Art courses fixed at three units for transfer degree

By Roxana Amparo

To be in compliance with California’s associate of art degree (AA) requirements, all art courses will be set at three units, by the fall 2017 semester, Liberal Arts Division Dean Jason Berner said.

The  College Instruction Committee, a faculty-run committee that makes final decisions about curriculum, approved course revisions during the spring and fall 2016 semesters to implement the changes in art courses.

Currently, Contra Costa College students can choose to enroll in one to four units in different art courses, but once the change is implemented, the standard will be three units, Berner said.

“We changed it to fixed units, so the courses are now fixed at three units. We need to have all of our classes the same way the state requires them to be,” he said.

The classes used to be “variable” units, so students could register for a different number  of units depending on how much work they wanted to do, Berner said.

“It ensures that we are in compliance with the (AA) transfer degree. It doesn’t really affect anyone who would want to go for the degree.”

He said those people would have had to take it for three units already and it doesn’t impact them.

Students who transfer out of community college with an AAT degree have a guaranteed spot at many campuses in the CSU system.

The requirements include completing 60 semester units, (or 90 quarter units) including fulfilling general education — Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), completing at least 18 units in a major or area and earning at least a 2.0 GPA in all CSU transferable coursework.

Art professor Anthony Gordon said the unit change has impacted the degree for the better.

“There were issues with repeatability,” he said.

Part-time professor Jianun Lu, who teaches Art 095, said students taking art courses need studio time in order to work on their projects.

“For sculpture and ceramics, students need more time to practice. It takes 20 minutes just to set up,” Lu said. “Students have to put the clay on the table. Then there is one hour for lecture and they also have to clean the studio.”

He said students need the studio to work on their digital art, clay and painting projects and having less time restricts their craft.

Lu said one of the options art students may seek is enrolling in Diablo Valley College’s art courses.

“Art students get more for their cost at DVC,” he said. “An art student told me, ‘I go to DVC. I need time’.”

CCC art student Pukar Khadka said, “It’s a good thing being able to choose how much work you want to put into an art class. You can choose how dedicated you want to be.”

But he said it seemed like enrolling in an art course that has many choices creates more work for the student.

Gordon said there are various levels of skill in one art class.

As of this semester, Gordon said his art classes are “really robust,” seating up to 40 students in his Art Appreciation class, a general education requirement course any student can take even if art is not their major.

Berner said a couple of basic introductory courses were added and will be offered starting fall 2017.

These courses were designed to meet the requirements of the transfer degree, statewide.

“We are excited and I hope this encourages students to pursue the transfer degree. 

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for students who are interested in art to have a rewarding experience at CCC,” he said.