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Bare shoulders earn failing grade for BYU-Idaho student’s art project.

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9 minutes ago, Calm said:

Looks like the Foundation courses are what was called General Education back in the 70s and 80s at BYU (Provo).

https://www.byui.edu/Documents/catalog/2015-2016/Foundations.pdf

That class is part of the "cultural awareness" aspect.

Ah, its beginning to make sense!  The class I teach (Human Evolution) was just made a Foundation course and now we are dealing with a completely different type of student--eg: the student who doesn't care at all about the subject, wants an easy A, skips class frequently and gets mad at the instructor when they get a bad grade because they didn't understand the assignment (because they were not in class where it was explained in detail).  Not saying that is the case here, but its certainly possible.

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10 hours ago, bluebell said:

Knowing how to tick off authority figures you don't agree with (and wanting to) is teenager 101. It's hard to see it has much of an accomplishment.

There was no indication she wanted to tick off her professor from the original Facebook comment, IMO.

The professor probably made a comment about just enjoying the project and doing their best to apply what they learned, they weren't going to be judged as photography/art students.  Whatever he said, it led her to believe he was expecting very little...iirc, she used a derogatory term, but that might be my interpretation, not hers...wish the article had taken a screenshot and not used an embedded link that now no longer functions.  She was going to give him a great shock not because of the provocative nature of her work, but because of the quality.  Nothing in what she says shows the awareness of an artist being limited by restrictions, but only a desire to be seen as talented and disappointment when it didn't happen and a need to find that approval elsewhere.

From the Trib link:

"Giles said she felt validated by the response, most of which has been supportive of her work."

Edited by Calm

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Confirms my memory of her original Facebook post, though again doesn't it:

"At most, she expected only to send him into “cardiac arrest” because she felt her photos were way better than the expectations he had of the students in the class."

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/2016/12/03/why-christian-art-sucks-byu-boogaloo/

Gets the "art class" bit wrong.

Edited by Calm

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6 hours ago, bluebell said:

Knowing how to tick off authority figures you don't agree with (and wanting to) is teenager 101. It's hard to see it has much of an accomplishment.

Yes, teenagers ticking off authority figures is common.  But we are not really talking about that are we.  We are talking about making art statements as a form of protest.  Was Picasso acting out as a teenager when he painted probably his most famous painting"Guernica"?  Was Goya just acting out as teenagers do when he painted "The Third of May, 1808 protesting the Peninsular War?  Are you dismissing all the great works of art that were done to protest something the artist felt strongly about?  Or just dismiss this one on the grounds that she was a teenager?

I might point out that  she did accomplish what she set out to do if her intent was to protest a bare shoulder policy in student work.  No other assignment turned in that day has had near the discussion about their pieces.  She should have gotten an A. Especially for a first year student.

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3 hours ago, Calm said:

Looks like the Foundation courses are what was called General Education back in the 70s and 80s at BYU (Provo).

https://www.byui.edu/Documents/catalog/2015-2016/Foundations.pdf

That class is part of the "cultural awareness" aspect.

Class description:

"FDHUM 110 Foundations of Humanities

(3:3:0:0)

Introduction to the Humanities. Students will examine key works in the arts from Renais- sance through the early 20th Century, their historical and cultural context, and the artistic principles that contribute to their significance. Students will then apply these principles in their own creative work, and in making value assessments about the arts."

Goals:

"1.      Identify key works of Western art, architecture, literature and music within their cultural and historical contexts.

2.      Understand and identify the formal elements of the visual arts, literature, theatre, cinema and music.

3.      Apply principles of the creative process in their own creative work and in analyzing cultural events.

4.      Apply basic cognitive and analytical tools to make value assessments about quality in the arts."

http://www.byui.edu/foundations/foundations-overview/philosophy-of-foundations/section-ii(a)-outcomes

 

If these are the goals of the class, then it appears the student nailed #3.   

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4 hours ago, Calm said:

As far as the teacher not being competent to teach art, how many times does it need to be pointed out it wasn't an art class, but a humanities 100 class?  The teacher could be very good at teaching other aspects of the class, but weak in this area.  That happens often when those who specialize in certain topics teach general courses.  I wouldn't see my husband as all that great in teaching the econmics section of a general business class because his work is in small business startup and development...but he has from what I have seen great success helping his students come up with and develop working business, got a number of millionaires as former students and every time I am out in public it seems we run into a former student who gushes about how helpful he was.

This statement is just an attack on the quality of teaching going on at BYU-I,   Has this teacher been chastised by those who supervise him?  Has the way the Humanities class selects their teachers been questioned and subject to review of current policies?Certainly NO student should be taking a humanities class and taught that there is something wrong with any art that shows bare shoulders.  

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can we at least agree she is not a first year art student, but could have any background and is only fulfilling a general education requirement?

Are you still suggesting she was making some sort of statement?

As to what she was taught about bare shoulders, we have only a vague comment from the teacher, right?  We don't know what she said to him or he said to her outside of that.  She could very well have misunderstood.

It is possible the teacher isn't that great or just a newbie and needs a couple of classes under his belt.

She apparently managed to get through two months of teaching with no issues and this one was resolved quickly in terms of her being able to get a grade.  The only thing we know for sure is that her pictures were for some reason marked artistic, but not filling the requirements.  It is possible that he was clear on the no suggestion of nudity and it was her error, not his.  It may be him that is the problem, but I see nothing in her writing that leads me to assume she wouldn't be as likely to be the one to make the mistake.  Perhaps he was 'speechless' because he had made it ultra clear and yet she still erred.

Edited by Calm

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49 minutes ago, california boy said:

 

might point out that  she did accomplish what she set out to do if her intent was to protest a bare shoulder policy in student work.  No other assignment turned in that day has had near the discussion about their pieces.  She should have gotten an A. Especially for a first year student.

In her own words, she had no intent to protest or garner discussion.

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And she is a business student.

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4 hours ago, california boy said:

If these are the goals of the class, then it appears the student nailed #3.   

Not really seeing that myself in the first set of pictures.  Is there some hidden message you are finding in her portraits?  What do you think the paint stands for or the context choices?  Paint in the shower?

 

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7 hours ago, Calm said:

Confirms my memory of her original Facebook post, though again doesn't it:

"At most, she expected only to send him into “cardiac arrest” because she felt her photos were way better than the expectations he had of the students in the class."

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/2016/12/03/why-christian-art-sucks-byu-boogaloo/

Gets the "art class" bit wrong.

That changes everything, to read her quote in context this time. But a pretty over confident comment, IMO.

Edited by Tacenda

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She expected an A according to her tweet.  Can't see any point she was making in there either...the compliments were just about the beauty of the photos and I don't remember seeing anything about anything meaningful in the original set.

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On 12/5/2016 at 7:57 PM, bluebell said:

Were they photographs?  I haven't been able to find anywhere that has said other than the two examples she gives, which were a painting and a sculpture.  

Paintings and sculptures may be the photos of their times but we can all agree that they are not the same thing as actual photos of real people who had to break the honor code themselves to be in them.  

I'd be fine with Liberty leading the people being shown in my son's 9th grade class.  I would not be fine with a picture of a topless woman being shown though and I don't think i'm unique in that.  Our culture recognizes the two are not the same.

 

You are confusing or deliberately distorting to different concepts of the US culture, art v. pornography.  Bare shoulders are not pornography in US culture, especially the bare shoulders in the pictures the student submitted. 

 

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5 minutes ago, provoman said:

 

You are confusing or deliberately distorting to different concepts of the US culture, art v. pornography.  Bare shoulders are not pornography in US culture, especially the bare shoulders in the pictures the student submitted. 

 

Most women don't stand in the shower with clothes on.

The image suggested is that it is a nude woman even though that was not the reality.

I don't see it as pornography (don't believe Bluebell called it that either), but I see it as more a privacy issue.  Nudity is not automatically porn, but simply because I have never felt awkward walking around in a gym locker room starkers and seeing other women that way (and I suspect I would get used pretty quickly in a culture that had coed baths, nude beaches and such) I don't assume that everyone else views a nude body in the same way I do and I know many women who view exposure as an intrusion on their own personal space (and I grew up in California and outside of the BYU locker room wouldn't know about Utah, I am reporting my experiences in CA as a youth and adult in school and local business gyms that had saunas and steam rooms).  And many of those I believe would feel the same way about a photo as they would face to face...they just aren't interested or comfortable around others' nudity for whatever reason even if there is nothing sexual about it.  I suspect this was probably due to the hype about the perfect body for many, but for others it was too open, too personal...kind of the same reason why bathroom stalls have doors on them.

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Calm I have to say you are just filling your posts with guesses and suppositions in order to make your point.  Of course you are free to guess at anything you want.  But here are the facts.  The teacher rejected the class assignment based on the fact that the shoulders were showing.  For anyone teaching the arts, even in a humanities class, that is a ridiculous concept to teach.  If the instructor is unqualified to teach the ascetics of art, he should be removed.  

Would he fail a student for portraying a picture of Christ because beards go agains the honor code?  Would he have rejected a photograph of a male showing his shoulders?  Should all art books used by BYU students be censored and all partially clothed paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs blacked out.  

Honestly it is beyond me how you can defend someone who has a view that art should not show bare shoulders, even at BYU and is put in a position to teach a humanities class that attempts to educate students on art.  This article should be about the teachers failure, not the students.

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She said on her tweets that she is a business student.

I found the info for the class.

what actual factual material have you found?

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"The teacher rejected the class assignment based on the fact that the shoulders were showing"

Please show me where the teacher said that and it was not Giles making the claim without sufficient documentation.  Certainly is possible or even probable, but not the only possibility.

I am not defending the guy, I am the one that has gone and spent an hour reading her tweets, searching the byui website looking for additional material and separating out her claims from what is known.  I have mentioned limitations of what we know so that such may or may not have happened.  We don't have enough true info to know the how, why, or what to draw judgment.

You, otoh, have built up this fantasy of this activist art student who knowingly pushed the boundaries  of the school. Etc. etc.

And you are accusing me of filling my posts with guesses and suppositions.

Edited by Calm

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9 hours ago, provoman said:

 

You are confusing or deliberately distorting to different concepts of the US culture, art v. pornography.  Bare shoulders are not pornography in US culture, especially the bare shoulders in the pictures the student submitted. 

 

I never said they were pornographic.  I don't believe they are pornographic.

Edited by bluebell

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7 hours ago, california boy said:

Calm I have to say you are just filling your posts with guesses and suppositions in order to make your point.

What are you talking about?  Calm has been researching this whole situation and providing quotes and relevant factual information.  You've haven't done that once but she's the one who's filling in posts with guesses?

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While we have the very, very basic criteria list that appears to be standard for the Foundations course, it is quite likely the professor provided additional instruction when introducing the assignment.  I say this based on my own personal experience, including one art class (pottery), one craft class (weaving), and numerous others that had a set of standard assignments that were then given the personal touch by the professor (math is most obvious for having such examples that would need minimum explanation by college level and yet even there profs spent significant time at the beginning and before each assignment...even the very worst math teacher I ever had...one allowed access to the book at all times, another broke up the assignment into two parts and we went through the first quite quickly to introduce the subject with the second time more methodically through to firmly embed the process in our minds...best teaching technique for college level).  I have never had one professor simply point to the assignment without further explanation than what was in the syllabus.  I have never heard of or seen my husband or any of my professor friends approach a class assignment in this way.  It is possible that it might happen, I am not ruling it out, but given the info we have, there is no reason to assume this case is an extreme outlier at this point.  There is no reason to believe no additional instruction save the criteria list shown is what happened here as no real description of class instruction was given save that she was shown nudes and partial nudes in the form of paintings and photos over the course of the class as well as having to write an essay on one of them, Liberty Leading the People, iirc.

The impression of her from her tweets is one of a good, involved, excitable (not really the word I am looking for, will try to think of a more precise one) student.  She is reported in her local paper and took a summer job teaching before moving out to Idaho for freshman year.  She appears to be quite popular and confident and involved in many things in her home town.  Also does not appear to like Idaho or its people that much, but perhaps that is a running joke with one of her friends though given her reaction from the election....

Comes across to me as someone who has high expectations of herself and of how others will react to her.  Rather vigorous in criticism when disappointed (basing this on election reaction so could be unusual behaviour due to unusual experience).  Provides some insight imo into why she went to the media after receiving the shock she was not getting the expected A, but a zero even though he had given her the chance to redo the assignment with no reported penalty.  

We have been given no report that I have found yet on anything the professor might have said prior to the assignment.  Giles reports her impression that his expectation level of the quality of their projects was very low, most likely based on something he said either for that assignment specifically or perhaps when he was discussing the expectations for the class in general and the overall purpose of the various personal application projects, but her impression may have been based on the fact she was taking a nonart, general education course and her own expectation of the other students.  We have no knowledge of her attendance record, if she might have missed an explanation or just didn't hear it.  I found nothing about fellow classmates that might have given her their impression of instructions or feedback on her ideas, she says nothing about any other student's work that I found at this point.

We have her screenshot of his first evaluation and then her report/interpretation on what the professor said.  I got the impression from reading her comments her impression that he spent little time explaining in detail, but we have no way of knowing how accurate her perception was.  He could have been quite precise and thorough, but she blew it off with her sound bite interpretation (she has a tendency to do this IMO with politics at least as one can tell from her tweets, appearing to have rather simplitistic reactions to things she doesn't agree with...probably the nature of tweets, but she chooses to use them quite a bit and she chose to retweet a tweet calling for defriending anyone who voted for Trump and had mocked people intending to vote for a third party on principle).

We also have her expressing a strong sense of deserving an A and unfortunately no expression she was learning anything from the class, but do have her expression she was going to demonstrate to the teacher how great she was to the point of giving him "cardiac arrest".  We also know her mom protested the grade by tweeting that she herself had a degree in Art Ed.  The impression I got from those two tweets and the original Facebook post was that this project was a result of Giles' inherent talent and previous skill development (my understanding was she was highly involved in graphics design in High school) with the teacher not being given a public role save as an admiring observer.

Overall, .i think this episode tells us much more about Waverly Giles than it does about the actual assignment, teacher, or class.  We know one person's version in an experience that likely involved dozens (depending on size of class), especially the most important when it comes to class material, theteacher's.  I find it highly inappropriate to judge a teacher's compentecy solely on the very limited report of an unhappy, disappointed student of how he handled one section of one class assignment when we don't even have access to the full syllabus, but just the minimum requirement check off list.

I might change my mind if I find her Facebook site and spend the same time on that as I did the tweets or if the professor decided to comment.  I doubt he will given my experience with how professors deal with disgruntled students, but none of them had students report them to media, though some were reported to the higher ups (very, very few were disciplined; vast majority of time it becomes clear the student misunderstood or wasn't willing to abide by requirements, missed classes, etc.). The one thing I have significant doubts about seeing in any additional material is a better understanding demonstrated by her of the professor's teaching style or involvement due to how she has presented him in the three media forms (news, Facebook, and tweets) so far, which has been very superficial and nonempathetic.

Edited by Calm

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19 hours ago, Calm said:

"The teacher rejected the class assignment based on the fact that the shoulders were showing"

Please show me where the teacher said that and it was not Giles making the claim without sufficient documentation.  Certainly is possible or even probable, but not the only possibility.

I am not defending the guy, I am the one that has gone and spent an hour reading her tweets, searching the byui website looking for additional material and separating out her claims from what is known.  I have mentioned limitations of what we know so that such may or may not have happened.  We don't have enough true info to know the how, why, or what to draw judgment.

You, otoh, have built up this fantasy of this activist art student who knowingly pushed the boundaries  of the school. Etc. etc.

And you are accusing me of filling my posts with guesses and suppositions.

 

12 hours ago, bluebell said:

What are you talking about?  Calm has been researching this whole situation and providing quotes and relevant factual information.  You've haven't done that once but she's the one who's filling in posts with guesses?

You are both right and I apologize for my statement.  I re-read your post and while there is some speculation going on, it seems like you are trying your best to understand the situation.  I guess for me it is less about the student and her motives which you have spent quite a bit of time fleshing out, than it is a teacher giving someone a zero because bare shoulders were showing on an art assignment.  What I was referring to is the speculation about whether the instructor specifically said something about bare shoulders or what the criteria if any the assignment had and what that criteria MIGHT be.  

I personally can see why a student would be upset getting a zero on an assignment just because her shoulders were showing.  I would want an explanation from the instructor.  If the assignment was fulfilled and then the instructor added new criteria to the assignment after it was turned in, then the error is with the instructor, not the student.  

Since we don't really know much about what the instructor specifically told the class, I have made most of my comments directed at the dismissal of any art simply based on bare shoulders.  I have a problem with that kind of thinking when it comes to teaching about art in a humanities class.  That seems to be what the news story focused on.  That was what I was focusing on as well.

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"personally can see why a student would be upset getting a zero on an assignment just because her shoulders were showing."

Please quote where the teacher stated it was the bare shoulders.  I think it most likely, but iirc that is what Giles reported, not any comment quoted by the teacher.  If so, Giles could have misunderstood.

If a teacher's competency is going to be called into question, I think there is an obligation to prove and not just assume he said it and that is not done by accepting a paraphrase or remembered commentfrom one person, but solid documentation.

We are talking about someone's livelihood and whether he should be removed from it, which might result in his poverty if he can't find another job because he has been tainted as incompetent (I am not suggesting anyone here had that power, but false accusations that can ruin people's reputation shouldn't be tossed around even in casual conversations).

Edited by Calm

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"guess for me it is less about the student and her motives which you have spent quite a bit of time fleshing out"

As opposed to you creating this whole narrative about this activist first year art student creating a protest piece in order to confront the art dept with its nonsensical rule? ;)

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On 12/10/2016 at 2:14 AM, Calm said:

"The teacher rejected the class assignment based on the fact that the shoulders were showing"

Please show me where the teacher said that and it was not Giles making the claim without sufficient documentation.  Certainly is possible or even probable, but not the only possibility.

I am not defending the guy, I am the one that has gone and spent an hour reading her tweets, searching the byui website looking for additional material and separating out her claims from what is known.  I have mentioned limitations of what we know so that such may or may not have happened.  We don't have enough true info to know the how, why, or what to draw judgment.

You, otoh, have built up this fantasy of this activist art student who knowingly pushed the boundaries  of the school. Etc. etc.

And you are accusing me of filling my posts with guesses and suppositions.

Bingo! (I Know I hate that expression.) But all the teacher said on her reporting grade was:  the professor indicated that the project did not meet the assignment criteria and added a commentary note.

"I have no idea what to do with these," it said. "They're artistic but ..."

Does anyone know what the criteria for this project actually was? I've skimmed the thread but didn't pick it up. I certainly don't see it as a protest just hubris.

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On 12/9/2016 at 10:33 AM, california boy said:

So basically you are saying the instructor that was teaching a humanities class was unqualified to teach and made a mistake.   If that is the case, then this is what the article should be about, not about bare shoulders in works of art and honor code violations.  And if that is the case, then why are we even discussing a mistake a person unqualified to teach the course made.

All the other points were covered by calm and BB pretty well. so I thought I'd comment quickly on this. One mishap on one assignment in one topic isn't enough to tell me whether someone is unqualified to teach. I remember I had a religion teacher that I loved to take classes from. He was good with giving background info, bringing in differing material that may be considered controversial concerns, and was earnest. So I went to him when I ended up writing a paper on race in scriptures. Though he was nice and gave me 1 brief idea or further reference, mostly he didn't know as much as I assumed he would. He was older and was mostly empathetic and a little guilty for a previous generation's thoughts. His ineffectual commentary wasn't  enough to dissuade me that his career as an educator was poor. I had another professor in psych that I didn't like as much who had a tendency to overuse analogies to sports in complex detail. Instead of clarifying the points, it made them more opaque for me and I found myself tuning out. A lot. When a major grade came up, large swaths of the class failed it. Which opened a discussion of what was happening. There were a lot of critique on how he taught and the instructions he'd given. This still didn't mean he was unqualified to teach. It meant he had some things to learn in execution.

 

Taking one moment in one decision as the litmus test for a professor, whatever the topic, isn't enough. If there was a pattern of veering away from all nudes or "bare shoulders" I would tend to be concerned. (As it is, there is at least minimal info to say that is probably not the case). Or more info as to the 0 that shadowed some renegade teaching style that shut down all expressions that didn't fit this teacher's ideas then you have something. But we don't. 

 

Edit: also I know you decided to work in generalities, but this isn't really all that generalizable. I know little about Byu-i's art or humanities programs, but I know enough of Byu-Provo's to know that they had more than enough where far more than shoulders were shown in sketches or art work. This seems to be an exception, not a rule, and we don't have enough info to know why this humanities professor made said choice 

 

With luv, 

BD 

 

Edited by BlueDreams

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