For a bachelor of art in studio art



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PROPOSAL

FOR A BACHELOR OF ART

IN STUDIO ART




SUBMITTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ART AND ART HISTORY

TO THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

OAKLAND UNIVERSITY
March 15, 2001

APPROVED BY THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES ASSEMBLY
November 13, 2001

APPROVED BY THE UNIVERSITY SENATE
November 21, 2002
PROPOSAL REVISED TO REFLECT ADJUSTED BUDGET

AND UPDATED DEPARTMENTAL INFORMATION
March 24, 2003

Committee:
Janice G. Schimmelman, Professor of Art History, Department of Art and Art History

Dick Goody, Assistant Professor of Studio Art, Department of Art and Art History

Andrea Eis, Special Instructor of Studio Art, Department of Art and Art History

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Preface 4


Abstract 5
Program Proposal
I. Program Description

A. What is Studio Art? 6

B. History of Studio Art at Oakland University 6

C. Statement of Philosophy 7

Studio Art in General 7

Studio Art Program at Oakland University 7

D. Defining the Studio Art Major at Oakland University 9

E. Relationship with Art History Program 9

F. The College Art Association

& the National Association of Schools of Art and Design 10


II. Rationale for the Program

A. Studio Art and Oakland University’s Strategic Plan (1995-2005) 11

B. Studio Art and Creating the Future (June 13, 1998) 12

C. Studio Art and 2010 Vision (2002) 14

D. How the Goals of the College of Arts and Sciences Are Served 14

E. Why Do We Need a Major in Studio Art at Oakland University? 15

F. Strategy for Development of Studio Art Major 16

Examination of Studio Art Major at Peer Institutions 16

Examination of Studio Art Major at Big Ten Institutions 16

Examination of Studio Art Major in Southeast Michigan 17

Curricular Uniqueness at Oakland University 17

G. Evidence of Support for Studio Art Major 18

Student Questionnaire 18

Alumni Support 19

H. Career Opportunities for Studio Art Majors 20

I. Source of Expected Students 22

J. Advice and Consent 23
III. Self-Study

A. Current Status of the Department of Art and Art History 23

B. How the Goals of the Department of Art and Art History Are Served 24

C. Faculty/Staffing Needs 24

D. Faculty Qualifications 24

E. Library Report 25

F. Facilities 25

Studio Space 25

Gallery Space 25

G. Equipment & Support Needs 26

H. Impact on Art History Program 26

IV. Program Plan



A. Requirements for a Liberal Arts Major in Studio Art 27

B. Requirements for a Liberal Arts Minor in Studio Art 27

C. Departmental Honors in Studio Art 27

D. Course Offerings in Studio Art 28

Current Courses 28

New Courses 28

Course Catalog Descriptions (New and Revised) 29

E. Sample Four-Year Curriculum for Studio Art Majors 32

F. Recruiting, Retention Monitoring and Advising Students 32

G. Program Evaluation and Assessment 33


V. Cost Analysis

A. SBRC Budget Format 33

B. New Faculty/Staff Positions 34

C. Space Requirements 35

D. Equipment Requirements 35

E. Estimated Budget for Studio Art Major 35


VI. Implementation: Five-Year Plan

A. Phasing in the Program 35

B. Annual Increase in Library Holdings 35

C. Purchase of Equipment 35

D. Course Offerings Each Semester for Five Years 35

E. Implementation of New Internal Procedures 39

F. Predicted Enrollment Level Each Year 39

G. Steady State Operation of the Program 40

H. Studio Art Scholarship and Departmental Grants 40
VII. Bibliography 41
VIII. Appendices

A. Current Full-Time Studio Art Faculty Vitae

B. Current Studio Art Curriculum

C. Current Studio Art Course Sample Syllabi

D. Revised Course Descriptions, New Studio Art Course Proposals & Course Action

Forms


E. Current Jobs in Art Brochure

F. Mildred Merz, Library Report

G. Student Letters, Questionnaire and Responses

H. Letters of Support from Alumni

I. College Art Association, Standards for the B.A. and B.F.A. Degrees in Studio Art (1979).


  1. Council of Arts Accrediting Associations’ Briefing Paper, Giftedness, Arts Study, and

Work.

K. Steven Skopik, “Postmodernism and Pedagogy,” Exposure 32, no. 2 (1999).

L. List of Equipment Needs and Estimated Costs

M. National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Information on Accreditation


PREFACE

March 24, 2003

The proposed major in studio art is cost effective, inexpensive and will attract more students to Oakland University. It will more than pay for itself.  There are no comparable programs within a twenty-five mile radius.  Although the department has not yet publicized the proposed program, area high school and community college students show great interest in the new major.  As soon as it receives approval, we will promote it aggressively to area high schools and junior colleges.  A degree in studio art would benefit Oakland University in the areas of growth and of academic excellence. The fine arts play a crucial role in a liberal arts education, and are a particular strength at Oakland University; the implementation of this proposal will further strengthen the institution.

        Since we first drafted this proposal, Governor Granholm has cut budgets for higher education.  Therefore, the College of Arts and Sciences has asked us to address three issues: staffing, classroom space, and student recruitment. 
•       Faculty: At present, we have the equivalent of two FTE faculty:  Assistant Professor Dick Goody (also director of the Meadow Brook Art Gallery), Special Instructor Andrea Eis and Assistant Professor Claude Baillargeon.  We also have three experienced and dedicated Special Lecturers who can teach many of the required courses.  Our total number of faculty members, therefore, will remain the same after approval of this proposal; we are not requesting any new positions at this time.  As the program grows, and as the budget situation improves, it eventually will be necessary to hire a third FTE, but at present we have adequate faculty to cover all sections.

•       Classroom space: Only the current, existing classroom space will be necessary.   

•       Student recruitment: The studio art major will attract more students to Oakland University, students who currently have no choice but to go elsewhere. The program, because of it uniqueness, is unlikely to draw students away from other departments. On the other hand, a number of students who are planning to major in studio art have told the chair and academic adviser of Art and Art History that they will probably transfer out of Oakland University if the program is not approved.

To sum up, the proposal brings considerable benefit to Oakland University. Even in the current climate, the proposal is inexpensive and cost effective because much of the infrastructure is extant.



ABSTRACT
Studio Art is an academic discipline that embraces both visual communication and expression of an intellectual vision. Making art requires two primary areas of study: technical study of media and methods, and aesthetic and critical theory. Both are supplemented by a solid foundation in art history. Fine art is an aesthetic and intellectual discipline, the purpose of which is to produce art that has the power to change our perceptions of the world. I t requires a high level of critical thinking and intellectual inquiry, delving into social, cultural, aesthetic and ideological exploration.
The Department of Art and Art History recommends that Oakland University grant a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree with a liberal arts major in studio art. While the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) is considered a pre-professional degree, the B.A. is a liberal arts degree, fitting in with a university's goals of broadly based educational foundations. Seventy percent (70%) of Oakland’s peer institutions, and 70% of the Big Ten institutions support a B.A. degree in Studio Art as fundamental to a liberal arts education. However, only 10% of the public and significant private institutions in southeast Michigan support a B.A. degree. Only Michigan State University recognizes the value of a strong liberal arts foundation for their visual arts students. This would place us in almost a unique situation with regards to the advanced study of the visual arts in southeast Michigan. Studio art in the context of a liberal education will teach students to connect with the visual world, to analyze it, interpret it, and to revel in it. The College of Arts and Sciences and Oakland University would be greatly enriched by the creation of visual art by its undergraduate students. Such creativity would allow students one more avenue for exploring the world in which they live by “enlarging those powers of mind and spirit” necessary for personal and intellectual growth.
The studio art major we propose focuses on three main disciplines: painting, drawing and photography. As noted in the College Art Association’s Standards for the B.A. and B.F.A. Degrees in Studio Art, “There is no necessity that every institution offer work in all conceivable art disciplines. It is more important to teach fewer areas thoroughly and well than to cover a large number superficially.” These three disciplines have a long history in the studio art program at Oakland University. They will allow us to build on our strengths. Students may specialize in one of the three media or in a program of two-dimensional art. All students are required to take core courses in all three areas of drawing, painting and photography, a progressive sequence of required and elective studio courses, a required art history sequence, and a capstone senior thesis course. The capstone course includes a required senior exhibition and a written thesis. In addition to fostering an interdisciplinary emphasis through the required course structure, the studio art major will include a critical writing component in all studio art classes. This will ensure depth of aesthetic and conceptual understanding and the ability to express this understanding with strong writing skills.
A major in studio art is strongly supported by students enrolled in art history and studio art classes. We anticipate a first-year enrollment of at least 25 studio art majors. With appropriate facilities we could easily expect to grow to 200 majors. Considering our current facilities, however, we will limit growth to 90 majors selected by portfolio review. We anticipate that Oakland University will be an attractive institution for students in southeastern Michigan who seek a B.A. degree in Studio Art. This major has the unanimous approval of the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History.

PROGRAM PROPOSAL
I. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
A. What is Studio Art?
Art is our preeminent social and cultural mirror. Its universal image provides a reflection of our civilization that is at times enlightening and insightful; disturbing and ironic; provocative and critical. But above all, art is a reliable measure of our times. Art allows us to see our cultural evolution. Art of the past embodies a vital, visual connection with our social, political and cultural history. Contemporary art, whether literal or metaphorical, stands as a visceral, cultural testament. In the information age, art has morphed into new technologies and expanded our perception of possibilities in computer imaging, but it has also continued and refined the tradition of the static image. In an age of constantly shifting, fast-forwarding, pixel-dominated representation, painting and photography gives us pause for thought and reflection. A picture speaks to us intuitively, emotionally and intellectually as nothing else can. This is why we make art and why we immerse ourselves in study to search for the powerful image.
Studio art is an academic discipline that embraces both visual communication and expression of an intellectual vision. Making art requires two primary areas of study: technical study of media and methods, and aesthetic and critical theory. Both are supplemented by a solid foundation in art history.
B. History of Studio Art at Oakland University
Art was one of the original disciplines taught at Oakland University. John C. Galloway was the first chair of the Department of Art and Art History. By 1963 Oakland University had sufficient faculty and institutional support to offer a liberal arts major in art history and a liberal arts major in studio art. In 1965 the department moved into its new quarters in Wilson Hall. The University Art Gallery located in Wilson Hall (now the Meadow Brook Art Gallery) was built as a teaching arm of the department. It provided the required space for the exhibition of student and faculty works. Three faculty members taught all courses in studio art: John Galloway (Professor), John Beardman (Assistant Professor), and Morris Brose (Lecturer).
In 1966 Kiichi Usui (Assistant Professor) was added to the studio art faculty and was given the responsibility to develop the gallery for the department. Within a few years conflict rose over the focus and purpose of the gallery, that is, community development vs. academic and curricular needs. In 1972 the gallery was removed from the department and placed administratively under the Director of Cultural Affairs along with the Meadow Brook Theatre and the Meadow Brook Music Festival. Faculty and students would no longer have access to an exhibition space.
By 1974-75 the studio art faculty had grown to four full-time tenure/tenure-track members (John Beardman, Michael Brakke, Alvern Lostetter and Lawrence Rittenberg). In that academic year the department graduated 20 students, 11 of which received B.A. degrees with a liberal arts major in studio art. In 1975 the university decided to reallocate positions. The result was the elimination (suspension) of the liberal arts major in studio art and the dismissal of three tenure-track studio art faculty members. The last studio art major graduated in August 1977.


In 1981 the Department of Art and Art History requested and was granted the right to offer a liberal arts minor in studio art. The courses were staffed by John Beardman, who remained as the only tenured member of the studio art faculty, and by part-time lecturers. After Professor Beardman resigned his position in 1989, the university decided without consultation or review that the minor in studio art, as well as what remained of the studio art program in general, was to be eliminated by Fall 1991, and that the studio spaces were to be converted to all-purpose classrooms. This came upon the heels of our departmental self-study in 1990 and the recommendation of the College of Arts and Sciences Planning Council which stated that “the department should consider strengthening the studio art appointments and facilities.” In the end, the department was allowed to keep its small studio art program.
For the past decade there has been little contention over studio art. Indeed, the Meadow Brook Art Gallery even opened its doors to an annual student-faculty exhibition. But since the resignation of Professor Beardman, the studio art program had been staffed entirely by part-time faculty, and because of limited resources we had not been able to offer more than seven sections of studio art per fall and winter semesters. However, in 1999-2000 the department saw an encouraging reversal in the long-held attitude toward studio art. Two part-time Special Lecturers (Dick Goody and Andrea Eis) were promoted to full-time positions as Special Instructors, the Meadow Brook Art Gallery was returned to the department, and we received permission to increase our studio art course offerings.
In 2001-2002, Dick Goody was promoted to Assistant Professor in Studio Art. In 2002, Claude Baillargeon was hired as an Assistant Professor in Art and Art History, to teach both art history and studio art courses. These two tenure-track positions strengthened our studio art faculty base considerably.
C. Statement of Philosophy
Studio Art in General
Studio art in general embraces many disciplines, both in fine art and functional art, ranging from painting and drawing to graphic design and ceramics. Fine art is an aesthetic and intellectual discipline, the purpose of which is to produce art that has the power to change our perceptions of the world. The functional arts, which put art at the service of utility, aim at the manufacture of aesthetically pleasing practical objects. Whereas both areas of study require rigorous technical education, the fine arts also require a high level of critical thinking and intellectual inquiry, delving into social, cultural, aesthetic and ideological exploration. Instruction in the functional arts, on the other hand, tends to be narrowly focused on practical study of methods and technique, with a vocational emphasis.
Studio Art Program at Oakland University


The studio art program at Oakland University emphasizes fine art, through both the making and the epistemology of the creative object. As artists and educators we know that there are two spheres of instruction in the field of fine art: the perceptual sphere and the conceptual sphere. Perceptual education has very clear objectives, such as principles of accurate rendering, compositional design, color theory, usage of materials, and technique. The core curriculum, with its emphasis on drawing and photography, emphasizes the development of perceptual knowledge. The maxim that one must know the rules before they can be broken still prevails. Before the invention of photography, drawing was an essential component of a young adult’s education. The ability to reproduce a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface was as important as reading or writing. Anyone who wishes to embark on a course of study in fine art must first learn to draw. Drawing is fundamental to the production of all visual art and is a language that can be taught as successfully as English grammar or geometry. Photography, from the very meaning of the word—‘light writing’—is also a language, with basic principles of structure and form. Photography helps organize our response to the world around us, requiring compositional choices through its frame. It alerts us to the alternate layers of order in a seemingly chaotic visual field through its presentation of a three-dimensional world in two dimensions. Whether drawing, painting or photography is being taught, initially, the instructive process is didactic and systematic. One can make parallels with learning a musical instrument; a series of techniques must be practiced and mastered. Emphasis on the development of perceptual skills cannot be underestimated.
A fine art education must embrace technical proficiency, but it must work in tandem with conceptual study. Broadly speaking, conceptualization is the intellectual thought process that governs the making of art. It encapsulates critical thinking, aesthetics, art history, and socio-historical contexts.
The proposed studio art major is a B.A. program, as opposed to one granting a B.F.A. While the B.F.A. is considered a pre-professional degree, the B.A. is a liberal arts degree, fitting in with the university's goals of broadly based educational foundations. In addition to fostering an interdisciplinary emphasis through the required course structure, the studio art major will include a critical writing component in all studio art classes, that will ensure depth of aesthetic and conceptual understanding and the ability to express this understanding with strong writing skills. As noted recently in the journal of the Society for Photographic Education, Exposure, “an artist must understand a range of conceptual systems, place his or her work within one of the practices, and comprehend the rationale and criteria by which to gauge its virtues and failures.” [Steven Skopik, “Postmodernism and Pedagogy: Reassessing the Integration of Theory and Practice in Undergraduate Photography Curricula,” Exposure 32, no. 2 (1999)]; (Appendix K).
The studio art major at OU focuses on three main disciplines: painting, drawing, and photography. As noted in that College Art Association’s Standards for the B.A. and B.F.A. Degrees in Studio Art adopted unanimously by the CAA Board of Directors, January 31, 1979 (Appendix I), “There is no necessity that every institution offer work in all conceivable art disciplines. It is more important to teach fewer areas thoroughly and well than to cover a large number superficially.” These three disciplines have a long history in the studio art program at Oakland and will allow us to build on our strengths. The emphasis on three disciplines allows students to take a focused approach while allowing experimentation and exploration. Specializations can be in one of the three media, or in general studio art. All students are required to take core courses in drawing, painting and photography, a progressive sequence of required and elective studio courses, a required art history sequence, and a capstone senior thesis course. The capstone course includes a required senior exhibition and a written thesis.


All studio art faculty, whether full-time or part-time, must be active exhibiting artists as well as exceptional teachers. This is critical to the major in studio art. Artists can be role models for their students based on the depth of their own creative inquiry, the seriousness of their work ethic, and the example of their transformation of thought into artistic expression.
D. Defining the Studio Art Major at Oakland University
The teaching of studio art has changed fundamentally in the last ten years. It has become less based on free expression and intuition, and more focused on conceptual and intellectual understanding of the process of making art. Many established art programs have found it difficult to adapt to this new methodology. The program at Oakland has been developed specifically to address the deficit that we believe exists in more empirical, less structured programs. Our goal is to produce articulate, knowledgeable graduates with highly developed communication skills and creative problem solving abilities, who will have the confidence and insight to further their artistic careers.
The studio art major at Oakland University is a B.A. program, which differentiates it from art programs at academic institutions in southeast Michigan that almost exclusively grant B.F.A. degrees. (See II.E.) B.F.A. students tend to be narrowly focused in one field, for example in photography or painting. Our graduates will have a wider range of usable skills and a broader base of knowledge of the infrastructure of art in academic and commercial domains, in addition to being well prepared in the practical and creative aspects of making art. This educational strategy will enable them to take advantage of multiple career paths.
Because the emphasis in our program is on intellectual creative development, we expect our students to be highly articulate, with fine-tuned writing skills. Critical writing is an integral part of the studio art course structure, with writing components in every studio class. The art history requirement strengthens this aspect of Oakland’s unique program.
E. Relationship with Art History Program
The faculty of the Department of Art and Art History support the integration of art history and studio art. Art history is integral to the study of the visual arts and studio art is an integral part of an undergraduate program in art history. Our proposed studio art program leading to a B.A. liberal arts degree strongly emphasizes that relationship by requiring all studio art majors to successfully complete 16 credit hours in art history.
Courses in studio art are generally required for a liberal arts major in art history. The Department of Art and Art History has maintained that relationship between the two disciplines for the past 40 years in spite of the dissolution of the studio art major in 1975. We have done so because it is unthinkable to offer a major in art history without the “hands on” experience of studio art. Currently we require one 4-credit course in studio art. Students have the option of completing our introductory drawing course SA206 Drawing I, or SA241 Historic Painting Techniques. With the adoption of a new studio art major, options will be either SA106 Introduction to Drawing or SA241 Historic Painting Techniques.


Within the last ten years the Department of Art and Art History has focused considerable attention on the relationship between these two disciplines. We have one studio art faculty member who teaches art history on a regular basis and one art historian who emphasizes a “hands-on” approach to his course on the history of prints and printmaking. In addition, our studio art course SA 241/341 Historic Painting Techniques, and art history courses AH361 Twentieth-Century Art, 1900-1945; AH362 Twentieth-Century Art, 1945 to the Present; AH366 History of Photography; and AH367 Film and the Visual Arts strongly connect the two disciplines. Our vision for the future is to maintain and strengthen a broad respect for both art history and studio art among our students and ourselves. Finally, we are united by the addition of the Meadow Brook Art Gallery which fosters the growth and understanding of both disciplines.
F. The College Art Association & the National Association of Schools of Art and Design
On January 31, 1979, the College Art Association Board of Directors adopted a policy with regards to studio art, Standards for the B.A. and B.F.A. Degrees in Studio Art (See Appendix I). Much of the report is in agreement with the standards published by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in its criteria for academic accreditation. Both the CAA and the NASAD are committed to maintaining quality undergraduate programs in studio art. The CAA recognizes that programs in studio art vary widely from institution to institution and thus does not favor one degree program over another. However, it does set minimum requirements for both the B.A. and B.F.A. degrees in studio art.
According to the College Art Association, the B.A. degree in studio art is awarded as part of a general liberal arts degree program. The degree implies a combined study in some depth of both studio art and art history. The curriculum should be designed for breadth, rather than only a narrow specialization. Career preparation is not a primary objective. To earn a B.A. degree, a minimum of one-third and maximum of one-half of a student’s total work toward graduation should be from the courses offered by the art department. This number should include a minimum of 8-12 credits in art history. The remainder should be in the liberal arts, particularly in the humanities, social sciences and physical sciences. Admission to the program may be either open, or by portfolio review or other screening devices.
The College Art Association does not believe that it is necessary to offer all art disciplines in order to be able to offer a degree in studio art. It is more important to teach a few areas well, than to cover superficially a broad range of disciplines. Exhibitions are encouraged as it is important for students to view their works in a public forum. Therefore, graduation exhibitions for majors are desirable.


Finally, the College Art Association recommends that the core of the studio art faculty should consist of full-time members of the institution who are currently involved in creative work of high quality. Faculty ratios (FTE) should not exceed 15-1. Enrollments in introductory courses should not exceed 25. Enrollments in advanced classes should be lower as appropriate. For institutions granting a B.A. degree, those “which have fewer than four well-qualified studio teachers, including at least one person who is competent to teach college-level art history, should consider carefully whether they are justified in offering a major in art, since both breadth of coverage and variety in points of view are vital to a strong major program.” Alternatively, “one art historian and three studio instructors might be an acceptable alternative.” Art programs should be adequately equipped, have “satisfactory working spaces for students,” and have appropriate library, slide and exhibition resources. Although the National Association of Schools of Art and Design does not recommend that all undergraduate programs in studio art be accredited, accreditation does signify “that objective, external peer review is accepted and welcomed; that standards, procedures, and guidelines agreed to by peer institutions representing the field as a whole are in place and serving the students enrolled; that published threshold standards are adhered to in a fashion that provides a continuous base of academic strength and operational integrity; [and] that there is a long-term commitment to participate with and support other institutions in maintaining and developing the quality of art and design instruction throughout the nation” (See Appendix M). In time, we may want to consider seeking accreditation from NASAD. Neither Michigan State University nor Wayne State University is accredited by NASAD. The University of Michigan, however, is an accredited institution.

II. RATIONALE FOR THE PROGRAM
A. Studio Art and Oakland University’s Strategic Plan (1995-2005)
In 1995, Oakland University outlined its Strategic Plan 1995-2005, a plan that reflected the university’s continued commitment to excellence in higher education. The major in studio art would be an asset in achieving those goals.
Strategy 1: “Oakland University views undergraduate education as central to its mission and will ensure an environment of learning excellence in order to educate a diverse body of students to be productive, contributing members of society.” Studio art is an essential program for any institution committed to serving a broad undergraduate constituency. As an undergraduate major, studio art would expand the possibilities for learning to our primary student base. It would also help the university to reach its enrollment goals for 2005. Simply stated, students who now have serious academic and professional interests in the visual arts attend other institutions with degree-granting programs in studio art. Those who do come to Oakland University eventually transfer to other institutions for their junior-senior years.
Strategy 3: Oakland University is also committed to providing “an environment rich in human diversity.” Art history has never been a discipline that has attracted a large diverse group of students. It has concerned us over the years and we have tried to build a diverse offering of courses with the hope that they would attract a diverse student body. Studio art with its vital need to express the human condition, offers us an opportunity to reach out to a broadly diverse student body. The recent exhibition of African-American artist Peter Williams at the Meadow Brook Art Gallery (September-October 2000) and the lectures and symposium organized in connection with the exhibition, is an example of how we as a department can use the visual arts to inspire and to teach diverse students.


Strategy 4: The university regards “research, scholarship and creative activities” as among its greatest strengths and is committed to its encouragement and support. A major in studio art would increase the creative activity on campus, both in terms of undergraduate participation in the program and an expanded faculty whose responsibility it would be to teach in this program. We envision a co-operative, creative endeavor between students and faculty. Our current student-faculty exhibition held annually in the Meadow Brook Art Gallery would be expanded and other alternatives would be explored to meet the needs of the students within the program.
Strategy 5: The university “views community outreach as an integral component of its activities, and will expand its efforts to serve the community consistent with the university’s mission and vision.” The Meadow Brook Art Gallery provides the Department of Art and Art History with the means by which we can serve the community through exhibitions, publications and lectures. Annually 27,000 individuals visit the Meadow Brook Art Gallery. Together the gallery and the Department of Art and Art History support an active schedule of lectures that are free and open to the public. The Meadow Brook Art Gallery is, and will continue to be, a vital educational tool of the department, the college and the university. Although not passed in the recent elections in November 2000 and 2002, the close vote on Propositions A & K (Arts Funding) indicated solid public support for the arts in Oakland and Wayne Counties.
Strategy 6: The university is committed to developing and supporting “areas of institutional excellence and distinction that contribute to national excellence.” The university’s commitment to the creative arts recently has been strengthened by the university’s approval for a feasibility study for a Visual and Performing Arts Building. By so doing, the university recognizes both excellence in the performing arts and its faith in the growth and excellence in the visual arts.
B. Studio Art and Creating the Future (June 13, 1998)
In 1997-98 Oakland University’s Board of Trustees established the Creating the Future initiative with one main objective: to decide how best to strengthen and improve the university. In the general overview of the College of Arts and Sciences it is stated that the college “strives to preserve and enhance a campus atmosphere in which critical inquiry, artistic creativity, and cultural and intellectual interchange animate both faculty and students” (p.11). The report also states that the college has had a “longstanding tradition” of reaching out “to the community though the fine and performing arts” (p.13).


These concepts were reinforced by two of the College’s four goals: “Maintain and foster the outstanding research, artistic and instructional activities of the college’s faculty;”

and “Respond to the needs of the greater community with relevant and creative programs” (p.14).  Of the four strategies identified by the College of Arts and Sciences Task Force, Strategy 2 reads as follows: “Enhance its [CAS] reputation as an intellectual and cultural resource for the community” (p.16).  Included as a tactic within this strategy is the continued “building of outstanding artistic programs blending the work of both students and professionals,” such as collaborations between the Department of Art and Art History and other cultural institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and the Flint Institute of Arts.  The recent placing of the management of the Meadow Brook Art Gallery within the Department of Art and Art History has strengthened our ability to initiate these collaborations. 


For example, in January 2002, the MBAG exhibition Harmony in Variation: Form and Meaning in Native American Art, borrowed art not only from the DIA, but also the Cranbrook Institute of Science and the Flint Institute of Arts. The most notable aspect of this exhibition was that it was curated by OU students as part of AH490, an art history seminar on Native American Art in fall 2001.  The Detroit Free Press wrote of this exhibition:
This show [Harmony in Variation] is successful on many levels, from the dark sage walls that set off the work so well to the research and selection of the pieces to the stage setting music. As a learning tool, this experiment is one that bears repeating. From students to viewer, everyone wins.

-Keri Guten Cohen, Art Critic, Detroit Free Press, January 20, 2002
Additionally, in March 2002 the MBAG hosted the exhibition Artisan Painters from the DIA, and in conjunction, the Department of Art and Art History offered AH350 American Art.
Since being administered by the Department of Art and Art History in January 2000, the MBAG has been reviewed in over 40 national and local newspapers, magazines and periodicals reviews including eleven reviews in the Detroit Free Press and eight in The Detroit News, greatly enhancing the reputation of CAS as an intellectual and cultural resource for the community.
The MBAG also plays a vital role in fostering diversity within our community with exhibitions like Harmony in Variation: Form and Meaning in Native American Art and A Heritage of Teaching: The African Art Collection of Catherine C. Blackwell (March 2003); the latter, incidentally was curated by Dr. Nii Quarcoopome, Curator of African Art at the DIA. The most successful exhibition in recent years (in terms of attendance) has been Between Matter and Substance: Russian Icon Painting (January 2003), which offered Professor Machmut-Jhashi of the Department of Art and Art History an outstanding research opportunity, realized both in the presentation of her lecture held in conjunction with the exhibition and in her catalogue essay.
Professional contemporary artists exhibiting at the MBAG are also a considerable resource to the Department of Art and Art History; their lectures in conjunction with their exhibitions provide a uniquely rich educational experience to all our students. With the implementation of a studio art major the role of the MBAG will become even more crucial.  The gallery currently features three contemporary art exhibitions annually.  A new major will increase interactions between art students and participating artists through lectures, symposia, workshops and studio visits.  An art gallery is a vital component and point of focus in a credible studio art program; the fact that MBAG already exists on campus is a major advantage to the program.  Not only does the gallery act as a conduit or "face" for our program, attracting potential students, it also provides a professional environment for studio art majors to debut their work (in the same way that a concert hall, i.e. Varner Hall, provides a suitable venue for MTD majors).  The gallery will become a vital extension of the studio art program.

C. Studio Art and 2010 Vision (2002)
The Studio Art major represents a concrete expression of Oakland University’s goals as stated in the recently developed 2010 Vision. It provides, within one program, the combination of “liberal arts, professional education, and cultural and social experiences” that is at the core of the 2010 Vision. The Studio Art BA is a liberal arts degree, firmly based in an in-depth study of a major knowledge area, while also providing the professional preparation necessary for a successful career in the visual arts. Through the exhibition opportunities that are integrated into the program at every level, the students in the program, the OU community, and the larger regional community are also provided with enriching cultural and social experiences that are essential to 2010 Vision.
Achievement of the goal, stated in 2010 Vision, “to maximize student-faculty interaction,” is inherent in the critique structure of every studio art class. Ongoing critiques provide continual, intense, individualized interactions between students and faculty. This experience is further expanded in the Senior Thesis course, a required capstone course that provides a structured approach for students “to work with a faculty mentor in research or other creative endeavors.” In this directed individual study course, students will work closely with a faculty mentor to produce a coherent body of artwork, a process that will culminate in a thesis exhibition, as well as a thesis paper that contextualizes their work within the larger framework of the contemporary art world.
The 2010 Vision of faculty expertise in and dedication to creative endeavors is fulfilled by the requirement that studio art faculty be active exhibiting artists. Their artistic lives will present them as role models for their students, as their creative inquiry, artistic vision and work ethic “inspire students to similar goals.”
Both the academic course structure of and the faculty presence within the Studio Art major are thus clearly consistent with the realization of aspects of 2010 Vision posited as key to Oakland University’s distinctive undergraduate experience.
D. How the Goals of the College of Arts and Sciences Are Served
“The primary mission of the College of Arts and Sciences is to provide students with a liberal education. A liberal education broadens awareness of the major areas of human knowledge, significantly deepens knowledge in one or more areas, and lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning by enlarging those powers of mind and spirit needed not only for professional success but also for the enrichment of personal life” (1999-2000 Undergraduate Catalog).
The proposed major in studio art is firmly grounded in the principals set forth by the College of Arts and Sciences. A “liberal education” is at the heart of the studio art major. A broad based education is necessary for those who seek personal enrichment and for those who seek a professional career in the visual arts. Studio art in the context of a liberal education will teach students to connect with the visual world, to analyze it, interpret it, and to revel in it. The College of Arts and Sciences will be greatly enriched by the creation of visual art by its undergraduate students. Such creativity allows students one more avenue for exploring the world in which they live by “enlarging those powers of mind and spirit” necessary for personal and intellectual growth.
E. Why Do We Need a Major in Studio Art at Oakland University?
The chief reasons a studio art major is essential at Oakland University are fourfold:
1. There are no Bachelor of Arts degrees in studio art offered in a public institution anywhere in either Oakland, Macomb or Wayne counties. Indeed, one would either have to travel as far afield as Michigan State University or be willing to enroll in a private institution such as Marygrove College to find a B.A. in studio art. This is a significant deficiency, especially when one considers the strength of interest in the arts in this region, not just in terms of the number of art galleries and community art centers, but in the vigor of the fine arts programs in academic institutions such as Oakland and Macomb Community Colleges. Students interested in completing a B.A. degree in studio art at a public institution, who otherwise would be only too happy to take advantage of the considerable amenities and resources offered by Oakland University, are forced to go elsewhere.


2. The nearest B.A. degrees in studio art are offered at Marygrove College (private) and Michigan State University. The nearest B.F.A. degrees are offered at the Center for Creative Studies (private) and at Wayne State University. All of these institutions represent a considerable commute for students living in northern Oakland and Macomb counties. East Lansing is an almost impossible commute. Detroit is a difficult commute. The increase in commuter traffic and the consequent increase in travel time experienced by Oakland and Macomb county residents make any daily journey to Detroit, even out of rush hour, an arduous prospect. Oakland University, therefore, would be well placed to receive students from the new growth areas north along I-75. Oakland University would also be well placed to receive students from both Oakland Community College and Macomb Community College, both of which have active studio art programs. In addition, one should consider that many students would choose Oakland University precisely because they want to attend a public school and complete a liberal arts B.A. degree.
3. Oakland University cannot expect to maintain prolonged credibility in the arts without supporting a degree course in studio art. If Wayne State University, a peer institution, considers studio art a significant part of its curriculum, certainly this is justification enough for Oakland University, not merely to offer such a course of study, but to offer one of marked excellence.
4. A studio art major at Oakland University would have a positive impact on the cultural community within the university and in the surrounding area. Meadow Brook Art Gallery has established Oakland University as an important center for visual arts in the Detroit metropolitan area, chiefly because of its focus on excellence in the contemporary arts. However, this considerable resource would be further validated were it supported by a studio art major. Beyond the cultural realm, the visual arts have a highly marketable public persona that is the envy of purely academic disciplines. This resource, which is currently underdeveloped, has tremendous public relations potential. A substantial studio art program would more effectively allow Meadow Brook Art Gallery to project Oakland University’s excellence in the arts to the surrounding community. This would further improve Oakland University’s standing as a cultural destination. Such improvement would increase interest; increased interest means increased revenues.
F. Strategy for Development of Studio Art Major
Examination of Studio Art Major at Peer Institutions
In 2000, the American Association of University Professors, Oakland University Chapter, was asked by Louis Esposito, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, to compile a list of peer institutions for benchmark purposes. The 10 universities submitted were the following: George Mason University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Ohio University, State University of New York—Stony Brook, University of California—Riverside, University of Illinois—Chicago Circle, University of Texas—Dallas, and Wayne State University. The following is a comparative list of the Studio Art programs at these institutions, including the Studio Art Minor, B.A. Degree in Studio Art, B.F.A. Degree in Studio Art, M.A. Degree in Studio Art and M.F.A. Degree in Studio Art. Dashes indicate the available information was unclear. With the notable exception of Michigan Technological University, all academic institutions in this group offer either a B.A. degree in studio art or a B.F.A. in studio art. Some offer both undergraduate degrees. In addition, half of the institutions offer graduate degrees in studio art.
Minor B.A B.F.A. M.A. M.F.A.

PEER INSTITUTIONS

George Mason University Yes Yes Yes No No

Indiana University of Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Michigan State University — Yes Yes No Yes

Michigan Technological University No No No No No

Ohio University — Yes Yes No Yes

SUNY—Stony Brook Yes Yes No No Yes

University of California—Riverside — Yes No No No

University of Illinois—Chicago Circle Yes No Yes No No

University of Texas—Dallas Yes Yes No No No

Wayne State University — No Yes Yes Yes

_____________________________________

Totals 5 7 6 2 5
Examination of Studio Art Major at Big Ten Institutions
If we examine the Big Ten Institutions we find that all have prominent studio art programs; seven offer B.A. degrees in studio art, eight offer B.F.A. degrees in studio art and nine offer M.F.A. degrees in studio art.
Minor B.A B.F.A. M.A. M.F.A.

BIG TEN INSTITUTIONS

University of Illinois — No Yes No Yes

Indiana University — Yes Yes No Yes

University of Iowa Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

University of Michigan — No Yes Yes Yes

Michigan State University — Yes Yes No Yes

University of Minnesota — Yes Yes No Yes

Northwestern University Yes Yes No No Yes

Ohio State University — Yes Yes No Yes

Purdue University Yes Yes No Yes No

University of Wisconsin-Madison — No Yes Yes Yes

____________________________________

Totals 3 7 8 4 9

Examination of Studio Art Major in Southeast Michigan
It is also important to compare Oakland University to other public and private academic institutions in southeast Michigan. Of these eleven academic institutions in southeast Michigan, seven offer B.F.A. degrees in studio art. Only Marygrove College and Michigan State University offer a B.A. degree in studio art.
Minor B.A B.F.A. M.A. M.F.A.

INSTITUTIONS IN SE MICHIGAN

Center for Creative Studies (private) No No Yes No No

Cranbrook Academy of Art (private) No No No No Yes

Eastern Michigan University Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Marygrove College (private) Yes Yes Yes No No


Michigan State University — Yes Yes No Yes

Michigan Technological University No No No No No



OAKLAND UNIVERSITY Yes No No No No

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor — No Yes Yes Yes

University of Michigan, Dearborn No No No No No

University of Michigan, Flint — No Yes No No

Wayne State University — No Yes Yes Yes

____________________________________



Totals 3 2 7 3 5
Curricular Uniqueness at Oakland University
Seventy percent of Oakland’s peer institutions and 70% of the Big Ten institutions support a B.A. degree in studio art as fundamental to a liberal arts education. However, only 18% of the public and private institutions in southeast Michigan support a B.A. degree. Only Marygrove College (a private institution) and Michigan State University recognize the value of a strong liberal arts foundation for their visual arts students. This would place us in almost a unique situation with regards to the advanced study of the visual arts in southeast Michigan.
It is important to compare the credit hour requirements of the B.A. degree programs in studio art at Michigan State University and Marygrove College with the proposed program at Oakland University. Michigan State University requires 36-40 credit hours in studio art, including a capstone course, and a minimum of 13 credit hours in art history. Marygrove College requires 44 credits in studio art, including a capstone course, and a minimum of 9 credit hours in art history. The program at Oakland University would require 40 credit hours in studio art, including a capstone course, and 16 credit hours in art history.
In addition, the studio art program at Marygrove College is a general one and does not allow specialization in one area. Oakland’s proposed studio art major would allow a specialization in either drawing, painting or photography. Finally, our program would be unusual in that it would require a writing assignment in all studio art courses as well as a senior thesis in studio art. An understanding of the art history, theory, and the basics of scholarship would be integral to the creative process.
G. Evidence of Support for Studio Art Major
Student Questionnaire
In order to identify the intensity of interest in a studio art major among our students, the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History conducted a survey among the students enrolled in 200- and 300-level studio art and art history courses (See Appendix G).


The department received 125 responses from its undergraduate students. A strong majority of these students (91%) agreed or strongly agreed that studio art had an important role to play in a general liberal arts education. Students also either agreed or strongly agreed (99%) that Oakland University should offer a major in studio art. They also agreed or strongly agreed (77%) that more students would be interested in attending Oakland University if a major in studio art were offered. If a major in studio art were offered, 50 students (40%) indicated that they would consider changing their current majors to studio art, while 73 students (58%) indicated that they would consider adding studio art as a second major. Combined together 80 students (64%) indicated that they would either consider adding and/or changing their major to studio art. Conservatively we can estimate at least 25 students (approximately 30% of those who indicated an interest in majoring in studio art) within the first year.
Among the 22 students who are currently minors in studio art (but not majors in art history), 18 students or 82% indicated that they would consider adding studio art as a second major, while 15 students or 68% indicated that they would consider changing their major to studio art. Among the 19 students who are currently art history majors (but not minors in studio art), 6 students or 32% indicated that they would consider adding studio art as a second major, while only 2 students or 11% would consider changing their major to studio art. Among the 18 students who are currently earning both a minor in studio art and a major in art history, 16 students or 89% would consider adding studio art as a second major, while 13 students or 72% would consider changing their major to studio art. Students who are currently earning a major in art history, but are not seriously involved in studio art, are less likely to either add a major in studio art, or to change their major from art history to studio art. These figures, however, indicate the strong support for a studio art major among those students currently earning minors in studio art.
Some of our students are experiencing some frustration with the current situation with regards to studio art; 31 students (25%) are considering a transfer to another 4-year academic institution in order to graduate with a major in studio art. This confirms what the department has suspected for decades; that is, that the university is losing students because a major in studio art was not offered. A pleasant surprise, however, is that almost the same number of students would consider returning to Oakland University after graduation in order to complete a major in studio art if one were offered. In general, the survey indicates to us that the department would have student support for a major in studio art and a substantial student enrollment at the initial establishment of the major.
Comments from students are overwhelmingly supportive. Of the 125 questionnaires completed, 55 students took the time to make thoughtful comments. Students cite issues of diversity, program opportunity and career development related to studio art:
“I believe that by adding a studio art major to the current curriculum, a more diverse student body will decide to attend OU. Considering that Oakland University is more affordable than larger schools, a studio art major would benefit both the college and the students. I myself am currently a computer science major with a minor in studio art. The minor will help me a great deal, but if I could double major, my chances of getting the job I want will increase immensely. This is a major that should be considered for Oakland students. Thank you.” (Student #48)


“O.U. would provide a great opportunity for students interested in studio art by enabling them to obtain their Studio Art degree here. The teachers here are amazing and the classes already available are outstanding, so it would only improve the entire school to expand upon this program. It’s a shame to have to lose any of these creative students to other schools that have a more comprehensive program.” (Student #49)
“I believe that a strong studio/fine arts program serves as an important component of all history of art departments and should prove to be significant in future growth of the University.” (Student #51)
“To have a studio art major would take O.U. up to the next level in schools. What good school doesn’t offer a diverse education. It would make the school broader, more diverse, and more imaginative. Art is a part of life that should not be ignored. It should be treated with as much respect as business and engineering because it helps one [to] think creatively, which is needed in every major. A studio art major should definitely be established at Oakland University.” (Student #25)
“I am planning on transferring to Western [Michigan] University because they offer a very large photography program/classes! My major will be photography. Oakland University does not offer a major and/or enough photography classes, so I have to transfer to accomplish my major!” (Student #12)
Alumni Support
Alumni of the Department of Art and Art History also support the major in studio art (See Appendix H). A short list of alumni from the departmental Alumni E-Mail Network were contacted. Half of our former students who were contacted responded. Enthusiastic email has been sent from Shannon Bonner (1995), a graduate student at Michigan State University; Michelle Fulton (1996), an artist in Mexico; Andrea Gietzen (1990), photograph archivist at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn; Tim Gilbert (1971), a landscape architect in California; Kerrie (Hannon) Lorenzo (1993); Susan Morey Pickerton (1973), instructor in the Library Technology Program at New Mexico State University; Genevieve St. Onge (1999), a psychology major who is now a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City; and Joelle Sedlmeyer (1998), photographic researcher at Corbis in New York City. In general, these former students address the issue of the importance of studio art in the competitive world of art and design. For Joelle Sedlmeyer a major in studio art would not only have enhanced her education, but would have allowed her “to be even more competitive in the job market.” She added, “Jobs like Graphic Design, Web design, and Animation want people with a Studio Art background and art historical knowledge.” For Andrea Gietzen “the process of making sculptures or taking photographs were critical to training my aesthetic eye. It is these experiences that gave me the preliminary background training for the job I have now as Photograph Archivist at Henry Ford Museum.”



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