Learning Objectives

Updated: 2008

The Department of Art and Design developed a rubric for assessing its students (see Assessment Plan) in 2008-09. Random selections will be made from the five different levels of students, first – year through graduates to review in 2009-10, based on this model. The assessment will determine any changes necessary for the self-study slated for this coming year. An overall picture of the goals in teaching a variety of visual media to art students is as follows:


The studio areas all have in common a Foundations program which prepare the student for their major by training them to use traditional core values in art. The required courses, Drawing I and II, Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Design, Survey of Art History, Ancient-Renaissance and Renaissance to Post-Modern, deliver understanding of the principles of design and elements of drawing shared by all art courses and areas of concentration in the department. This includes investigation of such basic tools as the manipulation of line, shape, value, texture and space, as well as compositional considerations, such as rhythm, unity, repetition, balance and color. Media specific technologies and related content are then offered in the majors: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Painting/Drawing, Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture. A capstone course, the BFA Exhibition or MFA Exhibition brings the conceptual and technical skills into focus and presents a professional experience for the culmination of the studio degrees. One example of the detailed plan on which each area is based is represented by Graphic Design - with a careful outline, stated outcomes and curriculum designed to help the student achieve a successful career in a competitive post-graduate environment:

EX. 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 solutions require the mastery of processes related to research, conceptualization and technological production.

The objectives of the graphic design curriculum at Utah State University are to educate students in critical and analytical thought as well as technological production skills necessary to become effective visual communicators. Throughout the curriculum, students are encouraged to explore both the theory and professional practice of the field of graphic design.

Graphic design graduates effectively integrate research and analysis skills; visual conceptualization skills; formal communication design theory, visual rhetoric, design processes, image creation; experience design; production processes, technology with an understanding of professional practice and experience design.



On a slightly different course, the scholarly disciplines in the department maintain objectives that teach students to engage with the discipline by utilizing research methodologies. These areas help establish the students' command of their analytical and investigative skills, as well as develop the required writing and presentation components. The following information provides a summary of the guidelines in place for Art History, presented as an example of research oriented disciplines:

EX. Art History's mission is to satisfy objectives, which demonstrate the acquisition of a breadth and depth of knowledge in art history, and to acquire an understanding and familiarity with:

• the fundamental concepts, questions, and approaches within art criticism and history
• the traditional periods and basic canon of western art
• some of the artistic techniques, media, styles, and genres that situate works within the discourse of art history
• some current debates and critical problems within the field of art history
• historical and cultural contexts for works of art
• the enjoyment and intellectual stimulation to be had in visual and cultural analysis
• construct and support arguments in writing and in speech
• write critical essays on issues pertaining to the production, viewing, use, and circulation of art objects

and to be able to:

• self-consciously apply critical approaches to works of art and use these approaches to develop their own arguments
• identify works of art in terms of their historical context
• employ critical terminology
• identify major thinkers in the history of the discipline
• read, summarize, and evaluate key theoretical arguments in the field
• collect and digest information relevant to the field
• develop their own views and approaches to art history and criticism



2000 Level Course Competencies

• Become familiar with major works, artists, schools, styles, and historical events and figures within a defined period of art history. (Tested by exam).
• Use visual evidence to support ideas about are works in various media
• Build understanding of historical and cultural contexts for the production of works by art.
• Analyze relationships between formal elements (style, medium), and thematic or ideological context of works.
• Compare and contrast works of art in order to elucidate the way they articulate meaning.
• Write short analytical essays that emphasize the logical organization and development of ideas

3000 and 4000 Level Course Competencies

• Engage with historiographic, theoretical, or methodological questions in art history.
• Learn and practice general research skills
• Learn and practice discipline-specific research skills
• Write between 10 and 15 pages of critical analysis on course related topics (over course of semester).
• Read and analyze classic and contemporary scholarship in the field.
• Investigate interdisciplinary approaches to art history, including literary analysis of primary texts, application of cultural theory, and incorporation of other relevant disciplines.
• Demonstrate understanding of a variety of critical perspectives through written or oral presentation

5000 Level Course Competencies

• Study specific critical approaches to the visual arts in detail
• Think about art as one part of a larger cultural discourse
• Conduct art-historical and interdisciplinary research toward the end of writing a longer (10-30 page) analytical investigation that incorporates analysis of multiple critical perspectives

6000 Level Course Competencies

• Produce substantial work of original scholarly (MA) or creative (MFA) content related to course topic
• Present original scholarly or creative work in a public forum (i.e. lecture, slide presentation, gallery talk)



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