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The art institute of Pittsburgh, a school I'd worked at for 12+ years, just shut down today. While it was always a possibility, it came as a surprise to find a termination notice in my mail today... oh yeah, and I'm in the middle of classes so I can't imagine what my students are going through.

This is why I'm switching fields. Not only was I suffocating under the inherent lack of respect (from administration and students and public alike) towards me as a physics instructor but I felt something bad was in the wind. In 12 years, never got benefits, never got a raise, was teaching the same class (verbatim) for 10 years... it was overall a generally unfulfilling experience as an educator and, because I'm in the process of getting out, I'm not sorry to see it go so that others don't go through the same as I did.

This is the second school system that has been shut down under my watch (the first was ITT) and I think it showcases the demise of the grand "online education" experiment. Online held great promise but in execution, the greed of the people managing the programs ultimately was it's down fall.

Onto bigger and better things for me. For others that aren't as lucky, for the new instructors, for the grizzled veterans, I can only wish good luck. For the students... words fail. A great injustice has been done upon you and I fear it will be decades before the wounds of our educational experiments heal.

By TheMiddleWay8
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12 comments

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1

Sad.

3

This is so disheartening on several levels. So sorry your job is gone, then the disappointment for the students. And confused at the climate you worked under? Is education loosing it’s importance, overall in our society? This is scary and sad! Best of luck in your new pursuits...there is another way and you WILL find it.

Freedompath Level 8 Mar 10, 2019
5

Education is going through significant change. I'm adjunct faculty, and my college of choice has significantly reduced employment such that I'm not there this semester. Same with adjuncts with more seniority than I have. Some of it has to do with demographics. Baby boomers' children have completed their educations. A lot of it has to do with online learning. I need a new path as well.

Stephanie99 Level 7 Mar 10, 2019
3

So sorry to hear this!! I went to business school in Pittsburgh for one semester (it is long gone!) and my niece went to AIP!!! Sorry for you, sorry for ART!, sorry for Pittsburgh!! I Love Pittsburgh!! My sister still lives there!!! Good luck!!!

Humanist5 Level 6 Mar 10, 2019

I love pittsburgh as well! My formative years were in Morgantown, WVa, about an hour south... and I'm a die-hard steelers fan as well!

5

Schools, especially in the Pittsburgh area have also had to deal with the growth of the oil and gas industry. I taught in a public school just outside of Pittsburgh and a large number of our grads went directly to work in the fields. Enrollments have been declining for over a decade. Your experience also points out the benefits of unionization, as those conditions just don't exist in the public schools.

Lutherzme Level 7 Mar 9, 2019

I'm not sure unionizing would have been a solution... though I say that with an anti-union bias so my opinion is not to be trusted in this regard. smile009.gif

The problem is less local economic conditions and more to do with the nature of the for-profit school in today's age. It was very easy for them to "milk" the government, and students, out of loan money and profit from it with little to no consequence or oversight...

4

I am sorry for your horrid news... Horrid on a personal level, and horrid that yet another institute has died..

Rustee Level 7 Mar 9, 2019

Thanks. I'm sorry to see ANY school go but honestly, the way these were run, it's probably for the best. At least students won't go into debt anymore getting degrees that don't amount to much...

4

The Art Institute of Portland is also closing down. Yes, terrible for the staff and students. This group of schools was way overextended, clearly not terribly well managed and has closed something like 30+ of their 50 locations.

PalacinkyPDX Level 8 Mar 9, 2019

My daughter earned her BFA from PIA, and I was surprised to read about its closing. With the high cost of education, exactly whom is benefiting from this money, or where does it all go??

@Rustee Look at a list of all the schools they've closed... you'll be shocked. There was a lot of mismanagement and possibly some corruption at the top. They were also having a difficult time keeping enrollments up.

Here's of list of all the schools in this system (I'm not sure what else to call it) who have closed: [artinstitutes.edu]

Edited

@Rustee The other thing which happened at a lot of these schools is student loan money got tighter. The government was finding out that an unusually high percentage of government backed student loan defaults were happening at The Art Insititutes and perhaps less reputable schools like University of Phoenix and DeVry. Getting loans to attend the schools became tougher, enrollments went down and...

@Rustee ,
while i was in mesa AZ there was a scandal over a greedy CEO of a chain of private schools there. leave it to AZ to be in the forefront of privatising education. the state keeps reducing budgets for the public school system and praising the private schools. AZ pay for public school teachers is ridiculous, around 30,000/yr. anyway it turns out that this greedy, parasitic ceo had paid himself something like 10 million over 2 yrs in which the schools enrollments were down & were actually losing money. it also turned out that the ceo had supporters in the city council right up to the mayor.

Yeah, they've been shutting down campus after campus over the last few months. All we were told is there were "negotiations". However, over the last 2 or 3 years, we've changed ownership 2 or 3 times and thus it seems the school was just too deep in the muck to be salvaged...

6

Damn, I grew up in the burgh, and the art institute, as well as the Carnegie institute museum were to me cornerstones of art, and Science. Both a huge proponent of my upbringing.
Sad to see such a huge influence go by the wayside.
IMHO just a sad reminder of what the current state of officials deem important, or better, not important.

TristanNuvo Level 8 Mar 9, 2019

Devry, ITT, now Art Institute. So many schools are falling and IMO as a consequence of their greed. This is all tied into the school loan debacle we are in as well. Tons of students got deep into debt because these schools promised them a good education and instead they turned out to be diploma mills, with no commitment to education or their students AFAIK.

3

Good luck on your new adventures. Sometimes forced change can be the best change. 😁

Thanks! I already embarked on change prior to this so I'm lucky. But others were more heavily invested in the school may not end up so lucky. smile003.gif

4

Damn. Really sorry, dude. For you and your students.

KKGator Level 9 Mar 9, 2019

Thanks! I'm fine.. I'd been telling my supervisor that I didn't want to take any more classes under my wing for months now but I was the only physics teacher at the school so felt bad leaving. My students on the other hand, yeah, rough... smile003.gif

4

I am truly sorry that you had this experience. I teach for three schools online; one is local, but two are long distance. I find I make less money--and receive less respect from the administration--from the local school than from the long distance online schools. This is sad as I have been an adjunct at the local school for 16 years as compared to eight years for one of my schools and more than five for the other.

I do not see the demise of online schools; they are shifting to meet the needs of students and to be credible. At my local school, the online registration is second only to the seated main campus; there are several branch campuses. Schools for profit are needing to do the biggest shifts than the non-profit schools.

Gwendolyn2018 Level 7 Mar 9, 2019

Yes, I should clear that up. the pure online experiment is I think on the wane. I've seen many brick and mortar schools use online to great effect, especially when it's hybrid (some online, some off). To even further clarify, the "for profit" online schools are what is really going downhill and, for the most part, good riddance!

@TheMiddleWay One of my schools is a for profit school. Two years ago, I had one class assigned to me all year. For over a year, I have had classes, often two at a time, one right after another. I have no idea how long this will continue. I have no issue of the design of their canned classes, and the caliber of the students is on par with the first year composition students at my local community college. Time will tell!

4

That's terrible. I'm so very sorry to learn of this. However, a different path, even if forced upon us can lead to better places.

Athena Level 7 Mar 9, 2019

Thanks! And absolutely... I was on this new path long before any of these closures were on the horizon. I was just suffocating in that old job. This does however make it easier to let go of the past and fully embrace the future!

@TheMiddleWay

Perfect. smile001.gif

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