Art Center Visioning Update from President Buchman

Dear Art Center Community:

I am writing to update you on Art Center’s planning process and to outline the next steps to completion. As many of you know, we designed the entire process to consist of two major phases of work: the visioning phase and the strategic planning phase. The midpoint and fulcrum of the process took form by way of a retreat of the Board of Trustees (on June 23 and 24) in which the Trustees heard the work completed by the visioning task force committees to date, focused their priorities and set the course for the final strategic phase to be concluded by the end of the calendar year.

Art Center students, alumni, faculty and staff convened for visioning brainstorming sessions in January.

The Board, I believe, was energized by what they heard and were compelled by the fact that hundreds of participants representing a cross-section of the community were involved at various points in the deliberations. They were engaged during the retreat in a thoughtful and rewarding dialogue that included the chairs of the visioning task force committees as well as representatives from the Chairs’ Council, Faculty Council, Art Center Student Government (ACSG) and senior staff. The effort was inclusive and courageous.

The work of the retreat coalesced the findings of the task force committees into a cogent statement of educational purpose, a statement serving at once as a tribute to the heritage of the College as well as to a dynamic vision for the future.

Specifically, the retreat reinforced a commitment to a rigorous and heterogeneous institution dedicated to educating innovators and aspiring creative leaders in the worlds of art and design. To succeed, Art Center must itself—in all fundamental areas of educational resources, facilities and community life—take on a leadership position globally.

The task now is to distill all of our work into strategic initiatives, set clear goals and objectives, agree on a sequenced and realistic timeline, and craft a business plan to get us there. As has been the case throughout, we must also continue to build consensus as we move forward and ensure that all constituencies carrying responsibility to execute against the plan—faculty, Chairs, staff, shared governance committees, Trustees—have both voice in its writing as well as the authority to implement as appropriate. Finally, we will find guidance in the WASC mandate to focus on assessment, governance and diversity, already central themes of the visioning process.

The next several months of work, therefore, will take the following shape:

  • The five visioning task force committees will evolve into three major groups each having the task of writing strategy in their given area:
  1. Academic Affairs Task Force: Composed of representatives from Curriculum and Pedagogy, Students and Student Life, and Outside Partnerships, as well as ACSG, Chairs, faculty, educational technology representation from the Facilities and Technology (FAT) committee, senior academic leadership and the Board’s Academic Affairs committee
  2. Facilities Task Force: Composed of representatives from Curriculum and Pedagogy, Students and Student Life, and Future Trends and Global Context, as well as ACSG, Chairs, faculty, senior leadership in facilities and institutional technology, representation from FAT and the Board’s Facilities committee
  3. Community (Governance and Diversity) Task Force: Composed of representatives of Community and Governance, Students and Student Life, as well as ACSG, Chairs, faculty, senior academic leadership and the Board’s Governance committee
  • In addition, a resource committee (consisting of the College’s Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President of Development and External Affairs, Vice President of Admissions and Enrollment Management, and representatives from the Budget Committee and the Finance Committee of the Board) will be tasked with developing a supporting business plan.

The goal is to produce drafts of the strategic plan from all three major groups by late November to the Chairs’ Council, Faculty Council, Senior Staff and all appropriate standing Board committees for vetting and endorsement. My commitment is to send a final draft of the entire strategic plan by year’s end to the full Board for adoption at their February 2011 meeting.

We have come a long way. We have work left to do. The product of our efforts will make a huge difference in the education of our students for years to come. I am grateful for all that you have brought and continue to bring to this vital process.


Dr. Lorne M. Buchman
Art Center College of Design

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