Learning Objectives

The Department of Visual Arts at the University of Dayton offer six degree programs in art education, art history, fine arts, graphic design, photography and the visual arts. Across all degree programs, we seek to produce art and design professionals who can demonstrate the following skills and abilities.

Skills & Processes

Students acquire the skills required to give visual form to intellectual and emotional experience. Students are introduced to a variety of materials, tools, and processes. They are expected to become familiar with all basic aspects of visual arts practice and to achieve genuine proficiency with selected media. As they advance, students refine their skills and employ them in more sophisticated practice; they are strongly encouraged to experiment and take risks. Mastery of visual arts skills and processes are essential not only to the successful production of work, but also to the student’s self-awareness as an artist and to a sense of dedication and pride in the work produced.

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Concepts & Contexts

Students learn to address conceptual challenges and understand the larger contexts in which they work. Students employ visual syntax, metaphor, allusion, symbolism, and other intellectual tools that provide them with a working awareness of their field of study. They acquire knowledge in the history of art, design, and photography that serves as a primary resource for their own work and for a broader understanding of the role of visual arts in all civilizations. They recognize the practices of art and design as significant forms of shaping and responding to culture. Students are challenged to engage in the basic educational activities of inquiry, analysis, discovery, criticism, and integration. They become aware of the complex conceptual relationships that may exist among visual images and between such images and other forms of communication and behavior.

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Critical Thinking

Students examine their own work as well as the work of past and present artists, designers, photographers, and scholars in a manner that constantly challenges assumptions and discloses fresh perspectives. An understanding of concepts and contexts within the visual arts cannot develop except through the practice of penetrating and articulate critical thinking. Students learn the values associated with tradition, but they also learn to appreciate contemporary perspectives that confront tradition and provoke fresh thinking about familiar assumptions. Students become accomplished in the ability to identify works of art and design and analyze the significance and influences that played a role in their production. The various skills of critical thinking in the visual arts are strongly supported by the full spectrum of liberal arts studies.

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Values

Students learn the values of dedication and self-discipline through the practices of art and design and scholarly research and writing. The same practice teaches the values of shared experience and collaboration as well as the values of independence and individuality. Students learn that personal values and self-expression are intimately connected with social, cultural, political, economic, and religious values. Through visual arts practice and study, students become aware of the importance of global and multi-cultural issues and ways in which their singular experiences are related to universal concerns. This process leads to greater awareness of class, gender, racial, and ethnic diversity. Students thus achieve a richer and more inclusive sense of themselves through a thoughtful understanding of personal and social responsibility.

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Professional Applications

Students prepare for professional practice within their chosen fields as they acquire essential skills, pursue integrated liberal arts learning, and develop a sense of their values as responsible citizens of the world. Student work is reviewed in contexts appropriate to their ambitions, which may include graduate education or embarking directly on a careers in art and design practice. Internships and related practical experiences are strongly encouraged.

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