MOLINA, RAFAEL on sat 19 jan 02
One criticism I often hear is similar to what Phil said in a recent post.
Phil stated "...where I recall the professors to have ruthlesly exploited
for private gain, the resources of the university 'Art' departments, while
being rude and haughty and exploitive in their use of the materials, kilns,
etc. as well." I admit this scenario does exist. Not at at my school,
I believe every square foot of the studio space and the equipment in it is
for the currently enrolled students. If you walk into our studio every
thing you see is for and by the students. I organize the tables, ware
carts, shelf units, and other equipment in a way that is the most effecient
for students to get their work through the process. The materials I order
are for the specific projects I assign in my courses. The equipment I
request is done with the students art work in mind. The kilns I build are
to offer a wider range temperatures and atmospheres for the students to
finish their work.
I have a couple of cabinets in the small glaze materials storage room for my
tools and my work in progress. I get my tools and work out when I begin and
I put them back up when I'm finished (when I do get the chance to work). I
always buy my own clay, use class glazes, and bisque/glaze fire along with
student work. I think this is a frugal and responsible way to work.
I, quite frankly, do not make as much work as I have in the past. Much of
the work I do is commissioned by the administration as gifts for people like
the Board of Trustees, the UNT System Chancellor, visiting educators from
TAFE NSW in Sydney, et al. In my defense, the work I do make is accepted
into such recent juried exhibitions as the Fifteenth Annual Materials: Hard
& Soft, Fourteenth Annual Materials: Hard & Soft, Thirteenth Annual San
Angelo Ceramic Competition, 2000 Art Craft Competition and Exhibition, by
jurors Beth Ann Gerstein, Harlan Butt, Matthew Kangas, and Susan Peterson,
respectively. To be honest with you art production and exhibition falls
under the "special contributions" portion of my yearly evaluations.
Instruction evealuation by administrators and students and professional
development are much more of a priority.
Different situations do occur at other two-year colleges and especially at
four year universities. I've heard so-called perquisites described as "part
of the deal." A lot of administrators and faculty feel this way and justify
it as a form of research.
I can't make a value judgement about this idea of perquisites and the way
they are recognized at other campuses. But, I can form an opinion of the
unintended consequences. I think it's fundamentally unfair to have the
backing of academic resources and in SOME BUT NOT ALL CASES use it as a way
to undercut the competition. Namely, independant studio potter's competing
in the same marketplace (of course, then you have the problem of defining
independant). This is probably the biggest burr under the saddle.
I have often felt since I started teaching that I joined some sort of
"secret society." I feel my colleagues don't want me to share the secret
handshake about salary, benefits, or perquisites. ;-D
I say put the cards on the table.
Rafael Molina, MFA
Assistant Professor of Art
Department of Music, Art, and Dance
Tarrant County College-Southeast Campus
2100 Southeast Parkway
Arlington, TX 76018-3144
(817) 515-3189 fax