Studio art curriculum could see changes

The Department of Art and Design is waiting on approval for a change in the studio art curriculum.

What used to be two separate concentrations, two-dimensional art and three-dimensional art, will now be a single studio degree if approved by the academic senate, according to Art Department Chair Larry Burditt.

This change will allow students more freedom in choosing the courses that count toward their degree. Burditt said students will be able to take classes from any studio area without filling out special paperwork to get the course approved.

Prior to this change, art students were able to take courses outside of their concentration, but they needed department approval. According to assistant professor Greg Stahly, some students were hesitant to take courses outside of their concentration because they weren’t sure how to fit it in with their degree. Stahly said the change in the program’s structure makes a variety of classes more readily available to art students.

“One of the main reasons we’ve made this change is because art departments across the country are continually moving toward a less medium-specific degree,” Stahly said.

Because of this change, students will be able to experiment with different mediums and explore interests in multiple areas of art. Burditt said many art students have been using different mediums, and this change in curriculum will allow them to continue in a more efficient way.

“We’re trying to make sure we meet the needs of the students in the best possible way so it will allow them to have the experience they want from the university,” Burditt said.

Stahly said the new structure provides students with flexibility. Students can choose to work in one specific area or in many different areas depending on their interests.

Standish senior Christina Proulx said although she has a two-dimensional concentration, she has taken courses outside of her concentration. She aspires to work at an art museum and thinks exploring different mediums would help her develop a variety programs at museums in the future.

“People love to have choices in their lives, especially artistic people,” Proulx said.

The program was altered without changing the required amount of credit hours. Some of the course numbers did change.

Stahly said the area-specific intro-level classes will now be 200-level courses.

“For people caught in the transition, a lot of the course numbers changed, but the faculty are getting training and support in how to deal with that so (students) need to talk to their adviser,” Burditt said.

Burditt said the curriculum change is currently waiting to pass through the academic senate, who are meeting Tuesday. It would be scheduled to take effect in the fall of 2015.

According to Stahly, the department has worked on changing the structure of the degree for about two years.

“I think we’re a very strong department now in terms of the quality of student work coming out of here, so I don’t anticipate that changing much,” Stahly said. “I think it gives students a sense of flexibility.”