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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nik Hafermaas / Acting Chief Academic Officer

Dear students, faculty and staff,

I am very pleased to advise that effective immediately, Nik Hafermaas will serve as Acting Chief Academic Officer. This appointment was initiated by Tim Kobe as Chair of the Board of Trustees' Education Committee, and subsequently approved by the Education Committee members. Nik has been an invaluable member of our Education team, especially during this transition period, and we look forward to his continued leadership in placing education as Art Center's highest priority.


Richard Koshalek

What do you think about this appointment?


Anonymous said...

I think it is business as usual. It is the cronyism we have all come to expect. Its hard for me to imagine that this decision has widespread support among chairs or faculty, but, as usual, "fait accompli."

I hope not much more damage will be inflicted upon the educational committee. But we can be sure that there won't be any check from the Chief Academic Officer on the Chief "Decider."

Sorry, couldn't help that last bit.

Anonymous said...

"I am very pleased to advise that effective immediately, Nik Hafermaas will serve as Acting Chief Academic Officer. His loyalties are clear and he is committted to carrying the party line forward. This appointment was initiated by Tim Kobe of the education committee, as Tim is one of my key supporters on the board and a gung-ho supporter of the master-plan (of which his firm will probably benefit from in some useless way). Once you pests have all graduated and we can get back to normal, we'll solidify his contract and the board will quietly renew mine."

Anonymous said...

Of course,
This guy thinks the school is doing just fine according to his comments at the last forum.

Tim KOBE is a fool!!!

Anonymous said...

This news doesn't surprise me.

Shouldn't they mention Nik's credentials that make him qualified for this job? I know he was involved in education in Germany before Art Center but that is protocol to explain why they chose him?

A few things should be explained in this email. Nik said the task forces had replaced the function of the CAO. So, are the task forces gone?

Second, there is, or isn't a dean structure? How long will this Dean thing be ignored? The letter from John Peurner didn't really validate the task forces accept the TBD technical one with on;y a account on it. Nik's response on the community forum was that the department chairs voted against the dean structure, although to creating it required a vote from the board.

Why not give the faculty the right to vote out their boss?

This appoint concerns me for the following reasons:

Nik mentioned at the latest open forum that he thinks that there are just a few simple fixes.
(A statement like that makes him appear as though he has not done his research regarding ACCD community discontent.)

I would guess whoever he has spoken with is agreeable because he is in a position of power.

A easy or quick fix situation does not create several resignations of top people.

Nik's opened the forum with a comment that could be viewed as mocking the number of students at the forum. I think it was something to the effect of "look at all the students" or something like that.

His job as CAO will be to be a excellent communicator and be recied by the students warmly.

All of this from a guy who has "don't be a vimp" painted on his office wall.

Tim KOBE has done a excellent job of proving that his is not interested in bringing more than one side to the discussion table with this lastest appointment.

This looks like another "full speed ahead manuever"

Anonymous said...

I'd like to pick the brain of the administrator who came up with the plan to trick the students into going back home (thinking they had won). It was a great strategic move.

Jason said...

anon. 1:46
??? please explain
I don't know any students that thought they won? Most of us are discussing how to take a leave of absence or hurry up and get out of this mess. It's not easy take a term off and make ends meet, many internships don't pay a living wage.

Students are blogging about this, the marketing department's tactics are creating the a very damaging dose of viral marketing.

They have no clue to what extent they've been crapping where they eat. Web 2.0 is putting ACCD in check and it's only beginning. Their tactics are dated.

Anonymous said...

Nik is really smart and serious and can get things done. This appointment will hold Education together for a while until a search for a new CAO/provost can be done. Finally, some hope for the students.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the students have not won. Richard's hand picked protege' now occupies the top spot. How did the board let that happen? So much for change and getting the schools priorities straight.

Anonymous said...

What we need is someone people respect, listens, is fair and balanced, isn't in it for all the glory and doesn't just play up to those people above him. The recent announcement is a long way from that. A very long way. Clearly those above Mr Hafermaas have not talked with those next too or below Mr Hafermaas. Nor probably have they talked with any other candidates. Likely Mr. Koshalek never let them. This could all be just a ploy to help get his job back. Just what we all need.

Anonymous said...

It's fair to assume the board had nothing to do with this decision.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nik,

It's unfortunate that you've been appointed, rather than going through the democratic process, to become Art Center's Chief Academic Officer (acting). Obviously you have the support of those in power. Yet you've been robbed of the opportunity to convince the larger community that you are the right person for the job. Please inform us about the specific plans you have for all departments to place education as Art Center's highest priority.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

We all deserve to suffer the consequences for our apathy.

Anonymous said...


The classes are getting larger and larger, and there more and more flakes that are coming into this school. Do you understand that? There has to be. There can't be more talent! There's less talent and more bodies. What does that mean?...no shit...but I'm not the advocates who are getting money for Art Center, how's that? I want this place to bankrupt!

Then maybe you'll have a school where people pay attention. Maybe there's another school?[/Quote]

Roland was telling you something. You guys weren't listening.

Suggest you view the video with this software if you don't like waiting for the movie to download:

Anonymous said...

Put honesty first supporter
# 205:
7:28 am PDT, Jun 12, Tim Kobe,

Kobe should not be allowed to head the education committee any longer. He is no interested in addressing the concerns posted by the ACCD community on the Education First Petition.

Anonymous said...

I can not speak to the credentials that Nik presents - however, I do believe he is too close to the incumbent. He has consitantly provided his support to the admin going against the will of the students and faculty. He has also I believe voiced his opinions in public: Such as his intolerance for anonymous posters (ie people like me - because he cant find out who they are). He has also I believe made some vulgar comments against the student body. How can anyone like this be the Chief Academic Officer of ACCD?

Anonymous said...

i've been just reading a couple posts.

how about make about called "the future of myself'?

like someone said, just finish off the school asap and get away from all this politics.

what's the use?

Anonymous said...

Academy of Art University tuition is half of ACCD, and they provide housing.




There industrial and car design classes might be just as strong as ACCD.

You wanna make ACCD sweat, look at the competition.

Anonymous said...

Merely leaving does not teach Art Center a lesson. They have behaved badly by supporting destructive leadership.

The best thing student can do is to blog and keep posting of sites that rate schools that potential students frequent.

This will probably initially decrease enrollment, but the longer term result is that Art Center will have to work harder to attract and retain top talent and that is essential to maintaining it's reputation.

Anonymous said...

Why the grumbling?

Haven't you learned that the world we live in doesn't care about you or your problems.

Take your sustainability and scholarship issues to another school and see if they care.

Nik's here to stay and the problem is simple just like he stated, go "silent protest" somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

That's a two way street.

I don't care about ACCD's problems either. You don't give me what I want, I go somewhere else.

ACCD is not teaching a secret form of alchemy. A lot of what they're teaching you can get at other schools.

Screw the elitist reputation crap. It's all about getting the information not reputation.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, I do remember one high ranking administrator suggesting to me that if I were so unhappy with issues at Art Center, that there were available alternatives (like other schools). Would an administrator at a large university even suggest that to a student? Probably not. Dissent goes with the territory at most colleges. But at Art Center, dissent is regarded either as a mental illness or the mark of a student that belongs elsewhere.

I wish I'd not been so emotionally invested in the place before I got there, but looking back, that administrator was absolutely correct. If I had it to do over again, I'd have left and gone elsewhere. But I was already in so much debt after my first two terms, it was an agonizing thought to consider leaving without finishing.

I'll spare him the embarassment of naming him now. I suppose he'll be there the day they install the chains on the front doors to keep the homeless people out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:44 Is it clear what people want?

Art Center as a brand worked when the majority of student were great and a few were stellar. Today the institution might be respected based on it's old reputation but the guarantee that the best student work can be found here is no longer true.

All blame can should be placed the board's for appointing someone who did not cultivate ArtCenter's best trait. (guaranteed excellent work from student professionals) Their greatest error has been making it harder to attend by raising tuition and not offering scholarships.

If you want to influence the board, so far the only thing they respond to is bad press.

Anonymous said...

Perhasps they will respond to decreased revenue.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:27
I think you mean Kit Baron

Nik says this is an easy fix

I think they are right.




Anonymous said...

I have spoken to Kit Baron before.

Talk about someone who is of ZERO value to a prospective student who is making an expensive and time consuming decision.

They have already lost one prospective student here...

Anonymous said...

No, she's the one they first send in to play "good cop" with a new outspoken dissident, to help understand the anxiety he/she is feeling (or rather, to assess their ability to make trouble). Sounds like others have gotten that invitation to talk from her too. If you go to the meeting, you're just exposing yourself to future trouble.

The administrator I'm talking about was sent a few weeks later after the real intimidation began.

The funny thing is that all these years later, I hear the same key names involved in the worst examples of cronyism and intimidation. What the hell are they protecting, a secret oil well under the president's desk?

Anonymous said...

How about some of the best paid cushiest jobs around.

No reporting to shareholders.
You set your own budget and make up the job title as you go, Free international travel. No reputation to maintain. Sizable two maybe three personal assistant's to do those important things like stand around and collect a paycheck while 30 students sit and do their home work in protest. They contract out the important work.

7 : 1 administrators to students
The board should be fired for letting this happen.

Let's not forget the uninformed faculty and adminis-traitors that don't have a opinion and are known for saying things like " He's the best fund raiser we've every had" forgetting to mention that he is the ONLY fund raiser we've ever had.

And then there are use the most pathetic hiding behind anonymous too scared to step out of line but really taking no action at all.

Anonymous said...


Would it be possible to get a "most shocking behavior" thread?

There are many shocking details that tell a story that is hard to imagine.


Anonymous said...

25 or 26 of 28 posts are negative or at least not supporting of the recent announcement. Nice and reassuring.

Anonymous said...

From the CAO & Provost thread.

Anonymous said...

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

7/4/08 2:57 PM

Anonymous said...

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

6/27/08 10:21 PM

Anonymous said...

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

6/28/08 3:23 PM

Anonymous said...

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 repercussions of decisions made.

7/1/08 8:16 AM

Philip said...


* 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.

7/8/08 4:31 PM

Lots of talk about building a community on all of these threads.

I can't imagine Nik being able to accomplish this given his demeanor at the last forum?

Anonymous said...

Art Center should stop striving to be number one and settle for 3rd or 4th. Thats good enough and much easier. That is what Art Center has become. Just barely good enough.

Anonymous said...

You got a 150 instructors and according to the 990 tax form ACCD makes $ 100,000,000 a year.

I don't think the instructors make any more then a $ 100,000 a year.

$ 100,000 x 150 = 15,000,000.

That leaves over $ 85,000,000 for 'other' things to pay.....and a lot of the instructors are part time, so $ 100,000 salary is a generous assumption.

You look up these USC schools and they make $ 200,000,000 a year and they got $ 1,000's of teachers.

You got a real small school at ACCD making a lot of money.....is it being used wisely?

If ACCD is a school of non profit, you'd think they'd be more then willing to be transparent and tell people how the money is allocated?

Makes you wonder if all this aloof arrogant behavior is like the mythology of the dragon guarding the gold in the cave?

Ophelia Chong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ophelia Chong said...

With the entry into the inner sanctum, Mr. Hafermaas will now see the official ledgers of the College. He will be responsible for balancing the educational budget. With the decreasing enrollment (less income) he will have to make that dollar stretch far.

Will he now fight for less going to conferences? To travel to London, Helsinki, Berlin, Barcelona, Tokyo, Milan, Paris and other cities that cost us upwards a minimum of 5 figures for each trip?

Regardless of how the appointment is viewed, Mr. Hafermaas' reputation now going to be made on how he runs ACCD. This will be his legacy.

We only remember the last, not the first.


Anonymous said...

I will concede this:

Hafermaas will be the guy showing all of us just how committed "they" are to making some serious changes. If he's often out traveling, then you'll probably have your answer.

But remember this, Hafermaas is an insider who was appointed by a man who went out of his way to show contempt for the "education first" movement. An insider appointed by an insider, presumably to maintain the insider position and way of doing business.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 8/11/08 9:22 AM:

i know the history on all of this, however when one's reputation is on the line, all past relationships will go out the door. Loyalty only works when it works for "you".

The budget is now tighter than ever, and any extraneous expenses will be questioned, not only by the alumni, students, faculty, but by the board.

History will read that whoever was at the reins last is the one who either lead the college to stability or ruin.

That is the legacy Mr. Hafermaas will have to consider. Where does his loyalty lay?

Anonymous said...

Mr. H will do far better if Mr K leaves. Regardless whether Nik is good or bad, whether he is self or selfless. As long as Mr. K and his clingy mafia linger, conjuring up weird senses of reality, whom ever is in Nik's shoes will not have a chance. Art Center deserves the chance that the 1500+ petition signers and all the others too intimidated to sign, all asked for.

Anonymous said...


Would it be possible to get a "most shocking behavior" thread?

There are many shocking details that tell a story that is hard to imagine.


8/8/08 6:24 PM

Y'know this seems like a good idea to me. Everybody thinks we're learning stuff in blissful academia when in actuality there's alot of oppressive insane crap go'n on.

Basically, I think some generations of people are really into drama, oppression and being absolute control freaks. Let's see how their philosophy of behavior will stand up in this day and age of politically correctness. Let's see if the outside community will gasp at the absurdities we encounter or just laugh at us for being a bunch of wimps?

I think it would be amusing.

Anonymous said...

I know that one of the current department chairs used to date a student of his while she was still and active student of his. And back then, it was already considered a no-no in society for an instructor to do that.

Art Center always had a blind-eye while that stuff happened. Have they ever adopted an actual HR policy in regards to this topic?

Anonymous said...

I am responding to the statement:
anonymous said...
You got a 150 instructors and according to the 990 tax form ACCD makes $ 100,000,000 a year.

I don't think the instructors make any more then a $ 100,000 a year.
$ 100,000 salary is a generous assumption.


full-timers are fairly lucky to make half that. And there are fewer full-time faculty than there used to be.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8/12/08 2:16PM:

If the salaries of individual instructors were to become public knowledge, half of them would quit once they saw how unbalanced it is. Some do "fairly" well and some do less well.

Anonymous said...

full-timers are fairly lucky to make half that. And there are fewer full-time faculty than there used to be.

Well, if the instructors are making less then $50,000 a year, wouldn't it be considered absurd to charge over a $ 100,000 in tuition if you're expected to pay over $ 12,000 year in student loans?......especially since you wouldn't expect your own instructors to even be able to afford to pay such loans?

Trust fund babies and debutantes need not respond. I don't have delusions of grandeur.

Anonymous said...

Well if you want to go to a highly ranked design school that is not in Cincinnati or Arizona you have to pay big money.

It's these "F-ing" spoiled brat baby boomer's in charge who think they are invincible to the laws of economics.

Only in the US, everywhere else you can get a education with out going into debt for years.

Thanks Uncle Scam!

Ophelia Chong said...

8/12/08 6:56 PM

All colleges have overhead, how they spend their budgets are up to them.
At ACCD we had veered off track by spending the money from the Educational Fund on conferences, travel, and trying to get a building built that very few wanted.

The cost of education at ACCD went up to cover this over spending.

Now we can cut back on those expenditures and push it back into education. The school is going to have run on a lean budget the next few years to make up for the excesses of the last nine.

Where do we cut first?

Anonymous said...

Well if you want to go to a highly ranked design school that is not in Cincinnati or Arizona you have to pay big money.

Wait a minute, there's highly ranked design schools in Cincinnati and Arizona?

URL's and names please:D

Let's make ACCD sweat and reevaluate the competition.

Anonymous said...

The whole point of aiming to give Art Center better facilities and raise its international profile was to give the college another way to make it more competitive. But politics got in the way.

Mediocrity wins!

Anonymous said...

For those that missed it when someone previously posted it - Here’s a blog of Niks that discusses his views on some things relevant to education, design, and architecture among other things.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mr Mediocrity at 8/13/08 12:09 PM:

I won't argue that the INTENT of the new building was to do some great thing for some day in the future. But this tired old premise is based on the lie that Art Center is not international enough (its been famous overseas for decades and has attracted international students for decades). AND on the premise that there is a problem with our beautiful existing facilities. The Ellwood building just needs some money and attention but those resources have been funneled off towards these ridiculous distractions that we have been arguing about for months.

Please come up with some new arguments or let the dead horse be.

If you're listening Nik Hafermaas - Fix Ellwood. Reduce expensive executive boondoggles. Make education first. Stay focused on Art Center's real mission: Delivering great classroom education that gives us students great careers when we graduate. We have troubles here now. We don't need to fix some imaginary problem ten years from now.

Anonymous said...

Nik Haffermas has made his stance on education clear in the past. He has no need for art history, or any programs that aren't trade related. His smile is as phony as his word.

Anonymous said...

Hey Know it all 8/13/08 1:11 PM

Where are you going to put all the classes and offices when the Annex has to go away? It is a temporary building and is not an equal to the Ellwood Building!

The Ellwood Building needs a few upgrades, for sure, but is too small. Where/how to create new space?

If you are a designer, show us!

Anonymous said...

Art Center COLLEGE OF DESIGN GRAPhic design students sweep Broadcast Designers Association (BDA) annual awards

Motion Design program students take Gold, Silver and Bronze in Student Design and Animation (On-Air) Category; Bronze in Best Student Design

Pasadena, California, August 12, 2008 … Art Center College of Design Graphic Design students took the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in the BDA North America Student Design and Animation (On-Air) category and Bronze in the Best Student Project category at the 2008 Promax | BDA Design Awards Competition.

Art Center students won awards in all categories in which they competed. A complete list of the award-winning designs by Art Center students are listed below. The BDA Design Awards are the most competitive student award in motion design in the world and the competition receives hundreds of entries worldwide.

Brian Boyl, Director, Motion Design in the Graphics Design department, stated, “The level of awards achieved in this year’s competition is incredible. In just the three short years since its inception, the Motion Design program at Art Center has gained respect and notoriety among studios, professionals and educators alike. With Los Angeles as the hub of motion and broadcast design in the world, Art Center is ideally situated to take advantage of attracting some of the finest professionals available as instructors and visiting lecturers.”

“There is a dramatic change taking place today in graphic design, and particularly in the field of motion design,” added Nik Hafermaas, Dean, Communication Design Group and Chair, Graphic Design. “Art Center’s Graphic Design department is continuing to expand the curriculum in the field of motion design, providing leading-edge applications beyond traditional ‘ink on paper’ methods in order to provide the next generation of designers with increased opportunities for both internships and job placement.”

Anonymous said...

I remember a time when the Elwood building was (for the most part) sufficient to hold most everyone. But then the school decided to expand the programs. Most notably the graduate programs. At Art Center, all these grad students need "studio space" to do what everyone else (undergrads) seems to be able to accomplish at home. Imagine that... A computer and desk back at home. What happened to this great wireless world and Starbucks with free net access? Grab your laptop and go sponge-up some free access. Congrats, you now have studio space.

Art Center has added layer upon layer of complexity to its situation. Now you are all addicted to the complexity.

What is needed is the red pen. Get this sucker back down to 1100 students or so.

Anonymous said...

RED PEN is correct!

Anon 2:04 pm. Your complete lack of reality at this late date is proof you should not be at this school. Are you not aware that there is a whole other Art Center building operating at 50% capacity. You probably trying to save your Architecture planning job that does nothing for the education I pay for.
Simply move the Graduate departments down there as planned and stop trying to bring in 4's and 3's to pump up enrollment and things will get a lot better. In ten years there might be an endowment so that ACCD can REALLY be competitive.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...


I totally agree! Let's all return to the time of Tink Adams. Come to school everyday like a job and close up campus at end of the work day, say, at 5 pm. Everyone does their own CNC work at home. And then bring your projects back to school in the morning. But make sure you're on a bicycle or else the sustainability police will get ya!

And let's take admission down to the original Ellwood numbers of 1000. And let's give everyone what instructors and staff got paid in 1976 too.

Anonymous said...

To: 8/13/08 2:04 PM
re: >> Where are you going to put all the classes and offices when the Annex has to go away? It is a temporary building and is not an equal to the Ellwood Building!

Umm... The annex has to be down this year right? And your solution is to raise another $50-$80M and build a new building in 5 years or more? (you had the last 10) What was the planning office thinking? The Gehry building and all these arguments have distracted AC admin from the simple decisions and plans that should have been made over the last year. There is an immediate crisis for education and facilities and you are arguing for a point 5 years or more into the future.
Solution: Trim down the space *requirements* especially by eliminating costly and unecessary admin (and all the travel and overhead they bring). Keep student quality high and headcount low. Use the buildings we have. Take a short term lease on temporary space in an existing commercial building off the hill and in the public transportation corridor. Move the remaining non-student facing admin off site.
Long term: establish additional space as neded in downtown Pasadena where sustainable transportation is available and we already have a presence.

Future of Art Center said...

Red Pen - Your request for simplicity ignores the undergrad trans, product & environmental dept needs for all that shop space. Or the film & photo dept's need for all that studio space. Designers and artists make physical stuff, not just images on a screens. Rather than reducing the population drastically (which would kill revenue), how about reducing the bloat on the bridge (reducing expenses), which has repeatedly cut into classroom space?

But to Mr. Mediocrity, the argument has never been about if we need more space, but the character and amount of expansion. The hillside campus does need more space, but 250,000 sq ft with a Crystal Cathedral?

Anonymous said...

I suggest we hand out space and budget at Art Center based on how many grads from each department land the top jobs in their fields. That will be a true test of a departments success and relevance. It will also help separate the chairs/faculty that just whine to get what they want and those that delver quality grads into the world to get what they want.

Anonymous said...

What kind of argument are you making?

How did you get the impression that we would lose shop space? I'm a student and well aware of what is needed to make "physical stuff" CNC at home, that's funny you mention it because it's becoming easier to outsource that stuff and it's cheaper than doing it at school sometimes.

What we don't need is 50,000 square ft. at 50-80?...120 million dollars!

The Grad media and Grad ID departments would add at least 5 undergrad classrooms. I'm sure that the three massive basements at the South Campus could be put to use to make even more room.

As for enrollment, Are you saying we should let in 3's and 4's?

BTW revenue is getting killed with your support for spending. What this school needs to exercise is some resourcefulness.

Yours truly,


Anonymous said...

Areas to consider for the RED PEN: This is just a start. Please add more.

The Architecture Department: Replace with one resourceful person.

South Campus seems inefficient, there is probably money to be saved there. Always seems under used.

International Initiatives: All departments and majors are already International. Let them figure out what they need on their own. Don't travel, have all the fun, then make the educational departments do all the work. (Sneaky trick though. It seems to have worked for many years.)

Mr. Koshalek's Current Vacation Mode-Status. Is this worth it? He is even more rarely seen than before.

ID's big expensive looking Mill just for little wheels??

Photo's old chemical based space. Go fully digital. Make more classrooms.

Sell some unused land.

Reduce Fine Art space by 25%

The Presidents office sure gets painted often.

How many people are on the bridge that most students don't even have a clue who they are. Have someone independently analyze whether we need them for the students to graduate with a proper education.

Anonymous said...

More red pen potential:

Twenty something marketing and communications people.

How about the agency?
The graphic design office?

Do they make money?

How about cutting the department chairs and let senior faculty rotate through administrative duties. They spend all of this time at industry events and that knowledge rarely gets transfered into a classroom.
My favorite is when industry comes and they have to spend more time with the department chairs than the students.

I heard that the first two design conferences were a loss. Even without venue costs they can't turn a profit.

Since when do people subscribe to the belief that schools should woo wealthy corporate entities by spending money on them.

How about being a talent factory?

Anonymous said...


So what’s to worry about? Well, nothing much, except that some people will tend to hate you, no matter how you approach them. Why? They will sense that you’re outstanding and will envy who you are. This quality is within you — you can’t help it.
• There will probably be times when you’ll want to avoid sticking out of the crowd. When you’ll just want to be like all the kids around you. Approval from the people around us is essential for our well being and self esteem. Just that they tend to like you most when you don’t present a challenge to their own qualities, habits and abilities.
• To blend in is just one way of coping, I know some people that have deliberately acquired a handicap as their own strategy of succeeding among others; I have so far stubbornly refused to do both.
• Don’t look for shelter in mediocrity. Dare to be different. Don’t dumb down or gain weight for the sake of being more likeable and less intimidating to your surroundings. Achtung Baby: you’re about to take the hard way and this will put you under more pressure than most people probably ever experience.
• Passionate and gifted as you already are, you’ll most likely chose a profession that will mean more to you than just mere work. And chances are high that you won’t just take one straight path towards one single goal. You’ll probably push ahead with your own drive to challenge your limits.
• On my own professional voyage, I have encountered quite a few turning points so far, repeatedly facing the choice between even pavement and unmarked territory — often opting for the latter. Always questioning myself: am I trying hard enough, or am I missing any crucial chances along my way? So far, intuition and insistence, curiosity and luck helped me to succeed.

So far, intuition and insistence, curiosity and luck helped me to succeed.

So far, intuition and insistence, curiosity and luck helped me to succeed.

So far, intuition and insistence, curiosity and luck helped me to succeed.

All of you guys are playing a guessing game. It's just one bombastic power play after another.

This narcisstic merit badge mentality is not what ACCD needs in order to move forward.

ACCD has replaced objectivity with reputation and stature. You got an institution that can dish it out, but it can't take it. You got an institution that is more then willing to tell you what your faults are but hardly willing to listen to how dysfunctional the 'institution' is.

ACCD wants its students to be mean lean fighting machines. ACCD is mean and fighting, but hardly a lean machine.

Anonymous said...

How about a "Red Pen" thread?

Anonymous said...

I think Shocking Behavior and
RED PEN thread combined might get the
crazies out of the constructive threads.

So far fanatical has created interest!

Rational and objective is boring.

Anonymous said...

"Well, nothing much, except that some people will tend to hate you, no matter how you approach them."

Wow Nik this is reoccurring?

"Why? They will sense that you’re outstanding and will envy who you are."

It's the Porsche, get rid of the car man it's creating envy.

Everyone know's that Porsche drivers are "special people"

We should just admit it. I'm envious of a sweet ride and Provost position without an advanced degree aren't you?

Future of Art Center said...

Regarding all of the RED PEN comments and reactions - I would caution folks to be careful here. Talk of arbitrary cutting of departments to "save space" is kind of like eating our own and reminiscent of Animal Farm. I'm all for a reexamination of budget and space at Art Center - clearly there are big problems.

But casual talk of killing off Fine Art or some grad programs is the kind of desperate move that leads to turf wars and silly discussions about how one program is more important than another. What are the criteria? Who's to prevent some from saying YOUR program is the one to cut? It's a destructive and unproductive cycle.

And really, that kind of in-fighting takes the focus off of real problems which are bad planning, lack of educational focus, bloated spending and staffing in some places on the bridge, poor use of the south campus, etc. There are many problems to solve, including the space issue, but infighting within education is exactly the kind of behavior that allows for bad behavior everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

I'm the guy who first introduced the "red pen" term into this discussion.

While I may have cited program growth and expansion as part of the problem, I did not intend to imply that the "red pen" should be brought out against any current educational programs. But I do believe that the school needs a new CFO/COO who is willing to whip out the red pen and start getting the finances of the school back into serious "less is more" condition.

The size of the communications (including PR, advertising and design) deaprtment is absolutely ridiculous. The planning department, with their architecture office, is more pork barrel.

I realize we're all supposed to be artsy and fully liberal as designers, but for the time being, we need some fiscally conservative ideals to rule the campus. Travel needs to be cut back in a big way. Uneccessary expenses too. Every decision should be made following a a basic decision tree starting with "Does this benefit the student in the classroom today?" question.

Now, I did attack the space allocations as far as graduate students are concerned. I apologize in advance for this, but Art Center has always been a school that forces its undergrad students to be resourceful with housing, getting supplies, etc. The grad students should be held to the same standards. Get a laptop and do the work in your studio. Your HOME studio. This space should be utilized for project rooms or in-class activity such as instruction.

Anonymous said...



I see a correlation, and I think the students are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Ease up on the guy. He's laying it out there, and doing so in an environment of sheer hostility. Right now, a lot of people would not touch the job, as the handle glows from being so hot.

He may be an insider, perhaps even a cronie (who knows?). But he's got a job that comes equipped with big, giant target painted on his back.

Good luck Nik.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right.

I don't envy him, either.

Anonymous said...

FOAC, your projecting
The comments regarding Fine Art and Grad programs were about moving the spaces not cutting the programs.

You should no longer speak out against the administration because you are behaving the same way by cutting out comments.

What are you afraid of?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, what got cut-out?

Anonymous said...

Well that resourcefulness lesson is changing. When the student housing is finished incoming students will be required to rent small 1500.oo+ lofts.

I would argue that if you are working on a thesis you should have a space to do ongoing experiments.

Great idea to make people sand toxic yellow foam, plastic gasing off, paint ect at home. Thats healthy, all that stuff going on where you sleep.

This school has cut shop hours so drastically that were are forced to do that. I would pay more money to have 24hr access to a shop and a work table where I can leave something out over night.

The problem with comparing Art Center to itself is that it's like inbreeding.

Anonymous said...

We sit in a building absorbing the gassed-off gasses all damn day. Even those of us that don't work with foam. Want to work with foam? Bring it home. Make that your toxicity problem, not mine. Think I like inhaling resin fumes every time I walk by?

I think the idea of Art Center-provided housing is great except for one thing. The Art Center leadership would be administrating it. It's bad enough those assholes rule my day at school, so why would I want to retreat to a home that is also ruled by them?

If the current people with their current critical thinking behavior are to also run a residential dormatory, I think it would sit half full (at best). People would abandon after 1 semester. Then Art Center would respond by making people sign oppressive 1-2 year contracts to force them to agree to live there, etc.

Think about it people: The same Art Center administration would rule your LIVING accomodations.

Future of Art Center said...

Red Pen: Perhaps I read too much into your statements about departments, but that seemed to be where the conversation was going. Part of my role here is keep the conversation on-topic and constructive (hence the occasional comment that I delete because it is too far off-topic or simply off...).

But even proposing cutting department space allocations leads into dangerous territory. If the school tried to make decisions based on how much space (or money for that matter) departments use, all we would have here is illustration. I brought up Film and Product Design in an earlier post because they use tremendous space - not for student studios, but for the sound stages/prop storage and all the large shop equipment respectively. So targeting grad programs (which are competing with other schools that provide grad "studio space") or fine art to reduce their footprint will simply lead others to argue against some different program's space usage (e.g. CMTEL or the trans lab across from CMTEL, the big environmental design space, photo studios, etc.). (also, were you aware that the Media Design and Grad ID programs are apparently scheduled to move to south campus?)

Anyway, I just think it is the wrong road to go down - education has suffered enough already. The bad space and financial management should not further harm education.

Anonymous said...


You seem to care a lot about what other schools are doing -vs- Art Center. You talk a lot about being competitive with these other schools.

There is a saying in the sport of running that I think it fitting:

"Run your own race."

We should focus on what's best for Art Center. Art Center is spending itslef into oblivion. They keep adding features to the campus that require more and more (often human) respources to maintain as the years go on. No one ever wants to give anything up once they have it, but seriously, Art Center is badly bloated now. The administrative staff is quickly approaching the number of students (or at least a growth curve suggests that this is happening). Programs are growing so much and so fast that any current endowment additions look like pocket change.

The institution seems intent on bankrupting itself, and it is sad to watch.

Anonymous said...

FOAC, oh most honorable one,

Pray tell, who are you to weigh in on all matters ACCD and pronounce yourself the "future"?

Remember what happened to the "future of rock 'n' roll"? Yes, the Bossman, but didn't name himself that or "the future." A journalist did that. He's now just another babyboomer rock icon who the kids don't care about.

Why should we listen to you?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm often critical of FOAC, but I won't go nearly as far as Anonymous 8/15 12:20. That was uncalled for.

Look if you kids want to go this alone, feel free. The alumni don't need to help you if you feel too dominated by them.

But take this advice: It takes a few years to figure the politics out. By that time, you are eager to start working and pay off the debt. Most quickly forget about Art Center and never pay it another thought. That's why the administration gets away with so much crap, and you students all pay for it with (what I'd call) absolutely outrageous tuition rates. It was outrageous when I studied there, but this is ultra-outrageous.

Anonymous said...

To: 8/15/08 2:44 PM: Why should we listen to you?

Why? Because you are on FOAC's blog! If you don't think FOAC has done credible work here, don't come to the URL. FOAC is presenting himself/herself as the host and moderator and is clearly not the final word.

FOAC- I hve no idea who you are. Am dying to know. But don't let the trolls get you down. I don't agree with everything you say but you are putting a ton of work into making this forum a credible attempt at open dialog and a positive movement. PLEASE Keep it up.

Love the new "Recent Comments" feature by the way.

Anonymous said...

We're all trolls here.

FOAC is a troll, also, in that he/she is anonymous.

No one is accountable. And everyone wants to keep it that way. We can all attack with impunity.

Who is FOAC? Who cares! If we knew, we wouldn't come here anymore.

Anonymous said...

The anonymity is what allows the discussion to take place.

Art Center has successfully stifled open discussion for decades and intimidated anyone who dared to stick their necks out. Look at how they reacted to a simple open question about recycling and fiscal priorities (Nathan's). Not well.

Considering the element of anonymity, I find it pretty remarkable how such a high percentage of the comments are well directed and not personal in nature.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of anonymity. Does anyone remember the official Art Center site? Another short sighted unsuccessful attempt by the administration to pretend to understand us 'kids' and try and lead us down their mis-directed path. Even if you do not agree with everything, this FAOC site is much better. Anonymous comments or not. At least people comment and speak their mind.

Anonymous said...

All paths lead to the board their vision for this school.

The alumni who are involved in the school and the faculty with many years experience have the wisdom to see what is not effective educational practices.

They need a voice now more than ever?

We are all stakeholders in this non- profit and deserve a chance to leverage our collective wisdom.

How can we nominate leadership for such a task because this blog appears to lack action/impact but I could be wrong.

Are there people here willing to draft a policy change and get it backed by a petition. That policy change being influenced by Senior Faculty.

Key Points:
% of educational spending per student determined curriculum.
milestones for endowment and %allocated for growth and stop spending interest.

The money is a big issue for everyone. Consider this, Today Art Center spends $200 more per student per term than it did 9 years ago.
(Includes faculty salaries)

Lets make a conservative calculation 1500 per term\per student over 8 years (1400 students)

50.4 million dollars.
Well hello non-educational expenses

Anonymous said...


They school them to confuse process with substance......His imagination is schooled to accept service in place of value....The rat race is mistaken for productive work.......Our society not only produces artifact things, but artifact people.

Future of Art Center said...

Thanks to the posters for their voices of support. We took the initiative and set this up to be a place for independent news and constructive discussion about the future of art center, since that's what we're interested in. For those who are not interested in that, or how we run it, not sure why you are posting here. Feel free to set up your own blog.

Regarding trolls, the term does not mean simply anonymous posting. It describes a poster who gets their kicks from getting reactions from others. From the Wikipedia:

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community... with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

For much more thorough coverage, see this article in the New York Times Magazing.

Future of Art Center said...

From Nik Hafermaas to the Faculty:

Dear Colleagues,

At the end of this eventful semester, I would like to take the opportunity to give you a sincere “dankeschoen” for your exceptional work and unwavering support of our school.

This has been a time of passionate discussion about future directions for this great institution — and while this debate has not always been fair and open — for a number of reasons I am incredibly optimistic about our collective future:

* Art Center, through Richard Koshalek’s vision, is on a trajectory towards a forward-looking globalism with a deep involvement of the art and design disciplines in society at large;

* Right now, we have a unique opportunity to create a new level of transparency in the governance of Art Center — to foster unprecedented collaboration between education, administration, and all other stakeholders in our institution;

* Most importantly, our student’s stellar work, on display across campus over the past days, demonstrates that this school continues to earn its reputation as the thriving place for art and design education, running on a high-octane mix of exceptional talent, dedication and fearless creativity;

* Finally, Art Center College of Design is a community of creative minds and hearts that will continue to evolve in the future — and that’s definitely a good thing.

I  wish you a restful break, and look forward to working with all of you on a successful Fall term.



Future of Art Center said...

Oh brother, our communications dept at work below... What a whitewash. I bet if you factored in all the internal costs (staff cost, travel, technical support, security, etc.), there would be a different financial picture. And what does this mean? "achieved this profit with a tighter budget than ever before." It makes no sense... If you have a bigger budget you could have made a higher profit? Huh? That higher budget would take away from the profit, or do they mean that the budget for making the conference happen was not factored into the profit???

From Iris Gelt to Everyone:

With accounting now complete for The 2008 Art Center Design Conference: Serious Play, we are happy to announce that the event generated a profit of more than $80,000.

This is a remarkable accomplishment for several reasons. Not only is it rare for educational conferences of any kind to break even, but the extraordinary efforts of the inter-departmental organizing team—led by Erica Clark, SVP International Initiatives—achieved this profit with a tighter budget than ever before.

It is also important to note that this Conference resulted in a long list of corporations, studios, organizations and individuals who expressed interest in supporting future education projects at Art Center in a variety of ways.

Most significantly, we are extremely pleased to report that all proceeds from the Conference will be channeled back to Education through the Designmatters College-wide initiative, which benefits students and faculty in all departments and furthers Art Center's primary educational mission.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Erica or me directly.



Iris Gelt
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Art Center College of Design
1700 Lida Street
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 396-2403

Anonymous said...


Please place a PDF of the accounting on the new Art Center blog.

Not the "simplified" version, but the actual accounting document.

Iris writes:
"Not only is it rare for educational conferences of any kind to break even"

Then why do them (if it is so rare)?

Anonymous said...

Nike Hafermaas wrote:

"Art Center, through Richard Koshalek’s vision, is on a trajectory towards a forward-looking globalism with a deep involvement of the art and design disciplines in society at large"

Let's touch on Globalism for a moment. Globalism is precisely what's gotten us an ever-increasing supply of Wal Mart's with their ever-increasing supply of globalistic cheap crap merchandise, manufactured in a "globalized" China. Art Center used to preach globalism way back in the day. And back then, as students, we had these faint vision of taking neato trips to Asia, drinking Sapporo after a hard day of talking international business. But if you want to see the actual RESULTS of globalism, take a drive over to Wal Mart and stand about 100 feet in front of the store and bask in all the glory and glamour of it. That's globalism. Enjoy it, because you own it already. It's yours.

Nik also writes:

"Right now, we have a unique opportunity to create a new level of transparency in the governance of Art Center"

What's so unique about NOW? We've always had this opportunity. Students, alumni and faculty have been banging on the door of transparency for decades. What I'm saying is: You've ALWAYS had this opportunity. You've just chosen not to to take advantage of it.

When the hell is someone on that bridge going to ADMIT that something is seriously broken here (and has been for a long long time)? There can't be any moving forward without an acknowledgement of the wrongs of the past. Art Center leadership: You need to assume some basic humility here. Both bridge and board.

Anonymous said...

And no, the sheepish "aw shucks, we've been realy bad communicators" response is really no longer good enough. Art Center's leadership has communicated badly because on the issue of transparency, they have always held their students in some form of contempt.

Nik. I like the positivity of what you are saying, but before I can follow you, I think you need to take inventory on what exactly was bad about the old ways of doing things. Art Center's leadership can't apologize to us without actually apologizing. And it's not about the apology, but rather the knowng that you mean it. If you can not show that you believe in the change, no one will believe you are changing.

Ophelia Chong said...

Why we have Made In China products in Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, JC Penney, the Gap, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, FootLocker, etc etc.

It is the bottom line. Money. The profit margin is higher when goods are made cheaper. We "own it" because we demanded it. We demand lower prices, "we" as in the majority of the population that has to live on a median income $48,200 (Real median household income in the United States climbed between 2005 and 2006, reaching $48,200, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.)

And as many companies flock to Asia to manufacture their products they range from the low to high end. It is not just the "crap" that is being produced in China. That iPod and iPhone in your hand was made by the Chinese. So call Apple and tell them they are contributing to the pile of "crap".

Transparency: what is the educational budget and how much of that is going to the students? And how much to operating bloated departments that do not benefit the student? That is Transparency.

Ophelia Chong said...

"manufactured in a "globalized" China." Nik Hafermaas

As I watch the Olympics, I see a country that has a goal. The goal to be the best. No matter what. That is a force to deal with, when you have no concern for the individual and only for the collective. My family history spans from 1976 to the present, and I have seen the rapid rise of a country that only three decades ago was living in the dark ages.

If we are to remain ahead we will have to realize who the competition is and not dismiss it as a producer of "crap". It that hubris that takes a country down. And a designer.

ACCD has to be relevant by understanding what is beyond it's walls, because it like the old China, it can shut itself off and be left in the dark.

Anonymous said...


I can't tell you how much ACCD makes, but I can tell you what you'll make.

I'm not certain it's worth going to ACCD to be a graphic designer anyway?

The bottom line is about money.
In California the average mortgage for a home is $2,000 a month. Then student loans would be about $1,000 a month.

Gaud, give me some hope. At least when you pay a 6 figure tuition for medical school you're pretty much guaranteed to make 6 figures when you become a doctor.....and you're in demand too.

Anonymous said...

You saw a nation with a goal. I saw a government that wants to take a short-cut to being a first-world nation. They boost their economic wealth by virtually enslaving the imported factory workers from the outer reaches of the nation. They restrict the individual rights of their citizens and remove most individual choice. We get cheap TV sets and toys, so we're fine with it. So long as it is cheaper, we'll look the other way. It blows my mind that people in the USA can look at the surface and form the opinion that China has arrived. Do not get me wrong. The Chinese are sitting on a lot of US dollars right now and they are a force to be reckoned with, no doubt. But look at how they got the money. They sold their own people out.

If you saw any of the outdoor events, you may have noticed that the locals (and everyone else) was kept away. No spectators allowed, being that someone might unfurl a "Free Tibet" banner, or otherwise make some kind of free thinking statement. They'd hate to be embarassed like that. Medals were awarded to the winners with crowds of perhaps 100 people, most of them coaches, athletes or just the officials.

Yes, the Chinese also manufacture the "good" stuff too. I suppose I should not have dismissed them as mere producers of crap. But try buying yourself a "good" flyswatter these days and see what I mean (not possible). Thank the shift to China for that. And yes, WE are to blame.

If Art Center wants to educate the kids about globalism, I would hope they'll do a better job than they did with my generation (which was done simplistically by stating "Everything is going to be in Asia"). Well, no sh*t, but what ABOUT Asia? At what price? One thing I found sad at Art Center was the lack of critical thought about WHAT we were being trained to do. The ethics of communication and design. Art Center is sadly lacking in looking at things from an academic standpoint. Art Center bills itself as some kind of think tank, but the reality is that they teach their students to "think" about very little. OK, so they might make a product design brief with a requirement to use "eco-friendly" materials. And that is great. But that is hardly solving "bigger" problems.

Art Center needs to do better than just plan to train Asian designers (in Asia) to go work in Asia. That's not really "thinking" about what you are designing.

If Art Center refuses to think things through, then yes, they may as well return to the roots of being the trade school. Save your money and train them how to move a mouse and make great sketches.

Ophelia Chong said...

"The goal to be the best. No matter what. That is a force to deal with, when you have no concern for the individual and only for the collective." - from my earlier post

I have seen the hardships of the Chinese people with my own eyes. I have seen men with severe injuries from construction jobs, children grabbing my legs begging while their "Fagin" stands in the shadow of the alley, the homes of the impoverished, and I have seen gated mini-mansions stocked with BMWs. China will not survive by pushing down the people with an iron glove, nor will they be able to stop the growing disparity between rich and poor.

We are accomplices in this enslavement of the Chinese, by demanding cheap goods. We want cheap clothes, cheap shoes, cheap underwear.

And the cycle turns with the downturn economy, how can we afford anything but the cheapest? I am talking about middle America. The people loosing jobs, that are surviving on savings or government assistance.

What are our choices?

And to bring this back to ACCD, it is about designing for a world that is changing daily. We need products that is long lasting and multi-tasking. We need to design products that are not throw aways. So will ACCD lead the way?

Ophelia Chong said...

to 8/19/08 9:09 AM

I agree with you that "One thing I found sad at Art Center was the lack of critical thought about WHAT we were being trained to do. "

Where is the thinking that we are going to live in a world that is changing faster than generations past?

We don't need another cute "vinyl toy",or running shoe design. We need to realize that products of the future will have to be sustainable in the sense that it has to be functional and not just a pretty coffee table item. We will need to be able to use an item for years rather than until the next model comes out.

"When we have problems interacting with technologies, it's a direct result of our not having asked the right questions in the design process. To be effective, we must shift our focus from the techno-centric to the human centric" Bill Buxton / Buxton Design Canada

It is no longer "sexy" design but sustainable design.

Future of Art Center said...

The odd thing about the below is that it does not mention the group of Photo, Fine Art Media, Film and Illustration - they were supposed to be under a dean as well, but never had one appointed. So perhaps it is assumed they also report directly to the CAO?

The good thing about this news and the appointment of Nik Hafermaas as acting CAO is that decisions can now start getting made. A lot of things have been up in the air because there was no leadership in place. Now some of the lines of decision making and reporting are becoming more clear.

The challenge is for Hafermaas is to meet directly with faculty, students, and alumni to hear their concerns, and then immediately begin to take some positive actions.

From RK:

Dear faculty and staff,

Following discussions with the department chairs and other stakeholders of the school, the Education Committee of the Board of Trustees has recommended, and I concur with, the suspension of the deans’ leadership structure for both the Communication Design group and for the Industrial Design group. Effective immediately, department chairs from these groups will report directly to Nik Hafermaas, Acting Chief Academic Officer. We view this as a positive step toward a more inclusive and direct collaboration with Art Center’s educational leadership.


Richard Koshalek

Anonymous said...


In the past, Art Center had to teach far more "studio" skills to those in the design disciplines. But electronic tools have greatly reduced the need for such a full array of hand skills. OK, so we know this, and the curriculum has been adjusted in many ways to concentrate on the computer skills more as opposed to the hand skill.

I think that Art Center students now come out of school with perhaps too MANY visual samples of what they can do. So much time has been spent on developing the portfolio and so little time has been spent on developing critical thinking about what they do.

We've been talking about China, and that is a really important thing to be savvy on. Art Center students learn how to "see" things visually, but do they come out of school prepared to look at the economic factors that will drive their careers? That mortage -vs- salary data that was just posted is along the lines of what I mean. As you can see, the math does not currently add up. But it used to, not too long ago.

Ophelia Chong said...

8/19/08 10:39 AM

It's a New World.

You can give 3 people a hammer, and teach them to nail two boards together. One will nail the boards together and wait for more, the second one will refuse to hammer and tell the first one to do it for him, and the third will ask why you are teaching him this.

China is the first one.
USA is the second one.
The third is the one that will rule the world.

Critical thinking is about asking "why?"

Why are we being taught these skills? How will they help us? How will they help others?

ACCD should be about asking "Why?"

Anonymous said...

When I was considering ACCD, I had to add up to cost versus what I would expect to earn realistically.

One should do what they love to do regardless, but there is a limit to this when the dream can become a nightmare.

There is no way that the average beginning salaries are going to cover the tuition for people that are taking on the full bill themselves, including the think scholarships given out.

With the way the industry is changing with stock photography sites, DIY logo builders and off shore designers and discount certificate school workers- there is simply no room for bloat or any other games like this school has been playing.

They basically have no respect for their students or the education that is being provided to them at an eye watering price.

Don't charge Mercedes prices and give a Toyota product and saying "hey, it's still high quality!"

Ophelia Chong said...

to 3:51pm

If ACCD gave you a Toyota Education, you would be doing quite well.

The Toyota Way has four components:
1) Long-term thinking as a basis for management decisions,
2) a process for problem-solving, 3) adding value to the organization by developing its people
4) recognizing that continuously solving root problems drives organizational learning

Anonymous said...

On that point, the school should consider downsizing significantly and restricting entry to those who actually have a chance in hell of making those big dollars upon graduation.


Ophelia Chong said...

to 8/19/08 5:09 PM

That theory could also apply to all colleges, it is not downsizing the college that needs to be done, but to give back to the educational budget what was taken out to support other agendas.

Anonymous said...


Is ACCD a dedicated educational environment or a cultural propaganda?

Ai mill schools offers classes at the same price, and I hardly think of those places as being in 'my' best interests.

Future of Art Center said...

There is no question that Art Center should focus on increasing the quality and diversity of students, in particular by increasing scholarships so the net cost of attending is reduced for those students who would really get something out of the school but can't afford it.

But I find some of the arguments here very odd. You seem to want make decisions for people and their desire for an education which run completely counter to the broader ideals of any good educational institution.

1) College should never be a purely economic choice for the student, especially in art and design. Of course one might do better economically if they simply invested their tuition in a law, business or IT education, or perhaps putting it into the stock market. But is making the highest salary really the main reason for going here?

2) Education ought to be a life changing experience that ultimately leads to a more rich and engaging life. Talking about Art Center in purely economic terms deadens the discussion and will lead to the absolute wrong educational decisions.

3) Careers in art and design are changing and Art Center needs to focus on what can differentiate our artists and designers as high level thinkers and practitioners.

4) Overdetermining career paths for artists and designers is a bad idea. Our strength (if the school does a good job) is that we are flexible thinkers who adapt to new situations. If Art Center students learn the right things - and this is what our discussion should focus on - they will make an interesting path in life that is not about competing with graduates from other, lesser schools, or threats from stock photo houses or website mills.

The question the school really needs to face is what kind of challenging education in art and design do we want to foster and what models do we need to implement so can we best achieve that with the most interesting, creative, and challenging students.

Anonymous said...

I really hate to suck Roland Young into this, but I think if the Art Center administration were to tape its current philosophy/strategy up on his crit wall, He'd probably respond in the following way:

"You know what you need right here? You need an IDEA."

Right now, the staed goal is ambiguous and ill-defined. "Fluff".

Anonymous said...

What IS the "stated goal".

I know what I think. I know a lot of people on the blog have opinions. But seriously, what is the official and current "stated goal". And if you post it here can you indicate where you got it from.


Future of Art Center said...

I'm not really sure of what you mean about the "stated goal" but here is what I can surmise:

From Board President Puerner's letter we know:

* They are looking for a new president to be in place by the end of 2009 - a search committee has been formed with a rep from the chairs, faculty and students. Presumably they are hiring a search firm. There are rumors from many sources about bringing in an interim President.
* The board is reevaluating the expansion plan, but in general they still support expansion. I'm hearing that they want to go ahead with the dorms and eventual expansion of south campus to include the Power Plant for graduate studies.
* They are looking for ways to improve the governance structure. This is pretty vague, and I'm not sure anyone is truly grappling with how faculty can be given a greater role.
* Sadly, education is barely mentioned other than the obvious "firmly committed to continuing the high quality of education that Art Center is known for worldwide."
* The board is reviewing the 2009 budget, and expresses a desire to improve financial support for students.

Acting CAO Nik Hafermaas states that:

* "we have a unique opportunity to create a new level of transparency in the governance of Art Center — to foster unprecedented collaboration between education, administration, and all other stakeholders in our institution"

RK reports that:

* The Dean system that was implemented in 2007 is eliminated - I.e. there were deans put over groups of departments: Andy Ogden over Grad ID, Product, Transportation, and Environmental. Nik Hafermaas over Grad Media Design, Advertising, and Graphic Design. A never selected Dean over Grad Film, Film, Photo, Fine Art Media, and Illustration. These groupings and Dean positions are now defunct.

Rumors are that the Board is fairly divided, and there are a lot of issues unresolved. My sense is that it will take all fall for the picture to become more clear. Though I'd guess we'll see several announcements from the Board around the beginning of the Fall Term.

So to summarize, the school is in a state of transition. The Board is still figuring out a new direction. Meantime, on the ground within the school, a lot of people are working pretty hard to create new structures and make changes as best they can given the current flux.

There is a sense of relief that some of the craziness of the last several years is over, anger at the abuses, and fear as well as guarded optimism for the future.

Sorry, that was a very long answer. Not sure if that's what you were asking about, but I thought it might be helpful to everyone to bring things up-to-date.

Ophelia Chong said...

Who doesn't love Paris in the Fall?

Who's going to Paris in two weeks for the NGO meeting?

And who gets stuck with the bill?

Is this fiscally responsible? And at what benefit is this to the college?

And why the entourage?

Ophelia Chong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Do not get me wrong. The Chinese are sitting on a lot of US dollars right now and they are a force to be reckoned with, no doubt. But look at how they got the money. They sold their own people out."

This point of view is absurd humanity as a whole in all of it's history has never behaved in a civilized manner and the US is not a exception.

This is really on topic though Those in power (board) will make us succumb to their will.

The best post I've read in the past weeks is "what is out stated goal"

If the voices on this blog could unite for changes in the by-laws so that these discussions could be heard or read for change.

Right now this looks like a lot of venting. The petition gave us focus we need to find a new point to drive to the top.

Anonymous said...

The petition helped show the growing discontent, but it was hardly an instrument of sharp focus.

Ophelia Chong said...

To 8/25/08 8:14 AM

There are years (decades) of venting that is happening now in this public forum. You can't cut to the core until you peel away the years of frustration. We need to vent now, if we don't, it will carry through to the next administration.

So Vent Away. It's healthy for you.

Anonymous said...

"Who's going to Paris in two weeks for the NGO meeting?

And who gets stuck with the bill?

Is this fiscally responsible? And at what benefit is this to the college?

And why the entourage?"

RK's overall strategy for the college (I think there are six points) is so vaguely and broadly written that someone in the administration can use it to rationalize these kinds of trips. Because of course Art Center must be at the forefront of the international art and design discussion! Hence, the rationale for Paris, Barcelona, the Denmark thing a few years ago, the conferences, and any other boondoggle that sounds good. There's a lack of analytical thinking at Art Center, but that's not uncommon at non-profits.

Anonymous said...

There is a great international design discussion going on right now. It's called the internet. There are many channels.

jason said...

What is a instrument of sharp focus?
let's work on this!


Anonymous said...

Ze Fuzzy Dot...

Now we all know what Nik H. has been up to the last 3 months.

Check out the new couches in the Dept. chairs office.

sweet. go art center.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, we've quietly removed the Dean structure over the break without consensus and yes kiddies, come have a cookie with Nik to hear about it..."

Dear Students, dear Colleagues,

With a fresh term ahead of us, it’s our great pleasure to invite you to check out a new feature in the Department Chairs Office:

Ze Fuzzy Dot

We were able to swap out the central desk with a new seating/reading/conversation arrangement that will make waiting for
an appointment more dignified and enjoyable — especially around advisement and rush times.

Please swing by anytime on Wednesday, Sept 10 for a cookie and a peek.

All best,

Your friends in the Department Chairs Office

prof. nikolaus hafermaas
chair graphic design | acting chief academic officer

Nik's emails and communications with the larger community lack relevance, are not thought-out, and seem generally snarky and condescending. (yes, i know like this post, but I am not the Provost) "Have a cookie and peek" my goodness. Either this treats students and the community like kids, or placates an audience waiting for some direction, by focusing on a waiting area and cookies. TALK about substance my friend, art center deserves it. A sexy european accent will take you only so far at this junction in history. Step up to the plate.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 9/7/08 4:30 PM

Is it the kind of cookies you get at Christmas? The Dutch butter cookies in the blue tin? If it is, it could be the one I re-gifted a few years back.

Will there be People and SI magazines to read while waiting?

On another note, the past six months was important because it changed the upper echelons of ACCD and the people who participated in that movement are still around, so just because we had a short break does not erase that memory or the reasons behind it.

Erasing history is dangerous, revisionism of what happened can only hurt the one re-telling the story to suit themselves.

Anonymous said...

It's the beginning of a new term, and all the senior staff have reason to celebrate: New 18 month contracts. What a way to start!

Anonymous said...

I do not know if that is true, but if the senior staff members have just been given 18 month contract extensions, then you know what that means in regards to this whole potest thing. The school just told all of you to stick-it. If they change anything, it will be at their own convenience.

Anonymous said...

BFD.... Securing jobs during transitional leadership.

If they actually wanted a faculty opinions during the change process they would have given 3-5yr contracts.

Anonymous said...

The extensions were given to senior staff members, not the faculty. Basically a message saying "You have nothing to worry about with these kids" or at least until they seat a new president.

This was a big "F-U" to anyone who seeks real change at the school. It means that the current way of doing things has been confirmed by the board and that they intend to change nothing. This was to send a message to current Sr Staff members that all of their jobs are secure and that they can do their jobs the exact same way without fear of termination.

Bad move, Puerner. Bad move.

Ophelia Chong said...

it's cheaper to give the extensions then to clean house. because at the end of the 18 months, it's 18 months salary. if they were let go, it would be years of severance pay (ie Scarlett Osterling, Ron Jerrigan, Richard Koshalek), some reaching up in the $2 million category.

Anonymous said...

I never said that they ALL have to go, but we should have the flexibility to let them go.

For starters, what's with doing "contracts"? We do not live in a world where the director of PR at a small college routinely gets to work within the security of a long-term employment contract. It just isn't done. And no, we do not need to be hiring the former director of PR for a major film studio. Perhaps people who play in that field DO expect these knds of contracts, but our needs as a design college are far more simple than those of Vivendi-Universal.

Quite honestly, Art Center can't afford the inflexibility that goes with long-term staff contracts. It is not a good business practice.

Anonymous said...

Think about it. Teachers that THEY can get rid of in a heartbeat, but we're stuck with administrators that are tied to golden parachutes.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 9/8/08 4:18 PM

Golden if only they are let go before their contracts end.

As for teachers, they need assurances. Not fair on that end at all.

Anonymous said...

I'll Betcha, that R.K. is gone within the next 2 months. And he will be getting his golden parachute upwards of 500-800k+

Anonymous said...

"For starters, what's with doing "contracts"? We do not live in a world where the director of PR at a small college routinely gets to work within the security of a long-term employment contract. It just isn't done. And no, we do not need to be hiring the former director of PR for a major film studio. Perhaps people who play in that field DO expect these knds of contracts, but our needs as a design college are far more simple than those of Vivendi-Universal.

Quite honestly, Art Center can't afford the inflexibility that goes with long-term staff contracts. It is not a good business practice"

If all other ACCD senior staff members have contracts, then Iris Gelt, ACCD's SVP of marketing and communications, should too. Now, that brings up the question of contracts for senior staff and for faculty. Does ACCD need to offer contracts to be competitive with other top art and design colleges? Is this standard business practice in order to attract talent? Then ACCD needs to follow suit to stay competitive.

I doubt that one senior staff member would have been able to negotiate a contract if his/her peers did not.

As far as ACCD's marketing and communications needs being simpler than Universal's, I disagree with you. I think ACCD is a very challenging environment what with its very limited budgets. A company like Universal has lots of PR folks (and marketing folks) who work in specialized areas with much more substantial budgets. Then again, much more is expected to be accomplished at a place like Universal.

You may disagree with the priorities of ACCD's marketing and communications dept, but much of that is driven by what Koshalek expects. Under a different president, we might see different results/activities.

Anonymous said...

For starters, a good portion, starting with the leadership of the marketing and PR group, needs to go. Of course it would change if Richard left. They don't know what to do, so they just did what ever Richard said. This direction, of course was just to build up Richard, not the school. What do we have now? A school struggling to recruit enough quality students, with little money coming in to support to overall operation of the school. The PR departments of many of the schools competitors all doing very well as they rise and Art Center falls. Seriously, other than a few people writing in to defend themselves, can anyone subjectively say our marketing and PR activities have been any bit successful? Get real. The reputation is heading down, down, down. Clean house and start over. NOW! Then maybe Art Center stands a chance to attract the students and faculty it needs to rebuild the place properly.

Anonymous said...

Even great PR and marketing will not mask a weak product for very long. If the educational core of ACCD is in decline, PR and marketing will not save it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, a strong high quality product/high energy, well informed and knowledgeable graduates, motivated and equipped to lead in their fields is the best PR the school could hope for. Not some average PR group nervously being lead by someone who has little understanding of the schools core deliverable, education. Welcome change is finally here,

Anonymous said...

We should have a tenure system for teachers and we should have at-will employment (no contracts) for all staff members below the level of President. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

"We should have a tenure system for teachers and we should have at-will employment (no contracts) for all staff members below the level of President. It's that simple."

And (in case anyone was wondering) the reason we don't and won't have tenure is the same reason we don't have a reasonable work-load for full-time faculty--and the reason why the majority of faculty are kept just below full-time, without benefits. We are faculty at a discount, easily expendable, and the economy of the school depends on that, just as it depends on tuition remaining high.

Why teach? flexibility and a certain amount of autonomy with the curriculum, and most importantly great students. But with lax admission standards and cutting of classes, both these reasons get dicey.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, how many FT (with benefits) instructors does Art Center have? Looking back, I remember lots of instructors who were often there many days a week, but perhaps not 5 days per week.

And is there equality in what the instructors are paid? Do the "iconic" and "name brand" instructors have super-sweet deals that the others do not have have? Is there cronyism withinthe adjunct faculty ranks?

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong here but I thought the philosophy of Art Center was that the faculty were all working practitioners in the art and design field. That way they were in touch with the latest technologies and developments in their respective field. So they couldn't be full-time faculty. Is that true or false?

Anonymous said...

"but I thought the philosophy of Art Center was..."

If you ever get a philosophical statement out of Art Center, it will always be the one you want to hear most.

The fact is, most people who reflect back upon their "best" instructors, tend to remember the full-timers as being the best. And there are plenty of teachers who teach numerous times per week. I have no idea if they were actually considered "Full Time", or if they just taught a lot. Art Center tends to keep that info under their hat.

Anonymous said...

'Correct me if I'm wrong here but I thought the philosophy of Art Center was that the faculty were all working practitioners in the art and design field...."

Dear Correct me if I am wrong,

That is a "philosophy" often espoused by the school--I once overheard a student guide tell a group of students that Art Center had no full-time teachers because it "isn't allowed" for the reasons you have stated above.

Let's add a little Academic reality: Colleges usually have a full-time work-load of anywhere from 4 to 6 classes a year, on a two semester system with Summer off (in the two semester system.) Full-time faculty at other institutions therefore have the time to pursue their careers, and research, in balance with their role as educators. They are expected to perform in both worlds.

For a comparable salary, full time teachers at Art Center teach as many as 3 to 6 classes per semester, three terms a year, without Summer off. 9-15 classes a year. Some can balance that with outside career obligations, for others teaching becomes the main focus due to the relentless pace.

My point is that Art Center's pace makes full-time teaching more threatening to a healthy career than it would be elsewhere.

Full-time teaching never (here or elsewhere) means 5 days a week 9-5 like a desk job, although there are loads of uncounted prep hours and research and --well, the things you do because you love teaching, love the subject and want to do it right regardless of if you get paid for it all.

When WASC or NASAD (the groups that grant us our crucial accreditation) make reports on Art Center, the lack of full-time faculty is often listed as a short-coming, as a certain number of full-time faculty are needed to maintain the academic health of the college.

Its my opinion that the philosophy of having only "working professionals" instead of those drab "full-time teachers" is a bit of Art Center mythology--one that is economical for the College to espouse, but not healthy for Faculty, Students, and Academic freedom (which relies upon at least some sense of job security.)

I don't know how many full-timers are left but I imagine you could ask Human Resources for those figures.

Anonymous said...

This is just the same points brought up over and over again.

FYI bloggers the only real change has come from petitions and statements to the board. This place is already echoing the same points it was in the first 100 hundred statements.


If you are going to just write a opinion do it on the walls at school so it can be read!!!

The blog has lost it's purpose and is depleting energy from the people who care about change.

Anonymous said...

You don't think this content is being read? I think it is.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 9/9/08 4:22 PM

if there wasn't this blog or nathan's, where would you go? At least it is a place to vent.

Send a pic of your writings on the wall when you have them up.

And yes they do read the blogs and make a document of all the comments and content.

Anonymous said...

This poor guy is hacking away.

Looks like they are still deleting hard questions.


Anonymous said...

I never bother to post my questions there. They always get moderated and never shown. Art Center only allows questions where the answers will not make the leadership team look bad. They only answer questions where they can step in and be the hero.

Anonymous said...

Are there any advertising people reading this?

We need to motivate students to rebel and demand more from their school.

How about RK and the BOARD want's to eat your first born child.

Nik want's to make everyone speak in German when complaining about chairs that are lame.

$Borrow$ baby $Borrow$!!!

Boomers rule and
Gen "Y" are whiners

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean "Drill, baby, drill"? :) That's not a long-term solution, but is anyone really looking for long-term ideas here? The old business model at Art Center is dead, everyone. We can't go back because the financial model doesn't work anymore.

Perhaps we're getting confused because it's an election year. We all want change and some people are haters and others want vision and hope.

We have a serious financial problem, and tenures, by the way, are not the answer. Smaller class sizes aren't either. New ideas, anyone?

Anonymous said...

We do have a serious financial problem, but the school believes that all is well. Historically, the more they expect of your deep pockets, the deeper your pockets seem to get. They push. You flex.

Interesting how the school has (like everyone else) hopped aboard the "Sustainability" buzzword bandwagon. The concept of making tough choices about how to live for the future. How prophetic!

Art Center, you will soon have to start making difficult financial choices on how to operate in the future.

Anonymous said...

Here is your problem
90% of the people on this page collect a nice income and spend no time in the class room.

Are people just talking on this website or are people meeting and drafting plans for change?

Future of Art Center said...

Sorry, but could you clarify? What is your comment about the catalog? Do you mean 90% of the people posting on this blog, or??

Anonymous said...

Welcome Frank!!!!!! Please trim the fat. I hope you gain the nickname "the butcher".

BTW: If you start firing faculty before staff we'll call the newspapers again.

Side note: Did anyone else notice that in the catalog there is a direct quote by RK stolen from Sir Ken Robinson. That's border line plagiarism, He want's people to think he is smart, look at your marketing strategy (me, me, me and me.

Who though this guy was leader, he is not even a builder because the South Campus was in the pipeline before he arrived.

Art Center Board has yet to prove they have any vision for this school accept taking more money from younger less creative students.

The skills have spiked though, Thanks Design Studio Press

Board Members if you are reading this: Congratulations! you've exceeded everyones expectations.

a student

Anonymous said...

FYI, for better or worse, the idea of a South Campus was Richard Koshalek's. It was not in the "pipeline"; let's get some things straight.

Can anyone confirm the appointment of a new interim President?

Anonymous said...

Art Center should (ideally) be located in a place that allows easy access to extensive public transportation. I now shudder at the thought of my (then) uninsured car that I could barely afford to drive and maintain.

Art Center could potentially realize a gold mine by selling those 175 hillside acres (in a better market) and making a really "smart" investment in its future.

Get the entire sucker into a redevelopment zone with city-owned land that has tax incentives like the pwer plant thing. Let the snoots overpay a fortune to have their breathtaking views of the valley smog.

How will Art Center make itself "sustainable" for the future (and I do not mean environmentally)? By adding more crap onto the hillside? It's time to ditch the hillside.

I like the idea of Art Center exploring and tucking itself into the existence of a larger University.

Anonymous said...

"Sustainability at Art Center
July 7th, 2008 Community Forum Moderator

In our ongoing efforts toward creating a sustainable campus, Art Center College of Design is implementing a zero waste plan that will encompass composting, source reduction, recycling, reuse, and environmental preferred purchasing. Zero waste is a design principle that goes beyond recycling by taking a “whole system” approach to the vast flow of resources and waste."

ACCD is taking this as a mantra for the administration, however, how sustainable is it??? Yes, it a design principle for how to reuse your administrative team

Composting = RK into Zero waste = Nik.

Yes, it goes beyond recycling. They are recycling their administrative staff who are too close to the old regime.

Anonymous said...

In terms of Nik being the acting CAO,

I think its fine if you want to become an administrator...its a bigger paycheck, but you can't perform that job and be the Graphic Design Chair at the same time without something suffering. I fear that he'll just do both jobs on cruise control because there aren't enough hours in the day to do both. I think Nik is a great guy. I interact with him frequently and he def. cares about students. But there is only so much one man can do.

If you want to be an administrator fine, Just step down as a department chair and find someone who has more time to dedicate to the department.

Anonymous said...

yeah nik would think the schools doing fine- i would too if i got to drive around in that fucking car of his

Anonymous said...

Nik bought the 911, well used, from Stewart Reed, Trans chair. It has well over 100K miles and blue books about the same as a new Accord.

Ophelia Chong said...

to the person spoofing my name and link. stop.

Anonymous said...

Let's not get too excited about Nik as CAO. So far it is temporary and from a students point of view, I can't see that he is doing much. It's tough tough job when you have the department chairs office entrenched in power struggles over budgets and who department contributes more to the quality of a Art Center Education.

Let's hope today's board meeting brings some budget commitments and "actionable" vision as to how the school must change to survive.

My message to the board would be. Use this time to take risks and be innovative because if they do nothing with this schools current spending it will go bankrupt. Also please don't make the excuse that it was the economy.

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that the economy tanked when things came to a head at Art Center. If senior mmgt was honest with themselves, they would have realized that trouble had been a brewing for years. They may have chosen to ignore any warning signals.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened at the board meeting yesterday?