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this education thing...

updated sat 30 nov 96


Richard Aerni on thu 14 nov 96

Guess I haven't had my quota of abuse this week...I'll even get into this thread

I can't speak to the relevance or excellence of any university art curriculum or
the profs on this list. I'm primarily self-educated in clay and haven't met mos
you. I've been greatly impressed by the knowledge and committment of the academ
clayart, however.

I come at this from the perspective of someone who has been out in the world run
own self-sustaining clay business since 1979, but who is married to an academic
in Economics, teaching at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY). Through my contacts
the college, I see a great majority of my wife's colleagues as being incredibly
hard-working and caring individuals, putting their students' welfare at the very
their concerns. For the time they spend at their work, and their committment bo
their teaching and their own continuing education, relative to the years of scho
training they have gone through, they are not overpaid.

What they (and I change they to now mean ceramics profs) do have, that most of t
students won't, (if they pursue a career in studio art), is a steady paycheck an
benefits. And that can be incredibly alluring to those of us on the outside whe
clay goes bad, or the kiln isn't firing right, or your lower back flares up. An
compared to a studio artist's income, the pay ain't bad, either. Now I'm not tr
marginalize or denigrate anything about the academic's life, just trying to prov
bit of perspective from someone on the outside. These are just the facts of lif

What those of us outside of academia need to remember is that there are reasons
chose to do what we're doing. And they could be great reasons or bad reasons.
often will come a time when you must re-examine what you are doing and why, and
your inner compass if necessary. But that doesn't mean one has to call into que
the validity of another's path. We are each responsible for our own.

I would also hope that those of you in academia also periodically examine what y
doing and why, and try to figure out how it can be done better. I would gather
comments of many on the list that this is happening. And that is terrific for b
yourselves and your students.

There, my .25 cents worth....

Richard Aerni...Bloomfield, NY

(and trembling a bit but going to say it anyway...those of you in academia, when
value of your institution/s is called into question in any way, seem to rise up
monolithic wall of rebuttal, which can be very intimidating to others who may ho
doubts or questions. At least that's the way it seems to me.)