Artistic Understanding

Learning goal, outcomes, rationale and implementation of artistic understanding.


Learning Goal: In the core curriculum, students will analyze, interpret and critique works of art, considering the role of formal methods and techniques, and historical contexts. In addition to intellectual engagement with the arts, students will also creatively engage with the arts through practice.

Learning Outcomes: Students will

1. (Artistic Analysis) Analyze and interpret the form and meaning of works of art by applying discipline-based critical vocabulary and theory to explore the work's significance within appropriate contexts (e.g., historical, cultural, aesthetic);

In addition, students will

2. (Creative Practice) Participate actively in a creative process using practices and materials specific to an artistic medium in order to produce an object or event appropriate to the discipline.

Rationale (i.e., the intention of the proposed outcomes): A "Work of Art" is the result of a creative or expressive production or event (e.g., painting, film, video, play, fiction, poem, concert). Creating and analyzing art are ways of knowing, ways of encountering and understanding the world. This way of knowing includes intellectual/cognitive/theoretical engagement with works of art (as in outcome #1), and an embodiment/creative practice component (seen in outcome #2). These outcomes are roughly distinguished as knowledge (epist m ) and craft or skill (techn ).

Courses that meet the first learning outcome will include many of the traditional  humanities  courses (such as art and music history and literature). Courses that meet both learning outcomes will also have a substantial creative component, and could, for example, be certain studio and creative writing classes. Because we are interested first in knowledge, and secondarily in craft, the focus must be on analysis and criticism. Thus, all Artistic Understanding courses must satisfy learning outcome #1.

Implementation: Students are expected to take two courses that meet the Artistic Understanding goal. They must have at least .25 credits of course-work (or equivalent) that meets learning outcome #2, either within the two courses or in a separate course.

Oversight: The Artistic Understanding Working Group performs the initial review of courses proposed to meet the learning goals of the Core Curriculum, and thus serves as the liaison between departments and disciplinary experts, and the Core Curriculum Committee.


A list of current core-designated courses may be found in the latest Academic Catalog.


Fall 2020 Core Offerings


Questions? Contact the CCC