In late October, California Baptist University announced the addition of a new bachelor’s degree in art education. This new major is specifically designed for students who wish to pursue a career in teaching art within a K-12 setting.
Prof. Duncan Simcoe, program lead for the College of Architecture, Visual Arts & Design, said this new degree is a natural extension of CBU culture.
“We have offered a course titled: Aesthetics in the Classroom for many years, largely to service education majors who wanted (or) needed to add some sophistication to their palette of classroom abilities,” Simcoe said. “In addition, some of the FA (Fine Art) majors who came to our program were driven by the idea of ‘giving back’ through the medium of art education specifically.
“So, the desire for this kind of integrated field of study has been a part of CBU culture for some time. It was simply a matter of recognizing this audience and jumping through the organizational hoops necessary to construct a program that could meet the professional standards for this field.”
An art education degree has been in the works for many years at CBU. Not only is it an attractive addition to the College of Architecture, Visual Arts & Design, but it is also a strategic and much-needed outlet for students wishing to apply their art skills in a tangible way. According to Simcoe, many students in the past chose not to pursue art due to seemingly “unprofessional” nature.
“Art is often looked at as some kind of hobby activity. Art Education makes it sound somehow legitimate as a profession, and I get that,” Simcoe said. “I have spoken with many students over the years, who would have been art majors, but their parents simply would not let them. Although it is true that art, like music, can function in this way, it is also an essential form of non-verbal communication and a decidedly incarnational activity that finds its way into unexpected areas of endeavor.”
Through the induction of this new program, CBU art students now have the potential to pursue an art degree that would otherwise seem intangible. The addition of this program is revolutionary for the College of Architecture, Visual Arts and Design, as it could usher in a new generation of art students through its increased workplace practicality.
Mikayla Morehead, sophomore arts therapy major, said that the addition of an Art Education degree is a good idea.
“I would assume that, like CBU’s art therapy program, art education students will learn a little bit of every medium,” Morehead said. “I think that becoming well versed in many different styles of art-making is extremely beneficial for any aspiring artist, both in helping them become better and more well rounded, and helping them to learn how to teach others. A major that specifically educates students on how to teach art will be helpful because it will help them learn the necessary skills to foster a healthy art-making environment.”
Todd Liddell, junior graphic design major, said that Art Education is a strategic and much-needed program for art students.
“I would have been set up for greater success had I been taught the importance of art at a young age. I know this major will give future generations a better grasp on how art is integrated with our faith and this world,” Liddell said. “I think this new major will open doors for people who are passionate about art and teaching. I also believe people will gain a greater understanding of the purpose of art, and give a greater appreciation for the arts.”
Through an art education major, future generations of students will have access to a professionally minded approach to art. This will benefit their careers and their creativity, and equip them with the skills to educate the K-12 platform on the importance of art.