Academy of Art University

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Academy of Art University Reviews

Updated August 12, 2014
Updated August 12, 2014
135 Reviews

2.2
135 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Academy of Art University President Elisa Stephens
Elisa Stephens
80 Ratings

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
  • This happens because upper management do not know the amount of work that is done at the "ground" level (in 15 reviews)

  • This place is the definition of a hostile work environment (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Worked as contractor and was great.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Directed Study Advisor  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Directed Study Advisor in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    Was great to work as a contractor. Worked Remotely. Didn't have to deal with any politics.

    Cons

    No cons at this moment.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Online education here is not the best place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Content Editor  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Content Editor in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    Most of my actual work isn't so bad. It's content-driven, educational, compelling, and relevant. The people I work with are amazing, especially the middle management folks.

    Cons

    The people who head the online learning department have tasked the production with so much meaningless busy work that has no pedagogical merit that the day-to-day experience of working here no longer has much meaning or redemption. Rules seem arbitrary, and they are almost always instituted with no warning. We are often asked to do "more, more, more" with fewer and fewer staff and in less time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When you lose employees to resignation, replace them. Stay in touch with production so as to be aware of things like workload and morale. Ask us for input on how to make a better product. Try to introduce new initiatives with plenty of time to absorb learning curves, not at the end of a production cycle. Come to work every day, if that's what you're asking us to do. Don't create unreasonable workloads, then chide us when we fail to complete all the work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Horrible company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Photo Lab Tech  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Photo Lab Tech in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    resume builder. Some nice coworkers and nice students.

    Cons

    Very low pay ($13 and hour for photo lab tech). Extremely corporate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like humans, not machines. Don't try and manipulate them. Don't lay off people without any warning between semesters (This happened to a coworker. She had just moved to SF from Texas. With no warning, the boss told her they would not need her after Winter break. She had known this the whole time and didn't tell her earlier because she wanted her as long as she needed her.) Don't insult your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Unreasonable expectations and demands from executive office

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    Free class once a semester.

    Cons

    Executive office and department directors expect employees to drop everything in order to meet their demands, resulting in high stress and unexpected workloads. Difficult to work there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Instructing at the Academy of Art University

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    There is a great faculty on board.

    Cons

    The hourly base rate was non-negotiable upon hiring.

  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good transitional job, but not a career job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    - I get a solid paycheck on time, every two weeks, same amount. Predictable amount of money coming in.
    - My position in particular is a low stress position, easy.
    - Free art classes. Great perk if you actually do/love art. These are $2000 classes.
    - Holiday party is nice?

    Cons

    - Too low stress. I feel as though my brain and body is turning into a blob surfing the Internet all day.
    - REALLY rigid time off policies. Very minimal amount of PTO (legally the least amount of days you are allowed to give to employees).
    - You create the office culture yourself. If you have a great team then you can make your own fun ie. potlucks, group trips, etc. Unfortunately I hear we are a rare case and most teams are generally unhappy with their interactions of their environment (from what I've heard). I lucked out and got a cool manager who doesn't micromanage. Can't speak that for most other teams.
    - Insurance sucks. I paid $300 to get my blood drawn. Seriously? If you have dependents, the insurance is TERRIBLE.
    - You feel really small and insignificant in such a big private company. I joke and say I'm a peon when people ask me what I do.
    - This is not a start up but they barely provide any essentials. There is no coffee or coffee machine provided. Some buildings (like ours) don't even have employee-only break room. We had to beg to get a fridge, microwave and a toaster!
    - Not a whole lot of advancement opportunities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees better! If you think budget is such a problem, we are overstaffed anyway and that creates communication and "multiple hurdles" issues. You really had to take away one floating holiday away from us in order to get Christmas Eve off? Please.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Job security and a location.

    Cons

    Boring and very conservative working environment.

    Doesn't Recommend
  9.  

    Work Scholar

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    I had a good experience

    Cons

    nothing to say about my job

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    If you're okay with a high pressured sales job, decent pay, no perks, and mircro-management ... work here.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Admission Representative  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Admission Representative in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    -They hire GREAT people. My colleagues were one of the only reasons I could stand this place for a year. I was lucky enough to be placed with one of the best managers there for the majority of my time at AAU.

    -Decent pay and standard benefits for new college graduates

    -Decent work/life balance. You come in at 8/9 and leave at 5/6. You leave work at work.

    -Good location in SF. Civic center or Financial District.

    -The concept of the job was good. There were [very few] times that I felt like I was actually helping people.

    -You are exposed to a plethora of different industries and facets of art.
    The school is pretty fascinating and cultivates amazing opportunities for its students, IF you have the large amount of funds to finish the program.

    -The one and only perk they provided was one free class each semester that included Adobe Creative Suite for free.

    -Very fun holiday party. Good food, open bar, and great prizes for employees

    Cons

    -They are not upfront about what the job entails. From getting hired, all the way through the 3 week training, they try to disguise the description of the job to make you think that you're some sort of life counselor. The training pretty much did not train you on anything you had to do on a daily basis.

    -This is a high sales pressured job. Your product? A $100k education in art. All they care about are numbers numbers numbers.

    -Your day to day duties include cold calling, mass emails, harassing people you have already talked to to call you back, and finding ways to stay awake from this painstakingly boring job.

    -You have weekly one on ones with your manager. Every call you make or take is recorded and listened to. They basically pick you to pieces on everything you are doing wrong when they never trained you on what to do right in the first place. Some, not all, managers are discouraging. They don't help they hinder.

    -Some, not all, managers are micro-managers. Will keep tabs on how many calls you make, emails you made, saleforce activity, etc.

    -For the short year I was there, they tried and failed to hire and maintain the Director of Admissions role about 3 times. All either had either been fired or quit. That gives you a clue on how upper management treats their employees.

    -If you were unlucky enough to be placed with one of the brainwashed managers, you had to deal with their sneaky, conniving, and belittling attitude. There was absolutely no trust, no praise, and no respect toward their team.

    -Upper management pressured lower level managers to keep a Nazi like culture: not a second late, business professional clothing (no pants that had pockets on the rear b/c they look like jeans even though the pants are in no way jean material, no leggings under dresses even though our office was non-student facing), no cups/food/snacks of any kind on your desk, no more than 4 pictures in your cube, no Christmas decorations of any kind, etc etc etc.

    -Absolutely no day to day perks. Not even a lick of coffee. Do you know how rich this school is? Try 40+ buildings in SF and the newly acquired (old Exploritorium) building next to the Palace of Fine Arts. yeah....

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -See above...

    -Trust your employees and treat them with respect.

    -At least make the environment pleasant to make up for the boring job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great people, lousy pay, and benefits

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    I love the people in my immediate team. They are friendly, helpful, and supportive. They are the reason I am here.

    Cons

    Raises only happen upon request. The directors are not supportive when there are issues. The executive office does not look at the people who do the bulk of the support to run the departments. The benefits are at a minimum for such a large employer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The executive office really needs to decide to invest in its employees rather than allow the high turn-around that is inefficient for the department and the students.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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