• August 27, 2015

An Art College President's Compensation Reached Nearly $2-Million in 2008

An Art College President's Compensation Reached Nearly $2-Million in 2008 1

Lisa S. Engelbrecht, DanitaDelimont.com, Newscom

Poetter Hall, in Savannah's historic district, is among the 70 facilities the Savannah College of Art and Design now owns in the city.

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close An Art College President's Compensation Reached Nearly $2-Million in 2008 1

Lisa S. Engelbrecht, DanitaDelimont.com, Newscom

Poetter Hall, in Savannah's historic district, is among the 70 facilities the Savannah College of Art and Design now owns in the city.

Paula S. Wallace co-founded the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1978 with her parents and her then-husband, taking out a $200,000 loan to buy the college's first building. Since then it has grown into one of the nation's largest art schools, and Ms. Wallace's pay has swelled: In 2008 her total compensation as president was $1,946,730, according to newly released tax documents.

That amount tops the compensation of all but a handful of college chiefs. But SCAD, a relatively pricey and prosperous art school, is smaller than universities that pay in that range.

Ms. Wallace, who is in her early 60s, became SCAD's president in 2000. Her total compensation package grew by about $1.5-million between 2008 and the previous reporting period, which was the 2007-8 fiscal year. College officials said $900,000 of that growth was related to an adjustment to the deferred compensation that SCAD set aside for the president's retirement pay.

SCAD remains to some extent a family affair. The college paid Ms. Wallace's current husband, Glenn E. Wallace, $289,235 in 2008 for his role as senior vice president for college resources. Also on the payroll was her son John Paul Rowan ($233,843 for consulting; he is now a vice president who oversees the college's Hong Kong campus), daughter Marisa Rowan ($101,493; director of the equestrian programs), daughter-in-law Elizabeth Rowan ($85,494; director of external relations at the Hong Kong campus), and mother, May L. Poetter, a member of the Board of Trustees, who earned $61,767 in consulting fees.

A large portion of the pay earned by Ms. Wallace and her husband comes from a for-profit entity called the SCAD Group Inc. The college, which is a nonprofit, created the subsidiary in 2003, according to corporate filings.

The for-profit arm is wholly owned and controlled by the college. It provides nonacademic services to SCAD—which has three branch campuses and a distance-education operation—including human resources, financial management, communication, and student support. In 2008, its share of total income amounted to $111-million, or an amount equal to about 43 percent of the college's total expenses of $261-million.

The SCAD Group contributed $825,703 to Ms. Wallace's compensation in 2008. The for-profit entity matched her pay from the college in salary ($335,000) and bonuses ($162,500). The college paid more in deferred compensation—$554,991 compared to $279,840—and varying amounts of nontaxable benefits and other compensation.

The for-profit subsidiary also owns an airplane that administrators and trustees use for business purposes, and the college pays for a personal assistant for Ms. Wallace. Tax filings also describe a lucrative retirement plan that Ms. Wallace is eligible to receive if she stays on the job until June of 2014. That benefit would be an annual payment equal to 65 percent of her final salary for the rest of her life.

Several lawyers said the college's hybrid tax structure appeared legally sound and typical of a growing trend of colleges creating for-profit entities to run distance-education programs, like eCornell.

However, some experts criticized Ms. Wallace's pay and perks.

Raymond D. Cotton, a Washington-based lawyer specializing in presidential pay, said Ms. Wallace's $1.9-million compensation package was "apparently in excess for a nonprofit college of this size" and that perks such as a private airplane and personal assistant are "outliers" in higher education.

A SCAD spokeswoman, Sunny Nelson, defended Ms. Wallace's pay, saying most of the increase was due to future retirement payments earned during her 30 years working for the college. Because of a decrease in interest rates, the college made a "large adjustment" to the $900,000 recorded as a nontaxable liability for her retirement benefits.

"The amount relates to all of the years of service that the president has given the institution," Ms. Nelson said in a written statement. "The amount does not represent current income."

The college retains an independent consultant specializing in executive pay and benefits, who conducted a study of Ms. Wallace's compensation, both from the college and its for-profit subsidiary, comparing those numbers with pay at other institutions. The report was presented to the trustees, who review Ms. Wallace's performance and pay on an annual basis.

The board also includes Ms. Wallace's relatives in its annual compensation-review process, Ms. Nelson said, adding that "the board has a policy whereby it approves the hiring and compensation for any individual who is related to a member of senior management."

Rian M. Yaffe, a consultant who advises colleges on compensation and governance, said the family hires at SCAD raise a red flag when looked at with Ms. Wallace's relatively high pay and perks.

"When you pile it all on, it seems somewhat beyond the pale," said Mr. Yaffe.

Mr. Cotton agreed. "I cannot imagine another board of a college or university in the United States agreeing to this."

Family Business

SCAD faced plenty of controversy in previous decades over its closely knit family management and business-oriented approach. The college has also long been criticized for not offering tenure to professors, using one-year contracts instead.

But those gripes have remained largely dormant in recent years, with the exception of a 2005 flare-up when the college merged with the Atlanta College of Art.

In the early 1990s, unrest at SCAD exploded, literally. (Small incendiary devices were set off on the campus, injuring no one.) As The New York Times reported at the time, "a growing number of past and present students, employees, teachers, administrators, and trustees say the college's mission has more to do with money and power than with education," adding that "critics depict a tax-exempt institution that operates like a family business."

SCAD's critics successfully encouraged the School of Visual Arts, a New York City-based proprietary institution, to open a campus in Savannah. A spate of lawsuits followed, with SCAD eventually beating back the challenge from its competitor. Many of the settlements reportedly included gag orders.

Prosperity and a stronger reputation have healed many of the old rifts. SCAD, with a total cost of attendance of $47,500 ($40,821 for tuition, room, and board), is a lucrative operation, with more than 9,000 students and branch campuses in Atlanta, Hong Kong, and France, where the college owns a swath of a small medieval village.

Ms. Wallace has been praised for her leadership of SCAD, which has earned the support of fashionistas and celebrities. She founded several stylish signature events at the college, including film and fashion shows.

Real estate is a big part of the college's success. Local leaders credit the institution, which has bought and refurbished many abandoned buildings around the city, with rescuing Savannah's formerly blighted downtown. SCAD now owns 70 structures there, or two million square feet—a footprint with an estimated value of $119-million.

Prior to creating its for-profit subsidiary, the college did not pay taxes. Like other urban colleges, it heard grumbling from local politicians about its large, tax-free holdings. Now a substantial portion of its operation is taxable.

Michael B. Goldstein, a Washington-based lawyer, is an expert on the intersection of nonprofit colleges and corporations. He says a for-profit subsidiary can help the bottom line by forcing a college to improve business practices and, sometimes, generating revenue that can be invested in an endowment.

"It creates a certain degree of discipline," he said.

One benefit enjoyed by private corporations is that they don't have to reveal much about their finances. However, SCAD officials said the college owned 100 percent of its subsidiary and that all profits belonged to SCAD.

Fair Compensation

Ms. Wallace has received pay from the college's business operation in previous years, according to tax forms. For example, her total compensation was evenly split between the two sides of SCAD in 2004 and 2005, at a combined total of $655,108 and $589,477, respectively.

In 2006 she received $430,472 in benefit-plan contributions from the SCAD Group, according to tax forms, in addition to the $401,083 in compensation she earned from the college. But in 2007, SCAD's tax filing listed no subsidiary pay for Ms. Wallace. She earned $429,851 from the college that year.

In addition to the increase in deferred pay, changes to the IRS's 990 tax form, which now asks for more detailed compensation data, may have contributed to Ms. Wallace's larger compensation total in 2008.

Experts said the new form should encourage further disclosure on pay from related entities.

The key in scrutinizing pay packages like Ms. Wallace's is determining whether they are fair to the college, said Mr. Goldstein. The IRS and lawmakers like Sen. Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican who often criticizes nonprofit salaries, are putting more pressure on colleges to justify pay packages.

When a subsidiary such as a foundation or a for-profit entity pays a college leader, said Mr. Goldstein, it should be because of the administrator's work responsibilities. "There has to be something there."

A Collegial Family Tree

Savannah College of Art and Design and its for-profit subsidiary, SCAD Group Inc., paid Paula S. Wallace and five of her relatives in 2008. The following dollar amounts reflect total compensation packages, including deferred pay. Positions are current as of 2008 and may have changed since then.


Current title

2008 compensation

Source: Federal tax forms

Paula S. Wallace

President and co-founder


Mother, May L. Poetter

Trustee and co-founder


Husband, Glenn E. Wallace

Senior vice president for college resources


Son, John Paul Rowan

Vice president, Hong Kong campus


Daughter, Marisa Rowan

director of equestrian programs


Daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Rowan

Director of external relations, Hong Kong campus



1. pdhazard - September 30, 2010 at 07:04 am

It was Ronald Reagan who enthused over his personal commitment to let Americans to be rich again.He should have added that his outsourcing the industries that made a middleclass possible was the second half of his moronic philosophy. $45.000 per student is a real multiplier. I wonder if the tenure-less faculty was equally blessed.Fit this madness into the structural delusion that America, the City on the Hill, is exceptionally lucky that an Evangelical God keeps making us Number One.Eisenhower's final warning of the threats of a military, industrial complex proved oh so sadly true.Those multiple grunt suicides yesterday in Fort Hood reveal a truly class-ridden society in which underclass peons take the hits while upperclass West Pointers knows it takes wars for US lucky few to make General.Bush's fraudulent war to make the Middle East safe for democracy was preceded by LBJ's adolescent fear of losing in Vietnam. As if we didn't.PATRICK D.HAZARD,Weimar, Germany.

2. tptrekker - September 30, 2010 at 07:16 am

Former Justice Potter Stewart declared that although he could not define obscenity, "I know it when I see it." Having just read this article, I am pretty sure I understand what he meant.

3. bdbailey - September 30, 2010 at 07:18 am


I agree with your comment about class differences, and income disparity. I also think CEO's are generally overpaid by a multiple of about 40. However, it is hard to argue with the success of SCAD. They created this college from nothing, and in 20 years they made it the largest art school in the country. Along the way, they were the major catalyst for the revival of Savannah, and have established an important presence in midtown Atlanta. The key to their sucess (as I understand it): they teach students how to be artists AND make a living at it.

Incidentally, Reagan set the psychological table for the class war that has ensued, but Bill Clinton opened the flood gates on outsourcing (mixed metaphor, I know).

4. vernaye - September 30, 2010 at 07:33 am

Hire your family. Get rid of tenure. As a non-profit, set up a for-profit "entity" that cuts you sweet deals and pays half your salary.

That's quite a scam.

5. ada_ulric - September 30, 2010 at 07:46 am

How much do faculty and staff get paid?

6. 11119787 - September 30, 2010 at 08:10 am

That Wallace family certinaly is clever. It's all legal, but highly unethical.

7. 11119787 - September 30, 2010 at 08:10 am

That's "certainly"

8. 22122488 - September 30, 2010 at 08:26 am

This college has been on the Censure List of AAUP ( American Association of University Professors) since 1993 for the atrocious violation of faculty rights. The owners of this school appear to be profiting on the backs of the faculty and students. Prospective candidates (students and faculty) should be aware of the history and policies of this place. My Question is at what point can these practices be scrutinized by state and federal law?

I am really disappointed that the author of this story did not dig enough regarding the history and current working conditions and rights for faculty at Savannah College of Art and Design.

9. dank48 - September 30, 2010 at 08:35 am

Heaven knows I'd never be able to afford to send a kid to SCAD, but aside from making more money than anyone reading this does, what exactly is the problem?

Yes, it's grotesque. But I think 11119787's comment may have distilled the current attitude perfectly: gosh, what a shame that this is (objectively) legal, since it's (subjectively) highly unethical. This sounds like a police officer regretting that some kind of behavior he disapproves of is, damn it all, legal.

All SCAD is doing is the same thing other schools are doing, namely ripping off the public. But, children, if the public willingly participates in its own exploitation, it simply doesn't matter how much you don't like it.

And envy, btw, is among the least attractive vices.

10. feudi - September 30, 2010 at 08:40 am

I am a capitalist and have no problem with folks making as much dough as they can, as long as it's done fairly. Charging 9,000 students $47,500 per year for an art degree is egregious on many levels...nearly as egregious as say Penn charging $53,000 per year for a degree in accounting...The corporate structure of SCAD allows it to secure nearly all of it's revenue from taxpayer funded Title IV programs, such as direct loans, Pell grants, work study, ACG grants, etc. That being the case, the salaries of these SCAD executives are outrageous and are crying for a theft of services/RICO prosecution by the Department of Justice.

11. bdbailey - September 30, 2010 at 08:42 am

I am afraid that I fail to understand what you find unethical. AAUP doesn't like them. No one has mentioned why. Nor has anyone provided specific information or data regarding what they are doing wrong. Unlike other for-profit schools, it is my understanding that their graduate actually find work. How is this a scam?

12. larryhagman - September 30, 2010 at 08:46 am

As a teacher at SCAD, I know a little something about the university and the president - sure, she makes a great salary. And she works harder and longer, as far as I can tell, than anyone else here. The faculty retention rate from year to year is always high (something like 95%, at last count), and SCAD is always creating new jobs for faculty and staff. No furloughs, no budget cuts, no eliminated programs here. I say pay her more. Job security for the rest of us is worth it. I love it here.

13. feudi - September 30, 2010 at 08:52 am

The loan default rates for SCAD are lower than I thought they would be but that was as of 2008. It'll be interesting to see what effect the economy had on these rates after 2008. I know that in Philly, I see many students graduate from art schools in our city with no prosepcts of ever making enough in salary to pay off their loans in 10 years, which was the original concept of the student loan program. Many students graduate today owing mortgage-sized debts from college...not a tenable situation for the future of higher ed.

14. lexalexander - September 30, 2010 at 09:27 am

As a former journalist who covered nonprofits ranging in size from community organizations to the PTL ministry, I think this arrangement, although almost certainly legal, is not only unethical but a disaster waiting to happen.

I'm thrilled this woman has built SCAD into what it is today (and I count among its alumni some friends and former co-workers). But beyond a certain point, a nonprofit, particularly one with a big budget, becomes bigger than one person. SCAD needs to have a fully independent board to which Ms. Wallace and her relatives, if they remain on the payroll at all, are accountable.

And whether it's structured as deferred retirement income or not, $2M is grossly excessive for the CEO of any not-for-profit organization, I don't care how big it is or how many people it employs.

15. esnider - September 30, 2010 at 09:41 am

Someone said costs per student were $47.5k. I looked on their web site. Tuition is $30.5k, room & board varies from $7.1k to $8.8k, so costs are in the range of $37.8k - $39.3k (plus books, supplies, and so on). I suspect that is closer to the median for private non-profit four year colleges.

16. wassall - September 30, 2010 at 09:52 am

If Ms. Wallace's job title had been "real estate developer" instead of "university president", the reporter would be remarking on how grossly underpaid she is.

17. olmsted - September 30, 2010 at 10:11 am

What a bunch of bitching and moaning. The replies here wreak of a scrum to find any means to flame the SCAD creators. Did I miss something? Was this not a venture capital effort that has been succeeding quite well? Did they force those students to pay such exorbitant rates?

"Grossly excessive"? I suspect that's a matter of perspective. Meaning from your pay grade. The $45-80k made for 9mon of the year by so many posters here is probably pretty gross to much of the world. You might do well to hope your institution had so effective a CEO. Given what many of them "produce" at 1/4 the SCAD president's salary, I'd take high-pay-high-productivity personnel.

And 'amen' to the other comments that point out the bitter taste that envy leaves in the mouth of the source and others who try its flavor.

18. richardtaborgreene - September 30, 2010 at 10:17 am

Entrepreneurs find profitable niches---many of them look immoral, ugly, and like bad deals for some or many. The US government invited this whole for profit sector by allowing so many grant and scholarship and loan programs to go to anything that structured itself, b r o a d l y, as a school of some sort.

I find it hypocritical of most of us to lambast this family for succeeding in renovating the downtown of a city, exciting the government into paying for a lot of probably worthless art degrees, enriching this family, and getting students into four and 3 year art degree programs in France, Hong Kong, and Georgia. This is what entrepreneurs do--they find niches and exploit them.

Governments then regulate niches where major harms are being done. Wall Street Bankers, led almost entirely by Harvard grads just stole 13 trillion dollars of wealth from us all, not yet paid for----This college's harms pale in comparison with what Harvard has done and will for the next ten years do to all the rest of us. To lambast this family without lambasting Harvard faculty, and the MBAs who stole 13 trillion from us, is hypocrasy and wimp-ness.

19. spottytoes - September 30, 2010 at 10:22 am

As a regular subscriber to The Chronicle who is looking for all kinds of news regarding higher academia, I resent the ads posted here. I did not pay my dues to read ads. Is there not a way to remove these obvious ploys for money from these comments?

20. physicsprof - September 30, 2010 at 10:24 am

Well done, Ms. Wallace! It is refreshing to see that taking initiative and risk, and working hard worked out for you. I am ashamed of all the whining my esteemed colleagues do in the comments here.

21. pasta - September 30, 2010 at 10:33 am

I for one am thrilled to see a university president receiving this kind of salary for her hard work. I thought you had to be a football or basketball coach to be paid this well.

22. paulfain - September 30, 2010 at 10:34 am

For clarity, we changed my reference to SCAD's 2010-11 estimated total cost of attendance. Tuition, room, and board is $40,821. Here's a link with more information - https://www.scad.edu/admission/cost-financial-aid/financial-aid/apply-for-aid/budget-guide.cfm

Thanks to esnider for raising questions about this.

23. smithl1 - September 30, 2010 at 10:52 am

Is anyone holding a gun to the heads of students to enroll or to faculty to take jobs there? I did not think so. It is just like anything else, you don't like listening to Olberman, then watch O'Reilly. If you don't like listening to Limbaugh, then find a left winger and tune in.

If you don't want to pay $47K a year for an art degree, then don't. If you think it is wrong for the Pres of the college to make $2M and not grant tenure to instructors, then don't apply for a job there or don't sign the one year contract the next time it is ready to be signed.

This is a big world with a lot of place to live and work. Go find a place that suits you.

24. ormond - September 30, 2010 at 10:54 am

I am a SCAD faculty member and can attest that SCAD is a family institution. In graduate school, my partner and I were told that we would never work for the same college again as partner hires were a thing of the past. When my partner got a job at SCAD and I got a job five hours away, we resigned ourselves to years of weekend visits. We didn't know, however, that SCAD loves partner hires. I was hired three years ago and since then, have met many SCAD faculty couples who are thankful for the opportunity to work in a college environment that supports its faculty families. As to faculty compensation: Although I can't testify to the pay scales in other fields, my own pay (in English) closely corresponds to the average salary for an assistant professor at a school of this size as reported recently in The Chronicle. I have received a decent pay raise each year and my medical, dental, vision, and retirement benefits are excellent. SCAD has completely covered the expenses for several conferences and two week-long research trips.

25. hdsmith - September 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

I have just started my 17th year here at SCAD. I have been perfectly happy signing one-year contracts.

I have had the privilege of escorting many people through our facilities, from job candidates to world-famous authors, all of whom are blown away by what we offer our students in terms of inspiring spaces, equipment, facilities, travel support, exposure to real-world design experiences, and outstanding faculty. Any profits that are made are plowed back into our students; we are student-centered institution and proud of it.

As an administrator, I am aware of how hard President Wallace works, as do her family members. I have often wondered when President Wallace sleeps, as she in the office before everyone else and always attends events late into the night. She flys everywhere in the jet mentioned in the article to support our students in competitions, to fund-raise, to meet officials associated with opening our new locations, among many other things.

I did have a question about the way the information is presented. Those salary numbers were from a 4-year period, not just 2008. Also, I would like to know more about what the consultant found who specialized in examining executive pay packages; this was not elucidated in the article.

26. hbuxbaum - September 30, 2010 at 11:11 am

Clearly this is not a not a not for profit organization and should be re-classified by the IRS as a for profit as is SVA in New York. The extra large salary of the President is really a disguised profit.

27. dgoodrowe - September 30, 2010 at 11:23 am

Being an Associate Dean on the Atlanta campus I am writing in full support of the college and our president and to say how dissapointed I am in this publication for printing such an article apparently without all of the actual facts and information. Success should be recognized and we should look at the positive and not the negative in situations which is the problem in our system today. Paula Wallace is a true visionary and has done so much for the all of the students that have come to SCAD for a life changing experience as that is what this institution is about. The article you should be writing is about what amazing women she is and how much she has done for so many people in addition to what the school has brought to the cities in which SCAD exists. I can tell you that I love my job and I love SCAD and I am very honored and proud to be part of such an amazing institution as it is truly inspiring place and is about changing lives. There is no other Univeristy like this one. SCAD is very successful for a reason and we have our president to thank for that vision and for working outside of the traditional higher education box. Perhaps if other Univeristies would look at what SCAD is doing our higher education system in this country would be in much better shape. It is hard to argue with the success of SCAD. SCAD was created from nothing, and in 20 years they made it the largest art school in the country. Along the way, they were the major catalyst for the revival of Savannah, and have established an important presence in midtown Atlanta. The key to their sucess (as I understand it): they teach students how to be artists AND make a living at it. You cannot argue with tremendous success and I am so happy to be a part of such a wonderful mission and institution. Now its time to write about all of the good things that SCAD and Paula Wallace has done and trust me it will be a much longer and more interesting article.

28. tgriffis - September 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

Your article forgets to emphasize some very important details. It was Paula Wallace's vision that founded this school. She is the one who takes the risks, celebrates our achievements, and supports us when we struggle. Tenure? I have been here 21 years. Faculty have received pay raises every year and no one has been laid off because we can't make the payroll. We have excellent benefits. Our students and faculty create and learn is a wonderful environment and we are provided with the tools we need to educate young artists. Perhaps the author should also take a look at our career placement stats. Our graduates are finding jobs even in an economy that is problematic. By any chance did the author notice how many SCAD graduates were part of the creative team for Avatar? We are worth every penny spent and our president works harder than anyone to garner this success. Applaud that success and present her performance with accuracy, not manipulated numbers. She supports us and we support her and together we provide an incredibly positive and life-changing education for our students. Perhaps the author should come do his research at SCAD and see exactly where tuition is spent.

29. luckyloo - September 30, 2010 at 11:29 am

I've had the pleasure of working with President Wallace and personally noted the unparalleled relationship that she has with the staff, faculty, and students of SCAD. What other major university employs a chancellor or president who personally interviews valedictorian candidates?

30. studentsuccess10 - September 30, 2010 at 11:43 am

Well, the Wallace family sure has accumulated a pile of profit for themselves over the years. They seem like a mini version of the Walton's. I would suggest that prospective students look closely at the real value of the programs offered by this institution before pouring any of their hard earned dollars into tuition and other service fees. I doubt that the value is there at all but who knows. This is the same country who re-elected 'W' and look what we have to show for it!

31. professor001 - September 30, 2010 at 11:44 am

I am a faculty member of SCAD's Atlanta campus and agree with ormond's comments about SCAD being a family institution, which is all due to the efforts of Pres. Wallace. Her vision of doing away with tenure to promote a more collegial environment for faculty has been a tremendous success and one that is being duplicated by hundreds of institutions. She is probably the most "hands-on" president in higher education.
I don't know many other presidents of universities that take the time to attend new faculty orientations or remember the names and accomplishments of so many of their faculty.
While this article points out that tuition at SCAD is costly, which for some it can be, it fails to point out all of the benefits that students receive for this tuition:
- faculty that are still active in their fields
- top of the line software and hardware
- Art directors, editors, creatives, and human resource personnel are brought on campus specifically for portfolio reviews and interviews
...and the list goes on.
An earlier poster mentioned SCAD's goals of not only training the best artists, but making sure that they have careers...not jobs...careers. This is true. We have an extremely high employment rate for graduates entering their field of choice, which includes not just working for someone else but being a thriving freelancer or business owner.
Poster larryhagman points out there have been no furloughs, no lay-offs, no department closures as we've seen at other colleges. In fact, SCAD continues to grow even through this current economic climate.

32. cormorant - September 30, 2010 at 11:47 am

I'm with those who point to football coaches earning as much as the whole Wallace family combined at other (non-profit) institutions, as well as institutions (public and nonprofit) where disentangling who is related to whom is the first challenge a new hire faces. Nepotism is rampant in academia. From the comments above, it sounds as though the Wallace family has built a place where students succeed. A town has been revived partly as a result of the college's cultural contributions. Faculty write in to comment on how happy they are(!) There's more to be envied than a college president's salary.

33. betterschools - September 30, 2010 at 11:50 am

Kudos to SCAD for their success, to their students and, today, for outing the predictable whiners and naysayers.

I have no problem with SCAD pricing, salaries, contracts, etc. They are an elite provider, the market seems to bear it, and it is largely none of our business. I do, however, see two issues worth exploring:

(a) Outsourcing services to a third party (usually a for-profit company) can, as Michael suggests, improve services and sharpen the accountability. However, sole-source outsourcing essentially to oneself via a shell for-profit in the absence of periodic competitive bids from other providers breaches fiduciary responsibility to the non-profit entity and can only be seen as a transparency tax and regulatory dodge. (How do we know that other companies could not do the job better and/or cheaper?) I'm surprised that this wasn't noted.

(b) If SCAD were structured as a for-profit, with no other differences, the school would likely be the target of the feds because it would fail gainful employment tests. There is an inescapable unfairness on that level but it accrues to the feds, not the school.

34. labjack - September 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm

That's still less than my schools football coach makes.

35. bdbailey - September 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Actually, I don't think that SCAD would have any proble, with gainful employment tests.

However, there are two legitimate criticisms in this discussion:
1. The for-profit entity providing all services to the not-for-profit entity without competition doesn't smell so good.

2. The schools should be restructured so that the president reports to an independent board. By all accounts, Wallace has done a wonderful job, but she won't be around for ever. The issue here is sustainability. Family owned businesses rarely do well in the second or third generation.

36. bosborn - September 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

SCAD is a GREAT college! The focus on student education and job placement is its primary mission. The success of the alumni is due in part to the extensive time the faculty spend educating as well as being proactive in creating opportunites for the students. President Wallace works twenty hour days and she is completely dedicated to the success of the school. Her vision has set new standards that American education must rise to. She has helped shaped lives and great good has come from her dream. I am glad to be apart of it.

37. dnp69 - September 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm

As a former employee at SCAD, I fully support President Paula Wallace! As one of the founders of the institution, she has dedicated more than half of her life to making SCAD not only the best art school in the country, but also a wonderful place to work. I can say with confidence that faculty and staff are fairly compensated as well. There is also a strong sense of community at the institution.

President Wallace is committed to students FIRST, providing them with extraordinary opportunities. The facilities are first-class, professors are remarkable, and the student retention rate is one of the best in the country. Kudos to everyone at SCAD for all of your hard work and success!

38. randomperson7 - September 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I have heard a lot of great comments from faculty, but am interested to see what the staff think. I have heard the pay is quite different and toward the low end considering many of them have graduate degrees. I would also be interested to see differences in opinion based on whether a person works for the profit or non-profit part of the college.

39. twickenham - September 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I first heard about SCAD when a recruiter came to my High School and I decided to take their summer program for incoming seniors called Rising Star. Before speaking with the recruiter, I honestly had no interest of attending college.

The 5 weeks I spent in Savannah were truly life-changing and I immediately applied for admission.

I started SCAD in the summer of '94, less than a week after my high school graduation. In the last 16 years, I have finished my degree, moved from work study to part-time employee to full time employee and into the administration.

SCAD is a family business. My wife works for the college as well. I know many families that have multiple members who work for the college. Every family member has the education and qualifications for their position.

I have been lucky enough to work closely with the President and other members of her family on many occasions and I can attest to the fact that this is a full-time job for her. For 24 hours a day, her thoughts are on keeping SCAD strong and moving it forward. Even when I was winding down after a marathon 15 hour day, she was still moving and throwing out ideas.

I am surprised there is no mention of how much she actually donates directly back into the school. I am sure her donation amounts far surpass my own.

The mention of the airplane baffles me. We now have multiple campuses in multiple countries with the upper administration making multiple visits to each throughout the year. Isn't it extremely possible this is a cost SAVING measure?
I am very thankful for my time with SCAD and fully appreciate the efforts of the administration.

40. twickenham - September 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm

As a staff member I have a received a raise every year without fail. I even received an unscheduled raise when I approached my supervisor with evidence I deserved another, and they took it up the chain of command and fought for me. I have friends who work at other local colleges and their workplaces have been ravaged by pay-cuts, furlough days and the combination of positions without compensations.

All colleges will have bitter ex-employees or former teachers with an axe to grind. But really, your opinion can only be based on the people you work with day in and day out and not the college itself as a whole.

41. tamaragrosz - September 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Before working at SCAD, I was in the world of "corporate healthcare" where CEO's made significantly more than President Wallace. President Wallace is an amazing leader who truly leads by example. Part of our values at SCAD are to provide an exceptional education and a life-changing experience for students and under President Wallace's leadership we are able to do this. The reason I have remained at SCAD is because President Wallace is dedicated to excellence! This excellence is demonstated in the faculty, in the comprehensive support services provided to our students and in our facilities. While I see other collegues in other colleges facing cutbacks and having to cut services-I am given the support to provide excellent services at SCAD!SCADS success speaks for itself- Despite hard economic times, 80% of our new graduates are working in careers six months after graduation! This success is because of President Wallace's vision and leadership. I am very proud to have her as our college president!

42. eoleary - September 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Paula Wallace's uncompromising commitment to the institution's mission, academic quality, and student experience truly drives the success of SCAD. Under her leadership the institution has launched two off-campus sites, an award-winning eLearning program,and offers more art and design degree programs than any other institution (among countless other accolades). She works longer, harder, and with more enthusiasm than any other campus leader that I have had the opportunity to meet. Her family members, all of whom have the academic credentials and experience to support their efforts at the college, all share this enthusiasm and commitment to hard work.

Further, the university is hardly what one might traditionally think of as an "art school." SCAD offers more than 40 degree programs in disciplines as diverse as motion media design, writing, and industrial design. The university sponsors an intercollegiate athletic program, numerous exhibitions, multiple lecture series, theatre performances, student media and publications, workshops, conferences, and marquee events. Tuition dollars are spent improving the student experience-- providing inspiring environments, cutting-edge technology and extensive student support services.

The university's business model may be relatively unique to higher education, but it is also one (of many) reasons why the institution has not been adversely affected by the recent economic situation. SCAD has not had to lay off faculty or staff, has just successfully launched a campus in Hong Kong,and now enrolls over 10,000 students. I have been with SCAD for just over three years now (as staff) and have never worked at an company or institution that provides better employee support, development efforts, and benefits than SCAD.

43. amyzurcher - September 30, 2010 at 01:05 pm

I fully support President Paula Wallace and her family. Together with their vision they have created the most amazing art school in the country! Their passion, dedication and brilliant minds have no equal and that is why SCAD rises to the top! President Wallace and her husband Glenn Wallace work tirelessly and are never above any work. I personally have worked alongside them on several occasions and have seen how no job is too big or small for them to roll up their own sleeves and pitch in. They are very hands on and strive to better SCAD in ways most of us would never think of. Their efforts have shown to me that they are in line with SCAD's mission statement, with every penny thoughtfully spent, always keeping the best interests of the students in mind. For the amount of work over the years they have poured their hearts into SCAD and the results they have made with artists succeeding, this city thriving, etc- it is a bargain the cost that they are paid. They are worthy! If readers don't know that -it is probably because they only see one slanted article and do not have the awesome experience of working with them and the talented group of staff members they have entrusted with their vision. I am fully grateful to President Wallace for her leadership, for the opportunities, for too many things to name in this comment! She does so many good things that people see and things that don't see- she truly gives and gives and cares so much for the students at SCAD. I could cite countless stories from SCAD graduates that tell of how President Wallace impacted their life in a most amazing and meaningful way. I work with SCAD artists every day and they adore her and love to relay personal anecdotes of how she touched their lives. She is all that a college president should be and then a million times over more!

44. nhvictor - September 30, 2010 at 01:14 pm

This is atrocious... As a former SCAD student, and close family friend to the Wallace's, I feel that this article has failed to see the big picture. SCAD is the Wallace's baby... No one has done more for Savannah's historic district and even the art world then Mrs. Wallace.
Savannah was in a downward spiral in the 70's and 80's and with out SCAD buying the run down buildings, Savannah would not be what it is today.
Paula Wallace, Glen, and John Paul Rowan are some the kindest, most giving, and loving people you will ever meet. You don't build a school like this, or the Board of Trustees it has with out being that way. You can criticize their salary all you want, but with out personally seeing how much they do for the community and their students you should refrain from your nasty comments. This family puts more back in their business than most CEO's or Presidents. These people work for SCAD 24 hours a day. They are always trying to come up with new and innovative media programs and campuses in different countries to broaden their students horizons and expose them to different art cultures.
As for Family working with Family... Why don't you look at the majority of the Fortune 500 companies and see how many of them hire family. The old saying is if you can't trust family who can you trust...
Paula's children grew up attending SCAD, around all the employees, and attending every function SCAD offered. Who would know this college better than someone grew up knowing all the intimate parts and how this college works.
For the writer of this column... Did you know that Paula and Glen Wallace has two adopted children from China that they saved and have given a chance at a successful life in a free country...

Mr. Paul Fain, you can keep this article for yourself and whom ever else is not smart enough to see through you hazed opinion. My advice to you is before you try to publish such a disgraceful and hurtful article, you should dig a little deeper and find a little more information about the subjects of your article. you can take this as a personal attack or me just standing up for one amazing woman and family but you are nothing more than a fool with out a clue.

45. wai7006 - September 30, 2010 at 01:19 pm

If an institution values education, then the president's compensation should reflect that value. The president of the college is responsible for the education, safety, and success of their students. Unlike many public colleges, who are cutting academic programs and services for students it appears this art college is able to thrive because it has positioned itself as a leader in educating students for the future and for the knowledge based economy.

Below is a list of the 25 highest paid college football coaches, what is the message we are sending to the students? "a 1-3 record and you can earn a million bucks, or get an education, work hard, and you can earn a million bucks."

I don't think President Wallace is paid too much, I think the other president's are paid too little. Compare the following coaches salaries with their respective president's salary.

1. Mack Brown, Texas $5,100,000
2. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma $4,300,000
3. Urban Meyer, Florida $4,000,000
3. Lane Kiffin $4,000,000
4. Nick Saban, Alabama $3,900,000
5. Les Miles, LSU $3,800,000
6. Jim Tressel, Ohio State $3,722,000
7. Mark Richt, Georgia $3,096,576
8. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa $3,030,000
9. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas $2,900,000
10. Mark Richt, Georgia $2,900,000
11. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan $2,900,000
12. Jeff Tedford, California $2,807,500
T13. Gary Pinkel, Missouri $2,500,000
T13. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss $2,500,000
T15. Mark Mangino, Kansas $2,300,000
T16. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech $2,300,000
18. Greg Schiano, Rutgers $2,250,000
T19. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech $2,100,000
T19. Butch Davis, North Carolina $2,100,000
T21. June Jones, SMU $2,000,000
T21. Lane Kiffin, TN (Gone to USC) $2,000,000
T21. Gene Chizik, Auburn $2,000,000
24. Al Groh, Virginia $1,875,000
25. Bo Pelini, Nebraska $1,851,000

46. pjohnson1 - September 30, 2010 at 01:32 pm

Paula Wallace is the center of gravity and heart and soul of SCAD. As a former student, I know that she insures giving individual attention to students and going the extra mile for them is integral to the culture at SCAD. She's dedicated the majority of her life to making SCAD a student-centered institution where graduates find good paying careers because they are given the tools to succeed. She is the hardest working person on campus and is a visionary leader of the highest order. She is honest, compassionate, thoughtful and cordial. She sets high expectations for students, faculty and staff and as a result has made SCAD what it is today. Based on her 32 years of selfless service and devotion to the college, she is worth every penny of her compensation and should receive more!

47. dank48 - September 30, 2010 at 01:49 pm

It's been heartening to see the comments of SCAD staff and students; how nice to be able to read the comments of people who actually know what they're talking about.

And I agree with the comment above comparing SCAD to Harvard. Given the economic mess brought to us by the elite-educated thugs on Wall Street and elsewhere, Harvard has a lot more to answer for than SCAD.

48. scad31402 - September 30, 2010 at 01:54 pm

This past year I attended numerous conferences, conventions and meetings of national educational associations. Although I am very proud of serving here at SCAD as a senior administrator, I sometimes feel like hiding my name tag. I can't tell you how many sessions I've missed, how many lunch invitations I've had to turn down, and how many dozens of business cards I've carried back to campus. Successful professionals from all aspaects of higher education want to "chat for just a minute." They want to know our secret, want to inquire if there is a position available at one of our locations, want me to put in a good word for them as they've already applied for a position.

During 30 years of service, as a co-founder and president, President Wallace has led an institution of higher education that should be studied and emulated by private and public institutions world-wide.

49. scad31402 - September 30, 2010 at 01:55 pm

This past year I attended numerous conferences, conventions and meetings of national educational associations. Although I am very proud of serving here at SCAD as a senior administrator, I sometimes feel like hiding my name tag. I can't tell you how many sessions I've missed, how many lunch invitations I've had to turn down, and how many dozens of business cards I've carried back to campus. Successful professionals from all aspaects of higher education want to "chat for just a minute." They want to know our secret, want to inquire if there is a position available at one of our locations, want me to put in a good word for them as they've already applied for a position.

During 30 years of service, as a co-founder and president, President Wallace has led an institution of higher education that should be studied and emulated by private and public institutions world-wide. - Phil Alletto

50. bethconcepcion - September 30, 2010 at 02:01 pm

I am a professor in the writing department at SCAD and I love my job. I love it even more when I hear my colleagues at other colleges bellyache about their students, course load, deans, budget cuts, unreasonable research responsibilities, etc.

I really don't care about the president's compensation. I care about my compensation, which is higher than many of my colleagues at other colleges.

One of the commenters above suggested that prospective students should "look closely at the real value of the programs offered by this institution before pouring any of their hard earned dollars into tuition and other service fees." Yes, they should, and I know that they do. What they find is that SCAD students get jobs in their fields. SCAD prepares students for success in their chosen careers. Isn't that what a college is supposed to do? SCAD's cost is not out of line in comparison with other private colleges, yet the value of the education is enormous.

As for what happened 20 years ago (and why is this coming up again?), I'd love to chat with Mr. Fain and tell him what really happened. I was a staff member at the time, and it was not quite the scandal he seeks (and appears to relish).

My students, fellow faculty members, and the staff I know at SCAD are intelligent, talented, funny, compassionate individuals. I'm happy and proud to come to work every day. It is President Wallace's vision that has made it so, and that, for me, is priceless.

51. vermoli - September 30, 2010 at 02:03 pm

I have been with SCAD for 13 years. I have been Faculty, Chair, and Dean and I have worked very close with President Wallace all these years. I find this article bias to create conflict where there is none and un-ethical for implying things that are not factual. President Wallace is an amazing person with an incredible sense of vision, an entrepreneur in hart that can make the impossible possible and a caring and inspiring human being. I find amazing when someone, Mr. Fain, that has not built anything nor have positively impacted the lives of thousands of people feels he has the right to criticize the ones who have. President Wallace has done an incredible job building the best Art and Design University in the United States out of nothing and in just 30 years. She exemplifies the essence of being American. SCAD in all its years has developed thousands of successful professionals that have directly impacted humanity in a positive way. We are student focus and not tenure focus. We hire the best professionals to produce the best professionals and we retain them a rate of more than 90%. SCAD have had salary increases, higher than the inflation rate, every year without an exception. We give an exceptional education and the proof is in the results. Our doors are open, come and visit and see what a real University focused around students that is preparing the best professionals for the future looks like. Check our curriculum and the resources we have for developing our students and I can assure you that you would not find any institution close to our level of excellence. All this is due to the vision of one person, President Wallace, she has written a new page in book of building America and her achievements and dedication should be an example to others.

52. dtkelly - September 30, 2010 at 02:16 pm

Preparing talented students for professional careers. Isn't that what higher education is all about? Here at SCAD we do it and we do it extraordinarily well based on our student success rate after graduation. How many universities can claim a similar record in today's economy? As an administrator at SCAD for two years I have seen one of the highest retention rates of world class faculty and staff in the nation. Who is the visionary that began this unprecedented success in higher education? Who is relentless in leading and inspiring the professionals that prepare our gifted and entrepreneurial students for productive, fulfilling lives in our ever challenging global community? President Paula Wallace. I need not say more.

53. gpreiss - September 30, 2010 at 02:18 pm

I have worked at SCAD for 3 years both on the faculty side and now the staff side. It is an incredible institution that provides the highest quality art/design education in the market, and also supports and promotes the hirability of all the degree programs it offers. What I like most about the SCAD educational environment is that it is not mired in traditional methodologies and practices that are obviously failing other universities in this economy. I find it ridiculous that this subject is a lead story in the world of Higher Education based on all the other things going on across the country.

President Wallace is one of the most hands-on presidents for whom I have worked, interacting with all departments both academic and non-academic. She is personally invested in the student body, and has her finger on the pulse of everything going on at the university. Tuition is directly invested back into the student experience with lectures from current artists, designers, and writers, incredible facilities, and cutting-edge technology. She is an entrepreneur in the best sense and a true visionary to be able to start SCAD from scratch and steadily build it into the college it is today.

Academics treat their institutions and what they do as sacrosanct. The fact of the matter is that every college or university is a business, and we exist in a capitalist society that celebrates business. We should not praise the vision and leadership of a CEO while demeaning a university president for the exact same qualities.

A discussion about appropriate pay for university presidents and administrators is definitely worth having, but to single out one example seems vindictive and trivial.

54. 22024621 - September 30, 2010 at 02:23 pm

"This college has been on the Censure List of AAUP ( American Association of University Professors) since 1993 for the atrocious violation of faculty rights. The owners of this school appear to be profiting on the backs of the faculty and students. Prospective candidates (students and faculty) should be aware of the history and policies of this place. My Question is at what point can these practices be scrutinized by state and federal law?"

Based on the universal support from the faculty responses, it is the AAUP that is out of touch. Who is it, exactly, that is forcing the faculty to remain here?

55. hokiecarmen - September 30, 2010 at 02:39 pm

SCAD is an amazing community of artists and educators. I am continually impressed by each and every student, faculty member, and alum that I meet. SCAD graduates are changing the world for the better, creating magnificent art, designing buildings, teaching students, inventing new technologies, making movies, designing garments, performing community service,...the list is endless. SCAD would not have been possible without the vision, dedication, and inspiration of Paula Wallace. When students receive their acceptance letters from SCAD, they are overjoyed and post emotional, excited videos on YouTube. Check out www.scad.edu and see for yourself the outstanding work of SCAD students, faculty, and alumni.

56. rellawj - September 30, 2010 at 02:50 pm

I have worked for SCAD for a significant amount of time and I remain impressed with President Wallace's leadership and vision. President Wallace's primary focus is, and always has been, the students. I cannot think of another organization where all the faculty and staff know the mission.

One thing not mentioned in the article above are the amount of hours that President Wallace and her family work. They work harder than everyone else to exemplify their compassion and loyalty to SCAD students.

Lastly, the numbers presented above are wrong. Blatantly wrong. The author clearly does not know how to read a tax return. This illustrates that this story is completely biased and lacks relevant facts. I would suggest the author complete a little more due diligence prior to publishing an article this misleading.

57. martindzine - September 30, 2010 at 03:01 pm

It was seven years ago that I first arrived at SCAD, full of energy and vigor for the opportunity that lay ahead. -But also feeling the jitters every non-traditional student must feel when they have decided to take the ultimate risk; to put my life on hold, to continue my education, to risk the financial burden and consequences if by chance i should fail.

I'm quite sure those feelings of excitement and uneasiness are common to many college students and their parents when they arrive on campuses across the country, but I question whether students at all institutions feel the same transformation I experienced in my education at SCAD. It is such an incredibly empowering gift to know deep in your heart that the reward was so worth the risk; that you are sure you are in the right place, and that your entire future in this world had hinged on that one crucial decision and you made the right call.

The central value of SCAD in my life has been its ability to provide an exceptional education and truly life-changing experiences and opportunities which have changed my path and have enabled me to find every success I could work toward and achieve. I applaud President and Mr. Wallace for their vision, their leadership, and their tireless commitment to me, the student.

Without question, the kind of one-sided muckraking found in this article is too common in today's journalism where writers shape the story they want to tell rather than finding the whole truth. I would expect more from The Chronicle, but I guess whatever sells subscriptions, right?

58. traviswalters - September 30, 2010 at 03:02 pm

From an earlier comment, "I would suggest that prospective students look closely at the real value of the programs offered by this institution before pouring any of their hard earned dollars into tuition and other service fees. I doubt that the value is there at all but who knows."

Why would you doubt the value is there? Because this poorly written article didn't mention anything about SCAD's value? That's probably the reason. As an alumnus of SCAD I can say that the value is absolutely there. I'd list the various ways it is there, but I think that's the reporter's job. At least, that's what I was taught at SCAD.

I worked at the student news organization while at SCAD, and I interviewed President Wallace once. What struck me the most was her kindness and generosity that others have talked about already. It was completely counter to how I thought a university president might behave.

She came to get me at the door, and didn't send that assistant. Which, by the way, really? She has an assistant! The horror! Before we started talking she gave me some cookies she baked for her kids before coming to work that day, which she saved for me because she remembered she had to talk to me. She told many stories of students who had long since graduated, but still write her, and she writes back. By hand. And, as she walked me to the door when we were finished she told me the story behind every piece of artwork from students and faculty that hangs in her office, because she remembers it.

I think this salary might be seen as excessive if she were a detached figurehead, but I can speak from experience as a student, and now as a staff member, that she is incredibly involved. If she weren't, SCAD wouldn't be as big as it is today, and this article wouldn't exist.

59. laurenthomas - September 30, 2010 at 03:15 pm

As an staff employee of the service arm of Savannah College of Art and Design I can say that I am proud of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that exists within our organization. When many state-subsidized colleges and universities are cutting programs, jobs and resources, SCAD continues to hire the best and brightest talent for both staff and faculty positions. The students reap the benefits of these hires by learning from the industry's best - which in turn allows a very high percentage of them to graduate and find employment, which in the current economy should not be overlooked. The staff on the Group side help support the academic efforts to make SCAD the leader in the industry. Our business practices have been vetted and endorsed by our Board of Trustees, legal counsel and by SACS and we remain a model for other institutions. We analyze each individual compensation range based on competitive third party information and stand behind the salaries paid to our staff and faculty.

60. laurenthomas - September 30, 2010 at 03:16 pm

I should say as "a" staff member. I don't want to give critics any other reason to criticize us!

61. twickenham - September 30, 2010 at 03:20 pm

@laurenthomas: Ha! I was going to say something. :)

62. egaskin - September 30, 2010 at 03:25 pm

I would have expected to read this kind of article in US Weekly, not the Chronicle of Higher Education. Perhaps the author could write a follow-up piece that is actually related to the education of SCAD students; isn't this what we, as educators, should be focused on?

It is certainly the focus of SCAD, and that is due to Paula Wallace's visionary and inspirational leadership. The passionate comments posted above by faculty and staff is a testament to the culture that President Wallace not only created, but has sustained for 30 years.

Having worked at other institutions, and having been a student of higher education leadership myself, I can objectively say that no one does it better than President Wallace at SCAD.

63. lkvamme - September 30, 2010 at 03:32 pm

Dear Mr. Fain,
I am a staff member at SCAD--and a very happy one at that. SCAD employees come from all over the world to teach/work at our various locations. I went to college in the Northeast--NYU and Columbia and I never thought about moving to Georgia. But then, I was invited on a tour, met President Wallace and lunched with faculty members. I was sold. SCAD is all about students, collaboration and innovation. It is EXCITING to work here! How many other people can say that about their jobs? The SCAD mission statement influences everything we do: "The Savannah College of Art and Design exists to prepare talented students for professional careers, emphasizing learning through individual attention in a positively oriented leanring environment." We never could have reached such successful heights without the vision and the leadership of Paula S. Wallace. She is kind, generous and brilliant. If you really want the story of President Wallace-ask our students. Or better yet, visit our campus, meet us and take a tour of our campuses. Like others who have visited SCAD, you will be blown away by our students, our faculty, our staff, our facilities and our generous southern manners.
Linda Kvamme Ciroco

64. theola1947 - September 30, 2010 at 03:39 pm

I have been working at SCAD at the Atlanta location for approximately 5 years and in that time I have seen some of the best work come out of students at this campus. I previously lived in Brooklyn NY in the Williamburg which is an area that had a large population of artists and I am quite familiar with there work. But coming to SCAD has opened up an entirely new door for me, seeing work from the ground up, seeing the campus grow from 150 students to almost 1800. I see every day the hard work of faculty and students alike, I see the growth of students and this is due because of the leadership of Paula Wallace. SCAD is an amazing learning center for students, faculty, staff and alumni. since I've worked at SCAD this is one of the few organizations that faculty, and staff have not had to concern themselves with layoffs and raises are timely. Because of Paula's vision under her leadership one of the best art schools in the country has been born, students come out of SCAD working for some of the biggest artists in their field. President Wallace works long days and time spent on the job and is such a dedicated leader. We should have more college/university leaders that is as selfless as President Wallace. Paula is committed to students first and making sure that they get an AWESOME education

65. janbryan - September 30, 2010 at 03:48 pm

President Wallace is a true visionary and works tirelessly to provide SCAD students the best art and design education in the world. Visitors of SCAD are blown away by the quality of education provided through her leadership, the incredible quality of the faculty and student work, and the state-of-the-art facilities. Despite the fact that SCAD has never offered tenure, the faculty retention rate is exceptional. True industry experience and collaboration are highly valued here at SCAD, so yearly contracts are offered to enable faculty to get back into their craft periodically in order to stay current and give the best to our students. SCAD grads are scouted by the biggest names in the arts and are often employed immediately upon graduation. The outcome of the college's 2010 SACS review was STELLAR with no recommendations given, which many of you will know is extremely rare. Couple all of these points with what the college has done for the revitalization of our once crumbling historic city and then break SCAD down again. That would make for a very worthwhile read. Thank you President Wallace; you are worth every penny.

66. janefa - September 30, 2010 at 03:53 pm

The real problem and contradiction here is that this college is a pretender to the field of "art". Art is not just the glamorous feat of decorating the homes, offices, gardens, not to mention clothing of the rich and famous (with a little charity work thrown in.) Nor is it about careers in advertising and luxury branding on or off-line. These may be fine careers but they concern marketing more than art.

Art is an interdisciplinary pursuit that looks critically at the aesthetic categories and processes of evaluation by which a society tries to define quality as it builds itself. It is a comparative historical and cultural evaluation that does not shy away from the study of power dynamics and questions such as how "taste cultures" become a prop for class distinction. A wide ranging intellect must inform how artistic skill is developed if it claims to be more than just novelty . Without this art becomes just a flattering "taste culture" reflecting the fads of wealthy patrons at any given time.

In contrast real art education is a truly worldly-wise pursuit and concerns itself with building (or rebuilding) the city, the state, and the country according to the ideals of democracy-- Yes-- the beauty and brilliance of the ideals of democracy as they find form in public buildings, village squares, schools, streetscapes, small shops (not "exclusive" boutiques), and creative, elegant product design that is relevant to everyone. The vocation of art is to be the change, be the object, or the idea, that carries on teaching after the teachers are gone and embodies a challenge that respects every citizen, the environment, the world, and future generations.

In contrast I do not see this kind fearless creativity and questioning going on at this "college". It appears instead to be a corporate training center or sort of art and fashion house with narrowly defined instructor profiles. There is certainly a role for this sort of business in a commerical setting, but it is not a college and should never try to claim public legitimacy as a college. Moreover, it does not appear to function with academic freedom. The lack of academic freedom is clear from the sycophantic comments of identifiable teaching staff ... the rhetoric is truly mind numbing. Now what would be the consequences if you disagreed with this college's embedded aristocracy! It is time we taught students the history of patronage as it seem to have been forgotten along with many other facts of art history lost to contemporary amnesia.

67. lauraatscad - September 30, 2010 at 03:59 pm

I have had the honor and privilege to be both a SCAD graduate and a SCAD employee for the past 18 years. President Wallace has devoted over 30 years to ensuring the success of our students. She carefully evaluates each resource and initiative at the college to make certain we are fulfilling our mission. I know she cares about each individual student at SCAD because she's created offices such as student success and advising and career and alumni success services to provide personalized attention and support.

We track the progress of each student here at the college. That is the level of individualized attention they receive. Parents consistently compliment me at orientation and other events on our level of outreach and support of students. They are amazed by our innovation and creativity. In 18 years, I have always received the fiscal resources I needed to move our department forward in order to better serve the needs of our students. Many other private art colleges cost more and do not come close to providing the resources our students have. Here at SCAD, we provide student success advisers, faculty advisers, and career advisers for each student. We also have extensive student support services including counseling, learning support, and professional writing consultants. Students can even request a mentor who is a graduate student studying in their field.

Seeing students successful and employed in a field they love is President Wallace's mission and she fulfills it every day.

68. terryannj67 - September 30, 2010 at 04:03 pm

President Wallace and her family have accomplished in 32 years what it has taken several presidents of one university to achieve in a century: a creative arts institution that offers the very best opportunities for young men and women academically and professionally. As President to this prestigious college, it will stun most to find that she reigns in the same way that she nurtures her own children. She lives, moves and has her being for her family and for SCAD. Every moment of every day is about SCAD and its students. Her ability to balance an array of roles as wife, mother and leader to the top creative career school in the country is exemplary. The world critiques her and says too much! However, parents proudly boast of their investment as their young adults receive a degree, and students proudly walk as they receive the greatest award earned from the greatest creative arts college. The faculty and staff are honored to work alongside such an accomplished woman who has provided amazing opportunities to creative art students around the world.

69. lrisher - September 30, 2010 at 04:10 pm

I have worked for SCAD for eight years and very proud of the success of this institution. I have worked for other well- known private colleges that struggled to meet payroll each month. We get raises each year, do not have to worry about furlough or layoffs. SCAD offers free profit sharing to their employees. In this current economy, our student enrollment continues to increase each year and our students have to opportunity to study in state of the art, computer labs and design studio. They have to opportunity do work on collaborative projects with major corporations all over the United States and beyond. We have some of the most talented professors that work hard to teach young artists to flourish in the fields. I applaud Paula Wallace for her vision to make SCAD one of the best Art and Design Unviersity in the world.

70. betterschools - September 30, 2010 at 04:11 pm


Let's see . . . built from the ground up with personal funds and high risk to fulfill a vision, high praise from working alumni, excellence in leadership, enthusiastic students, dedicated and distinctive faculty, satisfied staff, applicants lined up at the door, a presence in three nations, demonstrated high-value learning outcomes, low loan defaults, significantly less than average reliance on taxpayer support . . . and your credentials and role in defining the "proper" focus of this institution would be? Please inform us.

I would encourage you to put your ideas to the test. Take out a second mortgage for start-up capital. Build an educational institution that fulfills your definitions. Check in from time-to-time and let us know how you're doing.

71. bnmoore - September 30, 2010 at 04:16 pm

Key is: The Board of Trustees, who approve senior executives compensaton. Are they nothing but a rubber stamp to the president's druthers, or does it have real automy to decide these things. Since the senior leadership of the college is mostly family members, what does the BOT look like? And does the college's foundation by-laws leave any subtle loopholes that complement whatever the compensation needs are of the college's leadership...beginning with Ms. Wallace? Since the SCAD Group is run by the college...what do the 990s look like year to year?

72. larryhagman - September 30, 2010 at 04:16 pm

Here's something to consider: some folks like to keep bringing up SCAD's negative publicity from back in the early 1990s. THAT WAS MORE THAN 18 YEARS AGO...when SCAD's current freshmen weren't even born!!! It's like still being mad at the University of Alabama for not wanting to admit Vivian Jones, its first black student, in 1963. I mean, GEEZ. There were lots of unfortunate things that happened in 1992, like stonewashed overalls and Whitney Houston's marriage to Bobby Brown. GET OVER IT.

73. jlellis - September 30, 2010 at 04:17 pm

I am a very proud staff member of SCAD for more than eight years who enthusiastically continues to hire the very best faculty for SCAD. Why did I come to SCAD and why do I continue to stay at SCAD to do what I do? Over eight years ago I came to SCAD because I was intrigued by its entrepreneurial nature, by the level of professionalism and excellence, by what SCAD had achieved, and by the growing reputation. I stay because all of that continues to be true and because I believe in President Wallace's vision for the college, and in her leadership. Although not an artist or designer, I delight in going to events that showcase our student and faculty work. These events confirm for me what an amazing product SCAD offers - the education provided. Although I work for SCAD Group Inc., I work closely and seamlessly with the academic side of the house and interact with faculty, chairs, deans, and higher level academic administration. I am thus able to get a strong sense of the marvelous education that SCAD provides. The fabulous faculty body and dedicated staff are focused on executing under President Wallace's amazing leadership. She took a small kernel of an idea and nurtured it to what it is today. I am sure that along the way she had to make many sacrifices to make this happen and I am happy that she now enjoys the fruit of her idea, vision, and dedication (to the school, staff, and faculty, but most of all to the students). I wish the author of this article had seen fit to also mention that under President Wallace's leadership SCAD went through a recent SACS 10-year reaccreditation visit this year with no (that is correct - zero) recommendations. How often does that happen?

74. aswartz - September 30, 2010 at 04:20 pm

What does the President of RISD get? What does the President of Pratt get? SCAD is infinitely larger (10,000 students on four campuses on three continents) than those other art and design colleges. The bottom line is Wallace is the president of an art and design college. The subtext of this article is that academia and the art world are places of low pay and poor working conditions and suspicion of women who lead.

75. cramsdel - September 30, 2010 at 04:21 pm

I've worked at SCAD for over ten years, and I can't imagine teaching anywhere else. The students at SCAD are passionate and creative, and the facilities are top notch. I have a great deal of academic freedom, and I get to work with wonderful people. I also have the satisfaction of knowing that SCAD's students are prepared to meet the challenges of the workplace and that, even in this economy, SCAD graduates are finding good jobs.

President Wallace is a visionary, and we need more people like her in higher education. She should be celebrated, not criticized.

76. lexalexander - September 30, 2010 at 04:22 pm

[["Grossly excessive"? I suspect that's a matter of perspective. ]]

Yeah, and as a taxpayer, my perspective is that a half-million a year, in current market conditions, is plenty for anyone running a tax-exempt organization. Even at that level, Ms. Wallace would be making more than the president of the United States, notwithstanding the fact that, to repurpose the old joke, she has had a better year.

77. lmstaff - September 30, 2010 at 04:24 pm

As a staff member of SCAD's Atlanta campus, I have the utmost respect for President Wallace and see on a daily basis the fruits of her labors. Our graduates are prepared for actual careers--not just a job, but a true career. Had the author of this article done much research into the true value of a SCAD education, they would have found that our graduate placement rate within their chosen field is extraordinary.

In a time when state funded universities and even the most wealthy schools are laying off staff, cutting faculty positions, research dollars and capital growth; I have received a raise every year of my employment, have excellent health benefits largely funded by the university and a retirement plan. So, no I don't agree that our staff and faculty are abused--far from it.

I would invite the author to visit our Savannah and Atlanta campuses to see the industry standard equipment that is available to all students 24hrs a day and meet with the faculty who has so much to give to our students in world-class facilities. I have never brought a guest to SCAD who hasn't been impressed and it's all generated from the vision of President Paula Wallace.

78. jonesey1 - September 30, 2010 at 04:29 pm

I will complete my twelfth year at SCAD in a little over a month working with our international students, who come from over 90 countries. When I first started at SCAD, we had one campus and just under 480 international students. Today, we have over 1000 international students studying at 3 campuses, in Lacoste on quarterly off campus programs, and enrolled in e-learning coursework.

I personally met and welcomed the first new students to SCAD Atlanta just over 5 years ago, and also had the pleasure of welcoming the first wave of new international students to SCAD Hong Kong less than 3 weeks ago!

None of this would have been possible without the vision and leadership of President Wallace and the other senior leaders at SCAD!

In regards to "randomperson7's" posting at 12:32 p.m., pay is not only equitable but at the high end for staff in similar positions at other institutions. I can personally attest that I have received a raise during the annual performance review period EVERY year I have worked here; not the case where I worked previously at a four-year state school.

It's refreshing to work for an institution that values its employees and supports innovation and just keeps getting better!

79. cturbivi - September 30, 2010 at 04:30 pm

I've been on staff at SCAD for more than six years now and have nothing but the utmost respect for Paula Wallace adn the incredible university she has built over the past 32 years. As one of the original co-founders, this institution has been her life's work, and she has wholly invested herself in it. President Wallace is blessed with both long-range vision and immediate understanding, and cares about our students as much as - if not more than - any college president. Their success is her own measure of success.

Under her leadership, SCAD has become the cutting-edge art and design university in the country, with equipment and software rivaling some of the top companies in the industry, faculty who are leaders and innovators in their respective fields, and experiences that are unmatched at other institutions. Our students win fantastic internships and jobs year after year, getting a foot in the door at top-shelf companies, because they are so well-prepared. No starving artists here - our students graduate to enviable careers in the art and design fields because they are the best!

80. henry30904 - September 30, 2010 at 04:33 pm

I speak not only as a staff member of SCAD, but also as a resident of Savannah. There is no value that can be placed on the opportunities SCAD has provided to not only its students, faculty and staff, but also the City of Savannah. President Wallace is the leader of the most comprehensive art and design university in the country. The mission of the college has remained the same since its founding in 1978: “To prepare talented students for professional careers emphasizing learning through individual attention in a positively oriented university environment”. SCAD graduates are highly respected and are employed upon graduation by top companies around the world, something that is hard to achieve in this very tough economy.

SCAD is responsible for the revitalization of nearly 70 historic buildings in downtown Savannah that otherwise would have remained in disrepair. As a result of this preservation, the quality of life in downtown Savannah is tremendously enhanced resulting in increased tourism, increased new business and increased residential demand. In addition, SCAD contributed $369.7 million to the economy in 2007, according to the Georgia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

Did Mr. Fain care to research any of the facts before he printed such a slanted article?

81. 22122118 - September 30, 2010 at 04:39 pm

All these testimonials from the oh-so-grateful administrators, faculty, alums, and supporters of SCAD (or should I say the Wallace Family Trust). Every other comment, seemingly. Coincidental? Programmed? Cult-like? Lemming-like? 100K to direct the equestrian program? Tough work, but... Thanks, but not thanks, I'll stay put.

82. scadajacobs - September 30, 2010 at 04:40 pm

Like some of you, I too was suprised to see this type of article appear on The Chronicle of Higher Education's web site.

As a staff member of SCAD of almost four years, and having worked closely with President Paula Wallace and each member of her family, I would be remiss if I did not mention that each of them has an indescribable commitment to this institution and its students, not to mention the passion, dedication and requisite credentials to fulfill each of their respective positions.

Under President Wallace's guidance and leadership, SCAD received no recommendations following its recent reaffirmation of accreditation by SACS, an accomplishment that I am sure many know should not be taken lightly and/or overlooked. President Wallace involves and dedicates herself to EVERY aspect of this institution. I cannot think of many university presidents who take the time to hold individual "meet and greet" sessions with students, not to mention know employees from various departments across all campuses by name. Her utmost concern is the nurturance, growth and success of the university's students, faculty and staff. She and her family should all be commended for their dedication to SCAD.

83. dank48 - September 30, 2010 at 04:48 pm

That's right, 22122118, don't let even overwhelming evidence and testimony get in the way of your preconceptions. Just call it a cult and be done with it. Otherwise, you might have to reconsider just what you're getting for your AAUP dues.

84. eoleary - September 30, 2010 at 05:08 pm

@ 67. janefa

SCAD has the largest full-time, full professor faculty devoted to art history in the entire nation and all students, undergrad and graduate, are required to take art history courses. Thank you for taking the time to share your definition of what a “real” art education is and completely disregard the breadth and depth of the curricula that SCAD offers.

85. vanbaron - September 30, 2010 at 05:18 pm

To Janefa,
There is no "real problem" nor "contradiction" at SCAD. A review of the college website shows a remarkable diversity of major and minor programs of graduate and undergraduate study. The liberal arts program at SCAD is strong, the art history faculty is the largest grouping of Ph.D.s in the country, and the fine arts are well represented alongside traditional design and building arts disciplines. Speaking as an art historian, art critic, curator, museum director and professor, I can assure Janefa that the fearless creativity and questioning that she/he desires is abundantly present at SCAD, as is academic freedom in its most conventional definition. I invite Janefa to take a look at the facts, resist the temptation to leap to unfounded conclusions, and see SCAD with the open mind and tolerant perspective that we hope always characterizes the creative and the educated person.
Judith Van Baron, Ph.D.
Director of Executive Programs
Savannah College of Art and Design

86. larryhagman - September 30, 2010 at 05:22 pm

@ #67. janefa:

I love your sentences. My favorite is, "Art is an interdisciplinary pursuit that looks critically at the aesthetic categories and processes of evaluation by which a society tries to define quality as it builds itself."

Crazy. I thought art was a noun.

Also, your ideas about what an "art school" should be are also fun. The great thing about the U.S. is that anybody is free to start a new art school with whatever mission they like. At SCAD, we prepare students for careers where they make interesting things. At your art school, I suppose your students will prepare for careers where they make interesting sentences.

87. jlowe67 - September 30, 2010 at 05:27 pm

President Wallace's priority is providing SCAD students with exceptional academic opportunities and the best education possible. The amazing growth SCAD has experienced over the past 30 years isn't a result of luck; it is a product of very hard work and President Wallace leads by example. Her standards are extremely high and she expects all SCAD employees to work to the best of their abilities. As a professor at SCAD, I was expected to examine, evaluate and adjust any course I taught to find ways to make classes more effective. As a department chair, I was expected to examine, evaluate and adjust the departmental curriculum, find new opportunities for students, bring in visiting lecturers and develop new classes to ensure the success of our students. As a dean, I work with my department chairs addressing all of these matters and we work together developing new ways to enhance our students' educational experience. Paula Wallace has been the impetus for this push for curricula, and the greater student experience, to be continuously improving. Her work at SCAD and commitment to students is priceless.

88. aswartz - September 30, 2010 at 05:30 pm

Since joining the SCAD art history faculty in 1994, the experience has been a positive one for me. There is a true commitment to diversity--from hiring staff and faculty to the selection of which artists are exhibited in its galleries and museum--and I have received consistent support from the classroom and for my research. Wallace's leadership, administration, and commitment to funding a strong institution make those things possible.

89. verdad - September 30, 2010 at 05:58 pm

I can only describe this collection of comments as bizarre. Almost as bizarre as a president with a 2 million dollar presidential salary who hires family members. For an interesting history of SCAD in the 90's, I suggest googling Lingua Franca Sinister Designs.

90. vanbaron - September 30, 2010 at 06:01 pm

I have been employed in the art world and in higher education for 50 years as an art critic, professor, museum director and commercial art gallery director. For the past 20 years I have been employed at SCAD as both faculty and staff. My years at SCAD have been, and continue to be, by far, the most exciting, adventurous, gratifying, and intellectually stimulating of all. I have always been fairly compensated and appreciated. So much of my good experience at SCAD has been the result of the example set by President Paula Wallace, a woman of achievement, of compassion, of great generosity, and thankfully, of measurable success. She is paid well -- a good example at a time when many hard working women are still undercompensated because of gender alone. If we were to compare her salary to CEOs who work similar hours and make equal sacrifices, we would find she is underpaid. From the beginning of the college, Paula Wallace has kept the students at the heart of the mission and of all endeavors on all levels. She has set the pace for the rest of us to follow.

Many Americans seem to have no problem paying business leaders, manufacturers, celebrities, athletes, even a few artists, huge sums to sell us food to make us fat, movies to make us laugh, or games to excite us on a Sunday afternoon. However, we wring our hands and lament the lack of adequate compensation for our educators, for police officers, for nurses, for firefighters, and for soldliers who give their lives to protect us. Yet, here is a genuine educator -- who by her own efforts, her own time, her own flesh and blood -- creates an educational institution of such incredible benefit to so many, that it is nothing short of stunning. The realization knocks us back on our heels and we say, "At last, someone gets it. Someone has the right idea. Someone is setting the standard for excellence. Someone has placed value on education -- on learning -- on art -- on beauty -- on saving a city from decline -- on the worth of the individual child -- on the importance of having a job, a career, and, thus, an identity." That someone is Paula Wallace. She is joined and supported by extremely talented family members, by faculty and staff dedicated to her high values, by students who have chosen to attend the college, and by alumni who prove the truth and value of her vision. Her hours, days, months, and years of hard work cannot be rewarded by salary alone. She deserves every accolade she gets.

The facts about SCAD speak for themselves. SCAD is an institution of excellence. President Wallace does not rest on her laurels; she stands on her record. The art world and higher education are better for her presence. Her salary is insignificant in comparison.

Judith Van Baron, Ph.D.
Director of Executive Programs
Savannah College of Art and Design

91. smburke1 - September 30, 2010 at 06:14 pm

@ janefa

You have used a number of stereotypes in condemning this institution and the people in it, obviously without having much familiarity with the college. There are a wide variety of excellent studio and academic departments here in which faculty and students explore, innovate, create, design, learn, and yes, "challenge" the boundaries and ideas of both the present and the past, and they do so with full academic freedom (usually faculty retention rates are 94% or so). To respond to just one point, since you are concerned with "building (or rebuilding the city, the state, and the country,...as they find form in public buildings, village square, schools, streetscapes,", etc., you might be interested to learn that SCAD is an acknowledged leader in historic preservation, urban design, and neighborhood revitalization. Its contributions in these areas have made it the recipient of national awards from the National Trust of Historic Preservation, the American Institute of Architects, and the Victorian Society of America, as well as regional awards from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historic Savannah Foundation. You will no doubt regard these comments (and external awards) as sycophantic, etc., but "criticism is easy, and art is difficult" as the saying goes.
Suzanne Maureen Burke
Dean of Academic Initiatives
Savannah College of Art and Design

92. categorical - September 30, 2010 at 06:30 pm

To the advocates: I've wondered for a long time about the huge number of job ads I see for SCAD. I've always assumed that this indicated a high turnover and poor work environment. Is there another expaination?

93. ksjackson - September 30, 2010 at 06:37 pm


94. larryhagman - September 30, 2010 at 06:42 pm

@ 93. categorical:

As a faculty member, I can say that SCAD is always hiring because SCAD is growing. HR takes take great care with all hires, so some jobs stay open for a while - at least until they find a good fit. That's been my observation.

95. categorical - September 30, 2010 at 06:43 pm

"I don't think President Wallace is paid too much, I think the other president's are paid too little. Compare the following coaches salaries with their respective president's salary.

1. Mack Brown, Texas $5,100,000
2. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma $4,300,000
3. Urban Meyer, Florida $4,000,000
3. Lane Kiffin $4,000,000
4. Nick Saban, Alabama $3,900,000
5. Les Miles, LSU $3,800,000
6. Jim Tressel, Ohio State $3,722,000
7. Mark Richt, Georgia $3,096,576
8. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa $3,030,000
9. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas $2,900,000
10. Mark Richt, Georgia $2,900,000
11. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan $2,900,000
12. Jeff Tedford, California $2,807,500
T13. Gary Pinkel, Missouri $2,500,000
T13. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss $2,500,000
T15. Mark Mangino, Kansas $2,300,000
T16. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech $2,300,000
18. Greg Schiano, Rutgers $2,250,000
T19. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech $2,100,000
T19. Butch Davis, North Carolina $2,100,000
T21. June Jones, SMU $2,000,000
T21. Lane Kiffin, TN (Gone to USC) $2,000,000
T21. Gene Chizik, Auburn $2,000,000
24. Al Groh, Virginia $1,875,000
25. Bo Pelini, Nebraska $1,851,000"

But these are all scandalous, too.

96. ksjackson - September 30, 2010 at 06:59 pm

What a disappointing article. I can't help feeling that the article contained a mean spirit and am surprised that the Chronicle would produce an article of this caliber. We are justifiably proud of our President and our institution. President Wallace has worked hard over many years and earned every dime, taking an idea and turning it into an international force. We have had sustained high faculty retention for a while. This is with faculty knowing, upfront, that the contracts are for one year, with no promise of future employment. Faculty leave and return, and many PT faculty seek FT employment with the college, already knowing that we have no tenure system. It would also be interesting to note that we have spouses and domestic partners who are either both faculty or one of whom is a faculty member and they remain, put down stakes, and raise families, and become vital members of of our city. Why? Because they are committed to our students and to SCAD. We also have large numbers of applicants who apply, who are not actively recruited by SCAD. Many are nationally and internationally renowned and could work other places, and maybe even make more money. But people like to be on winning teams. We have enthusiastic faculty and staff, who give back to the school in so many ways, from direct financial contributions, to hours of volunteer service, to donations of artwork, you name it, never expecting anything in return but the continued success of the students and SCAD. Finally, it seems the author does not have the advantage of knowing Savannah pre- and post- SCAD; I do. This beautiful historic city was quietly disappearing, in part due to lack of economic initiatives. Almost everyone agreeg that President Wallace's vision not only built SCAD, but revitalized and breathed new life into Savannah and the Coastal area. In my opinion, a beautiful match was made when SCAD met Savannah!

97. vanbaron - September 30, 2010 at 07:09 pm

Regarding items 8, 11, 55
I have been in dialogue over the years with various persons at AAUP regarding their censure of the college. I was at the college at the time of their initial visit when, incidentally, they did not interview the leadership of the college who would have been able to address the criticisms expounded by a few faculty. The AAUP was concerned about the lack of tenure because they believed it represented a lack of job security and a lack of academic freedom. The faculty retention rate at SCAD testifies to job security. Tenure is all but a dead issue; it no longer guarantees job security or academic freedom anywhere especially in a bad economy. SCAD provides academic freedom exactly according to the definition published by the AAUP. The faculty members hired at SCAD before and since the censure are extremely talented, well qualified, and dedicated to art education in its finest form. The greatest form of academic freedom and job security is keeping your job and paying your mortgage when others around you are losing theirs. I'm sure the AAUP would agree. SCAD faculty enjoy this kind of job security and academic freedom.
Judith Van Baron, Ph.D.
Director of Executive Programs
Savannah College of Art and Design

98. monster213 - September 30, 2010 at 08:06 pm

As a former faculty member at SCAD, I would like to be very clear about the conditions of employment. You are expected to walk the line at all times, demonstrate loyalty over ethics, and be a salesperson for SCAD above an academic. Beyond the inhuman treatment to which faculty are often subjected if they deviate by so much as a hair from the corporate image-making machine, there is the outright untruths that have become so much a part of the SCAD rhetoric that no one even thinks to question them any more. I would like to begin with the myth that there is a 95% retention rate for faculty. That number is only possible if you discount all of the faculty who elect not to return, those who are fired for misconduct, or those who die on the job. If you subtract those fromt he total number of faculty who do not return because their positions are elminated then yes, there is a 95% retention rate. However, it is similar to suggesting that a Big Mac is actually calorie free if you remove the cheese, meat, bread, mayo, and leave only the pickle.

SCAD is not an insitution of higher learning, it is an academic sweatshop in which ridiculous statements such as that made by Judith Van Baron that tenure does not grant job security or the most basic and repeated argument, "it's just as bad at other places."

I would like to specifically rebut her final comment that "the greats form of academic freedom and job security is keeping your job and paying your mortgage when others around you are losing theirs." When I arrived at SCAD, 8 months pregnant, I was assigned courses that ran from 8-10:30 at night meaning that 4 days a week I did not see my young son at all. When my husband was deported shortly after the birth of our second child, the university stopped paying me the day I went to have the c-section and I had to return to work 5 days after the birth so that I could receive a paycheck. I was also told that if I did not return, I was in violation of my contract and could be terminated AND owe the university $5,000 in moving expenses. When my daughter needed vaccinations the first year of her life, SCAD's insurance policy would not pay for them or for her well visits leaving me with a $1,200 medical bill.

Sure, I could have kept that job by suffering silently and betraying all of my values. I could have continued to contribute to the death of education in the United States. I could have continued to be part of the largest capitalist knowledge grab that has ever occurred. But, the moment I could not - the moment that I would not fake student work for accreditation, the moment that I would not look a student in the eye and tell them that they had been wronged, I would have been out on my ass in a heartbeat.

Telling people that SCAD employees should be grateful for the job security they have is like asking a hostage to be thankful that they have a roof over their head. It's both ridiculous and insulting.

99. monster213 - September 30, 2010 at 08:08 pm


100. janawoo - September 30, 2010 at 08:12 pm

A quote from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Aug.24, 2005) during the SCAD takeover of the Atlanta College of Design:

SCAD "is like a Wal-Mart to me," says Steven Ballas of Fairfield, Conn., whose son, Elia, transferred from SCAD to ACA more than a year ago. "They spend a lot of money on advertising. It reminded me more of a corporation."

From the article: Art school uproar
Amid protests, Savannah college swallows Woodruff institution after board vote today

101. nightnerd79 - September 30, 2010 at 08:14 pm

As an alumni of the college and an former Staff member of the college I have had the rare opportunity to see the inner and outer workings of this college. My personal veiw is that Paula S Wallace is one of the hardest working people and extrodinary visionaries of our time. She and her family have saved Savannah GA from being destroyed in the 1980's while providing a place for people to develop and follow their dreams. She deserves all that she gets because she gives so much and is so humble. Her family is amazing and this gay midwestern boy who did not know how sweet life could be is much indebted to her.

102. monster213 - September 30, 2010 at 08:17 pm

ps would be interesting to know how many of these postings are from either fake names, lackies, or people who have been specifically asked to respond. It does seem awfully strange given that every day that I worked there, every conversation with anyone was overtaken by despairing recounts of daily interactions that drained the soul and chilled the heart.

I don't care if P-dub wants to pay herself one billion dollars a year or the college charges twice that for tuition, what I do find offensive is its insistence upon calling itself a university. That, is a discredit to the institution of education and an insult. There are many brilliant and inspired people who teach there, usually for a very brief period of time, and I wish that SCAD could let them be educators rather than spending time concerned about footwear choices and ensuring that no one calls the fire department for fear of bad press. oh well, I have a job with tenure and academic freedom now AND IT HAS NEVER FELT SO GOOD.

103. rellawj - September 30, 2010 at 08:45 pm

@26, hbuxbaum.

President Wallace's salary is based on an independent appraisal of a third party compensation analyst and subject to board approval. Therefore, the president has no influence on her compensation. Her compensation is determined, and approved, by objective parties. The compensation analyst determines compensation commensurate with President Wallace's experience, qualifications, and accomplishments. None of which are based on profit.

@34, betterschools.

SCAD does in fact outsource a portion of its services to organizations other than SCAD Group.

@36, bdbailey.

President Wallace does report to an independent board of trustees.

J.J. Waller
Business Manager

104. riclov - September 30, 2010 at 09:04 pm

I am on the faculty at SCAD's Atlanta campus. I have taught at the Portfolio Center, a post-graduate "finishing school" for communication arts professionals, and at Atlanta College of Art, a private fine arts and design college. Neither of my previous teaching experiences prepared me for the level of professionalism, the student-centric focus, or the broad-based learning environment that is SCAD. My compensation here is higher than any other institution at which I've taught, but then again, they expect more of me, and I readily give more because of the support that comes from the President's office on down. And Paula Wallace should be congratulated for her guidance and vision in building such an environment.

No other institution in the country is more student success oriented than SCAD. The faculty are all current and relevant in their fields; no tenure means no deadbeats. Everyone must prove that they know what they are teaching in the classroom by being published, having exhibitions, and winning awards now, this year, not just having a legacy of past success. Even the majority of staffers are artists, and understand the industry and what it takes to succeed. This trickles down to the students in the classroom, and accounts for the extremely high professional placement levels of SCAD's graduates. At every campus, the facilities are not just technically current, but exude an air of professionalism and good taste. The students are learning in the best facilities, on the best equipment with the most current software, and in an environment that is nurturing and supportive. When a student graduates from SCAD, they are truly ready to go to work, and I can't say that about any other institution at which I've either attended or taught. That alone is worth the price of tuition, and the salary that President Wallace makes.

105. lafarrell - September 30, 2010 at 09:23 pm

In response to #67. janefa

SCAD is respected and supported by artists, curators, scholars and other art institutions. By organizing world-class exhibitions and public programs SCAD provides exceptional learning opportunities for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public. Meeting and working with artists such as Stephen Antonakos, Ghada Amer, Alfredo Jaar and Carrie Mae Weems provides opportunities to students to receive studio critiques, meaningful interaction and professional development.

In 2009, President Wallace created the deFine Art festival to celebrate the achievements and outstanding caliber of our School of Fine Arts. The inaugural deFine Art Festival included special guests Marilyn Minter, Nene Humphrey, Richard Vine, a commissioned performance by Nick Cave and many other lectures, panel discussions and exhibitions.

SCAD provides dynamic platforms for the appreciation, discovery and engagement with art.

Laurie Ann Farrell
Executive Director, SCAD Exhibitions

106. tripoleee - September 30, 2010 at 09:40 pm

Could not help but pass on my first hand knowledge of the SCAD story. My son, graduated from SCAD in 2008, with two degrees-film editing and sound design. He currently works in the film industry in LA; recently working on the documentary of the making of Avatar(so much for the worthless art degree comment).

Although to an outsider, Paula Wallace's salary may seem excessive, there is so much more to the story. She has not just changed the viewpoint that artists can live more than a life of a "starving artist" but she and SCAD have literally changed the future of Savannah, Georgia. SCAD's philosophy put into reality; they combine the creativity of the students with the fantastic, unlimited possibilities of modern technology. Pixar swoops in every year and grabs many of the graduating seniors. Before the economic downturn, I think the employment stats were 80%+ students employed within 6 months after they graduate. There are over 30 degrees offered, (film, game animation, furniture and industrial design, historic restoration), taught by experts in the field. Many of my son's professors are Academy Award winners. Paula Wallace and the SCAD philosophy has secured the backing arts patrons around the world to establish satellite schools worldwide with campuses in China and France.

What the school has done for Savannah is even more remarkable. With their own money, the Wallace's started the school, first purchasing the original historic building, a Civil War Armory. When downtown Savannah was being abandoned and evacuated, SCAD came in and bought one building after another, not all of which were historic. Instead of destroying all of the buildings, they renovated them and put them to use. These included historic homes as well as the old theaters, all meticulously restored, the downtown J.C Penny was turned into the library, the abandoned grocery store was restored and divided so that every graduate level art major has their own studio. The Jewish Synagogue with its beautiful stained glass dome was also restored and is now the student center. Even the Howard Johnson's with its orange roof was remodeled (without the orange roof) and turned into dorms, much bigger than the average dorm room. Instead of a decaying downtown sector, Savannah's downtown is now a center of daily activity. I am not sure of the actual figures, but the contribution by SCAD to the Savannah economy is enormous.

Paula Wallace had a vision that was unbelievably forward thinking for its time. For over twenty years, she has developed and nurtured that vision; changing the lives of students and an entire city and its inhabitants along the way. Other forward thinkers such as Jobs make much more than $2M and just like any innovative, determined entrepreneur, in my opinion, she deserves every penny.

107. linzeyscott - September 30, 2010 at 09:42 pm

Post 13. feudi - In fact, even in this sluggish economy as hiring freezes, furloughs, a variety of cutbacks are necessary SCAD graduates continue to not only find laudable employment upon graduation but also climb to leadership roles in their organizations and throughout industry. SCAD's current loan default rate of 2% continues to be well below the national average of 7% and half the national average of all private school graduates, which is 4%.

108. scadrealist - September 30, 2010 at 10:25 pm

As a SCAD employee, I can say that this article sent our school abuzz today. I know that people were directed to write positive comments and that should be evident to most readers by the syrupy cult-like positive comments that have been made.

I think I have a more balanced view of the article. First of all, it's not really a suprise to any of us working here. While I can't fault the president too much for her salary, the nepotism here has gone too far. Others in the family are not as wise and deserving of what they receive.

Paul, you also neglected to note Paula Wallace's sister is also on the payroll in a major position.

Also, you didn't mention that admissions is also under the SCAD Group, Inc., which makes the admission office, de facto, a for-profit institution. This does affect the way the school is run.

With regard to the President, I can say that I have not once seen the her and there is a feeling that she is out of touch amongst most of us. I am speaking as a staff member, and not faculty, or a director.

That said, we were recently re-accredited by SACS. Our students get good jobs. SCAD may have saved Savannah. So I don't hate this place, but I am not going to have blind allegience to the powers that be higher up. I really hope this article serves as a wake-up call to the administration.

109. selkins1234 - September 30, 2010 at 10:29 pm

As a native Savannah resident, I can sadly reflect on the state our city was in prior to SCAD. Thank you, President Wallace, for painting the smile on Savannah's face for over 30 years! I wouldn't want to live here without you.

110. j_rojas - September 30, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I am a product of SCAD

111. verdad - September 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Is anyone from SCAD willing to comment on Monster213's inhumane child birth experience:

"shortly after the birth of our second child, the university stopped paying me the day I went to have the c-section and I had to return to work 5 days after the birth so that I could receive a paycheck. I was also told that if I did not return, I was in violation of my contract and could be terminated AND owe the university $5,000 in moving expenses. When my daughter needed vaccinations the first year of her life, SCAD's insurance policy would not pay for them or for her well visits leaving me with a $1,200 medical bill."


The Lingua Franca article "Sinister Desires" is disturbing as well . It sounds like a feudal society.

112. bethconcepcion - September 30, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Dear janefa, 22122118, verdad and monster213,

I started working at SCAD in 1992, left in 1994, but came back in 1998 because I missed working at the college. Yes, you read that right. I left and came back, and I've been at SCAD ever since.

Janefa, I find you especially insulting in that you insinuate that I am no more than a corporate trainer. Before you make assessments, perhaps you should look at my CV and that of my fellow faculty. And then talk to our students. Or visit alumni where they are gainfully employed in a career they chose and love.

The Lingua Franca "article" isn't even worthy of lining a birdcage. (And again -- almost 20 years ago!) I was here then, and I know exactly what happened. You want to know what SCAD is really like and why I like working here? Call me or e-mail me. Unlike you, I'm not afraid to use my real name.

113. j_rojas - September 30, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I am a product of SCAD. I was born, raised and educated in South America; received an additional college degree in Australia; taught design at three different institutions before coming to Savannah, Georgia; and furthered my college education by earning a MA in Product Design at SCAD. I joined the SCAD faculty in 2003 as a professor and I am currently an associate chair. I believe in SCAD. I believe in SCAD's Mission,Vision and Values. It is because of President Paula Wallace and her family, their vision, that has allowed me and many others to build a life, family and career all centered in Savannah and connected with SCAD. I am proud of SCAD's locations and the energy and investment the college makes for its' faculty, staff and students. There are opportunities for anyone to attend this college and the tuition is well worth it. The ratio of students moving onto graduate school and/or careers is more promising than any other college in Art and Design. President Wallace deserves every cent and benefit she has earned and then some, she has made SCAD and the Historic District of Savannah a mecca for Art and Design. SCAD and historic Savannah are so delicately interwoven the relationship is inexplicable. I would like to encourage anyone with doubts or disbelief to visit our web at www.scad.edu and take the time to learn about our programs and read the success stories of our industry leaders, students and alumni. Finally I am extremely proud of working at SCAD and especially for President Paula Wallace

114. verdad - September 30, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Scadrealist said:

"As a SCAD employee, I can say that this article sent our school abuzz today. I know that people were directed to write positive comments and that should be evident to most readers by the syrupy cult-like positive comments that have been made."

DIRECTED TO WRITE POSITIVE COMMENTS? BY WHOM? Kudos for your honesty Scadrealist

115. itssotroo - October 01, 2010 at 12:08 am

campus was a buzz today.
my supervisor asked us to write good comments for the president on this site. Do this..look at the wave of loyalty that came during business hours. Other after hour commenters are inside-circle people or work for communications for the most part. They are all so busy trying to spin this story.

People who have nothing to hide don't have to work so hard because the truth doesn't hurt. the fear is real, people know to 'stay below the radar'. it's part of the way it is there.

I have been there 7 years and we were told that the institutional raises that averaged 3% this year were supposed to be 'great in times like these, after all we aren't doing any layoffs.' That is some consolation when you see what the exclusive tier of the college is paid.

it makes me sad

116. scadalum - October 01, 2010 at 12:08 am

As an alum of SCAD I found this article to be disturbing, naturally, as it was intended. What I found more disturbing were the comments. The drone-like repetition that the faculty seems to echo seems only to confirm the gripping control of image that the administration aims for. Prof. Rojas' cryptic echo "I am a product of SCAD" (a professor of product design, he is a funny man) only confirms the fact that responses must have been solicited from faculty, and that these professors have lost their own true voice. There is something wrong here, undoubtedly.

Per commemtor #67's statement that "In contrast I do not see this kind fearless creativity and questioning going on at this "college". It appears instead to be a corporate training center or sort of art and fashion house with narrowly defined instructor profiles. There is certainly a role for this sort of business"

..I have this to say:

SCAD is in fact a great school for you should you be slightly creative and want to make a living in the industry. They prepare students of varying degrees of talent to give an employer what they want and take in a paycheck. SCAD is especially suited for the corporate world and for this reason they are hailed for supplying gears for the machine. Art is and always will be a subjective topic, but the education of real artists will never be such a production. It is for this reason that "famous" or emerging artists rarely have graduated from SCAD. An artist will question the world around them and see not just the black and white of the corporate world, but every shade of gray in between. SCAD treats everything as black and white. Period.

The topic is of course the salary of Pres. Wallace and the unethical employment of her family and this is not so much what I am commenting on, that I know. As a former student I find her salary unethical (though not outlandish), certainly, but I do feel there are far more interesting ethical disparities to explore. I know of a number of shootings, drug rings, rapes, and armed robberies of students that the power of SCAD has suppressed (and made absent in the media) to leave it's dreamy image untarnished.

I am a graduate of SCAD, but I struggled the entire time as a result of who I am and how I think. (and I now struggle to repay the loans neccesary to get through) The reality is, SCAD supplies gears for the very machine that is ruining this country, all on the borrowed dime that is also destroying the middle class. Maybe SCAD does have a place in the world as a university of art and design, but full disclosure should be made to incoming students...

If you fancy yourself a REAL artist, go somewhere else.

And really I could go on and on, I just had to stop myself because this is not the proper venue.

117. scadalum - October 01, 2010 at 12:12 am

Wow, just read Rojas' revised statement.. gag me.

I'm sorry Jesus.

118. bethconcepcion - October 01, 2010 at 12:17 am

Wow "scadalum." There are plenty of SCAD alumni who should be really upset to see you write that they are not "REAL" artists. That is so offensive. I'm an alumna too, and I'm pretty offended.

According to other commenters, I'm also a "drone," "inside-circle" or I "work for communications." Hmmm. How about "none of the above."

And now, ladies and gentlemen of the anonymous community, this person who always speaks her mind because she wants to (not directed to) is going to bed and leaving the conversation for good. I've said my peace, and you know how to find me.

119. itssotroo - October 01, 2010 at 12:22 am

she worked for communications not too long ago.
ahh, still lacking disclosure

120. nhvictor - October 01, 2010 at 12:22 am

@ monster213

My name is Neil Victor.
I and my family adamantly stand up for Paula Wallace and her family and I am not hiding behind some bogus screen name spreading filth and slander because I got my feelings hurt, or I'm not happy so I want everyone to know how bad i can make things seem to be...
If you want to be a Man or Woman about it, then all of you people hiding behind your screen name should come forward with who you really are so that we, the supporters, just don't think you are Mr. Fain trying to atone for his disgraceful article.
And trust me... I didn't nor would I need someone to tell me to come to the aide of a woman, a family, and an educational facility like SCAD.
My advice is GROW UP, QUIT LIVING IN THE PAST, and (to not be so delicate) GET YOUR PANTIES OUT OF A WAD AND MOVE ON!!
Apparently there are over a hundred of us just today coming to Paula's aide versus the three or so nay sayers...
Apparently there are more people who approve of what she stands for, what she gets paid, and the job she does to make SCAD the place it is.
Find something else to complain about... Like health reform or the ever growing national debt.

121. bethconcepcion - October 01, 2010 at 12:28 am

Whoops -- not quite done, I see. I did work for communications. Sure did. I was the college spokesperson too, once upon a time. So what? So you are implying that I am part of a vast conspiracy and can't think for myself? That I am not able to get a job anywhere else? That You'd be wrong.

Ask my students if their time in my classes is valuable. And ask people who know me if I ever say anything I don't mean.

122. bethconcepcion - October 01, 2010 at 12:32 am

Sorry, should be "you'd be wrong." Indignation makes me sloppy. And "itssotroo," why are you still working at SCAD if you are so very, very afraid? Give me a break.

123. scadalum - October 01, 2010 at 12:37 am

@ beth
Your reality is differant than mine. I didn't mean to imply that graduates of SCAD are not real artists. I know that many greats started in lower forms of production art. I just meant to guide aspiring artists from the machine, that is all.

124. verdad - October 01, 2010 at 01:09 am

This conversation is getting more interesting with each vindictive post. It seems to me that those who answered the call to defend the president will make their identities known out of their own self interest. Loyalty demonstrated often has its rewards.

Those who are critical seem to be afraid and given what I have read about the history of this college they might have very good reason for that fear. People have been fired. Times are tough right now and the unemployment rate in Georgia is 10.2%. I wish you well.

125. physicsprof - October 01, 2010 at 01:12 am

Wow! I commented early on (#20) praising Paula Wallace for her achievements. After the subsequent avalanche of obviously orchestrated worshipping comments I would like to retract my statement. I would also like to add that I do not remember reading on the Chronicle web-site anything as sickening.

126. ebenezerbleezer - October 01, 2010 at 02:09 am

"Visionary entrepreneur rejuvenates a decayed downtown, involves her family, and after thirty years of phenomenal growth is awarded compensation."

Up Next in Higher Education - "Reading Increases Comprehension"

127. larryhagman - October 01, 2010 at 06:17 am


When you attack SCAD, you attack us and our livelihoods. Were we asked to get on this page and comment? Absolutely we were: by colleagues who read the article, by friends in other departments, by people who like SCAD as much as we do. Everywhere else I've worked in higher ed, cynicism and suspicion cloak every comment that faculty make about administration. At SCAD, forgive us if we like our jobs, respect our president, and don't want people saying retarded things about where we live and work.

Yes, we realize SCAD is weird in higher ed. Our buildings are stunning, our salaries are rising, our programs are growing.


128. jqpublic - October 01, 2010 at 06:36 am

the real crime in higher ed is the number of useless tenured profs. i have been to a few university art dept's ands they are everywhere. at scad all profs are reviewed for performance. the fear among academs is they may be held accountable for their performance. scad is a model that works and the students get more than their money's worth.

129. tiffani_taylor - October 01, 2010 at 06:36 am

My education at Savannah College of Art and Design taught me discipline and the keystones to being a self-employed, CEO, professional Artist. The well rounded course work during my BFA Painting program at SCAD inspired me to pursue a Masters Degree in Art History. I truly came into my own while at SCAD and opportunities presented themselves I never would have experienced at another college. Just a couple of examples: Collaborating with SCAD's Working Class Studio to create a Tiffani Taylor poppy-inspired cashmere sweater for Henri Bendel in New York, meeting Gregory Hines and Andre Leon Talley (both attending my solo Art Exhibition and collecting my Art,) painting and exhibiting my Art in Lacoste, France at the SCAD campus and having the opportunity to exhibit my Art at shopSCAD, where my Art has been viewed, written about, and collected by incredible talents and magazines.

I am originally from Ogden, Utah. I have never worked for SCAD. For the past nine years I have lived and worked as an Artist; exhibiting my work internationally. I admire President Wallace and have great love and respect for her. Without the Presidential Scholarship I received, I would not be in Savannah with my two SCAD degrees. I come from humble beginnings and truthfully, am living "the life I dreamt of" due to the education, love, and support I received from my SCAD family. My family was very far away (in Utah and Wyoming) and I am forever thankful for the love and support I received from SCAD. From the moment I arrived at SCAD I felt supported by the team of employees at the dormitories, encouraged and challenged to grow as an Artist and entrepreneur in the classroom, and enveloped by the warm Savannah community.

President Wallace is gracious and generous. Her ideas are phenomenal and she realizes them with great success. She works diligently to assure Artists are afforded every opportunity to succeed, to live their dream. President Wallace continually gives to SCAD students and their families, as well as the Savannah community. President Wallace is a phenomenal college President; her innovative ideas and work continue to change the lives of aspiring Artists.

130. bdbailey - October 01, 2010 at 07:48 am


Arguing that, because they do not fit your definition of "art", they should not be able to call themselves a college is like arguing that Harvard is not a college because they award MBAs. I love the liberal arts, but they are not the only legitimate approach.

131. bdbailey - October 01, 2010 at 07:50 am

From the responses here, faculty and staff are very supportive of the institution and its president. I have been defending SCAD here, but the quantity of responses from faculty and staff is beginning to look like it is something other than spontaneous. Could it be that a mass email went out asking for a write in campaign?

132. luder - October 01, 2010 at 08:36 am

Are there portraits of "dear leader" Wallace in every office and classroom at SCAD?

133. scaddie - October 01, 2010 at 09:29 am

Your article barely scratches the surface. You need to look beyond the pay. There are far worse things going on here.

I was not contacted by anyone to write in, but the propaganda machine was in full motion yesterday filling this page with comments by people who were contacted and asked to write something positive about the college. The motivation for doing so may stem from loyalty on the part of some, but fear of not writing something when asked, or ingratiating oneself in order to be viewed in a more positive light are probably the two most common reasons. I feel for the people that have to continue pretend on a daily basis that all is right in Savannah. The truth is the truth. As for people who have been told to go elsewhere if they don't like it here, that's very convenient to say, but not a realistic sentiment. Many people come here thinking the place is one thing, but find out it is something completely different, and by that time it's too late to make a hasty exit due to economic concerns. For those who really want to make things better the fate is often worse. They stay on thinking things will change and hold on for too long, ending up frustrated, burned out, resigned to their fate.

134. jqpublic - October 01, 2010 at 09:41 am

...scaddie...how's the tin-foil hat working out...has the propaganda machine gotten your brain yet???

135. gplm2000 - October 01, 2010 at 09:56 am

POSTER: "The corporate structure of SCAD allows it to secure nearly all of it's revenue from taxpayer funded Title IV programs, such as direct loans, Pell grants, work study, ACG grants, etc." Maybe there is something wrong with these programs. Do they enable unprepared minorities to attend college from which they will never graduate, let alone get a job? Are they misguided attempts to make everyone a college graduate whether they want to or not: "Now I are one"?

136. one_of_many - October 01, 2010 at 10:22 am

why is my comment not posting?

137. scad42600 - October 01, 2010 at 10:26 am

For the past 24 hours, I have watched with a mixture of fascination, joy and sadness as SCAD supporters and naysayers have commented. Fascination that one article could generate such a firestorm. Joy that many of my colleagues feel strongly enough to defend our institution. Lastly, I feel sadness that there are some among us who are not having the experience that I am. No, SCAD is not a Utopia. There are problems just like every other higher education institution. There are many days that I am frustrated with my job and question whether I am making a difference, but there are also so many times that I am overwhelmingly excited about what SCAD is doing and will do in the future.

I speak not as an executive, faculty member or administrator, but rather as “just” a staff member. I was not told to comment, nor do I fear repercussions. I have never met President Wallace personally, but I have attended events and heard her speak (which all employees have the opportunity to do). She is a transformational leader who I respect for what she has accomplished. No, President Wallace does not make a typical salary, but she is not a typical President and SCAD is not a typical art school.

Allison Gorman
Recruiting Coordinator, Human Resources

138. one_of_many - October 01, 2010 at 10:28 am


139. scad42600 - October 01, 2010 at 10:36 am

one_of_many...if you're trying to copy and paste your comment in it will not accept it. You have to actually type your comment in the box.

140. one_of_many - October 01, 2010 at 10:45 am

Fictional reporting at best...It seems that Mr. Fain has once again relied on false information to make a case about a brilliant university that fosters creative and critical thinking, all the while, preparing its students for careers within the art and desing industry. This procedure seems nothing new to Fain, who already had to adjust his inflated numbers once yesterday. As for a family business, you quoted Rian Yaffe as a source for your information and he promoted his son to President and COO. I'm curious, should his company come under scrutiny because of trusting a family member to run the business?

Search for "The selective reportage of Paul Fain." First link. It seems Fain actually decided against further investigating the facts before publishing an article. Maybe that's what they teach at the University of Delaware, but I can assuce you SCAD does not value that type of research.

What SCAD does value though is being a student-centered institution, providing an eceptional education and life-changing experience for students, demonstrating quality and excellence in every aspect of operations, sustaining a respectful and honest university environment, growing while continually improving, being innovative and results-oriented, promoting a cooperative team spirit and a positive "can-do" attitide, and going the "extra mile."

The resources and opportunites SCAD has provided its students, faculty and staff are great. It's an amazing institution and I'm proud to be an employee, student, and future alum. SCAD did not become the most comprehensive art and design college in the United States overnight and it's due to the tremendous hard work of President Wallace, her family, and her extended SCAD family.

141. one_of_many - October 01, 2010 at 10:46 am

got it, thanks.

142. signoraf - October 01, 2010 at 10:49 am

I just sent this email to the Chronicle editors and hope that some of you will also voice your opinions:

Dear Chronicle Editors,

The blogging on this article was the straw that broke the back. I have watched over the last year as the level of civility in comments decline. I have seen the same thing in other news media comments sections. If I were a researcher I might take the time to compare comments where the author has given their name and those that are anonymous. But I am not willing to waste my time. Giving people anonymity is a license for incivility. Today's technology allows faster communication but it does not guarantee a higher level of discourse. You are the Chronicle of HIGHER Education. The emphasis on HIGHER and should not be allowing people to hide behind the techonology screen and vent hatred and nonsense. Please do not continue to add to the discord and start requiring that all comments be submitted using full names. Maybe then we would get real conversations and exchange of ideas. People who are passionate about ideas do not need to hide behind screen names.

Donna Ferrari

Each of the email addresses are @chronicle.com

143. dank48 - October 01, 2010 at 11:06 am

Somebody could do a paper on this article and the resulting comments.

144. betterschools - October 01, 2010 at 11:31 am


May I add my support to your request.

I have observed petty, vicious, and if we knew who they were, potentially slanderous attacks from a few CHE posters who refuse to make their identity known while they distort, lie about, and trash the identity of others who have the moral courage and upbringing to make their identity known of they are saying something specifically negative about a person. These people have no such moral standards. A number of screen names come to mind -- I see some of them here -- but 'trendisnotdestiny' is the most persistently abusive. Her anger at the world is palpable and does nothing to elevate what otherwise might be useful dialog. She is truly as bully who gets in the way of legitimate discussion.

In the case of this forum, I suspect that some of the disgruntled employees are fictitious creations. I say this not because I am defending SCAD but because in cases where I possess considerable insight into a particular university, the poseurs fail the credibility test by saying things that are not reflective of the institutional structure, etc. They don't know what they don't know and to those who do know, they stand out as liars.

I'll send my email as well.

Robert W Tucker
InterEd, Inc.

145. sgilder - October 01, 2010 at 12:19 pm

As a former student, employee, and family member of both faculty and staff, I think that is very easy for outsiders to pass judgment. I am confused why people will automatically assume that someone with a personal connection cannot be the most qualified individual for a position and that the individual should not get compensated for the job that they do. Is family supposed to work for free?

I worked for SCAD right after I graduated with a BFA in Fibers. I was definitely not hired due to my family connections, but because I was the best candidate for the job having an art background due to my education, previous experience in the area I worked and a passion for what I did. Why is it strange that individuals who grow up around an institution would not strive to want to make that institution a better place and make a contribution to something that has been so good for their family? Instead of judging salaries, people should look at the accomplishments of the school, its administrators, faculty, and staff. The SCAD family works harder and has accomplished more in the last 30 years than many institutions, but the “family” includes everyone connected to the institution, not just the ones with a genetic link which the overall percentage is very minor.

146. dwood1414 - October 01, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I have watched for two days now as the back and forth on this article continues and I debated whether to chime in. Interestingly enough, I knew in my mind that any positive comments would be viewed suspiciously by those casting aspersions on SCAD (and it's administration) and sure enough defenders became sycophants and Nazi's, more or less Stepford wives, and the detractors hail themselves as the only "truth" sayers. I laugh because nothing could be more ludicrous or further from the truth. Over a 12-year period I have worked closely with President Wallace and administration and I can state with freedom of purpose and uncategorically (without prompting or fear) that I believe in what we do and I take great pride in working for SCAD. If I have an innovative idea or an issue that I want to promote, or need help with, I want to communicate directly with President Wallace and no one else; she gets things done. How many institutions have a president that a staff member can communicate freely with about what is troubling them in their day-to-day work world? Having worked at two other institutions of higher education in the state of Georgia I can assure you, it just doesn't happen that way at those institutions. I have had unsolicited job offers from those previous employers (as-well-as new employer opportunities) and I have turned them all down flatly. Further, I was just stunned at the Chronicle of Higher Ed's publication of this Enquirer-style of reporting, because that is what it reads as. The article goes on and on and yet it says nothing. You get all the information Fain has in his caption; he could have just stopped there, nothing substantive after it. If Fain wanted to write an article of true substance then he could have sent someone to our campus (or come himself) and let us show him the stuff we are made of. And yes, it is pretty strong stuff built by an amazing woman who had the clarity of vision three decades ago to build this wonderful institution with only a handful of supporters. And just for the record, among those supporters were the very family members this article attempts to disparage. They were also the ONLY financial backers for President Wallace's vision. In those early years some of these family members answered the phone, others stuffed envelopes, still more assisted students needing help maneuvering through the maze of financial aid. I take serious umbrage with anyone attempting to malign this institution and having said so--I will not look at any further posts on this article. I have said my truth, and I am done with this with these final parting words "President Wallace, you are awesome and I can't wait for the next 30+ years!"

147. physicsprof - October 01, 2010 at 12:52 pm

"President Wallace, you are awesome and I can't wait for the next 30+ years!"

"Thank you, Comrade Stalin, for our Happy Childhood!"

148. lkvamme - October 01, 2010 at 12:57 pm

No one asked--or directed--me to write about SCAD. I love it here. The invitation still stands--visit our locations, talk to us and experience SCAD for yourself. Only then do you have the right to speak your own opinion. But reading old newspaper clippings is not a way to get the real history of SCAD. Haven't you noticed? We have grown! We are a fabulous community of talented individuals. By the way, if you don't use your real name, how can we believe your story?
Dr. Linda Kvamme Cirocco

149. dleopard - October 01, 2010 at 02:10 pm

First of all - I am on staff at SCAD and have been for the last 4 years. No one asked me to respond or post. I recently became a Vice President.

I am proud to work at SCAD and have the highest respect for the school and its senior leadership. The liberties taken in the writing of this article are very disappointing. The retirement portion of the compensation disclosure was produced by an actuarial calculation of the present value for payments due in future years. This calculation is being made while interest rates are at the lowest point in decades. If interest rates were to start increasing, that retirement figure would decrease dramatically and could even become a negative impact to pay if rate were to go up significantly.

The failure to prominently disclose this information and provide the real context is disturbing. This is a very sensationalistic article that does not properly explain the information that is being presented.

If you are the recipient of a defined benefit pension plan, your organization had to make similar adjustments for you.

What is truly wonderful and encouraging is all of my colleagues who are not sitting back and letting this twisting of the facts go unanswered.

Thank you!
David Leopard

150. pagratisp - October 01, 2010 at 03:25 pm

Not knowing exactly who Mr. Fain is I looked up his bio as posted on the Chronicle's web site at http://chronicle.com/article/Paul-Fain-Bio/48525.

I found on this page that Mr. Fain "holds a bachelor's degree in political science form the University of Delaware". He is described as an expert in "Higher education finance/ Campus leadership/ University governance/ College presidents and governing boards/ Executive compensation" and as being recognized with the "Dick Schaap Excellence in Sport Journalism Award, 2008/ Second prize for beat reporting, Education Writers Association, 2006/ Second-place award, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, 2005/ First place, beat reporting Virginia Press Association, 2004".

The same page claims that MR. Fain "writes in-depth investigative articles, features, breaking news articles, analysis pieces, and he has conducted scores of audio interviews and podcasts as well as video reports".

While these accolades and claims describe a gentleman with considerable expertise in political science, sport writing, "beat" reporting and "Newsweeklies", they appear to fall short in justifying his expertise on "Higher education finance, Campus leadership", etc.

In the 12 years of signing annual contracts at SCAD I came to terms with those myths around tenure and those scary myths around SCAD and annual contrasts, etc.

In the five years as department chair at SCAD I have seen my deprtment grow from 35 faculty to 75, 15 of them being part time. I've seen my facilities multiply from one building to 3 buildings, the technology resources for faculty and students in my department more than quadruple (and constantly being upgraded), the staff in my department multiply from 1 to 6, and the support services that my department provides to students for free grow from 2 to 5. I have seen my department's scholarship fund materialize and grow from 0-50 (thousand that is) in a few years and I have seen the work of a student being collected by MOMA (in New York that is) as he is graduating with his MFA.

I am not the only one who has seen things at SCAD. There are many good and hard working people who have seen and continue to see things at SCAD everyday; a few unfortunate things but overwhelmingly more fortunate and enviable things. And like I do these people gladly and fairly attribute all these to the inspired leadership, the clear vision, the unyielding drive for excellence, the genuine concern for people and the deep love and concern for students that Paula, Glenn, Ms. Poetter, Marisa, Paul and Elizabeth share with the faculty and staff here at SCAD.

I do not recall Mr. Fain asking me or anyone else among the hundreds of faculty, the thousands of students and staff, people that have current first-hand knowledge of SCAD, any questions to support the allusions in his article. Even if he did ask 10, 20, or 50 people for feedback as part of his "in-depth investigative reporting" it would hardly be qualifying evidence for his allusions since it is common in any organization to have adversity mixed with praise. He would need to spend considerable time in our midst to get a sense of what the mix is and what the conclusion might be on balance.

Instead, it seems to me, Mr. Fain's "in-depth investigative reporting" amounts to digging up a few dinosaur articles, those that could resurrect dusty and bitter cob webs of controversy, combine these with readily available information on the president, her family and their salaries, sprinkle them with spicy quotes from expert lawyers and serve his fans with their portion of gourmet sensations and intrigue.

I do not care about how much money Paula or anyone else for that matter makes at SCAD. Instead I care about what I can do for the students, faculty and staff in my department, for the quality of education that we provide and for our collective success. At the end of the day I think about what was accomplished and what is next to be done all the while knowing that Paula and Glenn are behind me every step of the way, sharing with me these same exact concerns.

I do have a question for Mr. Fain though. Respectfully sir, what do you know about what Paula and Glenn or anyone else is doing at SCAD? What do you really know about SCAD and the people that make it work?

Like I said I am not familiar with Mr. Fain; he might very well be an expert in matters of leadership, president compensation, in-depth investigative reporting and Newsweeklies, as the Chronicle describes, in fact I hope that one day I may have the pleasure to meet him.

I am however familiar with SCAD, the faculty, staff, students, Paula and Glenn. And based on my expertise i can say this with confidence about Mr. Fain's article:


Periklis Pagratis
Chair, Foundation Studies Department

151. azprof - October 01, 2010 at 04:48 pm

How did all these people at SCAD learn about this article...hmmm? Do all of them read the Chronicle regularly or is this some kind of circle the wagons broadcast across campus? Did the SCAD respondents actually read the article? When did it become about the quality of SCAD versus the level of salary of the president? Since the president's office will likely be recording all respondent's comments and this will become an official report for her eyes I'm glad all those employees on the SCAD's payroll are responding. Those who haven't responded better get your two cents in there before you are too late.

SCAD may or may not be a wonderful institution, I don't know; but football coaches salaries aren't the only obscene salaries in academia. This doesn't discount the fact that there appears to be 9000 students not being served by elite university art departments that SCAD is serving. But let's be fair, this level of salary and the employment of one's relatives just doesn't sit well in any organization, whether it be on Wall Street or on Bay Street.

152. mkro7333 - October 01, 2010 at 05:12 pm

I have worked for SCAD for almost twenty years. I feel very fortunate to work for a truly amazing institution. Please visit us before you criticize us. I think once you have the opportunity to see SCAD you will understand why so many faculty and staff felt the need to respond to this article. Our students, faculty, staff and administrators are inspiring. I find it sad that people who previously responded were criticized for being proud of SCAD, its mission and its president. No one asked me to respond to this article. I am also proud to be a part of SCAD. Margaret Kross

153. betterschools - October 01, 2010 at 05:15 pm


-- "How did all these people at SCAD learn about this article...hmmm? Do all of them read the Chronicle regularly or is this some kind of circle the wagons broadcast across campus?"

Fair question. Did you make this observation when the countless nameless "students" wrote in to trash the for-profits related to the Harkin hearings and ED's machinations? It was painfully obvious that these were mostly shills. Many of them couldn't even describe their program correctly. In contrast, these postings seem internally consistent and not hiding behind a pseudonym, thus easily verifiable. That used to be our minimum standard for accepting something as provisionally correct. Now we give voice to anonymous individuals, some of whom are clearly mentally deranged (I don't mean you in any way; look around, though).

-- "This doesn't discount the fact that there appears to be 9000 students not being served by elite university art departments that SCAD is serving. "

I take your point but your presumption is that if the right program were available at the publics or other independents, students would choose it instead. This presupposition isn't supported by the facts. Try as I may, I can't in my wildest dreams envision any public program of this kind enjoying this kind of outpouring of support. The kind of excellence describer above runs counter to the public's faculty-centric model.

-- "But let's be fair, this level of salary and the employment of one's relatives just doesn't sit well in any organization, whether it be on Wall Street or on Bay Street."

Serious question (not glib). Why do you feel this way? This institution is private and no one has suggested the possibility of any coercion with respect to students or faculty. What business is it of ours? You can make the point that taxpayers underwrite all non-profit institutions substantially. Yet, this one has extremely low defaults thus should be at the bottom of our list of public concerns.

Whatever your concerns for SCAD, why wouldn't you be more concerned to "fix" the HBCU's where the default rates are the highest, student and alum satisfaction is the lowest, and the schools would have no hope of passing gainful employment loan payback tests. They are at the bottom of the list in all three dimensions. Amortized over 9,000 students moving through a four year program, the president's salary -- whether $300K or $2M -- is a marginal issue.

154. gradstudent4point0 - October 01, 2010 at 08:43 pm

Let's see ... Borrowed 200 Gs. Worked for years to create a school. Hires people she trusts (family). Turns out students that get jobs. Revitalized its home city. Is able to give its faculty a 3% raise instead of layoffs.

Definitely evil, and must be stopped!

155. mainiac - October 01, 2010 at 09:35 pm

Now we know why everbody hates us!

156. prof2627 - October 01, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I have been a SCAD professor for many years.

I first want to say there was no mass email to respond to this article. There is no cult here; but a group of facutly dedicated to the students who spend big bucks for a quality education. The reputation of our instituion and the great work we do here can be easily devalued by the commentary taking place on this forum.

Reagrdless of how much $$ President Wallace or her family members make, the bottom line is that the FACULTY are highly credentialed and deeply committed to arts education, and heck yeah! We are going to respond. And yes, we read the Chronicle, too...are acting members of many professional organizations, publishing, teaching, exhibiting, raising families...and making a difference in students lives every day. All possible due to the support staff (at all levels) and the presidents office and intiatives.

Someone asked for a response to monster213? pregnancy situation. There is NO WAY this as a truthful post. The college has had my back during personal crisis, as well as many of my colleagues. Never, ever can I see this happening. In my experiences, the college and the president bend over backwards to help faculty and students at times of crisis.

It's not perfect here, by any means. But where is it? We have great students, amazing faculty, a strong sense of community. Yeah, we work hard, sometimes too hard, but it is our choice to be here and the 95% retention is accurate. Some choose to leave, a few not renewed here and there (and for good reason)...but we are stable and growing and doing what we do WELL.

It's time for the 'academic' community to stop bashing 'us'.

157. ngreen73 - October 02, 2010 at 05:44 am

Wow... passion abounds. We live in a free world where all are free to comment. We all have a right to voice our opinions. I wouldn't dare ask anyone to not use his or her freedom of speech; AND I, too, will use my freedom of speech to voice my opinion.

In the current economic climate, one can understand why pay is such a sensitive topic. If SCAD had gone through massive layoffs and taken bail out money like many banks, car companies, and the like and still paid millions (exponentially more than what the president of SCAD receives) to their executives, I could understand the outrage. However, that is not the case at SCAD.

And though I'm sure someone along the way felt it was in the best interest of someone (I wonder who's really benefiting from this?) to share these figures, I'm sure most of us wouldn't want our checkbooks open to the world.

However, I must say, that I'm glad President Wallace receives what I think is an appropriate total compensation package. She's given up her life, or should I say, SCAD is her life. If you worked 24/7, 365, at the level and standard that she does, all for the purpose of benefiting SCAD students, I hope you would be compensated similarly.

As far as family members go, I assure you, many of us feel like family at SCAD; so, please include me in your list of family members of President Wallace. She is one of the most kind-hearted leaders I've ever known.

I've worked in corporate America before, you know, where you feel like a number, just a $ amount on a line somewhere. No one knows your name and the only impact you know you're making is that you're making money for someone. You walk in; you punch a clock; they don't care if you do a good job, a bad job; just show up and cut resources so the bottom line looks better. Do more with less. That is NOT the environment at SCAD.

We have high expectations; I'm sure many of us recall one of our parents saying "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well," or "If you're going to try, give it your all; don't settle for second best" or many other ways our parents instilled excellence, determination, and perseverance in us. President Wallace embodies these principals.

I'm sure there are many who want to just punch a clock and get a paycheck, but for those of us at SCAD who also believe in the pursuit of excellence, we rather enjoy the fact that we are recognized for the hard work, and we're provided the opportunities and resources to do more, to do it better than yesterday, and always encouraged to provide solutions and ideas for tomorrow and the future. It's not the environment for everyone. Different company cultures are suited for different people. I personally thrive in SCAD's environment.

Yes, we all are paid for our work, including the President. But it's more than a paycheck; here, we are also making an impact on the future by preparing the next generation, of artists, yes, but more importantly, of individuals who will be creating and designing the future we live in. Maybe that's a bit idealist; I've been called that in that past.

But, I'm also a realist. You can't have success without some pain. There's always a critic and a supporter. There's always someone who doesn't like something you've done and someone who praises the same.

Now, please, let's focus on our students. That's why we are all here isn't it? Education is the ballast for many inequities in the world.

158. tfrancis - October 02, 2010 at 10:57 am

I am a current SCAD-Atlanta faculty, and was a full time faculty for 28 years at the Atlanta College of Art.
Having entered my 5th year at SCAD, I've come to realize the truth behind misconceptions many folks have had about SCAD, myself included.
The foremost being that SCAD is about money and power and has less regard for the education of its students and the welfare of its faculty.
I am absolutely amazed at the dedication of faculty and administration regarding the well being of our students, and how tirelessly they work to help the students achieve success in their chosen fields - in the classroom, the studio, and the real world. And the achievements are measured in real terms and not just intangible products of educational philosophy.
I'm extremely proud to be part of this selfless, high-energy group of people who view the accomplishments of their students as their ultimate goal and purpose.
I have benefitted greatly from SCAD's success, both professionally and monetarily. But being part of a dynamic, student-centered group of artists/educators is what I have truly come to love and respect.
I can't say my previous years at ACA came anywhere near to providing this environment.

159. techgalwiu - October 02, 2010 at 01:48 pm

I work at SCAD. I was not contacted or asked to comment. I've worked in higher education for the past two decades, both at public and private universities. The standard of education, attention to detail, and care taken to ensure our students receive the best education possible is unmatched. Employees give 150% willingly and take great pride in the accomplishments of the college and it's students. We do this partly because President Wallace leads by example. To question her compensation, or her family members who work for the school, is not only unjustified, but tacky. They all work an unbelievable amount of hours, make countless sacrifices and have dedicated their life to, not only the school, but the communities where locations are present.
From the revitalization of downtown Savannah, preservation of buildings in Atlanta and Hong, and countless other acts to support the community and the arts, their entrepreneurial and caring spirit should be touted and applauded rather than dissected by those who do not know all the facts, or are disgruntled former employees.
And to the question of how we found out about this article'

160. techgalwiu - October 02, 2010 at 01:58 pm

Apologize for open ended post above-
We were notified by our CHE newsletter notifications.
As a parent of a SCAD graduate, my daughter chose SCAD years before I worked at SCAD. After seeing how dedicated the SCAD professionals were to their students, I had to work here!

161. 9367168 - October 03, 2010 at 09:25 am


162. 9367168 - October 03, 2010 at 09:31 am

Can't post

163. 9367168 - October 03, 2010 at 09:54 am


164. 9367168 - October 03, 2010 at 04:02 pm

It is disenchanting to read the letters from many SCAD colleagues written in response to the article. The last thing this university needs to do is continue to shield President Wallace from the reality that some of her practices are detrimental. To her credit, with the help of a lot of talented and hard-working people who rarely get the credit they deserve, she has led SCAD to great heights. The city of Savannah owes her for the redevelopment of their community. The education the students are priveledged to receive is second to none. She works hard and earns every penny. But the nepotistic dynasty is another story.

As a long time employee of SCAD, the words written by my colleagues directly contrast the water cooler conversations I've had with them in private. But to express a true sentiment is dangerous at SCAD, and those that have done that are no longer around. There is zero tolerance for contradicting the President, even (especially) when she is dead wrong.

It is unhealthy for any organization to promote a culture that prohibits free expression of ideas, especially an institution of higher learning. This is my beef with President Wallace. Many great leaders have falled when their fear of losing power outweighs good judgment. Pres. Wallace surrounds herself with a Board and upper administration that never challenges her and puts up with her quirks unquestioningly. Hence the nepotism. Why would a son or daughter making substantially more than they could in the real world, often for doing a lot less, complain? I don't blame her for making a lot of money, but the thousands going to her family really irks me when there are many better qualified people to do those jobs.

So many of SCAD's employees are friends of the President in jobs they are not qualified for. We all know one or two of those types of employees foisted upon us because of their connections, not their qualifications. But what can we do? Sometimes it seems mediocrity is rewarded and excellence is made to suffer. The college is great because of President Wallace and in spite of her.

There have been rumors of investigations, misappropriations of funds, financial officers being fired after bringing allegations of fraud to the President's attention. Who knows if they are true or not. But President Wallace, in her heart, should realize that these misteps could greatly diminish her and the college.

I urge President Wallace to find the strength and confidence to bring on a Board truly qualfied to run the college and reign in its administration. I urge her to recognize in a real way the excellence of the faculty and to encourage them to be better, not through the threat of non-renewal, but because it is a good thing for the students.

SCAD delivers to its students. Great education, excellent connections to jobs, and strong support systems make for an outstanding experience and spring board to a career. The article seems to indicate that preparing students for careers is somehow a lesser education than one that focuses on esoterica. That's bunk. SCAD, more than any college I know, offers students a real life experience that leads to real life success. This is in no small part to President Wallace and the faculty that commits every day to student success.

I have watched as she has changed. I hope that she doesn't follow the paths of Leona Helmsley and Martha Stewart. I want her to save herself and the college before it is too late.

165. larainepapa - October 04, 2010 at 09:11 am

I have a simple, human story to tell. It is a story of friendship, compassion, and great personal warmth. Yes, I am an employee of SCAD, a professor of 15 years (by the way, with steady raises, bonuses, and superb benefits for each one of those years, unlike many of my friends at other teaching institutions). In 2007, when my then-thirteen-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, President Wallace responded with a friend's helping hand, sending home-cooked dinners to my home; cards, notes and phone calls encouraging us to stay steady and strong; and innumerable other kinds of assistance, each of which occurred exactly at the moment I most needed them. Over the last three years, my daughter has had two recurrences of the cancer,
necessitating further surgeries and radiation treatments. In each of these devastating periods, the President has been there for me. It is said that in times of trouble, we learn who our friends truly are. Beyond being my employer, who has guided SCAD with unwavering strength, vision, energy, and wisdom over the years, President Paula Wallace has been a one-of-a-kind friend to me and to my daughter. I wonder how many other university presidents are so conversant with their employees, so generous with their help, and so compassionate in times of trouble? She is a rare and uncommon example of good leadership; as such, worth every cent and more of her earnings.

166. monster213 - October 04, 2010 at 10:34 am

I have been criticized for not commenting with my real name - first, it is not particularly brave to come out in favor of the institution, so I am not impressed on any level with your "fearless" use of your real name. Bravo, what a risk. I don't use my real name when posting for a couple of reasons: 1. I have been reading and responding to the chronicle for years and created a username I could remember - I did not start reading just for this article 2. I am afraid of SCAD, they sue when they are angry, even when they know they are wrong, just as a way of showing others they should be quiet, 3. I have many friends and colleagues who I respect, admire, and love who I have left behind at SCAD and there is no doubt in my mind that they might be harmed by association, so I am protecting them as well.

Paula Wallace can do amazingly helpful and nurturing things - despite my anger at the institution, I was suprised by her humanity on several occassions as well. I know of the 13 year old who suffered from cancer and the care that was demonstrated and I have seen that in other instances as well. It is part of the erratic behavior that I have seen there, one moment there is love, the next a blow, the next love again. Some people receive only one and some people receive only the other as well.

SCAD feels very cult-like both on the inside and on the outside and I think that you will find that much of the language used by its supporters is similarly devoted. I still fear them and that should, in and of itself, indicate the kind of atmosphere that is present.

167. betterschools - October 04, 2010 at 12:03 pm


I take your point about the seeming inconsistencies and other issues that can surround an institution built by the talent, energy, and personal power of a single individual. I'm sure it can be difficult at times to see where Ms. Wallace leaves off and the institution begins. Her passing will surely facilitate a crisis of realignment. Many such single-person institutions do not survive the passing of their creator and that, if I had to pick one, would be my recommendation for change.

Granting all of this (I am merely accepting it on faith for the sake for discussion), I fail to see why this should concern us. Many of the best jobs in the world serve at, and only at, the pleasure of their boss. Unlike this private institution, many of these good jobs are in the public sector (key appointees of mayors, governors, senators, and even the president). From experience, I can tell you that at least a few of these bosses are absolute tyrants and do not possess any of Ms. Wallace's obviously multiple redeeming talents. Should such organizations (including local, state, and national government entities) do a better job in this regard? Of course they should and, in the public sector, we have some business offering our suggestions. In the case of SCAD, I think the public's business is limited.

I remain puzzled as to why so many among the few negative posts above believe they have the right to tell this institution how to run its business, what courses it should offer and to whom, how it should define art, and what its HR policies should be. Especially silly are such suggestions coming from schools that have been laying off instructional staff and freezing wages. What arrogance! Build your own school and see how you like it if we step in to tell you you should do things differently.

168. disembedded - October 05, 2010 at 03:49 am

Please, we need more retail spam here! More spam, spam, spam please! That's what the Chronicle has become known for...spam, spam, spam. So please put some more retail spam here. And maybe some computer viruses too. The Chronicle doesn't seem to care at all. So go right ahead!

169. goxewu - October 05, 2010 at 08:17 am

Re #168:

"I remain puzzled as to why so many among the few negative posts above believe they have the right to tell this institution how to run its business..."

Nobody among the negative commenters is asserting a right "to tell this institution how to run its business." Those commenters are simply, well, commenting on how SCAD runs its business, which--given that SCAD is an institution of higher education--is perfectly approriate on "Brainstorm."

BTW, whatever happened to the pseudonym "intered"? Was plugging its namesake on every post too close to spam?

170. betterschools - October 05, 2010 at 07:22 pm

#170. I take your point. I don't see a clear assertion of rights but the quick scan I just did suggested that the illocutionary force of a half dozen negative comments is reformatorily prescriptive as if something really wrong were taking place. On point #2. How churlish to think that comments you make are in the selfless public interest but mine must have been made to serve a commercial interest. I changed to avoid precisely this kind of pettiness. I don't know who you are but, statistically, there is a good chance I was teaching graduate students when your mother was wiping pureed carrots off your chin. If I make a comment, it is because I care about the topic. While your decision to remain anonymous precludes me from assessing your biases, I accord you the same presumption. Move one goxewu. Let's stick to the issues.

171. goxewu - October 05, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Re #172:

1. a) "I don't know who you are but, statistically, there is a good chance I was teaching graduate students when your mother was wiping pureed carrots off your chin." b) "Move on goxewu. Let's stick to the issues." And that issue would now be...puree'd carrots?

2. a)"I take your point." b) "...but the quick scan I just did suggested that the illocutionary force of a half dozen negative comments is reformatorily prescriptive as if something really wrong were taking place." I'd say that (b) says precisely that my point wasn't taken--unless "reformatorily prescriptive" doesn't mean, in plain language, telling someone how to run his business.

3. But contrary to what betterschools erroneously restates, those comments do not, in merely opining that "something really wrong [is] taking place," tell someone how to run his business.

4. I'm much older than betterschools.

172. betterschools - October 06, 2010 at 10:54 am

Re #172. Come on, taking your point is recognizing its merit while not necessarily agreeing with every part of it. I still think some of these folks would prescribe what this obviously out of the box person should do with her shop; e.g., teach their definition of art, to name one. That said, we are quibbling. As a fellow in our office commented earlier, "If I were to array the problems in HE in order of significance, this one would be on page 900." I agree with that. My most important message to you, respectfully proffered to my senior (man, you must be really old if you're older than I), is that I'm happy to see this discussion move away from challenging motives. Like body parts, we all have them and I suspect they differ at least a little with each post. My posts are no more intended to create clients than yours are to create students, and for the same reason: neither of them read CHE blogs.

173. goxewu - October 06, 2010 at 03:15 pm

Re #173:

1. Age. Well, there are a couple of people out there on the Internet with betterschool's actual name. One is a paleoconservative foreign policy expert who's in his mid-80s, and the other is the president of a company that does a lot of consulting, retreat-holding, and bandying about of some mysterious lingo that's a cross between Tony Robbins and RAND for higher-ed administrators. I figure betterschools is likely the second guy. From his photo this fellow seems to be somewhere between his mid-50s and early 60s; on looks alone, he seems younger (skiing is good around Boise), but since he tried to pull seniority rank, that's my estimate. If I'm right, I've got him by a few years.

2. Quibbling. "Reformatorily prescriptive" rather gainsays my point, rather than concedes it any merit. But betterschools is right that it's not worth arguing further. A couple of sub-points, though: a) quibbling can be fun, and b) do they shorthand "reformatorily prescriptive" (which is a nice term) as "RP" at the Intered office? Something like, "After that student-loan debacle, Kensington University's taking a lot of criticism from outsiders; its RP index is up 46 percent since Wednesday."

174. betterschools - October 06, 2010 at 03:49 pm

Re: 174

- I'm not familiar with Kensington University. Is that where you teach?

- I apologize for the academic speak. I spent too many years in the philosophy of language, axiology, and epistemology than I can, in retrospect, make complete sense of. I grew fond of the economical modes of expression employed by Austin, Strawson, Searle and especially of my old friend Michael Scriven. I sometimes need to edit my thoughts back to normal speak. And, no, the guys around here have the same reaction you had.

175. goxewu - October 06, 2010 at 04:19 pm

I thought I made up KU, to sound like either a for-profit or an SLAC (that for-profits like to sound like). But behold, Goggle reveals that KU was a diploma mill (are we allowed to say that anymore?) put out of business in California a few years ago.

I don't teach full-time anymore. When need and interest coalesce, however, I occasionally do a visiting gig.

176. artprofnyc - October 21, 2010 at 04:14 am

She deserves every grubby penny keeping the SCAD house of cards standing and growing. Also for wining and dining (and photographing) those who can prop up a self-perpetuated reputation.
Having taught there and escaped with my reputation intact it's fun to see which of my former colleagues who are now stuck at SCAD for life weighed in on the wonderfulness of SCAD. Pathetic.
Better schools don't care what anyone thinks of them - the work speaks for itself - and SCAD work is mediocre. Feel sorry for the kids and their parents that took the bait.
Sad puppet show.

177. mpkenelair - October 22, 2010 at 10:28 am

By way of introduction, my name is Michael Powers. I am a member of the SCAD Board of Visitors and have been for 10+ years. I chair the Investment Committee managing the College's Endowment and I am a member of the Board of Governors for the Lucas Theater which is maintained and managed by SCAD as a historical property to the benefit of students and citizens alike.

By profession, I am an entrepreneur who operates a private manufacturing company. I receive no compensation from SCAD and I have never experienced any indication from the college as to what I should do, think or communicate about any subject. Frankly, I wouldn't accept any such interference

I got a copy of the article from sources totally external to SCAD and read it with significant interest including the long list of comments which followed.

For balance since the article and comments are weighted almost totally to academia, I respectfully offer a few comments from the business side of the consideration:

1) Paula Wallace is an entrepreneur (and I might add is one of the most intuitive that I have ever come across). She took the risk of starting this enterprise, the risk of building it and within the applicable tax laws might be said to own it given the perspective of it's current legal structure as part "for profit" and part "non profit". There appears to be some confusion among some as to what this means about government/public funds being utilized in the operation (there are none, this is a private college)since SCAD is totally driven by tuition and private donations to fund both operations and (substantial)student scholarships.

2) While it might be academically interesting that extensive family is involved and that salaries of same are attractive, judgement of this fact is ill placed since no fudiciary implications are present.The evaluation of these facts fall to those of us who donate to make decisions as to the utilization of our funds. You might be interested that the endowment goes totally to student scholarships and none to general operations or salaries. I can understand the interest but not the question of compensation levels.

3) I see the word "cult" being thrown around rather carelessly in the comments. The correct term is "culture" which any organization must have to survive, muchless prosper. Will everyone agree 100% with any given culture?....of course not. My observation is that some of the blog comments seem oriented to some middle ground between rehashing George Orwell's 1984 and the search for terrorists who might be hidden under our beautiful oak canopy.

4) I am offended personally by implications of low student quality or scholarship. In the 10 years of my experience, increasing student population has marched hand in glove with increasing test scores....a near impossible achievement which is counter intuitive with rapid growth. When we interview students for scholarships, the quality is staggering.

The contributions made by SCAD to our city, our culture and fueling our local economy via over 1,000 staff and some 7,000 students is purely and simply staggering. Even our safety since SCAD employs a private campus police force.

Were I to believe that something is fudamentally amiss in the ethics or legal operation of this college, I would never be involved but then, I am not a conspiracy theorist.

178. scroadrunner - November 04, 2010 at 05:46 pm

As the parent of a new SCAD admit, I am very confused about what to do and how this article and its comments should factor into our family decision. (Yes, I guess that some parents do read these articles and comments even though we do not work for a college. Surprise! to the person who thought that we did not.) My problem is that before this article, to me SCAD was just a school with a poorly financed need-based aid program. I did not know why such a phenomenal school could not do the development work necessary to raise need based scholarships. (They do indeed have good merit scholarships.) But now I have a real concern about SCAD's funding priorities. Where does a solid need based aid program fall on SCAD's list?

This would be our second child in college and we will actually be eligible for aid this coming year according to the FAFSA, but SCAD does not meet the full demonstrated financial need of applicants. (On average, they meet 10% of the demonstrated need.) In reality, families with very low incomes get need-based aid there, but families like ours are expected to leverage the enormous cost.

So how do I feel good about having to go back to work full time in order to pay these family salaries through my child's SCAD tuition while my younger children stay at home as latch key children?

The school is phenomenal as a pre-professional art school. It is the dream of my child. Whether or not the founding family deserves these salaries is not the question for me. (If SCAD met over 90% of the demonstrated financial need of families, the salaries would have my blessing.) The question is whether I want to break my back and build enormous debt for my family and my child in order to support SCAD's funding priorities, with which I do not agree.

As visionary as the president may be, does she understand the inadequacy of the need-based aid at SCAD? Or does it not matter because SCAD finds enough students every year who are willing to do whatever it takes financially to pay? That is more the attitude I would expect from a for-profit school. And SCAD is starting to smell like one to me.

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