Maneuvering the role as a community college artist-educator: scholarship assessed



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Texas Tech University


The purpose of this study was to examine how Texas community college artist-educators balance scholarship (artwork) with the responsibilities of a 15 to 18-hour teaching load and non-instructional service to the institution and community. In accomplishing this task, a self-administered mailed survey was employed as a means of gathering data from a proportional stratified random sample of full-time art instructors drawn from visual arts departments within the 50 Texas public community college districts. Aspects seen as promoting or enhancing artistic production include access to studio space and equipment, sabbaticals, financial support for exhibiting artwork and attending workshops, and being around like-minded peers. Teaching was also credited with providing new avenues for artistic expression and creative stimulation. On the other hand, lack of studio time for producing one's artwork and the demands of a heavy teaching load and related responsibilities were cited as hindering artistic production. While nearly three-quarters of the artist-educators indicated that they were successful to some degree in balancing art with teaching and service, a large percentage were dissatisfied with their artistic productivity. However, the majority felt they are better teachers when producing art and virtually all were satisfied with their teaching performance.

A significant point from the findings was the perception of identity. Artist-educators who saw themselves more as artists or equally as artists and educators were more apt to indicate that they were successful in balancing their art than those perceiving their identity more as educators. Likewise, they were generally satisfied to a greater degree with their artistic productivity, and were more prone to see their art as having a positive impact on teaching.