WHEN I CALLED FOR HELP WITH SOS AND MONEY BLOGS, I MENTIONED THAT I HAD BEEN TERMINATED UNFAIRLY. SOME OF YOU RESPONDED ASKING WHAT DID YOU DO, HARASS A STUDENT ETC?
I CAME TO THE ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY WITH THE BECKONING OF ALBERTO BERTOLI, THE DIRECTOR OF THE COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM. WE HAD MET AND TAUGHT AT SCI-ARC AND WE RESPECTED EACH OTHER’S DESIGN TALENT. I HAD GIVEN A CHARRETTE AT THE ACADEMY OF ART IN 2006 AND THERE WERE GIGANTIC STEPS OF DESIGN EXCELLENCE SINCE THEN.
I MOVED FROM OREGON AND SET UP LIFE IN ALAMEDA TO TEACH. A MAJOR EXPENDITURE, BECAUSE THE JOB DESCRIPTION WAS TO DEVELOP A PROGRAM THAT WOULD LAST FOR MANY YEARS.
I MET THE PRESIDENT OF THE ACADEMY, ELISA STEPHENS AT AN ACCREDITATION RECEPTION LAST SPRING. AN ATTRACTIVE MIDDLE AGED REDHEAD WHO INTRODUCED HERSELF TO ME. I WAS SURPRISED. I KNEW HER REPUTATION OF BEING TOUGH. SHE OWNS 34 BUILDINGS IN DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO, I WANTED TO MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION AND WE TALKED. I MENTIONED THAT EDUCATION WAS ABOUT THE STUDENTS AND NOT MONEY. SHE SAID, SHE REVIEWED ALBERTOS REQUESTS AND APPROPRIATED THE MONEY. TWO WEEKS LATER TO MY SURPRISE, ABERTO TOOK ME ASIDE AND TOLD ME I HAD INSULTED HER AND SHE WAS VERY MAD AT ME, BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT THE ACCREDITATION BOARD MEMBERS HAD OVERHEARD MY COMMENTS. I WAS SHOCKED, BECAUSE I THOUGHT WE HAD CONNECTED AND THIS WAS A START OF A FRIENDSHIP. MY HOUSE IN OREGON WAS IN FORECLOSURE AND I THOUGHT IT WOULD MAKE A GOOD RETREAT FOR FACULTY AND STUDENTS, I WAS ABOUT TO SUBMIT TO HER A PROPOSAL TO DO SO. I WROTE AN APOLOGY, BUT NEVER GOT A RESPONSE.
TO MY SURPRISE THE PAY AT THE ACADEMY WAS A THIRD WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AND I WAS PAID MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE ON THE FACULTY. LESS THAN WHAT I HAD AT SCI-ARC TWENTY YEARS AGO. THE SCHOOL WAS GROWING FAST LIKE SCI-ARC HAD DONE, AND I WAS AT EASE, BECAUSE I WAS PROMISED A BRIGHT FUTURE. THERE WAS ONLY ONE FULL TIME FACULTY MEMBER, THE REST FELL INTO ADJUNCT FACULTY CATEGORY AND THERE WAS OUTSPOKEN HOSTILITY AMONG THE FACULTY REGARDING LOUSY PAY AND NO TEACHING SECURITY. I HAD A MEETING WITH ALBERTO ABOUT THIS, AND HE WAS IN DENIAL ABOUT WHAT FACULTY SHOULD BE PAID.
I HAD TAUGHT A COURSE AT SCI-ARC CALLED NATURAL STRUCTURES, WHICH I INTRODUCED IN THE FALL OF 2010 TO AUGMENT STRUCTURAL CLASSES. THE FIRST PROJECT IN SEPTEMBER WAS A TRUSS. THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF MATERIAL TO BUILD THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF STRENGTH WITH A 8′ SPAN AND CARRY THE WEIGHT OF THE DESIGN TEAM. THE STUDENTS DESIGNED AND BUILT ONE, IIT CREAKED AND THEY REINFORCED IT, ALL ABOUT THE LEARNING PROCESS.
AT THE END OF 2ND CLASS THE STUDENTS AND I WENT TO A CARPETED CENTRAL SPACE. THEY HAD PUT A COUPLE OF CHIP BOARD DISPLAY BOXES AT EITHER END AND THEY STARTED TO GET ON THE TRUSS. THERE WAS A BIT OF CREAKING, BUT IT WAS COMING FROM A SUPPORT BOX. WE SHIFTED THE BOX AND THE STUDENTS CLIMED ON WITH A SUCCESSFUL TEST AND I TOOK PICTURES.
I LEFT THE AREA TO GATHER MY BOOKS AND BRIEFCASE IN THE CLASSROOM . THE CLASS WAS OVER. I HEARD A CRASH AND RAN OUT TO SEE THAT THE TRUSS HAD COLLAPSED AND ONE STUDENT HAD HURT HERSELF ON THE SUPPORT BOX, SHE HAD A DEEP CUT ON HER CALF. THE STUDENTS HAD GOTTEN BACK ON THE TRUSS TO TAKE PICTURES, THE SUPPORT BOX HAD FLEXED AND THE TRUSS FAILED. THE STUDENT WAS IN PAIN AND TOOK MONTHS TO RECOVER. SHE HAS A GOOD ATTITUDE AND HAS REGAINED HER STRENGTH AND MOVEMENT. SHE COMPLETED HER CLASSES.
THERE WAS AN ATTORNEY ASSIGNED TO REPRESENT THE SCHOOL AND MYSELF, WHO CLAIMED AFTER SUBSTANTIAL REVIEW THAT IT WAS AN UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT, LIKE ALL 20 OTHER SCHOOLS SHE REPRESENTED. STUFF LIKE THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. I HAVE TAUGHT FOR 26 YEARS AND THIS WAS THE FIRST ACCIDENT THAT HAD HAPPENED ON MY WATCH. I REALIZE I WAS VERY FORTUNATE.
IRONICALLY THIS WAS ONE OF THE CLASSES MY STUDENTS OF THE PAST PRAISED AND LOVED.
ALBERTO’S REACTION WAS, “HOW COULD YOU USE LIVE WEIGHT? WHY NOT SAND BAGS?” HE IMMEDIATELY TOOK THE SIDE OF THE ENRAGED PARENTS. NOW THAT IS STANDING BEHIND YOUR FACULTY AND FRIEND. AS THE PICTURES SHOW, OTHER TEACHERS HAVE USED THIS METHOD, LIKE BUCKMINSTER FULLER. IT BRINGS A DIRECT SENSE OF CAUTION AND CONSEQUENCES. THE PROBLEM STATEMENT MENTIONED 1/3 FAILURE. THE STUDENTS WERE 3 FEET OFF THE GROUND AND POISED TO JUMP. DO YOU OUTLAW CARS , BICYCLES, EXACTO KNIVES, STAIRS BECAUSE OF ACCIDENTS?
AT GENSLER’S OFFICE, WHERE I RECENTLY APPLIED FOR A JOB, THE ONLY SUCCESSFUL PART OF THE INTERVIEW WAS THE DISMAY SHOWN OVER ME BEING FIRED FOR THIS RIDICULOUS REASON. THE ASSESSMENT: “THERE MUST HAVE BEEN ANOTHER REASON .”
ALBERTO, AFTER SCHEDULING ME TO TEACH IN THE SPRING, CALLED ME SIX DAYS BEFORE I WAS SET TO TEACH WITH THE NEWS THE PRESIDENT ELISA STEPHENS WOULD NOT ALLOW ME TO TEACH. REASON, TRUSS INCIDENT. ALBERTO ASSURED ME HE HAD FOUGHT FOR ME TO STAY AND WAS BUILDING THE PROGRAM AROUND ME. WHEN I STARTED TRYING TO CONVINCE HIM OF MY WORTH, HE ASSURED ME HE KNEW MY TALENT AND WORTH AND RECOMMENDED I APPROACH THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AND CCA. I ASKED FOR A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION AND EXPLANATION, HE SAID NO PROBLEM. THE LETTER WAS NEVER SENT AND MY FOLLOW UP LETTER WAS IGNORED, I AM STILL WAITING. THE “BAD NEWS GLEN” TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WAS THE LAST TIME WE SPOKE. THIS IS ONE WEAK-KNEED FRIEND I DO NOT NEED. HIT THE ROAD SMALL AND DON’T COME BACK NO MORE NO MORE. THERE WAS NO FORMAL LETTER OF TERMINATION NOR MY RIGHTS, IF I HAD ANY.
ONE PROFESSOR, DAVID KESLER, SHOWED REAL CONCERN AND ACTUALLY GAVE SOME SOS MONEY. THE FEW OTHER PROFESSORS I CONTACTED SAID, TOO BAD. THE STUDENTS WERE SILENT. NOT LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS WHEN STUDENTS HAD SOME GUTS. I KNOW THEY LIKED ME. BUT THE COLLEGE FUNCTIONS UNDER A DICTATORSHIP THAT CAN ERUPT IN ANY DIRECTION. THERE WAS NO REVIEW COMMITTEE OF PEERS OF THE DISMISSAL.
THE SCHOOL IS A WALMART, WITH NO BENEFITS AND ONE SEMESTER CONTRACTS. THE FACULTY OFTEN TEACH AT OTHER UNIVERSITIES TO MAKE FINANCIAL ENDS MEET. I OBJECTED, BECAUSE I AM A STAY TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL TYPE. THE SYSTEM IS SIMPLE. BUY BUILDINGS, PUT STUDENTS IN THEM THAT CARRY THE LOANS AND EXPENSES. OUR PROGRAM CHARGED $30,000 FOR TUITION FOR TWO SEMESTERS AND HAD AN OPEN DOOR POLICY OF LETTING ANYONE IN WITH MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS. PREDOMINATELY FOREIGN STUDENTS THAT CAN NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND LECTURE CLASSES, THAT ARE ATTRACTED TO QUAINT SAN FRANCISCO. THE PROGRAM IS IN THE RED, BECAUSE OF THE OVERHEAD COSTS. THEREFORE NEEDING MORE STUDENTS, AND MORE FACULTY AND FACILITIES. A DEAD END FRANTIC QUEST. ALBERTO IS IN DENIAL AND MAKING THE MOST OF THE LIMITED FUNDS HE HAS, BUT YOU CAN NOT BE A CREDITABLE UNIVERSITY USING MINIMUM FUNDS AND PROVIDING NOTHING FOR FACULTY. THERE IS NO FACULTY PARKING OR OFFICES, THERE IS NO RESEARCH PROGRAM, THERE IS NO LIBRARY OF SUBSTANCE. THERE IS NO STUDENT PARKING. THERE IS A CONSTANT FEAR OF BEING TERMINATED, ALBERTO EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT HIS SITUATION. THIS IS A MONEY MACHINE RUN BY A VERY IMPETUOUS RUTHLESS WOMAN WHO IS CLUELESS ABOUT THE ONLY PROFESSIONAL COLLEGE AT HER UNIVERSITY.
I WENT TO TWO DIFFERENT LAWYERS THAT WORK ON CONTINGENCY. BOTH SAID I HAVE A CASE, BUT THE MONEY INVOLVED IS NOT WORTH THEIR EFFORT.
WHAT ABOUT A CAREER BLACK MARK AND PERSONAL FINANCIAL DISASTER, NOBODY GIVES A DAMN.
AFTER PUTTING IN A CONCERTED EFFORT TO GET AN IMMEDIATE JOB AND ASKING FOR FINANCIAL HELP, I SOLD AT A LOSS OR GAVE AWAY MY BELONGINGS, PACKED, RENTED A U HAUL TRUCK, TOOK MY BOOKS AND PERSONAL WORK TO LA AND PUT THEM IN MY GARAGE. YOU ALL KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO MOVE AND RELOCATE. NEED I SAY MORE. SINCE ARRIVING IN NICARAGUA, I HAVE HAD NIGHTMARES ABOUT THE DISRUPTIVE MOVE.
BEING DONE IN BY AN UGLY TRUSS, WHAT A JOKE, THE REST OF THE COURSE WAS SPACE FRAME, THIN SHELL, FOLDED PLATE, TENSILE,
KINETIC ETC. AT LEAST THEY ARE A BIT MORE EXOTIC.
NOW IN NICARAGUA. IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL AND AFFORDABLE COMPARED TO THE TRAUMA IN THE USA. MET AN INTERESTING WELL CONNECTED PSYCHOLOGIST YESTERDAY AND WENT OUT WITH MY WIFE TO AN OUTSTANDING DELIGHTFUL FOLKLORE DANCE PERFORMANCE AT THE OPERA HOUSE, JUST ACROSS THE BOULEVARD FROM MY ACOUSTICAL SHELL, SUNNY AND PLEASANTLY WARM.
I WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED.
SO FAR NO COMMENTS, I THOUGHT AT LEAST SOME STUDENTS FROM THE PAST THAT STOOD ON ONE OF THEIR TRUSSES WOULD RESPOND BY NOW. I APOLOGIZE FOR THE DELAY IN GETTING MY BLOG UP AND RUNNING LATELY. NOW THAT I AM ALL SETTLED IN MANAGUA, NICARAGUA AND THE DEMANDS ON ME ARE BEING THE FAMILY FURNITURE MAKER, I HAVE TIME TO THINK.
THE NEEDS OF SURVIVAL ARE MET, I AM PONDERING WHAT IS MY PROFESSIONAL MEANING IN LIFE, THE INTEREST OF THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE APPEARS AGAIN TO ME AS LEAVING SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT FOR THE PLUNDERING HUMAN RACE TO MULL OVER. A PRESENT DAY VERSION FOR IMMEDIATE CONSTRUCTION,
RECENTLY READ A BOOK ON THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE AMERICANS, THEY LIVED IN A SIMILAR MANNER FOR 10,000 YEARS BEFORE THE WHITE MAN WITH ALL THE PROGRESSIVE POLICIES TOOK OVER.
“BEING DONE IN BY AN UGLY TRUSS, WHAT A JOKE, THE REST OF THE COURSE WAS SPACE FRAME, THIN SHELL, FOLDED PLATE, TENSILE,
KINETIC ETC. AT LEAST THEY ARE A BIT MORE EXOTIC.”
Keep the good work Glen. I am happy to spread your life’s work to the world. You are an inspiration to many.
THANKS ORHAN FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND COMMENT. IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE. THE FINE LINE OF BEING AN ARCHITECT THAT WANTS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE WORLD IN A POSITIVE WAY, BUT NOT INTERESTED IN GOING DOWN ON ONES KNEES AND BEGGING THE CORRUPT SOCIETY TO DO SO .
WE SHALL OVERCOME,
It saddens us to see that there is such heartless machines we call intitutions. Considering the battles we all must face, it is an inspiration to see through you that there is always a next chapter. Yes the truss was ugly, but it should be mentioned that it was the support boxes that where the cause of the accident. Interestingly enough they were built in the Academy Woodshop, by Academy employees, on Academy money, it is a bit IRONIC.
Enjoy the warmth of latin america
DEAR SERGIO AND SUKY,
THANK YOU BOTH FOR RESPONDING. YOU KNOW FIRST HAND, SINCE SUKY WAS STANDING ON THE TRUSS AND SERGIO FROM 608 DESIGN STUDIO WAS AWARE OF THE TOTAL EPISODE FROM THE INSIDE. YOUR POINT OF THE SUPPORT BOXES BEING BUILT AT THE ACADEMY BEING THE REAL FAILURE IS A SAD NOTE. YOU ARE THE FIRST STUDENTS TO COME FOWARD TO SHOW YOUR CONCERN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, IT MEANS A LOT TO ME.
WISHING YOU BOTH THE BEST, KEEP CLOSE,
The academy of art is a semi-fraudulent predatory money making machine. 30K – That’s really disturbing given the state of student loans in this country.
I can’t believe lawyers would even be involved. I cut myself with a olfa blade in school 10 years ago. I also had someone launch a piece of wood that hit me in the leg. Deep bruising for sure. I wonder if I should get a lawyer.
DEAR ——- SAYS
THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTFUL AND ANGRY DISGUST. THE LIMITED RESPONSE TO THIS BLOG HAS ME YELLING AT THE STARS AT NIGHT. AM I CRAZY? GOING FROM TEACHING UNIVERSITY STUDENTS DIRECTLY TO BEING IN THE JUNGLE IN TWO MONTHS. DID I DO SOMETHING WRONG? I DO NOT THINK SO. ALL THE SILENCE OF THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION. I FEEL LIKE AN OUTSIDER. MY SITUATION OF PROFESSOR COULD RELATE TO ANY ARCHITECTURAL STUDENT SITE VISIT WITH SOME ACCIDENT OF FALLING THROUGH A ROOTEN FLOOR, PIER, HOLE ETC. WHAT A PROFESSION OF PATHETIC WEAK PROFESSIONAL BROTHERS.
WISHING YOU THE BEST,
Your comments are insightful as usual and I agree with Suky and Sergio as well.
What we have now in much of the world are pathocracies. In the U.S. institutions are insane–they have policies that will destroy everything, but no one sees it from the inside. Only outsiders of one kind or another see the rot and the irrationality.
Just think, Glen, if you were a psycho narcissist like Charlie Sheen you could get thousands of followers. BE GLAD the system has rejected you. It is to our credit that we don’t fit into what is currently going on.
My husband, a progressive architect with integrity and vast experience, can’t get a job. We are losing our house and will have to move to the cheapest housing possible–probably in Arizona. Quelle horreur. Anyway, our next chapter is dark and unknown at present, but we must advance into it with courage.
check out this blog
it is radical and humanistic–I like it a lot
JANICE AND HUSBAND,
IT IS A SILENT TIME IN THE PROFESSION. ARCHITECTURE BEING A SERVICE PROFESSION, THAT RELIES ON WEALTHY CLIENTS, TO SAY ANYTHING THAT MIGHT ENDANGER A LIVELIHOOD IS CONSIDERED MADNESS.
I DO NOT KNOW THE NUMBERS, SOMEBODY MIGHT SUPPLY THEM, BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF YOUNG ARCHITECTS OUT THERE THAT ARE SCRAMBLING FOR WORK WITH COMPUTER SKILLS THAT DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD TO DO. THE SCHOOLS CONTINUE TO CHURN THEM OUT. I WAS INFORMED INDIA HAS A SHORTAGE OF ARCHITECTS.
THE POINT BEING REAL ARCHITECTS WITH POINTS OF VIEW, CREATIVE JUCIES AND ASSURANCES TO CONTROL DESIGN DIRECTION ARE NOT NEEDED.
MAYBE IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY.
I CAN RELATE TO YOUR PLIGHT OF LOSING YOUR HOME AND BEING FINANCIALLY UNSTABLE, NOT A GOOD THING. I AM TRYING TO FIGURE HOW TO SPIN THAT TO BE POSITIVE.
WISHING YOU THE BEST AND THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS, REFRESHING -INSIGHTFUL .
Hi, Glen, thanks for your words of support. Disruption is all I see in my future. I feel quite desperate at times but philosophical at others. I lived by certain rules (my own) and so ended up jettisoned by corporate Amerika. Can’t say I regret it, given the alternative. Being much younger than he, I just wish I could find a good job so that my husband could totally retire–he’s 71, but looks 20 years younger, as do I. NOT being corporate drones keeps you young–think we could market that through infomercials??
I also taught in Walmart higher education. Most recently, I taught Information Literacy, a course in using the internet to write research papers that I prepared in one weekend and taught successfully. After working for a large public district for 12 years, 2 years in Japan, and part-time and one year gigs for the past 16 years, I have a view of our education system few have had. I taught in a private Korean academy with the richest students in the U.S., in a yeshiva (Jewish day school), at a charter school, at a progressive school (no grades, action-and-experience-based education) and most recently as a college English teacher and teaching teacher candidates to pass the tests the state makes them take. I know “where all the bodies are buried” in almost every facet of American education.
The institution you write about above that fired you would have made your life miserable one way or another, believe me.
With all this, I guess I could write a book, but not in the midst of tension about whether we’ll end up living in our car!
I’m a sensitive flower (: ) and can’t thnk under this stress.
Do you by any chance know the architect Adolf Ortega? He worked with my husband at Frank Gehry’s at one time and most recently for Leo Daly. He is in Nicaragua, but not Managua. We are going to try and get in touch with him and see how he is liking retirement there.
Do you speak Spanish? If not, how are you managing?
The Academy of Art hack steals and taps your phone and laptop then sells it to the industry. They are affilitated with The Los Angeles Film School. All are For Profit. All illegally commit intellectual property theft. And ALL ARE OWNED and OPERATED BY Scientology.
There were fliers up in Academy bldgs a few years ago soliciting for Dianetics/Scientology. Just sayin’…