Ann Nicgorski, a professor of art history and archaeology at Willamette University, was one of 21 faculty members chosen nationwide to participate in a week-long training seminar at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art July 13-18.
The goal of the seminar is to strengthen the teaching of art history to undergraduates at smaller colleges and universities.
Nicgorski says the training is particularly relevant to her because she's revising a new course on Greek mythology in the visual arts. She is eager to learn more about how to center the class on the artistic interpretation of stories from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses.”
“The approach will allow us to think more deeply and critically about how these stories were understood and visually interpreted in antiquity — as well as how they were reinterpreted by artists in later times," she says. "I look forward to participating and to learning from other teachers and scholars who are working on similar projects.”
The Council of Independent Colleges, an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities, chose the winning participants. The CIC’s purpose is to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and promote public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society.
“Strengthening the teaching of art history at colleges and universities — many of which have limited faculty resources in art history — is critical,” CIC President Richard Ekman says.
“The seminars will have significant value for the faculty members who participate, the colleagues with whom they will share their new knowledge, and the students who enroll in their courses.”
During the week-long event, participants will examine prints and rare printed books in the Regenstein Library’s Special Collections Research Center. They will visit the university’s Oriental Institute, campus and neighborhood murals, and they will tour the nearby Museum of Science and Industry.
Through their training, they’ll be urged to consider how they can use local resources to discuss with students ways in which artists, architects, patrons and others have understood and reinterpreted the past.
Only full-time faculty members who regularly teach art history at smaller colleges and universities were eligible to attend the seminar.