College Art Association

CAA News Today

Earlier this afternoon, the White House released its 2019 Budget Proposal. The $4.4 trillion budget outlines deep cuts in domestic programs that fund education, arts, and humanities initiatives, while increasing military spending.

“By zeroing out the budgets for the NEH, NEA and similar agencies that support the arts, humanities and education, the President has shown again that he cares more about tax cuts for the wealthy than supporting an American cultural heritage, funded though these agencies,” said Hunter O’Hanian, CAA’s executive director. “Thankfully, a bipartisan group of Congressional members, those with the real financial authority, have Americans interests at heart and they will reject the President’s draconian proposals.”

The entire budget proposal adds $984 billion to the federal deficit in the next year and in total adds $7 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

Partial list of programs slated for elimination:

  • NEA
  • NEH
  • IMLS
  • CPB
  • Corporation for Travel Promotion (Brand USA)
  • Delta Regional Authority
  • Denali Commission
  • Northern Border Regional Commission
  • Woodrow Wilson Center
  • S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • S. Trade and Development Agency
  • Chemical Safety and Hazard Inspection Board
  • Under SNAP: “Proposals are also included to eliminate funding for State performance bonuses and for SNAP nutrition education grants…”
  • Economic Development Administration
  • Contingency Fund

We call on our members and those who believe in the importance of the arts, humanities, and education to act now. The most effective way to make your voice heard is through your local representatives. Call. Email. Write letters.

Congress has this budget in their hands and now is the time to let them know you support the programs it seeks to eliminate.

Click here to access the CAA Arts and Humanities Advocacy Toolkit.

We look forward to discussing budget advocacy at our Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February 21-24.

Read about Advocacy News from CAA.

La Salle University. Image: Wikimedia Commons

CAA, the largest professional organization of visual artists and art historians, was disappointed to learn that La Salle University in Philadelphia plans to sell part of its art collection at the university’s museum. The university is currently planning to sell 46 works of art at a Christies’s auction estimated to bring in between $4.8 and $7.3 million.  The university states that the proceeds from the sale will be “invested in the future of our university to help grow and to be financially sustainable. More importantly, we are really looking to enhance student experience and student outcome.” A university spokesperson further points out that the decision to deaccession the works was the result of months of careful consideration by its Board of Trustees, which examined all of the university’s assets and made a decision that select artworks from their art museum could be reallocated for funding the university’s new strategic five-year plan. Read the Artnet News story about the deaccession.

Similar to other cultural professional organizations, CAA has set guidelines for conditions under which items in museums collections are to be divested or deaccessioned. CAA Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian said, “We join our colleagues from the American Alliance of Museums and Association of Art Museum Directors in questioning this sale. CAA’s guidelines make it clear that art held by museums is not to be considered ‘an asset’ in the traditional sense. Museums should sell work from their collection only under very limited circumstances.  And best practices dictate that the sale of the proceeds should only be used to acquire new works of art. We hope that the university Board of Trustees rethinks this position about selling the works that it holds in public trust.”

CAA, the largest professional association supporting art historians and visual artists, strongly supports the statement of the African Studies Association, denouncing statements made by President Donald J. Trump, which characterize African and Caribbean countries as “shithole countries.” CAA celebrates the important artists, scholars, curators, and art critics from these countries and their contributions to the arts both in the United States and internationally. In particular, CAA supports ASA’s statement: “It is shocking that such crude racist expressions of xenophobia are now part and parcel of executive office discourse. Not only do President Trump’s words disparage the people of an entire continent, on issues of immigration, they defy reality.”

“Whether it is funding for the arts and humanities, clean water and environmental regulations, fair hiring practices or gender and racial inclusion, CAA has a long history of taking positions and expressing values which support the field, as well as society,” said Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian. “The individual occupying the White House has embraced sexist, racist, and mendacious viewpoints over and over. He has shown concern only with enriching himself, sacrificing human decency and the good will of this country on the global stage.”

Read more: Statement by the ASA Board of Directors regarding President Trump’s Remarks

Image courtesy ACLU.

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is voting to repeal net neutrality—the idea that internet service providers should treat all online content equally without blocking or slowing down specific websites or allowing companies to pay for preferential treatment.

Net neutrality is important to intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, and access to information. If access to the internet becomes regulated by the ability to pay higher fees for certain types of content, many libraries, museums, non-profit organizations, and activist groups will be forced to choose between providing crucial services and providing full access to the internet.

Click here to protect net neutrality

Read more on the issue:

Net Neutrality Rollback Concerns Colleges (Inside Higher Ed)

Why Does Net Neutrality Matter to Libraries? (ALA American Library Association)

Net Neutrality: Why Artists and Activists Can’t Afford to Lose It (New York Times)

Filed under: Advocacy

Advocacy Works

posted by November 20, 2017

Supported by the NEH, Louisville’s Cultural Pass Program gives youth the chance to take art classes, in addition to providing them access to museums and other institutions. Image: Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

Last week, I attended a talk by Stephen Kidd, the executive director of the National Humanities Alliance. Steve reported that despite the White House’s attempt to zero out the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the current House budget proposes level funding for the Title VI programs and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Their budget also envisions $145 million for the NEH, only a $5 million cut from last year.

Today, the Senate released a draft bill that provides $149.8 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities for Fiscal Year 2018. Providing the same funding level as FY 2017 and $2 million above FY 2016, this bill is a forceful rejection of the administration’s call to eliminate the NEH.

Steve pointed out that these developments are a direct result of the grassroots advocacy by many artists and scholars, in particular, members of organizations such as CAA. All told, more than 200,000 messages were sent to members of Congress and they clearly had an impact.

If you get a moment, take a look at NEH for All: https://nehforall.org/. The Mellon-funded project highlights the impact that NEA-funded projects have across the nation.

Many thanks for all of your advocacy!

Hunter O’Hanian
Executive Director and Chief Executive

Filed under: Advocacy

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a tax reform bill, titled the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” that harms the lower and middle class, and puts harsh financial burdens on college students and recent graduates of college. Additionally, the House bill contains a provision that would end the deduction of student loan interest for tax payers. Nearly 12 million people claimed this deduction in 2015.

“This is a very cynical approach to higher education,” said CAA executive director Hunter O’Hanian. “To tax students on money they don’t earn and not allow them to deduct the amount of their student loans will have a chilling effect on higher education in America. These are the future scholars of this country. They are the ones who will preserve our cultural heritage as a nation.  It is absurd to imagine that the US House of Representatives seeks to dumb-down future generations in this way. Everyone needs to contact their representatives in the House and Senate and strongly advocate that that this measure never becomes law.”

Under the House version of the bill, graduate students and doctoral candidates would be taxed on the waivers their schools provide them in return for working on campus as part of their professional development in their fields. The New York Times published a piece yesterday by Erin Rousseau, a graduate student at M.I.T., who receives nearly $50,000 in waivers each year. These waivers make school affordable for students, a financial support lifeline to those who otherwise would not be able to pursue graduate educations. The new House tax bill would increase Erin’s taxable income to an imaginary $80,000 a year, pushing her tax burden up by $10,000 a year.

With Congress aiming to pass this bill just as quickly as the House did, it is urgent to speak out now.

Click here to urge Congress to oppose this provision

Read more on the issue:

The House just passed its big tax bill. Here’s what is in it. (The Washington Post)

The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students (New York Times)

The Republican Tax Plan Could Financially Devastate Graduate Students (The Verge)

Filed under: Advocacy, Higher Education, Students

In June 2017, Scaffold, a sculpture by the artist Sam Durant, ignited protests among Dakota Sioux activists in Minneapolis where it was being installed at the Walker Art Center. After meeting with tribal elders, Durant and the Walker announced that the piece would be dismantled and burned in a Dakota ceremony. Announced recently, the Walker’s executive director Olga Viso will be stepping down at the end of 2017. Photo: Minneapolis Star Tribune/Zuma Press

As artists, designers, scholars, and other arts professionals, CAA members encompass an enormous range of voices and perspectives. Each of us has found an outlet for our intellectual and creative energies in a passionate commitment to a particular subfield or mode of cultural production.

We would like to open up a conversation about the relation between these two things: our diverse individual and collective positionalities and the subjects and questions we address in scholarly and artistic practices.

We find ourselves at a moment in which the individual and collective stakes of writers, artists, and curators are central to conversations, debates, and judgments about scholarly expertise and responsibility.

This call for dialogue and discussion emerges from conversations that began in CAA’s Publications committee and the editorial board of Art Journal; we are spurred in part by our observation that for some in the CAA community, these polarizations are having a chilling and possibly stunting, effect on the research and creative directions one might choose to engage. The ways this ripples out into the field in the years to come can be imagined, but has yet to be realized in full.

CAA is committed to the open exchange of ideas and to nurturing and supporting scholars and artists in all fields, regardless of their individual ethnic, gendered, sexual, class-based, religious, or regional and national identification. We also acknowledge the deep asymmetries within societies in North America and around the world, and seek to work actively and incisively to challenge the hierarchies that still characterize our disciplines, our scholarly practices, and our lives as artists.

  • What active and activist strategies and interventions might we pursue in the current polarized climate?
  • Are there limits to what topics scholars and artists should address given their specific positionalities?
  • Are there best practices to guide individuals in navigating these difficult waters with grace and attentiveness?
  • How can CAA support scholars and artists whose work might come under attack because their positionality differs from the parameters of their subject matter?

We invite your thoughts, input, experiences, and wisdom: we are initiating this conversation so we can think or rethink our practices with the benefit of as much input as possible.

Filed under: Advocacy, Surveys — Tags:

Take Action to Keep Graduate Education Affordable

posted by November 10, 2017

Image: University of Washington

“The idea of taxing people on money they don’t get is absurd.”
Hunter O’Hanian, CAA Executive Director, Nov 10, 2017

On November 2, the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee released the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Among many provisions that would affect higher education, their version of the bill would treat tuition waivers as taxable income, increasing the tax liability of hundreds of thousands of graduate students.

While the Senate’s version, released on November 9, does not consider tuition waivers taxable income, the House plan could still become law.

This potential additional tax burden would cut into the modest stipends with which many graduate students already struggle to make ends meet. It would make graduate school unaffordable to many, and seriously deplete future generations of scholars and leaders.

With Congress aiming to pass this bill by Thanksgiving, it is urgent to speak out against the House’s provision.

Click here to urge Congress to oppose this provision

Read more on the issue:

Why Graduate Students Are Worried about the Republican Tax Plan (Artsy)

The GOP Tax Plan Will Destroy Graduate Education (Forbes)

The Republican Tax Plan Could Financially Devastate Graduate Students (The Verge)

We thank our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance for their advocacy on this issue.

Filed under: Advocacy, Higher Education, Students

Refining Hiring Standards for Part-Time Faculty

posted by November 02, 2017

Students and faculty protest at Ithaca College, 2016. Image courtesy Tompkins County Workers’ Center.

CAA is committed to supporting all professionals in the field.  This especially pertains to those who are applying for and working as part-time faculty members.  For more than twenty years, CAA has been setting standards for hiring part-time faculty.

CAA’s current guidelines are published here and copied below. We want to hear from members about how these might be updated and strengthened.

Hunter O’Hanian
College Art Association
Executive  Director and Chief Executive Officer

CAA Guidelines for Part-Time Professional Employment

Part-time employees play a critical role within the art world, specifically in academia, museums, galleries, and other arts institutions. They help meet curricular demands, offer expertise in specialized areas, and/or provide leadership in institutional programming.

Part-time faculty may be referred to with the following terms: adjunct, temporary, lecturer, graduate assistant, and teaching assistant. The terminology and its implications may vary from institution to institution, with the designation “part-time” or “temporary” serving as the most general and therefore consistent names. While this standard is primarily concerned with addressing the conditions of fully credentialed and professionalized part-time or short-term employees who are not simultaneously graduate students, this guideline may be relevant to those employed in conjunction with their graduate studies.

Part-time/temporary faculty and other part-time/temporary employees may be understood to be of several types: Part-time/temporary employees who would prefer full-time positions, part-time/temporary employees with no other employment, part-time employees who teach/work in addition to other full-time employment, and part-time/temporary employees who are retirees. Additionally, some institutions have paid, professional visitors that are not ongoing, full-time employees and also are not recurring, part-time employees. With this in mind, it is acknowledged that there is no singular reason one seeks part-time employment, and while each person may have individual reasons and needs, CAA encourages institutions to chart a path of continual improvements and aspire to provide the best possible working conditions for all part-time/temporary professionals, especially given the increasing reliance on such professionals.

Among key areas of concern are: equitable compensation; employment stability; access to employee benefits, including health care; access to professional development; and safe and adequate working conditions.

Within academia, these areas of concern may be assessed and addressed by comparing part-time faculty roles against full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty roles. Where similar work is performed and similar institutional expectations are held, equitable compensation and resources should exist. Where the treatment of employees in full- and part-time categories is dissimilar, the differences in expectations/compensation and the reasons for those differences should be articulated to both groups.

Institutions that regularly have visiting or guest faculty or curators should define how such roles are similar and different from other full-time and part-time employee roles. If the visiting appointment has responsibilities most similar to a comparable full-time position, the compensation should resemble such a full-time position.

Certain rights and responsibilities should be consistent regardless of one’s employment category. For example, academic freedom should provide the same protections for all. So too should workers’ compensation and other applicable laws that offer employee safeguards.

Working Conditions for Part-Time Employees

Given the great range of mission and expectations in institutions, it is essential that institutions define the roles of part-time employees and provide them with this information as well as information on their workplaces.

  1. The following written information should be provided by the institution at the time of employment.
    • Institutions with a significant number of part-time employees may wish to create and use a part-time employee handbook.
    • Statement on the institutional/departmental mission or philosophy
    • A full description of the part-time position, including a definition of the role and duties (in the case of faculty, this would include class title, description, size, contact hours, advising responsibilities, and any other responsibilities)
    • Description of teaching facilities, office facilities, and support services
    • In the case of art and design faculty, description of and access to studio facilities or teaching and for personal, professional development
    • Description of financial support and resources available for performing the work and for personal, professional development
    • Information on evaluation and promotion procedures
    • Information on employment security
    • Information on institutional governance and opportunities to participate in it
    • Information on any and all institutional expectations
  2. A written contract for part-time employment should explicitly state the following:
    • Compensation including salary, benefits, and any other compensation
    • Duties and responsibilities
    • Duration of employment
    • Process and timing of evaluation
    • Availability and timing of contract renewal
  1. For part-time/temporary faculty:The standards of excellence defined by visual arts programs should be founded upon realistic criteria
    • Generally, part-time/temporary faculty do not have research/creative activity duties; if such expectations exist they should be stated in the contract and the faculty member compensated for them
    • Part-time/temporary faculty may or may not have service obligations; if service duties are assigned, the faculty member should be compensated for them
    • Institutional expectations should take into consideration changes in academia, the commercial
      marketplace, and the discipline in question
    • Whenever possible, faculty should be included in the design of the course taught
    • If a course is to be canceled due to under-enrollment or another issue, the faculty member should be notified in a timely manner; if it is canceled at the last minute, the faculty member should be compensated, either in full or on a pro-rated basis for course preparation
    • Part-time faculty should have access to private (or shared with the expectation
      of privacy when needed) office space for student/teacher meetings
    • If a part-time faculty member’s institutional contribution is equivalent to that of a full-time faculty member, the part-time faculty member should be equitably compensated in comparison to such a full-time faculty member. If there is no expectation for research or service, differential compensation may be significant. This should be clearly stated in contractual materials.
  2. For all part-time employees:
    • Personal and environmental safety should be a major concern with adequate protection provided by the employer
    • OSHA, EPA, and other relevant standards should be followed
    • Institutional practices for ensuring safety should be clearly communicated
    • Opportunities for advancement in rank, salary, and responsibilities should be given to recurring, part-time employees.
    • Adequate administrative support should be provided: mailbox; office space; telephone and computer access; clerical support; library facilities; and teaching/research support such as assistants and/or graders, when warranted
    • When additional duties are offered or assigned, and such duties are ones often performed by full-time employees and go beyond the regular scope of part-time employment, the part-time employee should be offered additional and adequate compensation, such as a stipend

The 2013 ad-hoc committee for revision was co-chaired by Thomas Berding, Michigan State University and John Richardson, Wayne State University. The committee included Janet Casey, Skidmore College; Zoe Darling, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design; Jim Hopfensperger, Western Michigan University; David LaPalombara, Ohio University; Dennis Nawrocki, Wayne State University; and Kate Wagle, University of Oregon.

Click here for more information.

Introducing CAA News Monday

posted by October 26, 2017

Protest wall at CAA 105th Annual Conference New York, 2017. Photo: Ben Fractenberg

We’re excited to introduce you to CAA News Monday, a new weekly newsletter that takes a different approach to the start of your week. The Monday newsletter will embrace advocacy as its raison d’être, with a lead story each week and a round up of advocacy-related stories and news. Along with hot topics from the art, higher education, and advocacy worlds, we’ll be highlighting noteworthy jobs and opportunities from CAA’s network, and spotlighting a new weekly podcast as part of the CAA Conversations series. The weekly CAA Conversations Podcast seeks to continue the vibrant discussions initiated at our Annual Conference. Listen in each week as educators explore arts and pedagogy, tackling everything from the day-to-day grind to the big, universal questions of the field. The CAA Conversations Podcast will also be posted each Monday to the CAA website.

If you already receive CAA News on Wednesday you will automatically receive CAA News Monday. You don’t need to do a thing.

If you don’t get our Wednesday newsletter, sign up below for both.

SIGN UP FOR CAA NEWS

Filed under: Advocacy, CAA News — Tags: