Core Curriculum Panel Discussion - TASA 2016

Panelists: Mark Greenwalt, College of the Mainland; Rebecca Dietz, San Antonio College; Amorette Garza, Del Mar College; Lisa Ehrich, Brookhaven College/DCCCD

  • During this session the following topics were discussed:
  • Current status of art education in the general education core curriculum
  • TASA’s initiative to develop 3 new courses for the core
  • THECB’s intent (via the ACGM) to delete 7 second - semester sophomore level studios
  • The DCCCD’s Art Curriculum Committee update on their appeal to removal of these courses
  • TASA’s efforts to support the appeal and strategies moving forward

CORE Issues

As we know, the 2014 Core eliminated studio art classes from the options of classes students could take. Although a few Community Colleges were initially successful in their efforts to restore some of the studio classes, recently, the THECB rejected these studio classes (again) from the Core because they have determined “while the activities themselves are important, the courses do not fulfill the purpose of the Texas Core Curriculum.”

Most art faculty understand and agree that there is great value in meeting the goals of the core objectives in the “Creative Arts” category through courses in the studio arts. TASA is, therefore, investigating the possibility of developing 3 new Art Appreciation courses that unite appreciation content with studio media. Preliminary communication with the THECB is underway to clear the path for this proposal.

TASA Proposal: Appoint a curriculum committee to review, edit and/or develop current course learning outcomes for the existing ARTS 1325, Drawing and Painting for non-majors to include and require the traditional lecture based content an analysis found in art appreciation and art history courses. The curriculum committee would also develop the course description and course learning outcomes for two new art courses (Ceramics and Sculpture for non-majors and Digital Art and Photography for non-art majors) to require the traditional lecture based content and analysis found in art appreciation and art history courses. All of these courses proposals would then be sent to the Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee (UEAC) for discussion edits and approval.

Other ideas were discussed as:

  • Utilizing ARTS 1313 Foundations in Art (for non-art majors) as a Core class
  • Developing a 3000 level portfolio class that Community Colleges could teach for those students preparing to transfer

ACGM issues

Last fall 2015, most of us returned from the summer break only to find out that the THECB had posted seven studio courses that were scheduled for deletion from the course inventory of Texas Community Colleges for Spring 2017.

ARTS 2324Life Drawing II               ARTS 2349Digital Art II

ARTS 2327Sculpture II                       ARTS 2367Watercolor II

ARTS 2334Printmaking II                  ARTS 2336Fiber Arts II

ARTS 2342Art Metals II

The two-year gap between the announcement and the deletion was, according to the Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM) Advisory Committee, intended to give colleges a chance to respond, appeal, and/or make adjustments to their schedules. Realizing the negative consequences of such actions, the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Art Curriculum Committee decided to follow the appeal process outlined by the ACGM.

Summary and timeline of the DCCCD actions:

September 2015 –DCCCD Curriculum Committee begins work following the ACGM guidelines.

March 2016 - DCCCD Curriculum Committee submits the appeal to the ACGM.

April 2016 – ACGM representative, Rebecca Leslie, responds that the appeal is incomplete and will require additional information, but fails to be specific.

August 2016 – Rebecca Leslie notifies DCCCD Curriculum Committee that they have posted a new form (in February ’16 without informing anyone) need to resubmit using the new form.

October 2016 – Conference call with Rebecca Leslie and DCCCD Art Curriculum co-chairs clarifying the necessary additional information.

November 17, 2016 – DCCCD reps plan to attend the ACGM Advisory Committee fall public meeting in Austin.

December 2016 – DCCCD Art Curriculum Committee intend to resubmit the appeal on the new forms.

May 3, 2017 – DCCCD reps plan to attend the ACGM Advisory Committee spring public meeting in Austin.

In short, the new form requests not only the letters of support from at least 5 state universities that they will receive each of these courses as transferable credit, but also evidence that these courses specifically fit into a degree plan. Additionally, they want this information signed by the Chair or Dean of the Art Department and the Provost or Chief Academic Officer of that university.

The rational for these course deletions, according to Rebecca Leslie, is to facilitate students transferring as quickly as possible to the university and not waste time taking extra classes at the community colleges. When asked about the impact on students who may only get an Associates Degree as a terminal degree, or students transferring to private universities, or students who are in articulations that require these classes, or students who need more preparation prior to transferring, or NASAD standards, she was disinterested. She stated that the ACGM Advisory Committee is only concerned with issues that impact the transfer curriculum.

TASA support:

  • Carol Fairlie, TASA president wrote a letter of support for the 1st appeal submission.
  • TASA representatives plan to attend fall and spring ACGM Advisory Meetings.
  • 2 and 4 year institutions will work together on articulations or 2 + 2 agreements.
  • Universities will help facilitate completion of new forms.
  • Other community colleges will launch the appeal process.

DCCCD appeal documents:

Curriculum Letter Nov 1, 2016
Texas 60x30 talking points
Brookhaven Sculpture II Syllabus 
Texas Tech Sculpture II Syllabus    


Art Under Attack: The Creative Arts in U.S. Higher Education

May, 2016 - Richard Lubben, TASA President Elect & CAA Education Committee Chair

With the implementation of the new Texas higher education core curriculum in the fall 2014 semester, most studio and performing art courses are no longer optionsfor many college students wishing to fulfill their undergraduate general education creative arts area. With the exception of two colleges, students in Texas public institutions are now generally required to select from a very limited list of purely lecture courses such as art appreciation, art history or music appreciation. This decision by state policy makers took most Texas college art departments by surprise when requests to include studio art courses in the general education area were denied in 2014, and again for the last two years. As Texas colleges and universities are busy preparing for continued declines in studio enrollment after new requests to include studio art courses in the 2016-­‐17 core curriculum area were denied once again, many art faculty remain concerned about the future of the arts in U.S. colleges and universities.  

After substantial discussion with art administrators and curriculum specialist in Texas over the last three years, it appears that many policy makers believe that the sole purpose of a studio art course (courses such as painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, etc.) is to train students to be practicing artists, and that students taking a studio art course will only learn "craft" techniques and technical skills. The College Art Association Education Committee and the Texas Association of Schools of Art disagree with this likely uninformed interpretation of the purpose of studio art education, and urge policy makers to understand that studio art classes should not be mistakenly perceived as the acquiring of narrow skills, techniques or procedure specific to a particular occupation or profession. In my experience, undergraduate studio art courses are intellectual courses that are not primarily focused to train students to become practicing artists, just as English composition is not intended to train students to become professional writers. Cognitive skills, particularly critical thinking, innovation, and problem solving are developed and reinforced in studio art courses and help students toward their goal of being successful, productive and gainfully employed citizens regardless of their field of study in college, or in their chosen career. 

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Report on TASA Meeting with the THECB on February 6, 2015

Here is the report (Word file and PDF file) of the meeting (Feb. 6, 2015) between Carol Fairlie, President of TASA and Richard Lubben (TASA Board Member) with Dr. Rex Peebles, Assistant Commissioner of THECB. It is an effective start with assertive and meaningful communication with THECB. But there is still work to be done and TASA is on it.

Master Syllabi - five master syllabi for the art studio classes that were approved by the THECB for the creative arts core area at South Texas College this fall:
ARTS2356 Master Syllabus (Microsoft Word file) ARTS2356 Master Syllabus (PDF file)
ARTS2348 Master Syllabus (Microsoft Word file) ARTS2348 Master Syllabus (PDF file)
ARTS2346 Master Syllabus (Microsoft Word file) ARTS2346 Master Syllabus (PDF file)
ARTS1316 Master Syllabus (Microsoft Word file) ARTS1316 Master Syllabus (PDF file)
ARTS1311 Master Syllabus (Microsoft Word file) ARTS1311 Master Syllabus (PDF file)

TASA thanks Carol Fairlie and Richard Lubben for their outstanding work. If you wish to extend your thanks and encouragement directly to Carol and Richard, please send your emails to and !

Creative Arts Core Component Area and Studio Art Courses

November 1, 2014

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Subject: Creative Arts Core Component Area and Studio Art Courses

As a state non-profit organization created in 1970 at the request of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, TASA (Texas Association of Schools of Art) continues to support a growing membership of 60 Texas higher education institutions in matters of art curriculum and transfer credits. This year, TASA has taken the initiative to address the new developments regarding studio art courses and the new general education core. Prior to our recent 44th annual conference, our association sent out and gathered data from Texas art faculty and department chairs using a specialized survey about the core and studio classes. During the conference the headlining topic and discussion was about the removal of studio art classes from the core curriculum and the resulting immediate and long-term effects to students and colleges. TASA urges the THECB to consider the following supporting information regarding studio art courses when reviewing new core inclusion proposals for the creative arts core component area.

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Creative Arts Core Component Area and Studio Art Courses

The below link is to Amarillo College’s 2013 core submissions and can be used as an example for your upcoming core proposals.  (Check with your institutional Curriculum Office for deadlines to the THECB.  South Texas College has a Nov. 15 deadline so it is coming up very soon.)  As you know, Amarillo College was the only institution that had studio courses accepted into the core by the THECB last year.  Please notice the use of key words and the amount of detail that seems to be required for an acceptable application.  To increase your chances for a successful application include an explanation of how each of the four core objectives will be covered and assessed and how each course fulfills the core objectives using a grading rubric.  We are no longer using Exemplarily Educational Objectives (EEO’s) so those along with the ACGM page number can be omitted from the application.  You should use the new CLO’s and course descriptions listed on the ACGM link below.  Lastly, please also find a letter of support from the TASA Board (link below) that you can print and include with your core inclusion requests when submitting through your college’s Curriculum Office in November.  We hope it will help explain how studio courses do belong in the Creative Arts Core Component Area.

Amarillo College Core Submissions:

Downloadable grading rubrics for core objectives and team member critique sheet.  Click on the “Competencies and Rubrics” link to download the general rubric form and modify for your department if needed.

ACGM Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual:
Select “Studio Art & Art History” in the discipline areas and then click on “run”

Notice that several courses have revised course descriptions and Course Learning Outcomes (CLO’s).  Your Fall 2015 Master Syllabi should be updated with this new information when submitting your core inclusion justifications.  The staff member reviewing your core justifications will likely review your Master Syllabi when making his or her decision regarding approve or denial to the core.

TASA Letter to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Subject: Creative Arts Core Component Area and Studio Art Courses
PDF file
Microsoft Word Document

TASA Core Survey Results (three survey summaries) -

Richard Lubben
Board Member (2011-2017) 
South Texas College
Art Dept., 3201 W. Pecan Blvd.
McAllen, TX 78501