In the spirit of constructive participation, here are 10 proposals for how to move forward. We welcome comments, criticisms & suggestions for improvement.
1) Immediately allocate resources to make the student educational experience better. Fix the leaky roof, make the cafeteria more green, replace the falling-apart furniture, bring back popular & necessary classes that have been cut, cap classroom size (as appropriate per departments), create a better recycling program, take student complaints seriously, etc.
2) Create a 21st education initiative that challenges the faculty, chairs, and students to do a complete rethink of art and design education for the 21st century. This is not only about technology, but about merging the craft and finish traditions of ACCD with the thinking and making that has the deep concept, strategy, experimentation, and speculation that is needed by industry, art, design, as well as the larger world of policy and sustainability. ACCD graduates need to be great designers and artists, makers, leaders, and experimenters, change agents and entrepreneurs.
3) Recommit to high admissions standards in line with the historic quality of Art Center students, plus offer Art Center at Night and early term courses to bring the student work to a higher level. Also commit to a cap on total enrollment at a level that the facilities can handle.
4) Create a comprehensive sustainability plan with both immediate changes (e.g. better recycling, replace incandescent lights with fluorescents), and long term plans (e.g. solar panels).
5) Set aside the plans for the DRC and create a new top priority capital campaign and construction plan to improve the Ellwood building - fix the infrastructure, earthquake retrofit, make it energy efficient, improve the technology, make the classrooms and studios better, create an independent “plant,” and make it more accessible. Consider including in this plan a low cost structure on the Hillside campus that can house additional studios and classrooms. As a symbol of Art Center and a historic building, the Ellwood fund raising campaign can leverage the interests of alumni, corporations and others who appreciate the history and output of the school, as well as those who want to support the new 21st educational initiative outlined above.
6) Revise the current Master Plan. Implement new and more open ways of involving faculty, staff and alumni in the planning process, and communicate better with the community about planning. Use this new approach to create a new mission statement and goals for education. Then create a revised Master Plan for education and building that embodies this mission and goals.
7) Redouble fund-raising efforts for scholarships and the endowment to help improve the incoming student quality and diversity. Also create a new education campaign to raise money for more full-time faculty, advanced faculty training, and the implementation of the new 21st century curriculum.
8) Review the financial allocations across the school, and refocus funds to best support education and the new priorities of the school.
9) Start an international search for an education provost with experience in art/design education and who has the leadership skills to help the school develop and implement a new educational vision.
10) Increase the number of full time faculty. In order to develop a modern 21st century curriculum, faculty must be in place who can afford to invest the time to brainstorm about the best approach to curriculum, develop new courses, and who can mentor part-time faculty in the new approach. Along with this, the school needs to invest significantly in faculty training.