News Post

Culture and history new components of enhanced fine arts minor
Culture and history new components of enhanced fine arts minor
Dr. Russ Pottle, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences at Misericordia University is taking an innovative approach to ensure that the fine arts thrive in classrooms across the campus. The University's enhanced fine arts minor is designed to expand offerings and attract students from across the entire spectrum of academic disciplines that have an interest in art as it pertains to culture and history. The minor beings with the fall semester.

Developed for students majoring in any of Misericordia's 34 academic programs, such as Government, Law and National Security, psychology and biology, the new fine arts minor will be offered with three concentrations: art history, music and culture, and studio art.

"Misericordia is happy to enhance offerings in the fine arts that offer challenging options for students," said Russ Pottle, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "The Fine Arts Department, under the direction of Dr. Elisa Korb, has developed a minor that is intellectually rigorous on both an artistic and philosophical basis. The hope is to interest as many students as possible with a wide range of unique and intellectually stimulating classes linked to a variety of academic areas," he adds.

"The structure of the minor is much more interdisciplinary, and patterned on programs more commonly seen at the graduate level," explained Ryan Weber, Ph.D., assistant professor of fine arts. "Usually arts programs broaden at the upper academic level...we have inverted that pyramid and are offering a broad range for undergraduate study. Our new minor is not just for people who want to perform and produce art, but for those who want to study art along with their other major areas of interest – such as biology, business or the health sciences."

The first of the three concentrations is the studio art component, which will build on an existing schedule of popular classes in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, fine art photography and printmaking, along with jewelry design and anatomical drawing. All are offered at The Sandra Dzczewski Maffei Painting & Drawing Studio at 50 Lake St., Dallas.

With class offerings that include "Music and Ecology," to interest biology and science majors, "Music of the Mind" for psychology students, and "Sacred Sounds: Music & Religion," for religions studies enthusiasts, the new Music and Culture concentration will address a wide variety of topics including gender studies, how countries identify with music and the impact of music on gender and diversity issues and social identity.

"For example, the "FA 207: World Music" class will go beyond the typical study of global music to look at how different cultures have been transformed by the arts and music, the impact of music on current events including terrorism, and how music impacts the perception of America worldwide," Weber explains.

The art history concentration offerings will span the centuries from classical, ancient Egyptian and Medieval art to 19th century art and 20th century fashion.

"Art history, by definition, is very multi-disciplinary, and also allows for courses that relate to philosophy, religion and the social sciences," said Dr. Korb, who has a background in the specialty. "The Misericordia core is rooted in art history, so we are able to build on that tradition yet take it forward with numerous new and intriguing class offerings."

She added, "In redesigning the minor with three concentrations, we decided to expand on the success of the studio arts classes – such as painting and sculpting – which have always thrived at Misericordia, maximize the expertise of the faculty, such as Dr. Weber's experience in musicology and my focus on art history, and take a fresh new approach that will appeal to a wide range of students."

As a part of the new academic initiative, the Department of Fine Arts also is planning a scholarly "Word and Music" conference on April 9, 2016, with the theme, "Bodies of Art: Music, Literature and Disability." The event is being sponsored by the Soyka Fund for the Humanities and is open to musicologists and literary scholars from across the country. The forum will address issues dealing with disability as seen through music and literature.

For information on the new fine arts minor, and the "Word and Music" conference, please contact Dr. Korb at, (570) 674-6405, or Dr. Weber at, (570) 674-6182.