College Art Instruction

SECAC at its meeting in Chapel Hill, NC in April, 1964, adopted the following statement of standards and principles for college instruction in art. These were amended and approved at its meeting in Charleston, SC in November, 1976, and again in Jacksonville, FL in October, 2004. The Conference urges that all southeastern institutions of higher learning endorse these standards and conform to them.

We recognize that an art department in a junior college, community college, college, university or any other post-secondary institution of learning must emphasize breadth and depth of learning and the development of critical capacities in a professional and a philosophical sense. The art teacher in such institutions must be able to aid not only in the acquisition of knowledge and skills but, more importantly, in the development of a sense of values.

Specifically, the art teacher, whether in the studio, art history classroom, or art education classroom, should have completed a substantial amount of graduate study or have its equivalent in professional experience. The terminal degree of the studio teacher is the MFA or its equivalent; the terminal degree for the art historian is the Ph.D.; and the terminal degree for the art educator is the Ph.D. or the Ed.D. It is contrary to sound academic practice to require a doctoral degree of studio teachers/artists. It is essential that studio teachers, art historians and art educators be productive artists and scholars as well as teachers; thus, art teachers should be supported with faculty development opportunities to further their creative and scholarly activities and to strengthen their teaching. By their own creativity or scholarship, teachers in post-secondary institutions must set an example and thereby stimulate students' desires to explore and develop the pertinent concepts and techniques of their chosen specialties.

To that end, a teaching schedule of not more than eighteen clock hours per week for studio teachers and not more than nine clock hours for art history teachers should be the rule. Institutions should recognize that teachers in studio art and art education often must install, clean, maintain, repair and prepare studios and equipment, and provide additional supervised lab time for students — all activities that are conducted outside class schedules. Moreover, teachers in art history often must make, bind, label, catalog and file slides and digital images and other visual resources germane to instruction but not typically part of the workload of teachers in other disciplines.

Teachers engaged in substantial graduate teaching should have adjusted schedules reflecting the special demands of graduate instruction, and teachers who have administrative duties, such as heads of departments and curators, should have teaching schedules that allow those individuals time for additional institutionally defined responsibilities.

No department should offer courses for which it does not have qualified personnel. Studio teachers and art historians should not be required to teach courses for which they are not qualified by adequate preparation or sound professional experience.

Full-time instructional faculty are the heart of an institution. Full-time faculty provide continuity and offer multiple services. Adjunct faculty are also integral to an institution by providing instruction, affording reassignment from teaching responsibilities for faculty who endeavor to develop curriculum or who are engaged in research and/or creative work, offering coursework at distant sites, and filling emergency instructional needs. There must be a balance maintained between full-time and adjunct faculty, and SECAC recommends that the use of adjunct faculty should not exceed the most current U.S. Department of Education national average for peer institutions.

An art department should have sufficient studio and classroom facilities to permit students to work and study without overcrowding. The health and safety of students, staff and teachers should be the highest priority of the institution. Art departments must insure that adequate safeguards are in place to provide clean and healthy environments in which to work. Wherever possible, graduate students should have separate studio facilities and libraries should provide easy access to art book holdings with study space nearby. Libraries should also provide electronic access to materials beyond their holdings. Studio and art education teachers should have their own office/studios and art historians should have their own offices.

Art departments should not be permitted or required to foster programs or curricula for which they cannot support the necessary library and visual resource holdings and the necessary studio space, equipment and storage facilities. Budgetary provisions for ongoing programs, undergraduate and/or graduate, should be sufficient to allow for maintaining and enhancing library holdings, visual resources, equipment, space and teachers. New programs and/or curricula should be encouraged when additional resources are available to add to established budgets that have, over time, been proven to adequately support programming at a level consistent with departmental and institutional mission. There must be a realistic relationship between the aims and the means of a department.