WSU and WAM: A Promising Relationship Between Institutions

photo: Luc Viatour / http://www.Lucnix.be

If the provocative description of a new plan unveiled this week at the opening event of inaugural celebrations is any indication, students as well as faculty at Worcester State University can look forward to an expansive broadening of art-related offerings and opportunities. This ambitious plan was formally introduced on September 19th by President Barry Maloney and delightfully described in the presentation “University and the Museum: A Dynamic Partnership” by Worcester Art Museum Director Matthias Waschek.

To a packed house, professor Kristin Waters introduced Waschek, who in turn described Waters as “our point person” in this new endeavor. Waters will be the first Presidential Fellow for Arts, Education and Community at WSU, as announced in a Fall 2012 message from the president. There he described her new position “working in cooperation with the Worcester Art Museum on a variety of initiatives including research and curriculum opportunities, joint projects and grant opportunities”, and invited members of the WSU community to “reach out” to Waters with “thoughts and ideas.” Waters has long been involved with the museum and within the community and has an impressive history of successful grant writing. (CV) She can be contacted through the Philosophy Department.

Taking issues of a globalizing economy into account, Waschek went on to explain this project in terms of the many possibilities involved for students of multiple disciplines; a smorgasbord of innovative and valuable opportunities both academic and extracurricular, extending into the local community and beyond. These experiences would both inherently improve students’ prospects in the labor market and provide well-earned material for ‘killer’ resumes.

All this Waschek described as happening via a pooling of resources including the museum’s extensive art collection and library. The latter was aptly explained in terms of the cost of acquisitions to institutions which any student at this point in the semester still reeling from the cost of required reading individually purchased, could surely ‘feel’.

Notably, on the subject of pooling resources, Waschek put a distinct emphasis on the prospect of seeking joint-funding. He pointed out that “funders nowadays are looking at requests that come from institutions that want to work together.” If that trend represents a reflection of the tightening pressure between economic and political realities thrust upon educational institutions, this intriguing collaboration certainly represents a creative countermeasure and viable solution.

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