Kevin Conlon, dean of undergraduate studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a sculptor.
The irony is that, up until now, SCAD has never offered a major in sculpture. However, sculpture is one of five new majors and a Bachelor of Arts degree that will be offered at SCAD this fall.
“We’ve been pretty excited,” Conlon says. “We’ve been wanting to add these programs for a while now.”
The new majors that will be offered are contemporary writing in Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees at SCAD’s Savannah campus; sculpture and printmaking in Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees at SCAD’s Atlanta campus; a Bachelor of Arts in visual communication that can be obtained in person or online; and, a graduate program in arts administration at both the Savannah and Atlanta campuses.
“We’ve already had students express interest,” Conlon says. “It’s going to be a busy fall.”
The new Bachelor of Arts in visual communication program will have a concentration in graphic design or interactive design. It will provide students with a curriculum that emphasizes the liberal arts.
This degree will be complemented by a concentration of courses chosen for their significance and relevance to the visual arts. In addition to being offered on both campuses, it also will be available through SCAD e-Learning.
“The new Bachelor of Arts degree program gives students another option, especially those who already have an associate’s degree,” says Pamela Rhame, senior vice president for recruitment and communications at SCAD.
“Adding contemporary writing, arts administration, printmaking and sculpture majors expands the Savannah College of Art and Design’s curriculum and builds on the renowned reputation of the college’s excellent academic programs.”
The arts administration program was added because successful and effective administrators of arts institutions must combine business skills with the tools of community building. The new curriculum will allow students to combine theory with administrative skills that are needed to manage various areas of the arts, such as visual arts, performing arts, entertainment and digital arts, and cultural preservation.
The contemporary writing program complements other SCAD majors and degree programs because it increases student ability to communicate through the written word. Particular attention will be given to professional practices and the commercial applicability of their work.
At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the program will be focused on producing professional writers who are prepared for careers in a broad range of fields.
“Contemporary writing has been in development for a number of years,” Conlon says.
“Originally, the program was titled Creative Writing,” he says. “The college is committed to its vision of a strong commitment to preparing students for careers in the arts. It was felt Contemporary Writing had much more adherence to that standard than creative writing.”
The printmaking program will help students develop the ability to realize a personal creative vision and an awareness of the possibilities of being an artist. The curriculum is designed to encourage critical thinking, inter-disciplinary study and applications of technology with traditional and contemporary practices.
Students must complete a two-year core curriculum of introductory courses before progressing into the printmaking program. Those classes will include liberal arts and general education classes, as well as fine arts foundation studies courses.
The sculpture program will feature a comprehensive approach to form, content and concepts as it develops students’ understanding of the professional field of sculpture. In addition to book studies, students will work in the studio with various media and will be expected to develop a personal vision.
Students in the sculpture program will be allowed to explore traditional medals, such as is used foundry work and welding, carving in wood and stone and glasswork. They also will explore non-traditional media.
“Sculpture has been in proposal for a number of years,” Conlon says. “About three to four years ago, the program as written was endorsed by the college.”
SCAD’s merger with the Atlanta College of Art meant that resources became available for the sculpture program. “The ability to make it happen went much faster,” Conlon says.
While the majors are new, SCAD students have been able to study these areas all along. “Sculpture and printmaking were both existent minors,” Conlon says. “They have grown in popularity over the years.
“Printmaking has gotten along further in curriculum development than sculpture,” he says. “They both really needed very little work to adapt them from a minor into a major.”
The Bachelor of Arts in visual communication degree program will provide students with a curriculum that will emphasize the liberal arts. Students will be able to choose a concentration in either graphic design or interactive design.
“This is probably one of the most interesting uses of curriculum at the college,” Conlon says. “It’s for students who are both on-ground and online. It’s geared toward non-traditional students who wants to go ahead and complete a bachelor degree. It may be someone who has gotten an associate degree or is working in the field already.
“They want their educational experience to match their work experience,” Conlon says. “We’re interested in attracting students who bring with them a number of academic credits from other institutions and allow them to round out their educational experience with a degree.”
Conlon helped develop curricula for the programs. Considerable research was done to find just what skills and talents are needed in the job market.
In other words, SCAD wants to produce artists will be able to find work.
“We wanted to look at what’s going on with professional standards and get feedback, to see what’s relevant for students to develop their careers,” Conlon says.
“It’s not just creative development of their skills, our students have the ability to adapt and change with technology,” he says. “We’re creating students who are capable of lifelong learning and moving with their chosen field, not staying static in their chosen field.”
SCAD already has received high marks, even before the latest additions. SCAD was named “Hottest for Studying Art” among “America’s 25 Hottest Colleges” by Kaplan/Newsweek.
Currently, the faculty and student body at SCAD come from all 50 states and more than 80 countries. In addition to its Georgia campuses at Atlanta and Savannah, SCAD also has a location in Lacoste, France.
It isn’t always necessary to attend classes in person to earn a degree. Many courses of study are available through SCAD’s e-Learning program.
New majors means more teachers are needed. “All programs have seen added faculty,” Conlon says.
Some of the instructors were retained from the Atlanta College of Art. “We got more than half of their instructors, about 12 to 13 of them,” Conlon says.
“We went to the College Art Association Conference,” he says. “We interviewed several faculty there with the distinct intention of supporting the new programs.”
For now, Conlon is busy preparing for the coming year. “These programs will round out and enhance our fine arts offerings,” he says.
“Deeper than that, some really remarkable things have been written into the curriculum that make it exciting and dynamic,” Conlon says. “I’m looking forward to getting things under way. Once that happens, I’ll finally be able to get some sleep.” ç
For more info go to www.scad.edu