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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Roadmap: 10 ways to move forward

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.


Jason said...
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Anonymous said...

everything looks good but #10. more full time faculty means that you are not getting the experience of "practicing professionals." most of the full time faculty members i have studied under were out of touch when it came to the practical issues in the business of design.

be careful what you ask for.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

under this goal 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).

where are there incandescent lights located? I am being serious. if you know please post it here cause we shoulded have any in the building. If we do they might be track lights and those the school puts in those are halogens inorder to properly illuminate the work they are being used to highlight.

Future of Art Center said...

Regarding the question about incandescent bulbs - they are everywhere around the school. Look in the bathrooms, hallways, cafeteria, etc. And yes, in the classrooms with the track lights - I agree, sometimes they are needed, but many could be replaced with CFLs that have a fairly good color quality.

Anonymous said...

RE full-time faculty, and post by anon 6/9 @ 9:54:

While I understand that the part-time teacher is the tradition at art center, we need more full-timers than we have. Art Center needs those teacher that have the experience and dedication to education as a profession. Teaching is a skill like any other, and requires time and effort. The things that compensate that time and effort--a pay scale that is comparable to other schools of our calibre--some level of job security to insure academic freedom--and an ongoing relationship with Department Chairs and curriculum development--service via committees to the process of educational decision-making--these are all aspects more likely dealt with by full-time faculty who are adequately compensated. By the way, with the shrinking educational budget, and the disappearance of whole departments, full-time faculty, always a small group, has shrunk quite a bit further.

One more point. In most colleges, with the two semester system and with a work load much smaller than art centers (six classes a year to be full time rather than 12 or more) most full-time ARE also practicing professionals.

Imagine how much money Art Center saves on its faculty, not having to pay benefits to teachers who would be earning them at any other college. The majority of the faculty the school relies upon most heavily are kept just under our description of full-time--a tremendous savings in health care costs--but just plain WRONG.

Don't get me wrong--I am not against the teacher who comes in and teaches one class--we need that ongoing injection of fresh ideas. Just don't overlook the value of gifted teachers who have dedicated themselves to the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
Mahatma Gandhi

Luciano Bove said...

Hi guys, I am supporting you on my blog! Go for it!


Anonymous said...

This is a great beginning.

I'm actually against "scrapping" the Master Plan. Tearing apart what AC has been trying to develop for a decade is foolhardy and a little short-sighted and the school is in desperate need of better facilities.

What I am for: REVISING the Master Plan- take Frank Gehry out of the picture... build a building that is designed, environmentally friendly, LESS expensive to build, and functional. The focus should be on the educational needs of the students, not padding the legacy of the administration. (We need function- not another Sinclair Pavilion OR Prototype space!)

Also, the Master Plan should include an equally aggressive financial plan to raise just as much money for an endowment and scholarships.

The new buildings will be useless unless the school puts the priority on the students and investing in the ability to attract the most talent.

a concerned alumnus

Anonymous said...

The discussions on this blog and Nathan's blog PROVE that design is being diminished since virtually everyone here diminishes the value of a well designed environment, i.e., architecture.

If you are willing to say, Let's cheap-out on our physical resources by putting up temporary shed, getting a non-architect (i.e., contractor-build), or some corporate firm, how can you make an argument as yourselves as "designers" over, say, some Academy of Art grad or some unschooled guy with a computer? At least architects have to go through licensing and are liable for safety and compliance with building codes.

Go ahead, how do you justify asking a client for the big bucks? Just because you will have degree from Art Center and call yourself a "designer"?

Changing out the light bulbs is a start, but that's not going to cut it as a definition of the value of design.