It's a rat race (or a gerbil in a wheel). I stay super busy. My CV is forever changing. Please feel free to contact me for the most updated version.
As an artist and educator, I believe in the idea of liberal studies, that art is a part of everything. Art enhances understanding of so many other studies and enriches our lives. My goal is to impart this idea when teaching. It is not that we simply do work because “we like it” or “it’s pretty.” Such statements are not allowed in my class encouraging the utilization of more fluent art vocabulary. Students should attempt to show creativity and originality, display craftsmanship, and defend their works during critique. First, create good art experimenting with media and methods. Renaissance artists were not a “one trick pony.” The willingness to try new things and get out of a comfort zone, possibly getting dirty, is very important. One must have intellectual curiosity and the will to try and fail. Second, incorporate the language of art through listening to instructor direction then applying through writing, testing, and critique. Eloquence of vocabulary can be carried into future studies. The correct application of artistic terms, media, methods, and rules create a foundation for furthering learning and understanding. Third, Infuse history. It’s not only art history but also overall history that can enlighten students. What was the context that affected the content? What are the student’s surrounding like to mirror influences making art personal? To be inspired by the past is a springboard for their imagination. Fourth, connect art and vocabulary to other disciplines. Allow non-majors to understand the value and rigor of art. Allow the majors to see how art utilizes math, science, history, music, and psychology in its process. Fifth, utilize craftsmanship. Good craft comes from work. Great craft comes from harder work and a well-rounded understanding of how to truly manipulate the tools of the trade. “One and done” is not allowed for many projects. Sixth, understand why we do what we do. Students need to synthesize the above to move on to the next level. Finally, critique and be critiqued. Art is another form of sport. In order to achieve the highest level of greatness, one must be willing to grow, see flaws, and have the desire to improve in this competitive world. Not only can they listen to constructive criticism, they must also be able to identify strengths and weaknesses in others work and be willing to defend their works.
My methodology incorporates the above steps through demonstrations, lectures, hands-on assignments, out of class gallery visits, active group critique, and the use of purpose statements. Students write a summary of what the project is, why we do it (objectives), how we do it (media and methods), historical connections, and critique of self for each project. Assessment of student learning outcomes comes through specific project rubrics, purpose statements, and midterm and final exams.
I create a conducive teaching environment by fostering an open setting, encouraging growth, setting ambitious goals, allowing freedom for interpretation of assignments, and guiding individual learning styles. I act as a mentor and role model working alongside the students when needed. I love to play music and encourage laughter in class, get to know students as individuals, and promote discussion amongst classmates making a tight knit community of like-minded learners. I want the class to work as a group inspiring yet driving each other for greatness. I stress that learning comes just as much from the classroom as it does during the night studio hours with their classmates.
Carolyn A. Ford Limestone College Department Chair and Professor of Art