Goals & Assessment
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Program Goals
The Foundation program is designed to provide an extensive knowledge of the basic language, tools and techniques of visual thinking and communication. Foundation studies teach the principles of visual organization, in both two and three dimensions, color theory and drawing. Students learn perceptual acuity, conceptual understanding, and technical facility at an entry level. They become familiar with the major historical achievements in the history of art, and they learn to exhibit their work, both for in-class critiques as well as in an end-of-the-year exhibition.
As Foundation students are introduced to the visual process, so are they introduced to the critique as an essential tool in assessing their newfound visual competency. Group and individual critiques are a factor in every studio class, as students are taught to assess their own work and that of others. The Foundation portfolio review, the culmination of the freshman experience, provides the student with the opportunity to have his or her entire first year’s body of work critiqued, by faculty members as well as fellow students, while the Foundation student show introduces freshmen to the exhibition process.
Whether or not the student has mastered and incorporated the language, tools and techniques of visual thinking and communication is evident in that student’s final portfolio. Drawing ability, the use of color, an understanding of painting techniques, a knowledge of perspective, an appreciation and understanding of the history of art are evident in the work produced by the student by the end of their first year of the BFA. Evident also will be their ability to think through a problem and to solve that problem competently using a variety of tools and media.
Fine Arts (BFA)
Fine Arts majors must acquire an understanding of basic design principles, concepts, media and formats in the various fine arts disciplines (these include primarily drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking). They must be able to draw competently, employing principles of design and color; they must have a working knowledge of various aesthetic issues, processes and media and their relationship to the conceptualization, development and completion of works of art; and they must have not only exposure to and an understanding of various specializations within the fine arts but must also develop an area of emphasis for their own work.
Graphic Design (BFA)
Graphic Design students must be able to solve communication problems. They must be able to identify the problem, gather and analyze information about it, generate alternative solutions, and evaluate the outcomes. They must learn to identify and respond to their audience, recognizing the physical, cultural and social factors that shape design decisions; understand visual organization, information hierarchy, symbolic representation, typography, aesthetics, and the construction of meaningful images; understand the use of tools and technologies, including, but not limited to, the computer, printing processes, and photography. Students must also understand design history as well as basic business practices, including the organization of design projects and working productively as a member of a team. Multidisciplinary/cross-platform situations will begin to figure more prominently in syllabi, as will environmental graphic design projects.
Illustration is the art of visual storytelling. The discipline combines traditional and digital skills, and contains elements of the fine arts and graphic design. There are innumerable ways in which these may be utilized; the individual illustrator will determine how this is to be achieved in response to his/her artistic objectives and an ever-changing cultural, technological, and economic landscapes.
To help them thrive in a dynamic profession, students will develop the proficiency in visual communication and critical thinking skills via studies in drawing, painting, design, digital media, and the liberal arts. In addition, emphasis will be placed on market theory, business principles, and practical skills, and on an understanding of the social and cultural role of the professional illustrator.
Interior Design (BFA)
Interior Design students must have an understanding of the principles and applications of design and color in two and three dimensions, particularly with regard to human response and behavior and in both commercial and residential applications. This requires an in-depth knowledge of the aesthetic properties of structure and surface, space and scale, materials, furniture, textiles and lighting, as well as an ability to research and solve problems creatively in ways that pertain to the function, quality and effect of specific interior situations. They must develop the ability to understand and integrate human factor considerations, such as ergonomics and environmental control systems. They must understand the technical aspects of construction and building systems, building codes, sustainable design, and health and safety issues; verbal, written and representational communication, including the use of the computer for drawing and drafting; the history of architecture, furniture and the decorative arts; ethical business practices; and research theories and methodologies. And, increasingly, students must be fully cognizant of environmental issues such as sustainability and “green” design. Cross-platform projects will increasingly play a larger role.