American Academy of Arts & Sciences Reviews | Glassdoor

American Academy of Arts & Sciences Reviews

Updated June 2, 2017
20 reviews

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2.4
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Jonathan F. Fanton
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20 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Loved my department; office culture more broadly, not so much"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Editorial Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Senior Editorial Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    In my department (editorial) the management was great. Even as a more junior team member I felt like my opinion was valued.

    Cons

    The culture was not great. Poor work/life balance; LOTS of anxiety from staff due to lots of comings and goings under the previous president. A bit of a "martyr" mentality re: staying late, working events on weekends/nights, etc. Good compensation; poor health insurance package.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Admin"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Great co-workers, interesting work that the Academy does

    Cons

    The CEO was scary and mean, she is no longer there but it was a nightmare to come into work everyday.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "A new day..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Smart, hard-working colleagues; good mission; excellent reputation of organization and members, drawn from the leaders in every profession worldwide

    Cons

    Some staff are still working through the experience of having worked under the previous president, and some staff from the same era are unable to let go of what they experienced during her regime


  4. Helpful (1)

    "At the far end of the dysfunctional/abuse spectrum"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (Less than a 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 Management

    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.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Great organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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.


  6. Helpful (4)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Fellow in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Research Fellow in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at American Academy of Arts & Sciences full-time (More than a 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 Management

    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.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Stay away from this place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The Academy has had a lofty mission since its beginning in 1780: recognizing distinguished man and women and generating knowledge in service to the nation. This mission remains, and many of the Academy's research projects generate important information. Most of the staff here are great to work with, and the building and its surrounds are beautiful.

    Cons

    There is a real leadership crisis here that impacts every area of the Academy's operations. The top levels of senior management vacillate between ADD sorts of inattentiveness, disorganization, and last-minute panic; mood swings and constant shifts in staff favorites and scapegoats; and nasty criticism and pervasive negativity. Staff morale is terrible, and senior management is more interested in catering to the president's substantial needs for hand-holding than in ensuring an environment that is respectful of staff talents, commitment, and work-life balance. Many people put in well more than a 40-hour week, at the expense of family and personal wellbeing. And any occasional recognition of staff is undercut by the daily criticism that people's work isn't good enough -- all the while direction and clear communication are inconsistent and often non-existent. Hissy fits abound, and there is no accountability for any of the bad behavior that is the norm here. Turnover is high, and it's not rare for people to leave suddenly, either by walking out or being fired.

    Advice to Management

    An organizational psychologist needs to do a thorough and candid assessment and report recommendations to the board.
    The board should be overseeing regular reviews of all levels of management and staff.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Like something out of Dickens"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    The Academy has a laudable mission and makes a positive contribution to the public discourse.

    Cons

    The atmosphere is oppressive. Job responsibilities are changed according to whim. Directives are confusing; what is wanted one day is scorned the next.

    Advice to Management

    The Academy must rid itself of drama and trauma. A stable organization with levelheaded leadership could accomplish more.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "An organization with great talent and admirable goals falls far short because of poor management."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Good starting pay. Beautiful location. Gifted, talented, and dedicated staff. Prestigious, interested and involved membership. Great history and goals. Stable budget. This place has great potential.

    Cons

    Great potential can never be realized if current management does not change. All decision-making is done in the executive office. Staff has no discretion to make even the smallest decisions. Senior management is also verbally abusive. Morale is very low. Turnover is very high. A culture of fear pervades.

    Advice to Management

    The board should do a complete management review and take appropriate action. Right now, senior management has no accountability. It's a real shame. This could be a great organization.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Perks are nice"

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

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

    Pros

    A good salary and vacation time -- nice summer and holiday hours, too. Lots of staff are very excited about what they do.

    Cons

    A very secretive and rigid atmosphere (and I never overlapped with the former administration, this is only in reference to the work atmosphere after). Very little opportunity for advancement.


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