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clarification/mfa s

updated mon 29 mar 99


Marcia Selsor on sun 28 mar 99

Dear Mel,
I agree with your whole discussion about degrees and learning. I have been
teaching at college where we only offer BA and BS degrees but the majority of
students are non-trads (older and more serious, ready to learn and kick up the
notch of work ethic)
I loved working on my MFA. I was devoted to the clay studio, many grads also
built kilns at our own studios in the countryside around Carbondale. We camped
out at Nick Vergette's farm to fire his big
walk-in soda kiln next to the pond where we could swim. What a great experience.
I flew back West from NCECA with Von Allen who was going to Salt Lake. We both
have other academic interests beyond Clay. Mel's is painting, mine is Medieval
Spanish History, Von's is epistomology. Learning never ends and I love that!
Bless you Mel.
You say it so well.
Marci in Montana

mel jacobson wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> when i mentioned in my story that i did not take the mfa degree, i want
> it clear that i respect and honor that degree.
> i have an academic master's degree and both of my studio sessions, japan,
> and painting were done for me, and me alone. and done later in my career.
> we had a series of administrators in our area that completed doctorates
> at mac pherson college by correspondence.....the cheapest way to get
> a degree in other words they `bought` the degree.
> i would not do that for the japanese experience, it would have made me
> feel very cheap....can't stand that.
> taken at the right place, the mfa degree can be a wonderful experience for
> a young, ready to launch student. i refused to take a spot in the program
> that belonged to a needful student. i enrolled in adult programs at the
> university
> and instead of taking the class for three credits, moved it to five
> (quarter system). i always
> took the painting class with the highest number, like 3000. or the last
> course offered in the catalog.
> by sitting down with my professors, letting them know my plan, and of course,
> insisting on good instruction, things went very smoothly. in fact, it became
> very evident to a number of mfa students that because of me, they were going
> to have to kick up their work load....good. glad they figured that out.
> it was not a negative, it was a gift to them....several of them did not see
> it that way.
> that story will come some time at nceca, late in the night, after a few
> drinks with tony is a bit raucous. (it is about standing nose to
> nose with a woman that called me a `curve raiser`....shit, in grad school.
> and she called me a great many icky, dirty names, some of the with f at the
> beginning. anyway, later with that.
> so, just want it known that many colleges are again starting to challenge
> the art departments about mfa degrees. they want to cheapen it.
> and that is an old saw, keeps cropping up from very stupid deans, that
> have not a clue.
> mel/mn
> p.s. the master of fine art is perhaps an older degree than the ph.d. it
> had a great deal of respect in europe. it was a studio course of the
> highest honor.
> taken at the right place, with good direction, it is every bit as worthy as
> the ph.d. remember, a cheap degree can be granted at any place of learning.
> ask a minnesota basketball player.

Marcia Selsor