Painters Mingling with Ceramicists: New BFA Change Will Cause Students of Different Mediums to Interact with Each Other


Posted Sat, Dec 19, 2015

The Art Department at MSU Denver is Changing its BFA Curriculum

The Art Department at MSU Denver is changing its BFA Curriculum. [Photo: Khaleel Herbert]

DENVER–The Art Department of Metropolitan State University of Denver is making adjustments to its Bachelor of Fine Arts Program that will give students more diversity and an open mind to other mediums.

Rachael Delaney, an art education associate professor and coordinator, says she was excited about the change. “It’s actually going to be really beneficial for art education students. Having the curriculum be more flexible so that students can take two beginning classes at the same time and a beginning and intermediate class at the same time is gonna really help art education students matriculate through the program more efficiently.”

Currently when students register for classes, Delaney adds, they have to make sure their studio courses (like ceramics for example) doesn’t conflict with their art education classes.

“If the two collide with each other then it’s preventative and it makes it hard for students semester to semester to stay on track to complete the classes in a timely fashion,” Delaney says. “This is going to really alleviate that in a major way.”

Sandra Lane, the coordinator of the studio art program, explains that the new program will allow Bachelor of Fine Arts students to be lateral instead of sequential in their studies.

“This will allow students to be able to be more lateral with their coursework instead of sequential which many times prohibits them from graduating,” Lane says. “You can’t take Drawing 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in the same semester.”

Lane adds that all seven studios (drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, jewelry and ceramics) will have three courses–two beginning courses and one intermediate course.

The Art Department Chair Dr. Deanne Pytlinski explains that the new curriculum will extinguish the advanced courses in each of the seven studios.

“There’s only so many students across the curriculum. They all make these choices and they go and take so many classes,” Pytlinski says. “By the time they get to the very advanced courses, there aren’t very many students in each of the medium.”

Pytlinski adds that the advanced classes with few students is either cancelled or lumped with less advanced classes.

The replacement for the advanced courses is the interdisciplinary studio where students, who work with different mediums, sit together in one classroom. Pytlinski explains that one teacher will give feedback to each student and students will also give feedback to each other.

Dr. Deanne Pytlinski, The Art Department Chair, Explains the BFA Curriculum Change While Working on the Computer [Photo: Khaleel Herbert]

Dr. Deanne Pytlinski, The Art Department Chair, explains the BFA Curriculum change while working on the computer [Photo: Khaleel Herbert]

“You got your painters in there with your printmakers and then they’re with your sculptors and they’re with your ceramicists,” Pytlinski says. “They’re all showing their work as artists together.”

Putting students with different mediums together will give them diversity and an open mind about art.

“I heard of many complaints– their tired of being with the same students over and over and hearing the same stories over and over,” Lane says. “This will give them opportunity to meet new faces. Things will be mixed up and fresh and exciting.”

Delaney says, “Having access to spaces and having access to other students in disciplines that you’re not studying helps to generate more thinking and more flexibility, more fluency with media. So you’re not so bound to a particular discipline, you’re bound to making work about ideas.”

“Sometimes it’s good to write a fictional story, and sometimes you need to write a poem,” Delaney adds. “You gotta have that same sort of diversity as an artist.”

In addition to pros, there are some cons to this change. “It’s gonna be a little bumpy because it’s really, really new and very different,” Lane says.

“We’ve still got students who will continue on the old curriculum. They come in under a catalog year with these requirements and now we’re gonna shift to some new and different classes,” Pytlinski says. “We’ll make everything work.”

Pytlinski adds that students should come see their faculty advisors to work things out. Students may also be able to switch to the newer catalog year and run under the new curriculum without worrying about having substitutions for some courses.

“I think because it’s going to become more flexible, we’re gonna have fewer worries and problems about graduation going forward,” Pytlinski says. “But there will be a little transition period.”

Dr. Pytlinski says the new curriculum is being reviewed by the Letters, Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee. If approved, the new curriculum should go into effect for the fall 2016 semester.

About Khaleel Hayes

Formerly Known as Khaleel Herbert, I am a writer/photographer and MSU Denver alumni who majored in Journalism and minored in English. I hope whatever I write–poetry, plays, feature writings, film reviews, etc.,– my words touch at least one person. I believe everyone has a story and I want to be the vessel to tell that story whether through journalism or fiction. Visit my site: The Lens Feature Writer

View all posts by Khaleel Hayes

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