By Lisa Fiandaca
Normally the process of hiring a new professor is strictly dependent on the faculty of a university. However, Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts took a unique approach due to the close community atmosphere within the department.
Ceramics students and Fine Arts faculty were assertive in questioning the last candidate for the position as a full-time ceramics professor as she gave her demonstration Friday at the Ralph Arnold Fine Arts Annex.
Fine Arts has been looking for one full-time ceramics professor to diverse from the numerous part-time professors. Out of the 97 applicants, they narrowed the candidates down to three: Sarah Gross, Valerie Zimany, and Matthew Groves.
For three years, Valerie Zimany has been an art professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc. Her demonstration consisted of cup molding with added decals.
“The presentations were very different. This one consisted of more lecturing, while Sarah Gross’ presentation last Friday was entirely demonstrative,” said Sam Chen, 23, a senior math major who is a member of Loyola’s Art Club.
Groves has been a part-time ceramics professor for the past year at Loyola and is looking to gain full-time status.
“I’ve taken a lot of art classes with various professors and he is one of my favorites,” said Mirela Alekic, 21, a senior studio art major. “I don’t see why they would even consider anyone else.”
While all candidates’ are qualified based on their work, there is one crucial quality the faculty is seeking.
“When a professor comes into a room full of students where maybe a quarter of them are actually passionate about the subject, the professor has to bring excitement and energy to motivate the students,” said Frank Vodvarka, a professor of fine arts at Loyola for 31 years. “The reason we let the students help decide is because we find that students have the most accurate first impressions. They aren’t afraid to state their initial reactions and in the end, they are the ones who are directly affected by our choices.”
The Department of Fine Arts is expected to make a decison on the new hire in the coming weeks.