Learning Goals

Dance majors have the option of emphasizing one of three foci in dance:  choreography and performance, dance scholarship, or somatics.  Our majors are expected to have a scholarly and embodied perspective of their studies regardless of special focus.  In addition, all of our graduating students are expected to:

  • attain an intermediate/advanced level of proficiency in contemporary dance techniques;
  • cultivate the craft and imagination to choreograph and produce successful, original, contemporary dance works;
  • gain experience in the theatrical possibilities of lighting design and digital video;
  • achieve a perspective on creative processes across the arts;
  • acquire a broad understanding of historical and cultural values expressed through dance;
  • understand anatomy and kinesiology in the context of culture and the environment;
  • demonstrate the ability to pursue scholarly research and presentation;
  • develop the ability to articulate, to those familiar and unfamiliar with the field, the interdisciplinary aspects of dance and the potential for dance to both reflect and impact culture;
  • successfully complete an original, independent senior performance project or written thesis that demonstrates the emergence of their own artistic/scholarly voice.



History of Art & Architecture Learning Goals

Learning Goals in History of Art

Through courses across a wide continuum of times and cultures, students of art history not only learn to articulate histories of visual production, but also to think critically about the stakes of artistic creation and objects of culture more generally.

Students in the major will, by inquiring into the modes and meanings of visual arts and culture:

  • develop their abilities as critical thinkers by questioning works of art and architecture and developing arguments about the circumstances of  their production and meaning
  • learn to build extended arguments based upon composite evidence: visual, historical, and textual
  • engage creative research problems that, over time, yield new insights into art, architecture, history and culture
  • become strong, convincing writers through using a variety of approaches to write about  the history of the arts, architecture, and visual culture
  • become highly skilled at presenting their work through oral, public presentations

Learning Goals in Architectural Studies

The Architectural Studies Program has been designed to offer students enough of an exposure to the field that they can determine whether they wish to pursue it professionally.  It also helps them develop the skills and credentials necessary for admission to graduate study in architecture.  For those who decide this is not something they wish to build upon after Middlebury, it still provides a fine way to acquire a liberal arts education in a synthetic manner.  It combines study in the history of art and architecture (important for developing critical awareness and skills) with art studio work, calculus, physics, and elective work in a range of fields: environmental studies, geography, economics, sociology, and theater design.

Students in the major will develop:

  • an understanding of the complex factors that condition the built environment through design analysis, theory and history
  • critical and analytical skills through a study of history, theory and design studios
  • an ability to communicate ideas through written, graphic and oral means in an organized and articulate fashion through presenting history papers, design critiques, and presentation booklets
  • an ability for creative problem-solving in the design studio
  • an ability to visualize in spatial and three-dimensional terms

Studio Art Learning Goals

We want our students to possess a high degree of visual literacy and intellectual curiosity about art and culture.

Our teaching practice gives students the tools to understand art from the experience of making it. These tools are informed from the study of art history and contemporary practice.

Studio students are required to relate their knowledge of art to larger intellectual and cultural discourse within the liberal arts. Our teaching nourishes ideational cross-pollination between Studio Art and other departments.

Connecting the practice of art-making and visual communication to the greater culture beyond Middlebury is a primary goal.

Our students develop skills in making drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and new media. Our teaching imperative is for students to understand and apply fundamental principles of these disciplines.

For all senior work we require students to demonstrate their understanding of art making through comprehension of the history of art and it’s contemporary practice.

In all senior work it is vital that our students develop critical-reasoning skills. They learn to articulate these in one-on-one and group critique sessions. Specifically, we require students to independently advance one or a series of intellectual ideas by creating a body of visual artwork that codifies their thesis. Through oral and written analysis, technical revision, and public exhibition of these results, we instruct our students so that they are able to gain greater understanding of themselves and their place in the larger world.


Learning Goals

The following are goals that, by consensus of the Faculty, all First Year Seminars should provide students with the opportunity to achieve:

1. to learn what is expected intellectually and ethically for college-level work in the Liberal Arts;

2. to engage seriously with the topic to which one’s seminar is devoted;

3. to develop skills in widely accessible yet scholarly presentation (written and oral), involving observation, analysis, argumentation, research, and the use of sources;

4. to become (with the help of advising) active in exploring academic and professional interests, and to find rewarding ways to participate in intellectual life in the Liberal Arts.

Different seminars may approach these goals in different ways, and individual seminar instructors may, at their discretion, add further goals.  In accordance with Goal 1, seminars tend to emphasize academic and intellectual curiosity, generosity, integrity, honesty, and effort in written work, discussion, and oral presentation.  Seminars may also stress, in their teaching of writing or in their approaches to their topics, the importance of diversity, personal responsibility, and community to intellectual achievement.

In accordance with Goal 3, First Year Seminar students can expect to work on widely accessible analytical writing.  Some seminars may assign other kinds of writing as well.  Learning to write and speak in First Year Seminars is often not merely acquiring techniques or formulas of persuasive rhetoric, but rather learning about a particular topic, and how to discuss it accurately and compellingly, through writing and speaking. The topics of some seminars may be interdisciplinary, those of others representative of particular disciplines.

In accordance with Goal 4, First Year Seminar instructors (Middlebury College faculty members) also serve as academic advisors for students until the students select their majors (by the middle of the second year at Middlebury).  We have found that no one is better equipped to fulfill the role of academic advisor to a new student than a professor who works closely with that student.