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Just saw this new posting that was made as I was doing my other one........


The problem with switching to a different university is that most have passed deadlines for the upcoming semester as well as the commute. Also, I have taken upper level studio courses which many universities will not transfer as they prefer all or most upper level courses to be taught from one institution. All those scenarios push a graduation date back a lot.


Many things can be "done" if the right person is attending to them. Every "rule" can be broken wit hthe right signature on it. You need to get someone at your college in a "high position" to be an advocate for you. THAT is you goal right now. Find that person. If you have to go to the college's President... then do so. You have NOTHING to lose. And again... they created this problem for you.... let them help to solve it.


My main question is will I be just as hirable to a community studio as a community class teacher or tech as well as eventual workshop instructor without a bachelor's degree (but with a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience) as someone who does have a bachelors?


The short answer is that the better your credentials... the higher up the "potential hire" list you are. There are lots of people with "......a strong portfolio, workshop background, and assistantship experience" that ALSO have a BFA or MFA that will be looking at the same positions.



Also for future reference, I have been looking into different residencies and fellowship opportunities. I have noticed that none of them out right require a degree to apply but many of the past artists do have a degree. Is this an unspoken requirement or is this because many are in between stages of higher education?


The same thing I said directly above applies here.








This makes a lot of sense, I suppose it works like most other jobs. Another thing, if I stuck with getting my BA but in a different dicipline, will that hinder me just as much or is that where that "piece of paper" comes in?





Jobs are jobs. Business or corporate or academic politics exist all over. It is a fact of life. You learn to deal with it. Part of the "college education" you get is just this... learning to deal with other people and operational structures.


While there are no guarantees on anything in life, if you have a BA in Art, a strong ceramics portfolio, and some ceramics teaching experiences listed on the resume', I think it certainly can't HURT you when compared to not having any degree at all. BEST would, of course, be having the BFA in Ceramics after your name.... but if that is not possible.... the BA in Art might be the "best of the available options".


Sometimes you have to make "lemonade" out of the lemons.


But don't get out the lemon squeezer just yet!


You said you "talked to the department". I am thinking that means that you have not yet gone to someone ABOVE the department level to get some options and answers????? Depending on the school..... there are usually a couple of layers of people ABOVE the people at the Department level that CAN help sometimes. Just make sure as much as possible to not "tick off" the art department people as you approach this problem. Don't "throw them under the bus" too directly unless you have reached the absolute "end of the line".


Work your way slowly and politely up the line of "powers that be" until you reach the last of your options. That last option may actually be someone a bit "outside" the college in a sense.... a member of the Board of Directors of the college. Most schools have them in one form or another. Get one of thei Board's member's ear... and somtimes amazing things can happen. Suddenly, all the BS goes away. (Unfortunately.... this is the way the world works in SO MANY things.)


But you absolutely must show that you have worked you way up the ladder if it gets that far. And be able to show that your actions were professional all the time as you dealt with it. Inside you may want to kill somone.... but don't let a speck of that show on the outside. Follow up every meeting / conversation with a polite written piece that expresses your thanks and states your undertstanding of what went on and what options were discussed.


You might find that you have more options than you think you do to solve this. Persistence and determination go a long way to succeeding in life. Go get em'.


BTW........ See your profile... I left a note there.







Dear All,


I am not a professional potter and have no academic credentials in art. I am, however, an academic. I teach at the university level.


Do know that increasingly, everywhere in the job market, degrees are fundamental. Agencies (whether schools or community centers) put out a job description. They develop this description hand and hand with those in positions of power within the setting. This is done so they can make sure they all agree about the type of person they want to fulfill a variety of different aspects of the job (i.e., skills, future funding, accreditation, identifying the qualifications of their staff in their marketing brochures etc.).


Thus, my advice, while not solicited, is to stay in your program. Grin and bear it. Finish it with style.


One more year, when you think about it can easily be reduced to weeks if you think about it in those terms.


I know when I have students who lament their time in the classroom I try to break it up into small chunks. I say, it is now the fall term. You have exactly 12 classes in this course and you will be that much further towards the end. The idea of say having to do one year can be overwhelming. Think of it in small steps leading to a big goal. The goal is the piece of paper.


This piece of paper will open doors that may and likely will otherwise be closed to you if not completed.


My father had a saying he told me repeatedly as I lamented going to school. He said 'education is hard got but easily carried around." I remembered this through my many, many years of study. It helped keep me focused. Today I have those pieces of paper and they are light in my pocket but they are heavy in terms of trying to get jobs that would not be open to me otherwise.


Your goal should be something like, I want to work the least amount for the most money. This will free you up for what you really want to do in life.


Think of it as finishing this degree, maybe giving yourself a break and then assessing your situation more carefully. You may find the MFA is where you really should be but without that other piece of paper, you will have to go back to this step and complete it.


In short, finish the degree to "keep all your options open in life."


Whether you are in pottery, psychology, political science or architecture, today's employers want that piece of paper. You may not make that cut in the job posting if you do not meet their really basic standards posted. And yes, you need a strong ally who will stand beside you to recommend you for any position (with or without the piece of paper).


It is just too, too competitive out there in the world today. Jobs are at a premium today.


My two cents worth.







Thank you for the reply. I, too, like your dad's saying. I agree with what you said about making allies. I've noticed that letters of reference play a large role so any connections I can make within the academic setting will certainly be valuable.

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Guest JBaymore

Are you totally and inextricably tied to your geographical location? I'm asking this because of the apparent "focus" on going to Hayward Community College to pursue an AA degree after (possibly) having a BA.





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I apologize for haven't given an update yet, I have been out of town. But I have gotten myself on the waiting list into Haywood's program so in that time I can finish up the degree. Yes, it won't be focused but at least I will have plenty of time in other classes. In fact, I just began a class in a community studio that I have not attended before. The instructor was wonderful and I think it will be challenging (in a good way). Best of both worlds, I suppose. I wanted to thank everyone again for all of the input and taking the time to share your opinions.

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  • 2 months later...

you may want to read "Art and Fear", by David Bayles and Ted Orland. it is a great little book that describes the dilemma and the process so many people go through making these decisions, trying to carve out a life in the arts.

By the way, the book isn't as scary or depressing as the title might seem to indicate!


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