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Scenes from Green Hall

Revised General Education Program

2001 Appendix A - General Education Core Areas

Fine Arts and Literature Core Area (A)


Fine Arts and Literature: courses that promote aesthetic interpretation and an appreciation of its role in human experience; courses related to historical and critical study of the arts and literature as well as creative activity.


Courses in Fine Arts and Literature will:

  1. provide a foundation for life-long engagement with fine art and literature through direct (reading, attending films, plays, concerts, museums) and indirect (classroom viewing, listening, demonstration) exposure to works of art and literature or creative activity (drawing, performing, staging, filmmaking).
  2. equip students with skills necessary for textual or formal analysis within or across artistic periods and media and provide opportunities for practice.
  3. discuss the arts as expressions of cultural, social, and individual values.
  4. develop students' self-awareness as independent viewers/readers/listeners through discussions and writing assignments.
  5. create assignments that explore the diversity of artistic and aesthetic standards and enable students to understand their own judgements in relation to others.

Examples (not available at this time)

List of kinds of assignments that incorporate particular skills (not intended to preclude other assignments the meet the criteria):

Courses in the Fine Arts and Literature core area that offer introductions to art in the form of creative practice in various arts are necessarily "skills-oriented" or "experiential" in approach. Such courses would qualify for "A" credit in General Education by:

  1. engaging in artistic activity,
  2. reading complex texts--their own, those of other students, and others shown, played and discussed by instructors, and
  3. using qualitative data in the form of experimenting, drafting, sketching, revising, and rehearsing in the process of creating their own "complex texts." It is also common for studio instructors to require students to write effectively in describing their accomplishments and intentions and speak effectively in class critiques. Although any of the integrated skills may be incorporated into studio classes, in order to avoid descriptions particular to each art form or medium, most of the examples listed below apply to "courses that involve historical and critical study.
  • Require students to analyze, compare, contrast, and interpret literary, visual, aural, plastic, and cinematic texts.
  • Require students to apply their knowledge (of composition, media, style, or probable origin) to examples not previously discussed in class.
  • Require students to assess varying interpretations and evaluations of artistic texts.
  • Have students write brief descriptions to promote careful observation and prompt students to articulate individual responses to artworks.
  • Assign homework essays on readings which may be reworked and regarded after class discussion and the instructor's written evaluation.
  • Make sequential writing assignments that develop organizational and critical writing skills.
  • Ask students to read and critique other students' drafts of papers.
  • Assign "opinion pieces" that require students to take a critical position on controversial works and/or commentaries.
  • Assign research papers, which require preliminary submissions of sources and draft versions.
  • Employ student mentors, trained by the writing program, to provide individual help and feedback on writing assignments.
  • Require participation in on-line discussions, for which are evaluated on writing as well as content.
  • Assign written reviews of exhibitions, performances, or presentations on the URI campus and the local area.
  • Require students to present their own work and analyze/evaluate the work of other students in periodic oral critiques.
  • Encourage attentive listening by asking students (as individuals or in small groups) to identify the main points of oral presentations.
  • Encourage participation in class discussions.
  • Set up small groups to discuss and report back on assigned topics.
  • Assign oral presentation of research by groups or individuals. Encourage attentive listening by distributing a question or response sheet to other students.
  • Consider works of art and literature in the contexts of their production and reception, emphasizing differences in culture, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
  • Develop new courses or content focus on world art, literature, drama, film, or music not presently covered by URI departments.
  • Develop courses or content focus on the arts and literature of women, gays, Afro-Americans and/or other groups outside the mainstream of European and American art during the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Include significant content on non-Western arts and cross-cultural comparisons.
  • Study works of art or literature selected for their treatment of diversity issues.
  • Use Sakai or other means to establish a class site that includes interactive components such as a "Bulletin Board" where students may initiate or contribute to on-line discussions.
  • Make assignment which can only be answered by using posted materials.
  • Assign students to compile and evaluate a list of sites on particular art works, issues, or artists.
  • Encourage on-line participation by posting (with students' permission) particularly good essays or projects, study-guides, and sample tests.
  • Assign students or groups of students to design a web site on a particular artist or issue.
  • Assign students to compose a story, poem, song, skit or painting relating to a given subject or issue.
  • Assign students to compose a story, poem, song, skit, or painting in the style of an artist under study.