Expert Critics and How Faculty Select Them: A Comparison from Art and Design Education

Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on New Approaches in Education

Year: 2022



Expert Critics and How Faculty Select Them: A Comparison from Art and Design Education

Diane M. Bender



Educators in many disciplines rely on experts to add a wealth of experience and a variety of perspectives to class instruction. In art and design, these are known as critics. This case study looks at the selection of critics by faculty who use a studio-based learning model in design education the core of its curriculum. In design education, the studio instructor’s role of an expert may be questioned and additional expertise from outside practitioners is desirable for final educational assessment in studio. A two-part case study was conducted at a multi-disciplinary design school within the United States. Sixty-eight studio faculty responded to open-ended questions about critic selection. Critics participating in studio reviews (n=144) identified traits they believed made them an expert. Data were analyzed using inductive reasoning and typological analysis. Findings consistent with existing research support decisions made based on the juror’s discipline-specific knowledge, formal education, experience in industry, and reputation. Contrary findings show a personal relationship between the instructor and the reviewer, the reviewer’s availability, and the reviewer’s attitude also played a role in the decision-making process. While the focus of this case study is the expertise of the studio critic, the findings can be expounded beyond art and design to the faculty member’s selection of any expert class participant.

keywords: critique, expertise, juror, pedagogy, studio.