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archaic/school enviroment (longwinded)

updated fri 23 oct 98


Kathy E. McDonald on thu 22 oct 98

Hi Clayarters!

I am normally fairly quiet when it comes to responses on this list ,
but I could not let this thread pass by without airing my views on the
I do not want to *tar* any or all academic institutions with the same
brush for there are likely many excellent ones.....and my experience has
been with education and humanities grad programs rather then fine arts.
These statements are opinions only
and are not based on any sound principles of research , but rather on my
reactions to,
and observations of, the responses that I received in the process of
completing two graduate degrees and in *attempting* to apply for some fine
arts training.

Organizations tend to be self perpetuating, and they tend to want to
have affiliations with other groups or individuals who will aid in that
perpetuation soooo ,to that end , the selection of those who can enter these
self perpetuating systems has to be based on some criteria ...often guised
as entrace requirements. ( and yes, I do have a drum to beat here!!)

I do feel that grad school in general has become very competitive and in
many respects is undervalued and underfunded in many areas ,especially the
arts and humanities. Students then become scapegoats for a system that is
failing it's intended beneficiaries. This may be what Don B refers to when
he discusses the *sport* of tearing down students.
Many universities advocate life long learning....but most faculties
/departments do not
give any credit for efforts made toward this end. It's as if no learning
exists before one sets foot in the hallowed walls of that particular
faculty's building. Life before their particular brand of enlightenment
does not exist!!!! I have experienced this when exploring an application
to at least three different fine arts faculties. None of the efforts I have
undertaken in my past are deemed *relevant* to the *curriculum* offered by
those institutions. (This is true of many faculties...not just finearts)
Never in the history of academia have the general population had so much
access to information/research/opinions/ideas as we do now. I do not think
the institutions of higher learning have kept pace in the area of
acknowledging that fact. Many want to relegate learners to the basics in *
their* content areas rather than to encourage growth and self development in
areas that may reach a bit beyond what can be *offered* as courses. I know
its tuff to assess individual capabilities and to screen those who do not
have the basic skills,,,but!!!!...get with it...the public education system
at the lower levels has devised methodologies that can be applied.

What's my point here.... you ask? The point is that there are reasons
for why things get the way they are.....reasons beyond the walls of any one
place or person, and we all know that when it comes to teaching and learning
the interaction between teacher and learner is THE thing that determines
outcome. *Some* places offer more than others to *some* people. What seems
to have broken down is the accessibility to those services, they've become
CLUBS with restrictive memberships. That is what I resent most.

I'll jump down off this soapbox before I fall off.....:))


"Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the
it is the only thing that ever does." Margaret Mead