A couple of months ago I read an editorial on professors in our universities. I need to back up. I have more than 6 friends who have been college professors during their art careers. Several others taught at the college level until someone questioned their educational pedigree. Also, I want to clarify that I am really focused on the art world, not literature, humanities or sciences. In my opinion, these individuals have learned in a wide variety of ways – schooling, workshops, time in their own studios investigating, and being aware of the world around themselves.
My concern is that they are not compensated in a standard with tenured professors receiving a salary and benefits. I believe that most of them have a similar knowledge level. Many bring a lot into the classroom because of their life experiences in the “real” versus academic world. Please don’t misunderstand, I know several tenured art professors who are fabulous artists, instructors, and have added value to their communities in a big way. But, I wonder, what if these adjunct professors had the same benefits? How much more would they have been able to discover in their own art path?
I also have to wonder about the cost to education our children, now my grandchildren. Very few can actually afford the luxury of a four year college education in the manner that many of my generation were able to attain. When I attended college, I was able to work two jobs all summer, work a part-time job during the school year, and pay my tuition. Our kids can’t do this. There has to be a better way to educate our youth.
If you are curious, please read this editorial, The Plight of the Adjunct: When Will Colleges Truly Value the Working Artists Who Teach Their Students?
I would love to hear your ideas.