Re: seek opinions of BAC

- - The original note follows - -

From: [email protected] (Geoff M Langdon)
Subject: Re: seek opinions of BAC
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 1994 12:37:16 GMT

Daniel W Bates ([email protected]) wrote:

: Ahh the BAC.It can be a great program or it can...The faculty tends to run
: hot and cold. An old joke making the rounds asks-what does it take to
: teach at the BAC. answer: a pulse. The onus is on the student to research

The widely known reason the faculty at the BAC appear to run hot and cold
is that the BAC does not pay the faculty - it is the only such school I
know of. Officially, faculty get a stypend or whatever, which, if you
add it up, does not even cover the cost of parking in that neighborhood.
For many years the BAC has relied on the fact that it is in Boston (near
Cambridge) where the number of Architects per square foot is higher than
in any other city on the planet (except for Princeton, NJ) and many of
the grey-haired principals enjoy volunteering their time to teach (or
talk about their favorite subjects) after hours.
The school does attract some impressive professionals to teach there, and
it is good for the students to hear and learn from people actually
practicing this profession, as opposed to only hearing from the ivory
tower crowd. Also, if you figure that architects usually make between
$40 to $120 per hour (average of about $60 in Boston) then no
architectural school could actually pay that much (teaching ranges from
$15 to $35 per hour). Thus, the BAC pays nothing. Unfortunatly, because
of various tax laws, regardless of what the BAC pays or doesn't pay, the
"volunteers" cannot deduct their time at the BAC as a contribution or
This system has, amazingly, worked for many, many, years, and the BAC is
one of only 90 or so accredited schools of architecture in the united
states. Many of the faculty are either older, well known professionals,
really volunteering their time, or younger architects desiring to get
into teaching (teaching their first classes) who then move on to other
schools eventually. I think that is why the classes appear to run "hot
and cold" as you say.
The system seems to be breaking down now, as the realities and expenses
of the current economy fall down on all of us, and there are more things
to occupy the time of practicing professionals. The BAC now pays much
higher stipends to some faculty than others, and a few program director
types are actually payed real wages. This is causing some internal
comotion as faculty find this out. I imagine that the BAC will have to
change its whole structure and start paying everyone on staff and faculty
real wages similarly within the next few years.
That the BAC has run one of the best programs of its kind in the country
(without paying its faculty) has been amazing, and kudos to those involved.
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