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Practice : Winter 2009
process, what relationships we have with preparatory institutions, how stable over time our Foundation teaching sta is, what kind of learning and personal advising we need to support students, and how we assess learning progress through Foundation. ere will be further discussion of these subjects in the year ahead. Practice Alternatives For years, our students have bene ted almost exclusively from private sector design rm employment to meet our Practice requirements. As increasing numbers of design school graduates are entering related elds of software development, media production, public agency work, construction ser vices, management, sustainability consulting and the like, we are obligated to expand our alternatives to add to our traditional design rm Practice, particularly for entry-level students, and as international demand softens for traditional design services. Distance and Online Learning About a third of all college courses nationally are taken online or at a distance from a home campus. Except for online Continuing Education o erings to design professionals, very little professional design school education for matriculating students is o ered online. Several years ago, we began our online Sustainability Certi cate program that now enrolls students from around the world; we now have a sta member stationed in Europe to market and recruit faculty for that program. Our online degree completion Distance Master of Architecture program began a year and a half ago and now enrolls about advanced students from Maine to Alaska; we expect our rst graduates in January, . e success of these o erings mandates that we review how many of our other programs could bene t from what we have learned about the teaching strengths of distance and online learning communities for design students. Core Faculty Prospective students want to know with whom they might study at the BAC. Our Education Directors seek to maintain the highest quality and most predictable teaching standards within their programs. Accreditors urge us to maintain stability within our teaching ranks. Studies show that student retention is highest where faculty advising is steady and predictable. Our Teaching for Understanding program has demonstrated the strength of better preparing practitioners to be good teachers. ese factors lead to the conclusion that we must designate and support more "core," "lead," or "featured" faculty within our ranks of practitioner-educators, even as we maintain our commitment to sustaining a primarily volunteer faculty of practicing professionals. We recognize the strength of long-lasting mentoring and advising relationships in increasing student learning and graduation rates. As we move into the next stage of our evolving Strategic Plan, we will discuss these and other permutations of our commitment to providing excellent, diverse and accessible Practice-based design education taught by practicing professionals. We welcome your comments and support as we demonstrate how an independent design school can sustain itself by being thoughtful, strategic, and agile in a weak economy. President eodore C. Landsmark, M.Ev.D., J.D., D.F.A. (Hon.), Ph.D. PRESIDENT'S LETTER ] TED LANDSMARK MESSAGE ON THE ECONOMY The BAC community has always responded to difficult economic times by sharing resources to support students' efforts to continue their studies. We intend to enable students to remain productively engaged with a BAC education that will provide lifelong professional and employment benefits. The College is taking the following steps to assist students: alternative ways of earning Practice credits outside traditional design firm employment are available; some new student support funds are being made available to eligible students; academic Advising and Practice staff will be available to meet with students who may need to adjust their programs for the spring semester; Practice staff continue to seek more diversified employment opportunities for our students; we are working with outside support services to assist students facing personal issues that may arise during the coming months; and we are looking closely at our spring budgets to reduce costs not directly related to providing student services. In any economic downturn, remaining in school is an investment in future career growth. Some of our alumni remember economic downturns from the past, and they are doing all they can to retain BAC students as their employees. Our budget is less dependent on endowment income than many large universities, but we are being very careful with our expenditures. There is a strong hope that proposed federal programs will jump-start our economy through capital improvements that involve design and construction. Foresight, frugality, and some patience will carry us through this winter into better times. PRACTICE 3