Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Art Learning Stories

BFA Studio Art
Learning Story-Central Values

Although creating visual art may be considered a solitary endeavor, the Art Department faculty believes in and promotes a high level of collaboration and interactivity within all of the studio classrooms. Our expectation is for students to progress towards the positive development of their own personal visual aesthetic while maturing as professional, responsible, and well adjusted individuals.

Group critiques are the common denominator that links all studio classes together from Freshman AR103 to Senior AR425. Faculty relies on each other to maintain this element of consistency as well as place responsibility on the individual students to actively engage in self-evaluation during these sessions.

Formally, during the second semester of their sophomore year students interested in pursuing the BFA submit themselves and their work to a full faculty review. After the review the faculty determine whether the student should continue down the BFA path.

Foundations courses in Design and Drawing help guarantee all students enter their chosen discipline with similar technical abilities and aesthetic awareness of the basic principles of drawing and design. This allows faculty to move aggressively into their discipline with the confidence students have the vocabulary and formal understanding of the elements of design.

Broad goals for this period are to provide the environment for artistic expression and growth, challenging feedback, intellectual/aesthetic curiosity, and personal as well as historical understanding of the discipline and methods appropriate to the student's chosen medium.

Art History courses are typically introduced during the Sophomore year and assist students in laying a strong historical foundation for looking at, experiencing and creating their own art. Art History courses may or may not be taken sequentially. It is up to the student to work with their advisors to lay out their choices for art history.

Collaborative skills continue to grow through critiques, attending and/or assisting with exhibit installations, participating in field trips, Art Club activities, and other relevant projects/opportunities presented by faculty.

A course in U.S. Studies increases art students' awareness of cultural diversity of the human experience. Also taken in the sophomore year may be the non-sequential course requirements in Quantitative Analysis and Science, which help to develop logical and systematic, thinking processes to balance creative and imaginative ways of knowing the world.

Assessment in the areas of studio occurs repeatedly over the year in various ways. First and perhaps foremost is the portfolio assessment. For Drawing, Figure Drawing and Printmaking courses, a student must turn in three portfolios throughout each semester. Each portfolio reflects the agreed upon set of guidelines/assignments to be carried out by the student. The degree to which the student has fulfilled the assignments is reflected in their portfolio evaluation. Ceramics, Photography and Sculpture each have similar semester by semester contract but rely more heavily on final projects due to the heavy burden on technical/mechanical mastery.

The assessment process continues in the form of individual and group critiques. This model is used in all of the studio courses. The artwork is discussed and suggestions are made by both the instructor and fellow students as to particular technical, aesthetic, or expressive issues in the artwork relative to the artist's intentions.

A choice of a Global Studies course continues to expand art students' awareness of diversity in the world beyond the Western traditions. Also continuing will be courses in a second language, or semiotics or a specific cultural tradition.

Many students choose to take a semester or part of a semester to travel during the junior year or the summer between the junior and senior year. For example, art students have recently returned from experiences in England, Amsterdam, Italy, Spain, and the Four Corners region in the U.S.

The final year stresses professional growth through integration and application of analytical, technical, and collaborative skills as students hone their own personal process through the continuation of the capstone course. Students should successfully demonstrate the following: Awareness and ability to demonstrate an understanding of the mastery of technique; Ability to recognize and cite relevant references for his/her artwork; Ability to visually demonstrate and verbalize the understanding and application of the formal elements within his/her artwork and the artwork of his/her peers; Understanding of the professional expectations and studio work habits relative to the BFA degree standards as outlined by degree granting institutions and practiced by working artists throughout the United States.

Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL