In November, APU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual Art program received accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), affirming that the program meets national guidelines and offers students education and training held to the highest standard. NASAD, the national accrediting agency for schools of art and design, recognizes an institution as having met certain qualifications or standards after evaluating its educational quality and institutional probity.
The BFA in Visual Art, first offered in fall 2010, prepares students for careers or advanced degrees in the visual arts. With five concentrations—ceramics, crafts, drawing and painting, photography, and sculpture—the program expands students’ understanding of spiritual, intellectual, and cultural activity involved in the visual arts.
“This accreditation demonstrates the seriousness with which we prepare our students for graduate school and life in the arts, without losing the faith component that is at the core of the curriculum,” said Bill Catling, MFA, professor and chair of the Department of Art and Design. “We now provide students with the opportunity to earn this rigorous degree, typically offered only at large universities, and integrate faith into their education as they meet their goals.”
Students in the program develop high-level portfolios, making them competitive graduate school applicants well prepared for programs such as the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art. David Carlson, MFA, professor in the Department of Art and Design, proposed the BFA program in 2008. “The program ensures that our graduates will be well equipped for the challenges of the art world,” said Carlson. “Our department seeks to offer a competitive standard of programming in the arts, and NASAD is the institution that sets that standard.”
The department recently added “Design” to its name to better reflect the significance of all its offerings and the importance of graphic design. Plans for the department include forming an interdisciplinary option for the BFA in Visual Art as well as a Master of Arts in Modern Art History. “Our department served just 12 majors in 1991. Today, we’ve grown to more than 300 majors, minors, and graduate students,” said Catling. “This growth, coupled with the accreditation of all our programs, assures students that they are engaging in the highest level of instruction and achieving the best possible education.”