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Professor Smithers teaches art history class

Art: Concentration Art Education

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Why study Art: Concentration Art Education at APSU?

To major in Art + Design is to become a visual problem solver. To major in Art + Design is to join an exciting community. Activities are ongoing in the department as students are in the classrooms from 8am to midnight. We have worked hard to keep one of our computer labs open for student use so that students do not need to purchase their own laptops and software. We have an enviable exhibition and speaker series, and all Art + Design majors are required to attend two talks per semester, but most students attend several once they discover how inspiring the speakers are.

In the first year, students are introduced to the methods and materials of artistic thinking through a series of Foundations courses in two, three, and four-dimensions. In these courses, students explore the visual world through drawing, computer software, and other hands-on experiences. This beginning sequence of classes are designed to provide all incoming students with a strong footing for conceptual and technical skills that combine old and new technologies. Even in the digital age, drawing will train the eye of the artist more than the hands. When students complete the foundations classes, they will need to successfully complete a portfolio review to progress to the capstone classes at the end of their study.

In the second year, students begin their Art History courses in order to build a mental database of global artworks from which to draw inspiration. This is the year that students begin to explore specific disciplines like Animation, Ceramics, Drawing, Graphic Design, Illustration, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Art Education. Each student will complete four of these introductory classes to broadly understand the options of art making in the 21st century. But Graphic Design, Studio Art, and Animation and Visual Effects are the only concentrations, so students will work in a combination of disciplines as they complete our programs.

In the third year, students will focus on particular areas of interest by taking more advanced classes within the disciplines. Students will also select more specific interests in Art History by selecting advanced study in Italian Renaissance, Modern Art in Europe, Contemporary Art, or Native American Art for example. In the third year, concepts will become more advanced and students will find themselves comfortable thinking like artists. 

In the fourth year, students will complete two semester sequences of capstone courses. For Studio Art, the capstone sequence will prepare students for professional development in the gallery system. Students will learn how to apply for exhibitions, how to write a resume, and how to assemble an art portfolio while also working independently on a body of work to be shown the following semester. In the final semester, Studio Art majors have small group exhibitions of their thesis work in the Barbara Beach Student Gallery. Graphic Design students spend the first semester preparing a professional portfolio and practice job interview skills. In the final semester, Graphic Design students create a fictitious company for which they come up with logos, letterhead, posters, advertisements, and "swag" that is presented publicly at a conference-like Showcase. Animation and Visual Effects students will learn what it means to work in a production studio. Art Education students spend the last two semesters observing teachers and student teaching in completion of their K-12 licensure.

What will I learn?

Art Education is one of the fastest growing fields in the 21st Century. To major in art is to become a visual problem solver. In your first year, you are introduced to the methods and materials of visual thinking through a series of Foundation courses. In these courses, you will examine and explore the visual world through drawing, computers, and other hands-on experiences in sculpture and two-dimensional design. The five Foundation Courses—Drawing 1, Drawing 2, Electronic Imaging, Two-Dimensional Design, and Three Dimensional Design—provide all incoming students with a solid set of conceptual and technical skills; we believe in a combination of old and new technologies. Even in the digital age drawing is never out of date!

In your second year, we encourage you to take art history courses so that you begin to see yourself in an historical and global context. Your hands-on studio choices open up, too. You can enroll in Introductory Studio courses, Graphic Design classes, and Art Education sections which will give you a broad view of the visual word. Thus, you will begin to see that in the 21st century all areas of art are inter-related; drawing influences sculpture, sculpture influences design, design influences photography, for example. You do not need to choose a particular area of concentration to major in until late in your second year. In fact, we encourage you to take your time so that you can choose from a broad base of knowledge, knowing that eventually all of your classroom experiences will benefit your growth as an artist.

In the third year, you will begin to focus more on your particular area of interest as an Art Educator. As an Art Educator, you will explore the history of the field, strategies for the classroom, and education theory and practice. Remember, however, that these courses are open to everyone in the department regardless of concentration. We encourage you to be broad based.

In the senior year, Art Education majors prepare for student teaching. 

The Freshmen Seminar degree requirement completed by most students is APSU 1000. The course is delivered in a small-class setting with like-minded students led by a faculty member and a peer leader. The interdisciplinary course is intended to support first-semester students and provide them with a foundation for university success. Emphasis is placed on student engagement, university learning success strategies, support services, library literacy, financial literacy, and academic and career planning. The first class meeting of APSU 1000 during fall semesters is on Freshmen Convocation Day.

The general education core is designed to develop critical competencies in written communication, oral communication, mathematical analysis, and critical thinking skills. Students at APSU select coursework in the general education core in the areas of Communication, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, History, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. While the general education core requirements for graduation can be met by choosing courses from each of these areas, some programs of study require lower division courses that serve as prerequisites for upper division courses. Students should consult the sample 4-year plans and confer with their academic advisors as they choose their general education core courses.

What engagement opportunities are available to APSU students?

APSU fosters a positive campus environment that encourages active participation in university life.

APSU students engage in HIP curricular and co-curricular experiences that advance their learning and knowledge. Opportunities include first-year seminar, first-year learning communities, common reading experience 'The Peay Read', undergraduate research, study abroad, service and community-based learning, internships, e-portfolio development, and capstone courses & projects.

What do Art: Concentration Art Education majors do after graduation?

Art Education is one of the fastest growing fields in the 21st century, and our graduates are successful in finding positions in these areas. Fine artists are able to purse graduate work or are often successful at creating entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves in galleries, as freelance artists, and as owners of small business. The greatest value of an arts education is that it prepares students to solve problems in a creative way. That’s the number one skill that employers in all fields are looking for in the 21st century. Finding new meanings in the world is what an arts education is all about.

  • Art teacher
  • Design and craft teacher
  • Painting and sculpture teacher
  • Art Curriculum Director
  • Professional Artist

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Students should be aware that licensure and certification requirements vary from state to state and are subject to change. Licensing agencies or boards also may have requirements in addition to an earned degree. APSU has not made a determination whether APSU’s programs will meet all of the licensure and certification requirements in each US state or territory.  APSU recommends that students who are not Tennessee residents or who plan to seek licensure or certification outside the state of Tennessee contact the appropriate licensing agency or board before they enroll in an academic program designed to lead to licensure or certification and discuss their plans with an advisor.

Please visit the Professional Licensure Disclosure webpage to review specific licensure information for your state and academic program.

Patrick Gosnell

Associate Professor of Art and Design

Associate Professor Patrick Gosnell began his career in education by teaching commercial photography at a high school near his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. It was during this time that he became interested in the field of graphic design and working with clients. He decided to earn a masters degree in design from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas so that he would qualify to teach at the collegiate level. Since 2015, Professor Gosnell has taught graphic design at Austin Peay State University and has helped to revitalize the program. He currently lives in Clarksville with his family.