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.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter 2009 Update

The new president, Lorne Buchman, is here and is about to begin a 6th month long process of defining what the future of Art Center is. Below is his letter announcing this. Two events are planned in the week before school starts. If you are interested in participating, please attend. I think the process will be a very positive one, though I expect lots of discomfort and angst from many directions.

The bottom line for me is that if Art Center does not define an innovative new path into the future, the school will fade. But if we can move forward in a bold way, we'll be a great college and dramatically influence the fields we teach.

Kick-off event: January 13th, 7:30-9:30, Ahmanson Theater
First Brainstorming event: January 14th, 11:30-5:30, student dining room

I'm opening up comments for this post (other posts are set to be moderated, and I'll delete any comments to them).

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Trustees and Alumni:

As many of you know, I am initiating a comprehensive planning process
at Art Center designed to produce both a creative vision for the
future and, in the long run, the strategy that will get us there. The
sequence is crucial. We must first come together as a community to
envision our opportunities, to imagine new possibilities, and to enter
into a bold, habit-breaking, conversation about our educational
future. Strategic planning — the mechanism to get us there — will
follow next summer.

I am writing to ask you to join in this first phase of educational
planning and to attend a kick-off event on the evening of Wednesday
January 13th in the Ahmanson Auditorium from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Given the imperative of building a pertinent, responsive, and
future-oriented plan, we will invite a few key individuals (thought
leaders) from outside ACCD to serve on a panel to address the question
of what they believe are the challenges of a great art and design
college of the future. Please plan to be there to witness this
important conversation which will generate thought-provoking ideas,
provide perspective from the outside, and ultimately facilitate a
discussion amongst ourselves.

I would also like to invite (and strongly encourage) any and all of
you to join us the following day for an internal brainstorming session
on Thursday, January 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Student
Dining Room to begin the planning process which will focus on the
following five major issues derived from our Mission Statement:

Students & Student Life
Curriculum & Pedagogy
Outside Partnerships
Governance & Community
Future Trends and Global Context

We will form five groups that will work together on that day and
throughout the term to develop final recommendations that I will
present to the Board of Trustees during their annual retreat in late

Art Center needs an educational vision and an educational plan. It
needs at once to preserve what we know works today and to create
opportunities for the future. New programs, new learning models, new
online offerings, curricular reform, student life and service,
diversity, inclusion, access, affordability, research,
professionalism, ethics, partnerships, community, shared governance,
etc. — all will come together in the plan we create. Art Center also
needs a collective process to articulate its vision, one that gives
voice to all members of the community who wish to be involved and who
have something to say.

I ask for your involvement, your time, your ideas, and your good will
toward this crucial endeavor. We need you there.

Please RSVP to Jered Gold at jered.gold@artcenter.edu by December 17,
2009 with your interest in attending the evening session and/or the
following day’s retreat.

Best regards,

Lorne M. Buchman

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fall 2009 Update

It seems people are still reading this (now retired) blog, so I thought I should update the status at ACCD.

  • The new president, Lorne M. Buchman, will arrive in October. All reports are positive regarding him, and he had many positive attributes including previous experience as president of an art/design school (CCA), fund raising, and a healthy focus on education. An interesting side note is that Buchman had applied to be president 10 years ago and was a top finalist when Koshalek was chosen.
  • There is a new head of HR, which should clear the way for better policies and more transparency.
  • The various college committees are up and running and seem to be doing a good job with participation from faculty, students, chairs and staff.
  • There is a serious recognition throughout the college of the financial burden students are being asked to take on. Tuition increases are reportedly going to be limited as much as possible and kept below increases at other comparable schools. And fund raising is focused on increasing scholarship funds.
  • One of the accreditation groups, WASC, will be around the campus in early fall, and will undoubtably find progress, but still lots to do in terms of improving education at ACCD. If you have comments about education, you should get in touch with WASC through the student council, faculty council, or directly.
  • Relations with alumni and the neighborhood groups have apparently improved greatly through the work of interim president Ellsworth.
  • Overall morale is better, but still cautious. Good teaching is going on, and I think people feel the place is less fragile. On the other hand, there are still a lot of old resentments, and a lack of strong community feeling among faculty, staff, and chairs. I don't have a good read on how the students feel.
  • The next big thing will be taking a look at what education should look like in the future at ACCD (not mention evaluating the current programs). Making the major changes that (in my opinion) need to be made to update the curriculums for the next 20 years will require a lot of courage from the Chairs and Faculty.
  • Facilities need a lot of work - the Ellwood building on the hillside needs major renovations including earthquake and air-conditioning. And the south campus needs many changes as well.
So overall, the college is still doing a good job of educating, and we are now much better positioned to go into the future, both financially and educationally. But it will take a lot of work from all involved to get there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where we are in May 2009

A brief update on where we are in May 2009:
  • The presidential search is well underway, and it is likely that a new president of the college will be in place for fall 2009
  • Interim president Frank Ellsworth has made major cuts in the administrative part of the school, saving literally millions of dollars
  • Faculty and students are participating in many of the major committees including budget and technology/facilities
  • A new mission statement is in development
  • The board of trustees is much reduced, but now composed of mostly active participants - it seems much of the rancor and disagreement is in the past
  • Building plans are currently on hold, but some expansion is still planned in the long run. The recent South Campus construction is wrapping up and grad programs are moving from the hillside into the wind tunnel, and new classrooms are opening in the basement.
  • There are still many things that need to be changed at the school including updating of curriculums, greater role of faculty in governance of the school, better policies and procedures, and perhaps most important, an updated vision of Art Center's role in the art and design world.
  • Financially, the school is okay for now, but needs to update its educational and business models in order to survive in the long run.
Lastly, it is clear to most in the school community that Art Center would have faced dire problems if the changes over the last year had not taken place. Non-education spending was out of control, priorities were misplaced, education was suffering, and the mission of the school was seriously out of sync with a productive future for the school. The causes for this can be debated, but we now face several years of rebuilding. Thanks to all who helped start these essential changes a year ago.