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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Faculty Council Makes statement on recent events

The ACCD Faculty Council has made a statement of their position on many issues yesterday in a note sent to faculty yesterday. Faculty were also invited to participate in a survey about teaching conditions and faculty support. The statement is included here as the first comment.

Faculty especially, please post your comments here, and communicate directly with the FC about your priorities. The faculty, through the FC and independently, need to have a greater voice and be heard in this discussion. If you are posting anonymously, please at least identify your relationship to the college - i.e. faculty, student, alum, staff, etc.

21 comments:

Future of Art Center said...

ART CENTER FACULTY COUNCIL POSITION STATEMENT
Events over the last several weeks have initiated open, rigorous dialogue within our community, unprec-
edented in the history of Art Center College of Design. As the various factions of concerned administra-
tion, faculty, students and alumni polarize around any number of issues, the Faculty Council clearly sees
our role as clarifying the issues and keeping the focus on the issues.

The Council believes that it is crucial to support the needs of the faculty yet remain objective so that we
can work effectively with President Koshalek, administrators, the department chairs and the student gov-
ernment alike. We have been working feverishly to gather facts and information about current and future
plans related to expansion, education, technological support, scholarship, enrollment, faculty salaries
and transparency. We have met in frank conversations with the president and members of his staff, with
our department chairs, and with representatives of the student government. All faculty perspectives and
the support needed to do our jobs are being addressed.

President Koshalek affirmed that the Council remains autonomous, and until there is a new Chief Aca-
demic Officer, we communicate both faculty and educational concerns directly with him. In the past year
the Faculty Council has been assuming a responsible role in the governance of the college. It’s represen-
tative’s sit on executive committees, report to the Education Committee of the Board of Trustees, both
researches and proposes academic policy on the Academic Affairs committees, and will be seated on the
President’s interim task forces.

At this time, the Faculty Council believes that the college is moving towards a unified community. It is
a time for all voices to be heard and we urge each of you to constructively communicate through your
representatives any questions, concerns or suggestions either by email, attending our meetings, the sug-
gestion box, or in private discussions.

These are some of the projects, concerns and issues that we have been addressing over the last several
weeks:

- Attention needs to be focused on all matters of education
- Preparing a report to the Education Committee of the Board of Trustees
- Faculty salaries and “the grid” originally conceived as advancement for merit
- The Council supports building plans for the future. It is prudent that our facilities be cutting edge
in the decades to come. It is important not to limit our president’s ability to partner with industry
nor weaken his ability to attract new revenues.
- The Council believes that comparative scholarship support is woefully low and suggests that for
every dollar given to building, a dollar should be matched for scholarship. We are losing too many
students to other schools.
- Technologies and support in classrooms, labs, and shops
- Evaluation of materials and equipment department-by-department to assure that our students are
prepared for competitive markets
- Implementation of the proposed grievance policy so that faculty has an avenue through which to
redress issues of personal concern.
- The “at-will culture” must end. Faculty must be able to comment and provide feedback into any
aspect of college operations without fear of reprisal.
- The Council encourages support and funding for faculty development to assure professional
teaching; stipends and enrichment grants to cultivate depth; support for publishing, exhibition, and
presenting papers; and faculty access to grants for projects and research.

Our minutes, notices, documents of interest, and other information are being posted on the faculty page
of Inside Art Center and in our display case outside the faculty lounge. The Council is also providing in-
put for two new features, Spotlight on Faculty and Teaching Tips. Finally, the Faculty Council will email
the faculty directly with updates on the progress on the issues as we have outlined here.

Your ACFC representatives:
Mary Matyseck* Foundation
Steve LaVoie* Photography & Imaging
Jim Wojtowicz Advertising
Gerard Brown Design Research and Sciences
James Meraz Environmental
Howard Heard Film
Jean Rasenberger Fine Art
Annette Weisser Graduate Studies
Christine Nasser Illustration
Wendee Lee Product
Richard Peitruska Transportation
* co-chairs

One final statement: The current council stands on the shoulders of past faculty council members who
have struggled for the last 15 years to gain for faculty a responsible voice in the governance of the
school. This past year has seen a remarkable shift as the faculty has finally been recognized and allowed
such participation. In the face of recent events we have chosen not to respond to anonymous blogs and
petitions, rumors and “end of Art Center” rhetoric. The Faculty Council has an obligation to act con-
structively and responsibly, to be informed and work as a positive force in the ever-evolving culture of
this extraordinary institution. We hope in the coming days the fruits of our efforts will become evident to
all who have questioned our willingness to act.

Bambi said...
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Bambi said...
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Future of Art Center said...
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Bambi said...
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Future of Art Center said...
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Bambi said...

On FOAC's suggestion, I'm re-drafting my post and she will delete my original. Several members of the Faculty Council were former instructors of mine, and I have always held them in high regard.

Faculty Council:

I'm happy to hear that as a group, you have decided to engage the issues. I was happy to read about several of your areas of focus. There are many line-items that are badly needed.

I was also saddened to read this:

"At this time, the Faculty Council believes that the college is moving towards a unified community"

Far from it. The college is becoming increasingly fractured and harmed by not only poor communication, but a poor history of responding to the stated opinions of students, faculty and alumni in regards to how the school should proceed into the future.

You also wrote:

"The Council believes that it is crucial to support the needs of the faculty yet remain objective so that we can work effectively with President Koshalek, administrators, the department chairs and the student government alike."

I feel that seeing Richard Peitruska's name on the "Honesty First" counter-petition started and circulated by the administration is hardly an example of objectivity. It smells of an administrative allegiance. Hopefully you can respond to this and clarify Richard's committment to objectivity.

"we urge each of you to constructively communicate through your representatives any questions, concerns or suggestions either by email, attending our meetings, the suggestion box, or in private discussions."

It has long been known that the lines of communication historically proivided to us by the administration have been woefully inadequate. We feel universally ignored, and have felt so for a long time. I'm also for constructive criticism and debate, but please do not try and restrict the free flow of information. You lose credibility with us when you try and lead us to the existing table.

Please do not reach out to us and attempt to become the "central voice" of the discontent. We'd appreciate your support in this time, not your opposition.

And, it is OK for you to agree with us now (if you wish). Koshalek can't fire all of you. He can't fire any of you. Public support is too widepsread this time. Students, faculty and alumni will no longer tolerate the culture of reprisals that have been standard fare at Art Center for decades.

Anonymous said...

As faculty, I find the message being sent by the Council with this statement confusing. On the one hand the Council states that they are endeavoring to remain objective and not blog or sign petitions, on the other hand, there is this statement:

"The Council supports building plans for the future. It is prudent that our facilities be cutting edge
in the decades to come. It is important not to limit our president’s ability to partner with industry
nor weaken his ability to attract new revenues."

Couple this with Richard Petruskia's signature on the counter-petition and you have an unfortunate impression of partisanship. Of course most faculty are not against prudent expansion if educational deficits are corrected, but that is not the impression given here. And economically prudent expansion is not what has been proposed by our AC President.

I also take issue with the characterization of the FC's current presence and visibility as being unprecedented--in fact both the council and the student government did have a place at the table during Board Meetings, and on numerous committees including the budget committee, ten years ago. This representation, hard won at the time, was undone. One of the lessons from that time period should be that a place at the table doesn't guarantee an effective place in ongoing decision making processes. The Council must be vigilant in not being satisfied with tokenism, and with a place at the table which is a "courtesy" rather than a right.

I agree with Future of Art Center, we must encourage and support whatever presence the Council has at the table and on task forces. I sincerely hope that the evidence and fruit of their labors will be forthcoming. I also encourage fellow-faculty to communicate directly with the FC about their objectives and strategies. It is the only voice we have.

Anonymous said...

Let me correct my above statement (11:36) the FC is not the only voice we have, it is the only 'Official" voice that has any semblance of representation.

Of course, as motivated we should all raise our voices in any way we wish (and in any way feel we can do.)

I didn't mean to disregard the obvious power of the blog--just to encourage faculty to provide the council with feedback so that they can truly represent.

Anonymous said...

After reading your comments, I feel I need to not be afraid to charecterize certain groups as "puppet regimes". It is not meant as an insult to those I might call one of the "puppets", but rather a more realistic portrayal of what we actually have in front of us. One can be a puppet and not even realize it.

When you sign-up to be on one of these advisory groups, you feel that you're doing a big community service thing. In reality, you are helping them create an appearance of things being open and free, when in actuality, they are just for show. Art Center has a long history of groups created for "show", these being amoun them.

Has the faculty council ever INSISTED on the granting of academic tenure? No. Nothing beyond a suggestion that (big surprise) never gets adopted (and NEVER WILL). And have they ever done anything about it? No. Can they? NO. Not in their present form.

Let's look at these "task forces" that Koshalek has started to set up. They'll each have a hand-chosen student member (hand-chosen by the administration). That right there is an indication of the control that he insists on having. And he has only created them as a knee-jerk reaction to the recent unrest.

Unacceptable.

Look at this "open to all" interview forum. He has chosen the co-guests, he has chosen the interviewer and he will choose the subject. A baseball game with softball pitches, so-to-speak.

Future of Art Center said...

Anon 2:05 - It's really a matter of tone. The post you just made presents your position clearly and does not rely on the name calling. You explain what you mean - others can agree or disagree, but there is space for discussion. The problems for us comes when posters simplify individuals or organizations as if they are cartoons - Then there is no space for discussion.

To be politically effective in creating change, we need to influence others, which requires some finesse. Not to say that demonstrations and other shows of force aren't necessary sometimes, but there needs to be a solid foundation behind it. Especially if we win.

Lastly, it is clear that there are a range of positions, and calling out individuals casts the situation in an US or THEM position. But good politics, and good education, is always about finding coalitions, and not necessarily thinking we already know the best outcome. The college is where it is in large part because of bad management, but also because every design school is facing hard problems. As a community, we need to invent new approaches that have not been done before in order to survive the next 75 years.

That said, the college needs major changes, and the changes are going to upset entrenched people and behaviors. Some will want to leave if they don't get on board with the change. So we're not advocating that everything be all nicey nice.

Anonymous said...

I have been a faculty member for over 5 years and I do not at all think the college is more unified or moving in the right direction!

The opposite is true. There is a top down model here, where Nate and Richard each chose to exclude their constituents and ignore the input from those with experience. Each has devalued faculty with experience and commitment in favor of those who will say "yes" to them.

No, we're not moving toward a better place at all. Change is necessary and urgent.

The culture of fear continues, and I have to remain anonymous because of it.

Anonymous said...

FOAC:
It's very hard to "play nice" when you see them resort to behavior such as termination and intimidation in retaliation for expressing a difference of opinion. History unfortunately repeats, and if you've got knowledge of this history, I suppose it eventually affects one's "finesse".

Did anyone get any kind of audience with any member of the board? Things have been rather quiet.

Anonymous said...

4:11:

I hear what you are saying, loud and clear. Let us take a comparative look at the opinions expressed by the Faculty Council -vs- those expressed by the wide range of faculty on the "education first" petition.

The FC has drafted a carefully worded response to the goings on. They are an "inside" group, so they likely feel that they MUST tow the line. Richard's line.

But look at the faculty mambers who have had the guts to decide that they just don't give a damn anymore. Dozens of them have not only signed the petition, but have written additional comments in support of it. Two chairmen as well.

No matter what anyone says, we have a genuine "showdown" in progress. And we as students, alumni and faculty members must all await and see what kind of outcome results.

As if I do not bang the drum loud enough already, I'm ready to hit it very hard if any retaliatory action is taken against any of the "disloyal" souls that have had the guts to lend their name to the effort.

I do not blame you for keeping your anonymity. You probably need the money. I was actually surprised to see this many active faculty members lending their names to the effort. Clearly a new level of discontent has been reached.

What the hell is going on at Art Center?

lee bolton said...

The student body still stands in solidarity with the faculty regardless of what the council or otherwise asks, until that time in which the faculty is empowered otherwise without fear of reprisals.

The faculty council needs to remain objective in the face of their own fears. Disbandment of the council has occurred in the past when certain issues have been expressed in other regimes.
The recent fiasco of attempting to push around the 'voluntary' 'Honesty First' petition gives both managing faculty and administration a black eye. I suggest you make this of priority to remove or it will continue to distance your members from students and ostracized faculty alike.

Anonymous said...

"The student body still stands in solidarity with the faculty regardless of what the council or otherwise asks"

Lee,

Does the student body REALLY stand in solidarity? Rachael Tiede was fired for speaking up at a STUDENT meeting. Yesterday, the students showed their solidarity by standing silent. Some only care about styrofoam cups. Some care about tuition. Some care about architecture projects. Some

But who stood there for Rachael? And what did they do to demand corrective action on her behalf?

OK, I get that Rachael was not a "faculty" member, but she was a part of the staff that served all of you guys. The moment that she showed you an iota of support, her employment was terminated by Koshalek.

Are any of you willing to stand-up for a human being at Art Center? Rachael had just gotten back from maternity leave, and she has been tossed out into the "fantastic" economy. How about some singular focus?

lee bolton said...

Anonymous,

We are not fractured at all. We all agree that the administration has much to answer for.

Rachel's sacrifice does not go without notice. We are all aware of what happened to her and under what context that occurred. I am sorry that you feel that it has gone unaddressed as a focus of our problems, but that takes our eyes off of the main issues.

Transparency, education and accountability are still the main problems that need to be resolved.

Please do not pigeonhole the statement when you are misinterpreting the context of its meaning.

The meaning is this:
The student is standing up and fighting for all rights. Period.

Anonymous, I don't care if you know who I am, but obviously you do care. Feel free to talk to me in person. I can't reprise against you and would be interested in exchanging views with you.

Anonymous said...

Re: the AC Faculty Council-

Between 2000 and 2006 the Faculty Council held forums for discussion, courageously fought many valiant battles, and won a few. Between 2004 and 2006 it worked successfully with Nate Young to pass By-Laws, and policies benefitting faculty and education as a whole (not all of which have been fully implemented!). Most of all the FC was open and transparent. It communicated with and polled its constituency. It put posters up every term stating its current work and future goals. Any faculty member could attend a meeting. And it worked tirelessly for faculty governance and participation in education decision-making.

One principle signed into policy by an earlier FC was that faculty members, alumni and a student, as well as an FC representative are to serve on ALL education search committees. And that there be a peer process of selection representative of a variety of departments and rank. This is crucial to issues of governance. This was also meant to be applied to participation on all college-wide committees and "task forces". That appears to have been overlooked in the most recent "appointments". The issue of governance has come up and been criticized in every outside assessment of the College for decades and requires continued diligence. It has everything to do with the system and the culture as a whole.

Unfortunately there has never been faculty, alumni or student participation in any open discussion or on an advising council regarding expansion on the main campus. Thus the most important question has not been fully examined --- what kind of new building would best serve educational goals, sustainability, and fiscal responsibility in regard to it's construction and maintenance. That is an EDUCATION issue.

In the past year the FC and its leadership seems to have gone underground behind closed doors. It has communicated no evidence of "assuming a responsible role in the governance of the college" or of having accomplished any progress in any of it's stated goals (laudable as they may be).

As a faculty member I am frankly disheartened by the tone of the current ACFC statement. And note that one of it's most esteemed and honorable faculty members Ramone Munoz resigned in protest at the beginning of this term. I have little confidence in the present leadership to conduct an open discourse, or to collaborate meaningfully with a diverse constituency. But I hope that can change soon.

Finally, many many faculty members (regardless of their various positions) are deeply appreciative of the support the students have shown for them (despite their silence.) We are proud of you for standing up and taking responsibility for your own futures, and conducting yourself on this site respectfully.

Stick to the primary issues. Take them one at a time. Go to the table. Negotiate. Meet the other side halfway. Look for positive solutions. And do come up with ideas that meet the needs of the 21st century.

Future of Art Center said...

Well said! It is strange indeed that faculty have not been involved in the college building/expansion discussions. You might think that educational directions would impact the design and program of new buildings. But then again, if you look at the Wind Tunnel building, it's eminently clear that actual teaching was never taken into consideration of the design of those so-called classrooms.

Future of Art Center said...

Here is faculty's chance to implement some change from within the 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.

ACFC

Anonymous said...

Just curious:

Instead of being organized by a mandate from within the school (kept alive only by an administrative mandate), why doesn't the faculty council organize themselves into a union? What is to prevent the current leadership from dissolving your council like they have done so many times in the past?

Two of your biggest issues stand in regards to academic tenure and compensation. Clearly nothing satisfactory has come of it.