And Glenn...Please correct me if I'm wrong as I veer off from the focus just a but, but were you ever a student at the type of university, (let alone an art program) you continually rail against? You have this vague idea of what it means to attend a university that exists as some hippie/liberal free-for-all that undermines all of your moral, socio-political and artistic leanings. I've just wondered about your uni experience(s) that led you to these criticisms...
I attended three state universities in my pursuit of an architecture degree, two in Illinois and one in Minnesota. In between the two in Illinois I took a couple years off to work, which was helpful to get out of the mindset you grow up with of school, school, school for a continuous 20 years of life.
This was quite some time ago, and I have heard enough stories to know that the indocrtination element in college has gotten worse since then. One example I can cite from my experience was an "architectural" course called "An ecological basis for planning" which sounded to me like it would involve learning how best to relate site design to specific landform environments. "Great stuff", I thought. Instead, it was a sociology class disquised as an architecture class whose reading list included "The Population Bomb" and "Limits to Growth", and others, all full of some of the most vitriolic left wing hysteria you could ever come across, with the usual doomsday predictions that of course never happened, and as usual now consequences for trying to scare people with lies and hysteria, because being liberal means never having to say you're sorry when you are wrong.
For my class presentation I did a huge amount of research debunking and exposing the myths presented from Malthus through Maragert Sanger down to origins of this class from research grants by the Rockefellers and others, and my presentation was so complete and well researched that the teacher was stunned and speechless, and ended up quitting after that semester and the class was not taught again while I was there.
There was also a (properly labeled) sociology class I took that was so disgusting that at one point in a large lecture hall I got up and shouted, "That's an outright lie!" Also, on the final exam, I pointed out how none of the "models for social behavior" that we were supposed to select one from as the best and write an essay about were of any value. I just wrote about how each of them were bogus. To the teachers credit, I got an A in that class and even was invited to join the sociology club! (Maybe they have kool-aid parties!) But I declined.
There was another class or two where my challenging the professors did not lead to bad grades. In that era, being outspoken if demonstrating a grasp of the material was a good thing. But I have heard many more recent stories of outspoken conservative students being castigated for their views and recieving failling grades. Do you happen to remember the Harvard Dean who was pillorized for actually suggesting that male and female brains might have a difference in how science and math is perceived and learned? Or the Northwestern professor who brought couples into to his classroom to perform live sex acts involving sex toys as part of his instruction? (The resulting outrage led to this consequence: nothing. He is tenured protected and still there)
I could bore you with more such stories. And I could also point to classes, mostly in the basic sciences or engineering, that had no political basis or bias whatsoever.
A very important point was that after receiving my degree and going to work at an architecture firm, I discovered that my education had woefully unprepared me to do the work that I was called upon to do at the firm. In retrospect I saw the University approach to architecture schooling as largely a scam to extract 4-5 years of large sums of money from students ( not to mention the expensive textbooks scam) and give them little in return other than weeding out people who couldn't take the stress of the shit-load of classes and pressures needed to pass. Further, each time I transferred schools, I lost ground because certain credits were not accepted. Why would that be, unless they wanted to keep me in school longer and extract more money? These were all "good" architecture schools, they should have accepted the credits taken and accomplished elsewhere.
Although this was architecture school, not art school, many years later I audited a university art class to learn etching, met students, and got a feel for what was going on. Plus, I have gone through and observed studios and student work at a major art school here.
And finally, to compare to these experiences, I visted the Taleisin Architecture school to see how things can be done well and right to properly prepare one to problem solve intelligently and work in the real world, and I took 1 1 /2 years of incredibly valueable art training at an Atelier and saw the difference between a serious place for learning art (at a fraction of the cost) versus the university approach.