Okay, lets put this blog to use.
ACCD shop teachers Lars Jorgensen and Miles Elledge are being forced out of the shop. They have been incredibly influential in student’s lives and education at ACCD.
Miles is returning after an injury and has not been allowed to work in the shop yet.
Lars’ hours are slowly being cut, term after term. How do you fire a popular teacher? By dragging it out until the new students don’t know who he is, and you can fire him without any qualms.
If you don’t know Lars, he studied Product Design at ACCD and left after 6th term because he couldn’t afford tuition. I think Lars shows a tremendous amount of empathy towards students because of this experience. He worked for Syd Mead, Kerry Joyce, Kurt Kaufman among others after leaving ACCD. He has been at the shop for nine years and teaches because loves it. In my experience he is an advocate for the students. When I talked to him, he conveyed three problems he sees at ACCD.
1. Students graduate pissed off at school
2. Relatively small endowment
3. High tuition cost
Lars hopes he can affect two of those problems, by providing a better experience for students, who, in turn, will assist in the endowment.
Another example of Lars advocacy is when the topic of milling models came up among shop staff. It was recommended that all bucks be the same, allowing for faster setup. Lars spoke up against this saying that it would limit the creativity of students, conforming them to the shops guidelines.
And you know those new shop hours? Guess who has been advocating that for years…Yes Lars.
So I ask you, readers of this post, for your help
First click here to sign a petition to keep Lars and Miles in the shop. I will bring the open letter below and the petition to management on Tuesday.
Second share your thoughts. Please like, share, and post this to your Facebook walls. Even if you don’t know Lars, something like this can easily happen to your favorite teacher.
An open letter to Art Center College of Design shop management:
I met Lars Jorgensen in my second term of Art Center. I was lucky enough to have my first shop class waived from previous experience. I still remember our meeting, I was working on the product replication assignment in Design Fundamentals 2. I had asked him about different ways to build it, trying to discover the most efficient way. Immediately I noticed that he didn’t tell me how to build it, instead he encouraged me to think through some different ways of doing it. Encouraging me to discover the best process. Thus empowering me to be more successful in the future, when I won’t have a shop staff around. At the end of our conversation I remember him telling me that this is the type of thinking he looks for in students, to see how they think and what process they use.
Over the next seven terms we worked together on many projects. However, as the terms advance I spend more time on the computer and less time in the shop.
After returning from an internship Lars has informed me that both himself and Miles Elledge are slowly being forced out of the shop. His normally consistent 24 hours a week have been dwindling, term after term, averaging three hours a week last term and now has not had any hours the last two weeks.
So my questions to the shop management are the following:
1. Why are Lars and Miles not working? People who I feel are the most influential in my shop experience at Art Center.
2.What will you do to fix this?
3. What system will you put in place to avoid this situations like in the future. Where students like myself feel you’re not putting our best interest first. And influential instructors feel disrespected and undermined?
My view on this issue is not without bias or substance. It comes from a student perspective. I realize not the only perspective, but without doubt the most important. As, ultimately you answer to myself and the rest of study body. I have been a student in four educational shops, my highschool shop, CCS(transportation), MCAD (furniture design), and now Art Center(transportation). I have never worked with instructors as attentive, compassionate, and empowering as Lars and Miles. It will be a travesty if Art Center continues to drive away instructors like Miles and Lars.