Tag Archives: Jeffrey Hoffman

A letter to Jeffrey Hoffman on his last day as Dean of Students at Art Center

Jeff HoffmanHey Jeff,

It’s Tyler. This letter is hard to write. On your last day as our Dean of Students, I’ve collected a few thoughts about the impact you’ve had on my life, the life of students and how much you’ll be missed by everyone.

When I first heard about you in the hallway most every person who mentioned you would remark, “Jeff? He’s great.” In the past few years I have seen how true this is, and how it doesn’t go far enough. Jeff, you’re wonderful. You’re compassionate and fair, steadfast and kind. The positive change you have made in the lives of students and everyone at Art Center has made a momentous difference and will not be forgotten.

Your energy inspires. Seeing the dedicated attention that you give every issue that comes across your desk and the grace and diligence with which you handle things big and small motivates me to be the kind of leader I have been so privileged to see you exemplify. The work you have done to ensure students’ health and happiness through the CSE has changed the school’s culture. The policy changes you have pushed for — being student-centered and seeing the learning opportunities at every step — modeled the generosity that we needed and continue to aspire towards as an institution. Your initiatives with the Council on Diversity and Inclusion and the environment you helped create have made for a truly safe space where everyone is heard, appreciated and empowered to act.

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Photography and Imaging graduate wins Student Leadership Award

Photography and Imaging graduate Katie Buntsma. Photo: Chuck Spangler

Photography and Imaging graduate Katie Buntsma. Photo: Chuck Spangler

“I came to Art Center from a tiny town in Iowa and I thought I was going to be a big deal,” said Photography and Imaging graduate Katie Buntsma last week as she received Art Center’s Student Leadership Award for the Summer 2013 term. “I was certain of it.”

That certainty, Buntsma shared with the audience, didn’t last long.

“I broke my arm the first day of school,” she said with a laugh, recalling the most dramatic example of how reality put her ego in check. “I ran my scooter into a cement pylon and spent my first class in the Huntington Hospital emergency room.”

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Product Design Graduate Vladimir Almonnord Wins Student Leadership Award

Vladimir Almonnord

Product Design graduate and Student Leadership Award recipient Vladimir Almonnord.

“There’s nothing more pleasant than helping someone in need and watching them achieve success,” said Product Design graduate Vladimir Almonnord, recipient of Art Center’s Student Leadership Award for the Spring 2013 term. “It’s the fuel that keeps me going and that motivates me at times I feel defeated.”

Each term, Art Center presents the Student Leadership Award to a deserving student from the College. The award is a distinguished honor granted to a graduating student who exemplifies leadership qualities and accomplishments that stand out above their peers.

“He has a passion for the process of designing meaningful products, is a superb visual storyteller and produces exceptional results on a grand scale,” said one faculty nominator of Almonnord, a student who forged a unique path that fused product design, illustration, entertainment design and transportation design.

“What surprised me the most about him was how he shares his time and thoughts with almost anyone and everyone that approached him,” said a student nominator.

“He reminds me of what kind of growth is possible, not just in skills, but in character, professionalism and attitude,” added another faculty nominator of Almonnord who, as a team leader for the Designmatters Change on the Streets transdisciplinary studio, helped address two critical issues facing the city of Pasadena: homelessness and panhandling.

“Perhaps his most important leadership achievement while at Art Center is how he willingly nurtured the talents of his peers,” said Dean of Students Jeffrey Hoffman when introducing Almonnord to the stage at last week’s graduation ceremony.

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Summer 2013 Orientation Week Welcomes New Students

This week, Art Center officially welcomes the Summer 2013 incoming class with a week of orientation activities organized by the College’s Center for the Student Experience.

Art Center students in the classroom

Art Center students sketch in Justine Parish’s Costume Design course.

“An effective orientation program for new college students is a critical component of student success,” says Dean of Students Jeffrey Hoffman. “When students feel connected, understand college culture and expectations, and get off to a good start in their classes, they are more likely to get the most out of their learning experience, to graduate, and thus realize their professional goals.”

Here’s the lineup of what’s to come to help new students maximize their education—both in and out of the classroom.

Tuesday, May 7

8:30–9 a.m.: New student orientation check in.

9–9:30 a.m.: Dean of Students Jeffrey Hoffman and Kit Baron, Senior Vice President, Admissions welcome new students.

9:45 a.m.–noon: Tour the campus and have lunch with peer mentors (12–1:30 p.m.).

1:30–3 p.m. or 3:30–5 p.m.: Undergraduate students have the option of taking digital waiver tests.

2–5:30 p.m.: Graduate student orientation and course selections.

Wednesday, May 8

8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: International student orientation. Assistant Director for International Student Advising and Programming Jeonghan Ryu and Coordinator for Intercultural and Diversity Programming Milyn Villareal welcome new international students.

10:15–11:45 a.m.: Financial literacy seminar for domestic students receiving state and federal aid with Financial Aid Associate Director Allison Lee.

12:45–4:35 p.m.: A round of sessions for all students to learn about campus sustainability, health insurance, the library, alumni relations and more.

Thursday, May 9

9:30–10:15 a.m.: Information on campus technology and equipment insurance, followed by tips on managing class schedules and academic progress.

10:15–11 a.m.: A lesson on the infamous Art Center critique, the culture of critique, researching as a resource for inspiration, and interpreting objects and images.

11 a.m.–4:15 p.m.: Students tour the James Lemont Fogg Memorial Library, take care of administrative business (ID cards, parking information, course logins) and partake in special peer mentor activity. Bring new student information form and vehicle registration.

Friday, May 10

8 a.m.–noon: Parents, spouses, partners and other family members are invited to an informal breakfast followed by campus tours and orientation.

11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.: Students lunch with their department chairs, followed by a departmental orientation.

Reminder: Classes officially begin Saturday, May 11.

Welcome to Art Center College of Design, and we wish everyone a happy start to the term!

Meet Product Design Graduate Jenn Kuca, Winner of the Summer 2012 Student Leadership Award

Summer 2012 Student Leadership Award winner Jenn Kuca. Photo: Chuck Spangler

Each term, Art Center presents the Student Leadership Award to a deserving student from the College. The award is a distinguished honor granted to a graduating student who exemplifies leadership qualities and accomplishments that stand out above their peers.

“This person has been nothing short of outstanding,” said Dean of Students Jeffrey Hoffman when presenting the award to Product Design graduate Jenn Kuca at Saturday’s Summer 2012 Graduation. “From her very first term, she chose to be involved and to lead us all to a better place.”

During her first year at Art Center, Kuca became an officer of the student chapter of Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) (and later, its president), where she organized the first annual IDSA Clash, a mixer event that brought together design professionals and students from multiple Southern California colleges.

As president of EcoCouncil, she convinced the administration to formalize the College’s long-term commitment to an eco-friendly future by participating in the STARS/PALS sustainability programs. And as a student representative for the College’s Facility and Technology Committee, she helped strategize improvements to support Art Center’s long-term strategic plan and educational mission.

“And those are only the highlights,” said Hoffman, as he listed an impressive string of Kuca’s accomplishments as a student.

When Kuca took the stage, she shared with her peers some of the insight she gained about Art Center, design and life in general.

On the implicit challenge of Art Center:

“From my very first visit to Art Center, I’ve felt that the implicit challenge to do better and to rise above is what sets this school apart. When I became a student, I discovered the best part, which is that my fellow students had the same expectations of themselves and of me.”

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New Standing Committee Created

Guest post by Art Center President Lorne Buchman

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Last fall, I launched an important conversation regarding diversity through a forum with Dr. Daryl Smith, a leading national scholar in higher education diversity theory and research. The intention was to bring College leadership together to explore the values of diversity and inclusion as central to academic excellence and institutional mission.

Synchronized to align with the development of our new strategic plan, the forum was an important beginning in developing a common understanding of institutional diversity and inclusion. In the final plan itself, these values have been anchored at the center of our educational mission—precisely where they belong. Create Change recognizes the critical responsibility of developing professionals, leaders, and citizens able to thrive in and contribute to a changing and pluralistic society.

To implement and monitor relevant aspects of the strategic plan, I am pleased to announce that I have established a new standing committee for the College—the Council on Diversity and Inclusion. Parallel to Art Center’s Budget Committee, and Facilities & Technology Committee, the council will be a standing shared governance committee of the College. The responsibility of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion is to realize the strategies outlined in our new plan through ongoing oversight in measuring progress toward achieving our objectives.

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Taking Action Through a Day of Service

On Saturday, June 12, Art Center students, staff and faculty participated in the College’s first Art Center Takes Action: A Day of Service in Pasadena, a volunteer initiative launched in celebration of Art Center’s 80th anniversary.

The day of service kicked off Saturday morning with a breakfast with College President Lorne Buchman and representatives from participating organizations. Sponsors Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and Autunno Catering provided breakfast for volunteers.

Art Center Takes Action is the first in what I hope will become a long-standing College tradition of providing service to those in need,” Buchman said at the breakfast.

“When the Art Center community comes together to participate in volunteer initiatives such as this, we help elevate Art Center’s reputation not only as a good neighbor, but as a meaningful place to pursue an art and design education.”

Volunteers visited with the residents at the Villa Gardens Retirement Community, helped beautify and paint the The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena, collected trash at the Rose Bowl, and acquired goods and donations for the AIDS Service Center.

“Pasadena is a city with a lot of need,” said Ben Sanders, a third-term Illustration major who spent the day volunteering at Villa Gardens, a retirement community that 200 residents call home. “It’s a great idea for Art Center to make its presence known in the community. Not by showing what we as artists and designers have made, but by simply showing people we’re here and we care.”

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Take Action: Volunteer

This Saturday Art Center students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends will come together for Art Center Takes Action: A Day of Service in Pasadena, a volunteer initiative launched in celebration of Art Center’s 80th anniversary.

“We strive to provide opportunities for our students to get the most out of their educational experience both inside and outside the classroom,” explains Dean of Students Jeffrey Hoffman. “Art Center’s Day of Service will provide such an opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds to build relationships with their local community—a place they call home.”

The local organizations that Art Center volunteers will engage with include AIDS Service Center, which develops and delivers services, advocacy and education tailored to improve the quality of life for those impacted by and at risk for HIV/AIDS; Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena, whose goal is to improve the lives of children by helping them build self-assurance and develop leadership skills while reinforcing positive values; the Rose Bowl Operating Company, which manages Pasadena’s historic stadium and professional quality golf course; and Villa Gardens Retirement Community, one of the City’s premier retirement communities offering residents opportunities both stimulating and relaxing.

The day of service will kick off at 8 am Saturday, June 12, with a breakfast with College President Buchman and representatives from participating organizations.

It’s not too late to join us. To sign up or for more information, contact Betsy Edmunds in the Center for the Student Experience at cse@artcenter.edu or stop by the CSE. Also be sure to check the The Dotted Line next week for coverage and photos of the event.