College of Letters & Science

From the Chair

January 26, 2018

Part of our department’s mission is promoting visual literacy in the classroom through innovative teaching. During the past several years, we’ve been working hard to revamp our curriculum to attract a larger body of students as well as better meet the needs of our majors.

To grow our audiences, several faculty members have taken a leading role in spearheading new offerings targeting “non-majors.” Last spring, Prof. Nancy Rose Marshall taught a new course, “Art Matters: The Body, Sex, and Health in Art,” to rave reviews. The course brought students to the department from across campus, particularly the sciences, because of its interdisciplinary breadth.  This spring, we are excited that Prof. Tom Dale is teaching a new 100 level course on “Religion and Art.” Prof. Dale will involve many of the other faculty in guest lectures in this course, which will also appeal across many units on campus. And in response to student demand, we are bringing back a new iteration of the architectural history survey. Prof. Jennifer Pruitt will offer “history of the World in 15 Buildings” next fall for the first time. This course will be part of a new certificate in Architecture we are participating in with the Engineering School.

We’ve also taken a cue from our undergraduate majors and graduate students in their plea to offer more hands on, skill based courses that will prepare them for careers in the arts. Our efforts to this end are certainly evident in recent years in the number of exhibition classes we have taught, which have allowed students to work toward mounting exhibitions in the Chazen and elsewhere. We’ve also developed a new course – offered each fall –in curatorial methods. In addition to these offerings, students can take advantage of other opportunities to build expertise in areas such as material culture or vernacular architecture.

Our department is committed to continuing to innovate in response to our students and the demands of the 21st century. We invite you to join us in this endeavor by offering us feedback. Students – what courses do you want to see? What skills do you want to build? Alumni – what courses were most valuable? What do you seek in a prospective employee with art history training? Please reach out to me via email at avandrzejews@wisc.edu.

And follow us on Facebook or on our website to see examples of our faculty innovating in the classroom.

Sincerely,

Anna Vemer Andrzejewski
Professor and Chair