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college teachers and m.f.a.'s

updated tue 19 oct 04


dianamp@COMCAST.NET on mon 18 oct 04

Wow, this is the longest message I have ever written to Clayart.
You must have struck a nerve Mel.

>any teachers/professors that want to comment
>on your programs/mfa gratuate programs/ideas for others,
>please do so.

Thanks for asking.

>and, without question identify your college/university.

Diana Pancioli
Eastern Michigan University
Prof. 12 years

>college programs for adults, as well as high school grads
>are of great interest for many. any information that clayart
>can provide in this personal way will be exciting.

I began potting in the middle 1960's late in an undergraduate
degree that took me 9 years to complete;
I had to keep quitting to work
to earn enough money to continue.
My transcipt looks like I was a total depressive;
every few lines it says "complete withdrawal".

>taking degree programs in art with the idea that you will
>become a college professor are not a real good idea.

I never intended to teach.
As an undergrad I just couldn't stop taking art classes;
it became evident that although I had signed up first
to be an English major and then an Anthro major,
I was by default an art major. That was scary.

So I built a small country pottery after I graduated
and we moved to Canada in the mid 70's.
I figured I would be there forever, potting contentedly.
But I grew lonesome and hungry for stimulation,
first taking courses at Pewabic,
then working for them during the mid 80's.
By that time my daughter was entering college
and my mother died and left me just enough to
pay for an M.F.A. (I was 45 when I got accepted.

It turned out to be the greatest gift my mother could have given me.
Two years to concentrate on my own work in clay,
with experienced eyes to help me understand
how to look at my work.
Two years with a library full of books on ceramics;
my love of ceramic history began there.

After graduate school I worked on my own stuff
at Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and
got my feet wet teaching part time here and there,
and entered a lot of competitions.

By that time my daughter was ready for graduate school
and we needed money to pay out-of-state tuition!!
I decided I had better try to get a real job.

>a woman, over fifty, in spite of being politically correct,
>will find gaining college teaching in clay a very difficult road.

I was 50 when I got hired at E.M.U.
My rocky road to clay helps me empathize with my
students who all work part time to pay for their education.
My personal experience as a woman and mother
who finally got the chance to pursue a graduate degree,
makes me sympathetic to the mature students in my program
who are, at last, doing what they really wanted to do all along.

>taking college programs for your own growth and well being
>are terrific.

My own growth was what the M.F.A. was all about for me.
And teaching doesn't hinder continued growth.
I learn so much trying to teach others.
I have to formulate what I know to be able to communicate it.
(I do wish I could have as much time to pot as studio potters,
but that is the compromise required.)

I hope you won't let your age or gender get in the way of your dreams.

Diana Pancioli