“The size and complexity of the department have increased to a point that they exceed the boundaries of a typical department,” says Joe Thomas, former chairman of the Department of Visual Arts, who will become the school’s director.
The upgrade from department to school reflects KSU’s rapid growth. Art majors, whose numbers increased 70 percent from 2004 to 2009, make up more than half the student population in the College of the Arts, which also encompasses the School of Music and departments of dance and theater and performance studies.
Thomas has, in fact, been required to decrease enrollment, which had spiked to 610, to bring the student-faculty ratio into line with guidelines set by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Last fall, enrollment was reduced to 576. Now, with plans for expanded facilities at Chastain Pointe, the School of Art and Design can focus on its academic programs rather than enrollment size.
The school offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, a recently established Bachelor of Arts in art history, and one graduate-level degree, Master of Arts in Teaching Art.