Academic Catalog 2023-24

Visual Studies (BA, Minor)

The Visual Studies program at Dominican provides students with the opportunity to explore and to understand the significance of the visual arts in past and modern global contexts. In today’s world, the well-rounded and liberally educated individual is increasingly in demand. Our program trains students to think analytically, to effectively communicate as scholars, and to acquire problem-solving skills that are invaluable to employers. Our carefully designed courses cover a wide range of materials and diverse media (from traditional to “pop culture”), social/historical contexts (ancient to modern), and conceptual frameworks (ways of looking/seeing.)

Visual Studies involves: the histories of artistic production and material culture, the lives of images, people, civilizations, artifacts, and built environments, how visual practices have shaped values, experience, identity, and social action both in the past and the present. We provide a diversity of experiences that encourage students to develop critical thinking skills that promote lifelong, creative discovery. Students explore the values and curricular goals of the university within the field of Visual Studies in order to engage in today’s society with self-reflection and diverse perspectives in a creative and analytical manner.

Visual Studies is by definition an inherently interdisciplinary field, including perspectives from: sociology, psychology, economics, politics, environmental studies, gender studies, race and ethnic studies, communication studies, public health studies, etc. Our courses present a flexible but also rigorous curriculum that incorporates perspectives from a diversity of fields; students become familiar with the history of visual texts, and contemporary interdisciplinary approaches to the study of representation in its multiple forms.

The Visual Studies program offers courses designed for majors and non-majors alike. Our degree program is also an excellent choice for students double-majoring and multiple-minoring in diverse fields.

Program Learning Outcomes

The student will demonstrate:

  1. Fundamental skills and appropriate vocabulary for analysis and interpretation of works of art in their historical contexts. Literacy in the language of art – reading, writing, and speaking related to the expressive and cultural contexts.
  2. The ability to identify and compare the values (social, political, religious, artistic, intellectual) of diverse cultures through studies of the arts produced by these cultures. An increased awareness and appreciation for the art and cultural heritage of diverse world regions.
  3. An understanding and appreciation of art and architecture directly through visits to museums, galleries, studios, religious and historical sites, through internships, participatory and career-oriented course; the development of a lifelong interest in, appreciation, and understanding of art.
  4. An experiential understanding of selected art media and an increased understanding of the nature of human perception, motivation, and creation as a necessity for personal growth and well-being.
  5. Competency in the use of library resources; critical, creative, and original thinking; writing and oral presentation skills; the preparation and presentation of short and long papers and projects that describe or compare works of art, or exhibit knowledge in the development of a theme or thesis.