Texas Colleges and Universities


In accordance with its purpose as an organization to facilitate the professional work of teachers of the visual arts, Texas Association of Schools of Art has unanimously approved the following professional standards.

It is especially intended that this brochure be a catalyst for dialogue between faculty and administration when policies are planned and/or administered. As TASA represents college and university art departments throughout the state with over 55 institutional members, these recommendations are designed to assure the quality of visual arts programs in universities and colleges. The standards for employment, duties, rights and status of faculty are consistent at all levels of post-secondary education in the visual arts and will, therefore, facilitate the transfer and transition of students from one institution of higher education to another.

I. Special Provision

The art faculty should participate in decisions determining appointments, professional duties, status, rank and tenure for the art department.

II. Qualifications for Employment of New Art Faculty For purpose of appointment (either full or part-time) the following should be considered:

A. The terminal degrees or equivalency for art areas are:

1) Studio faculty - Master of Fine Arts

2) Art History - Doctor of Philosophy

3) Art Education - Ph.D. or Ed.D.

4) Design Faculty - Master of Fine Arts or Masters degree in design, or professional experience in the discipline.

5) Other Art Fields -
If no terminal degree exists, professional experience and training at least equivalent to that required for a terminal degree, shall be considered in all matters of employment, advancement, tenure, and/or merit evaluation.

B. Non-terminal degree equivalency for art areas: Competency requirements should be clearly defined by each instructional unit. It is the responsibility of the institution to keep on file documentation of work experience, certifications, and other qualifications if these are to substitute for or supplement formal academic preparation. Prospective faculty should be evaluated, for full or part-time appointment, on professional achievement considering other professional degrees, creative work, ongoing art productivity, art exhibition record, teaching experience, professional development, adjudication of art exhibitions, lectures, publications, professional consultations, workshop presentations, or other professional activities. It is of overriding importance that the prospective faculty member be or have been deeply and currently involved in the particular discipline and be able to communicate personal knowledge and experience effectively.

III. Professional duties

A. Faculty loads should be such that faculty members are able to carry out their duties effectively. They should have adequate time to provide effective instruction, advise and evaluate students, continue professional growth, and participate in service activities expected by the institution. For example, the maximum teaching load for studio art faculty is 18 contact hours per week. The maximum teaching load for art lecturers is 9-12 contact hours per week, depending on research expectations. The calculation of instructional loads should take into account such factors as number of preparation hours, number of students taught, the nature of the subject, and help available from technical and clerical staff and teaching assistants.

B. For studio classes in which all or most of the work is accomplished in school studios, there is generally a ratio of 3 hours of reserved studio time and space per credit hour per week for 15-16 weeks. For example, a 3-credit hour studio class would require 6 faculty contact hours per week. In addition, students would be expected to work at least 3 additional hours outside of class per week.

C. In lecture classes that require outside preparation, one hour of credit represents one hour each week of the term in class (with faculty contact) and a minimum of two hours of work by the student outside of class.

D. Studio enrollment should not exceed 20, with smaller enrollment, as appropriate, for advanced classes and specialized studios in order to assure substantial individual instruction and to provide a safe and healthy instructional environment for students and faculty.

E. Graduate teaching assistants who have primary responsibility for assigned teaching duties must be under the direct supervision of a regular faculty member experienced in the teaching field, receive in-service training, and be regularly evaluated. A graduate student teaching a course for credit and/or responsible for assigning final grades for such a course must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in their teaching field. In no case should graduate students be given teaching assignments in excess of one half the normal teaching load.

F. An art faculty member who provides administrative, consultative, and/or support services other than those directly relating to teaching should receive additional compensation, reduction in teaching load, and/or tangible institutional service credit.

IV. Status of Appointed Art Faculty Members

A. An art faculty member on full-time or half-time appointment, should have regular faculty status. This includes eligibility for promotion (academic rank/tenure), salary increases, retirement, any other benefits, as well as opportunity for participation in college and university governance.

B. The criteria for promotion, retention, and tenure shall be: earned terminal art degree or its equivalent, teaching effectiveness, research, professional accomplishments, and service to the institution, the profession, and the community. These matters should be made as discipline-specific as possible. Colleges and universities should make certain that their policies and procedures relating to matters of renewal, retention, promotion, and tenure are clear, concrete and available to each faculty member when hired.

C. An art faculty member is expected to be a practicing professional, therefore compensation for private professional activities should not be a factor in determining salary.

V. Academic Freedom and Responsibility

A. Academic freedom of thought, research, and expression is essential to the propagation of knowledge and creativity within any institution of higher education. A student's freedom to learn ideas is interconnected with a teacher's freedom to pursue scholarly inquiry without undue restriction and to voice and publish conclusions concerning the significance of evidence considered relevant. TASA strongly disapproves of any method used by administration to suppress academic freedom.

B. The right to academic freedom correlates with responsibility. TASA supports the premise that artists and art educators must be mature in their choices of subject matter as well as the means through which it is presented; that art faculty and students must develop and demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness toward difference in audience and exhibition contexts. Faculty members should also exercise institutional responsibility. If necessary, the faculty member should make it clear that he or she is not speaking for the institution. However, the faculty member must also be free from the corrosive fear that others, inside or outside the academic community, because of their differing view, may threaten the faculty member's professional career or the material benefits accruing from it.

C. TASA strongly disapproves of creative censorship. TASA strongly opposes capricious efforts to remove artworks or displays, or to suppress the publishing and/or distribution of written materials, in all contexts. In a college learning environment especially, before action is taken to limit freedom of expression, a clear effort must be made to discuss the artistic, aesthetic, technical, expressive or other merits of any work involved. Included in this discussion should be the creator of such work, and individuals with particular knowledge of and experience of the particular discipline and with the broad purposes and forms of art that have served societies throughout history.

A Publication of the Texas Association of Schools of Art March, 2000 © Texas Association of Schools of Art.