Art and Art History

College of Arts and Humanities


Prof. Christopher Sisson, Chair

Dr. Jennifer Langworthy

Prof. David Menard

Prof. Philip Soosloff

The Art and Art History department specializes in educating students in the various modes of visual communication. It is the belief of the department that understanding visual means of expression or being visually literate is a fundamental component of a liberal arts education on par with written and verbal learning. The study of Art and Art History in a liberal arts context encourages students to realize that visual, written and verbal means of communication are often inextricably bound.

The department, as its name implies, incorporates three distinct, yet profoundly complementary, units. The two-dimensional and three-dimensional concentrations are primarily devoted to instruction in the making of works of art. The graphic design concentration focuses on the application of fine art principles and problem solving to the creation of visually compelling designs. The Art History program is primarily devoted to the historical understanding and current interpretations of traditional works of art and visual culture. In its studio art and graphic design concentrations, the department endeavors to support the individual, expressive and technical needs of students as they explore various media and seek to reconcile ideas with their final realization. In art history courses, the department seeks to provide students with an overall grounding in the history and theory of world art and visual culture.

The department offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in Studio Art and Art History and the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art with concentrations in two-dimensional media, three-dimensional media, or graphic design. The department also offers minors in Studio Art, Art History, and Graphic Design.

NOTE: In order to graduate with a major or minor in studio art, art history, or graphic design students must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all courses included in the major and/or minor.

Career Opportunities

A degree in Art or Art History from Rockford University is excellent preparation to be an artist, teacher, or professional graphic designer. The degree also provides students continuing to graduate school with an outstanding foundation for pursuing advanced degrees in fine art, graphic design, art history, arts administration or various forms of museum studies.

Secondary Education Licensure (Grades K-12)

Students interested in becoming licensed to teach art at the K-12 level must complete all Studio or Graphic Design major B.F.A. requirements, Education 320, a K-12 minor in education and additional General Education requirements for state licensure. For further information, see the Education department section of this catalog.