Well, I did it again… wrote a draft, and then life happened. Two years of it.

I still find what I wrote below to be relevant with a bit of updating, as I am once again a sabbatical replacement, this time at Doane University in Lincoln, Nebraska. I’ll be filling in for my friend Eric Stearns while he’s doing a residency down at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

Fall 2014
One of the great things about being a gypsy, er, I mean sabbatical replacement, is that you get to step into someone else’s shoes, and see what it feels like to walk a few miles….

My personal interpretation of an ideal sabbatical replacement is that I am there to keep the program moving forward in the direction the tenured professor desires, but also to share my own unique studio and teaching strategies. Selfishly, it is also an opportunity for me to emulate someone else’s approach to teaching, potentially strengthening my own teaching philosophy and classroom approach.

This doesn’t mean that all of the work has been done for me, and all I have to do is follow a pre-set syllabus & grading rubric. On the contrary, the challenge is to implement my own teaching style, while maintaining the integrity of the program. We all bring different things to the table, and I firmly believe students are more likely to develop a unique “artistic voice” early on when working with a variety of teachers, synthesizing the various approaches and information into their own individual learning experience.

At the ceramics program of Indiana University Southeast Brian Harper has some really big shoes to fill, and lots of new ways to approach teaching. I think the world of Brian, particularly the energy and openness he puts into his teaching, and I’m really interested in using some of his approaches in my own teaching methodologies….

brian-and-bernieBrian, if you’re reading this, after two years I can say that it was a true pleasure to work together. I have even more respect for you, and the time we spent teaching together will continue to influence me for a long, long time. Thank you for being such a great example for me, your students and the rest of the world.

I can only hope that some day I’ll grow up to be just like you….. Bernie mug and all!!!

2 replies on “stepping into someone else’s shoes….

  1. Hi Chanda,

    Congratulations on your new job! That sounds great fit for you to have already set-up structure and the freedoms m to be creative in your own way! I once visited Lincoln with Allen in his business trip from Houston and found the state of Nebraska very beautiful and solid. I’m sure you’ll like being there!

    And please remember you are my fateful teacher whom I owe everything – thanks to you I got to jump into the world of ceramic upon arrival in Houston from Poland and learned the joy of creating with clay and the wonderful community of ceramic people.

    I still keep on doing it here in Japan and love every moment of it.



    1. Haruko!!

      So wonderful to hear from you! I was in Houston visiting (just for the day) and was thinking of you. That was such a wonderful year, and Glassell is truly a wonderful place. Jeff says the new building should be finished in another year, I’m really looking forward to seeing the new studios once they get moved back in. I had a message from Alex last week – she is still in Norway, and doing well! I heard from Connie this summer, and she has finally joined Facebook, so I get to see what she’s up to on the ranch!

      I have been itching to get out of the country and explore somewhere new, maybe Japan should be my next trip. I would love to take a break and get away for a bit next summer…. I’m so glad to hear you are still making pots!! I’d love to see what you’ve been up to. I’ve been making a few here and there, in between teaching and getting ready for the two solo shows I’ll be installing in January.

      Nebraska has been lovely – I drive a half hour each way to school, and I love to see the changes in the prairie and the sky, it’s so beautiful to a girl who grew up surrounded by trees. There’s a possibility of a tenure track position here, but I won’t know anything for several months, so I’m just concentrating on enjoying the time I have.

      I hope you and Allen are doing well. I hold you close in my heart, no matter how infrequently I write!!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s