For young students, a solid foundation in their basic courses will set them on the path to success for years to come. For teachers the challenge is to make sure students understand the importance of the basics.
“If you start them off well, if they do well as freshmen and sophomores, they are going to do well as upper classmen,” said Clint Samples, associate professor of art and the foundations coordinator at UWG. “If they are not doing well, usually, we can work with them.
In September, Samples and his Department of Art colleagues will swap stories and share ideas with other teachers attending the Connecting the Dots gathering on campus. It is the first time UWG hosts a regional forum of the Foundations in Art: Theory & Education (FATE) organization, a collective of art and design teachers.
The instructors teach the introductory level design, drawing and history of art courses that all students need to get to the next level. “Freshmen are a lot different than juniors or seniors. Foundations set the stage for what they are going to do in the future,” Samples said. In addition to the subject matter at hand, “we are teaching them good work habits, life skills, time management. Basic things that you don’t usually see with a senior student.”
The department has about 140 pre-art and art majors in their freshman and sophomore years. Samples and his Art Department colleagues, Stephanie Smith, Casey McGuire, Rebecca Reynolds, Eilis Crean and Erin Dixon, are coordinating the forum.
The keynote speaker will be Nancy Palmeri, an associate professor from the University of Texas at Arlington. FATE members represent schools such as California State University, Long Beach, Savannah College of Art and Design and Northern Illinois University. Attendees to the forum will include art teachers from Florida State University, North Georgia College and State University, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Columbus State University, Young Harris College and the University of Toledo.
“This is good for us because we are putting our name on the map,” Samples said. “We want to be a recognized leader in foundations teaching.”