Four degrees of combination
Four degrees of combination

Students in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) have always been makers — developing architects, artists, designers, authors, dramatists, and musicians — and creative interactions among the communities have long been encouraged, but with the current academic year four new degree offerings will integrate more formal combinations into the College: the relaunch of the Art Education BFA and the expansive Interdisciplinary Studies in the Arts (IDEAS) program, both offered through the School of Art & Art History, as well as a new BA in Music Business through the School of Theatre & Music; and, with the 2018–19 academic year, the new BA in Design, offered by the School of Design.

As the lead of the new Art Education program, Karyn Sandlos, Associate Professor, School of Art & Art History, emphasizes that there is no better place for art making and arts education to come together than at the College and UIC — particularly given the University’s urban setting. Access to the riches of Chicago’s renowned visual and performing arts scene, along with College resources such as the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the original landmark and a museum committed to social justice, and Gallery 400, a dynamic, cutting-edge contemporary art gallery, will further enhance the program.

Graduates of the Art Education program will meet the requirements for Illinois State art teacher certification and gain the experiences needed to become effective teachers/artists/researchers at the high-school level in Chicago’s diverse public schools and communities, and beyond. Sandlos explains, “The undergraduate Art Education program will cultivate the study and making of art in a variety of ways that are rooted in local cultures and histories of activism and democratic participation in the public sphere. Student teachers will develop their own artistic practice and learn how a rigorous process of art making can be shared with their students.”

Faculty member Robert DiFazio, who has a 13-year career as a music producer and comes to UIC most recently from the Music Business Management program at Columbia College Chicago, is coordinating the new Music Business degree. With required coursework in both the School of Theatre & Music and the UIC School of Business, the degree combines a rigorous formal music curriculum — courses in music theory, master classes in performance, ear training, keyboard skills, music history, and analytic technique, among others — with classes geared to succeeding in a rapidly changing industry. Culminating in a spring internship in the music industry, the degree program will cover subjects that include marketing, entrepreneurship, management information systems, managerial finance, and conflict resolution. Students enrolled in the degree program will enjoy the added benefit of being in Chicago, one of the largest markets in the nation for music events and a thriving music scene with a rich heritage.

Combining methodologies and processes from the graphic design and industrial design disciplines, the new BA in Design will focus on the human experience in the creation of communications, objects, and/or services, all in the context of a liberal arts education. The new program seeks to address demand from community college and transfer students who have decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in design only after completing several semesters of higher education. It is also designed for UIC intercollegiate transfer students whose exposure to design only occurs during their early college career. The program will prepare students for entry-level design employment or enable them to gain acceptance to a graduate program in the field.

As art making becomes increasingly pluralistic in contemporary society, our students and faculty seek new ways to cross disciplines and foment ideas amid artists working in different mediums, to combine art forms in their work in inventive ways, and to merge areas of study such as the humanities or sciences with an arts education to drive social change. The Interdisciplinary Degree in the Arts at UIC (IDEAS) is intended for students who may or may not have a background in the arts but seek to cultivate creative and critical skills as artists, makers, designers, or arts writers. With an emphasis on interdisciplinary methods, IDEAS promotes creative problem solving through the arts, as well as engaged work within any of the departments within CADA.

Image: Billy James Joyce (MFA ‘17) in UIC Open Studios, Spring 2016