American Academy of Arts & Sciences

  www.amacad.org
  www.amacad.org

American Academy of Arts & Sciences Reviews

Updated October 8, 2014
Updated October 8, 2014
15 Reviews
1.8
15 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Leslie Berlowitz
12 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Anxiety Central

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

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences

    Pros

    Provided a position to do what I do, well.

    Cons

    Reprehensible, secretive behavior by leadership and upper management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    New President

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

    I have been working at American Academy of Arts & Sciences

    Pros

    A new, very experienced President is now on board. All of the positive aspects listed in previous posts are still in place - especially the wonderful and dedicated staff. Future is looking good.

    Cons

    There are no cons to report.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    At the far end of the dysfunctional/abuse spectrum

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great staff, beautiful building, wonderful mission, serving an extraordinary group of Fellows.

    Cons

    The Executive Officer for the past 17 years is a highly disorganized individual, who makes up for this by verbally abusing the people who work for her. The turnover rate is astronomical, and that has everything to do with senior management. This organization has such promise, but isn't able to live up to the potential of the educated, hard-working employees because so much energy is invested in recruiting, hiring, training and firing staff. Creativity is non-existent; people are afraid to say anything in staff meetings. It is unfortunate in the extreme that the board has allowed this dysfunction to continue for so long.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The current board needs to be replaced and a serious search initiated to replace the outgoing Exec. Officer. Some PTSD counseling may be in order for the remaining staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Prefer not to say

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time

    Pros

    The Academy and staff were wonderful when I was there. The Academy was a closely-knit collection of staffers with an amazingly high degree of dedication to the mission. Benefits were good when I was there. 4 weeks vacation to start and a generous employer contribution to 401k - get this: 15% But that was then (pre-1996) - I can't say about now.

    Cons

    Executive Officer = primary "Con." Condescending, Convoluted, Condemning, Contemptuous, Controlling, Congenial - no wait, how did that get in there? And now, with the current news of falsified degrees, I guess "CON" itself may be applicable.

    I lasted about 8 months after that leadership change and I feel I deserved a medal. I don't know how others have been able to last at all. I knew I had skills that were very marketable and appreciated and that I did not have to put up with the abuse. Maybe others were not as fortunate. I and many of my colleagues worked hard - even after the current CEO "took over," but it, to me, was wasted energy. I had better stop here - but there is much more unpleasantness about that place than there is of the good stuff. It used to be very family-like before the institution was handed over to Miss Hannigan.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Search Committee for a new CEO. Optionally, form and active board of overseers who can meet monthly and advice accordingly. The one person in control (now president and CEO) is an insult to the long history of The Academy. Make a major change in CEO and/or change the reporting structure. And I ask myself: does she have an annual performance review like everyone else? Or has she managed to side-step that, too?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Great organization

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Manager in Cambridge, MA

    I have been working at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Academy is an august institution whose former and current members include the brightest lights from the past 200-plus years in academia, art, business, public affairs and science. Under the current leadership, the Academy has grown tremendously. By all measures, it’s a success and a great place to work. The Academy demands excellence in its selection of members. It demands excellence in the studies it undertakes. And, it demands excellence from its staff. There are wonderful colleagues who work hard to uphold the standards and traditions of an organization whose members have shaped our country and our culture. I have found the Academy to be a career-making and life-changing experience.

    Cons

    Like most nonprofit organizations, the Academy strives to make significant impact with limited resource. With additional funding, the organization could do even more.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    What a disgrace

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

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences

    Pros

    Intelligent people trying to collaborate on initiatives with academic and social policy significance. Access to thought leaders from around the world.

    Cons

    I can only add to the chorus of negative feedback regarding the Academy leadership, and in particular the CEO. How such a totally unacceptable situation has been allowed to persist for so many years is unfathomable. And unforgivable. I personally experience visceral disgust whenever I pass the Academy grounds. I am a successful survivor of the Norton Woods gulag, and I take very seriously the moral import of the words I am using in this review. The nightmarish interhuman reality at the Academy is directly attributable to the culture of intimidation and belittlement that the CEO narcissistically perpetuates in the name of high standards and commitment to the mission. It's sad and infuriating to think of all the talent, time, resources, and potential that so many smart people have wasted on behalf of this organization.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Forcibly retire the current leadership ASAP and engage in extensive reflection on what a truly honorable institution worthy of its history, value, and promise would need to do in order to redeem this inglorious chapter.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    A small, but outstanding institution that is making tangible contributions through its work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Management

    I have been working at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    If you have the opportunity to be part of the team here you will work with exceptional people and be part of all that is being accomplished. Certainly a place that demands your best. Building an institution and a record of achiement like that at the Academy involves struggles and hard work.

    Cons

    Being effective at the Academy requires a level of commitment that not everyone can or will give - hence the kind of negative comments posted on this site by a few who left of one reason or another. Why wouldn't you just move on instead of disparaging an institution, its leadership, and all of the staff who remain? These people seem to have forgotten that the Academy gave each and every one of them opportunites.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    mean place

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences

    Pros

    architecture of the building, location, serenity of grounds, potential for consideration of issues of real significance with high caliber minds.

    Cons

    the "leader" is dreadful and establishes a climate of fear.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Berlowitz has charmed a blinded, aging leadership. Try a confidential 360 degree review process and see what you will find out from those who know her best.

  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Former Fellow recommends -- stay away, either as an employee or a fellow

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Fellow in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Research Fellow in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The American Academy has a proud and important tradition, and in best of times it serves as an gathering place for remarkable and innovative scholars, artists, and activists.

    Cons

    I personally witnessed -- on a nearly daily basis -- the president of the Academy belittle and degrade staff. I have personally seen people break down after interactions with senior leadership. I was insulated from insults because I have a PhD and could leave at any time, though I felt deeply sorry for what the staff went through. Just before I left, the President of the Academy built a wall so that she she would have complete privacy, and it struck me that she had walled herself off from the rest of the organization in more than physical ways. In the year that I was there, more than 40% of the staff turned over. I study organizations, and this was the most dysfunctional organization I have ever witnessed. It is just so deeply deeply sad.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To the Board: please step in and do a thorough review. The current board has been hand-chosen by the President, and that's a shame. To the Staff: consider legal options.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    The stuff that nervous breakdowns are made of...

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

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Academy is an esteemed organization channeling the powers of brilliant minds all over the world to work for the public good. That I was able to work with such individuals was truly an honor. The professional staff, when not beaten down, is superb. They work very hard and accomplish a great deal, despite minimal resources and little incentive. I loved my job at the Academy and would have made it a career position had it not been for the details written below.

    Cons

    The Executive Director/President has instilled a culture of fear and abuse that filters throughout the organization in every way. Every element of your job is micromanaged and criticized and deflecting blame is the name of the game - if only to avoid having to deal with the "corner office". It is truly the most degrading and horrifying experience that I have ever had. Almost daily, I watched my colleagues (and sometimes myself) reduced to tears by the furious (and completely irrational) tirades of the Executive Director. After my first month (!) I kept a list of the employee turnover rate - in the 2.5 years I was employed at the Academy, more than 100 employees came and went. With a full time staff of approximately 30 people, I'd say that speaks volumes. In addition to the poisonous, ulcer-inducing environment, there is zero work/life balance, mediocre benefits, no professional development (at the very least, some management training would not go amiss!) and no flexibility. I could go on and on, providing numerous examples of the toxic culture, each more horrific than the last, but it is almost unbelievable if you haven't experienced it. Let's just say that after 2.5 long, stressful years I quit without a backup - it was that bad. I just couldn't subject myself to that cruel environment any more.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The Management of this organization needs a complete overhaul, starting from the top down. Unfortunately, despite many efforts by staff (who live in fear of retribution) to reach out to the Board and the membership, little has been done to stop what can only result in a downward karmic spiral. It is only a matter a time before she brings shame (if not severe legal and financial consequences) to this historic and venerable institution.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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