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Overview of the BFA/MA in Teaching

The BFA/MAT is a pre-professional program designed to help students make the transition from artist and student to artist-teacher, one who can construct opportunities for others to make art and engage with it in meaningful ways. The program, housed in the Center for Art Education, is a Maryland State Approved Program for art teacher certification in grades preK–12. All students take national teacher exams (Praxis exams) as part of the program; passing scores, as set by the state of Maryland, are required for completion of the program and degree. Maryland maintains reciprocity with 39 other states, which allows for easy transfer of certification. Students with specific destinations in mind should check to see what requirements from other states they might need to consider. In addition to studio, art education, art history/criticism, and internship courses, six credits in the teaching of reading are integrated into the program.

The program is designed to have a high level of interaction with peers as well as students in preschool through grade 12. Introductory courses set the stage for thinking about the role of art education in the schools and in the development of children and adolescents. Subsequent coursework focuses on the development of teaching strategies and professional knowledge and skills. Two internships precede full-time student teaching in preK–12 settings. Professional knowledge, dispositions, behaviors, and skills build over time as students move from observing and assisting to microteaching in teams, gradually assuming the full role of the teacher. In addition to art education coursework, a graduate-level studio thesis exhibition is required. During the final phase of the program students complete job applications, develop interviewing skills, and assemble professional portfolios. The culminating event of the program is the Student Teacher Showcase, where accomplishments are evaluated by a visiting critic and presented to peers, family, and friends.

Some students already know they want to teach when they come to MICA, and these students begin the coursework for the BFA/MAT program in either their freshman or sophomore year. For those who would like to explore a potential interest in teaching, it is also possible to take one or two electives in art education before making a commitment to a program of study. If begun early enough in the undergraduate years and if the suggested course plan is followed, the program is usually one year (two semesters, plus summer) of graduate study following the completion of the BFA. A two-year program is available for students who begin the art education coursework after completing the BFA (see MA in Teaching program description). Planning ahead is a major key to successfully combining a studio major, academic requirements, art education courses, and any areas of interest, such as technology or art history, into a five-year time sequence. The BFA/MAT program can work with any undergraduate major, although it works best with those that provide some flexibility in choosing electives. Because courses are sequenced and offered in designated semesters, the program usually takes transfer students longer to complete. To gain admission, schedule an interview with the undergraduate chair for art education, ideally during the second semester of the freshman year or the first semester of the sophomore year. Those who would like to explore the possibility of teaching are welcome to come in to talk with faculty anytime. In short, anyone wanting to investigate the possibility of teaching is encouraged to come visit with us and explore planning options and strategies.

During the student’s final semester of the BFA program, she/he will make a formal application to the graduate level of the program. At the end of Internship I during senior year, students have a final review that serves as their interview for graduate school. Provisional acceptance is not final until the MAT faculty decides to admit the student to the graduate level of the program.

Entrance requirements to the MAT graduate program for BFA/MAT students are as follows:

  1. Completed undergraduate degree in studio art from MICA
  2. Minimum of 30 credits in studio and 9 credits in art history/criticism
  3. Minimum 3.0 GPA, and a B or better in all required art education courses taken in the undergraduate program
  4. Overall passing score on the Praxis I Teacher Examination
  5. Personal statement
  6. Portfolio of studio work
  7. Personal interview with undergraduate chair and/or faculty
  8. Criminal background check: BFA/MAT students must pass a criminal background check prior to the beginning of their fifth year, before they can take ED 5308 Teaching Internship II.

Each semester graduate students have a departmental review with the Art Education faculty. This review is used to evaluate and advise students on their progress. Students given a satisfactory rating by faculty may continue with their program of study. If progress is not satisfactory, faculty has the right to deny the student’s continuation in the program and subsequent enrollment in art education courses.

The art education coursework for the MAT graduate program begins in the fall. A program plan developed with the graduate director of Art Education sets forth the sequence of courses for each student. A minimum of 35 credits is required for the degree. All graduate coursework must be completed with a grade of B or better. Many art education courses involve travel to sites in the schools and local museums, and student teaching involves daily travel to school placements, many within neighboring counties. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from these off-campus sites, and graduate students should make arrangements to have use of a car for use during the fifth year of the program.

During ED 5309 Teaching Internship II, taken in the fall semester, students apply for placement as a student teacher for the following spring. A conference held with department faculty at the conclusion of Teaching Internship II is used to review the student’s progress. Students demonstrating a level of readiness for student teaching are recommended for placement; those who do not may be given the opportunity to continue in the internship until such time as they are ready, or may be denied continuation in the program and completion of the degree. The last semester of the program consists of full-time student teaching. Each student completes two seven-week placements, one at the elementary level and one in a middle or high school setting. MICA provides supervision and progress in teaching is guided and evaluated by the cooperating teachers in the schools and by the college supervisor. Should withdrawal from student teaching be necessary, the program’s policy includes a contract for outlining an intervention plan and criteria for resumption or dismissal.

Overall continuation in the program is dependent on maintaining a minimum of a 3.0 overall grade point average and a B or better in art education courses. Completion of program and award of degree require successful completion of all course requirements and student teaching (B or better), plus passing scores on all required Praxis exams. The faculty will deny continuation for students who do not meet the minimum academic requirement for continuing in the program, or who do not demonstrate the knowledge, dispositions, behaviors, and performance consistent with program goals and requirements.

Each year, faculty members nominate a candidate for national recognition and the visiting critic selects the recipient of a cash award recognizing excellence in both studio work and student teaching. All report they feel extremely well-prepared for the profession and are able, early in their careers, to make a contribution to curriculum and professional development efforts in their schools and districts.