The Art Institute of Austin
1.9 of 5 10 reviews
www.artinstitutes.edu Austin, TX 50 to 149 Employees

The Art Institute of Austin Reviews

Updated Apr 17, 2014

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1.9 10 reviews

                             
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It has been great working here.

Tutor (Current Employee)
Austin, TX

I have been working at The Art Institute of Austin part-time for more than a year

Prosthey match my school schedule.

ConsI can only work 20 hours a week

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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A joke for adjuncts. Heck, a joke for all the grunts.

Adjunct Faculty (Former Employee)
Austin, TX

I worked at The Art Institute of Austin part-time for more than 5 years

ProsThe best part about working for Ai-Austin is the ability to use the facilities (whether this is explicitly allowed or not) and equipment to build your own portfolio, and of course, the opportunity to teach. I took advantage of the system the entire time I was there, and I'm glad I did. Beating their inane system allowed me to propel myself into a tenure-track position at an R1 university.

ConsThe pay is not good. $44 was my starting hourly teaching rate in 2009, and was only up to $46 in 2014, which doesn't even keep pace with inflation. At one time, classes were somewhat plentiful, and I taught an average of 16-20 classes a year. This was far too heavy a teaching load, but afforded me the ability to make more money. My final year, it was constantly threatened that our classes would be capped at 3 per quarter, resulting in a rough salary of $24k/year. I believe the most I ever made was still under $40k/year.

The school has a very corporate-driven atmosphere, and the best thing you can do is keep your head down and just do the bare minimum that's expected. If you're hoping to move up in academia to a real university (this is NOT a real university — let's be clear), then I would recommend adjuncting anywhere else while you're at Ai, because Ai alone won't look good on your CV.

The students are completely unaware of how poorly their teachers are compensated, and thus act like you should be at their beck and call. The bad students, that is. There are occasionally outstanding students that really don't belong at such a terrible institution, and sometimes I told them just that. Thankfully, many of them heeded my advice. I consider some of them friends and peers today. Other students that didn't show as much promise stuck it out and actually grew substantially as well, but most students admitted to the school shouldn't be there. Their writing skills are particularly atrocious.

I can't see this school surviving long-term, but I guess with the massive influx of new Austin residents, there will always be naive students (and faculty) for the school to prey on. They're just lucky that the market is absolutely FLOODED with qualified MFAs, and thus they always have a steady supply of potential teachers. To those teachers, I say: Do what you gotta do, but get out as soon as you can. I'm glad I did.

Advice to Senior ManagementThere's really no hope for upper management. The folks at the very top of management do not protect their faculty, and if they know who I am based on this review, then they know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

Those in middle management, with direct supervision of the academic departments, are the ones busting their butts to at least TRY to make Ai-Austin a better place. I don't think it's possible, but there seemed to at least be hope when I was there.

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

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Incompetent Leadership Ineffective HR department

Assistant Director of Admissions (Current Employee)
Austin, TX

I have been working at The Art Institute of Austin full-time for more than 3 years

Prosthe students and helping creative people earn a real degree

ConsHR does not support employees only looks out for management. Management is ineffective rather than embrace the team they tear down, yell, and threaten. I have never worked with a more ineffective leadership team. I hear that the other AI locations are better but you have to wonder why after so many complaints and request for assistance nothing is ever done.

Advice to Senior ManagementListen to the employees, be honest, have integrity, Corporate reach out and show some support. bitter staff makes for an unsuccessful school

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

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Difficult company to feel good about working for

Assistant Director of Admissions (Former Employee)
Austin, TX

I worked at The Art Institute of Austin full-time for less than a year

ProsStarting pay and benefits are good, schedule is good, it's fun to get to know the students

ConsPoor management, difficult product to feel good about selling - company is aggressive and predatory to potential students- especially those from low incomes who may qualify for the most grant/loan money. $80-100k for a so-so education plus the promise of being in debt for the rest of your life is a difficult sell.

Advice to Senior Managementn/a

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Horrible working environment. The Management is horrible and they make it very clear you are extremely replaceable.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Austin, TX

I have been working at The Art Institute of Austin for more than 3 years

Prosthe people I worked with. They made it bearable and we were in the trenches together.

Consextreme micromanagement, having no say or opinion for anything, never question any rules or exceptions the SDoA makes, no matter what. Basically, they want you to be sheep that just listen to what they say and have no mind of their own.

Advice to Senior ManagementWhat management? they need new management, period.

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

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Don't Do It

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at The Art Institute of Austin full-time

ProsAn opportunity to see all sides of the admissions and enrollment process, working in higher education, fun co-workers

ConsMicro-management, terrible hours, almost impossible to take PTO, being talked down to by people who don't even have a degree, salary freezes, made-up "events" every weekend, inflexible schedules, calling upwards of 100 people per day off calling lists, convincing people they need to apply, even when they aren't good candidates, lack of motivation from management, incompetent management, no additional compensation for meeting sales quotas, constant threats of lay-offs, changing policies on a whim, putting $ before students' best interests

Advice to Senior ManagementTreat your staff with some dignity instead of like sweat-shop factory workers.

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  

Seemed like a great job in the beginning...

Assistant Director of Admissions (Former Employee)
Austin, TX

I worked at The Art Institute of Austin full-time for less than a year

ProsGood title, decent pay for this industry. Speaking to creative individuals, and generally being a part of a close knit college environment.

ConsBecause of EDMC's constant financial decline over the last couple years, they have restructured and cut many positions, perks, bonuses, that once made this place a fun/yet challenging work environment. With upper management unable to show the growth that Corporate needs to see (due to more regulations/scrutiny on for-profit schools, an uncertain economy, and high tuition costs) they have placed blame on every possible admission position at the school level starting with the ADA's on up to the Senior Director (most of which have quit or been fired). If your quota is not met quarterly they deem it an incompetency of the individual, and put your employment on the line. No job security.

Advice to Senior ManagementShow your employees that you are working for them and not against them. Micromanaging will never produce the numbers you want (as it has shown for the last year+) If you talk about a team effort, then make distribution of possible leads and students evenly across the board. Don't play favorites, because as crafty as you think you are about, it...Your employees know who you favor, and office moral and numbers suffer because of it. Treat your employees like the competent, hardworking people they are, and you will win their respect and they will perform.

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

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The Art Institute of Austin is interested in numbers and mediocrity.

Adjunct Faculty (Former Employee)
Austin, TX

I worked at The Art Institute of Austin

Pros* Plenty of opportunities to build up your teaching portfolio and get lots of classes on your resume.
* Relative autonomy (depending on your academic director)
* Lots of other great faculty to work with

Cons* The executive committee (including the revolving door of "presidents" who often don't even have masters degrees)
* A general sense that the students are much more important than the faculty. This seems great in theory, but doesn't work when it means we have students that should not be enrolled and the faculty are just told to bend over and deal with them.
* If you want to stick around long, you will teach year-round. This is very difficult because AI is on a quarter schedule and other schools in the area use semesters. Good luck paying your bills.
* Constant schedule fluctuations. This means that one quarter you'll have a great schedule, and the next it will be completely upended, not allowing you to do any outside work.
* Did I mention poor upper management?
* Terrible facilities and equipment. Unbelievable for an institution that charges students $90,000 for a bachelor's degree.
* Budgets are always problematic at institutions of higher education, but it's absurd how bad it is at AI.
* Nothing can be changed in the overall curriculum without approval from the Houston campus. Approval = them modifying their curriculum as well. There is no campus autonomy in this respect.

For the money they pay, our students should have access to top-notch everything, and they don't even have the best in the Austin area. That's pretty stunning.

Advice to Senior ManagementDon't take my word for it, ask the students and other faculty. There is a general lack of pride in this place because senior management (read: the Executive Committee) is interested in numbers above quality students. They're lucky we're in a recession, otherwise people would have somewhere else to go.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Treacherous

Assistant Director of Admissions (Former Employee)
Austin, TX

I worked at The Art Institute of Austin

Pros* Aesthetically appealing environment of student, community, and faculty work.
* Great food in dining lab/restaurant open to public that is serviced by culinary students.
* Sounds cool to say "I work for The Art Institute of Austin."

Cons* It is all about selling and enrolling students into the next start date (every five weeks).
* The focus is not really on student's success, but getting them in school.
* Turnover is high in admissions and financial aid departments because of stress put on employee's to meet sales quota.
* Micromanagement!
* In admissions department you are not compensated for the sales person you are with commission or incentives for meeting goals.

Advice to Senior Management*Focus on quality and not quantity.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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It's like a box of chocolates...

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at The Art Institute of Austin

ProsWith the right management, you'll feel empowered to do your job well. The salary is great also. Having opened a few years ago, this location was more like a family. It's grown exponentially since.

ConsEach Institute is different from the next. EDMC, the company that owns Ai, likes to switch things up and not all cities are suited for all people.

Advice to Senior ManagementYour students expect Austin when they get to Austin. Not Atlanta or Vegas. Listen to your student body. They're the reason you're there.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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