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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Inside politics discussion

We've created this post as a place to discuss the inside politics at ACCD. Here is the place for those who want to get into the nitty gritty of the political landscape - the board, Richard, Nate, etc. As always, keep your posts respectful. We created this place for the wonks out there (you know who you are!), and also to keep some of the other areas of this site more accessible to those focusing on the issues who don't care so much about the gory political details.


Bambi said...

Politics at Art Center have been historically simple:

1) The president is in charge. Show any overt sign of not agreeing with him, and you will either be forced to leave, or you'll WANT to leave.

2) The students do not run the school. They are guests and pay for the right to attend. They are lucky to be here.

3) Art Center's board and administration likes they way they do things. Do not question their methids. Notice how they do not often ask for exterior opinions. They only respond to massive outpourings of unrest, which build-up periodically from time to time.

4) If you are employed by the school and you show loyalty to the president and his methods, you will have a job for a long time.

5) Those who have had high-paying jobs for a long time, are particularly willing to go out of their way to assist in crushing any dissent that might threaten their nice paying positions.

And those are the 5 basic steps of Art center politics

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that Nate Young was fired, not as is indicated on this page, that he disagreed with the school's direction, but because he wanted Richard Koshalek's job. Nate Young wanted to become the president of the school after Koshalek's contract expired. Nate Young has been in the same boat as Koshalek for years, and we should not allow him back into a leadership position, as he is co-responsible for the current issues.

Thank you,
One student.

Anonymous said...

Dear above anonymous poster,
Nice try at conjecture. Mr. Young simply resigned to help highlight the in-appropriate behavior of the president and the ill effect it was having on education. Rachael Tiede confirmed this. The board of maybe 15 also voted and agreed on Richard's behavior. How do you know he had this sneaky plan you mention? You saw it in a movie some where? Have you ever spent any time with Mr. Young? Listened to him at a faculty council meeting or student government meeting? Stopped and talked with him in the hall ways? During a class he taught? None of those interactions would support your 'theory.' So please do not repeat your conjecture like it was true. It wasn't and none of his public interaction would support you. If you have proof of his non-public intentions then share it with all of us.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt about what I have expressed in my previous message. Rachael Tiede is a nice person with a good relation to her former boss, and she certainly does not want to talk badly about him.

The information I have is from another person, a person that was present during the loud argument between Koshalek and Nate Young. I understand that it is a more beautiful picture to think that Nate Young, the noble man, was fighting hard to protect the students interests. But that is not what it is. Look, I'm sorry to take on your fantasy, but Nate Young was hired by Richard Koshalek personally. Nate Young was entirely part of the problem. Remember him in 2006 at a Q&A session with the students in the cafeteria, where he indicated that the tuition is raising because of gas prices? That whole 'Nate Young fought for us' talk only started after he got fired. The fact he was fired does not make him good, right?

I am telling you once again, I know for sure source that the reason Nate Young is not in his office any longer, is that he wanted Koshalek's job.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that there are some people who take offense automatically anyone questions anything about Nate Young.

What specific things did he accomplish for the students during his five years? That's a question that has yet to be answered.

What did his "Educational Initiatives" department accomplish besides the two annual sustainability conferences?

I'm serious, I am not leveling any accusations! How can we assess his "value" when all we've heard are complaints about education from students, other alums over and over on the petition, in the news, etc.? It looks like he was part of the problem!

And it's kind of shocking that people say how the trans department is getting worse. That was his alma mater! How could have happened during Nate's leadership? This is craziness.


Anonymous said...

Fine, you must be right. You heard some yelling, and a comment about gas prices 2 years ago.

I am not sure where the above two anonymous people are coming from. Based on the last open forum RIchard conducted in the Auditorium, he seemed frazzled and would appear to fit the mold of a 'yeller.'(speculation)

Richard is apparently well known to manage via yelling. Mr. Young on the other hand is not. Rumors of yelling, and 'loud discussions' on the bridge are common and well known. Even the students know this and thus dread the walk across the budge. If there was a yelling incident that was overheard, obviously Richard was trying to force something. Yelling is not a very good leadership trait in anyones book.

But enough said here, or maybe you will remember an incident where you overheard someone else who saw Mr. Young order a bean Burrito for lunch and Richard order no ice in his lemonade? And how will that get analyzed? Lets let the board and students decide. Most everyone else has something to gain and is biased in someway by the outcome of these decisions.

Anonymous said...

From Nathan's site--a thought I'd have to agree with:

Nate Young was a smart guy—a shrewd executive. Don’t you think the timing of his resignation was strategic? Did he leave on the day that he encountered his own personal “last straw”? Or did he leave four weeks before the vote on Richard’s contract because he knew which way the board was leaning already and it wasn’t in his favor? Was it a last-ditch effort because he needed to make a radical gesture in his bid to unseat Richard? Unfortunately we may never know. While some may agree with both the means and the ends, please don’t claim that it was an act of self-sacrifice. It was a strategic act of political maneuvering. That’s what executives do! Nate was no dummy. But he did leave without any explanation to any of his constituents--he left us all in the lurch rather than stick around and make a strong case that the entire school could hear and participate in.

I don’t like game playing. I don’t like being played. I’d like to suggest that we get off the Nate v. Richard thing--because they’re both flawed--and turn toward more productive endeavors like imagining a future for the school, that’s all. If we had governing procedures and best practices from education, the school would not be hinging on a battle between two high-powered players who both operated with closed door meetings, ill-qualified cronies, and a top-down approach to governing. Instead, students, faculty, and staff would have been involved all along in setting policy, agendas, etc.

Anonymous said...

Also, please don't forget--it was in Nate Young's closed door meetings that he unveiled his plan to eliminate Fine Art and move the entire school toward Design Uber Alles!

Anonymous said...

can you name another high-ranked school that puts students in charge of the administration?

this is not a business, but a democracy?

Anonymous said...

I heard that Nate Young was planning to be President and Andy Ogden would be CAO.

Say goodbye to critical thinking and art at Art Center, everyone!

That's something to yell about, for sure.

Bambi said...

Neither will be put in such a position. Even if a "majority" tips the scale, the minority will insist upon an all-new slate.

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't be so sure of the identity of the majority/minority. Mob rule is now in power, and if we want to anoint Nate and Andy, then we can do it. Of course, if we want to eliminate either one, we can do that too.

The winds of change are upon us. And for those gloating about what anonymous blog posts can accomplish, just you wait. Your time is coming.

Bambi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bambi said...

Anon. Mob rule is in your head.

The board just watched what truly WAS an unprecedented level of student and alumni unrest unfold before it. National press coverage resulted.

They then issued a statement that said that they were declining to renew Koshalek's contract and that they were going to table the DRC project until they could re-evaluate it.

Well, it took less than 24 hours to re-evaluate it. As a matter of fact, they went right ahead and FILED the plan with Pasadena. Unaltered. They even issued a statement saying that they fully supported it in its "as-is" form.

Nothing has changed. In fact, it bears an eery similarity to the past.

This WILL backfire on them, because this time, it was more than just a few disgruntled students (upset about high tuition) who were interested. Quite a large number of alumni are involved now. Disgruntled alumni.

Anonymous said...

Weren't you disgruntled before? C'mon, you know you were disgruntled. We're all disgruntled! There's never been major alumni support of Art Center. No one loves a boot camp. We don't have "homecoming" or a football team or the stuff that other schools have to promote "school spirit." We have our friends and colleagues and a network. We don't need the school for that.

Now we have a new forum to express our grievances. That's why "EducationFirst!" was such a success.

Anonymous said...

From the petition:

# 1,499:
12:23 pm PDT, Jul 1, Natalya Madolora, California
All I know is that I'm $320,000 in debt with no job. I don't know how I ended up in this situation. I don't know if I should blow my head off or escape to Mexico.

OK, I know I borrowed "a lot" to attend Art Center, but $320k? If I were 22 and had access to that kind of financing, I seriously doubt I would have blown it on learning to draw.

Seriously, do you kids have access to THAT kind of debt? What is the maximum that you can even borrow nowadays?

Anonymous said...

All disgruntled alums and current and past faculty can dump their garbage here. Anyone who has any hope of bringing anything new here will be squashed!

Perfect Storm, I thought you were a friend. I'm really disappointed that you have turned out to be such a sour and negative person. To what end? Do you really think that the early David Brown years were so great? We cannot go back. We cannot turn back the clock. Botox is a poison. It will get us in the end.

Anonymous said...

Losing Dean Scarborough is tragic. I place the blame for this squarely at the feet of John Puerner and the behind-the-scenes power play of Nate Young and his board cronies, Ray Hemann and Michael Reese.

Anonymous said...

to the above. Are you arguing from solid ground or just using this to continue the bashing? Or do you have something to protect, or twisted version of history to try and re-write. No one would want to scare away a board member and risk $2M going with them. Get real. Why would the three people you falsely blame do that? No matter how upset you may be, or how dark and skewed your little world may be, this just isn't or could not be true. The reality is much more likely(I am admitting conjecture here) that Dean S just saw chaos, it was different than what Mr. Koshalek had promised, and to protect himself and his business he got out. Before you make up more incorrect accusations, please talk with others who have served on boards of this nature. Do some real research. Even with differences in opinion, alumni or not, you don't intentionally scare away good people with good intentions. I have only heard good things about Dean S. This happens only when a board is out of control, or someone like Mr. Koshalek has messed up the school and the board spends more time talking about problems than the schools accomplishments and future plans. If Mr. Koshalek had good plans and good openly confirmed results and had built a unified team over the last 9 years, I am guessing Dean S would have been happy to stay. Sorry for being so direct on this. It gets tiring watching people fabricate so much garbage and claim it to be true. At least I am admitting this comment above is a hypothesis. I don't know Dean S or the other board members or how they voted or why he did what he did.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that he saw the chaos and hostility of the Board amid the bad PR, realized that the trustees didn't have the courage of their previous convictions, and thought, This is not what I want to deal with!

The question now is, Will Mr. Scarborough decide against keeping his $2M pledge to Art Center's scholarships, CMTEL, and faculty initiative.

Good going to all of you who want an all-alumni board!

Anonymous said...

Much more reasonable tone. I also hope that he does come back, or actually that he never actually left. I don't know if it has been announced. I am sure the students and education could use the money his company promised.

I am curious about your 'all Alumni' board comment. As the board is currently mostly non-Alumni, and it was the current non-Alumni board that apparently failed to keep Dean S. Why would you some how insinuate that an all Alumni board is bad? I don't know Art Center's board history and I don't know if it ever had an all or near all Alumni board. How would having more Alumni on the board than we have today be bad?

I am curious what other major schools have, % wise, on their board. My experience at other schools is that alumni tend to return significant value to the schools they graduate from. I have never heard it a good idea to dis your alumni. Maybe Art Center has a bad track record with not treating Alumni well. But I would venture to guess, that from most every perspective, Alumni add value far more often than they take anything away, or inhibit a schools positive growth and development. Greater Alumni involvement than we have today, can only be a good thing. To suggest we already have too much alumni involvement or support is a curiously distorted stretch. About the only people that would suggest alumni are a bad influence would be non-alumni trying to protect their jobs.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is this:

The board creates the leadership and strategy that leads to the distorted priorities that the students, alumni and faculty have been upset with.

The current board (collectively) has a very poor understanding of what the Art Center community finds important in the school's current and future direction.

this leads me to two different desires. Either:

1) The board shows interest in getting educated on what the essence of Art Center really is.


2) The board gets replaced with people who DO understand this. Such as alumni and former long-term faculty members

Anonymous said...


If anyone knows anything about college governance, please enlighten us about how odd it would be to have faculty as a college trustee.

And alums? From these blogs we have learned how few want to give back more than time typing on a blog or on a petition.

A board of trustees has fiduciary responsibility for the college. If you have money, you have a say. Just like our democracy in the grand old U.S. of A.

Anonymous said...

"A board of trustees has fiduciary responsibility for the college"

Define what you mean by that. Are you implying that they all donate? And by donating that they get a special voice in the process?

I'm willing to bet that I have given a larger percentage of my net worth to Art Center than any current board member.

The responsibility that they have is oversight, not personal contributions. Show me the last time a trustee of ANY college was held personally responsible for financial matters at a college in the USA. Probably never.

Anonymous said...

The financial support is implicit in some cases and explicit in others (i.e. you pony up in order to join the board). Boards ARE financially responsible--board members have "board insurance" to protect them since they are liable.

Anonymous said...

If they have insurance (which the college probably also fully pays for), then they are not "really" liable, are they?

PLEASE cite one case where a college board member was held personally responsible for a financial action (not just Art Center, but ANY college).

And since donating is "implicit", I'm sure you'll be happy to detail all of the donations contributed by the current board members. We're waiting to see the list (and the dollar amounts). If you're serious about us believing you, then you'll have no trouble fetching this info.

Anonymous said...

to the above:

who the heck is "we"?
do your own research!
get educated about the real world on your own time!

And to the anonymous who wrote placing blame for Scarborough's departure--nice conjecture! Of course we all know that everything on these blogs is conjecture. Conjecture, hearsay, rumor, inuendo. Which is why no one on the board or in the media or even our own alumni should have taken any of this stuff seriously. Where did the leaked documents showing financial data come from? What was the source? How do we know they are real numbers? This has been a smear campaign from day one.

It's been a smear campaign that used the same tactics and language as the last one launched against the previous president David Brown. Hmmm how is it that an employee who was let go over his involvement in that last campaign could be hired back to the same school only to have the same situation "magically" arise again?

The ethics of someone who would instill unjustifiable fear in students and alumni, intentionally damage the reputation of the school, and put the equity of an Art Center degree in jeopardy only to get their way in a power play are at best questionable and at worst downright non-existent.

Anonymous said...

Sure, go ahead, blame Andy Ogden for all of Koshalek's problems.

Show us the smoking gun of how Andy had Nathan Cooke create his inflammatory blog post and get all this started.

By the way, I have seen both press releases issued by Avery Dennison in regards to their million dollar pledges. I seriously doubt they'd go back on their word to complete the donations now.

Anonymous said...

This is a great comment "I'm willing to bet that I have given a larger percentage of my net worth to Art Center than any current board member."

This is about money, the students money to be precise. This makes it a ethical issue for a student myself like myself.

This character assassination stuff makes me laugh. The leadership takes the blame on this 100%. They publicly told the lies, silenced the faculty and have no action to back up their vision of a sustainable education initiative.

Personally my education has been good but too expensive.

I shouldn't have to hemorrhage money for the next 20 years to fund starchitect projects.

Projects in which people in the tech facilities and library have not even been asked what is needed. Once again ACCD fails to practice what it preaches.

I can't wait to get out of here and never give another dime to this place.

Jason said...

The anonymity of the thread speaks volumes at the very least I demand of our leadership that recent events result in policy changes that make open discussion possible.

In my opinion this means bringing faculty to the table and understanding why there is such a disgruntled ACCD community especially alumni. (Note: This does not work if you only invite those who agree with you.)

Please imagine being a student today:(1500/month student loans with a monthly net of 3000/month which is 55k/year)

Looking at these plausible #'s I believe our leadership's management of our money like many educational institution's in the US is unethical if not borderline criminal.

I hope my generation hands off a better educational system than this but I doubt it considering the boomers have had much better role models than this.

In response to Anon: 6:48

I am a student and when the provost resigns and no one will talk about it that is enough for students alumni and faculty to ask questions. And when questions do not get answered when asked repeatedly thats when what your referring to as smearing began.

Are you trying to make me believe the administration is innocent?

This type of unrest doesn't just pop up without significant brewing.

As far as the accuracy on the blog is concerned there have been cited sources such as 990 tax forms, video footage where Richard says the budget was 25.4 million.

Based on these legitimate available #'s I suggest some simple calculations to understand the priorities of this administration the past 9 years. You will find
the % of tuition dollars that go to executive compensation that has more than doubled and the education budget % has shrunk by a third!(This includes faculty and chair salaries. I ask you why is the majority of the school getting the shorter end of the stick and being charged more every year?)

Now there is the big question of the ballooning of staff. In 2007, 7 to 1 staff to student ratio while we still have classes of twenty.

Why not just focus on the facts which are that the faculty are hamstrung by fear, the students are too busy to fight for a more ethical use of their money.

Anonymous said...

In terms of the administration spending money. Please ask why Erica Clerk, Mariana Amatulo and and several more are all soon spending the week in Paris? Do we really need 5 or 6 Art Center people in Paris as a critical part of students getting a great education?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:04PM:

They go to Paris to find donations. Pay no mind to the fact that the cost of GETTING the donations often exceeds the amount of the resulting donations. Interesting how they always see to pick places like Barcelona and Paris to go hunt donations and very rarely places like Omaha. What fun would that be?

Art Center is basically a fully-legal scam. A gravy train for those who work there in an administrative capacity.

Anonymous said...

From: equipmentroom Sent: Fri 5/2/2008 4:11 PM
To: Crista Copp
Subject: The Equipment Room Club Assignment
View As Web Page

Jeff: Dear Mrs. Copp, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...
Andrew Clark: ...and an athlete...
Jessica: ...and a basket case...
Helga: ...a princess...
Carlos: ...and a criminal...
Jeff: Does that answer your question?... Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"In terms of the administration spending money. Please ask why Erica Clerk, Mariana Amatulo and and several more are all soon spending the week in Paris? Do we really need 5 or 6 Art Center people in Paris as a critical part of students getting a great education?"

Erica, Mariana and others are part of ACCD's international initiatives. Koshalek wants ACCD to be international -- see his broadly written strategy for ACCD. There's all the rationale needed to send those folks to Paris.

Ophelia Chong said...

8/25/08 8:34 PM

At what cost? Has Barcelona done ACCD any good?

The cost of the travel comes out of the Educational fund. The tuition of 4 fall students will go to the payment of this trip. And at what benefit?

Ophelia Chong said...

"Erica, Mariana and others are part of ACCD's international initiatives. Koshalek wants ACCD to be international -- see his broadly written strategy for ACCD. There's all the rationale needed to send those folks to Paris.

8/25/08 8:34 PM"

His strategy has brought ACCD to the financial brink. And ACCD will be footing the bills for years to come.

In the last nine years, what is the final outcome of all this International Initiatives?

Ophelia Chong said...

to 8/25/08 8:34 PM

I am not sure if you are in support of Erica et all going to Paris or being sarcastic. Because you don't explain what the "rationale" is behind International Initiatives.

I prefer the latter.

Anonymous said...

"I am not sure if you are in support of Erica et all going to Paris or being sarcastic. Because you don't explain what the "rationale" is behind International Initiatives."

I don't know enough about the trip to know if it really makes sense or not. Given the concerns over the core of what Art Center is, the education of its students, I think the trip is ill-timed, at best.

I'm really trying to point out the problems with Koshalek's stated strategies. They're so broadly written and vague that it's possible to rationalize all kinds of "worthy" things. Like trips to Paris for senior staff because we want Art Center to be international, right? Can't disagree with that one, right? It's one of Koshalek's strategies, right?

Koshalek's strategies exemplify the beauty and the downfall of non-profits. The beautiful thing is that the organization has wonderful, worthy goals (unlike the for-profit world which has icky goals like making lots of money). These big, vague, fabulous strategies lead to boondoggles, political in-fighting, and empire-building because it's much harder to analyze, evaluate and set priorites among all the wonderful things that could be done. International initiatives are important! NGOs are important! Development is important! A new building is important! Each dept says they need more staff! How to decide? Well, who has Koshalek's ear? Who can be most persuasive?

Next thing you know senior staff goes to high-profile, expensive trips and a big, expensive building is proposed and the students -- the CORE of Art Center -- feel neglected.

Anonymous said...

This blog is a waste of everyones time because it has done nothing for the school.

Anonymous said...

You mean the school is a waste of time...and money.

Anonymous said...

URGENT!!! Ophelia , we need your leadership here and other great alumni too and John Henry too. A date is coming up that all of us ACCD students and alumni and faculty had better protest before it's too late. Did you know that at the board meeting on October 23 the trustees are going to vote to pay lots of money to a couple of their own members? I always thought trustees are supposed to PAY money to the school not take it from our tuition money. I've heard the majority don't give zip let alone anything to scholarships for us. go to the development office where you can get the public records of this or the accounting office. Get that???? We're talking about big money. Hundreds of thousands. This is on top of millions of dollars of legal fees that have been paid to a trustee named Fred Allen who's a lawyer and cozy with the chairman John Puerner. They're bleeding money for education dry.








Anonymous said...

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire:

W_ ____ ____ __ water ___ the _____ _____ burn. Burn _____ _____, burn!

Anonymous said...

At least the leaks in the roof have finally been fixed!

fly-on-the-wall said...

ArtCenter is an international joke except to the Asian countries. Remember Art Center Europe? Even after it bombed how many ACCD execs went on paid extended trips to Europe to "dismantle" the school? ACCD is a joke in Europe. Just like Starbucks selling pastries in Paris, ACCD sends staff to Paris to educate France about the advantages of ACCD... what a freaking joke!

Richard brought in his good friend Erica and thus created the "International Initiatives" department. I like Erica as person; she's always been patient, kind and composed - far above Richards in terms of class, but Richard had a job for her that included a fantastic salary and regular traveling (which she loves so I don't fault her for taking such a plush position. Make your department high-profile, get NGO status and bradcast it all from the rooftops... that's how you look good and keep your job when heads start to roll. Erica is a smart woman.

Now, I'll say it again - PROBLEM NUMBER ONE must be resolved before anything can ever move forward. Who has been there all along, slowly moving up the ladder, playing things low-key but always in the loop? Whose office has every bad hire passed through before even being presented as a possible candidate? And who is responsible for the screening of exec candidates (remember Provost #1 and his undisclosed, yet not-so-secret past that was missed?) Who is almost above the law, certainly above ACCD political law, and operates under the radar? Who is present even in situation well outside the scope of *her* position? Who would be very very difficult to fire for numerous reasons?

Follow the white rabbit...

Anonymous said...

Human Resources

Anonymous said...

I agree. It's time to wipe the HR slate clean. Kim Roy and Jean Ford should be encouraged to find greener pastures.

...to be sure, Frank, follow the White Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

It was posted before somewhere around here. Couldn't find the post to reference. Much of the fear and anxiety that permeates the AC culture emanates from the HR office. Fear and anxiety if left unchecked gives way to anger and resentment.

We need to be clear and honest with one another. It's about the students. We can apply what ever politics we like, but in the end it's about the students.

Anonymous said...

Is Erica gone from Art Center?

In my somewhat limited experience, Art Center's HR dept is no worse than many corporate HR depts. It's not clear that that's where the best and the brightest go. Unfortunately, HR depts tend to be somewhat dysfunctional. You'd think they'd be more helpful, more human, but they tend to fall short. I think Art Center's HR people, like many in sr staff, have been following the lead of Koshalek. Maybe they can be "rehabilitated" under different leadership, maybe not.

Future of Art Center said...

Yes, Erica Clark has left Art Center officially as of today. From Ellsworth:

After nearly 10 years at Art Center, on February 27 Erica Clark will be leaving the College to pursue other career opportunities. In her time here as Senior Vice President of International Initiatives, she has launched many important programs and initiatives – including Designmatters, the Art Center Design Conference series, partnerships with INSEAD and ESADE Business School, exchanges with schools such as the Royal College of Art, and relationships with the consulates of the countries represented by our faculty and students. These activities have benefited the educational experiences of faculty and students alike, and have brought Art Center new visibility and recognition both within and beyond the larger art and design community.

Please join me in wishing Erica the best in her continuing career.

Anonymous said...

There's an article today in the L.A. Times about Koshalek's new job.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the comment above about "applying whatever politics... it's about the students..."

Absolutely, it SHOULD be about the students but it's not; and that's the issue. Art Center is about promoting the college itself, which would be fine if the reputation helped students and alumni. But Art Center has become a joke and that reduces the value of an Art Center degree.

For a long time, but especially over the past ten years, Art Center's administrative politics have caused student and educational issues and needs to be placed on the back burner.

THAT is the reality.

Anonymous said...

Also, regarding Art Center's HR department. Other companies have: 1)Presidents senior staff that actually run things rather than just being fundraisers, and 2) Board of Directors that are responsible to stockholders and that can be contacted if something is wrong with management.

HR is basically on the Board of Directors as they work hand-in-hand with them. HR also operates behind closed doors WITH the people who are DOING the firing, so their positions are always safe. It would take a huge and public issue to be able to affect the HR department. They put things in order with the legal people to make sure that execs are paid to leave and "cases are built" on many lower level staff so they leave or are fired, knowing that lower salary levels generally don't/can't hire an attorney. Some do and Art Center settles on condition of a confidentiality agreement. This isn't just my opinion, check the facts. I've been in the room while it's happened, I've been a party to the "making of a case".

Presidents have been fired, Provosts and Senior VPs have been fired (actually, paid to leave, as ACCD is absolutely frightened of litigation even if it doesn't make financial sense.)

Art Center's administration and Board of Directors, as a "not for profit", DOES NOT have a fiduciary responsibility to the students. They have a fiduciary responsibility to the Art Center, corporation, to not break the law. California law provides for the protection of staff, officers and Board members that do their job. If they knowingly act "out of scope", such as inside/personal business dealinings that are illegal or violate non-profit law, then they CAN be prosecuted as an individual. Insurance would protect the corporation, not the individual breaking a law as that is a crimnal offence and the only thing that could be provided is attorney assistance/fees.

Anonymous said...

The Chairman of the Board has an Art Center email address. Try and guess where that email address goes to...

I know. Do you?

Anonymous said...

Being that Art Center's past leadership used to intercept any mailed materials sent to the board members (care of the school's street address), I can guess where that email address leads to.

But let us find out for ourself, though. What is the chairman's official ACCD email address? I already know his yahoo address.

Anonymous said...

Helpful summary of what the board and HR do. Art Center is not the only organization that is frightened of litigation involving dismissed employees. It's not uncommon in the corporate world.

Anonymous said...

So, with Koshalek getting his Smithsonian gig, is that what led to the resignations of his remaining flunkies? How many more SVP flunkies remain hanging onto the paycheck until they can land elsewhere? Perhaps we can ditch that lame-duck weight now and save a few bucks.

Anonymous said...

It feels like domestic violence, only it's corporate violence, and the victims are the students. Right now we're in a middle of a divorce, and we're the step children, not even the paternal kids. No love lost.

Anonymous said...

We're not in the middle of a divorce. We're living with an abusive parent. This parent got divorced at the end of the summer from his third miserable wife. We're just waiting for them to hire another abusive stepmother who'll again take on the role of punisher.

Ellsworth is the temporary governess, Maria. So let's go up into the hills and sing for a while while Captain Von Puerner can find himself another pushover of a wife.

Then again, perhaps the children need to tell their father that he needs to shape-up, and perhaps he'll rehabilitate himself and get the family back together and functional again.

Hurry children, it's time for us to go sing in the festival!

Anonymous said...

So now that the administration is getting cleaned up.

Lets talk about the poor education that students receive because the two opposing idealogies

Is it too much to ask to get Dept. Chairs have a vision of the future of their industry?

Anonymous said...

[quote]Lets talk about the poor education that students receive because the two opposing idealogies[/quote]

Clarify the idealogies, and what you'd expect to eliminate a poor education.

I think each department has its own agenda.

Anonymous said...

professional degree vs. liberal arts education

Future of Art Center said...

Has anyone posting here even been on campus recently? It cracks me up how you are all fighting yesterday's battles. Richard left. Nate left. Erica Left. Jean Ford was just moved aside. I understand you may be bitter over past events, but things have already changed. Your discussion adds very little to today's reality on the ground at the college. I mean, your worry is about the board members' email addresses? Really?

The fact is, Ellsworth, for the most part, is taking care of business and doing a good house cleaning. The board has shrunk to a set of people who are mostly on the same page, and who actually seem to have realized their mistakes and want the college to move forward.

And while it is happening in fits and starts, there is a dialog happening within the college community about how to change and improve education. Certainly there are differences about how that should go - what is the future of design and art education? But that answer will only come out of an actual long term dialog of faculty, chairs, and people engaged with the respective fields.

So what are your thoughts about that?

Anonymous said...

If you can't attract the most talented students with scholarship money (and frank gehry buildings) then the school should pursue a strategy to have a visionary departmental leadership. We already pay for associate chairs that interact with students mostly anyway.

From my experience on campus the the school lacks visionary leadership at the departmental level especially in fields that are going through severe transitional period Furthermore the criteria to teach at Art Center seems to heavily weighted torwards those who are the friends of the department chairs. As far as recruiting great faculty, who would want work at a place where little effort is made to develop existing faculty knowlegde or at least recruit faculty that would excite students incoming stuident by being "somewhat known."

The truth is that If someone is very successful they have focused on themselves and in many cases would not make the best teacher, but that doesn't mean they can't help the school attract top students and make them willing to spend a ton of money rather than going to a cheaper school with better job placement stats.

Anonymous said...

Note: private lending is nearly frozen if not dying and that means Art Center is in BIG trouble.

36 private lenders stopped lending in Fall 08' and Obama's education initiative will put 3k a year in students pocket if he doubles his efforts.

That will do nothing for Art Center students who get a annual award letter with 80k of unmet need.

Future of Art Center said...

A few updates regarding the last two posts:

* Scholarship funds were increased across the board just recently. This is part of the reallocation of monies that Ellsworth promised. That should help with attracting top students, as well as blunt the loan crisis to some extent.

* In terms of attracting good faculty, agreed a lot of work needs to be done here. One thing that's being worked on is fixing the pay scales. Some faculty are paid a decent rate, others are not. This will hopefully be equalized in the near future as part of the reallocation of funds towards education.

* Regarding enrollment and the effect of the credit crisis. Interestingly, enrollment was up for the spring term. Fall will probably be the real test - one thing countervailing the loan problem is that typically enrollment goes up during recessions. The board is aware of the problem, and have set up a special loan program for students.

Anonymous said...

Future of Art Center perhaps you can comment of the dismissal of Dave Muyers.

For the first time in the history of the school Congress asked for input from the design community regarding, unfortunately it was regarding the automotive industry. Dave Muyers and Geoff Wardle went to presented a testimony to government officials and yet hardly anyone at school knows this!!!!!!

From my understanding the committee contacted Dave perhaps because of the relationships he developed over the past several years while organizing the Sustainable Mobility Conference.

I understand he was let go with one day notice, this kind of haste is sure to have severed good connections with industry.

This smells like a power maneuver because the schools best interest should be promoting the kind of work he was doing.

Ophelia Chong said...

I am sad to see Dave Muyers go, and I wish him well.

I agree with FOAC's comment about how some of the commenters on this board are living in the past, and that they don't seem to have been at the college recently.

I am running two groups for Alumni (both free to alumni)

RE/Source for all alumni; it is a group that is for networking and for workshops on Resume writing, Interview Skills, Transforming your career (with Tony Luna) and next week I will have Chuck Pelly (past pres. of BMW Design) speak about his four decades in the design business and dealing with each economic challenge since 1960. March 25th we will have an Intellectual and Corporate Attorney to speak about fair use and about LLCs, etc. We meet bi-weekly at the South Campus.

The other group UN/Still Life is for women alumni, we meet to discuss our projects and to build support and to create a collaborative community. We meet monthly.

I am doing this on my own time with the help of the Alumni Affairs office. They provide me email support and we collaborate on ideas for the workshops. Kristine Bowne is a great help and a great friend.

Dana Walker from the Art Center at Night program allows to use a classroom for our meetings.

If you want to change community thinking and move it forward, you have to participate by being active and putting actions behind your words.

Anonymous said...

FOAC seems to have a lot of knowledge of the board level happenings. Too bad he/she does not proactively share that information on the blog. Why do you leave it up? I mean, according to your own words, things are pretty much fixed and hunky-dory. Feel free to inform us if you've got som uch quality information.

Future of Art Center said...

On Dave Muyers, I don't have any info, though I assume his leaving is part of the larger effort of cost cutting on the admin side.

On this blog, I'm not sure what to do with it to be honest. What role should it play at this point? We are no longer in an insurgency position, so throwing molotov cocktails isn't a good strategy anymore. Not to mention that I'm kind of busy actually doing my job.

That said, there are certainly many problems still to be addressed at Art Center, and everything is not hunky-dory.

For example, what to do about the buildings? We have a split campus which is a waste of resources and focus. The South Campus is a mess in terms of its function - no one wants to teach there because the acoustics are so bad in the classrooms. The Ellwood building is in need of major renovation - not only earthquake retrofitting but all the major systems (HVAC etc.) need replacing. The Annex in the staff parking lot has to be torn down soon, which will cause a big space problem. Even without that, we need more classroom space. It goes on and on.

From an education point of view, the curriculums of most programs are out-dated, faculty still feel insecure, and students still carry too much debt to go to school here. The board needs to be reoriented and rebuilt. And here's the problem for many of you - the college is still terrible at communicating what it's up to, from board on down.

But the question is, how does all of this get fixed? It will take a lot of positive work by the Art Center community.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the services that designers provide have now been largely commoditized by increasing access to the tools (technology).

Even if you're techically "better" than the rest of the graduates on skill and ability, it does not translate into significantly higher earning power these days, at least on-entry. Industry generally seeks nothing but cost savings now, not so much the superior design.

Art Center's best hope is to get back to being the magnet of attracting the best people, with the best chance of success in the profession. For those companies that do want superb quality, they'll universally look to our grads.

But Art Center must shift itself into being able to deliver this education at a reasonable cost to its students. People entering the design profession now must accept a future of great instability and uncertain earnings. Gone are the days that a superbly talented illustrator could walk in the doors and secure a nice "Phil Hayes" connection and be making $100k per year doing storyboards and album covers. Students entering Art Center can no longer "bank" on the career payoff being enough to cover $125k in debt. Sure, some can and will, and they are your vegas-style gamblers. Few of them end up standing straight 10 years out.

Any kid who enters the doors needs to know he/she will be living a life of sacrifice and uncertainty in their career choice. Knowing that in advance, I think they are entitled to be educated by a school that will not squander the money they DO invest, and will treat them with dignity, good communication and respect (and will expect the same from them).

FOAC, you are right. The school is TERRIBLE at communicating. Especially the board. If good things are afoot, they don't bother to mention it. Meanwhile, a woman with a six-figure income is supervising the generation of nicely polished materials to help keep this bubble inflated properly.

Anonymous said...

[quote]From my experience on campus the the school lacks visionary leadership at the departmental level especially in fields that are going through severe transitional period[/quote]

What fields are changing?

People talk in abstractions, but I never read anything that I can put my head around. What fields are changing so drastically that requires attention?

I've noted that the illustration department seems to place a lot of emphasis on entertainment design, from what I've seen on display in glass cases in the hallway, when over a decade ago ACCD would be more inclined to emphasize editorial design due to the print industry being the major influence. However, now it seems to be more about video games, animation and movies. It all seems pretty generic. So, maybe editorial design should be perpetuated?

What directions do you want these departments to go in? And besides, how does design change all that drastically?

Shouldn't the concepts of design be so universal that you could go in any field you desire?

Anonymous said...

Pick up a recent magazine and count the number of editorial illustions you see within. Then multiple that times all of the high circulation magazines in the USA. Divide that number by the number of only the ACCD illustration grads over the past 15 years. Even with no other illustrators from other schools competing against them, this group would not be able to make it work.

Editorial illustration died a slow death and the body is long since cold.

However, you still have to teach these students the basics. Be it editorial or working for dreamworks animation, they still need to know how to draw draw draw.

You only get 4 years in school. We have to equip students with the know-how on how to then go and make a career for themselves for life. First we need to equip them with basic skills. If you're worried between entertainment and editorial, that's really inconsequential and minor shit. I'll bet any pixar or disney animator would have traded the "portfolio" classes of 5-8th terms for more hard-core drawing and painting. The emphasis on "what kind of portfolio" was the fluff none of us needed. Remember "packaging design"? How many "strictly" packaging designers have you met? Not many.

Anonymous said...

One thing that is in a severe transitional period is Art Center's cost structure.

Many educators at the school are quick to outline the need for money and/or space. Clearly some cost savings strategies are in order.

Maybe we need a only few core multidisciplinary design leaders at school to lead the departments.
These "proven leaders" can be advised by senior faculty to evolve the curriculum over time.

Lets face facts the associate chairs do the heavy-lifting while some department chairs are unavailable to students and don't even teach.

Why are we paying them if they don't attract students or provide a so called advisory service to students?

Anonymous said...

[quote]If you're worried between entertainment and editorial, that's really inconsequential and minor shit.[/quote]

It's inconsequential, but it's a concrete example of how the 'industry' is changing. People always say we must be prepared for the future, but never give insight on their foresight. What's gonna change?

I feel like we're living in a state of paranoia, when it may be unnecessary anxiety?

Anonymous said...

Industry is always changing, as is the field of applied art and design. We need to teach students to be more proficient at "change" as much as they are at a specific "aspect" of their major (like entertainment -vs- editorial).

Some of our majors were so specific that they were ultimately ridiculous. So specific, it's very hard to get away from the "trade school" label. Wanna study welding?

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Anon 2:33.

Many upper-terms classmates feel pigeon-holed by their department requirements who in some cases have tunnel vision due to poor departmental leadership.

Compare our highly specialized graduates in each department in each of their respective fields with either jobs that are available and the numbers couldn't possible add up.

Art Center is helping commoditize premium design services by pumping out an increasing the output of younger students that don't understand the consequences of this borrowed money.

Thank goodness for stimulus and inflation.

Art Center students should get the skills to adapt in the creative fields and beyond not prepare a portfolio for jobs that might not exist when they graduate.

Ophelia Chong said...

how true Anon 2:33pm

however the argument for a single niche career is strong as well, BUT it has to be a stellar portfolio. I mean the best. If it is not, then you had better have a few skills under your belt. Recruiters now are looking for talented individuals with ideas, and a skill set. Know your applications, Flash, Photoshop, everything that you need to further your career. And be passionate about what "you", you are the product.

Read the NYT article on Talent Scouting: Talent Scoutsr

Anonymous said...

Welding is probably a better career choice than an artist these days. Anyone who cannot afford this school should beware of these astronomical loans they face dealing with upon graduation. Learn a real trade - welding, or even better yet, plumbing. For an art degree, go to public school for peace of mind. Be practical.

Some of our majors were so specific that they were ultimately ridiculous. So specific, it's very hard to get away from the "trade school" label. Wanna study welding?

Anonymous said...

"Know your applications, Flash, Photoshop, everything that you need to further your career."

Learning to use Photoshop: $25/mo

Learning to use Flash: same $25/mo

There are some things in life money can't buy. For everything else, there's a new Mac and a subscription to Lynda.com

Ophelia sort of nailed it. Art Center really does want the best and most talented to come to study there. For many decades, they tended to end up there. Those who were qualified and talented (but not the most "superior" talents) gained good skills. But once those people had cycled through the school, they were essentially dumped like one of Hef's old wrinkling girlfriends. The student loan dries up and the student is no longer useful. That is, unless they've gained some fame or notoriety. Then they'll always matter to Art Center. Anyone remember "Matt Mahurin this", or "Matt Mahurin that"? I'm sure in recent years it's probably been more of the Chip Foose thing or the guys from Linkin Park stuff. Any alum would understand what I mean.

I've outlived my usefulness to the school, and I must say the same in return, as the school has never done anything to make me feel truly welcome back there. I realize we never had sports, but it sure would be nice to see the school welcoming us back and encouraging us to help out the current kids in ways other than the donation phone drives. What about "welcome back weeks"? Something regular and annually predictable? I'd love to be able to "swing back" on a specific week and see who I bump into.

Anonymous said...

[quote]That is, unless they've gained some fame or notoriety.[/quote]

I know ACCD teaches marketing. I don't know if it goes to such an extreme that ACCD can't determine artistic boundaries and compulsive popularity contests?

It's more about finding an art god then art.

I've encountered instructors that actually 'teach'....that aren't art gods...and not at ACCD by the way.

I'm not a star fucker. I just want to learn.

Anonymous said...

The "famous designer" instructors are usually the ones you want to avoid. With a few notable exceptions. The students all know who those people are, as their reputations as teachers precede them.

Anonymous said...

"I believe isolation breeds irrelevance. You have to be engaged in the larger context,"

-Richard Koshalek on what he thinks about us ousting him.


OK, so now I don't feel so bad for the guy. You know, Rome wanted to be global also. Look what it got them.

Ophelia Chong said...

I graduated with a degree in Fine Arts/Painting. I was a photographer after I graduated and then went into
film campaign marketing and design, then to the internet in 99. Now into print, in web, writing and illustration.

I manage to find my niche every year and it changed over time, because you can't hang onto one style of work for too long, or else you will just become yesterday's news.

Students need to learn flexibility. And how to gauge the markets. An artist has to be made up of 80% inspiration, and 20% marketing genius.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 3/16/09 2:27 PM

Are you subscribed to Alumni news?

Overspray: Airbrush art from the 70's with the masters (alumni)
Panel and reception (open bar) Free to Alumni March12th

bi-weekly meetings for alumni to learn:
- Writing the perfect resume
- Interview Skills (VP of search at Janou/Pakter taught the class)
- Tony Luna: Inspiration/Transformation
- Chuck Pelly (Trans 58) talked about 4 decades of economic up and downturns
- IP and Corp. Attorneys talk about Fair Use and LLCs

UN/Still Life
- project based and art crit for women alumni
- meets once a month

All free to alumni

No money asked, all networking, all at South Campus.


Anonymous said...

Alumni News? Every so often, Art Center will send out some new slick publication for alumni, with a message that this is the new beginning of alumni involvement. Then a few months (or a year) will go by and the mailings fizzle-out. Either they get tired of making such efforts, or they screw-up the database. I've gone out of my way to re-engage a few times, and that usually results in some follow-up mailings, but those usually peter-out too. I've been at my current address for quite some time now, so I know it's not because they do not know where I live.
In contrast, my spouse has gotten an alumni publication from her alma mater each month since I've known her.

I think it's great that you help engage local alumni Opehlia. I wish Art Center itself was doing more. It would be great if more existed to connect non-faculty alumni to current students in some sort of advance networking thing.

Ophelia Chong said...

3/18/09 8:23 AM

you can get Alumni news via email by emailing alumnionline@artcenter.edu
and request the updates via email, Save Paper.

Also you can Mentor a student. I have done this a few times and it's been the best. One student has become a close and wonderful friend and she is graduating this term with a MFA.

:O) ophelia

Anonymous said...

speaking of alumni networking: InCircle


As an Art Center Europe alum, this is a great service that the alumni office has offered. I am able to keep in touch with alumni and find out what is happening at Art Center. The opportunities are there to get involved, you just have to take the initiative to do it.

Anonymous said...

So, is ACCD going through a period where it's trying to purge itself of megalomania, or is that something that is indicative of the 'art' world and you really can't get away from that?

Well, it was said that the purpose of this blog has been exhausted. I don't see anything wrong with brain fart'n.

Anonymous said...

Thanks PN. We'll take that into consideration. Now get back to YouTube and your (now) 2 year-old habit of bashing on the Roland Young video.

Anonymous said...

This hurdle the dead and kill the weak mentality really sucks.

If you don't wanna explore some normative ethics then you're just doomed to repeating yourselves.

professional degree vs. liberal arts education

So called professionals have proven themselves to be not be so professional.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for everyone reading this.

Is the purpose of this transitional period at ACCD to pursue one or two ideals about how education should be taught ,Or is it about getting the school on sound financial footing?

One of these has to come first.

Where is that mission statement???? People need to get on the same page! There have been task forces and committees dismantled and appointed for months on this topic. If it becomes a "catch all" value statement just like the last 8 mission statements in which everyone translates it differently then it will have been a waste of time.

If you've heard Frank talk about the state of the school then you should understand that the cost structure is still a mess. If that means certain departments should go or shrink then let's get started. Also, I can get a much better liberal arts education at Occidental, which I can participate in as a ACCD student right now. I'll even get to come down of the hill and interact with non- artists which is something our leadership is always saying we need to do.

It's really irritating as a student to hear faculty make the same complaints about not enough space and money or should we be professional or liberal arts education. Students are sacrificing a lot everyday, and NOBODY IS SAYING THAT A PRIORITY IS TO MAKE THIS PLACE LESS OF A FINANCIAL BURDEN FOR THE STUDENTS.

Anonymous said...

3/29 10:16 wrote:
"Is the purpose of this transitional period at ACCD to pursue one or two ideals about how education should be taught ,Or is it about getting the school on sound financial footing?

One of these has to come first.

Where is that mission statement????"

OK, so the period of unrest and supposed "rebuilding" has had just about a year of germination time. In that year, a president has gone away and a life-preserver of a President has been recruited to help keep things afloat. Everyone generally seems to like this guy as they share the stabilized "ledge" with him. But it is indeed a ledge, and the next hand hold is not anywhere in sight.

Meanwhile, let us turn our heads to the Art Center boardroom for an update on the current state of "who" and what we are, and where we're supposed to head. And all I can see is a complete vacuum of leadership and communication. The school is essentially broken. Students are now borrowing more for their ACCD education than their parents did for their first home mortgage. Myself, I borrowed about half that amount.

What do we value in education? What kind of education does and SHOULD Art Center be providing? How much should it cost, and what does it currently cost?

Art Center needs a family intervention. people. The school has (and has had) a big problem, and no one really wants to strip it down and face the deeper elements of the core. The board puts up this wall, much like an addict in denial, and maintains that everything is fine. But you're a family member, and you say "the hell everything is fine, everything AIN'T fine!".

Unfortuantely, you can't make an addict change. The addict needs to WANT the change for itself. The board is the central core of our school, and the board is sick and addicted. And unfortunately, we probably either have to do the serious interbention, or we have to turn our backs on the school and let it hit bottom on its own. It won't be pretty, but it's pretty neccessary.

Art Center, I truly want you to succeed. I want the name on my diploma to be from a school that still exists. Hopefully as one still held in high regard. But if you want to continue in this unhealthy state, unfortunately you'll have to go it alone.

Board members: I suggest you guys all get together and lock yourself in a cabin near Big Bear for a week. Don't come out until you figure out who you wants us to be and are ready to live up to that. Goodbye for now. I hope to see you again soon.

Anonymous said...

The reality is, as long as inflated salaries for senior executives continue to rise, and the old boys network is accepted, tuition will rise as well. Just like what is happening in the economy. And all these grads coming out of school in debt with considerably fewer job opportunities. Thanks to the greed at the top.

Anonymous said...

It's not even the specific salaries. It's the inflated number of senior execs. Our past two presidents turned out to be opportunistic parasites and hired a lot of their close friends.

Anonymous said...

Ever look into Biderman's Chart of Coercion?


People's sensibilities are too fragile.

I always wondered if all that hazing was just brainwashing? Well, it's like you're looking for a cult leader when maybe all that is needed is to lead yourself?

Anonymous said...

Is tuition at Art Center out of line with competitive schools (loosely defined)? Why shouldn't Art Center charge the market rate for tuition? They'd be foolish not to. If Art Center is overcharging relative to the competition, then they shouldn't raise tuition.

Separately, any other senior management/Bridge types whose jobs are at risk?

Anonymous said...

Academy of Art University charges 50k total for their tuition, but they make up for it because they provide and charge for housing.

There's a lot of ex-ACCD instructors up there, but there seems to be only a 30 percent graduate turn around.

Some of the best design schools aren't even private schools. You could get a decent education for less then $10,000 a year tuition.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:49 wrote:

"Is tuition at Art Center out of line with competitive schools (loosely defined)? Why shouldn't Art Center charge the market rate for tuition?"

Using this method to judge tuition is akin to a type-2 diabetic using fellow fat people as a benchmark for measuring their blood sugar levels. In other words: It's best not to use a sick class of people as the baseline for your control group.

Anonymous said...

"Separately, any other senior management/Bridge types whose jobs are at risk?"

Uh, those that take a high-level salary and provide either no significant academic or income generating value. In my view, anyone paid over $90k at an educational institution should either be more than covering their own salary through realization of cost savings or they should be "key" contributors to bringin in sources of significant income in the means of donations or grants.

Future of Art Center said...

"Board members: I suggest you guys all get together and lock yourself in a cabin near Big Bear for a week. Don't come out until you figure out who you want us to be and are ready to live up to that. Goodbye for now..."

The is wrong in so many ways. First, the board is down 8 or 9 people, and only when the new president comes in will it gain significant new contributors - they are in caretaker mode right now. Second, the people on the ground in the school - i.e. faculty, students, and staff - should be the ones who figure out what we should be. If we leave it to the board, nothing will happen. And if we do nothing, it will be up to the next president. Now is the time folks to get serious and make your voices heard - not on this blog, but by discussing issues with others and letting Ellsworth and the board hear.

In fact this is beginning to happen and the board is listening. Has anyone noticed that two faculty members and a student are on the budget committee that is making direct recommendations to the Board?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone investigated this?

"STANFORD, California (Reuters) - Amid calls by some U.S. lawmakers for wealthy universities to lower tuition costs, officials at Stanford University said on Wednesday they would no longer charge tuition to students from families earning less than $100,000 a year..."

full article:


Signing into law that private schools of an endowment of more than x dollars requires free tuition to those less fortunate. Harvard and Yale to follow suit.

Might up the bar for those attending that are bringing the caliber of work down simply because they can afford the tuition.

I also wonder if that's going to apply to art center and if it does, what that's going to do to the budget structure.

I'm sad to see ACCD having yet ANOTHER president debacle. I was there for David Brown; same issues, 10 years ago. He wanted a parking garage, Koshalek wanted a FRANK GEHRY


(Did I read that right, because if I did that is the MOST INANE use of over inflated tuition dollars I have EVER heard....)

I hope it's figured out this time around, and the power of choosing what art center should be in the future is driven and decided by
1. the students
2. the faculty
3. the alums who have a stake in their own investment... and

358. the "board" because they entertained such a STUPID idea for having a Frank Gehry anything for so long.

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone noticed that two faculty members and a student are on the budget committee that is making direct recommendations to the Board?"

No. Again, see the "zero communication" problem.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Stanford did that 2 years ago, so it's not news. Second, Stanford can afford to do that because they have an endownment that is so large that it affords them the luxury of sending its entire student body to Stanford for free (if it wished to do so).

How do you get an endowment that large? You get a large enough collection of alumni that feels included enough and respected enough to even WANT to give a dime back.

I won't give a dime back until I'm confident that the money won't be squandered. Just getting a new president changes absolutely nothing in that regard for me. For starters, the school has not acknowledged its past shortcomings nor has it taken steps towards significant change. Like I said, getting a new figurehead is not nearly enough.

Anonymous said...

"Uh, those that take a high-level salary and provide either no significant academic or income generating value. In my view, anyone paid over $90k at an educational institution should either be more than covering their own salary through realization of cost savings or they should be "key" contributors to bringin in sources of significant income in the means of donations or grants."

I agree that the folks you're describing should be at risk. I was wondering if there are any concrete moves afoot to dismiss some of these people by the interim president.

Anonymous said...

""Is tuition at Art Center out of line with competitive schools (loosely defined)? Why shouldn't Art Center charge the market rate for tuition?"

Using this method to judge tuition is akin to a type-2 diabetic using fellow fat people as a benchmark for measuring their blood sugar levels. In other words: It's best not to use a sick class of people as the baseline for your control group."

I'm sorry but I don't understand your analogy. My point was that costs are not what determine price (that's standard market economics). Paying high salaries just cuts into profit margins but should not be the determiner of the price of tuition. Art Center should charge what the market can bear. That takes into consideration the range of students' alternatives. That also takes into consideration whether or not prospective students believe that Art Center is not a functional place to bet their art and design careers on.

Anonymous said...

Except we're not talking about market economics. We're talking about Art Center and how much it should cost a student to attend it. The cost of attending RISD should matter only to those attending RISD. Likewise, the cost of attending art Center should apply to those interested in Art Center.

If you're playing the game of "look over your shoulder" in regards to others, then you're playing the wrong game. Why don't we stick to our own costs and manage our own tuition?

Anonymous said...

Also, Art Center is not just a non-profit, but also a tax-exempt shool.

While we're not supposed to be profit-oriented, we do have to turn somewhat of a profit in order to ensure staying afloat. The question is, how much profit?

When you pad the payrolls with dozens of your friends over the years and award consulting contracts to others, they effectively suck-up that "profit" and you end up having to charge higher and higher rates. And you get far away from your core mission of providing education.

Just because you don't end up with a huge amount of black ink in the accounting books at the end of the school year, does not mean you have the right to become a parasitic leech (or implement new ones).

Anonymous said...

"Except we're not talking about market economics. We're talking about Art Center and how much it should cost a student to attend it. The cost of attending RISD should matter only to those attending RISD. Likewise, the cost of attending art Center should apply to those interested in Art Center.

If you're playing the game of "look over your shoulder" in regards to others, then you're playing the wrong game. Why don't we stick to our own costs and manage our own tuition?"

It doesn't matter that Art Center is a non-profit or not. Market economics are involved and being aware of the competition is good business sense for a non-profit. Prospective students have choices and the cost of tuition is one factor in their decision-making process.

If Art Center were to only look at its own costs to set the price of tuition they might set the price too high or too low. If the price is too high, students may choose to go elsewhere or complain that the school's not offering value. If the price is too low, the school is leaving money on the table, money that could go to other do-gooding school activities, such as scholarships, new equipment, higher salaries for instructors, other programs, whatever.

Art Center does not operate in a vacuum. It is a non-profit that competes for students.

Anonymous said...

"Prospective students have choices and the cost of tuition is one factor in their decision-making process."

Let me guess: "One goes where one can?"... I think we've heard that before, and it is typical of the old guard at Art Center.

"If Art Center were to only look at its own costs to set the price of tuition they might set the price too high or too low"

First, the school must better define what it considers "acceptable costs", and once it does, I seriously doubt they'd have any danger of setting the price too high.

And you seem to profess yourself to be a fan of economics here. So what if the school prices itself too low? The end result is the ability to be more selective in who you let inside the gates. Graduate quality will only rise, and with it, reputation.

Anonymous said...

You're right, if the school prices itself too low it can be more selective and let in higher quality students. The school also risks leaving money on the table if it prices too low. That is, students might be willing to pay $100 more per quarter without Art Center sacrificing student quality. That $100 can go towards other programs, higher salaries for instructors, scholarships, etc.

Students (or their parents) considering art school or regular college take the cost of tuition into their decision-making. For example, a student accepted to an Ivy League college, a UC, USC and a CalState will take reputation and tuition into consideration, and other factors. The CalState will likely lose out. The other colleges can offer scholarships or an attractive financial aid package to make their choice more appealing.

Please do not ever lump me in with the old guard at Art Center (I know you don't know who I am but please don't do this). The comment "they go where they can" is irrelevant and insulting to this discussion.

Anonymous said...

Apologies if I have stuck you in with the old guard. That "One goes where one can" comment was often repeated by one of them that I spoke with often.

You know, I can't adequately comment on what it actually costs to run the school today, but I have a very hard time believing that "necessary" costs have tripled since the early 90's. I know for a fact that salaries at Art center have not done anything close to that kind of performance. All Art Center has succeeded in doing is to grow the staff immensely, and to have that increased staff spend tons of money on travel and frivolous things. A cult of personality and excess became the standard. The whole guiding principle of modernism was not just ignored, but was mocked. Modernism is supposed to be the backbone of the school. Break it down to the core in an elegant and beautiful way. But Art Center's leadership thought that modernism was a aesthetic style, and not a philosophy.

I'm not looking for communism here, or even socilaism. I'm looking for balance and a conservative approach to finances. I think a business plan need to be developed that puts a conservative cap on how big the staff can and will become, and taking that into consideration, there should be room for the staff (that does remain) to be adequately and fairly compensated. I even favor job security and a tenured system for instructors.

Art Center should be well equipped and well staffed. But it does not need to become diabetic.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that costs should be re-examined, especially those related to staff and travel.

That's unfortunate that you heard "one goes where one can" all too frequently. It sounds very arrogant to me.

I sincerely hope that Art Center gets back on track with a focus on the students, faculty, alums and EDUCATION.

Anonymous said...

[quote]I know for a fact that salaries at Art center have not done anything close to that kind of performance. All Art Center has succeeded in doing is to grow the staff immensely, and to have that increased staff spend tons of money on travel and frivolous things.[/quote]

I'd imagine the Ellwood building and property it sits upon was paid off long ago. The student ratio has not increased. It's been around 1500 students attending the school for about 20 years, despite purchasing the Wind Tunnel in downtown Pasadena.

I think the tuition is based more on retail value then it is about cost of running the place. It's akin to what property values were prior to the crash. It actually cost less to build a home then it did to buy one. You're just paying out the nose for a 'perceived' cost and demand. Has nothing to do with the value of running and maintaining the place.

I think it is just a 'keep up with the Jones' mentality'. It's a perceived cost equals value.

It's like that Brooks College or Art Institute mentality. Then it was supply and demand. The economy is a bust. There's gonna be less demand. Something is gonna give, and it's gonna be tuition. Just like housing prices.

Otherwise, the only people you'll be catering to will be trust fund babies. Most artists that made themselves had nothing to begin with.

Anonymous said...

20 years ago the student population was 800-900.
Art Center had to keep increasing students to pay the bills from spending too much, (The California Way) Ellwood building only designed to house about 700 students. Full time staff was about 90 people strong. You didn't have to kiss the black hand back then either.

Anonymous said...

20 years ago you paid a high tuition because of high profile instructors. But some of them were just absolutely loony. If I had a choice between Burne Hogarth or Frank Reilly, I'd pick Frank Reilly knowing that one instructor was more about teaching.....not making you hypervigilant.

But certain instructors were chosen because they had that military disciplined no nonsense kind of behavior. You were taught a certain mindset, but that was 20 years ago.

What do you think is the Art Center mindset now that justifies the high tuition?

Well, I've been told the standards on entry level portfolios have been lowered to let more people in, yet the tuition is higher. I think this is a valid question.

I've encountered plenty of ACCD graduates from the old guard. There was a lot of nutty behavior then too.

Keep in mind the title of this thread is 'Inside Politics Discussion'. I think I'm allowed.

Anonymous said...

20 years ago, the excuse was that Art center had virtually no endowment (whch was true), and the college needed to "get ahead" on things such as technology (which it did). Back then, the tuition rose 4% each and every term, even if the financial situation was good.

Back then, even though Art Center had some what you might call "celebrity" instructors, they were not paid as such. The highest paid "academic" staff member was paid $110,000 per year in 1994, and he was a department chairman.

Back then, the number of "highly paid" employees was comparably low to the number that exists today. The number of high-income staff members was boosted considerably, and many of them had marching orders that involved spending even more of your tuition dollars. That's the kind of stuff that got you design conferences in Paris and Barcelona.

Art Center got to thinking that they deserved a seat at the table of big-time international business, so they decided to invite themselves to the party. When there was no party to arrive at, they decided to throw the party to increase the school's profile. But as any good branding teacher at Art Center will tell you... A reputation is not created, it is earned. You must actually be what you purport yourself to be. Needless to say, the parties did not work, and the only people who got anything out of it were Koshalek and friends. They took millions of tuition dollars out of Pasadena and spent them in Europe and other luxury destinations.

Art Center is a small design school. A great one. BE that. If the stellar reputation goes international, then that's great. We'll have earned it. And we can feel good about that. But we can't feel good about feeding a machine addicted to poor spending habits.

Anonymous said...

Even the Ellwood building was cloaked in smoke and mirrors. Apparently, the Ellwood building was designed by James Tyler but never really given credit for it.

Politics and ACCD go hand in hand.

It's a good read. Talks bout Craig Ellwood and Frank Gehry.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting that interview. It now really sheds some light on the Gehry situation last year. Remember the counter-petition that Patricia Oliver had started? It was literally filled with signatures from AIA members and other members of the architecture community. Apparently the AIA really knows how to help flood the air with support when one of their precious members might get a project rejected.

Geez, I sure with the AIGA would flood my clients with letters when they're about to reject one of MY better designs (lol).

Anonymous said...

And again

I get something from Art Center asking for money.

The first time was a set of 4/4 postcards BEFORE I received my DIPLOMA.

I asked them to wait until the ink WAS DRY on said diploma, noting that this action was in extremely POOR FORM. That seems to be the essence of Art Center now: POOR FORM.

I am as disappointed as ever in this institution and it's insatiable desire to spend money on useless, stupid things and not education.

As an alumni, I have no warm fuzzies for the place, and neither does anyone I know because of consistent mis-management.

FIX THAT. It was corrupt ten years ago, it is corrupt now.

Student reps, what a sham. You want to continue what has gone on for years:

Taking advantage and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

[quote]No one loves a camp. We don't have "homecoming" or a football team or the stuff that other schools have to promote "school spirit." We have our friends and colleagues and a network. We don't need the school for that.[quote]

That was posted by some anonymous person in 2008 on this thread.

I've encountered people who were trained under Burne Hogarth at ACCD that really didn't progress. As a matter of fact some of them actually avoid going to life drawing class, probably because they're reliving the 'boot camp' mentality they experienced.


Do you think the boot camp mentality works?

Well, it's a philosophy in instruction. Just like professional degree vs. liberal arts education.

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why anyone involved with illustration would avoid life drawing. Unless they are cocky enough to assume mastery of the human form.

Anonymous said...

I think it has something more to do with making life drawing feel like a burden.

I actually heard the illustrator say they haven't gone to life drawing in over 9 months. The illustrator, ACCD alumni, does childrens books, so these aren't high end anatomy studies.

Praises Hogarth, but I don't get it.

Anonymous said...
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