The Academic Advising team at the SMFA at Tufts works with undergraduate students over the course of their entire program to track their degree requirements, assist with course selection, and connect students to the wealth of academic resources available on both campuses. Students are required to meet with an academic advisor each semester in advance of registration.
In addition to working with an academic advisor, students work with faculty mentors in class and studio, outside of class, and in a Review Board at the end of each semester to help them develop a personalized curriculum that will best suit their individual artistic practice.
At the SMFA at Tufts, we require that BFA students complete a total of 19 credits of studio coursework over their time here. Within this requirement students have the freedom to choose what coursework is going to best help them realize their artistic vision and voice. This process is a fluid and organic one, and ideally will shift and change over the course of a student’s undergraduate experience.
The Review Board is an essential aspect of the SMFA at Tufts experience. At the Review Board, students engage in a conversation about their work with faculty and students, which often provides the basis for the student's revision of his or her own artistic aims.
The process affords students and faculty the opportunity to think about the art at hand as the effect of an organic creative process, rather than as a set of isolated pieces created in different classes. By seeing the semester's work as a whole, faculty and students at the Review Board are able to recognize the explicit and implicit relationships between the pieces presented. This ability to understand the work, where the context is determined by the artist, allows the Review Board participants to draw out the work's organizing questions, ideas and aims that might not have been readily apparent. This experience furthermore provides an opportunity for students to articulate and understand more fully the integration of their research-based practices with their studio projects, and to that end often involves Visual and Critical Studies faculty.
By requiring that students experience the Review Board at the end of each semester, SMFA at Tufts helps students to cultivate the ability to articulate their own artistic direction and questions, to evaluate their needs and achievements and to theorize and plan their own development as an artist. The Review Board is one of the most valuable and unique experiences at SMFA at Tufts, an experience very much in line with the school's mission as a teaching institution devoted to cultivating the artist as intellectual, as interdisciplinary-informed and, above all, as self-directed.