BFA Degree Curriculum Renewal

BFA Specialized Degree Faculty Requirement Revisions

In 2014, the Departments of Art History, Visual Art and Theory; Theatre and Film; and Creative Writing jointly pursued changes to the BFA degree requirements. I participated in this curriculum renewal as the lead representative and Visual Arts Undergraduate Advisor and main liaison with other BFA granting programs at UBC.  One of our most significant outcomes was removing the existing Faculty of Arts requirements for language, literature, and science credits. Appendix A shows the previous and the revised BFA degree requirements.

BFA programs often feature rigid requirements of specialized fine arts coursework: some BFA specializations at other institutions prescribe up to 90 required credits. It is our belief the single most essential requirement for breadth outside the specialization is the opportunity to pursue other forms of knowledge. The curriculum renewal I was a part of argued that the Arts requirements in language, literature, and science were too narrow to allow our students to explore widely. BFA students need to be able to pursing diverse fields: Music, Art History, Film Studies, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, History, Political Science, or First Nations Studies, or courses in Business, Forestry, Land and Food Systems, even Applied Science. Our strict fine arts requirements, when combined with the existing Faculty of Arts requirements, were discouraging BFA students from pursuing a Minor in areas that would support their unique goals. Inspired by UBC Faculties of Science and Applied Science, which define breadth requirements in terms of broad topic areas rather than listing specific courses, I was instrumental in collaborating to redesign our curriculum to enable our emerging artists to draw source material from many areas of knowledge by pursuing a wider range of disciplines than our previous requirements permitted.

Visual Arts Degree (BFA) Requirement Revisions

I wrote a set of program-level learning outcomes for the BFA and BA Visual Arts Major Degree (see Appendix B) that speak to the specific values and abilities we set out for our students. These values and abilities were generated in a series of workshops for Visual Arts faculty that I developed and facilitated. With the program-level learning outcomes in place, I worked with a committee to renew the Visual Arts curriculum, focusing on how outcomes were cumulatively developing throughout the degree.

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