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00.02 BFA Research Syllabus

BFA Research

Course Number: SEM 429

Department: Sculpture + Expanded Media (SEM)

Room: 212

Time: Mondays 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Faculty: Jimmy Kuehnle -

Office Hours: By appointment

Semester: Fall 2023

Course Description

As an extension of the Visual Arts and Technology Environment’s goal that students develop the ability to generate self-directed work, the Department of Sculpture seeks to provide each student with the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to identify and sustain an independent practice. This course is designed to increase student awareness of the current art discourse and the ability to use that knowledge as a means of awareness within the production of their own work. This educational process embraces a variety of approaches to basic problem solving skills measured against the contemporary practices of the discipline. In cooperation with a major-day faculty, students are expected to develop what is often their first significant independent work. For BFA students the focus of this course centers on artistic production, conditions of conveyance and Presentation. Required at the senior level for all sculpture majors for BFA development.

Course Goals and Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, a student will be able to:

  • A student will strengthen their ability to generate self-directed work.
  • A student will develop the ability to recognize and research the issues and topics generated from their studio work.
  • A student will develop the skills and knowledge to identify and sustain an independent practice.
  • A student will develop the ability to use knowledge of current art discourse as a means of awareness in their own work
  • A student will develop a variety of approaches to basic problem-solving to further their studio practice.
  • This course is most significantly a time and place to produce work.
  • Creation and continuous maintenance of a Digital Catalog pertaining to all aspects of the student’s work as it progresses as well as final pieces is required.

Additional Course Goals and Topics

  • Clearly articulate you own ideas at a personal and a fine art context
  • See and accept other possible implications or interpretations of a body of work
  • Develop representation of aesthetic intent
  • Demonstrate broad knowledge of contemporary art practices
  • Adequately understand and comprehend any technical language or jargon used when explaining work
  • Strong photo / video / sound / digital documentation skills

Class Format & Policies

  • 4.5 hours of regularly scheduled instructional time. In addition to the regularly scheduled instructional time, you’ll need to plan on 4.5 hours of homework time for each of your classes.
  • combination of studio work as well as lecture, group dialogue, critiques etc.
  • Projects will sometimes have in-progress reviews in addition to critiques when the projects are finished. The Instructor as well as students participate in the critiques. This takes time and is part of the studio learning experience and a big part of the course.
  • Students must avoid behavior that disrupts the learning process, or that otherwise may be offensive to classmates, or that is disrespectful to the instructor.


You’re required to contribute to all critiques, even if your own project is not complete. Successful crits depend on each student’s generosity in sharing their honest thoughts, opinions and suggestions. How to critique art .

Late Work

Projects must be turned in on time. On time is before the beginning of class on the day that they are due or other time as specified by the instructor. Late projects will automatically drop 2% per day late.


File Management

  • We will use Canvas to turn in assignments. If issues arise with Canvas’ file submission process then we will use Google Drive to turn in assignments.
  • The class will have a Google Drive folder specific to this course.
  • Use this format for naming all your class files:
    • YYYYMMDD Smith Lane Project 1
    • 20230801 Smith Lane First Day Project 1

Required Textbooks and Readings

There are no required textbooks for this course.

Required Supplies

  • Basic drawing and sketching supplies
  • Note taking supplies

Course Outline

1August 28Introduction
2September 4No Class Labor Day
3September 11Artist Statements
4September 18Semester Goal Outline Review
5September 25Critique #1 of Studio Work
6October 2Introduction to Studio Research
7October 9Studio Visits
8October 16Revise Artist Statements
9October 23No Class Fall Break
10October 30Critique #2 of Studio Work
11November 6Writing About Art
12November 13Studio Visits
13November 20Research Paper Presentation
14November 27Mid Year Presentation Prep
15December 4Mid Year Critiques
16December 11Final Crits

Key Dates:

  • Aug 23 – First Day of Classes
  • Sept 4 – Labor Day. No Classes
  • Oct 18 – Mid Term Grades DUE by 9am
  • Oct 24 - 25 – Student Fall Break. No classes. Faculty In Service Days
  • Oct 25 – Faculty Teaching & Learning Summit
  • Oct 27 – Last day for students to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty
  • Nov 22 – 24 – Thanksgiving Break. No classes.
  • Dec 5 – Final Day of Classes
  • Dec 18 – Final Grades DUE for all students by 9am

Cleveland Institute of Art Required Policy Language

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

The Cleveland Institute of Art recognizes and embraces diversity and believes that an outstanding education in art and design should be accessible to all individuals regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, socio-economic status or disability. It is essential for the College to advance diversity by encouraging our community to share a responsibility in creating, maintaining and developing an environment in which difference is valued, equity is sought, and inclusiveness is practiced.

CIA Course Attendance Policy from the College Catalog

Course Attendance

Students are expected to attend all sessions of the classes in which they are registered and to attend all associated lecture programs and meetings. Progress as an artist depends not only on completion of assignments but also on full participation in dialogue with studio and academic classes. All absences will count towards a student’s absence total for the semester. Students are responsible for all missed class material, including assignments and tests, when absent from class. Each faculty member is required to take, and to maintain records of, class attendance. CIA’s absence limits are as follows:

Course TypeAbsence Limit
Course meeting once a weekNo more than 3 absences per semester*
Course meeting twice a weekNo more than 6 absences per semester
Independent StudyParticipation and attendance expectations are at the discretion of the faculty member.

*note: for studio courses that meet in 2 sessions over 1 day, missing one of the two sessions will be counted as 0.5 absence

A student who has missed the maximum absences per semester, as outlined above, must meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss their options. To uphold the integrity of the educational content and curricula, absences exceeding the limit as outlined above will result in failure of the course. Students must notify their faculty member if they will miss a class, and should contact their instructor(s) as soon as possible after an unavoidable absence. To protect a student’s privacy, written documentation of an illness, injury or obituary is not required nor requested. An absence from a final critique or exam will result in automatic failure of the project or exam.

Faculty may factor tardiness into determining if a student is absent or not. Tardiness policies should be stated on the course syllabus.

Absence Due to Religious Observance

Students who expect to miss classes or activities due to religious observances should notify their faculty members well before the expected absence. Students are responsible for the missed work.

Absences Due to Extenuating Circumstances

The absence limits as described above, are adequate for emergencies, minor illnesses, doctor’s appointments, transportation issues, etc. In the case of exceptional circumstances that would cause a student to exceed the absence limit, the student should contact Academic Services. A student who is hospitalized or has an extended illness is asked to give HIPPA permission to their academic advisor in Academic Services so they can communicate with their medical provider regarding the student’s illness and assist as needed. When protracted absence has been caused by illness or other extenuating circumstance, students may be given the privilege of making up lost work by arrangement with, and at the discretion of the instructor. Students approved to exceed the absence limit due to exceptional circumstances are still responsible for completion of any course requirements missed during their absence.

Extracurricular Life and Class Attendance

At CIA, we value students’ total educational experience, including its curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular components. All departments, academic and other, are encouraged to minimize the scheduling during established class meeting hours of events at which student participation is required or desired, including but not limited to extra class meetings, professional development opportunities, field trips, and other organized activities. When conflicts exist, all parties (students, faculty, and staff) should work together so that the student can meet their academic obligations and participate in extracurricular events. If agreement about an appropriate accommodation cannot be reached, the student’s obligations to classes meeting on their posted schedules will take priority.

Class Trips Policy from the College Catalog

All students attending instruction-related trips or tours that require them to travel away from CIA must sign an approved release form in advance of the trip that declares they will not make a claim against the college or its personnel/representatives for injury or damage sustained while on the trip. Release forms should be returned to the faculty member leading the trip before the event. All CIA policies are in effect during sponsored excursions away from campus.

CIA Grading Policies and Grade Descriptions from the College Catalog

Letter grades are a means by which faculty members communicate their professional assessment of students’ work. The primary purpose of assigning grades is to provide a realistic standard of reference by which students can measure their progress while enrolled at CIA.

Grades are reported twice each semester: mid-term grades after the first eight weeks, and final grades at the close of the term. The mid-term grade is a preliminary indication of progress to date.

Semester and cumulative grade point averages are reviewed by Academic Services each term to determine each student’s academic status. Each transcript includes the semester Grade Point Average (GPA) and the cumulative GPA. Letter grades have the following meaning:

A, A-: Work of consistently outstanding quality, which displays originality, and often goes beyond course requirements;

B+, B, B-: Work of consistently good quality, demonstrating a high level of proficiency, knowledge, and skills in all aspects of the course;

C+, C, C-: Satisfactory work that meets the requirements of the course and conforms to the standards for graduation.

D+, D, D-: Work deficient in concept or execution but acceptable for course credit in all courses.

F: Work unacceptable for course credit and does not meet the standards for graduation.

CIA Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty excerpted from the Student Handbook:

All acts of academic dishonesty diminish the integrity of the Institute and are taken very seriously by the school. Students being accused of Academic Dishonestly will participate in our judicial process and if found responsible, will be subject to appropriate sanctions. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to any one or a combination of the following:

• Formal warning/censure/academic alert. • Reduced grade including a failing grade for the assignment. • Reduced grade including a failing grade for the entire course. • Forfeiture of student leadership positions, and/or restrictions on participation in Institute activities. • Academic probation • Suspension • Expulsion from the Institute.

CIA Course Evaluation Policy

All students are expected to fill out a brief course evaluation for each class at the end of the semester. Your participation in the course evaluation process is critical to CIA’s evaluation of faculty teaching, assessment of student learning outcomes, and identification of opportunities for continuous improvement to course content and instruction. Please take a moment to respond to the evaluation when directed to do so at the end of the semester. Your thoughts matter.