Undergraduate art education program at MU cut


Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi

Banners hang from the columns on Francis Quadrangle. Photo by Asa Lory
Banners hang from the columns on Francis Quadrangle. Photo by Asa Lory
Senior Wynter Bresaw will have to rethink either the career path or the university she wishes to attend because of a new decision the School of Education at MU made, and she is not the only student who will be affected.
The undergraduate art education program at MU will be suspended starting this fall. Mizzou’s public relations department had not responded to BearingNews‘ requests for comment.
The College of Education issued a press release, however, that said, “The college will continue offering course work in art education for elementary education and early childhood majors at the undergraduate level and provide a post-baccalaureate certification program, master’s degree and doctorate in art education at the graduate level.”
“From what we understand, they’re going to keep the masters and doctorate programs, but we fear that without an undergraduate program, those programs will cease to exist,” RBHS art teacher Abbey Trescott said. “From what we know, the college of education’s president made the decision.”
The chair of the art education department was out of town when the department decided to drop the undergraduate section, and Trescott said the chair did not know.
This cut has ignited a movement throughout Columbia – one that has even found its way into the halls of RBHS. Trescott, along with those who support her desire to change the decision, have been raising awareness about this issue though Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“We are trying to get all of the current and former art education students to rally behind us.” Trescott said.
The art program in Columbia Public Schools, specifically in RBHS, has been connected with the art program in MU for a long time. Many art students who wish to go to art school for their bachelor’s degree are disappointed with this decision.
Bresaw had planned on attending MU’s art education program ever since she moved to Columbia over a year ago.
“I was kind of confused at first; I didn’t understand why they would cut [funds] when they’re actually pretty well known for their art,” Bresaw said. “I’ve been looking forward to going to this school for so long that I might to be able to go because they’re just completely cutting [it].”
The press release clarifies that current sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be able to complete their degree, but for students such as Bresaw, they will either  have to”earn a bachelor of fine arts degree through the MU College of Arts and Science and then pursue teacher certification in the MU College of Education through the post-baccalaureate certification program” or “pursue a master’s degree in art education along with certification requirements.”
Currently, the art teachers in RBHS collaborate with the art education program in order to further build their classes and their teaching to fit with the newest art styles.
“We continue to work and grow with each other, regardless of whether they are current or former students, we continue to collaborate with each other,” Trescott said. “We continue to be on top of the latest research in our field and we attend conferences and symposiums together.”
Last spring, Trescott and other art teachers attended an art education symposium hosted in MU given by one of the top thinkers in the field of art. These kinds of interactions and collaborations made the RBHS program bigger and better, Trescott said, and she said she feels attacked because of this decision.
“We believe in it so strongly, and so to see it disappear is kind of like losing a family member,” she said. “That is our family, our home, our background and to see it disappear is devastating to everyone who has been in the program.”
Trescott noticed that art seems to be the first program that is cut from schools during a budget crisis because she says that the society doesn’t see the need for art and because it is not seen as a core program.
She believes the arts make students become conceptual thinkers, creative thinkers and very good problem solvers because she sees those things in her art classes every day and worries that eventually, art will start getting removed from elementary, middle and high schools.
“We are trying to rally behind this cause and make a stand and get the support we need so that the university understands that this community believes in the arts and especially believes in the art education school,” Trescott said. “It starts by teaching good teachers.”
By Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi
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