Academy of Art University
2.2 of 5 127 reviews
www.academyart.edu San Francisco, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Academy of Art University Reviews

Updated Jul 3, 2014
Academy of Art University – San Francisco – “Game Lab”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.2 127 reviews

                             

12% Approve of the CEO

Academy of Art University President Elisa Stephens

Elisa Stephens

(76 ratings)

19% of employees recommend this company to a friend
127 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in

Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "The locations in San Francisco are in great buildings and interesting parts of the city"
    in 8 reviews
  • "Great co workers, opportunity to work with incredible instructors"
    in 4 reviews
Cons:
  • "No matter how much or hard you work, upper management do not care"
    in 13 reviews
  • "This place is the definition of a hostile work environment"
    in 8 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    administrative positions

    Academy Assistant (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsThere are about 22 different departments or "schools" within the University. So it is fun and exciting learning about all that the school offers and being that I am interested in many of the arts they provide, I have found it to be riveting to walk around all of the different buildings and meet all of the directors.

    ConsMy pay is not great and I am not doing anything like they said I would. I basically am sitting and searching the web all day or reading a book. When I get assigned to a new department, its the same thing. When I am in the executive office they have NOTHING for me to do. So i find it hard to sit and be satisfied that im not doing anything better with my time. when i got hired they said I would be on salary but I'm on hourly and I only make 16.83 an hour.. that only comes out to 35000 if i work 52 WEEK OF THE YEAR. Thats absolutely ridiculous considering I'm completely over qualified for this job. I have not been paid this poorly since i was 17 and when i got the job they pitched it to be WAY different. I have heard nothing but nasty things about this school since ive worked here from people who have been here for awhile-- Upper management sucks, the schools cheap (even tho they make MILLIONS a year and own a collection of million dollar cars). I'm thinking of leaving because I don't like what I've heard and the little I've experienced

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    working at AAU

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsDecent pay, incredible coworkers, good benefits, plugged in to an art community

    Consopportunities for growth, micromanaging, no bonuses

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great potential...execution fail

    Anonymous (Former Employee)

    ProsLots of creative talent...great students and working professionals.

    ConsPractically non-existent infrastructure...minimal communication between departments and management. Poor use of resources and personnel.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWork on changing the culture of the organization from one with a lack of trust to empowering the folks you hire.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    The students are great, but the bureaucracy prevents productivity.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsYou will be working with well-meaning people who are very friendly.

    ConsThe structure and pace of departmental communications is slow. Inadequate training and safety precautions are provided.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease review safety practices in the sculpture department.

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    Wast of time...

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsWork in SF, BUT this gets old when the pleasure of work is absent. Read the CONS to know why.

    Cons-Little or no opportunity to move up and further your career. Can't really further your life if you can't further your career.
    -WAY, WAY, (did I say way?) too much work for the what they pay you. (This will really affect your job in every way...) This happens because upper management do not know the amount of work that is done at the "ground" level. They pay you by your job tile and not the amount of work you do. Result? They blame you and not themselves because they're one-sided.
    -Wast of time because I could have worked some where else with REAL potential to further my career.
    -Way too much office politics. And that's an understatement.
    -I could go on and on...
    -Don't be surprised, this is just another "for-profit" business in the name of [product]. In this case, it's education. So... at the end of the day, when the dust settles, it's about the money.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI've moved on with my life, but please consider my comments (and everyone else's). You really can't just keep doing the same things over and over and over. We're talking about people here. right?

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Money first, appearances second, students last.

    Admissions Representative (Former Employee)

    ProsSchool is able to afford a lot of great equipment for students.

    ConsCondescending management that will backstab and throw you under the bus in front of everyone if it means it'll ensure favor with those up top or increase personal gains from the situation (shady dealings). I feel bad for students who get convinced into these degrees ... the school has rather predatory admissions practices that aim to earn profits instead of guiding students to what's best for them.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTreat employees and students fairly and with respect! Stop playing favorites and flaunting your wealth in the midst of your overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated staff.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Penny pinching real estate company first, art school second

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsThe place is run like the worst of a family own business combined with the worst of a corporation. Someone with the right mindset could weave their way through and make a decent living here, but you'll have to be nasty to people.

    ConsThere is no culture of family or long term employment here - you have to fight for yearly cost of living salary increases and if you want more than 2 weeks of vacation you have to give up a salary increase. Everyone gets squeezed in every way, and they would prefer you quit than to earn a reputation of paying their employees well.

    Be tough when you negotiate your salary, after you're locked in it is extremely difficult to get more than a 5% raise - and that will take a significant addition to your responsibilities.

    There is a crazy amount of financial micromanagement with nearly no oversight over anything else. What people can get away with is crazy in terms of using equipment and resources for their own personal gain, while getting a critically needed sub $100 component ordered could take months.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe holiday party bingo game is an embarrassment. We have one opportunity a year to mingle with everyone, instead we spend torturous hours playing bingo desperately hoping to win an ipad or vacation we can't afford to go on. At the very least, vice presidents and other upper management should not play and compete for the same prizes.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Work Plenty and Get Paid Little!

    Full Time Academic Coordinator (Current Employee)

    Pros– Great faculty who you work with.
    – Can learn a lot from taking and supporting content courses.
    – Can make opportunities for yourself in some departments.

    ConsAAU doesn't want to pay well for managers. I started in a coordinator position but it soon became a larger job, but they don't want to pay me for this extra work! They want me to train a colleague to take on parts of my job, but I won't train this person since that is not part of my current contract. I feel like I have to seriously fight to get more money and recognition for the work I am doing!!!

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay better!!!!!!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Used to work there

    Administrative Assistant (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    Pros- Fun, talented, hard-working co-workers

    - Wonderful, talented, hard working students who are inspirational to work with

    Cons- Upper Management is borderline abusive

    - There is a huge lack of respect taking place, and anyone with ears and eyes can sense it

    - Lack of clear communication; which in turn confuses ALL departments

    - I attended a meeting with other Administrators (we are all college graduates, and have made it this far in
    life...so I have a feeling we are decently intelligent), and a woman in upper management belittled us, and said, "Anyone with common sense would know that you don't pay this amount for ____. Use your brains. It's common sense." (Along with other extremely condescending, rude, insulting words.)

    - You will not get paid for overtime, and the starting rate is MUCH lower than any other companies in San Francisco. It seems as though the high turn over rate is what the company wants, so that they can keep recycling people, and avoid paying higher wages to those who deserve it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLearn to appreciate staff.

    Look at companies with positive reviews - more likely than not, they appreciate their staff, and want them to stay around for the long-term. This not only improves morale, but also gives the students a better experience, with more knowledgeable employees.

    Over-time NEEDS to be paid as well. Ask employees track their hours. They deserve to be paid for over-time. Period.

    Also - to the President - maybe if you worked out your legal issues, and abide laws, your moral compass would be a little more precise, and employees would actually enjoy working at AAU. Hey - I used my brain! :)

     I put the future of the company as "staying the same"...hopefully I am wrong. So much would need to change...

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Do not take a position here, thats only if you have extreme patience and no career goals

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsFree to take one class a semester

    ConsDisorganization, huge trust issues in management, technology is almost non-obsolete to do day-to-day job functions, HR will not alleviate issues, President is never around as she is pulled in too many directions, those in upper management under her are not always qualified for the positions, creating a sea of busy work that goes no where.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSan Francisco is based on young, smart, intelligent, technology driven people. Allow them to integrate that into the functions of this school so it can run smoother and actually compete better. Focus on the students that are actually attending the school too, make sure they are happy and feel like they are not just a number. Retention is horrible in students and even worse in employees. Those that are in charge currently for advertising or getting new students to the school is completely under qualified for the position and I'm not sure really understands how to market in a function that makes sense to the demographics. This person also rather focus on non-issues and make them huge issues creating high tension in the advertising and marketing department. Two weeks into working at the school I knew I would not want to stay as the amount of unrealistic pressure to finish a very complex and tedious task was told for me to do and that I HAD to finish it now. You will also be paid for lower than a majority of other similar positions. Just very frustrating to work here, mainly because the person(s) in charge do not have a clear vision or better strategic goal of the overall mission of the school. Its unfortunate to see the amount of dysfunction behind the doors, which is a direct correlation of tuition fees forced onto the students. Very glad I did not attend this school as a college student years back.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Academy of Art University reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Academy of Art University CEO Elisa Stephens. All 127 reviews posted anonymously by Academy of Art University employees.