The encouragement of commitment, passion and skill in the arts is effectively the harnessing of gifts in the areas of:

  1. Worldview, critical thinking, research and concept development.
  2. Development of personal perception, visual design; language, metaphor and style
  3. Mastery of visual techniques, media materials, and display technique
  4. Collaborative problem solving, professionalism, promotional and management skills in preparation for work in real work settings in family, church, community and broader cultural, business and institutional communities.

Students are assessed throughout the program in writing, reading, research and oral communication skills as well as the ability to approach visual problems with creativity, critical thinking and technical ability.


Written communication skills are assessed throughout the curriculum as students are required to write formal papers in the majority of the Art Department’s lecture-based courses. Faculty in Art History and Art Appreciation courses evaluate the degree to which students apply the stages of the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revision, and editing), integrate sources, and read/respond critically. In history and theory courses, the marking and grading of student essays/projects (both as term assignments and in examination papers) is the principal means of evaluating student achievement. Students are encouraged to think critically rather than merely recalling/presenting factual information. In exams, information recall is de-emphasized and understanding/ engagement is emphasized.


Reading and responding critically is essential for students enrolled in studio and lecture-based courses. Faculty require students to research and respond both orally and in written form to information focusing on the lives of artists, ethics and contemporary issues in art.


Students enrolled in studio-based courses must utilize effective Oral Communication skills as they offer peer and group feedback through class critiques of their own work and the work of their peers. These skills are reinforced and modeled by the studio faculty. Those faculty teaching studio-based courses integrate assessments of Oral Communication skills in grading rubrics evaluating students’ artwork and students’ oral presentations of their work during the critique process. In addition, many studio-based courses also require students to prepare and present formal oral presentations with supplemental digital imagery focusing on a specific artist’s life and artwork. Art History courses require students to present formal oral presentations with supplemental digital imagery. Students are evaluated on their ability to organize messages, compose and deliver messages, acknowledge opinions/differences, paraphrase information/opposing points, demonstrate understanding and use of listening behaviors, phrase questions to obtain information and effectively use communication skills.


Students taking studio courses are quizzed regularly on technical terminologies, health and safety hazards and general knowledge of artist materials and methods. Traditional assessment methods such as slide recognition, knowledge of material through multiple-choice or short answer testing are used in art history and art appreciation examinations. This testing process emphasizes knowledge and comprehension of material.


In preparation for class discussions, critiques and formal research papers/projects, students enrolled in studio- and lecture-based courses must demonstrate information literacy as they research historical/contemporary artists, current trends in art and art issues. Students must utilize effective research strategies, assess source quality and demonstrate an understanding of the effective use of information in response to the required assignment.

Critical Thinking

Problem solving and critical thinking are stressed throughout the Art Department’s curriculum. Students enrolled in studio and lecture-based courses are encouraged to recognize/understand relationships, make connections and identify creative problem-solving techniques. Whether addressing a hands-on creative project or writing a formal research paper, students are challenged to think critically and utilize analysis to draw conclusions and effectively complete tasks. Faculty evaluate the degree to which students raise relevant questions, articulate ideas or problems, use appropriate problem solving methods, exhibit openness to alternative ideas, construct measures to evaluate the appropriateness, truthfulness, usefulness or validity of an idea or argument. Without exception studio and art history courses encourage an active learning approach rather than simple skill, or information-based transfer of information. Studio critiques and open discussion in lecture courses allow students to explore ideas and question their own as well as their classmates’ (pre)conceptions regarding art and its practices or manifestations. This active intellectual engagement enriches course assignments and helps to build a peer-based exchange of opinions and ideas. Critical thinking skills include knowing how to solve and represent problems, make decisions, and evaluate arguments and reasons about everyday topics. Critical thinking skills also include having knowledge about a media specific discipline, staying current with that discipline through practice and exhibition and knowing when to best apply critical thinking skills. In history and theory courses, the marking and grading of student essays/projects (both as term assignments and in examination papers) is the principal means of evaluating student achievement.

Technical Skill

Assessment of studio art takes place primarily in the form of portfolio and project critique. These serve as an integral component of the Art Department’s studio course instruction. Faculty are dedicated to setting a high standard of expectation for students, working to assess their skills and using these assessments to guide students toward mastery of Course and Program Learning Outcomes. Studio courses emphasize one-on-one interactions between faculty and students. Observations of the Department’s studio faculty in action clearly reveal the attention that is given to ensure students understand assignments and are adequately challenged to move to the next level of their development as artists. Studio faculty develop working exercises that build confidence, and create a pattern of successes. Critiques are used in either small group or individually, based on constructive encouragement, rather than fear of failure, and wherever possible, technique being measured as appropriate language connected to desired concept.

Faculty involvement in assessment differs from class to class. Much assessment is conducted as studio critiques by the instructor and by instructors encouraging students to verbally critique their classmates’ work. Information gleaned from critiques is used by instructors to assist students in improving their own work as well as assisting the professor to improve instruction by offering an in class evaluation of the outcomes of a particular lesson in regards to its stated objective. Assessment procedures at all levels try to take into account what is the level of achievement appropriate to undergraduates within the range of skill of the faculty preparing the students. The bulk of the grade is determined through an evaluation of submitted work. While the grading criteria vary from class to class, works are generally evaluated on the basis of technique, composition, application of the principals of art and design, degree of time and effort put into the work and conceptual planning. Depending on the nature of a specific project, students may be evaluated on their comprehension/ realization of conceptual goals, the comprehension of application (the ability to integrate design, metaphor, style and materials), the development process (including research/sketches and approaches to problem solving), technical skill and presentation.

Orchestrating all of the formal elements in an art work requires not only problem solving and critical thinking it also requires creative insights that cannot be quantified. Attitudes, values and interests will be revealed in the student’s choice of media, subject and style. Mastery of physical and motor skills are tested by the ability of students to use their chosen medium effectively.

Through juried student art exhibitions, students are trained to exhibit their work responsibly including the use of recent, original and thoughtful artwork. Students share their artwork with the community in exhibitions both on and off-campus.