Art Department Statement on Scholarship

Art scholarship at Luther College is anchored in the advancement of personal skills and knowledge through professional practices that also inform and enrich teaching in a liberal arts environment. Specific forms of scholarship vary among individual faculty. For example, exhibitions and the creation of art may be critical for studio faculty, but have little relevance to art historians whose scholarship is rooted in research and publication. Therefore the following lists are not necessarily exhaustive, nor are individual items on the list equal or even necessary to all members of the department. However, all faculty should be engaged in the production and distribution of their respective work and should participate in activities directly related to pedagogy.

Forms of Scholarship

  • Production: Including the creation of studio work and/or writing; development of instructional materials and syllabi.
  • Research: Including conference, seminar, and workshop attendance.
  • Distribution: Including exhibitions and/or performances; publications, both printed and electronic; conferences and seminars; lectures and workshops; classroom teaching.
  • Leadership: Board memberships, officers of arts organizations, site reviews for peer institutions, book reviews, jurying or curating exhibitions.

Peer Review

  • Conference presentations and panel appearances.
  • Juried exhibitions.
  • Invitational or solo shows.
  • Peer-reviewed publications.
  • Grants, awards, and fellowships.
  • Reviews of exhibited and/or published work.

Encouragement to colleagues and impact on teaching occurs via:

  • Discussion and/or critiques of colleagues’ work (production and teaching).
  • Attendance at colleagues’ exhibits/lectures/presentations.
  • Reports from conferences, seminars, etc.
  • Sharing ideas about work in progress.
  • Setting an example by visibly engaging in professional practices both inside and outside the classroom

Depth and range of scholarship and teaching at periods of review and promotion

In general, the forms of scholarship are much the same as a faculty member progresses along the steps of tenure and promotion, but the level at which they are engaged should change. It is expected that the quality of production will increase and serve the community as well as the individual. Each faculty member will shape and act thoughtfully on a plan of scholarship. An active exhibition record should progress from local to regional to national (or international) venues, and/or publications from local or regional to national peer reviewed journals and perhaps books. Participation in conferences, seminars and workshops should likewise shift outward from local to regional to national, and also change from attending and participating to presenting, and perhaps even keynoting.

In terms of teaching, scholarship activities should be reflected in changes in classroom instruction through the quality of student activities, along with syllabus modifications and improvements. Scholarship should enable instructors to offer more professional advising and mentoring to students and should also result in a broadened pedagogical focus, moving from the individual classroom to the larger department and college curricula, thinking of Luther’s program in relation to other colleges and universities, in particular those at peer institutions.

Scholarship distinctive to a liberal arts college of the church

It is not necessary to be a religious artist or create religious art in order to teach effectively at a college of the church. By its very nature, art offers opportunities to explore and investigate the process of creation and tap the spiritual component of our physical existence. Exposing students to the ways that artists have incorporated their faith into their art can provide important models of religious engagement. Creative activities engage intellectual processes and critical thinking skills that complement, acknowledge, and inform work in other disciplines. Art research opens the whole range of human activity and expression to scholarly investigation that can support or challenge personal belief. It also opens doors, provides context, and prods encounters and understanding of “the other.” Distribution of scholarship is a form of service to the (local or greater) community. All three areas of scholarship engage moral and ethical questions about freedom and responsibility.

(November 2010)