The Foundations Core: Evolution and Endurance

ThinkCatalyst@FATE 2017 // Kansas City Art Institute
 Applications can be submitted online here starting October 1st, 2016.

ThinkCatalyst will kick off on the morning of April 5th, 2017, and have a registration fee of $75 that will include lunch.  

In partnership with FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education), Integrative Teaching International (ITI) is offering a ThinkCatalyst intensive just prior to the 2017 Biennial FATE conference. This one-day intensive on April 5, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri brings together art and design master and emerging educators and administrators to address thematic issues of higher art education. It employs a mix of facilitated discussions, brief presentations, and social interaction with lunch provided.

Our target audience for this intensive includes:

1. Current MFA candidates in studio art and design, or recent MFA degree recipients, with at least 1 semester of Foundations teaching experience.
2. Current PhD candidates, or recent PhD degree recipients, with at least 1 semester of teaching experience in art theory, educational theory, or contemporary art practices.
3. Foundations Coordinators.
4. Emerging Educators in Foundations (1-5 years of experience).
5. Higher Education Arts Administrators and Program Directors.



 April 5, 2017 at the Intercontinental at the Plaza in Kansas City


10:00-10:30  Registration

10:30 - 11:30 Welcome, introductions and overview (breakout groups formed)

11:30 - 1:00 Lunch in breakout groups

1:00 - 3:30  Facilitated breakout discussions. (Including a short ‘walk and talk’ coffee break to nearby coffee shop)

3.30 - 4:15 Facilitated breakout discussions, summarize ideas for brief presentation

4:15- 5:00   Full group re-convenes. Breakout groups give brief presentations

The four breakout discussion groups are:

1. Beyond Our Core Comfort Zones: Dealing with Fear in Teaching and Learning

Trying new approaches is core to the learning and teaching processes, but often carries real or perceived risks that can make both students and faculty fearful. Having spent time finding approaches that seem to work, both faculty and students can be reluctant to make themselves vulnerable by moving beyond their areas of comfortable competence or expertise, though such moves can often yield great gains.

How can faculty not be afraid of experimenting with their curriculum when it may result in poor student evaluations or intangible results that cannot be easily measured, but are geared toward student success? How can faculty teach new processes or approaches they do not feel ‘expert’ in? How can we encourage our students to experiment and possibly fail while still maintaining rigor and measurable outcomes? Participants will share and develop resources for overcoming fear and expanding beyond our core comfort zones.

Topics may include: Scaffolding risk taking for students; Learner centered syllabi; Peer – to – peer teaching / learning; Collaborative teaching; Discovery classroom / approaches; Measuring attitudinal change / outcomes.

2. Family at the Core: Work / Life Balance for Faculty and Students

Students and faculty all have lives and many have children, aging parents, or other major commitments outside the classroom. How do we acknowledge these needs while supporting focused work time in the classroom and studio? There are many aspects to balancing work and life for both faculty and students, and many viewpoints from which this topic needs to be addressed as academia continues to evolve. What are some approaches to being more empathetic towards life situations while maintaining classroom expectations and rigor?

How do students cope with expectations of family in regard to both their performance as students and their family roles?  How do family experiences and attitudes affect first generation students? How does financial aid fit into the picture? How are families integrated into the university system? How do faculty mentor and support students as they grow towards independence without slipping into surrogate parent roles? How do we address work / life balance and career / portfolio building for both faculty and students while acknowledging the potential for burnout?

3. The Core Evolves: Making Changes, Managing Change.

Both Foundations and general education have long traditions and we often hold strong beliefs around what is 'at the core.' This core should be responsive to a changing world and geared toward equipping our students to succeed in today's society. How do we as faculty advocate for relevant change without alienating other faculty or administrators? Within Foundations,how do we adapt our curriculums to teach the most important aspects of both traditional Bauhaus influenced approaches and newer models? Beyond our own programs, how can Art Departments serve non-majors beyond the traditional ‘Art Appreciation’ lecture courses?

Participants will share and develop resources for discussing and planning big changes to core programs.

Topics may include: Appreciative inquiry and active listening as tools to deal with resistance; Changes to regional general education structures that focus on competencies more than content; AAC&U’s LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) value rubrics which reflect a national shift in pedagogical approaches and assessment approaches; Program plan mapping; Seeing general education courses as recruitment opportunities for art programs; Teaching creative thinking through general education courses in art; How to change the perception of general education teaching as a chore.

 4. Local Core, Global Awareness: The Role of Foundations in Building Global Citizens.

Global citizen is a common buzz-word in education, but what is at the core of our expansive use of this broad term? Building upon discussions addressed at ThinkTank9 in Bozeman Montana, this group will examine how Foundations classes can help students become Global Citizens and develop skills that are sustainable.How can we account for student populations that have very diverse backgrounds and exposure to global considerations? Can global also refer to community building and seeing oneself as part of a much larger discussion? Can service be part of building that awareness? How can we help students question their basic assumptions regarding privilege and disadvantage? As teachers, how can we cultivate these conversations without bias, and prepare students to embrace global empathy and inquiry?

Topics may include: Learner centered syllabi; Developing an inclusive classroom culture; Helping students explore their own identities and privileges / adversities; Having courageous conversations; Broad and inclusive content in assignments and exemplars; Aspirational / inspirational assignments and exemplars; Setting up service learning / experiential learning / community outreach opportunities

Applications can be submitted online here starting October 1st, 2016.

Applications will be reviewed at intervals leading up to the final deadline to apply.

Application review dates: 

Dec. 31, 2016 and Feb. 28, 2017

ThinkCatalyst Fellowship application deadline: 

Dec. 31, 2016, and notifications will be sent out in January 2017

KCAI’s Foundations Department will host Beyond the Core, FATE's 16th Biennial Conference from April 6th - 8th, 2017 at the Intercontinental at the Plaza in Kansas City. There FATE members will gather as leading voices in fundamental art and design instruction and examine place, geography, introspective and reflexive actions, pedagogical values, and the potency of origins across the world.  

Together, we will develop strategies for developing new approaches to teaching and learning at the college level. Our goal is to use our shared experiences to develop integrative approaches to foundations education, developing the possibilities inherent in visual art and design to communicate values that operate within the broadest cultural equations. As shared experience, they also define the community ethic that is an essential value of ThinkTank.