To Members of the Academic Council



To: Members of the Academic Council
From: Kurt von Meier, Professor ofArt
Re: Art Department course change proposals

The Academic Council is considering certain course change proposals submitted by the Art Department for inclusion in our next CSUS Catalog. My current concern is directed toward that part of our program dealing with art history at the graduate level, I urge the Academic Council to reject those related parts of the proposal as written, and to refer them back to the Art Department for reconsideration.

The reasons that I believe compel such action on your part are both procedural and substantive. The proposal submitted to the Arts and Sciences Curriculum and Budget committees, and as presumably represented by documents now before the Academic Council, have not been properly considered by the Art Department ; the specific content and import appears to have been disguised in the generic wording of reports ostensibly dealing with matters of "advising," "emphasis," and complex, abstract recommendations. The overwhelming majority of Art Department faculty members have never seen copies of the proposal forwarded to you; nor have they been advised of its particular contents, much less invited to participate in the formulation or review of its provisions.

The apparent design to eliminate our department's graduate program in art history, I believe, would be a signal error. It would, in fact, represent a grossly contorted reading of the recent accreditation report conducted by NASAD. The representatives who visited our campus and who subsequently prepared that report were clear and forceful in urging support for art history at all levels of instruction This is to be achieved, initially, not by the dismantling of the program or its parts, but by hiring additional qualified art historians forthwith.

In spite of retirements in recent years, and the reduced budgetary support for scholarly studies in art history--problems shared by most of us--nevertheless, we have continued to serve the needs of students in this field with a certain sense of accomplishment. Appended to this Memorandum, I have provided a partial list of students who, in recent years, have successfully completed the Master of Arts degree program with an emphasis in art history, Those members of the Academic Council who value the ideals published in our University's Strategic Plan may note the evidence of attention accorded to issues of gender, ethnic diversity, and applications of new technology. With the addition of a new Ph.D. art historian to our faculty this Fall, it would seem to be exceedingly unwise and untimely to terminate graduate art history studies at CSUS, most especially since the achievements of these young scholars-together with the work of earlier, and of current, art history students--promise to reflect such a distinctive and positive light on both the department and the university.

Kurt von Meier
September 21, 1995

Recently supervised art history masters theses:

  • Kenneth J. Alexander, African Culture and History. A visual and interactive computer database,

  • Sandra J. Anderson, The Changing Image of Women as Seen Through Prints of the  Ukiyo-e Period in Japan.

  • Camille T. Kondratieff and Susan M. Sinclair, The California State University, Sacramento Permanent Art Collection: Selected Works. This work subsequently received a grant to support publication.

  • Susan C. Pitou, An Assessment and Interpretation of Women in the Art Nouveau Movement

Among other masters theses in progress:

  • Michael Azevedo, Music and Painting in the Work of Wasily Kandinsky.

  • Renee Derail, The Theme of the Great Goddess in Art.

  • Scoff Lawrimore, Shamanism in Art and in the Films of Peter Greenaway,

Two other art history masters theses are currently being supervised by Professor Frank LaPena