Westlawn's future

Discussion in 'Education' started by DCockey, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The real problem is we don't know what WestLawn's issues are. Is it cash flow, lack of enrollment, is ABYC simply just kicking them out of a space or something else, such as not wanting to cover their short annual fall, a management, facility or participation issue(s), etc., etc., etc. If we had an idea what was needed, it might be an avenue that could be pursued, such as a new facility or donation program. Enrollment would be a troublesome problem to contend with, but the mechanics of a 501(c)3 are fairly easy to understand.

    We understand the 150K short fall, but what is it, sponsor(s) participation, payroll, other operational costs, enrollment . . .
  2. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    West lawn is a 501 c 3 organization and as such is not "owned".

    Westlawn is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, separate from ABYC, another nonprofit organization. It appears that ABYC has provided financial support and controlled Westlawn since 1993. Westlawn's staff appears to be separate from ABYC. Westlawn currently has office space at Maine Maritime Museum.

    The records for Westlawn I found online, most recent 2012, show increasing operating operating deficits and negative total assets. Donations in those years was $30,000 per year, which corresponds to a grant they received for scholarships.
  3. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    I just wonder if they have trained 'more practicing yacht designers than any other school', why those designers and/or companies they work for would not help to support their 'alma mater'? Where are these designers? Guys, time to act.
  4. u4ea32
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    u4ea32 Senior Member

    Action is well underway to save Westlawn. Expect announcements in the next few days.
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    UNCIVILIZED DIY Junkyard MadScientist

    I hate to hear that they're struggling, ditto on the possibility of them closing. Especially as I'd been toying with the idea of studying via them, of late.

    I would think that it wouldn't take much of an ad campaign in order to raise the kinds of funds mentioned. Say in; Sailing Periodicals (both the free, & pay for subscription type), by soliciting some of their prominent alumni (to voice their support amongst sailors & in the prior suggested venues, plus setting up a fund that alumni could donate into), & also by advertising support of the cause/school at various; race, regatta, seminar, rally, & other similar places where sailors gather.

    Or how about alumni who sell plans, especially online, make provisions so that customers (& or visitors to their websites) can donate $10, $20, or $50 etc. towards this. All with just a few keystrokes. Kind of a grass roots thing. As it would be as well, if they get the word out to the sailing community in general.

    Might be time to float them an email full of supportive ideas... whatever you've got.
  6. u4ea32
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    u4ea32 Senior Member

    Actions to save Westlawn HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. Westlawn is again on 100% solid financial footing. Watch for announcements in the next few days.
  7. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    Hope the changes will also include upgrade of programmes. There was too much of 'sorcery science' and misleading marketing 'we trained more boat designers than...' Institution can not be a school of one particular author! Bring it close to naval architecture, add higher engineering level, this is what is required now as the complexity of certification and engineering of boats is growing. And don't forget the boar styling course.

    Additional continued education modules would be beneficial. And ask practising designers, builders, surveyors to contribute...

    Good luck!
  8. u4ea32
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    u4ea32 Senior Member

    Alik, we will continue to update course material. If you have not seen the material recently, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much the courses have improved over the years (I took my first course from Westlawn in 1974). I give specific credit for these continuous improvements to Dave Gerr and Norm Nudelman.

    We will be introducing more online resources and infrastructure to support students learning, alumni professional development, and providing an enduring online presence for all students and alumni.

    The new Provost is Dr. James Tangorra, Professor and Assistant Dean of Engineering at Drexel. You can use google to understand his technical background, but also know that as Assistant Dean at Drexel, his responsibilities include understanding the latest approaches to learning, and applying them to engineering education. Under the guidance of Professor Tangorra our courses will evolve to embrace the latest and most effective approaches to technical education.

    In the short term, there should be almost no noticeable impact to any students. We are still doing some internal re-organization, changing some internal processes this week, but everything is almost set and already running smoothly. It appears that there will be no turnover in staff or instructors.

    In the longer term, there will be an increase in diversity of technical authors, and a specific and sustained effort to incorporate the wisdom of practicing designers, builders, surveyors, material specialists, and so on within the existing yacht design course of study and the technical continuing education offerings.

    We certainly have no intent to be the school off any one particular author, but I agree, it may have appeared so at times in the past. I hope you, and everyone else, will be happy to see the breadth of knowledge we do and will incorporate into our courses.

    -- David Smyth
    President and Vice Chancellor, Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology.
  9. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member


    Are you the same David Smyth that gave the student paper from UCB in the Northern California section in about 1978 or so?
  10. Grant Nelson
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    Grant Nelson Senior Member

    With all due respect Mr Smyth, is it not time you also addressed the 100+ Westlawn students in the WestLawn forum, instead of promoting your position and opinions in this open forum? We are all waiting at Westlawn for some clarity and certainty that your unilateral take over is aimed at serious students of Westlawn and future professional yacht designers, and not promoting yourself here in public.
  11. Qvox
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    Qvox Junior Member

    I'm glad to hear that educational options like Westlawn exist.

    We live in a world that has gone a little too "credential crazy". Which is fine when you're in your late teens or twenties. I enjoyed my years in school, and value my formal education. I'd still recommend that route to any young adult who has the time and financial resources to pursue a traditional education.

    Unfortunately (...and fortunately) we live in a dynamic technological society. The world is changing so fast that people need to be able obtain the knowledge and training to make dramatic shifts in career, throughout their lives. What you "thought" you'd be doing the rest of your life at 21, may not even be possible in middle-age.

    I read a recent article that 65% of the jobs our school aged children will have don't exist yet. Put another way that says to me that only about 35% of the current careers out there will still exist in 20 years. At the pace of technological change we're seeing today, I can believe it.

    What is a middle-aged person supposed to do? Try to gain admittance to a traditional college and university that's geared for young adults, and throw themselves into a formal education for 3-5 years?

    With little to no income, and a tremendous amount of expense that's just not a realistic option, for a lot of people who are in their 30's, 40's...and potentially 50's (we're living much longer, some won't want to be retired for 30 or 40 years)

    We need MORE educational options geared for those who can't attend a traditional education program, so I'm glad to see Westlawn is going to make it.

    (sorry, for my first post being so opinionated...I guess that comes with age:D)
  12. cmckesson
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    cmckesson Naval Architect

  13. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    I spoke to John Adey (President of ABYC) at the Annual Meeting in January and he assured me that Westlawn was not going away and would better than ever. Well... I am by nature a skeptic. I haven't seen a thing yet that actually demonstrates that. Nothing at all has changed on their website, not even in the NEWS section. Not word one about the sale (or transfer if you prefer) As was said by Grant Nelson, shouldn't there be some more open discussion by the new Westlawn directors and staff about what is going on. Silence leads to speculation and criticism. Infromation leads to understanding. In short, tell the world what is going on. Especially you should be communicating with current students and alumni.
  14. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    The Westlawn website Who are we > About the faculty has updated names and positions. Looks like the same folks as before plus a few new folks. Dave Gerr now has title of Professor.

  15. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    A-ha-ha!!! They guy became a professor? Does he have any recognized bachelor degree?

    Well, seems now all 'graduates' of Westlawn became 'professors'. Does not professor need to have University degree in US?
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