviewing students and showing their work on that site. We are a great college, lets show it.

And Richard keep your door open, there's a line forming.



Bambi said...

I suggest that everyone just hang it up...and now. Why? Not only is the staff and faculty fractured, but the voice of opposition is as well.

People stood there in numbers. Silently. Politely. Figuring that they could not possibly be ignored. But that is exactly what happened. They were ignored. Their presence had such an impression on the board members that they could not help but gather together and proceed to ignore the gathering and the unrest. That is the disrespect that the board continually shows for the Art Center community.

"We sure showed them!"

Did we? I don't think so. What we showed them was that we are willing to rile ourselves up and then stand silently by as they sink the school further into ridicule. The message sent to the board was that we care, but not enough to actually take any kind of action.

How many of you have written to the board members over the past 4 weeks? Did a single one of us get even so much as an acknowledgement or a reply? Not to my knowledge.

But at least we're polite. So bravo. Congratulate ourselves. We've demonstrated good manners. Unfortunately, our manners are not winning us a seat at the dinner table.

Jason said...

Bambi, please just zoom out a bit.

The fact is that the students who stayed till the end of the meeting with Richard and the trustees were commended. The trustees came outside and congratulated the students on their efforts. (They can see what is happening: Richard decided block participation of two deans who supported us, It was a clear statement that he is unwilling to work with people who do not agree with him. However, the board have allowed ACCD to invest in Koshalek's vision which is well documented in the press, changing course even in the slightest is going to require a massive effort on behalf of everyone.

Students showed their number the best they could given the circumstances. (ie: midterms and apathy towards the problems of Art Center they've felt hopeless about for some time now)

On a side note: I would like to congratulate the ACSG. In my opinion the letter that the students gave to the chairman of the board which he promised to read at the meeting was articulate, concise with detailed information and a list of reasonable demands. The trustees were treated with kindness and respect because of that we have much greater chances of being heard at the next decision.

We have the attention of our leadership it is our resonsibility to not squander it. Richard likes visions of the future, we should provide that, Infact this should be a TDS class. (July 1st)

Regarding what we should do next.

We have 1434 signatures stating to shelve the master plan for the time being.

What we need now is new ideas for the 21st century design education. Also very important is the focus on not only fund raising but finding ways for ACCD to generate revenue beyond tuition dollars. (Much of this work had already begun with Nate's designing our future video available on the ACCD Server and the work of the ArtCenterPro, CMTEL, and Mobility Summits as well as The research projects in the graduate departments which have the framework to generate revenue.)

I would like to again urge bloggers to focus on the 10 ways to move forward comment thread, Not to agree with it fully but to treat as a place to propose visions of a future ACCD leading in the 21st Century. Design professionals and particularly the Alumni because of their understanding of Art Center culture to post what a 21st Century educational initiative could be.

Thanks again for reading,
Jason Nicholas Hill

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I can understand why Bambi and others are discouraged. But please don't give up. Look at how Koshalek spins things: in the Pasadena Star-News he attempted to dismiss the strength of the opposition when "only 200" people showed up for the community meeting he held. 200 is significant, given the time demands students and faculty have, as is the number who have signed the Education First petition.

If you care about Art Center and believe that its educational core has been weakened and is further threatened, please don't give up.

I know its daunting and discouraging given what seems like Koshalek and staff's lip service to these concerns over the years. But giving up proves to Koshalek and staff that a few students were worked up by a blogger (I'm paraphrasing from additional comments -- pure PR spin -- he made in the Pasadena Star-News). Don't give them any more ammunition!

Please don't give up! Continue to patiently, respectfully, calmly and professionally present them with facts that support your concerns.

-- From a former ACCD staff member who is concerned.

Bambi said...

A staff member takes a bullet for their cause and they simply blush when the board members come out to say "thanks" for their protest? It does not sound like very much was protested. It sounds like the board will take it under advisement ;-) and then subsequently choose to do what they wish.

The numbers are significant (no doubt), but we know that the board is not easily influenced by exterior opinions. Certainly not petitions. I guess I was just a bit more hopeful, that's all.

Students: Someone directly lost their job for you. Someone who needed that job. Others may follow (soon). If you think you've been given a hand in making change for the future, think again. You've been given nothing more than a smidge of face time and some lip-service.

Anonymous said...

We all appreciate how you feel but its not helping!
Giving up doesn't help. A turn-around on all the fronts, including Rachael's dismissal, isn't going to be fixed all at once. Addressing issues of employment--for faculty and staff--is huge and will take more than a protest at a board meeting. I bet Rachael knows that too and would not want you to lose sight of the big picture. MANY faculty have also unfairly lost their jobs or had their jobs whittled away, because the school has unfair employment practices. In a sense the blatant heartless dismissal of Rachael has galvanized a movement which we hope will prevent such things from happening in the future. So my attitude is, damn right, someone should apologize and make it right--but nobody should be satisfied with just that, and we all need to keep working, tirelessly, calmly, persistently, and in public.

If you are negative and unprofessional you don't do the movement a service, you play into the current administration hands, they want to think we're just a bunch of "miscreants." We're not.

Anonymous said...

You're right, anonymous, a turn-around cannot happen quickly, as frustrating as that seems. Koshalek, the administration and the board cannot make it appear that they are simply capitulating to student demands. Changes are going to take time for several reasons. For one, it takes time to turn a big boat around like ACCD. Secondly, Koshalek/administration/the board need a way to save face. That is, they need to be able to respond in a way that will make it sound like this is what they planned to do anyway but was just an oversight. They can't make it appear that they didn't care about education at the expense of building Koshalek's legacy. A good example: Look at Iris Gelt's carefully worded response to Nate Young's image being photoshopped out of the Legacy Circle photo. She said there was "confusion" with all the staff changes. I doubt there was any "confusion" when direction was given to take out Nate's image from that photograph. But because a prominent alum complained, action was taken and an apology was given with "confusion" given as the (skimpy) face-saving excuse. Someone didn't think that anyone would notice that Nate's image was gone. They got busted.

Again, if the students, alums and faculty truly believe that the educational core of ACCD is threatened, don't give up. Present the administration with facts and pressure from prominent alums. If you're ok with the status quo, then just hang it up.

Bambi said...

Well, our little brothers and sisters have to take care of Mom and Dad. I'm away with a amily of my own to take care of. I guess I'm just the bitter big brother (lol). Ultimately I'll have very little (if anything) to do with the actual solution.

You see, much of this widespread alumni support you saw in the petition is absolutely unprecedented in Art Center history. I suppose I thought I'd see more results from where the rubber hits the road.

Us alumni can really only raise our voices. The sitting students will have to tow the rope.

I'll be toning down the rhetoric here, but I suppose I'll always be a voice that yells to support those who have been fired or intimidated, as this is a hot point for me. I just hate that such upstanding people, highly placed in the academic administration lent their names and their support. I'd seriousy hate to see them fall on their swords and not be backed by student and alumni action if they were to be terminated for raising a voice.

Students, seriously, some people have taken bullets for you. Recognize it.

Bambi said...

4:44 wrote:

"Present the administration with facts and pressure from prominent alums. If you're ok with the status quo, then just hang it up."

Keep the pressure on so that the administration actually SUPPLIES you with these facts. Pressure them to show you the actual budgets, not pre-prepared "propaganda" powerpoints and such.

Us alumni and current/former faculty can help direct you on what questions to ask.

The administration has not provided any real transparency yet. Show them that you are serious in wanting it, and keep telling them if you are not actually getting it.

Stay focused and do not try and cover too many bases at once.

jean said...

Speaking as an individual, alumni and faculty, I wanted to let you know that an on-campus faculty meeting is being arranged - planned yesterday afternoon but awaiting post to AC all-faculty email list. Thank you.

Future of Art Center said...

Here is the text for the invitation from the Faculty Council.

Dear Faculty,

Please join the Art Center Faculty Council on Thursday, June 26th, at 4pm in the Faculty Dining Room for an information update and exchange.

The council will present the results from the Faculty Survey (sent out Wednesday, June 17th) and report on the ACCD Board of Trustees (Education sub-committee) meeting that took place this past Thursday, June 19th.

We hope you can attend and look forward to seeing you there.


Ophelia Chong said...

Just to let you all know, I will always be there on the front working towards a better education for the students and a better working environment for the faculty and staff.

Bambi your rhetoric is your own. That is your voice, your opinion. But you do not represent anyone but yourself.
As I do. I only speak for myself. However, I have made efforts to bring students, alumni and faculty together in the last eight years through panels, workshops, dinners at my house, and a group for women alumni called Habit Forming. My commitment to ACCD is strong and should not be questioned.

Have you written to the board? Have you spoken to anyone in Admin?
I am polite because I want to be taken seriously. And I believe that putting anyone on the defensive is a bad move. You don't open up communication by ranting at them.

And as for the "bullet", I cannot speak for that. I am not privy to personnel records nor am I a fly on a wall in HR.

Whatever bone you have to pick with ACCD, and the fact that Nathan's blog opened up those old wounds should be dealt with. What at issue now is the education and environment at ACCD. We are not here to right wrongs done in the past. What happened for you needs to be dealt with on your time, not the students and faculty.


thirdgen89 said...

The Board is not going to come out and say:

"Yeah, we messed up by hiring Koshalek, dreaming of fancy buildings and paying Gehry too much to design it. Sure, we neglected a bunch of things and pissed a bunch of people off, but we're going to do all that now because the students and faculty told us to.


Ain't gonna happen. You will see changes slowly and silently. That is how a business works. Everyone wants action, not promises.

Under promise & over deliver.

As for Nathan, he had to start that blog because he either wasn't heard or felt that no one was going to listen. Putting it out in public opened a BIG can of worms and is surely to have changed everything. How the admins handled it was brought into the public eye and maybe they now realize the power of the internet.

If this changes even one thing, it is successful.

Anonymous said...

Any one else notice that at 9:55 am on the day of the board meeting the education first petition was signed by the head of art center barcelona project? Call me crazy but I think that could be a major indicator that the walls have possibly begun to crumble. Progress can be slow, especially when you're dealing with this level of bureaucracy.

I will say tho, that i was slightly put off by the lack of participation by some of the students on thursday, it is sad to see such a high level of apathy. Ditch a class for gods sake... ridiculous... yea im talking to you.

from the petition:

"9:55 am PDT, Jun 19, Carles Ferreiro, Spain
I am the Director of the Art Center Barcelona Project. I joined Art Center to develop an educational agenda aimed at expanding graduate research and education programs as well as spearheading executive education. I worked with the educational leadership of the school to develop an ambitious program which is now in serious jeopardy. An international presence is essential to be relevant in the global age. However, for an academic institution in the world of continuous bidirectional communication, talk needs to be followed by actions or it risks becoming an endless empty spin cycle. The committed partnerships in Barcelona are in place to implement long term educational programs, especially in executive education in the areas of Design and Business. In order to avoid that the effort and commitments of the last years get stuck in what may be seen as "one more conference" -without any connection to Art Center's value proposition as a school- I urge the Board to resume an agenda of Education First!"

Ophelia Chong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ophelia Chong said...

dear anon 6/21/08 5:17 PM

Thanks for posting the Carles Ferreiro petition comment.

As for the participation of the students on Thursday, I believe we would not be here discussing any of this if it wasn't for their overall participation on all these issues.

Thank you Nathan Cooke, Ashley Stoddard, Craig Shoji, Lee Bolton, John Henry Baliton, Zek, Jill, Audrey Lui, Hayk Makhmuryan, Mark Castanon, Nicolas Lehotzky and all the students that were there in body and spirit Thursday.And everyday before and after.


Anonymous said...

so aside from rumor do we have any concrete reaction to the students demands? Also, is there anyway to get a copy of the minutes for the meeting or is that yet another item that is hidden from public view for no reason whatsoever. I find it alarming that the board and administration are so protective of information that should be public. I understand the whole 'private institution' thing, but as a 'not for profit' are there any sort of rules about disclosure??!?!?!!? Is there no equivalent of the brown act for us low level investors known as students? While a lawsuit is an extreme measure, is there no possibility of consulting the bylaws or just talking to a qualified lawyer???? We work so hard to find information that is just not being distributed to anyone below the student government.

Future of Art Center said...

Let's give it some time. I'm sure the board/college will make some statement. If there are major changes, they will need to spend time crafting a statement and press-release. This is absolutely normal in these situations - the Board has to be responsible and cannot release incomplete/inaccurate information.

Anonymous said...

FOAC wrote:

"I'm sure the board/college will make some statement."

Believe it or not, the board has seen numerous other "unprecedented" outpourings of dissent from students in the past. More than you might assume. It is highly unusual for them to communicate publicly in any way. The biggest "reaction" I ever remember them making in reaction to past student unrest was in the hiring of a consulting firm to study and evaluate the issues and to make a report back to the board. This was in 1993 or 1994. The hiring of this group was not communicated via a statement from the board, but rather through the CEO, David Brown. And interestingly enough, this consulting group came back with one suggestion that "stuck". The recruitment of a chief academic officer. Unfortunately, the long "search" yielded an administrative insider, Linda Norlen. It was just more padding of the status quo. Thankfully, the leadership change of Koshalek did bring about some key improvements in that area. Let's hope he can get it back on track.

Future of Art Center said...

The Art Center official forum website states ""In spite of the story in Sunday’s Pasadena Star News, there has been no official statement from the Board following their meeting on June 19. We anticipate hearing something soon and will advise the Art Center community at that time."

So I think we can safely assume that some statement will come out soon.

Anonymous said...

It has been over 96 hours since the board convened and then left to go back about their daily lives. If the Star News rumor was true, then it would not be "impatient" to expect them to actually communicate to the Art Center community any such developments.

Then again, if the rumor was not true, you would also expect a quick denial. Regardless of this, accountability starts with communications.

Hey board, how about some communication? You owe us that much. 1457 people signed a document that indicated their interest.

Knock, knock, knock!

Ophelia Chong said...

To 6/23/08 4:00 PM Anonymous

Be patient. In the meantime, think past today and into the future. We all need to work together to move forward. Open discourse without hostility is the only way we will move forward.


GoofyThinking said...

Designing for the Future?

Has anybody asked what does that really mean?

How drastically has 'art' really changed and in what direction is it really going to go in? It seems to me art schools are sloughing off fundamental techniques for new technology without realizing the technology depends on fundamental training as taught by prior mentors.

If the school is doing away with traditional classes, then new technology isn't going to matter.

I'm just wondering why people get cowed by ketch phrases and don't question what it means?

Anonymous said...

You should have seen the discussions going around Art Center when we were the last college on Earth without internet access of any kind. Just a couple of years later, there was an entire major dedicated to "digital media".

Anonymous said...

Ophelia wrote:

"Be patient."

Ordinarilly, I'd agree. But look, the board either came to some kind of decision on something or it did not. Three days ago, a newspaper reported that the school's president would not be retained.

I think the Art Center community is owed some kind of communication. The publishing of such an article requires some kind of response. Either deny or acknowledge.

Ophelia Chong said...

Any press release from an institution or corporation goes through many channels before it's release. Their are many people who have to sign off on it. I have worked on books where I have to get at least 5 signatures and the company's legal sign off.

In this world of instant gratification we have to learn to be patient. No one rushes head first into any situation, and if you do, you regret at your own leisure.

And in the Pasadena Star News, the college was quoted as "no comment".

In the meantime, craft your letter as to the issues you personally want addressed in the next few months.


Anonymous said...

How about sending your questions and comments to John Puerner, chair of the board?

That's where this buck stops now.

Anonymous said...

it is over.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it's over. Art Center can return to its roots as a trade school and retreat into the obscurity it so ardently desires.

Congratulations! You "showed them."

But do you think anyone really wins at this game?
Why do you think the knives will become any shorter? This is still academia.

All the petty grievances are still there and you'll be losing the best fundraiser you ever had. And no one really appreciated. That includes you, Ophelia.

Anonymous said...

McDonald's and Art Institute have done fairly well at dominating the market with franchises.

Still don't mean it's good for you?

Quality or Quantity? What's more important?

Anonymous said...

hey 2:31 PM

little bitter when things don't go your way aren't you?

Anonymous said...

ha ha

see what happens when that Annex building goes away as required by law! all the "dedicated" spaces will need to go too: CMTEL, trans, development offices, planning office, exhibitions, design office.

perhaps they can all go to the south campus?
who cares?
that will be someone's else's problem.

how about you, bambi?

Ophelia Chong said...

to 6/24/08 4:57 PM

Your comment was taken down because this is not a time for a hunt for the next target. If you have issue with anyone on staff you can write a letter and have your complaints addressed, I am sure they are all listening now. Or you can email me and I will act as your emissary, and I will keep your identity hidden.

To move forward we need to be open and if we have an opinion on the way the school is run, we need to speak up. The staff will only take you seriously if you are not under the cloak of Anonymous.

If we demand transparency of the school then we must practice it ourselves.

Ophelia Chong