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  1. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth June 28, 2013

    Can you find a way to make the costume shop part of the fashion department? I would think that working there as a student would be valuable experience. I know this from my experience as a designer that worked in a college costume shop. There were students that were taking drama classes that had to do a certain amount of hours in the costume shop as part of their drama credits. So why not the same for fashion students, who could learn a lot of hands on construction, alteration methods that the classroom does not provide. And if your shop has any inventory of historic garments, the work would provide, again, hands oh knowledge of historic construction, how to conserve, how to replicate. I learned so much from my experience there. I would have stayed longer if illness had not shortened my time. I always had a love of fashion history and loved researching it. However, the history really came alive when able to handle the garments, see the techniques up close, and try to replicate them. The shop could be the best classroom for your fashion history students!

    • missa
      missa June 30, 2013

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      Thank you for your comments – they are so true for students in either field. There is so much to learn! Odd as it sounds, I use far more high-end technique in the costume shop than in the classroom. We don’t have an extensive library of extant garments from before ~1950, but we do have some fantastic hats and a few boxes marked “Too Fragile For Use” with some older things… ;)

      Unfortunately, theater and fashion are in two different divisions in the college, and the current “trend” (for lack of a more politic way to describe the situation) is to state that nothing crosses division lines. I don’t understand this. Seriously, what is the logic behind asking an employee (myself, for example) to be less as a person, offer less to the classroom, and utilize fewer skills about the college? The pressure seems to come from HR, who are confronted with the difficult (but no where near impossible) task of establishing an equivalency for class contact hours to regular work hours, with regards to paying benefits under recent laws (hint: they’d prefer not to).

      I am unclear as to how they can claim to have a maximum number of class contact hours I can work per academic year without being benefitted, but no idea what an equivalency to real work hours would be. :(

      And I shouldn’t complain, because I have a job. Actually, I have multiple jobs, and they all pretty much love me. But now one job is acting kinda … jealous. Not awesome.

      • Elizabeth
        Elizabeth July 1, 2013

        It sounds like HR has a new computer system to me and they, in HR can’t figure out how to make the “cross the lines” situation work to satisfy the computer code. When it was all done on paper and spreadsheets it could be divided. Could a system be arranged by the number of student workers you have, their hours might equal or add to classroom hours since your supervision of students is really teaching time. We taught a lot of drama students even the basics of hand sewing even if they had never handled a needle before. Some had such banal tasks of ripping out old zippers or deconstructing garments that could no longer be used for the theatre and were then “harvested” for whatever was reusable. Art students (Millersville Univ did not have a fashion department) with creative talent were given more challenging work.

        Anyway…I wish you all the best, and encourage you to fight the system if you can, perhaps you can give your department some promotion and show them just how valuable your versatility is! Surely you are not the only employee faced with this kind of a dilemma. Might be worth asking around with some of the other applied arts…photography, pottery, others in the art and musicdepartment and see if they have run into the same bureacratic snafu.

  2. Laura S
    Laura S July 5, 2013

    Does your college have an interdisciplinary department, such as humanities or liberal arts? I know at my university the Humanities department covered several courses of study and had professors from several disciplines, plus a few that taught overlapping courses. Perhaps something like that might work to umbrella all the right people/departments together for you.

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