Your letter to alumni on March 16th notifying us that Jessica Lutz is no longer a member of the Vermont College staff is cause for great concern. Simply put, I have lost all trust in your leadership of the college, as well as the strategic vision that Tom continues to promote. While I remain proud of being associated with the college for the last 12 years in a variety of capacities including that of student, staff, critter, artist-teacher and advocate, I am deeply ashamed of the turn the college has taken since the launch as VCFA.
I had the pleasure to testify in front of the NEASC accreditation panel on their first visit to campus during a residency. I was along side my peers, students, staff and faculty when i stood in the Chapel and offered my heart felt experiences to the panel on how Vermont College has allowed me to not only be a better artist, and a better teacher, but perhaps most importantly, how my art and teaching work together to affect meaningful change. I rightfully attributed this ability to the pedagogy of the MFA-V program. As such, I am dismayed to see what has become of the program after that evening in the Chapel.
You state in your letter that " VCFA is proud of the distinctive teaching methods and strong reputation of its program in Visual Art and looks forward to investing and planning with faculty to build the program an even greater future."
Frankly, you inherited the legacy of MFA-V and you have done very little to assure it's future. This most recent event proves you have no interest in such things as "distinctive teaching methods", or a progressive pedagogy for that matter.
I strongly suggest that you and Tom look closer at the elements that built the program that you are so quickly dismantling. As a start, I suggest reading the catalog essays from 1998, including: Art Education as a Cultural Practice by G. Roy Levin; Pedagogy and Autonomy, or, Why I Teach at Vermont College by Steven Kurtz; and Lines of Flight by Faith Wilding. You will find that these essays speak to the important role that collaboration plays within art, education, and dare i say it? Life.
For my part, I will continue to work at being a better artist and teacher. However, I will not be standing up anytime soon to be an advocate for VCFA again. Nor will I continue to participate in the program if asked.
Craig Snyder MA, MFA
Art Department, Humanities Department
Cornish College of the Arts
1000 Lenora St.
Seattle, WA 98121