Degree standards

Measures by Degree Programs reflect accordance to national standards by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), our national accreditation organization.

Competencies to be assessed for the BA degree as determined by NASAD, Tracks I, III, IV -Studio Art/Graphic Design/Illustration

The curriculum should aim primarily toward breadth of experience and understanding rather than professional specialization. Competencies students are expected to have:

(a) A developed visual sensitivity;

(b) The technical skills, perceptual development, and understanding of principles of visual organization sufficient to achieve basic visual communication and expression in one or more media;

(c) Ability to make workable connections between concept and media; and

(d) Some familiarity with the works and intentions of major artists/designers and movements of the past and the present, both in the Western and non-Western worlds.

(e) Students should understand the nature of contemporary thinking on art and design, and have gained at least a rudimentary discernment of quality in design projects and works of art.

Competencies to be assessed for the BFA-Studio as determined by NASAD

Creative work includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique. Irrespective of major or specialization, students must:

1. Studio

(a) Gain functional competence with principles of visual organization, including the ability to work with visual elements in two and three dimensions; color theory and its applications; and drawing.

(b) Present work that demonstrates perceptual acuity, conceptual understanding, and technical facility at a professional entry level in their chosen field(s).

(c) Become familiar with the historical achievements, current major issues, processes, and directions of their field(s).

(d) Be afforded opportunities to exhibit their work and to experience and participate in critiques and discussions of their work and the work of others.

2. Art and Design History, Theory, and Criticism. Through comprehensive courses in the history of art/design, students must:

(a) Learn to analyze works of art/design perceptively and to evaluate them critically.

(b) Develop an understanding of the common elements and vocabulary of art/design and of the interaction of these elements, and be able to employ this knowledge in analysis.

(c) Acquire the ability to place works of art/design in historical, cultural, and stylistic contexts.

3. Technology.

(a) Students must acquire a working knowledge of technologies and equipment applicable to their area(s) of specialization.

4. Synthesis

(a) While synthesis is a lifetime process, by the end of undergraduate studies students should be able to work independently on a variety of art and/or design problems by combining, as appropriate to the issue, their capabilities in studio, analysis, history, and technology.

(b) Completion of a final project related to the exhibition of original work.

Competencies to be assessed for the BFA-Graphic Design as determined by NASAD

Creative work includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique. Irrespective of major or specialization, students must:

1. Studio

(a) The ability to conceive and to design visual communications and systems involving various integrations of the elements of professional practice.

(b) Understanding of how communication theories, principles, and processes have evolved through history and the ability to use this knowledge to address various types of contemporary problems.

(c) Understanding of and ability to develop strategies for planning, producing, and disseminating visual communications.
 
(d) Functional knowledge of creative approaches, and the analytical ability to make appropriate, purpose-based choices among them, and to use such approaches to identify communication opportunities and generate alternative solutions.

(e) Ability to plan the design process and construct narratives and scenarios for describing user experiences.

(f) Fluency in the use of the formal vocabulary and concepts of design—including content, elements, structure, style, and technology—in response to visual communication problems.
 
(g) Ability to develop informed considerations of the spatial, temporal, and kinesthetic relationships among form, meaning, and behavior and apply them to the development of various types of visual communication design projects.

(h) Ability to use typography, images, diagrams, motion, sequencing, color, and other such elements effectively in the contexts of specific design projects.

(i) Understanding of design at different scales, ranging from components to systems and from artifacts to experiences.

2. Art and Design History, Theory, and Criticism

(a) An understanding of design history, theory, and criticism from a variety of perspectives, including those of art history, linguistics, communication and information theory, technology, and the social and cultural use of design objects.

(b) Ability to incorporate research and findings regarding people and contexts into communication design decision-making.

(c) Ability to frame and conduct investigations in terms of people, activities, and their settings, including, but not limited to using appropriate methods for determining people’s wants, needs, and patterns of behavior, and developing design responses that respect the social and cultural differences among users of design in local and global contexts.

(d) Ability to exercise critical judgment about the student’s own design and the design of others with regard to usefulness, usability, desirability, technological feasibility, economic viability, and sustainability in terms of long-term consequences.

(e) Ability to recognize and analyze the social, cultural, and economic implications of technology on message creation and production and on human behavior, and to incorporate results into design decisions.

(f) Acquisition of research capabilities and skills such as using databases, asking questions, observing users, and developing prototypes.

(g) Ability to use analytical tools to construct appropriate visual representations in the execution of research activities.

(h) Ability to interpret research findings practically and apply them in design development.

(i) Ability to support design decisions with quantitative and qualitative research findings at various stages of project development and presentation.

(j) Functional knowledge of professional design practices and processes, including but not limited to professional and ethical behaviors and intellectual property issues such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

3. Technology

(a) Acquisition of collaborative skills and the ability to work effectively in interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary teams to solve complex problems.

(b) Understanding of and the ability to use technology.

(c) Functional understanding of how to continue learning technology, recognizing that technological change is constant.

(d) Ability to conduct critical evaluations of different technologies in specific design problem contexts, including the placement of technical issues in the service of human-centered priorities and matching relationships between technologies and the people expected to use them.

(e) Functional capability to shape and create technological tools and systems to address communication problems and further communication goals.

4. Synthesis

(a) While synthesis is a lifetime process, by the end of undergraduate studies students should be able to work independently on a variety of graphic design problems by combining, as appropriate to the project, their capabilities in design, analysis, history, and technology.

(b) Completion of a final portfolio of projects.

Competencies to be assessed for the BFA-Studio Art, Illustration Track as determined by NASAD

Creative work includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique. Irrespective of major or specialization, students must:

1. Studio

(a) Understanding of how basic design principles and elements, including color, are utilized to address specific narrative or expressive problems. The development of solutions to communication and design problems should continue throughout the degree program.

(b) Competence and facility in drawing.

(c) Knowledge and skills in the use of basic tools, techniques, and processes sufficient to work from concept to finished product. This includes capabilities in fields such as painting, photography, typography, general design procedures, and digital/computer-aided design.

(d) An understanding of the commercial applications and basic business practices of illustration.

(e) Functional knowledge of the history of illustration, including its origins in the fine arts, and its relationship to written communication.

(f) Preparation of illustrations in a variety of media and a variety of subject matter, from rough through finished pieces.

(g) Easy and regular access to materials, studios, and equipment and library resources related to the study of illustration.

3. Technology.

(a) Opportunities to work with current technologies related to illustration.

4. Synthesis

(a) While synthesis is a lifetime process, by the end of undergraduate studies students should be able to work independently on a variety of art and/or design problems by combining, as appropriate to the issue, their capabilities in studio, analysis, history, and technology.

(b) Completion of a final project related to the exhibition of original work.

Competencies to be assessed for the BA Degree-Art History as determined by NASAD

Upon completion of the major, graduates must have attained the following:

(a) A general knowledge of the monuments and principal artists of all major art periods of the past, including a broad understanding of the art of the twentieth century and acquaintance with the art history of non-Western cultures. This knowledge should be augmented by study in greater depth and precision of several cultures and periods in the history of art and concentration in at least one area to the advanced seminar level. Study at the advanced level should include theory, analysis, and criticism;

(b) A general knowledge of world history;

(c) Knowledge of the tools and techniques of scholarship. Active research and the writing of analytical and critical essays should continue throughout the program; and

(d) Functional knowledge of the creative process. Normally, this is accomplished through one or more foundation or other studio courses; however, there are many methods of ensuring this competence.