tv to teaching
October 17, 2006 11:28 AM   Subscribe

I work as an Editor Producer in cable news. I've been thinking about moving on so I can have more time with my family, holidays, etc... I'm interested in teaching fine arts at a university level. I have over a decade spent in television but I don't have a masters. I am willing to earn one. Has anyone out there made this transition?
posted by Shanachie to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
To teach at the university level you will need a Ph. D. And as someone who has dated and known a few university professors, it's a very long hard road to tenure, and it's not a career path that lends itself to having time for family and holidays. You will work very long hours, be very stressed out, and even if you are a superstar academic maybe you still won't make the cut. Very high divorce rates in that field.

Have you considered teaching fine arts at the community college level? This you could do with a master's.
posted by orange swan at 11:40 AM on October 17, 2006

As the previous poster has said you need at least a Master's to teach university/community college.

But you could still inquire at the local community college to see if they have any part-time teaching positions in their broadcasting/media classes. You might want to look into vocational schools or regional occupational programs. They often take people with a bachelor's + many years of experience in their field.
posted by wilde at 11:50 AM on October 17, 2006

Actually, Orange Swan and Wilde, for fine arts, the MFA is considered the terminal degree; Ph.D.s in fine arts are very rare and not looked upon highly.

OP, in order to get into an MFA program you'll need to have a solid body of work in your chosen medium, as well as an artistic vision that you can articulate in your purpose statement. If you're there, you should be able to get into graduate school. Getting a teaching job is another matter entirely... it's by no means assured, as few MFAs secure university teaching positions. You can make yourself a more attractive candidate by getting some higher education teaching experience.
posted by chickletworks at 12:01 PM on October 17, 2006

A Masters in Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree is what you need for teaching fine arts at the university level. A Ph.D. is only necessary for art history and other non-studio disciplines.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:03 PM on October 17, 2006

To teach at the university level you will need a Ph. D.

This is true for art history, but not for studio art (which is what I infer Shanachie is talking about?) -- my dad taught drawing, painting and printmaking for years at the university level with his MFA, and I have a friend with her MFA who does the same. (Her husband teaches art history, and he does indeed have his PhD.)

I do second what orange swan says about teaching at the university level, though -- speaking as the daughter and sister of academics (not to mention the friend of many academics, and a refugee myself from academe!), it is not a leisurely career where you automatically get plenty of time with your family. Besides the many hours devoted to your teaching load (which can be huge, especially for new instructors), class prep, and grading, you will have committee work, requirements to publish and/or exhibit (as an artist), office hours, administrative duties, etc. It can certainly be a rewarding career, but to work at that level requires a lot of time and devotion.

And as for having holidays available, consider this: my sister teaches at a university where first semester grades are due from professors the day after Christmas. You can imagine the rest.
posted by scody at 12:04 PM on October 17, 2006

oh, and the first day of classes at her school is Labor Day. Not the day after Labor Day; Labor Day itself.
posted by scody at 12:11 PM on October 17, 2006

Actually, in many cases it's not even necessary to have a MFA to teach studio art at the collegiate level, especially if you are teaching in the more "commercial" aspects (such as television). At the school from where I recieved my BFA, I had many professors who had only BFA degrees, but either had (in the case of fine arts) a wealth of exhibitions (gallery, permanent collections, etc) or (in the case of the more "commercial" arts) a wealth of client experience, and skills to teach. You should consider looking into the schools in your area, first, and seeing what their minimum qualifications are.

Conversely, you could just get the MFA, and be "fully qualified" to teach...
posted by jivadravya at 12:41 PM on October 17, 2006

To directly answer your question: no, I haven't made this transition.

But I want to echo those who note that academia is a time-consuming career. It often has flexibility in scheduling (no one forces you to work a specific set of hours), but does require long hours.

You may want to take a look at the Ms Mentor columns, available here. They contain lots of good stuff on academic culture and exectations.
posted by betterton at 1:05 PM on October 17, 2006

Most Universities will also require you to be a working artist. This means showing at least nationally.
posted by nimsey lou at 1:25 PM on October 17, 2006

Response by poster: My specific field is television production and post-production. My work currently airs nationally and has for the past 6 years. But, currently I have no holidays off at all and often work shifts till 12am. While an academic workload is considerable. My current track will take me from my family for weeks at a time if I gain more responsibilty in the field..
posted by Shanachie at 3:41 PM on October 17, 2006

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