May 25, 2022

What Could Be at Risk

Dear ArtCenter Faculty, 

As we approach the union vote, I would like to remind you that the new Faculty Life section of the ArtCenter website remains available to you as a resource to ensure you’re able to make a fully informed decision. 

In addition to a robust FAQ section that answers many questions we’ve received, and a Did You Know? section that attempts to clarify any misinformation, we recently added a new section outlining what we believe could be at risk should a simple majority of our faculty choose to unionize. 

What Could Be At Risk

Union representation could fundamentally change how ArtCenter faculty and administration interact and could significantly limit our flexibility—in staffing, scheduling, course selection and in accommodating faculty requests, all of which are central to ArtCenter’s unique educational mission and culture.

Indeed, many of the things you take for granted today could become subject to negotiation if a union is elected, including:

  • Team teaching
  • Faculty directors
  • Sponsored projects
  • Transdisciplinary studios
  • Curriculum flexibility (e.g., trying out new courses)
  • Hiring flexibility 
  • Employment agreements and contracts (e.g., ability to have both administrative and teaching responsibilities)
  • Tuition stability/affordability
  • Determination of teaching loads and how classes get assigned
  • Ability of department chairs to quickly and directly respond to individual faculty needs or requests
  • Self-governance and the scope of the new Faculty Senate
  • Your individual voice and ability to advocate directly to ArtCenter administration
  • The ability to implement the right solutions rather than what is permissible under a union contract

In just a little over a month, I will be stepping into the role of President. I’m asking that you give me the chance to work with you directly to further improve ArtCenter together. If there are things you’d like to change about how ArtCenter operates today, I urge you to think about the best way to pursue that change – working directly with ArtCenter and an administration that shares your passion and desire to make sure we are constantly improving, or through a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by a union that might not share your priorities. 

While administration is prohibited from having direct conversations with you during the active voting period, we encourage you to visit the website so that you can make the right choice on unionization. During the next few weeks, faculty is welcome to keep the dialogue going through thoughtful and respectful conversations. 


Karen Hofmann
Provost and President-Elect
ArtCenter College of Design