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Department of Fine Arts
Graduate Program Outcomes Assessment

Program Overview
The Department of Fine Arts offers two graduate degrees: Master of Arts in Art History and Master of Fine Arts in the Visual Arts (with specialization in Ceramics, Media Arts, Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture and Interdisciplinary Arts). This department represents the largest Fine Arts program in the Rocky Mountain Region. It is committed to high-quality instruction at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The department supports world class research and professional activities by artists and art historians. Applications to our graduate program are reviewed annually during the spring semester for the upcoming fall semester. This program is extremely competitive and attracts a significant number of applicants.

Graduate Recruitment and Admission
The criteria for the assessment of M.F.A. applicants includes the quality of their creative work (presented in a slide portfolio); letters of recommendation indicating their academic and creative potential; the applicants' own statements; exhibition records; and CV/resumes. For M.A. applicants in Art History, a 750-word writing sample, letter of intent, transcripts, GRE scores, and recommendations are used to select candidates that match faculty expertise. Many candidates choose to visit the campus on their own to interview with faculty. Review committees in the visual arts areas propose slates for the subsequent vote by all faculty members.

Although we attract the highest caliber of potential students, we lose many due to insufficient financial assistance. Many candidates fund their own campus visits. Lack of travel funds to initially recruit students does impact our recruitment efforts.

In the MFA program, the number of students is limited to the support we can give them and by studio space. Each MFA student is guaranteed a studio and the majority have GPTI and GA appointments.

Diversity of Graduate Population and Program
Our greatest contribution towards diversity remains the Department's commitment to keep our faculty diverse and to reflect global diversity in our curriculum. The number of minority students in the Department of Fine Arts in 2000-2002 is 23, which constitutes 11% of the total number of graduate students. Five out of 17 new graduate students (FY 2002-2003) represent various ethnic minority groups, which is indicative not only of our department's dedication to diversity but also of our actual success in recruiting minority students.

The number of female graduate students during the same period of time is 154, or 74% of the total number. This figure has been consistent over the years.

The total number of foreign students during the same period is 5, representing 2% of our graduate student population. However, the fact that this year we accepted two out of the three international applicants suggests that our department makes a serious effort to increase the international segment of our graduate student population. The small number of international applicants is a result of high non-resident tuition rates, which are applied to foreign students regardless of the time they spend living in Colorado. Additional fellowship funds would certainly help decrease the negative effect of high tuition rates and increase the number of foreign applicants.

Graduate Student Mentoring
To receive the M.A. degree, students must successfully complete a First Year Review, pass the Comprehensive Exam, prepare a thesis abstract, and write and defend a thesis before the student's Faculty Committee. This committee mentors the candidate throughout his/her career and often into their professional lives.

To receive a M.F.A. degree, students must create an original and competitive body of artwork, and write a creative thesis supporting paper. During their tenure they are required to successfully complete a First Year Review, Pre-thesis Review, and oral thesis defense. Their creative work must be featured in a solo exhibition, reviewed and passed by a faculty committee comprised of their thesis advisor and 2-3 faculty. The are also required to write a supporting thesis reviewed along with their thesis exhibition at the time of their orals. The faculty committee mentors the MFA candidate throughout her/his graduate career and often into their professional lives.

We have two graduate lead teacher representatives funded by the Graduate Teacher Program to mentor current graduate students. Each year, students must attend at least six workshops sponsored by the Graduate Teacher Program as well as attend the Departmental Orientation. In addition to the usual orientation information, videotaped teacher training is conducted on the departmental level by the lead graduate teacher for incoming graduate students who have not had previous teaching experience and have been assigned to a teaching position. The lead graduate teacher also periodically conducts mentoring sessions with the new graduate students.

Career Placement or Indicators of Success
Most of the MA graduate students tailor their curriculum for future placement in university teaching positions. Some continue in Ph.D. programs in art history or gallery/museum/film professional positions. In recent years our graduates have been accepted at top Ph.D. programs around the country with full fellowship support, including Brown University, Columbia University, University of California - Los Angeles, University of Minnesota, Bryn Mawr, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Curatorial appointments include the Minnesota Fine Arts Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Yakima (Washington) Museum of National History, College Children's Museum, and numerous commercial art galleries.

The percentage of our students who have successfully pursued teaching careers at the college and university level remains high despite nationwide indications that such positions are fewer and more difficult to obtain. Presently MFA graduates hold tenure and tenure track positions at institutions around the country including the University of Pittsburgh, Williams College, the University of Arizona, UCLA, USC, Reed College and Colorado College. Many MFA's have become successful artists whose works appear in major national and international exhibitions, art journals and private collections. They often move to major urban centers such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to pursue careers as professional artists regardless of how they support themselves. Former graduates currently hold positions at the Museum of Modern Art and the DIA Foundation, both in New York City. Graduates are often selected to participate in prestigious artist residency and grant programs including the Archie Bray Foundation, Watershed, Skowhegan and the Bemis Foundation, as well as becoming Fulbright fellows.

New Graduate Academic Initiatives
Currently all Graduate Instructors involved in teaching Foundations 1010 are simultaneously enrolled in a practicum, which pedagogically trains them to teach the class. A graduate advising session in professional development is being planned for Spring 2003. This will be our second year offering these sessions. The staff assistant for the graduate program continues to streamline the advising process. The department routinely participates in the Graduate Teacher Program and teaching workshops for graduate students.

Efforts are being made to create an interdisciplinary area with its own faculty, curriculum, and budget. This area would include faculty who presently are already teaching from an interdisciplinary focus as well as encourage faculty to cross reference classes that would apply to interdisciplinary studies. Presently faculty teaching art and social theory, critical theory, performance and digital art are being considered. Our department has been involved in interdisciplinary graduate education for the last decade. In fact, many of our students come to study in our department because of this focus. The creation of this new interdisciplinary area would facilitate growth of our MFA graduate program.

Art History revamped its graduate course curriculum, which include the addition of several new courses in art history, the development of a summer study abroad program in Rome, and an art history internship program at the Denver Art Museum. A new 3-d modeling and animation course will be offered in the spring of 2003.

An exhibition of the graduate student's work at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado is scheduled for spring 2003. All sales will benefit the artists and the graduate program. Cydney Payton, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, will curate the exhibit.

This year marks the beginning of a dual MBA/MA/MFA program. Our department is among the first in the College of Arts and Sciences to offer a degree in collaboration with the Leeds School of Business. It is aimed at providing our graduate students with an opportunity to supplement the specialized training in our department with relevant business knowledge and skills. This program has the potential to significantly enhance the employment prospects of our graduate students and to benefit the university by positively impacting graduate student enrollment.

Through our Artsbridge program, we have given six scholarships to graduate students since the fall of 2001. This program matches student-scholars with schools and enables them to work on specific creative and educational projects. Artsbridge scholars receive scholarships of $1000 for 25 hours of classroom contact during a semester. Artsbridge is a community service learning project that engages public school students (k-12) in hands on arts education. Scholars (graduate students) and teachers collaborate to create interdisciplinary projects that are designed to emphasize humanistic values in abroad social context. In the classroom scholars provide exemplary models of arts teaching, focusing on integrating arts across the curriculum. This is a unique opportunity for graduate students to have direct experience with an innovative university - public school partnership. While giving them hands-on experience in developing interdisciplinary, student-centered course curriculum focusing on the visual arts as an educational catalyst.

Graduate Student Participation in Local and National Meetings and Seminars
MFA graduate students exhibit regionally, nationally and internationally often by initiatives set forth by the Fine Arts Department. MA graduate students participate in regional and national meetings. Students from both degree programs attend national professional meetings close to or upon graduation to interview for teaching and museum positions as well as deliver academic papers.

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