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Archive for the tag “Interior Architecture”

Rhode Island School of Design (Take 2)

 

RISD (visited 5/2/19 — click HERE for the pictures and notes from my visit on 3/21/14)

RISD sculptureThis was my second visit to RISD. This visit was with a large group of counselors on tour of all the RI schools; several years ago I visited (with another counselor) when we participated in the regular info session and tour offered to families. It was like visiting an entirely different campus, and not because they had done massive renovations. They just chose to highlight/showcase totally different things. This time, we saw much more of the “downtown” part of campus along the river and we got to go into some of the studios and other spaces that we did not see on the tour – but didn’t go up the hill to see the dorm quad or other pretty areas on campus (check out the blog post from 2014 to see that stuff).  I’m very glad to have gotten both perspectives because I feel like I have a more complete picture of what the campus, the education, and the students are like.

RISD river walk 2

RISD flags along the river with some of the college buildings alongside.

All first-year students admitted to RISD take Experimental and Foundation Studies which includes two semesters each of Drawing (very traditional, 2D work), Spatial Dynamics (3D), Design, and Theory & History of Art & Design. They take a humanities class each semester (usually a literature seminar and another of their choice). During Wintersession, they choose a non-major studio elective. One student chose Digital Embroidery,

RISD studio 1

One of the “still life labs” with a huge array of specimens for students to use during their Studio classes. 

Student declare a major in February of their Foundation year. Students on the panel very much liked the program, and it was split about 50-50 for those who stuck with their original plan and those who decided to change their mind about the major during the year. They all agree that it’s an intensely rigorous first year, but RIDS boasts an impressive 93% retention rate which is not surprising given the level of commitment – academic and artistic – shown by those who are offered admission.

RISD bio studio 2

A bio-life lab for students to draw from nature – and the lamps are made by students!

Last year, RISD admitted 19% of the 4750 applicants; they are bringing in 480 students this year, one of the largest classes. Admitted students averaged 670 per section on the SAT or a 30 on the ACT. During admission, they recalculate GPA looking at core classes from the last 2 full years. They do NOT look at grades in their art classes – but instead evaluate the portfolio. They are more interested in the portfolio itself to look at the talent, effort, and creativity. The student sitting with us at breakfast said that talent alone is not the end-all. “Even if your technical work isn’t quite there yet but you’re putting in the work and the effort, the professors recognize that and see that your technical skills will get there.”

RISD Sculpture areaStudents who would like some feedback before the admission process can use http://www.aicad.slideroom.com where they can upload up to 5 images and get feedback from up to 10 people for free.

I love the Dual Degree program that’s offered jointly with Brown. Students must apply and be admitted to both schools; RISD releases decisions first and then will send the list to Brown where it goes to committee. Last year, they received 730 apps for the program and admitted 19 to yield a cohort of 15. Everyone evaluated for that program must be admitted to both schools. They live on the RISD campus for the 1st year, at Brown for the 2nd year, and then can choose for the 3rd and 4th.

RISD downtown bldgsRegardless of whether or not they’re in the joint program, students can cross-register at Brown. (There’s also a lot of club cross-over with Brown, and they can join some of the sports teams there). They can take classes at Brown as long as it fits into the schedule and gets okayed by the registrar. Despite the fact that RISD grants only BFA degrees (with the exception of the BArch degree), they also teach students the business aspect of art (legalities of copyrights, contracts, etc) and they offer the Liberal Arts through Literary Arts and Studies, History/Philosophy/Social Sciences classes, electives, and concentrations. One of the student panelists said that she came here because there was more flexibility within the majors – “I was pretty much married to the illustration major, but I got to customize it.” Another student said that she was surprised at how interdisciplinary it is and how things can cross over. She wants to go into publishing and has to deal with typeface, so she’s taken a lot of graphic design classes. Students said that they like the flexibility to try classes in other majors like Furniture, Apparel, or Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, or Film/Animation/Video in addition to more of the fine arts type of majors.

RISD library interior

The library which takes up the first two floors of this building also has a cafe, and the top floors are a dorm.

“It’s great to be in a community of people who are so interested in the same things, who are willing to help out. We’re not just doing art in class. A lot of people get overwhelmed by the workload, but you aren’t alone in that. You’re in the same group for the first semester, another for 2nd semester. You build a lot of relationships. You know people all over campus.” Students get card access to all buildings so they can (and do) work at all hours. “Campus safety will often check in if they see lights on,” said our tour guide.

RISD 1In terms of finances, RISD does not offer merit scholarships. They do offer need-based scholarships and grants which they keep in line with the cost of attendance – if the COA goes up, the scholarship goes up by the same percentage. They are also reducing hidden costs (deposits, fees, etc.). “It’s not fair to students to get hit with deposits for keys or to be told ‘surprise, you have to pay a fee up front for supplies.’ Families have to be able to plan, and if they’ve crunch numbers and tightened their belts to make this a reality for the students, they may not have the other additional money at the beginning of the semester.” Students in the Architecture program can carry their financial aid into their 5th year since that is a 5-year program.

© 2019

Cornish College of the Arts

Cornish College of the Arts (visited 6/23/17)

Cornish 1

Kerry Hall, the original building

“We’re interesting. We’re different. If students don’t come here, we’d like to help them go to one of our responsible peers that will take care of them.” Being such a small school (about 800 students with only 8 majors) allows them to offer this kind of care that extends through their entire time on campus.

Cornish view

View from campus

This small, not-for-profit school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and the National Association of Art and Design Schools. The school was founded as Cornish School of Music in the early 1900s when Seattle was mostly a logging town. The symphony had just started so they pulled in the musicians to provide lessons. From the start, the school’s mission was to pull together all the arts. The founder wanted people to work together, so musicians worked with dancers, film makers work with actors, all disciplines learn different aspects of their craft. For example, every dancer takes choreography and creates new work in addition to being an excellent technical dancer.

Cornish dance studio

One of the several dance studios

Several famous people came out of Cornish, including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Martha Graham; the founder let them use facilities/give recitals in exchange for lessons. In the 1970s, Cornish became a full degree granting college. Before then, it was treated more like a community center. In 2003, the main campus its left Capital Hill home and took over several empty buildings in South Lake Union before Amazon got to the area.

Cornish dorm

The dorm

 

Today, Cornish is spread out into 3 locations. The original building, Kerry Hall, still sits in its original location in Capitol Hill and houses the music and dance departments. The Cornish Playhouse and Scene Shop are in the center of Seattle, and the remaining buildings (about a dozen including housing) are in South Lake Union. Students use the city bus to get in between. There’s no particular reason for students to have cars with all the public transportation around, and there’s no student parking. “There was a lot, but they’re now building a dorm on it.”

Cornish bookmaking

Bookmaking studio

For students or families wondering why go to an arts school in a place that is decidedly not Los Angeles, New York City, or Chicago, the rep said this: “Seattle won’t chew you up and spit you out. It’s not massive. Yet, this place has a vibrant arts scene. Teachers are working professionals.” There is quite a bit of music and theater. There’s a program in the city called “Teen Tics” that allow students under 20 to get free tickets. Theaters also call Cornish with extra free tickets so students can go to productions.

Cornish pianoThere are only 8 majors from which to choose:

  • The music department is about performance, not education. Spaces are almost all multiple use. All can be used to practice when classes aren’t in session. Music limited by space and instrument. They can get credit for the AP music exam but has to still pass the placement test.
  • There are about 80 dancers in the Dance department at any given time. Classes include required technical dancing as well as a range of elective options such as hip-hop, African, Jazz, men’s technique, and much more. All classes have a live accompanist musician. They have about 80 dancers in the department.
  • Cornish costume studio

    One of the costume studios

    Almost 200 students major in theater. There are lots of blackbox theaters that students use for thesis, directing, and acting. They take standard acting, musical theater, do original works (needs another audition). They produce 20 main-stage and 16-20 student productions each year. They carefully place students in a variety of roles so they know what to expect in the professional world and what to expect from the directors. “It’s not always the top student but those who take risks. It’s not all shiny every day.”

  • Performance Production pulls together all the behind-the-scenes work. They work with many of the other departments. “They do all the extra stuff like set and lighting design.”
  • Cornish int arch

    An Interior Architecture studio

    Visual Arts. All students in this program complete a 1-year Foundations class, then they commit to a concentration. They spend 18 hours a week in Foundation rotating through instructors and specialties so they get a taste of all types and are later able to work together more effectively. They also take classes in art history and theory. Part of this requires that they spend time in the library twice a week to use the resources. “If they think they’re going to come to an art school and never write another paper, they’re going to be really surprised!”

Cornish dining

Dining Hall

For admission, test scores are optional. “It’s like sprinkles. Nice, but not needed.” The required recommendation letter does not need to be from the school; it can be from a private instructor or some other person who knows the student’s work. Part 1 of the application looks like a lot of other schools, but part 2 is the audition or portfolio review either in-person or digital. “It’s scary. We get it.” They’re looking for potential, for those who will step up and take risks. “There are scary days, and we’re going to push you and ask you to do things that aren’t comfortable. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But we want you to go out of your comfort zone and try.”

© 2017

Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte (visited 3/30/17)

Queens quad 3“We get kids who might fly under the radar, but we get the stand-outs, as well,” said a rep. “Maybe they haven’t blossomed yet. Students get a lot of opportunities here.” A parent told one of the reps (who relayed the story): “my daughter will become a leader for life here. I think the reality of Queens is ahead of its reputation.”

Queens hammock 2Queens plays up the idea of ‘Yes, AND’ – students can do several things without having to choose. Students have the best of both worlds: a small school (about 1500 undergrads) located 2 miles from the heart of Charlotte, a major city. Students complete meaningful internships and community service in whatever industry or service they’re interested in, during the school year, right down the road. Queens requires students to complete internships and will give credit for 2 of them, although students can do as many as they want.

Queens fountain 3The school is deliberate in its mission and how it gets manifested into the academics. General education requirements are organized in learning communities. “This is one of the most unique aspects of Queens,” said the Dean of University Programs. They’ve been implanting it for a couple years and getting data in now. It’s interdisciplinary, giving students skills needed for the workplace and understanding who they are as learners.

  • Queens CS LCThe 4 years are organized progressively: Explore, Express, Engage, and Synthesis. Students are presented with complex problems, must integrate learning, build communication fluency, link global and local contexts, and understand the well-being of communities.
  • Students engage in a core issue from multiple perspectives, taking 2 courses from 4+ options within a theme. Assignments cross both perspectives. There’s intentional group work at every level; teachers work together to model what they want students to do. Themes might include:
    • The New South: Politics of the New South (PoliSci), Lit & Film of the New South (Languages), Intro to Stats, New South (Math), Landscape of Identity (English) — How is place and identity interwoven?
    • The Challenge of Global Migration: Fabric of a Nation: Refugees in the US (History), Politics of Responses to Global Migration (PoliSci), Economics of Immigration (Business), Creating Transcultural Identities (English)
    • Urban Jungle, Infections & Zombies, Quest for Identity, Familial Identities, Human Journey, Art of Storytelling, Challenges for Journeys, Culture & Media, Global Migration, Gender, Image-making
    • Pursuit of Happiness: The Happiness Project, The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Well-Being, Six Questions of Socrates, Peace is Every Step

Queens statueFavorite classes of students on the panel were:

  • Principles of Management (2 students chose this): “There were 25 people in it. The culture is great. It’s discussion based. People can say whatever they want without worrying about being judged. The professor, the CEO of Sun Alliance, created such a welcoming environment.”
  • Cognitive Psych: “ I love the prof. It was probably the hardest in terms of how strict she is and what she demands. It combined psych and bio which I love.”
  • Intro to Creative Writing: “The Professor was amazing! It opened my eyes to so many methods of writing that I hadn’t even heard of. Not everyone was a major, but we were a community. I was excited to go to class.”
  • Media Design and Art: “We travelled to Germany and Switzerland for 2 weeks.”

Queens stu cntr 1Some other special academic things to point out are:

  • They have a direct-entry Nursing program; applicants need a 24 ACT/1150 SAT and a 3.5 unweighted GPA across academic classes. As long as they maintain a minimum GPA in the program, they can continue. 98% pass the NCLEX on the 1st or 2nd
  • Study Abroad: They’re ranked 7th nationally for most students studying abroad through the John Belk International Program (J-BIP):
  • Faculty Led courses: students take on-campus courses with travel components.
  • Semester or year abroad
  • Summer Business and International Studies: 4 weeks in France or Shanghai
  • Language immersion programs.
  • They have 5 NC Professors of the Year (Chapel Hill has 7 and is a much larger school).
  • Queens labA few programs of note include:
  • Queens bell tower 2A couple of their majors are shifting focus:
    • Environmental Studies is becoming Sustainability Studies
    • Religion is becoming Interfaith Studies.

Queens moved to its current campus in 1914; it’s full of beautiful brick buildings and green spaces. They went coed in 1979 (and are still heavily female). Almost half of their students come from NC; 8 % are international (155 students from 50 countries). About 1/3 of students self-identify as multi-cultural. Students tend towards the liberal side, but it’s not an overly political campus.

Students have to live on campus until they earn 90 credits; 70% of students live in the dorms. Campus is fairly active, but “closer to the holidays when it’s cold, more people seem to go home on the weekends,” said one of the tour guides. The food is pretty good: there are fewer choices, maybe, but the quality is pretty high. “Parking isn’t great on campus. You have to circle a bit, but there’s a lot of street parking.” There’s good public transportation including a street car and light rail.

Queens RexFor a school this size, they have a surprisingly strong DII athletic program (the only 2 teams not on the NCAA roster are Rugby and Triathalon), and they have a “Threepeat” Swim Team National Championship team. “DII tends to be more regional as well as more personal with a community feel,” said the Athletic Director. “We have the academics of DIII and Athletics of DI.” The major sports complex is located a couple miles off campus; shuttles run back and forth all day. Field Hockey, Soccer, Softball, and tennis all practice and play here. “If you want to be nationally competitive, our facilities are top-notch.”

Queens athletic center

One student said that she would change the fan-base and school spirit: “It feels so small at the games. It’s hard to get people out to support the teams. It definitely doesn’t have that large-school DI feel.” Also, as DII teams, they’re not fully funded programs. All sports have a certain number of scholarships. They work with admissions to help spread these out with academic scholarships.

Admissions recalculates GPA of core classes and superscores both the ACT and SAT. Their most competitive scholarship is the full-tuition Presidential Award which requires an additional application. These students tend to have a 4.0 recalculated GPA and a 30 ACT. The numbers (GPA and scores) count for 40% of the decision; the rest are all the extras. Scholarship interviewers do not have access to the applicants’ grades: if they’re at the interview stage, they’ve already been vetted academically by Admissions.

© 2017

University of North Carolina – Greensboro

UNC Greensboro (Visited 3/15/17)

UNCG original bldg

The original college building

Little known trivia about UNCG: it’s the only college in NC that has a Bojangles! UNCG also has a free tour app that’s worth checking out.

UNCG 5Although originally known as the Education school of the UNC system (it started as a teacher’s college), UNCG also has strong sciences and other programs. Academics are so impressive that the school has been listed as one of the country’s best institutions for undergrad education annually since 1999. It’s also the most diverse of the 17 UNC schools.

UNCG quadI was surprised to learn that Greensboro was one of the founding members of the UNC system in 1932 along with UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State. This is a research university serving about 16,000 undergrads. Faculty are still engaged in their fields, and they bring the undergrads along for the ride. Despite the size, the rep giving the info session, herself a UNCG grad, only had 1 lecture-style class with 125 people during her time here. The tour guide said that her biggest, also an intro science class, had 150 people but only had 17 in her English class the first year. She’s had classes with 7 students in her major. Her favorite class was an Anthropology class called Cults and Conspiracies. “The Anthro department gets really creative!”

UNCG minerva

Statue of Minerva sits in the middle of campus

A few things surprised the tour guides about UNCG: first, that everything stayed open late (“I’m from a small town; I’m not used to being able to get food after 10!”); second: “it initially feels huge but it’s really not! I see people I know all the time” (and you can walk campus corner-to-corner in 15 minutes); and third: “how helpful the professors are. They seem scary but aren’t.”

Some programs unique to UNCG (within the UNC system) include:

UNCG clock and quad

Don’t walk under the clock or you won’t graduate on time! (Every campus has one of these rules). 

Other notable/unusual programs are:

UNCG bell towerQualified students can participate in the UNCG in 3 program, an accelerated pathway to the degree available in about 30 majors. To be eligible, students must come in with at least 12 credits (AP, Dual Enrollment, etc). Benefits include priority registration and dedicated advising.

UNCG honors dorm

The honors dorm

Students from all fields of study are welcome to apply to the Honors College. Students who meet the HC criteria when they apply to the university will receive an invitation to apply to the HC. Because this is an internationally-focused program, students do need to study abroad for at least a semester. All students can take advantage of study abroad programs, including summer (but that alone does not fulfill the HC requirement). Many study abroad programs offer a 1-to-1 student exchange which helps increase diversity on campus.

UNCG plaza 4

One of the many plazas with seating areas. This sits between the dining hall and dorms.

Located in a residential area not far from downtown, the UNCG area caters to students. “You have all the things you’d expect like coffee shops,” said the tour guide. The Yum Yum shop got particular mention (“It serves hot dogs, hot dogs, ice cream, cheer wine, and hot dogs. If you want any of those, you can’t go wrong”). There are 3 free shuttle and bus routes available for students: the UNCG shuttle, the HEAT bus which runs between several Greensboro area universities, and the Greensboro City bus which has stops on campus. Students are able to take classes at other Greensboro area schools including Guilford, A&T, Elon, and Greensboro College. Everything is easily accessible, and the school provides transportation even the airport which is 10 miles away.

UNCG rec pool 2

The rec pool where Dive-In Moves are held.

There’s no lack of things to do on campus. Students love the “Dive-in Movies” held at the recreational pool. The art museum has exhibits from students, faculty, and even famous artists (they had a Warhol exhibit last month). All UNCG sporting events (there are 17 DI teams) are free for students. All teams compete on campus except for basketball that plays at the Coliseum just over a mile away.

UNCG dorm 2

One of the 2 largest dorms on campus (the other is next door and looks similar). This houses freshmen.

There are 26 residential halls, including special-interest housing. “Rooms in the ones with double names are a little bigger!” said the tour guide. Students are never required to live on campus, but about 80% of freshmen will live on campus in traditional hall-style. Apartments and Suite-style are available once they reach sophomore standing, and “at least 60% of students stick around.” There are some off campus apartments with shuttles available to campus. Shuttles also run around campus every 10 minutes.

UNCG art museumUNCG does not take the Common App; students need to apply through SpartanLink. Application review begins September 15th, and Priority Consideration is 12/1 which includes Priority Scholarship Consideration (certain scholarship winners are selected from this pool). They will superscore both the SAT and the ACT. Essays and recs are optional but encouraged. Due to NC regulations, applicants need 1 math beyond Algebra 2.

© 2017

 

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