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Friday, June 27, 2008

Criteria for the new President & Provost/CAO?

Comment here on what you think are the top criteria for the new Art Center President and Provost/CAO positions. Be specific. We'll assemble these and forward them to the Board of Trustees.

* Should they come from an educational institution?
* What kind of background should they have?
* What are the top 3 characteristics they should have?


Anonymous said...

Experience in undergraduate education and success in building coalitions and consensus while making real progress at the same time.

Jason said...

A new president's background should not be exclusively academic or non-profit.

We need someone who is a BUSINESS MAVERICK who who can reinvent the educational system for the 21st century. This old model was designed for a loyal workforce working for big companies those days are long gone. Fresh eyes are needed, this school cannot afford to benchmark itself against our competitors.

I say this with conviction because students need to come out of this school educated in creating lucrative opportunities. To quote the petition "I find it unethical to saddle an artist with $100,000+ in student loans. We're not talking about Doctors and Lawyers and Dentists and MBAs, we're talking about ARTISTS."

Since our college is so diverse with it's varied departments why not just keep the dean structure and have them work under the president.IS ANOTHER LAYER REALLY NECESSARY?. Back in the day the The heads of each department along with the president ran the school. The numbers of students haven't significantly increased at the same pace as the hierarchy of leadership. Too many leaders has never been a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I never thought Koshalek was a bad choice as president. He had a great background and a great adnministrative skillset. And he had an awesome rolodex.

I think he was given a weak strategic mandate from his employers, and I think he delivered on that weak strategy.

I've been oneof the loudest sabre-rattlers on this issue. I;d even support retaining him given a better strategic direction for him to follow. Get back in touch with what Art Center is supposed to be (and what it is).

Anonymous said...

God forbid that you add "fundraiser" to the requirements. People will castigate you for not being of the real Art Center stock. In most colleges, tho, it is the President who is a full-time fundraiser. But here at Art Center, we do it differently.

The Art Center students seem to want a President who has his/her hands in all aspects of the pie: education, facilities, scholarships, tuition, admissions. And others want a president who is everywhere on campus and is "most popular," but of course, has no cronies.

Anonymous said...

I think the school is too small for most people to accept the President as a guy who does not focus day-to-day on internal issues.

In the past I've suggested that the three top offices (CEO, CAO and CFO) all report to the board itself, so that abuses are prevented. I'm OK with the CEO being a board member, so he can have a vote over the CFO and CAO, but he should not have the right to simply dump either of the two without the board's approval.

In the old days, for some weird reason, Ron Jernigan (the former CFO) was also a member of the board. That kind of crap needs to end.

Anonymous said...

"I think the school is too small for most people to accept the President as a guy who does not focus day-to-day on internal issues."

Not to say I agree with such sentiments...I do not. I believe that if you have a strong and awesome CAO who focuses on education, and a COO that runs the operations, then the President is free to globetrot and wave the flag all he wishes. But building Gehry structures and holding conferences in foreign nations is just a bit too lofty for a school of limited financial means. That's fine for a large University, but not a small design school.

Anonymous said...

Is a business maverick going to be interested in coming to a design and art college?

It could be interesting to go to some of our top alums who run big, successful companies and talk to them about how they would change the school. And if any of them has really awesome ideas, they can be in the running for CEO.

A said...

OK guys, let's keep posts constructive.

I like Jason's idea and 3:26's structure. Put Jason's "business maverick" in the CEO office, a grad or someone with a long history at Art Center in the CAO office, and someone who has worked for educational institutions in the CFO office. They collaborate with the students, faculty, and staff to determine what is best for the school as a whole. They report only to the Board. None of them are members of the Board. This eliminates conflicts of interest and also provides a system of checks and balances.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully an Art Center alumni, so they have an idea of what the students are expecting of the school.

Anonymous said...

These should be on the list. Maybe obvious, but worth listing none the less.

Positive and Inspirational
Can bring together a great leadership team that likes to work together and for the school.
Willing to engage at ALL levels
Capable of developing and supporting a new fund raising plan

Educational Vision
People Focused
Business Management
Never stops learning about the school and ALL the departments
Willing to make tough decisions while balancing the long term needs of education
Willing to engage at all levels

Would be nice if one of the above two were Alumni

Anonymous said...

After the latest Board decision to move forward with the Master Plan right after telling us they would listen to our concerns: the first step is a new Board!

Anonymous said...

Someone with a great business experience in the field of design. The school's goal HAS to be producing students with successful careers, and to make that possible, there needs to me a leader that understands the dynamics of the design field. One example of a man that matches the profile is veteran entrepreneurship teacher and business leader, Errol Gerson. No one has been tried more to change the course the school is going than Errol Gerson by adressing his opinion to the board of trustees.

Anonymous said...

Involvement with art, architecture and design should be part of the criteria for new president and provost/CAO. Buildings, as a rule, last longer, cost more and are more visible than many forms of design. That's a fact.

Complaints about space, environmental conditions, insufficient storage and workspace -- all of that has to do with architecture. As do things more intangible: the appreciation of being in a place, the beauty of light and form, the comfort in using something that works and fits its purpose. Facilities should be "well designed." Don Kubly understood that.

Anonymous said...

Teach us design. I have the rest of my life to find a gehry building to create things in.

Future of Art Center said...

Sorry folks, I'm going to be brutal about administering these comments. Stay on topic. Comments should stick to the criteria of the next president and provost. Disucssions about the board etc, can move to the inside politics post.

Anonymous said...

i think the president needs to be an alumni of the school. Art Center students and grads are a unique breed, and i feel that in order understand our vision and struggle, our leadership needs to have been there before. Art Center without alumni leadership is like having a secretary of defence with no military experience. Our leadership needs the ability to fully empathize with the student body and alumni, as well as understand the far reaching reprocussions of decisions made.

Ophelia Chong said...

ACCD is like a human body, every part is integral to it's existence.
And we should respect that everyone working and studying at ACCD is integral. The heart of ACCD is the students. A president needs to know that without that heart we would not exist.

Someone who can have an open communication within his/her own administration. The staff is the backbone to the school, they manage the environment for the faculty and students. If they know what the needs are, they can tend to them.

Respect and resources for the faculty, their interaction with the students will set the path for them far into the future. I have not yet met an ACCD grad that did not quote or display the educational foundation of a faculty member.

We need a President that sees ACCD as a living and breathing entity, that is not defined by it's structure but by its people.


Jason said...

The next President should not confuse Facilities with Architecture or Content with Form.

To put it simply: Proof is in the pudding. (Not the Package)

Jason said...

Does the Art Center have credo or manifesto outlining it's longstanding beliefs and principles? A unified set of values, beliefs and objectives and that would be included in a document of this sort is essential to finding someone who will share our vision and principles.

Perhaps a constitution is in order considering the lack of public voices and abundance anonymous opinions.

The next President should not have to be focused on healing a community.

Anonymous said...

The next president and or CAOnshould have nothing to do with Koshalek. He/She should be independently picked and well beyond any influence of the current president.

Anonymous said...


At this late date in history surely your education has taught you the dangers of a "unified set of values, beliefs, and objectives." Come on, this is an art and design school!

Jason said...

Yes 7:27 I agree generally, but it would be appropriate to be able to describe the schools focus to a prospective President. Perhaps you would prefer the term mission statement? Perhaps it could be embrace radical thinking and free speech. ;)

Philip said...

My name is Philip van Allen, and am a full time faculty member in the graduate Media Design Program. The faculty council recently put out a call for “ideas about what qualifications, experience, and skills” Art Center’s new President and CAO should have. I’m posting my ideas here in addition to sending them to the council, and hope that by using my real name other faculty will be encouraged to begin voicing their concerns and opinions. The faculty need to gain their voice.


These searches should be worldwide, with search committee members from faculty, students, alumni and administration. Consideration should be given both the fit within the school, as well as to how the new hires will influence the perception of Art Center in the world.

Board mandate for the new president:

* Put the school on a stronger financial footing and reduce the dependance on tuition
* Increase the diversity and quality of students, particularly through increased scholarships
* Develop a new educationally driven master plan that enhances undergraduate education and increases the role of graduate education and research


* A track record of being able to bring together and inspire an educational community
* Proven capability for fund-raising and developing relationships with donors
* An ability to understand the diverse Art Center cultures - different departments, undergraduate and graduate, external programs, faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni.
* An understanding of the changing and expanding role of graduate education and research in the art and design fields.


* Proven leadership experience in art/design education
* Understands the complexities of art/design faculty issues - from teaching load to representation to faculty development
* Understands the evolving relationship between technology and art/design education
* A good communicator who can advocate the true needs of education to the President, Board, and funders.
* Should have an advanced degree, and/or long experience in graduate level education
* A collaborative style that fosters an educational culture with a diverse range of approaches.
* Understands the unique profile of Art Center and has a vision of where to take in the future.

Anonymous said...


The last item under CAO seems more appropriate for the President:

* Understands the unique profile of Art Center and has a vision of where to take in the future.

Maybe both need that. But all in all, the CAO has the weightier job, it seems. How would you differentiate their duties?

Also, the part about the master plan is problematic. Do you think the school should make another huge investment in applying for a new master plan from the City, which entails numerous studies (traffic, EIR, etc.) and consultants as required by the City? And on top of that, lawyer fees too?

Philip said...

Good points. I should clarify.

* On the unique profile, I should have added the word Education as in the below.

Understands the unique profile of Art Center education and has a vision of where to take in the future.

* I see the president as having a more general and external role, and the provost having a more specific internal role. But clearly the president is the primary leader.

* Regarding the Master Plan, I was thinking of the actual implementation details rather than the EIR and materials submitted to the city.

Ophelia Chong said...

From Philip 7/8/08 4:31 PM

"* A track record of being able to bring together and inspire an educational community"

Your list is brilliant, a community builder is who we need. ACCD is so diverse and independence is ingrained in it's walls that we need someone who can be the bridge to each group and connect us all.


Anonymous said...

Are you sure you want that? That is what the previous CAO tried to do. But when the President saw that people started to embrace this philosophy he tore it down. Promised many people many things so that it would not happen. Community building is a great thing. Very needed. No other way to run a school. Especially when it appears that so many of the departments are not so willing to compromise. I would suggest waiting until the candy giver leaves. Then start building community. Otherwise you will have a warped sense of community, one fit for a museum. It seems off to be building a community, lead by the guy who was just rejected by the board and pretending to be into education 9.5 years after he arrives. Look for a great community builder/leader, and then get them here ASAP.

Anonymous said...

You had Nate Young, who was trying to execute the strategy he was hired to execute when he reached his impasse with Richard. You have Richard, who was trying to execute the strategy HE was hired to execute when he encountered opposition from pretty much everyone. Clearly, the two strategies were in confict with one another, and those strategies were set forth by the board. The board is accountable (and responsible) for this mess.

If the same board goes out and tries to find replacements for these two leaders without seriously re-working the top-line strategies, the same situation will repeat itself later on down the road.

Ophelia Chong said...

7/14/08 8:49 AM

You are right. Both had their own ideas where ACCD should go. What we need is a community builder that will listen to all the divergent parts of ACCD. A great leader pushes his/her team forward by being supportive of their ideas and guiding them when they need it.

Anonymous said...

Okay, regarding the alumni thing: I have news for you, Art Center isn't all that different. Someone who went to school at Art Center does not have any kind of unique secret knowledge. I've attended and taught at many of the best top art and design schools nationally and internationally--state-run universities, private colleges, etc. Art Center is beautiful, slick, and professional--but so are a lot of other design schools, even the ones popping up in China.

Second, if you want an alumni, it depends on who you pick. In my book Nate Young was not the most future-forward guy. He was pretty old school and I think that is why he was overwhelming NOT wanted back by the chairs and the faculty. They did not think he had the right vision for the future. How about an alumni like Jorge Pardo or the filmmaker who made 300? There is a huge array of alumni out there. So if you insist on an alum, what's the next level of criteria for selection? Must they be from I.D.?

Which brings me to my next point:

In response to the comment--
"* A track record of being able to bring together and inspire an educational community"

Someone said that was what Nate was trying to do. Guess again. His track record was one of secret meetings and corporate hierarchies. He did not *inspire* many within education. He did not bring people together. Instead he divided chairs into little groups and shined on faculty council while hiring cronies to top positions without paying any mind to the interests of faculty or proper procedures (such as searches) when it came time to hire his friends.

Anonymous said...

"while hiring cronies to top positions without paying any mind to the interests of faculty or proper procedures (such as searches) when it came time to hire his friends."

Now this sounds VERY familliar. One can't even get a FT/perm teaching job in a community college art department without being part of a very robust search process. But at Art Center, all that needs to happen is a chairman or dean brings in one of his or her friends from a former job, or perhaps a former classmate. Art Center is absolutely filled with cronyism and doing favors for friends.

And having so many PT instructors does nothing to help solve this problem. PT faculty are hired in a very casual manner (actually, so are FT instructors).

There are very few checks and balances put into place, and those are detrimental to education. Instead of being ensured of a top-notch instructor, students are often subjected to the personal friends and former classmates of their chairs.

Myself, I had more than a few "famous designer" instructors who were just abyssmal teachers and human beings, and they existed at the school because of who they knew, not because the student evaluations supported their continued tenure.

OK, so now I'm remembering more things I disliked about the place.

Ophelia Chong said...

This brings up the need for creating well rounded Search Committees for both the President and CAO. Faculty, Chair, Dean representation on both.

Anonymous said...

Forget anything logical. I vote for re-writing history so that certain faculty and chairs can protect their jobs. To help do so I think we should have huge search committees with elaborate criteria so that it takes forever to get new people in. This way the school will completely lose its leadership in the world of creativity education and the revisionists will further imbed themselves into unproductive roles..

Amazing what gets written here. While everyone fights over how things should be, the students lose and the schools situation gets worse.

Still waiting for those big task force announcements that will set us in a great new direction and solve all our problems.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:51,
That is correct bureaucracies are there to make people at the top feel important. It appears to me that creating the task forces was a maneuver to castrate the dean structure. Now we have a power struggle of many instead of two men. It has taken the task forces over a month to have a meeting including our student representatives and some task forces have not even met yet. We'll never see results at this pace. If decisions are being made it is likely that it will not be taken well given the circumstances they were created and their behavior so far. I'm actively encouraging students to take a leave of absence until there is clearly new leadership that demonstrates it's commitment to the students.

Future of Art Center said...

"I'm actively encouraging students to take a leave of absence until there is clearly new leadership that demonstrates it's commitment to the students."

What does that achieve? Should the school just shut down for a 18 months while a search for a new president goes on? How would reduced enrollment cause there to be new leadership? I think it would cause just the opposite - the campus will go into panic mode to survive financially.

While the some of the task forces need to get going - they are waiting for some real authority from the Board which should come in the next few weeks - and their composition can be questioned, the tactic of boycott hardly seems like an effective route right now. And the fact is, working out the hard-core details of the future of the school is time-consuming work. It is not going to happen overnight.

Anonymous said...

FOAC wrote "While the some of the task forces need to get going - they are waiting for some real authority from the Board which should come in the next few weeks"

I'm sorry, but what indication is there (if any) that the board is actively working on anything right now?

This effort is dead. Board: Please give Richard his job back post-haste.

Future of Art Center said...

Not sure what you point of view is, other than to be negative. But to answer your question about what the Board is doing - from what I hear, Tim Kobe is meeting by phone and in person with several people, and another Board member going to meet with the faculty council soon.

Right now, the official authority of the task forces is being nailed down, and apparently that is up to the Board. In the same way that the Board had to authorized last year's Dean system, they now have to approve the official role of the task forces, especially since there is no CAO that they can report to.

Anonymous said...

Richard's boy TIM KOBE, the guy that signed the honesty first petition! Unless it was in the last 8 days he has not met with a single student representative? I hope the students make a mess again because this does not sound good. No Consultant to examine the #'s? We've got nothing but lies and coercion from this leadership.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7/22/08 12:01 AM:

You are right. We've been sold a bill of goods, as usual. Art Center doesn't want alumni. Art Center wants people who want to BECOME alumni. Fresh meat with fresh parental and goverment guaranteed dollars.

FOAC talks about all of this outreach and communication and Kumbaya that we're all about to get from the board, yet the board still hides itself away from the Art Center community. FOAC's statement about Tim Kobe (the Tim Kobe who signed that counter-petition) is the first any of "us" have heard about any such outreach.

We're all being played. Like I said, this effort is dead. Go home everybody. All of this "silent protest" is ridiculous. Even the Falun Gong-ers in Tianenmen Square made more noise than this group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_gong#The_persecution

Jason said...

Anon 5:04

Are you serious? I hope that you are not a faculty or student because that would be terrible to think that you are OK with working or paying to attend a institution where it is OK to lie to the population publicly, dismiss employees for unjust reasons and "personal outreach" for students (which in my book is a euphemism for threat, I've spoke with Nathan and from from his point of view he did not feel like he "over exercised his freedom of speech" and neither did Rachael.)

This suggestion of bringing Richard back worries me then again we live among a society where we let a our cowboy President drive our country into a ditch.

Anonymous said...

It's NOT ok to lie, it's not ok to intimidate, and it is not ok to fire people for supporting student rights.

But you may as well bring Richard back, because through the passive "silent protest" you have failed to hold the school accountable for exactly what you complain about above.

You might also consider issuing an apology to him and the board for wasting their time.

Anonymous said...

To the above.

Are you kidding me? The president should be issuing an apology to everyone who has attended the school during his 9 year traveling vacation. Look where the school is at today. A total mess, and he is at the helm. Very simple, the school is out of control. Don't blame anyone else. He is in charge and he had the power to set the school on the right course. We all are worse off than when he started. Ask the student government, ask the faculty government, our chairs seem confused. Are you or anyone proud of our current situation? HE should issue an apology AND pay for damages!! How many more broken promises will we have to endure as he trys to pretend to get involved? My guess is that even the long overdue promises like the recent environmental attempts in the cafeteria will all go away. The only thing our president has brought, with repeated success in increased tuition.

We should wish him well where ever he goes, and hope it happens as soon as possible.

Jason said...

Nice instigation Bambi, hate to dissappoint you but students are not going to waste anymore of their time until the beginning of next term or the board makes another announcement. They have already gone way above the call of duty because of this broken educational system we've inherited.

It's simple,

In 1999 almost 60 cents of every tuition dollar went to the education budget.

In 2007 less than 40 cents went to the education budget.

It's worth noting that executive compensation as a % of tuition dollars has doubled.

We've asked where the money for education is spent and cannot get a straight answer.

In my opinion apologies are in order but not from the students.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested in helping Richard Koshalek reverse the boards decision please write Larry Wilson of the Pasadena Star News. He will print anything, especially unsubstantiated rumor generated by the presidents spin team. larry.wilson@sgvn.com

Anonymous said...


what are you prepared to do about it? Silently protest?

The silence is deafening.

Jason said...

Anon. 8:14 see my post on the begining of a process.

Are you just a strategic antagonist or do you make an effort to influence things. Either way your latest post is just a waste of our time.

Anonymous said...

Based on what is happening, no criteria is used or followed. So why comment?

Future of Art Center said...

Actually, a Board member has now met with the chair and faculty reps (and I'm sure others) specifically to discuss the criteria and procedures for selecting the new president -- some of the ideas posted here were likely presented to him. It looks like there will be a student, faculty, alumni, and chair on the search committee. We have a long way to go, but this attitude that it is all done in secret with no input from the community is absurd.

Many of you seem to revel in sitting back and enjoying the idea that all is lost and nothing good will ever happen. Others are actually doing the work to make sure there are some good outcomes and ensuring change.

Anonymous said...


Doing the work means little if you fail to communicate what you've done.

FOAC, you seem to have information that few others have, but you only choose to share it when you want to dispell our negativity. The failure to communicate is what brings about the negativity you wish to fight.

And, Just curious, which board member met with these people? The board has operated with such secrecy in the past, let's get an idea of who are the rubber-stampers and who are the workers.

Future of Art Center said...

Frankly, I've been busy doing my normal work, and have let the site run on its own recently. Thanks to Ophelia for doing some of the posting.

One thing we can agree on is that the school and Board do a terrible job of communicating. It is baffling how bad they are at it. It is a major failure of RK's administration.

On the other hand, if all you want to do is take pot shots without gathering any information yourself, I don't see how you can claim any legitimacy as part of the ACCD community. If you were to talk to any faculty rep, chair, or student rep, you would have heard that a board member is in the process of setting up the search committee. This is not secret stuff.

Hopefully there will be an official announcement of the search plans soon. Once a few more things settle, we'll publish a where-we-are-now, where-are-we-going-next post.

There are certainly many issues that need scrutiny and I don't mean to imply that all is well. But fighting all the old battles is pointless. What we have ahead is a process of implementing deep, serious changes to a school that needs an updated curriculum, a real system of educational leadership, controls and procedures to prevent inappropriate meddling in education, and the hiring of a new president (and then a CAO - Nik is a placeholder until the new president is in place).

Anonymous said...

The President of Art Center needs to be a player in the art world, with an awesome rolodex; a visionary who can look at old problems in new ways; someone who has run complex organizations with multiple layers; and someone who is socially adept and able to move easily between board, faculty, staff, students, artists, and the public. Most of all, the President needs to be a world-class fundraiser - this is the first criterion for any major academic institution in the U.S. ... that's just the reality, although it may be hard for students to understand. Seems to me that Richard Koshalek fits that bill in just about every regard - it is sad that things have fallen apart so much.

Perhaps had ACCD undertaken a serious long range planning process, as a previous blogger stated, there would not be this crisis in leadership now. I attribute the blame for that to the trustees far more than the executive leadership.

Anonymous said...

Richard was simply executing the strategy he was hired to execute.

They (the board) got exacty what they asked for.

Everyone seemed to be breathing this weird sign of relief that this president has been unseated. All this did was stun and numb the problem. Someone else will now be hired to execute a misguided strategy created by the secretive untouchables in the board room.

Now one positive strategic move has been enacted or communicated on the part of the board.

Even at this stage, the news has only extended as far as "a board member" has reached out to certain individuals. OK, so they get credit for not setting fire to the steel girders that frame the bridge. In other words, big deal.

Anonymous said...

excuse my language but, WTF!

"process of implementing deep, serious changes to a school that needs an updated curriculum,"

That's crazy! If a student chooses they can get a great education here TODAY and that is the circumstance of all situations.

The curriculum changes have been continuous. The problem is how much money the school takes from the students and does not give back. Fix the the railing on the bridge, the tiles, Give Jeanie a bigger budget in Careers Services , and the same goes for financial aid.

The current situation is robbing students of opportunities by not investing in them.

Students are a low priority and faculty development and recruitment are even lower. Just hire incredible teachers that care deeply about teaching and time and $ to dabble their own higher learning and you will have a great curriculum.

The people in charge have revamped curriculum many times over but the same problems persist of checks and balances.

This school need a interim cost cutter before it needs a fund raiser. Someone who's nickname is "the butcher"

Jason Nicholas Hill

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the board is dominated by a bunch of Marie Antoinettes. Need more money? Raise tuition.

These schools all use each other as benchmarks for tuition, rather than the actual needs of the students. 20 years ago, an Art Center grad with a full plate of student loans had a chance in hell of paying his or her loans back. Art Center, currently, is educating a bunch of bankruptcy candidates.

jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Future of Art Center said...

A few responses:

To Jason regarding my suggestion for "deep, serious changes." I agree that students can, for the most part, get a good education right now at ACCD. But I also believe that the Art Center curriculum is in danger of falling behind, and in fact is already falling behind in some areas (as it is at many schools). To prevent this, we need good educational leadership, and as you say, more support for faculty. But curriculum was only one of things I mentioned that needs updating. I didn't make a complete list, and of course scholarships, upgrading the Ellwood building, and replacing ancient furniture and equipment are top priorities that have been much-discussed already.

To the comment that RK fit the bill in almost every regard, I would simply point out that the responsibility for things falling apart sits squarely on his shoulders. He's the one who did not engage the students, faculty and alumni in a long range planning process. And he is the one who completely failed in communicating well with the school community. But certainly, the Board (many of whom RK appointed) is also responsible for not engaging more and defining an educational, student oriented agenda instead of a real estate development agenda.

More generally though - many of those posting here don't seem to acknowledge the huge changes at Art Center that are in process. I understand there is a history of problems and inaction, but still, look at what has already happened:

* The DRC is pretty much dead
* RK did not have his contract renewed, and a search for a new president is underway. RK is a lame duck now, and the college will be in a period of transition for the next several years.
* The faculty, students and chairs have much more power than they did 6 months ago
* The Board of Trustees was shaken to its bones by this controversy, and while still divided and perhaps confused, they seem to be taking some positive actions. It is slow going though, and hopefully there will be more changes there.
* The Cafeteria did finally implement a better approach to sustainability.
* There is a new financial openness among budget managers and chairs and recognition that the school cannot continue to operate the way it has in the past. There is a lot of work to do, and a lot of messes to clean up, but changes are happening.
* There is a clear acknowledgment at all levels, including the board, that scholarships are a top priority and need more attention.

All of this in one term. Perhaps many of you don't have experience with other educational institutions, but that amount of change in one term is light-speed in the educational world.

So are there a lot of changes that still need to come? ABSOLUTELY. Is the process of change messy and slow? NO QUESTION. Are there still a lot of unknowns and commitments that are unmet? YES. Will it take time for these changes to trickle down to the students and faculty? UNFORTUNATELY. Should the college make some immediate concrete moves that indicate a real change is underway? RIGHT NOW.

But all this endless carping and whining about how nothing has changed is really kind of... well, dumb, boring, and so Spring of 2008 -- it does nothing to move the ball forward, and in fact to the general community makes you and us look like all we care about is complaining. If you can't be constructive, go post somewhere else. The questions you should address here is what's next, now that all this change is in process.

Anonymous said...

The next President should not be over the age of 45. A full fledged "gen Xer" with links to the entrepreneurial vein of Silicon Valley. Maybe then we would recruit some board members who understand the need to revamp this derelict educational system.

They should loath superficial designers which this school is full of and want to elevate the reputation of a designer.

These partisan boomer's who are afraid of change have got to go. I can wait to mess with them when they are old.

jason said...


What you have essentially said is that a lot of important decisions are being made and more will take place over the break.

Are the people that are "making changes" aware they are not creating a climate for buy-in?
I would suggest then official updates on what is happening and who is involved via email is in order.

Among my peers the decision to make Nik Hafermass CAO has been met with tremendous skepticism. "Like that will really change anything" to quote one student.

The last letter issued by the student government stated that their concerns had not been addressed. They are the most trusted source for delivering a message to the students.

I am waiting for an announcement from them before I believe there is any positive change and so should all the students.

Many of the students don't read the "official community forum" where much of this news is published.

This most puzzling thing about your post is these two stements:

Please share how the faculty has more power. (You mean the hand picked faculty, right)

Financial openness? Please explain...in detail. (They still have not answered the most important questions on the community forum.)

Future of Art Center said...


What I'm saying is that the Board has already made public decisions, the most prominent of which is to not renew RK's contract. I don't have any info about what the future schedule is for announcements, though I'm hoping the Board will say something soon about the Presidential search process.

At the next level down, most decisions are in-process for a few reasons. First, until a couple days ago, there was basically no one in charge of education, so it was impossible for anyone to actually make a decision. The whole decision making process and infrastructure was sent into chaos by Nate Young's abrupt departure ad RK's non-renewal. Now that Nik Hafermaas (like him or not) is the acting CAO, there is a person who can make decisions and is responsible for those decisions. Presumably, he will be fielding many requests and will make decisions based on that input. He'll need some time to get up to speed.

Second, a lot of the decisions need approval from the Board, and they are not used to making a lot of decisions at this level of detail. Their process is not very fast, and it seems there is a lot of disagreement within the board (e.g. between the old-school contingent who want ACCD to be like it was 20 years ago, the Richard supporters who would really like him back, and between the more progressive members who are looking to the future). It also appears that the Board is evolving in its positions, and that change is dynamic and will take time.

Third, a lot of what needs to change within the school is structural and frankly there are no simple solutions. This is what I mean about things taking time. There are many meetings these days between chairs, faculty and presumably students about how things should work in the future (e.g. like what would give faculty a greater voice). Since ACCD has operated so far outside the normal educational structures, figuring out the best ways to make all of the changes requires a lot of research and discussion. And, there are those who are resisting some of these changes.

My suggestion is for students, faculty and alumni to meet with Nik Hafermaas as soon as possible to express your concerns. You should also meet with RK - since all of the changes, his (reduced) influence has been surprisingly positive in some cases.

To your questions about my statements:

Faculty Power: The faculty council (elected by the faculty) has recently meet more with the board that ever before. They also seem to be more organized than in the past. They are on all of the task forces (if they ever meet). So I'm not talking about faculty hand picked by administration. Faculty picked by faculty. Not that the faculty council is perfect by any means, but it seems to be gaining power.

Financial Openness: For the first time ever, all of the departments know what the other department budgets are. I'm not saying this openness has gotten out to the general community, but there does seem to be a change in attitude internally.

I hope from our posts it is clear that we (the members of FOAC) are still skeptical and see that a lot of work is ahead. But to deny that change is underway is to be blind to all of the changes that have already happened or are in the process of happening. It also makes your voices weak if you don't acknowledge the change - don't you think that RK's non-renewal and the other changes I mentioned before are significant?

The primary way of influencing what happens next is to work with your reps (student, faculty, chair, alumni), as well as being specific about what changes you would like.

I do agree that the school needs to be a lot more communicative, and this will be a major challenge for Nik Hafermaas. He needs to make direct contact will all of the constituencies and bring them into the process.

One last comment. It is a serious strategic mistake to assume that there is some monolithic central "THEM" who are making all the "DECISIONS". Art Center is a complex organization with a fractious Board; a lame duck president; a 2 day old CAO; chairs with varying aptitude for compromise and wildly different educational philosophies; faculty with different interests, perspectives and little historical power; administrators who have been operating under very difficult and often downright strange circumstances for a very long time; alumni who feel disconnected, sometimes angry, yet still loyal and proud; and students who are busy wrapping up their term.

In short, getting this organization pointed in a new direction, with the buy-in you want is no easy task. Yet I see the best opportunity for positive change this school has had in decades. Emphasis on opportunity - the successful implementation of change will take a lot of people (from top to bottom) collaborating, compromising, and doing the hard work of figuring out what ACCD should be in the 21st century.

jason said...


Thank you for such a thorough response. I do appreciate all that you have done in creating this website and providing very objective analysis. Although not in student Government I've been active and even at that level we are not getting nearly the information that you are which is to be expected.

Your openness is greatly appreciated.

If there is one thing that I would like to see, that is better communication and quite frankly this website is the best example of that.

It would be nice if you are on the communications task force, last week in student council they had still not met...at least with the student.

Anonymous said...

"The whole decision making process and infrastructure was sent into chaos by Nate Young's abrupt departure ad RK's non-renewal."

Let's not forget the RK/Chairs maneuver to scrap the dean structure that could have easily moved forward without a CAO for months.

This is how a normal hierarchy works not some free for all with a bunch of chairs that are here for their own personal advancement.

The chairs are supposed to be advisors for the students and teachers.

They have put more energy into scandalous activity unseating their boss rather than educating their students.

Now even more time is tied up with administrative task force stuff. This school need some business leadership and discipline.

Future of Art Center said...

"Now even more time is tied up with administrative task force stuff. This school need some business leadership and discipline."

How do you suggest the school gets the buy-in and participation of students and faculty without something like the task forces?

Anonymous said...

Some responses:

* The DRC is pretty much dead

Evidenced by the school filing an unaltered plan with the city less than two weeks after it supposedly "died". The city of Pasadena even went on record afterward saying that you should file only what you actually intend to build. If you want to kill the DRC, then get out your eraser, or leave those pages out of the filing.

* RK did not have his contract renewed, and a search for a new president is underway. RK is a lame duck now, and the college will be in a period of transition for the next several years.

I see little to no evidence of a search. Usually consultants are engaged for such purposes. Guys of Koshalek's caliber do not often accept 18-month termination notices and sit around waiting to leave. Even if there is a non-renewal, people should then be upset with paying $500K per year for the guy to warm his designer office chair. (Hint... Interim President)

* The faculty, students and chairs have much more power than they did 6 months ago

An example of which is what, the new Art Center information blog...?

* The Board of Trustees was shaken to its bones by this controversy, and while still divided and perhaps confused, they seem to be taking some positive actions. It is slow going though, and hopefully there will be more changes there.

Again, zero communication. Do you know something we don't?

* The Cafeteria did finally implement a better approach to sustainability.

Yes, segregated garbage which is quickly de-segregatd after it leaves the building. I can't believe this is at the "top of the list" of demands.

* There is a new financial openness among budget managers and chairs and recognition that the school cannot continue to operate the way it has in the past. There is a lot of work to do, and a lot of messes to clean up, but changes are happening.

Why, because Haluschak finally told the truth when confronted with a direct question on the deficit? He is legally obligated to honestly answer direct questions such as these being that he is a licensed CPA. No extra points there.

* There is a clear acknowledgment at all levels, including the board, that scholarships are a top priority and need more attention.

The school gives out HUNDREDS of scholarships already. But they use artificially jacked-up tuition rates to finance them. But what about reducing the cost of attendance? I have seen little administrative committment to good fiscal reorganization. Nothing actually.

I think you have a low standard for positive change. While positive is a great thing, it needs to do two things. 1) Increase and 2) be consistent.

Anonymous said...

The chairs on the task force....acted like greedy little scavengers when they voted out the dean structure to give themselves more power.

Many people don't even acknowledge the validity of these task forces, just read the ONLY official board announcement.

We have a CTO pulling in 10k a month that's not even apart of the technology task force!

The board voted in the dean structure and now a bunch of wannabe deans are posturing for a promotion.

This place should have some tenured faculty that rotate out in the chairs office taking care of Admin. duties.

Then maybe the students would get some advisement from people who are actually in their office.

Future of Art Center said...

Well, obviously nothing will convince some people that anything is different from what they think, so there is not much point in my debating. A few points though:

* As I've mentioned, there should be some kind of announcement from the Board about the search for the president - so we just have to wait for that. Don't believe me if you don't want to, but why a Board member go around and meet with faculty, chairs etc. and talk about the search if they weren't going to do it?

* The point about scholarships is not the number of them, but the amount of them. Or more precisely, the NET cost to the student for attending school. Who really cares what the list price is? Look at other schools, they all play the same game.

* On the now almost defunct dean system - I haven't heard of any people who were happy with it, including the deans. And most of the deans used to be chairs. Does a school of 1500 students need 6-7 deans?

* Certainly the Task forces have flaws, and most are not yet operational. But there needs to be some way for faculty and students to participate in the change process.

* Tenure for faculty would be interesting - this seems to be a taboo at Art Center though. As a step in that direction, a higher percentage of full-time faculty would be a start.

Anonymous said...

"Don't believe me if you don't want to, but why a Board member go around and meet with faculty, chairs etc. and talk about the search if they weren't going to do it?"

FOAC: What's his name? Which board member? Who has this person spoken to? What's the purpose of the secrecy? And why are YOU hiding something?

Future of Art Center said...

Dude. Why are you so hostile? You make it out like I'm some official spokesperson for the school, which, clearly, I am not. And what secrecy are you talking about? I've already posted the information I have about who the board member met with - faculty council and chairs. I'm unsure of which board member is the head of the Search committee. To be clear, I wasn't in those meetings - I gather information by talking to people - something you might want to try. No one is trying to hide that these meetings are going on.

Future of Art Center said...

Separately, it is true that Peter Lunenfeld (professor in the Media Design Program) and Marty Smith (chair of Product Design) are leaving Art Center. From what I can gather, both were working on their new positions well before the recent events began - academic hires take a long time.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure current events have made the decision much easier.

I've heard of several faculty looking for work elsewhere.

There is more to come I guarantee it.

Anonymous said...

it's not our faculty that should go. Maybe they are not all perfect, but there is always a varied array of talent amongst faculty. It is the administration that should be weeded through. Seriously, what was the board thinking. All this hype about the contract vote. Then what? No change? Not a good example of leadership. Actually it seems to be creeping back to the same old thing.

Anonymous said...

Any proper president would show up for graduation and show respect to all the students that worked so hard to earn a degree, our parents that supported and paid for the presidents exotic travels and the faculty that filled our brains. Especially as we are all broke and in debt and living off rice and ketchup.

Anonymous said...

If he's not showing up for graduation, then he is not our president. So why pay him then?

This is another "top-down" example of how business should NOT be run. You don't go on a leave and just continue to accept the checks. You do the honorable thing and resign.

All this does is set the example that at Art Center, money is expendable.

When you send-down a student for academic non-performance, you expect those kids to exit the premises with dignity, right? Those students should expect the same conduct from you.

Anonymous said...

Well lets wait and see till Saturday. If he is not there, stand up and clap, and demand to know where he is. Where ever he went I hope it was very worthwhile, so many of us have dumped so much money into this place, it would be nice to see him at least show up and say thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Champaign prices and beer education.

Anonymous said...

The tuition is so expensive, what do the students get? All of the ideas mentioned are good and I want to add some:

The president must fulfill this: combining a top notch education for the 21st century with business savvy. Every major.

Every student when he/she gets out must have the tools to start his/her own business as well as function in a larger company. As one of you posted, the days when you work for a company for years and years are over.

Anonymous said...

Art Center does cover half of what you say with Erol Gerson's small business management class. But they do not make it mandatory for everyone (just illustrators now?), and Art center is really lacking in educating people about developing interpersonal (working) relationships. They could also do more to teach students about personal finance (and managing DEBT, which most of them have plenty of).

fly-on-the-wall said...
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fly-on-the-wall said...

Also, ACCD has a fundraising department; the school needs a leader, a real president. Richard K. said point-blank that he didn't want to deal with "internal" issues at ACCD (like running the school!) You will get more of the same if the person who has screened every HUGE FAILURE over the past 5-7 years is still calling the shots below the radar. Ask yourself this: who in the senior administration, has been directly involved in the hiring/firing process of everyone? Who is always there even if it's outside of the scope of *her* posistion? Who would be almost impossible to fire for numerous reasons? Answer this first, deal with the PROBLEM, then start your wish-list for new executives. Until then, you'll get what you deserve - more of the same.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Future of Art Center said...

fly-on-the-walll: I've removed your first post about Koshalek. Whatever dude. Richard is so last year.