The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College recently hosted an internet talk by the former Barbara Boese of the Class of '66, now Dr. Barbara Wolanin. She was a senior when I was a freshman, but she returned to receive a Master's degree in art history at my graduation in 1969.
In 1985, Dr. Wolanin was hired to oversee the conservation of Constantino Brumidi's 19th-century frescoes at the United States Capitol.
Afterwards I would return to towns that lacked those amenities but did have local cable TV studios for me to run. The studios proved unprofitable, and by 1980 I was out of work.
In looking for a new job, I wrote at the time, naturally I looked at cable TV program positions, but there weren't many available. I wasn't sure I wanted to stay in the same field, anyway. I was still doing essentially the same things after ten years in the business, and the two companies I had worked for had both eventually shut down their program operations.
I had enjoyed teaching the studio-operations part of a winter term course in TV production that was taught at Washington & Jefferson College, so I asked the chairman of the education department at W&J whether he thought I might be qualified to be a college instructor. He did, so I applied at several schools and was interviewed at one, little Salem College in West Virginia.
Four decades later, I still wonder whether I could have made that career change. In the wake of the pandemic, the Washington Post cites a survey this year that found that 66 percent of the unemployed had seriously considered changing their field of work, a far greater percentage than during the Great Recession. ...But those efforts are being frustrated. In some cases, the problem is a mismatch in skills.
The day after Dr. Wolanin's talk, Newhouse held a Zoom presentation on How to Transition from Profession to Faculty, so I decided to check it out.
During the May 7 webinar, part of Alumni SUccess Week, I was reminded that finding a good position often depends on networking with other people. And if you come from the real world to teach about it, the key seems to be to tell the kids what you've been doing. Give examples.
Many of the six SU faculty members on the panel began as adjunct professors, on short-term low-salary contracts.
Her experience upon first arriving in Syracuse was the opposite of mine, because she came from a city that actually is big (Los Angeles). The population of Syracuse is less than 150,000. Somewhat to her surprise, she discovered that people are nice here! It's weird.