9:00-10:30AM / Peter Cooper Suite
Present: Bobby Bordo (Chair), Margaret Morton, Doug Ashford, Stephen Ellis, Peter Buckley, Claire Gunning, Walid Raad, Judith Bernstein, Kristi Cavataro
Meeting begins by reviewing items from the last curriculum meeting — curriculum did not meet regularly in the fall 2012 semester.
Last year, a review of the Foundation Techniques program was conducted, and a proposal was created which would restructure Foundation Techniques to allow for more / better computer technological instruction (things like digital photography, scanning, adobe software, etc.) Although many of these things are briefly introduced in the current model, the feeling is that they are not adequate at present, don’t account for the wide variety of experience in these technologies students have coming into Cooper (i.e. some students know Illustrator quite well, others not at all), and are an increasingly necessary set of tools for students to have. This proposal was thoroughly worked through last year, voted on and passed through the full faculty, pending budget. The program was not implemented this year, as was originally planned. At todays meeting we spend some time talking about why, and what we can do about it as Curriculum Committee:
- Equipment: Not having enough cameras for freshman, or not having access to cameras the school does have (there may be an unwillingness from the a/v department to work with the art school. Not enough equipment and / or no system in place within the art school’s video & photo dept. to do this work.)
- Staffing: Who will teach this part of techniques? Who will find them? This has not been figured out, but is an issue to be dealt with in Administrative Committee, not Curriculum.
- Budget: Paying for instructors & equipment. There was a $5000 budget to run the new model this year, but it was not enough to pay for equipment and instructors. The curriculum committee asked that the money be kept in tact for next year, it is unclear whether or not is has been.
- All of the work that Curriculum Committee should / could be doing in order to move this proposal forward has been done, and it seems to be politics and budget which are stalling its implementation. The things that need to be done to make it happen are all Administrative, therefore:
A statement is drafted which states that the Curriculum Committee strongly urges the Administrative Committee to go forward with their Foundation Techniques proposals. This is voted on, and approved.
- The new HTA core curriculum is in its second year now. We discuss reviewing the new courses, to see how they are going, what is/isn’t working.
- The committee proposes inviting the current HTA 1&2 professors to speak to the committee, talk about how those classes are going, submit syllabi.
- Professors who teach foundation can ask their students how they think its going
- Art Student Council can conduct a formal survey
- There is an issue with the Art history “distribution requirement”: (When HTA was overhauled and reduced to 2 semesters, students who have gone through the new HTA program will now chose from Art History Electives beginning first semester Sophomore year, with the requirement that these electives “Include 2 credits in prehistory through 17th century art and 2 credits in global perspectives on art” (p. 52 Course Catalog)
- The issue about this requirement is largely a scheduling issue: this semester many art history classes were scheduled at the same time and conflicted not only with one another, but with many studio courses, making it difficult for a number of students to register for any art history courses at all, let alone those needed to fulfill the distribution requirement, and there seems to be some level of uncertainty about what classes do / do not fulfill said requirement.
- Again, this is not an area covered by the Curriculum Committee, so the Committee writes another statement, this one to the Humanities Curriculum Committee which asks that the distribution requirement is satisfied by the course offerings, before registration. It is voted on, and approved. Also those present who will also be at Humanities Curriculum Committee meetings will bring up scheduling concerns.
- Walid Raad and Christine Osinski will propose changes to the video and photo programs, respectively, at upcoming meetings. There may also be a review of the Painting II class.
- I would like to discuss elective techniques being cut, though those cuts seem to have more to do with Administrative issues (i.e. budget) than Curriculum. We have a discussion about the general state of things, curricularly. There is some feeling that some students are able to avoid critiques that are more of a critical dialogue about art in favor or more technical, or aesthetic critiques. Some faculty feel that they teach students who by their Junior year have not been in a ‘real critique’ (e.g. being able to talk about what they want their work to do, engaging in critical dialogue that extends beyond their personal experiences, etc.). We try to pinpoint the problem. A lot of questions are asked: is it a personnel issue (i.e. who is teaching the class), an issue relating to class structure, (e.g. classes that are assignment based or not, classes that are heavy on studio visits but not group crits, classes which teach technical skills and those that just crit) or something else? This is a wide discussion, we will have to continue in the coming weeks.
- This conversation does bring up that Cooper once had a “Junior Review” which was a requirement for all Juniors to present their work from multiple classes to several professors at once, and other students were invited also. Lots of faculty present have good experiences with similar models at other schools. This would be a rare opportunity for students to hear from multiple professors at once / hear varying viewpoints. The Committee is interested talking more about how could look at Cooper / Margaret Morton will put together more info / potential proposal.
Upcoming meeting schedule for Curriculum Committee / tentative agendas:
- Feb 19 (Walid will propose his video ideas, continuation of wider discussion)
- Mar 5 (Christine will propose photo ideas, continuation of wider discussion)
- Mar 26
- April 2 (Will invite HTA faculty to report on courses)
- April 9