The underlying philosophy of the program is that of the artist-teacher: meaning an art education student will become a better teacher when they can draw on their strengths and insight as an artist. For these reasons art education students at Viterbo focus first on their own creative productivity, at some point developing a special interest in a particular area of artmaking. Art education students go through much the same rigor that a studio art major would undertake, first by completing a year of foundations drawing, design, and art history. Every art major takes this sequence of beginning courses. We assume that everyone in the art education program is an artist and has an interest in the history of art. Our aim is to produce future teachers who are confident as both artists and teachers.
Not all programs have a foundations sequence that prepares all art majors for a major in studio art, art education, or graphic design.
One advantage of our foundations program is that all freshman art majors can change their major easily within the first year between art education, graphic design, and studio art.
Although we have a studio classroom for art education, Viterbo students spend much of their time out of the classroom, in the community, and in schools. We are involved in many hands-on teaching experiences. Students at Viterbo learn to teach by practicing teaching in art education courses designed specifically for the art education major.
Some schools put all of the education majors (art majors and non-art majors) together in art methods courses. They are often large lecture classes without the opportunities we have as a small group.
For instance, our art education students teach an eight-week art course in the Viterbo Afterschool Art Workshop for children ages 5-12 years. This program draws approximately 50 children from area schools every fall semester. In addition to this, art education students go into middle and high schools and other community art centers as visiting artists, conducting workshops and showing their work. These hands-on teaching experiences, that take place long before a student does their final semester of student teaching, encourages Viterbo students to build upon a philosophy of teaching and making art. By the end of a student's education at Viterbo they have built relationships to the wider community and K-12 area schools.
Students can expect to work closely with their advisors and members of the art faculty.
Lisa Schoenfielder is the advisor and instructor in the art education courses. Lisa holds the terminal degree, Ph.D., in art education as well as the terminal degree in studio art, M.F.A. (printmaking).
Marilyn Fernandes teaches art education courses and observes student teachers. Marilyn holds the terminal degree, Ph.D., in art education.