>> Tuesday, February 05, 2013
I've taught at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul for 8 years, and I've been there as a full time Assistant Professor (as well as managing the Photo Labs) for the last 2 years. I also received my BFA degree from CVA back in 2003 before getting my Masters in Minneapolis.
Three weeks ago, I learned that this Spring 2013 semester at CVA will be the last semester for CVA. The college is shutting down after 89 years.
We've known budgets were tight, and my Photo budget has been cut at least once / year since I've worked there (but I've always managed to end up under-budget). But none of us thought it would come to this. We're a non-profit, and we're very "tuition driven." Numbers of incoming students weren't quite where they needed to be for the last 2 years, but they weren't horrible. The school was banking on bringing in a large Fall 2012 class, but we only got about 60% of the students we needed. That was the straw the broke the camel's back.
So yes, I'll be losing my job in early May as soon as the semester is over. More saddening to me is losing the place where I received my education - my alma mater will be gone. The one bright spot in all of this is that the current students are being taken care of. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (the most similarly-accredited 4-year BFA institution in the Twin Cities) has worked with CVA to create a "teach-out" plan - they are taking all the credits from juniors so they can enter MCAD in the fall as seniors and graduate on schedule next spring. MCAD is a bit more expensive, but with some Financial Aid money following the CVA students, they'll only be paying a BIT more in Minneapolis. MCAD is being helpful and "lenient" with Freshman and Sophomores to get as much transferred as possible and to not make students jump through any extra hoops. CVA just had a "transfer fair" on campus last week with about a dozen local art and design schools (or schools with well-known and well-respected art and design programs). The majority (if not all) of these schools have special accommodations put in place for more easily accepting CVA transfer students.
So all of us full time faculty and staff learned about this 6 days before the semester began at a previously scheduled meeting. As we were learning about it, an article was published by Minnesota Public Radio, and the rest of the world was hearing about it. My wife actually heard about it on the radio on her drive home that day before I could tell her.
Two weeks ago on the first day of the semester, students and their parents assembled to hear from the President, Vice-President, and the board of CVA. Guess who was asked to be the first speaker at this heated assembly. Yep.... Me. I posted my emotional speech on my Photo Blog 2 weeks ago. Click here to read it and to see some photos from that day.
So I've been contacting previous employers and looking for new teaching / tech opportunities. I'm still in the "adjunct pool" at the University of Minnesota, so I'm hoping I can get a class or 2 there next Fall and Spring. An old acquaintance contacted me just a few hours after the CVA closing announcement asking if I'd like to be kept in the loop for a position that will soon be opening up at his college. If I find work, there's a good chance it won't be the same "full-time" salary I'm currently making. But we'll be fine. As Pharmie put it 3 weeks ago laughing a bit with tears in her eyes, "at least it was your job and not mine!" (She's a Pharmacist making twice what I do.)
A few days after learning about CVA's closing, you may have seen ads appear on this blog, my Root Beer blog, and my Tumblr page of funny / sporty stuff. They're not set in stone, so you might see me tweaking them over the next few weeks. I'm not planning on trying to make a living off of blog ads, but with money potentially becoming a bit more tight this summer, I'm looking into all options. If those ads can even just pay for a few race entries, that'd be great. I hope I'm not considered a sell-out; I'm just exploring all options now that I know I'll be jobless in 3 months.
Anyway, I just wanted to pass on the sad news and keep you all "in the loop." Worst case scenario? I get to spend a lot more time at home with this funny guy:
Lunch time 10 days ago while Momma was at work