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updated tue 6 jun 00


Spincy68@CS.COM on mon 5 jun 00

there was an article in a recent issue of New Art Examiner about the pyramid=
scheme of the MFA. i think it was pretty much right on in addressing the is=
sue. personally, i got an mfa in ceramics in 1997 and am not currently teach=
ing or working in clay, because of my debt burden, but i wouldn't trade the=20=
experience of graduate school for "paying my dues" now, because i know when=20=
i am able to work in the studio again, it will be far stronger than it would=
have been had i not attended graduate school. i also feel like i need to li=
ve with my work longer before venturing into the world of teaching, if at al=
l. i wouldn't consider the MFA a teaching degree anyway, even though that is=
the highest-paying employment possibility which comes as a result. just bec=
ause i'm not teaching does not mean i can't be an artist, and in some cases=20=
i have seen the teaching detract from the work.
Ceramic Arts Discussion List wrote:
> Correct me if I'm wrong.... please do...... but I've heard and read
> often that there are many more graduates of MFA programs seeking jobs in
> their field than there are jobs available..... and
> that the art/ceramic employment available on the college or university
> level is very limited. Not true? =A0Several clayarters have mentioned that
> they're either anticipating enrolling (or wishing they had enrolled) in
> an MFA program and then "getting a job in a university" as if that were
> an automatic extension of the degree program. Maybe the art/ceramic
> scene has changed in the last few years; if so, I'd like to know since I
> sometimes still respond to requests for educational guidance from recent
> high school graduates, and I'm still advising the ones who want to
> continue with art and pottery especially to look into the job market and
> to ask for statistics as to how many graduates the school they hope to
> attend is placing into even beginning level art positions....
> anywhere...... or in ANY school... much less at a post-secondary
> institute. When I have communicated with art departments of major
> universities concerning such stats, the inference has been that the
> college or university is NOT in the employment business, but in the
> business of education. Actually I tend to agree with that position,
> vacillating occasionally in some cases, but I think that the enrolling
> student should be given this information early on. If that isn't going
> to happen in this lifetime for fear of losing further tuition monies,
> then the students who care must ask the question themselves about
> possible employment. I am eager to be enlightened if this is no longer a
> viable attitude ..... thank you very much for thinking and responding
> (if you do) since some critical decisions may be made based on your
> information. I don't like to think it, but it is not likely that I'll
> get more pertinent or recent information from major colleges and
> universities than I will from our claybuds and gurus. AND I am an
> educator with considerable faith that formal education is important in
> any field ..... even if just to have a nationally accepted shared body
> of knowledge ... but, based on experience, little faith that incoming
> freshmen (or their parents who are paying big bucks) are given much
> factual information about the educational process and how it will
> prepare them for society...... real society... a working society. There
> is much info available about dorm living, binge drinking, anorexia,
> social groups, attending classes, financing via grants and loans etc.
> The most thorough grounding in scholastic expectations, by the way, came
> from tech and trade schools ... automotive, computers, nursing, design.
> HOw many MFA graduates do YOU know who are working for slightly above
> minimum wage at part-time jobs in galleries, art supply houses and
> assistant jobs on school campuses ... just to hang on to some semblance
> of being part of the art world?? I know many. Maybe California is the
> exception. If so, please tell me. I think that on Clayart we have a
> skewered perspective because so many of our gurus ARE art teachers with
> good positions ... but it's my feeling that they are the exceptions ...
> both in proven academic ability and in =A0being in the right place at the
> right time.... not so?
> Joyce
> In the Mojave
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