Assessment Plan

Updated: 2008



1. There are six clearly defined studio disciplines in the Department of Art and Design: Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture. The type of activities in which they are engaged usually measures the success of our graduates. All require exhibitions in recognized commercial galleries and museum offerings, found in urban centers or university and college galleries. Competitive and juried exhibitions, which have distinguished judges who select a small percentage of the submissions to find those representing qualitative, outstanding works, are also a measure of success. Workshops and ceramic/folio exchanges are important measures of success for Ceramics and Printmaking. Grants and fellowships also remain important entries on the alumni’s resume. Many of our graduates are represented at successful venues and with these awards in every discipline. The exhibition experience culminates in the capstone BFA senior and MFA thesis exhibitions, and professional exhibitors are regularly presented in our spaces. The Department of Art and Design offers an exhibition schedule of over twenty shows in four different galleries, including an accredited museum space, experimental student gallery and a for-profit venue, to raise scholarship income for art students.


2. Although most studio areas have in common the same primary outcomes, Graphic Design, as a diverse commercial discipline, requires a separate view. Graphic Design is a professional field of study based on the foundations of visual communications and problem solving. The field of graphic design encompasses the study of culture, aesthetics, ergonomics, technology, ethics and economics. In general, graphic designers solve a wide variety of client-imposed communication problems. The USU program has over 50 majors, and it is one of the vital areas in the department, with students winning awards, traveling to other countries to participate in large scale design projects, and usually placing in a job as soon, if not before, graduation near 100 per cent.

A new faculty line in animation is the main priority. Over the past 6 years, the program has averaged 7 graduates annually in animation, however there is not currently a dedicated faculty instructor. Recruitment and promotional materials have not historically been an issue in the graphic design emphasis; a campaign should be now produced to enhance the program "brand" and aid in recruiting and retaining higher quality students. A second mediated teaching space and student lab furnishings will need to be developed as well.

B. RESEARCH AREAS - Expectations

1. The Art History emphasis is a small but significant component of the art department’s offerings. The B.A. in art history prepares students for a variety of careers in which research, visual analysis, critical writing, and communication skills are important, and also lays the groundwork for advanced study in the discipline, leading to the M.A. or Ph.D. in the field.

Currently, the program is both promising and compromised. Student interest has grown over the last few years; the 2006-2007 academic year saw three students graduate in the emphasis area (up from two in the two preceding years). While still a small number, this increase is actually indicative of a coming wave of students. Exact numbers seem to be difficult to ascertain for the emphasis area, but at a meeting in the fall of 2006 there were ten students at the sophomore or junior level who said they had declared the art history emphasis, and about six more who were considering either a major or minor in the emphasis. 2007-2008 should produce three more graduates, and the numbers could potentially climb thereafter.

Though their numbers are small, the students are excellent - they include three URCO (Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunity) Grant recipients in the past two years, a Presidential Scholar and Undergraduate Research Fellow, and several participants in the University Honors Program. Several of recent graduates have gone on to graduate study in the field at prestigious schools; Williams College, University of Oregon, and Syracuse University. Students from the program have participated in curating exhibitions at the Tippets Gallery, the AVA, and the Merrill-Cazier Library.

The survey courses fill up in a matter of a few hours as soon as they open, and upper division courses have consistently been enrolled to the maximum at the beginning of the term, even when the subject matter is seemingly obscure (Byzantine art, eg.). Some of the things needing improvement:

• Clarifying the requirements for the Fine Arts advisor and making sure that all the paperwork is consistent between offices
• Developing a better system for tracking majors and minors so that we can get accurate head-counts
• Working with the study-abroad office to develop relationships with more programs, particularly in Italy and Great Britain, where students can take courses specific to the emphasis area
• Implementing the assessment procedures outlined in the emphasis-area assessment documents

The strengths of the program include:

• High levels of student enthusiasm
• Rigorous intellectual and academic standards - no "gut" courses
• Fantastic visual resources (ArtSTOR, the FACT center, classroom technology)
• Support from faculty across the college, including History, English, languages
• Dedicated, productive faculty


2. In Art Education our graduates earning a BFA have many more hours of studio courses required than those with a BA or BS. We are therefore committed to the idea that these artists will go into the public or other schools with the knowledge needed to impart a specialized understanding and training of studio disciplines. They will be able to

• Teach arts education in area of specialty and supportive areas
• Work cooperatively with other K-12 faculty from appropriate departments to sustain development and delivery of interdisciplinary education instruction in all core arts (such as theater and music) and other areas of general education (such journalism and english)
• Develop and deliver educational development opportunities (e.g., off-campus/on-campus and outreach programs during the year/summer) in arts education for elementary classroom students
• Be productive as an artist/scholar including artistic production, efficacy research, program evaluation, and seeking external funds, as appropriate
• Collaborate with universities, government departments, non-profit organizations, and other public schools in Utah to introduce, coordinate, and sustain interdisciplinary teaching of the arts in elementary and secondary schools.

Suggested improvements for the program are:

• Recruiting new students, since the enrollment has fallen in recent years
• Adding new curriculum in the classes to help bring current methodologies Responding to the changes in public and charter schools by designing a Talented and Gifted element vs. an economically challenged school program. Recently budget cuts required the loss of a tenure track faculty in this area, and now all courses are taught by lecturers and adjuncts. Reinstatement of this position is crucial for accreditation and leadership of the discipline.


BA, BFA & MFA Degrees - Utah State University - 2009

Program Question: How does the Department of Art and Design curriculum facilitate becoming a skilled and marketable visual artist?


Undergraduate Students

Annual Exhibits: Each year there are two exhibits of all undergraduate art student work which are viewed and assessed by art faculty.

BFA Sophomore Review: At the end of the Spring term all Sophomore level students will be evaluated by faculty to assess if they are accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. This review consists of a day of portfolio presentation by the student to the faculty and an evaluation of the students GPA and transcript.

BFA Exhibit: During the senior year all BFA students will exhibit their art work in a gallery setting. These exhibits will be viewed and evaluated by all art faculty.

Senior Exit Interviews: Close to graduation seniors will be interviewed and asked to complete a questionnaire by emphasis area faculty. The questionnaire will ask for their assessment and criticism of the program of study. This information can be used by faculty to make changes in the program.

Graduate Students

Entrance: Faculty review all applications to the MFA program during the spring term. An assessment is made, based largely on artistic merit, as to the quality of the student's portfolio. Typically, about 1/3 of the applicants for graduate school are acceptable to the art faculty.

Mid Cycle Reviews: Every semester the graduate students meet with the faculty committee of three faculty assigned to the student. They assess the students work and give suggestions and criticism of the art work and advice about completing the program.

Exit Interviews: All MFA graduates will be interviewed and asked to complete a questionnaire by the Art Department Head or the Faculty Committee Chair. The students responses will be used by faculty to improve the program of study.

Program Assessment

The undergraduate and graduate programs each have a faculty committee assigned. Each term or more often, if it is called for, the committee meets and review all input from student exhibits, questionnaires and art faculty and make recommendation to the entire faculty on areas of concern and possible solutions for change. This will result in an annual report to the department head and dean on their activities, assessment, and program change suggestions.

Faculty Assessment

Each year, individual faculty will be interviewed, at least twice, by the department head. A review of their student evaluations, their role statements, professional accomplishments, their student's accomplishments, and other pertinent information will be discussed. The department head will then write a review of their activity giving commendation and suggestions for change as needed.

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