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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.

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