Why we would like to have Lecturer 3 rankings put in place for us to reflect the work we are currently doing

A statement by Jessica Frelinghuysen, an artist and designer and Lecturer II in the Stamps School of Art and Design in Ann Arbor. This was originally presented to the UM admin. bargaining team.

Hello my name is Jessica Frelinghuysen, I am an artist and designer living in Detroit. I drive here four days a week to teach three studio classes a semester at the Stamps School of Art and Design, a total of 18+ classroom hours a week, 6 hours beyond that required of a Tenure Track Faculty. I have been teaching here since 2009. I currently hold the highest rank available to an Art or Design Lecturer in our school, that of a Lecturer II.

I’m here today with my colleague to tell you of my experience in the school, how I bring a range of expertise to my instruction via my creative work, and why we would like to have Lecturer 3 rankings put in place for us to reflect the work we are currently doing, and expected to do, via the requirements asked of us from the School’s administration and review process.

I love teaching at Stamps. Living in Detroit, I have taught at 3 of the top art schools in the area and believe in the goal here at UofM. My multidisciplinary background– a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art– echoes the principles of Stamp’s multidisciplinary program. I have become a vital part of the community at UofM, teaching not only during the school year, but in the Summer Portfolio Prep Program that introduces 40 high school students to the Stamps experience. Over the past 8 years of teaching this, countless students have gone on to matriculate into UofM based on their first impressions of the program from my drawing and sculpture classes.

Over these last 8 years I have had numerous Lecturer I and Lecturer II reviews each requiring that I show a large number of my own creative work beyond teaching accomplishments in the form of slide presentations to the review committee. Lecturers in Stamps are also required (as our contract letter states) “…to create a yearly activity report due in May that includes: Creative Work / Research: A list of no more than five creative work and/or scholarly accomplishments during the review period. Include exhibitions, performances, public presentations, awards, grants received, etc., as appropriate.”

I’ll share some points of these required review forms with you from the last few years including being nominated and awarded a Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York, being one of twelve artists that received that prestigious national fellowship in 2017. This year I was also one of two United States artists included in the Windsor Essex Triennial in Windsor Canada. I have had numerous group shows both nationally and internationally, solo shows in Detroit at numerous galleries, a subsequent featured-artist article and interview in Barbed magazine, Wired magazine, and a review in Artforum magazine for my 2015 solo show in Detroit. My performance inclusion in the comprehensive book EmergencyINDEXVol. 5, that includes 190 performances and writings from 34 different countries; important installations at the Broad Museum of Art at Michigan State University and The Mattress Factory Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. I have had multiple artist residencies at Haystack School of Crafts in Maine, Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco and the Santa Fe Art Institute to list a few. I help create and run a traveling stop-motion animation workshop in the summer called Tiny Circus housed in revamped Airstreams and have developed a curriculum program in elementary schools in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, North Carolina and Detroit called Germination Corps that combines design with teaching 4th and 5th graders about food justice.

I am also a co-director of an important Detroit Gallery collective called Cave with a ten year exhibition history. We recently wrote and received a Knights Arts Challenge Grant to bring artist stipends to our exhibition schedule. With this I curated a UofM Stamps instructor from the Michigan Society of Fellow’s- Leslie Rogers- into her first solo show in the Detroit Area in 2016.

My professional concerns outside of the classroom produce connections and expertise that I pull from for my students.

Three years ago I was appointed at Stamps to become the first Lecturer to teach the Senior IP Thesis Project. The Integrative Project is a year-long 6 credit-hour per semester class for our Seniors that combines independently driven studio work with seminar, professional practice, critique and culminates in a public Senior Exhibition. Until I was appointed, this class was only taught by Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty due to the highly skilled expertise that the professors must bring to their instruction for this class. This is now my sixth semester teaching this class. I believe my running a gallery and my creative practice and accolades make me continually highly qualified for this class. Other Lecturer 2s are also asked to teach sections of it now. We spend days and weeks, above and beyond our class and planning time organizing committees to ensure that the gallery coordination and installation is set up correctly for the event throughout the entire year. For instance, I am heading up a planning committee to bring in 11 guest curators that will be visiting critiques for the 120 BA and BFA students we have. I am working with another IP Lecturer, at the request of the administration– without additional compensation, to organize all the 2-D students across four interdisciplinary sections, beyond class time, for the production and installation of all 2-D artwork during the show. These are currently presenting as Lecturer III duties and being compensated as Lecturer II pay and acknowledgement. According to Article 6 section 3 of the Leo Contract: A Lecturer III appointment is for a position that includes instruction and significant ongoing administrative or service duties within the academic unit, AND/ORrequires a range of instructional expertise. The creative work I’ve mentioned is equal to or above that of which I have seen from some of the Tenure Track Faculty and should be considered as such.

I approached the administration during my last major review as a Lecturer 2 about advancement into Lecturer 3. I was disheartened when the administration came back with the answer “we’d love to, but don’t know how. There is simply nothing in place for us to promote you to a Lecturer III.” I don’t believe that response and we’re asking for your help to right the situation that devalues the work we are doing in Stamps both in and out of the classroom.

Looking at this list of all Stamps Lecturers in 2017, out of 41 there are 16 Lecturer 2s and only one Lecturer 3–that’s Jennifer Metzger our writing instructor, who at home with Pnemonia, wanted to me to share her struggle with you –

She says: “I came in from Sweetland, and I based my job on Sweetland's Lecturer III model, and could see that what Stamps was asking of me was already a Lec III just based on the fact I developed and managed the upper-level writing course before even coming there full time so I asked for them to hire me as a Lec III. They said no for about a year. And then when they said yes I ended up managing way more than just that class. I don't even think Lec III is an accurate title for my job any more, really. I'm in charge of the equivalent of what ALL the Lec III's in Sweetland do all together, at least. In my case I ended up with about ten service responsibilities at Stamps!”

For myself, I would like to advance within this school, and am asking for you to help put in place the rules that will make that possible. I am embedded in Detroit, its art scene and its resurgence, I am embedded in the UofM Stamps School of Art and Design– its growth and its wonderful students. I am not wiliing to move away yet, something I will have to do to advance in my field of teaching if Stamps remains with its terminal position as Lecturer II. I am not done with my time and dedication to this place and my students, but I want to be valued and acknowledged for the work I do. We are asking that the work we do as Lecturer IIs be regarded and recognized for what it is- beneficial to the School. We want to advance to Lecturer IIIs. We need your help. Thank you.