Welcome to the Future

Please send any private comments to futureofartcenter at gmail.com. Note that comments were turned off last May. They are available now for the most recent post only.

Friday, September 26, 2008

First priorities for the Interim President

With the immanent appointment of an Interim President, what are the priorities for this new member of the Art Center community? Fundamentally, we believe that the college needs to set itself on a positive course before the new permanent president arrives. If things seem to be a mess with destructive factionalism, it will be much harder to hire a really great new president. Here are a few specific suggestions for the Interim President. Please add your own.
  1. Make a clear statement to the students, faculty, alumni and staff that from now on the college will be more transparent and communicative with them. Start by holding a public forum that explains the current status of the college, and then listens to the concerns of the community.

  2. Immediately spend money on visible improvements to the educational environment - these should be things that students and faculty experience as part of the day-to-day educational experience.

  3. Embark on a comprehensive review of spending with an eye towards focusing the school's budget on high quality education and recruitment, and the elimination of high-cost, low benefit spending and staff.

  4. Engage education (faculty, students, chairs, alumni) to initiate a dialog on art & design education for the 21st Century. How should the evolving role of artists and designers change our curriculum? What college-wide initiatives should there be to modernize education, create strong faculty development, and integrate technology and computing into education?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Pasadena, California, September 24, 2008 … The Board of Trustees of Art Center College of
Design announced today that they have reached an agreement with Richard Koshalek allowing
for Mr. Koshalek to be released from his position as president of the College prior to his contract
term date (December 2009). With this agreement, Mr. Koshalek’s departure from the College’s
Board of Trustees is effective immediately.

“We honor Richard’s request to leave early and want to thank him for the hard work and
dedication he has shown over the past nine years,” said John Puerner, Chairman, Board of
Trustees, Art Center College of Design. “Richard’s commitment to educational excellence and
the value of design education in the world is truly noteworthy, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

“It has been a great privilege to lead this important institution and to work with the College’s
talented students, faculty and staff,” said Mr. Koshalek. “Throughout its history, Art Center has
been a leader in art and design education, and I have no doubt this will continue to be the case
well into the future.”

While the Board of Trustees has already launched the search for a new president, they have
recognized the need to appoint an interim president as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the
College’s senior management team will report directly to the Board of Trustees.
“The trustees are moving swiftly to secure interim leadership to ensure a smooth transition,” said Mr. Puerner. “This will also enable the search committee to focus their full attention on finding a permanent president who can lead Art Center into the future while meeting the
curricular and programmatic needs of our students.”

The presidential search committee, which was organized several months ago, is headed by
Trustee Robert Davidson and is comprised of a broad representation of key Art Center
stakeholders, including trustees, faculty members, students, and administration. The committee
has begun working on identifying the qualities the College will seek in candidates for the
presidency, including a strong track record of successful leadership in the academic world or in
industry, a deep understanding and appreciation of design and the creative process, and the
ability to articulate and implement a strong strategic vision for Art Center.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where is the Board, Where is Hafermaas? Where is the Leadership?

Art Center is adrift and our supposed leadership is failing us. It has been 2 1/2 months since the Board announced that RK would not have his contract renewed, and they have been basically silent ever since. Nik Hafermaas has been the Acting CAO for more than a month, and almost nothing has happened from his office, not even a statement of what his direction will be, or how he will engage the campus community to implement changes.

There are serious issues pending: A new president needs to be hired, the financial health of the school, poor scholarships & high tuition, a lack of vision in 21st century education, false moves towards sustainability, falling apart facilities, under-spending in education and over spending in other areas, enrollment standards, falling confidence in the companies that hire our graduates, over-crowding, low faculty/staff moral, poor governance system, and a terrible communication tradition. We understand these issues will not be solved overnight, but THERE MUST BE BETTER COMMUNICATION and CLEAR INDICATIONS OF PROGRESS.

Students, faculty, alumni, and staff want to know: What is the school's plan? What changes are being implemented? What is the timeline? 

The leadership of this school needs to show respect for the community it serves. You are responsible for making change happen, and you are responsible for communicating how that change is progressing. God dammit, get moving!