Aug 21, 2018  
2017-2018 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog

Departments of Artisanry, Fine Arts, and Visual Design

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Faculty and Fields of Interest

Abajian, Megan  Assistant Dean (2013),  BFA 2005 University of Texas at Austin, MFA 2008 Indiana University.  Specialization: Studio foundations, drawing, fiber art.

Ahrens, Scott Professor of Design (1998), BFA 1994 California State University/Chico, MFA 1998 Rhode Island School of Design. Specialization: Digital media, web design, motion graphics.

Allaux, Jean-Francois Associate Professor of Design (1999), BA Ecole de Garaison, Pau, France, MFA Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts. Specialization: Illustration.

Bowers, Michelle Associate Professor of Design (2008), BFA 1990 Grand Valley State University, MFA 1996 University of Arizona. Specialization: Graphic design, typography an

Carrera, Magali M  (Vice Provost) Chancellor Professor of Art History (1977), BA 1972 Arizona State University, MS 1974, MPhil 1976, PhD 1977 Columbia University. Specialization: Ancient Mexico and Peru and traditional art of Africa, America, and Oceania.

Crayhon, Victoria Associate Professor of Design (2000), BFA 1994 New York University, MFA 1997 Rhode Island School of Design. Specialization: Photography.

Creighton, Richard J (Chairperson, Department of Fine Arts)  Professor of Fine Arts (1981), BA 1975 University of New Hampshire, MFA 1981 Pennsylvania State University. Specialization: Sculpture.

Dempsey, Anna Associate Professor of Art History (2004), BS 1978 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA 1990, MPhil 1991, PhD 1998 Columbia University. Specialization: Modern and contemporary art and architecture, new media, design history

Edwards, James Lecturer in Design (2003), BFA 1980 Massachusetts College of Art, MFA 2003 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Specialization: Illustration

Fairbairn, Janet Lecturer in Design (2000), BFA 1988 Maine College of Art, MFA 1991 Yale University. Specialization: Graphic Design.

Fisher, Anthony E Associate Professor of Fine Arts (2008), BFA 1982 Carnegie-Mellon University, MFA 1986 Yale University. Specialization: Drawing and painting.

Franz, Laura Professor of Design (1998), BFA 1991 Western Michigan University, MFA 1997 Carnegie Mellon University. Specializations: Graphic design.

Hamlet, Susan Professor of Artisanry (1988), BA 1976 Mount Holyoke College, MFA 1978 Rochester Institute of Technology. Specialization: Jewelry/metals.

Hamlin, Charlotte Lecturer in Artisanry (1998), BA 1977 University of Pennsylvania, BS 1982 Columbia University, MS 1986 Boston University, MFA 1998 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Specialization: Fibers, textile history, craft history.

Holloway, Memory (Chairperson, Department of Art History)  Professor of Art History (1996), BA 1968 University of Redlands, MA 1979, PhD 1995 Courtault Institute of Art, London University. Specialization: Modern and Contemporary Art.

Hutchinson, Rebecca Professor of Artisanry (2000), BA 1984 Berea College, MFA 1987 University of Georgia. Specialization: Ceramics.

Karimi, Z. Pamela Associate Professor of Art History (2009), BArch and MArch 1999 Azad University (Iran), MArch and MA 2003 University of Arizona, PhD 2009 MIT. Specialization: Asian and Islamic Art.

Ladd, Spencer (Chairperson, Department of Design)  Professor in Design (1996), BA 1983 Georgia Southern College, MFA 1988 Cranbrook Academy of Art, MFA 1994 Rhode Island School of Design. Specialization: Graphic design.

Lawton, James Professor of Artisanry (1998), BS 1976 Florida State University, MFA 1980 Louisiana State University. Specialization: Ceramics

Lee, Yoon Soo Professor of Design (2001), BFA 1988, MFA 1991 Seoul National University, MFA 1994 Western Michigan University. Specialization: Graphic design

Lintala, Eric Professor of Fine Arts (1988), BFA 1976, MFA 1979 Kent State University. Specialization: Sculpture.

Malakoff, Sarah Assistant Professor in Design (2008), BA 1994 Smith College, MFA 1997 Tufts University. Specialization: Photography.

McFarlane, Bryan Professor of Fine Arts (1993), BFA 1981, MFA 1983 Massachusetts College of Art. Specialization: Painting and drawing.

Millstein, Mark  Professor of Design (1994), BFA 1982 Atlanta College of Art, MFA 1986 Massachusetts College of Art. Specialization: Digital media.

Msangi, Ziddi Associate Professor of Design (1998), BFA 1993 Boise State University, MFA 1996 Cranbrook Academy of Art. Specialization: Graphic design, digital media, web design.

Peteva, Elena Assistant Professor of Fine Arts (2012), BFA 2004 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, MFA 2007 Syracuse University. Specialization: Painting, drawing.

Savage, Stacy Latt Associate Professor of Fine Arts (1998), BA 1990 Wells College, MFA 1996 Cornell University. Specialization: Sculpture.

Schireson, Suzanne Assistant Professor (2012), BFA 2004 University of Pennsylvania, MFA 2008 Indiana University.  Specialization: Painting, drawing.

St Pierre, Marc Professor of Fine Arts (1988), BFA 1976 Laval University, MFA 1979 Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Specialization: Printmaking and photography.

Stubblefield, Thomas  Assistant Professor of Art History (2010), BA 1999 University of South Carolina, MA 2005 University of Illinois at Chicago, PhD 2010 University of California at Irvine.  Specialization: contemporary visual culture.

Swartz, Michael  Lecturer (2014), BFA 1998 Plymouth State University, MFA 2014 School of Visual Arts.  Specialization:  Animation and visual effects.

Thompson, Alan B  (Chairperson, Department of Artisanry)  Associate Professor of Artisanry (1988), AB 1981 State University College at Buffalo, New York, MFA 1987 State University of New York at New Paltz. Specialization: Jewelry/metals.

Tió, Adrian R (Dean) Professor of Fine Arts (2007), BA 1974 Temple University, MFA 1979 University of Cincinnati. Specialization: Drawing, art foundations, printing.

Towne, Shawn Assistant Professor (2010), BFA 1999, BFA 2000 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, MFA 2007 The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Specialization: Digital media, interaction design.

Wong, Janine  Professor of Design (1993), BArch 1980 Cornell University, MFA 1984 Yale University. Specialization: Graphic design.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth offers three Master of Fine Arts degree programs: Artisanry, Fine Arts and Visual Design. These programs are separate, but share similar admission policies, program structures, and degree requirements.  The MFA Graduate Program Directors and the CVPA Graduate Committee oversee the MFA degree programs and graduate student progress toward the degree.

Artisanry has its origin in the well-known Program in Artisanry founded at Boston University and previously part of the Swain School of Design. While creative activity in Artisanry speaks in a language common to the disciplines of the Fine Arts and Design, the program’s orientation finds its roots in the craft revival that began in the 1950s. It emphasizes the uniquely-made object and the direct relationship between artist and object and between object and culture. Students in Artisanry specialize in one of the following fields:

  • Ceramics
  • Fibers
  • Metals/Jewelry

Fine Arts has historically been defined by the disciplines of drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. The program is specifically designed to prepare students for a professional commitment to their art. The goals of the program focus on 1) working towards the evolution of a personal voice, 2) acquiring historical knowledge and understanding of the art of various societies, and 3) developing critical skills in looking at art and discussing aesthetic issues. Graduates are prepared for numerous career choices within their respective disciplines. Students who complete the program have developed a clarity of thinking and a process of personal expression that will allow them to assume the role, in society, of artist as practitioner, artist as educator, and artist as interpreter of their times. Students in Fine Arts specialize in one of the following fields:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture

Visual Design emphasizes throughout communications and problem solving. Students explore visual communications in the widest sense. Faculty representing a wide variety of philosophies and viewpoints work together with students, providing a rich and thought-provoking graduate experience. The modern visual designer must be broadly educated, articulate and literate in today’s competitive field, and our faculty are well versed in traditional and digital media technology. Students in Visual Design may specialize in one of the following fields:

  • Digital media
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Photography

The Master of Fine Arts is generally regarded as the highest degree offered in the visual arts, and qualifies the graduate for professional work in the disciplines available through our curriculum.  Careers as studio artists devoted to the expression of personal concepts, as teachers at the university level, or as commercial artists and designers whose work is market-based and client-driven, are all possible outcomes of graduate study in the visual arts. There are also numerous allied career paths, such as curatorial work, arts administration, art direction and publishing, which benefit from the level of accomplishment which the Master of Fine Arts degree entails. The College of Visual and Performing Arts supports the philosophy that significant achievement in the visual arts is the product of inspired conception, critical dialogue, individualized attention to students and maturing skill. Our state of the art facilities offer the arena for challenging explorations and the level of creative innovation which is expected of students committed to graduate study.

We welcome you to come visit our programs, speak with faculty in your field of interest, meet students and see their work. Please contact the CVPA Coordinator for Graduate Studies & Research (Charlotte Hamlin, and/or the Graduate Program Director assigned to your area of interest: 

James Lawton, Artisanry (Ceramics, Fibers, Jewelry/Metals),

Suzanne Schireson, Fine Arts (Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture),

Ziddi Msangi, Design (Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography),


Faculty and Students

UMass Dartmouth visual arts faculty are dedicated teachers, committed artists, and designers with national and international reputations.  They have received numerous awards and grants from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts,  the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Society of Arts and Crafts. Their work is included in major museum and private collections.  Lectures, critiques, workshops by visiting artists, designers, and critics provide a rich supplement to the curriculum.  Graduate students come to CVPA from across the U.S.A. and we have many international students. Students develop rich personal relationships with colleagues in all disciplines through critical discussions and projects assigned in graduate seminars. The successes of our MFA graduates are a source of pride for our College and the University. Students are employed at leading firms, have established successful art studios, and have gained teaching assignments at competitive schools.

Program Facilities

The College of Visual and Performing Arts takes pride in its excellent facilities and equipment, occupying a total of more than 225,000 square feet of building space on the Dartmouth and the New Bedford Star Store campuses. The combined spaces include studios, workspaces and classrooms for eleven areas of study in the visual arts. Graduate students in all disciplines are assigned individual workspaces in the Star Store; students have access to the studios seven days a week.  All studios have the specialized equipment, tools and computer labs to support a wide range of artistic creation. The Innovative Learning Collaborative, the College’s digital fabrication studio, is located in the Star Store.  The Visual Resources Center and IDEA Studio (a digital/multi-media spece including 3D printers, laser engraving and green screen) are located on the main campus.

Application Requirements

The College of Visual & Performing Arts is proud of its tradition of individualized attention to its graduate students.  To maintain this tradition, each applicant is admitted to work in a specific area according to the ideas which are expressed in the statement of purpose and through consultation with the primary advisor.

Our standards for admission include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00, and a portfolio which demonstrates the capacity for advanced work in the chosen discipline. For international applicants, a minimum TOEFL score of 72 (iBT) or minimum IELTS Overall Band Score of 6.0 is required.

Applicants must submit the required application materials to the UMass Dartmouth Graduate Admissions Office.  These include:

  • Two letters of recommendation from people who can write authoritatively about the applicant’s accomplishments and potential in the visual arts.
  • A statement of purpose which defines the field of study, and a description of the ideas and concerns which underlie the studio work.
  • A graduate portfolio consisting of 20 pieces of original art. As a whole, the portfolio should provide a clear representation of processes of thinking, implementation of concepts, and studio production. The artwork should support the stated purpose for pursuing graduate study.  Applicants submit their portfolio online via Slideroom at

    Images (jpeg), video (mov,wmv,flv) or PDF documents may all be uploaded. For good image quality and a fast upload, it is recommended that the image files be sized no larger than 1220px @ 72dpi, and video files kept under 60MB each. For all technical assistance in this process, applicants can access the SlideRoom help desk at  If an applicant can not submit a portfolio via SlideRoom, contact the Office of Graduate Admissions to make other arrangements.


While considering applications, we may request an interview and, if circumstances permit, encourage a studio visit to meet faculty and students, and to see the facilities, equipment and personal work spaces.

Early January is the application deadline for priority consideration for admission with assistantship opportunities, however, applications will be considered on a rolling basis.  To allow time to obtain a visa, international students should apply by at least June 1st.  Most students are full-time and begin study in the fall semester.  However, students may apply for spring and/or part-time admission.  Admission consideration will be contingent upon available space. 

Admission with Deficiencies

An applicant with strong credentials, portfolio and references might be admitted with course deficiencies. Such deficiencies are identified at the point of admission and must be addressed in the MFA course of study, which could extend the time and credits required for MFA degree completion.  The CVPA Coordinator for Graduate Studies & Research and the thesis advisor will develop a plan to remedy any deficiencies. 

All MFA degree candidates, either before enrolling in the graduate program or during their residency, must have successfully completed twelve (12) credits of undergraduate art history.  Deficiencies in students’ art history backgrounds are not uncommon and can be remedied during graduate study.  With the recommendation of the MFA program and approval of the Dean, either undergraduate or graduate coursework may be used.  The final grade in undergraduate coursework taken at UMass Dartmouth must be at least D minus and the final grade in undergraduate coursework taken at another institution must be at least C minus.  The final grade in 500-level or higher coursework take at UMass Dartmouth must be at least “C,” the final gade in 400-level coursework taken at UMass Dartmouth must be at least “B,” and the final grade in graduate coursework taken at another institution must be at least B minus.  No more than six (6) total credits from another institution may be transferred for use toward UMass Dartmouth graduate degree requirements.  Up to six (6) credits of Art History deficiencies may be taken as academic elective courses within the 60 credits required for the MFA degree as long as such credits are at least 400-level and otherwise satisfy the grade criteria cited above.  If more than six (6) credits are necessary to address Art History deficiencies, then such credits may not count among the 60 credits required for the MFA degree.

(Note:  UMass Dartmouth policy sipulates that no more than six (6) credits of 400-level courses may count toward a graduate degree.  MFA students who need twelve (12) credits of undergraduate art history may take all twelve (12) credits as 400-level courses as long as only six (6) credits are used toward the 60 credits required for the MFA degree.)


Non-Degree Student Status

Occasionally, persons interested in graduate work are encouraged to register for courses at the university as non-degree students before making a formal application for admission. With the agreement of the student’s advisor and the CVPA Graduate Coordinator, and if congruent with UMass Dartmouth policy, credit for courses taken as a non-degree student may count toward the MFA degree.

Financial Assistance

The College of Visual & Performing Arts awards a limited number of assistantships to first year graduate students. Most of the first year awards will be General Assistantships and will not involve classroom teaching. Generally, Teaching Assistantship awards are made to qualified students who have reached their second year in the graduate program, and have successfully completed  ART 590 (Instructional Development). In addition to assistantships, the College has a limited number of scholarships. Applicants are encouraged to identify their needs clearly in the application and in the faculty interview.

MFA faculty may also nominate applicants for the Distinguished Art Fellowship.  These fellowships are intended to attract students of unusual artistic ability.  Distinguished Art Fellows may receive $12,000.00 per year plus full tuition and Curriculum Support Fee waivers for up to three years.  Fellows are required to maintain full-time status, maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.500, and make satisfactory progress toward the MFA degree.

Other assistance, such as loans or work study, may be available. Please consult the sections in the Graduate Catalog titled “Expenses” and “Financial Assistance,” paying special attention to recommended deadlines. The UMass Dartmouth Office of Financial Aid (508-999-8643, has considerable information on ways to finance graduate education.


James Lawton, Graduate Program Director for Artisanry,

Suzanne Schireson, Graduate Program Director for Fine Arts,

Ziddi Msangi, Graduate Program Director for Design,

College of Visual and Performing Arts
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300


Donna Costa-Pryor, graduate program secretary, 508-999-8904,


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