200.120–MFA: EVALUATION OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE

Date Revised: September 2015

POLICY
Mentored studio/creative projects – Students receive written evaluations from project mentors at midterm and at end of term.  Mentors do not grant credit, however, and the MFA Committee (MFA core faculty and invited guest faculty) must review the projects. Students present completed projects to the MFA community during retreats for critique. Subsequently, the MFA Committee meets to review projects in order to determine credit-worthiness based on the MFA evaluation rubric. The rubric sets forth three possible ratings for each area of evaluation: Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory and Excellent. Students must achieve a satisfactory or better evaluation in each area for credit to be awarded. The Committee makes recommendations pursuant to this discussion of work to students via their advisors.

Mentored academic projects – MFA core faculty members mentor all academic projects. Mentors provide written evaluations at midterm and end of term. The faculty mentor also grants credit based on student achievement of satisfactory or better evaluations in the areas of the evaluation rubric pertaining to academic work. 

Intensives – MFA core faculty members teach all intensives. The instructors determine whether or not the objectives of the intensives are met and if credit should be granted. Intensives are pass/fail.

Workshops – Workshop instructors submit grade sheets to students and the program administrator. Workshop instructors may not grant credit, however, and the MFA Committee must review all work completed in workshops. Work is presented to the Committee for evaluation during retreats and credit is awarded on the same bases that it is for studio/creative projects.

Progress Reviews
A Candidate’s progress is formally reviewed twice during the program. The first review, the Gateway, is conducted during the second retreat after matriculation into the program.  A Candidate meets with the MFA Committee for this review.  The Committee will evaluate Candidates’ progress in meeting degree requirements as well as the quality of work Candidates have completed to the date of the review.  Should the Committee determine that a Candidate is not making adequate progress in earning credits to complete the degree within three years or is not producing work of acceptable quality, the Candidate may either be placed on academic probation or be dismissed without formal warning from the program, at the discretion of the MFA Committee. 

The second review is the Penultimate during which a Candidate’s readiness to begin the Thesis Project is assessed by the MFA Committee. The penultimate is a comprehensive review of student progress and preparedness for undertaking thesis work. 

The MFA Committee determines by majority vote whether or not students pass or fail these reviews. Findings are documented. Students’ advisors communicate results of these reviews to students.

The following issues are considered during reviews:

               Gateway

  • Has a Candidate completed enough credits, properly distributed between studio and academic work, to complete the program within the required 3-year time frame? Is all required paperwork completed?
  • Does a review of Mentor project evaluations show that a candidate has been producing work of sufficient and sufficiently improving quality?
  • Should the advisor and MFA Chair find as a result of the Gateway review that a candidate is not making adequate progress through the program, or is delinquent in completing paperwork, the following steps may be taken:
  • If a Candidate is not earning enough credits or maintaining the proper distribution of credits to graduate on schedule, the advisor and Candidate re-evaluate the credits planned for the current and future terms to re-align the pace of the program.
  • A Candidate is required to rectify documentation problems within a timeframe specified by the MFA Committee. No Candidate is permitted to graduate until such time as all documentation is complete.

Penultimate

• Growth in Individual Art Practice:

  • Self-reliance and confidence within the creative process
  • Skills and techniques
  • Professional and creative goals

• Development of Creative Vision:

  • Problem finding and solving
  • Engagement with new technologies
  • Consistency and focus

• Capacity for Self-Evaluation, Critical Thought and Discourse:

  • Intentions, concepts, syntax
  • Historical, social and cultural context
  • Relationship to Art History and other disciplines relevant to the chosen medium

• Initial thoughts regarding the Thesis Project itself

  • Clarification of a Candidate’s vision of the discrete body of work to be presented as the thesis project
  • Discussion of the forthcoming written thesis, an explication of meaning of the work, an outline citing the historical influences and appropriate critical contexts for the proposed work
  • Rationale for the project describing what a Candidate expects to learn and its significance.

Should the MFA Committee find as a result of the Penultimate review that a Candidate is not prepared to undertake thesis work or if the quality of work is determined to be substandard, the following steps may be taken: If a Candidate’s work is not deemed to be of sufficient quality or quantity, a Candidate may be required to do remedial work to be presented to the MFA Committee at a specified time. If a Candidate fails to complete remedial work to the satisfaction of the MFA Committee a Candidate may be dismissed from the program.

PROCEDURE
Documentation and Evaluations
Candidates, Advisors and Mentors are required to complete a number of forms and submit them to the program office.  Program forms, instructions for completing them, and a flow chart of documentation may all be downloaded from the College website.  The information provided by these forms is not only used to monitor Candidates’ progress but it is critical to program administrators in their efforts to strengthen the program.  Advisors are to assist Candidates in completing these forms and in providing information when necessary to assist Mentors in completing forms.