Graduate students choose between two programs: the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), an intensive, one-year (summer through spring) cohort teacher preparation program for artists and designers that culminates in recommendation for teacher certification in art pK-12, and the Master of Arts (MA) in Art + Design, a one-year (fall through spring), practice-based program for art and design educators at all levels who are interested in renewing a connection to contemporary pedagogical and creative practices.
At RISD prospective educators craft the foundations of their pedagogical practice within a vibrant community of artists, designers and scholars. Each year approximately 12–20 degree candidates work closely with TLAD faculty, professionals in the field at partner organizations and a range of visiting lecturers. When the time comes, faculty take particular pride in helping each degree candidate with a job search, which has led to an extremely high placement rate and greater job satisfaction for graduates.
Graduate students co-construct an experiential learning environment with TLAD faculty, who value studio-based learning and recognize the unique power of art and design in a changing society. Through an array of offerings centered at RISD and radiating out to the learning community at Brown University and the city of Providence—known as “the cultural capital”—master’s candidates tap into enormous expertise, make their own educational choices and appreciate the flexibility of the program. A model of community engagement and cultural change, Project Open Door (see below) is a core asset available to TLAD students, who also benefit from local pop-ups, start-ups, established organizations and multi-mission arts organizations open to fertile associations with RISD. TLAD students also engage with the wider community of graduate students across all disciplines through seminar and studio electives.
For almost 10 years TLAD has been fine-tuning Project Open Door—a pioneering program launched in 2005 to mentor underserved urban teens with a passion for art and help them prepare for and apply to college. TLAD graduate students and others from the RISD community have a unique opportunity get involved in what is essentially a non-profit youth-based program housed in a college’s academic department and established to literally envelop interested public high school students with intensive mentoring and other helpful resources at RISD.
Through an individually designed sequence of courses, internships and independent study, the MA in Art + Design Education promotes rigorous inquiry coupled with an expansive breadth of discovery. Using RISD as an essential base, MA candidates customize their studies within our vibrant community, working in tandem with offerings at neighboring Brown University and in Providence’s diverse range of nonprofit cultural and educational institutions. The MA program offers the option of pursuing one of several pathways, including leadership and professional development; community arts education; and/or a merging of these or other uniquely proposed approaches that respond to the current state of art and design education.
RISD’s MAT program is approved by the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a teacher preparation program and, as a result of the Interstate Compact, has reciprocity in at least 44 other states. It is, however, important for applicants to understand that while RISD awards the MAT degree and recommends its graduates for certification or licensure, the award of teacher certification is determined by individual states, each of which has its own specific requirements. In other words, candidates must pass any teacher-certification test(s) required by individual states.
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