Academy of Art University FAQ

Have questions about working at Academy of Art University? Read answers to frequently asked questions to help you make a choice before applying to a job or accepting a job offer.

Whether it's about compensation and benefits, culture and diversity, or you're curious to know more about the work environment, find out from employees what it's like to work at Academy of Art University.

All answers shown come directly from Academy of Art University Reviews and are not edited or altered.

39 English questions out of 39

July 16, 2019

What are perks and other benefits like at Academy of Art University?

Pros

Good benefits and perks, good entry level position

Cons

Communication is lacking, little chance for raise/promotion

Good benefits and perks, good entry level position

July 16, 2019

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February 2, 2021

What is health insurance like at Academy of Art University?

Pros

Decent place to work. Peers are well-qualified. Great to work with other people who are doing it, not just talking about it. A bit different from other positions in academia. Mostly the students are easy to work with. A lot of ESL kids...so it's not always easy to deal with. I was full-time with them before, but moved to part-time to have time to pursue more contracts. Moving from the Bay Area helped too.

Cons

Pay isn't great, and somewhat capricious. (Thus the move away from the Bay Area.) There's no set published pay scale for full-time faculty. No step/or degree schedule. The LMS SUCKS. Get something better. There's a lot of off-the-shelf titles that are better than this one. Benefits are okay...but the good health plan is so expensive only management can afford it.

Advice to Management

You'd probably be able to do more as a school if you became an independent university.

Benefits are okay...but the good health plan is so expensive only management can afford it.

February 2, 2021

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May 6, 2021

Does Academy of Art University offer tuition reimbursement?

Pros

- Friendly and welcoming work environment. - Able to work in different locations throughout SF depending on department. - Interview process was fairly quick compared to other schools. - Able to take one tuition-free class per semester if you're interested.

Cons

- Benefits are slightly less substantial than what I was used to prior. - Less investment in equipment for administration side in favor of better student-facing equipment (i.e. Dells & Windows for admin vs. Macs for students & faculty).

Able to take one tuition

May 6, 2021

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October 10, 2019

Does Academy of Art University offer housing assistance?

Pros

Amazing co-workers who remained friends even after separation with the organization.

Cons

• Lack of interest in the development of employees and zero employee retention efforts • Zero transparency • Elitist, snooty and hierarchal culture of the executive team. A manager refuses to “deal with people”. • Promote employees out of necessity • Executive team in general tends to be disrespectful of staff. You will definitely feel like “just a body in the office needed to get tasks done”. • VPs and Execs are paid well, some even receive housing allowances, but the rest are paid way below market value for San Francisco Bay Area. • Condescending style of managers make you feel stupid and fearful of being called out or written up. • Relevant training does not exist. • Different standards per employee; for example, the staff are told not to wear leggings since it is not business casual but managers may come to work in leggings all the time. • Most employees who have left the HR team this year – approximately 1-2 per month – gave little to zero notice of resignation due to fear of retaliation. Because there is a large amount of work that needs to be done, management tends to “dump” unrealistic workload/expectations to employees up until their last working hour. • HR management has a reverential treatment towards execs and department directors/VPs. • Morale couldn’t possibly go any lower.

Advice to Management

Listen to what the exit interviews say. If members of your team walk out midday and drop like flies, maybe consider that there is something wrong with management instead of finding fault everywhere else. HR had amazing, talented, smart people but the way managers treat staff drove everybody away. Since AAU pays way below market rate, the best way to make people want to work there is by creating a good working environment. Even the onsite recruiters feel terrible since part of their job is getting people to work in an unpleasant environment.

• VPs and Execs are paid well, some even receive housing allowances, but the rest are paid way below market value for San Francisco Bay Area.

October 10, 2019

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April 18, 2019

What is the retirement plan like at Academy of Art University?

Pros

-Pay isn't terrible -Free class per semester (which is great if you can make time for it) -Great software -Nice facilities that you get to tour when you've just started -Great discounts -Accessible by BART and MUNI, right at Civic Center since I worked at the building on Hayes -A lot of the students I spoke with are really great people

Cons

-Student retention is difficult for them because of how expensive tuition is for students. -Management claims to care about students, but really only care about retaining them in order to keep their accreditation (which was on the rocks when I was there). -Management trains advisors to push students who can't afford it to enroll in courses and they really push hard to meet summer enrollment goals. I felt more like an enrollment manager than a student services advisor when I was there. The truth is, students won't graduate on time if they don't take 2 courses per summer semester, but summer courses are all out of pocket for students. Additionally, students who are no longer eligible for Financial Aid because they've failed their courses are pushed to keep enrolling and paying for these courses out-of-pocket even though they'll probably fail again, all to meet goals (pretty shady business practice, right?). -Additionally, there's a lot of pushback from management when students drop summer classes. Advisors are often asked to call students and to push them to enroll, even when students give them pretty good reasons for dropping courses. Instead of training advisors in advising techniques to build plans for students that work for them, they're mostly asked to use sales tactics to get students to enroll. -The institution does not feel like a 'student first' organization, but rather an enrollment/money-making institution. Some students come in with zero art background and limited resources to succeed. The organization attempts to explain itself by saying that it's trying to be accessible to anyone who wants to be in the arts. It seems great, but with so many online students, it's almost impossible for them to connect with their resources. -Another shady practice: students are only able to transfer credits coming in. If they ever leave and return, they're not able to transfer any more of their credits, even if they're basic college classes and not art classes. -Ethics aside, the work environment is not that welcoming. It often doesn't feel like a team, and there's no real human feeling to the workplace, such as team lunches. It's mostly, "Here are lists of students you need to call by this time." -The environment is very much a telemarketing one. There's no real privacy, even when meeting with students, and you're unable to make a connection with your students. -Definitely no professional development and mentorship. -Extremely inflexible work schedule. There was no budging to the 9-6 schedule, unless MAYBE you've been there for a while, regardless of your commute. They put business needs over employee needs without hesitation. -Not to mention that you're not able to use benefits until your trial period is over, which is about 90 days in, and your 401K isn't guaranteed, and you're not eligible for it unless you've been there for a year. -I eventually left because I got another job closer to where I lived, and I was sad to leave some of my students behind. They were pretty frustrated with the high turnover rate of their advisors, something I can't blame them for.

Advice to Management

-Focus on advising instead of sales techniques and make it a student-focused environment. Students can really tell the difference. -Stop treating staff like they're machines and have flexible work schedules available. If advisors are happy, they'll love being there, and spread those positive vibes to their students. -Make it feel less like telemarketing and more like an academic institution, I mean, you have two names for school in your company's title. -While it's great to work toward numerical goals, there should also be another goal -- doing your best for students, even if it means that they drop classes or take a break from art. Don't take their money if you know they're not set up for success. Every student has their own journey.

Not to mention that you're not able to use benefits until your trial period is over, which is about 90 days in, and your 401K isn't guaranteed, and you're not eligible for it unless you've been there for a year.

April 18, 2019

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39 English questions out of 39

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