FAWG Mission Statement Guidelines
At face value, an art school's mission is to educate/produce artists. The reductive nature of this statement raises and leaves lingering questions about what/who is an artist, what are her/his role and responsibilities, and directly related to the preceding questions, what is required to educate/produce an artist? The collective and inevitably nuanced answers to these questions ultimately constitute the unique character of an educational institution.
Inasmuch as the educational mission of an art school is shaped by a collective understanding of the place and role of the "artist" in the broader societal context, and inasmuch as this understanding itself is conditioned by the broader cultural context of the institution, it may be useful to structure the mission statement of each unit in direct relation to these determinations.
It may be useful to address broadly or specifically what kind/type of artist the department wishes to produce. In this respect, it would be useful to discuss the department's stance on:
- The relationship between education and training
- The relationship between skill and knowledge
- The relationship between theory and practice
- The relationship between tradition and innovation
The relationship between the various art disciplines (uni-disciplinary vs. a multi-disciplinary approach)
The relationship between the arts and the humanities (uni-disciplinary vs. an inter-disciplinary approach)
- The place and role of technology in art
- The place and role of history and precedent in art
- The place and role of art in liberal education
- Pedagogical approach: studio, classroom, individual mentoring, etc.
- The ethical and professional responsibilities of the artist
- The relationship between the artist as an individual and the society as a collective body
The department's relationship to the wider professional community (the professional community's involvement with the department and the department's involvement with the profession)
The place and role of art in the wider cultural context, i.e., the relationship between art and culture
The modalities of engagement with the local community (social commitments, direct involvement, promotion of the arts, etc.)
The modalities of involvement with the regional, national and/or international educational and non-educational communities
Architecture Assessment Plan
Architecture programs are subject to stringent and comprehensive reviews every 5 years by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). A major component of this review is curriculum assessment and student performance evaluation. NAAB has 37 specific curricular criteria and 3 levels of comprehension for each criterion. To meet NAAB requirements, every course in the curriculum has a specific place and role. Every course has to meet specific requirements and evidence it through a comprehensive course syllabus and a diverse sample of student work. Both are collected and compiled every term.
- The design studio is at the core of the architecture education. The knowledge and skills acquired in other classes and prior studios are put to test through direct application. Consequently, the studio provides a valuable context for evaluating student performance. The standard procedure for student performance evaluation in studio is mid-term and final juries. Guest critics from both the profession and academia are invited to evaluate students' work based on course objectives. They engage students in direct and critical dialogue about their work. It is general practice for faculty to discuss the aggregate outcome of the external reviews with each student after the mid-term and the final reviews. It is also general practice for faculty to discuss with invited critics their pedagogic strategies and subsequently evaluate and adjust their approach.
Since studio classes are sequential, studio faculty have to be and they are largely aware of what is accomplished in each studio through participation in mid and final reviews. Each faculty makes necessary adjustments to her/his course content and pedagogic strategy based on student performance in the preceding studio.
- There is a comprehensive portfolio review at the end of the second year of architectural studies. Students are required to submit a portfolio of their work as condition of advancement to third year. There are specific requirements for the portfolio. There are also set evaluation criteria that address the development of design skills, analytical skills, and communication skills (graphic and writing). Students are allowed to advance to third year, if they demonstrate sufficient progress. Those insufficiently prepared are made aware of what they need to do to improve their abilities. They are given an opportunity to do so and to resubmit their portfolio at a later date.
- Second year portfolio reviews are an important milestone in student performance evaluation. The review process engenders extensive discussion among faculty and lead to necessary curricular adjustments based on student performance. The second year curriculum is evaluated and reformulated as necessary. The third year curriculum is adjusted in response to student performance in second year.
- We have, at present, no formal evaluation process at the end of forth year. However, this an important component of the new professional program that is currently undergoing the state approval process. All graduating students will be required to submit a design thesis at the end their fifth year of studies. These will provide a comprehensive overview and an important opportunity for curriculum assessment and student performance evaluation.