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Special Topics

Special Topics, students working on mural

Special Topics

Special Topic courses provide an opportunity for professors to offer a class of special interest—a different medium, a different subject—for one semester. It may be in an area outside usual course offerings or it may be an intense, concentrated course on a specific area touched on more generally in other classes.

If the course is popular, it may be offered again; once it has been offered successfully three times, faculty members can request making the course part of our regular course offerings.

A sampling of past Special Topics courses which have become regular courses:

  • African Art
  • Artists as Activists
  • Alternative Photographic Processes
  • Screen Printing

Special Topics Course Example in Art

Art in Public Places, Spring 2015 

As part of their coursework, students in the course created a mural in the ground floor hallway of the Foy Concert Hall building, by the elevator and stairs.  

Course Description:

The goal of “Art in Public Places” is to introduce students to the historical, cultural, and economic aspects of public art and the varied stages are taken to create and complete public murals. “Art in Public Places” will cover the historic and social development of public art from commercial advertising and finding a design to graffiti and urban development. Students will learn how to realize large-scale public murals, from conceptualization to execution. They will learn how to develop a proposal in consultation and collaboration with a client; they will learn how to create a budget, bid, fundraise and create a timeline for completion. The end result of this class will be a completed mural on campus or in the community.


“Art in Public Places gave me an understanding of how to bridge business and the art world. I learned how to make a career from my passion. Designing and painting the mural was exciting. Seeing the finished piece produced by my class on the wall is indescribable. Throughout the course, our professor reminded us that there are no limits, because there are no limits in life. He was right."

–Caitlyn Heil, Class of 2016

“I really enjoyed the Art in Public Places course. I learned a lot about how to use my time efficiently while working within a deadline, and I also gained more understanding of how to charge someone for artwork—the time, the effort, the material, the skill, and all the other factors involved in creating a work of art from concept to completion. We learned a lot about how to work well within a group where we all had specific jobs within the project. It gave me the knowledge and skill to take on a public work of art of my own in the future.”

–Kaitlyn Coppens, Class of 2016