The Studio Art program (ARTS) of the School of Visual Art and Design seeks to implement a curricular change to the 200- through 400-level ARTS lab/studio courses, shifting them from 3 to 4 credit hours, effective Fall 2020. Of these, seven advanced 400-level classes will shift to a variable 4-6 credit hours. The five 500-level courses submitted with this proposal will become 4 credits.
After consultation with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), our accrediting body, and extensive research into credit hour standards at peer and peer-aspirant institutions (outlined below), we confirmed that the NASAD standard for a 4-credit studio class is that students work a total of 12 hours per week on course content, both in and out of class. NASAD’s standard is consistent with our existing course meeting times and the required workload for ARTS lab/studio courses that are 200-level and above. Currently, ARTS courses are held for 4 to 6 hours per week, with an average of 6 to 8 hours of additional independent lab/studio time required to complete research and studio assignments.
Changing 200- to 400-level classes from 3 to 4 credit hours will:
1) Align the amount of time and effort undergraduate students currently spend on ARTS laboratory coursework with credits awarded, to accurately reflect the reality of the weekly work commitment;
2) Bring our ARTS degrees in line with other majors in the College, the majority of which require fewer credit hours to degree. The BA is currently 39 credits and 13 classes, the BFA is 63 credits and 19 classes; this shift will bring the BA to 11 classes and the BFA to 16 while still maintaining the credit hours required by NASAD;
3) Enable CAS students to more easily choose ARTS as a cognate or minor; and
4) Enable students to complete both the BA and BFA degrees in a more timely way while maintaining high-quality programmatic outcomes.
Each ARTS disciplinary program (Ceramics, Drawing, Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, 3D/Sculpture) has proposals in place to adapt their respective BFA degree programs to reflect the 4-credit hour shift and assuring superior pedagogical outcomes for both degree programs. The proposed credit hour change will impact the USC SVAD Art Education program; the ARTE program will make adjustments to their program accordingly to go into effect for Fall 2020.
Shifting to a 4-credit hour system is in line with NASAD’s provisions for awarding credit for studio art classes (2016-2107 NASAD Handbook, p. 72-73). Consultation with Kyle Dobeck, a NASAD accreditation associate, has confirmed that the credit shift falls well within NASAD accreditation guidelines.
A number of peer and peer-aspirant institutions have 4 to 6 credit hour Studio Art classes, including:
- University of Minnesota – All studio classes are 4 credits
- University of California system – All studio classes are 4 credits
- Cornell University – 200- to 400- level studio classes are 4 credits
- University of Wisconsin – 300- and 400-level studio classes are 4 credits
- Georgia State University – Select 300- and 400-level studio classes are 4 credits
- University of Tennessee – 300-level studio classes are 4 credits, 400-level are 6 credits
- University of Alabama – 400-level studio classes are 4 to 6 credits
- University of Arkansas – 400-level studio classes are 1 to 6 credits
In summary, this change in ARTS undergraduate credit hours will positively affect student outcomes by bringing our program’s credit hour requirements closer to other majors in the College, and align our course credit hours with a growing number of peer and peer-aspirant universities.