Bard envisions the liberal arts institution as the hub of a network, rather than a single, self-contained campus. Numerous institutes for special study are available on and off campus, connecting Bard students to the greater community.
The Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College embodies the fundamental belief that education and civil society are inextricably linked. In an age of information overload, it is more important than ever that citizens be educated and trained to think critically and be actively engaged with issues affecting public life.
The Division of the Arts offers programs in art history, dance, film and electronic arts, music, photography, studio arts, and theater and performance. Theoretical understanding and practical skills alike are developed through production and performance in all disciplines. In the course of their program studies, students in the arts also develop aesthetic criteria that can be applied to other areas of learning. Students may undertake the arts for different reasons—as a path to a vocation or an avocation, or simply as a means of cultural enrichment. Working with a faculty adviser, the student plans a curriculum with his or her needs and goals in mind.
As a student progresses to the Upper College, the course work increasingly consists of smaller studio discussion groups and seminars in which active participation is expected. Advisory conferences, tutorials, and independent work prepare the student for the Senior Project. This yearlong independent project may be a critical or theoretical monograph, a collection of essays, or, for a large proportion of students, an artistic work, such as an exhibition of original paintings, sculpture, or photography; performances in dance, theater, or music; dance choreography or musical composition; or the making of a short film with sound. In designing their Senior Project topics, students may have reason to join their arts studies together with a complementary field or discipline, including programs or concentrations in other divisions. Plans for such integrated or interdivisional projects are normally created on an individual basis with the adviser.
Division chair: Jean Churchill (fall), Maria Q. Simpson (spring)