Friday, May 07, 2010

SCAD president's chat

Today, I believe Savannah College of Art and Design did something that had the potential of being HUGE! They had an open forum for students, faculty and staff to ask questions directly in front(or in the online presense) of President Paula Wallace. I was at work in Montgomery Hall cage and my friend Vijay Prabhakar who works at SCAD in Keys Hall reminded me that this was going on. And I decided to participate. I am copy pasting my question and answers I got.
Yash Gupta: The SCAD site is very information heavy, but still does not provide me with an idea of what other students are creating and doing. I would love for scad to provide a forum/gallery where students can put up their work and interact with peers. I am sure this is something that would also appeal to prospective students. What are your views about such an offering?
Paula Wallace: I am encouraging each chair to present lively, relevant information on each department's Web site.  I believe recent past projects, guest speakers, awards, and facilities should be highlighted. We are very proud of our esteemed faculty, alumni, and students.  I would like to see each department's Web site more effectively communicate its life and essence.

This, to me was a very unsatisfying answer. I really suggested something more open. Even if they were to come down to a level where each professor was displaying their students' works on a section of the SCAD website, it would mean more student works get exposure.

Then Jason Parker responded with the following:

Hi Yash, I'm SCAD's social media manager. We have a number of program-specific groups and pages on Facebook where students are encouraged to interact with each other. You can find a comprehensive list on SCAD's Facebook page at under the ''Connect'' tab.

I feel this doesn't get us anywhere either. There are already better forums like and deviantart and blogger blogs where people can display their work. But the problem is exposure. When put under an umbrella of SCAD, the students are bound to get more focussed traffic and response and appreciation. I have a facebook fan page of my work that only has 17 fans at the moment.

Anyways, the fun didn't stop there. More after the jump break.

My second question was something much closer to myself and a very spur of the moment thing after I read some post about "midnight breakfast", which is something they do during finals week.

"Speaking of midnight breakfast, why doesn't Montgomery hall have a snack/break/lunch room with facilities like a microwave and coffee machine etc."

to which Paula Wallace simply replied: Cleanliness and pest concerns would have to be addressed.

[Edit: Removing expletives on account of the call I got from the ombudsman's office]  My hopes of getting anything positive out of this Q&A session were going down the drain. I reasoned, "It is not like the students of Montgomery don't go to McDonalds and bring back food into the computer labs and eat right there, which is distracting, to say the least, to others who are trying to work."

I did not think this was something that would be fielded by anybody high up there, but Phil Alletto vice president of student success at SCAD responded after a while,
"We want to protect the equipment for students and so have developed policies against bring food into the labs. From time to time, nevertheless, we do have spills or other incidents that damage the equipment. As an institution we are committed to priving the very best, most up-to-date technology, Please help us to keep all of it in the best shape possible."

This only proves how clueless they are about what actually goes on in Montgomery hall.Sure all the computer stations say "Absolutely no food or Drinks allowed on this station" but students still bring food and drinks and keep it on the white tables in the center of the room. If you want to get an idea of what I am talking about, if you've never been to SCAD Montgomery hall, Go to the SFDM blog photo gallery, and look at photo number 8. I am not embedding that here because I do not own that image. There are students, in a class, with bottled drinks in front of them. During the wee hours of the night, students come back with burgers, chips, cookies, pizzas, you name it! Nobody cleans up after themselves—The janitors know this—and it only ends up degrading the work environment. The distracting smells, noise, the stupid conversation the other people are having while they eat… It is extremely annoying. A separate lunch room will make sure people who want to take a break in the middle of the night do so in a separate disconnected space and only dirty the one room instead of all three floors of the building. Not to mention keeping the equipment cleaner, safer, more hygienic.

My prompts encouraged someone else to ask a question about the food services here at SCAD:

Jacob Fine: Speaking on the subject of food at scad, I have experienced not only a lack of selection at the individual dining halls  but also a lack of convient hours for students with later class scheduels and or people who prefer to eat at a later time. Are their going to any improvements in this section of student life, because I personally feel that it has been severely overlooked.
And the response was:
Curtis Bolden: Jacob, thanks for sharing your concern.  When can we meet to discuss your concerns.  My office is located at Turner House and I can be reached at 525 8741.  I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and sharing changes we are planning in Dining Services.

I think this was also a valid concern brought up by people actually impacted by all this. [edit] If Curtis bolden had shared an email address, I would have written an email myself and encouraged others to do so too.

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