Achievement and Quality: Higher Education in the Arts
General Observations on Quality, Achievement, and the Natures of the Art Forms
The Individual As Primary Source
Achievement and quality come from the work of individuals. Individuals vary in the range, scope, and depth of their abilities, education, talent, and vision. These two realities underlie the intense competition among a significant number of institutions for students and faculty showing the greatest promise in terms of competence, capacity, aspiration, and dedication.
- In terms of achievement, most students entering a professionally-oriented undergraduate program in the arts in higher education must already demonstrate advanced levels of competence and/or potential as a condition of acceptance. In some arts disciplines, a high level of competence in the field of specialization is required. This is in contrast with some other fields where professional competency development is appropriately deferred until graduate school.
- The work of the arts as a whole needs many people fulfilling different functions at high levels of excellence. In addition to creation and performance, individual achievement and quality is essential in teaching, scholarship, research, the arts therapies, the management and support sectors of the arts, and so forth. Each of these areas requires a deep understanding of what the arts are, in essence, and how they work as a mode of thought and action.
- Because so much of the source of quality is individual, it is extremely problematic to assume that what works in one case will work automatically in another. In pedagogical approaches, there are no universal certainties.
Important Characteristics of Individual Achievement
Creative Work, Inquiry, Research, and Scholarship
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