Regents approve three-year associate of fine arts degree at Snow College
EPHRAIM—A specialized, three-year art degree is being offered at Snow College that is not available anywhere else in Utah.
The Utah State Board of Regents has approved an associate of fine arts (AFA) degree with an emphasis on visual studies.
“It’s not just a generic AA (associate of arts) or AS (associated of science),” said professor Adam Larsen, art department chairman. “It has a much more robust visual arts component required of it. There are also extracurricular components to the program to make it more rigorous and to make it competitive”.
Larsen says students seeking the new degree will be required to take 80 hours of coursework at Snow. (Ordinarily, it takes 63 hours to get an associate degree.)
The additional time will give students the opportunity to not only get a quality, in-depth study of the visual arts, which will build their portfolio, but will provide a quality general and multi-disciplinary educational experience as well, Larsen says.
“Students will get a much more well-rounded foundation, and they will have an opportunity to take more studio classes, leading to more successful transfers,” Larsen said. “When they transfer, hopefully, they can get a scholarship and apply directly into their BFA (bachelor of fine arts) program. They would only need about 40 more hours to earn it (a BFA).”
More than extra course work required to complete the degree, Larsen says.
“You have to have a foundation review at the end of your first year in art,” Larsen said. “You’ll either get into the new program or are required to improve in some areas to make it in.”
Once in the program, students, in collaboration with faculty, will design a curricular emphasis specific to their career goals. The entrepreneurial and professional practices component of the degree prepares students for success later in their careers. Students completing the program will leave Snow College with a developed skill set, Larsen says.
The program will also include a course known as the AFA capstone seminar designed to assist students in getting ready for transfer to a BFA program at a university.
At the end of the program, students will be required to present an associate of fine arts thesis exhibition.
“Students will have to install a show themselves in the student galleries, have an artist’s statement and justify the project orally to the full-time art faculty,” Larsen said. “They have to do everything—hang it, light it, advertise the show. Essentially they’ll have to stage a cohesive grouping of their own artwork and show that it’s going in the direction they wanted it to go.”
“We are pleased with the approval of this new degree,” Steve Hood, Snow College vice president, said. “It fills a unique role within the Utah System of Higher Education, and our faculty is eager to implement the program.
“Faculty, along with their students, have received numerous recognitions, and we look forward to their continued good work. Students completing this program will be well-prepared academically, and they will have had significant applied experiences.”
Larsen said Snow College is uniquely positioned to offer the new degree because of the many professional artists living and working in Sanpete County. These artists provide a rich pool the college can draw on for guest lecturers, adjunct teachers and field experiences.
The program has taken a little while to get off the ground, says Larsen, who has been the driving force behind it. Because of that delay, Larsen says, a handful of students were “grandfathered” into the program before it was approved by the Utah State Board of Regents.
“The degree officially begins in August, but a small group of students who are prepared will have the opportunity to graduate with the new degree in December (2017),” Larsen said. “A much larger batch of students should graduate with the degree in the spring of 2018.”