Art Department Statement on Scholarship

Visual arts in a liberal arts environment encourage the community to interact with and to understand visual thinking and production. In studio courses students directly practice visual thinking as they use materials to produce work.

Visual thinking also includes the study of past and current works of art and technique, pedagogy and, increasingly, art criticism. Thus, art history, art education and other discipline oriented areas are an important part of our work here at Luther. Faculty scholarship supports these major activities. We produce artwork in order to remain current in skills, visual thinking, and expression. We also study techniques, history, criticism, teaching and business methods which we communicate through writing/lectures/consulting and of course our own teaching here at Luther.

1. In the Art Department, forms of scholarship may vary depending upon the skills, teaching areas, and interests of individual faculty members.

Our discipline does not have a scholarly process to which all rigidly adhere. It is necessary that any artist teaching in a liberal arts environment has both the incentive and the creativity to develop a scholarly habit. This would include activities that directly pertain to studio involvement, teaching and communication with peers.

Though automatically there is the assumption that exhibition is THE defining scholarly work, our departmental list indicates that exhibition is only a portion of what our scholarly activities may include. In addition, to insist that writing, juried or not, be a part of scholarly activity severely inhibits in the various creative arts areas, including visual art. Art faculty are often involved in developing and sharing work and/or information in a variety of ways as suggested below. A faculty member within the department should mentor the selection and balance of scholarly work, especially during the first few years.

Accepted scholarly activities may include:
· Exhibition of work
· Consulting (step 2 or 3, see section 4 below)
· Writing articles, books, papers, reviews, etc.
· Workshops presented (step 2 or 3, see section 4 below)
· Research of technique or historical topics
· Lectures presented (step 2 or 3, see section 4 below)
· Reproduction of artwork in publications
· Judging of exhibitions
· Commissions awarded
· Artist in Residence programs (step 2 or 3, see section 4 below).

2. Forms of peer review are varied in the visual arts.

There is no single way of assessing work, nor is there a firm hierarchy of value. Our various scholarly activities are reviewed in a number of ways depending on the endeavor.

These include:
· Work accepted in juried exhibitions
· Invitational shows
· Published writings
· Pieces of work in public or major private collections
· Presentations at national or international conferences
· Special citations or awards from peers
· Peer reviewed scholarly research
· Regular gallery affiliations
· Awarding of grants from regional and national grant agencies.

3. The Art Department believes that scholarship has many benefits for good teaching.

An active scholarly life should have the following outcomes in the classroom:
· Inclusion of new techniques, materials, tools, etc. into classes
· Participation in interdisciplinary teaching or projects
· Bringing new ideas and conceptual approaches largely unavailable to our students through any other means.

4. Members of any department should mature in scholarship as they progress along the steps of tenure and promotion.

In art this means that any member of the department will be developing a number of activities from the list of scholarly expectations. Length of time at Luther corresponds with variety and depth in one’s scholarly or professional activities. In addition, scholarly activities would increase from local to regional, national and beyond, if possible. This does not mean that we de-value local activities because community is an important part of our focus.

These local activities should be part of the mixture, which includes activities with an increasingly broad research or impact.
Depth and range of achievements include:
Step one – Third Year Review:
· Increasing number of activities from the list in #1 above
· Having each step along the promotion or tenure track illustrated by a widening of profile: with local and regional participation – stressed as minimum
· Not number of works but quality
· Forming a scholarship plan with the department head for the immediate future which focuses on personal needs as well as needs of the department.
Step two – Tenure:
· Increasing number of activities from the list in #1 above
· Having each step along the promotion or tenure track illustrated by a widening of profile: including national
· Forming a scholarship plan for the time until promotion to full professor which focuses on personal needs as well as needs of the department and college.
Step three – Full Professor:
· Increasing number of activities from the list in #1 above
· Having each step along the promotion or tenure track illustrated by a widening of profile: national and international if possible
· Forming a scholarship plan for the future which focuses on personal and professional needs as well as needs of the department and college.

5. A liberal arts college of the church provides an atmosphere for the arts which in many ways is liberating and stimulating for the visual arts.

We believe aspects of our scholarship can thrive in the following ways:
· Ethical or religious topics underlying research or production are possible and encouraged
· Ethical and critical inquiry that examines not only our respective disciplines but formulates broader, sometimes difficult questions about the nature of religiosity and faith itself are possible.

June 2001