Requirements for fine arts reshaped to help students

The purpose of the university’s new core curriculum, which made its debut this semester, is to give students a broad-based education.

As part of this mission, faculty and administration decided to add a requirement that expands learning outside of the sterotypical classroom setting.

From now on, all students who come under the new core curriculum must attend one event designated as a Fine Arts Experience each semester they are enrolled.

The events include costume recitals, concerts and art exhibits.

Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes said “The faculty wants to give students the opportunity to be culturally enriched by actually seeing works.”

Professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Stephen Crawford is head of the FAE committee and said that the program “gets to the heart and soul of the student, and that’s what the arts are really about.”

Crawford explained that the new requirement is something that will aid the university in developing students that have a broad education.

“The benefit for the university as a whole is always in the product that we create,” he said. “A university creates students. When (they) receive our diplomas, we want them to be experts in their field, but we also want them to be well rounded.”

The FAE does not replace the three semester hours of fine arts that are also required under the new core, but are intended to work in conjunction with the classroom.

“The fine arts credits are the book learning components of the arts, but nothing beats going to an actual event where you become an audience member because that means you’re also a part of the artistic happening,” Crawford said.

While the courses are important, there is no substitute for experiencing the arts for oneself, he said.

“It’s like the difference between reading about football and going to a football game.”

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Steve Oldham said, “We’re hoping students will not only study the arts, but they will go to an event and like it, and maybe go back even though they don’t have to.”

Because it is the FAE’s first year, Crawford said it will take a little time to see how the system they have set up will work for the program.

“We’ll find out, I’m sure by the end of the semester, how well it’s going and how well we’re doing of informing students as to when the events are,” he said.

Most of the events take place on campus. However, as time goes on, Crawford sees the program growing.

“At this point, we’re just focusing on what UMHB has to offer, which is a tremendous amount,” Crawfor said. “We’re starting small, with budget and everything, but as that gets bigger, it will become much more special.”

For more information about the Fine Arts Experience, or to see a list of events that fulfill the requirement, click the FAE icon located on the College of Visual and Performing Arts page.

You can find the page under the academics tab on the university website.

Author: JC Jones

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